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  1. Arson attack at halal butchers 'not racially or religiously motivated'
  2. Rapist caught after he searched for his spectacles
  3. Birmingham marks 100 years since start of Battle of the Somme
  4. Parents' fears over academy closure plans
  5. Updates on Friday 1 July 2016

Live Reporting

By Stephanie Barnard

All times stated are UK

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Latest weather for the West Midlands

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Daniel Wainwright

BBC News

Billions of pounds of EU funding has been earmarked for projects to create jobs and growth across England over the coming years. Now the UK is heading for the exit, what happens next?

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Jeetan Patel

Jeetan Patel takes five wickets as Surrey collapse at Guildford, following Aussie debutant Aaron Finch's ton.

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Dean Saunders

Birmingham Airport promises to rip up former Wales striker Dean Saunders's huge parking fee if they win Euro 2016.

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Anders Lindegaard

Preston North End re-sign Anders Lindegaard on a one-year deal after he had his contract cancelled at West Brom.

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"Stop immigration start repatriation" poster

Daniel Wainwright

BBC News

Thousands of people join a Facebook group sharing reports of hate crime following the EU Referendum, while police say there was a five-fold increase in complaints made via one website.

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Nikki Sinclaire

A former UKIP MEP on trial for alleged fraud had a poor relationship with leader Nigel Farage, a former aide tells a court.

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Blue and white Chinese vase

An 18th Century Chinese vase that was used as a door-stop at a house in Birmingham sells for £650,000 at auction.

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Romaine Sawyers

Championship side Brentford sign goalkeeper Daniel Bentley, defender John Egan and midfielder Romaine Sawyers.

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Our coverage across the day

We'll be back on Monday with our usual mix of news, sport, travel and weather for Birmingham and the Black Country, but keep an eye out here for more updates this evening and into the morning.

'Open book benches' - art project to inspire kids to read

Tom Turrell

BBC Midlands Today

Last year The Big Hoot art project in Birmingham captured the imagination of thousands of people. 

It involved dozens of painted owls being scattered across the city to raise money for the Birmingham Children's Hospital. Well this year it's The Big Read

More than 170 "open book benches" will be placed across Birmingham and the Black Country with the aim of inspiring children to be creative and read more.

One of the book benches to be installed

Silver Clef Awards: ELO's Jeff Lynne is excited to be 'an icon'

BBC Entertainment and Arts

ELO's Jeff Lynne is being honoured with the Icon Award at the Silver Clefs today.

"It was amazing, I really enjoyed it. I’d never been before and to be on there and get that slot that we had was super."

The Birmingham man told us he was very honoured to be named an icon, by music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins.

"This is a beautiful thing and I’m very proud of it. I never have taken anything for granted, I’m always shocked when I get anything but this is up there at the top," he said.

ELO's Jeff Lynne

Read more on this story on the BBC Music News live page.

Watch: Overnight forecast for the West Midlands

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

A few showers will continue this evening, the odd heavier one at first but these will gradually die away, leading to a largely dry night with clear spells. 

The brisk westerly wind will continue and it will become rather cool with lows of 7C (45F).

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The weather for the West Midlands.

Latest headlines: Events mark 100 years of the Somme; rapist jailed

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

The top stories for Birmingham and the Black Country this afternoon:

- Commemorative events have taken place in the West Midlands to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme

- A Birmingham MP has branded the potential closure of a school as a "complete disaster" and "a shambles"

- Rapist is jailed after police saw him hunting for his spectacles

Sex attacker jailed after police saw him searching for his spectacles

A rapist identified by DNA he left by biting one of his two victims has been jailed for life, police say.

The injured woman also told officers how Dahir Ibrahim lost his glasses during the "brutal attack" - CCTV showed him returning to the scene to look for something.  

Dahir Ibrahim
West Midlands Police

Ibrahim dragged his victims into alleys in Birmingham, threatening them with weapons before sexually assaulting and beating them. 

The first attack happened on Friday 3 September in Villa Road, Perry Barr, and the second on Saturday 18 October in Ludgate Hill, Birmingham city centre. He will serve a minimum of ten years.

Watch: Thousands of people in the Midlands pay tribute to Somme soldiers

BBC Midlands Today

Special commemorative events have taken place across the Midlands to remember the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme.  

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Somme centenary: Thousands of people in the Midlands pay tribute

Battle of the Somme: 'Poignant moment'

Men dressed as WWI soldiers have been in railway stations across the country this morning.

Cara Clarke was caught off guard when she saw men representing soldiers killed in the Battle of the Somme - which began 100 years ago today - at Birmingham's New Street station.

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The Battle of the Somme, one of the War's bloodiest, was fought in northern France and lasted five months, with the British suffering almost 60,000 casualties on the first day alone.  

Alex Hales

Essex request permission to speak to Nottinghamshire's England batsman Alex Hales and Warwickshire opener Varun Chopra.

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Delays on the roads: M5 and M42

BBC Travel

The latest disruption on the roads includes:

- One lane is closed on M5 northbound between J1, A41 (West Bromwich) and M6 J8, because of a broken-down vehicle

- There's severe congestion on the M42 northbound due to a lane closure between J4, A34 (Shirley) and J5, A41 (Solihull)

- Drivers are warned to expect traffic on the A491 Hagley Road in Lye at the A4036 Ham Lane junction

For the latest disruptions on the roads visit BBC Travel.

School closure plans announced in 'appalling way'

A city councillor's "shocked and furious" to hear that a Birmingham school might close. 

Parents arriving for a Year Seven induction evening at Baverstock Academy in Druids Heath were told the news last night. 

The school has been in special measures since an Ofsted inspection in 2014 and announced plans to close its sixth form earlier this year, but there's now to be consultation on closing the entire site by August 2017.

Baverstock Academy, Birmingham

The way the announcement was handled last night was appalling. Children should've been leaving that meeting feeling happy, excited and confident about their future but instead they have come home not knowing what is going on.

Eva PhillipsBirmingham city councillor

Battle of the Somme: Aldridge Cenotaph

Police officers gathered at Aldridge Cenotaph this morning to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme.

Events have been taking place across the country.

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A two-minute silence was held at 07:28 across the country.

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Marking the moment the Battle of the Somme began

Watch: Man ignites bottles of liquid moments before attack on halal shop

Police believe the arson attack on Monday was not "racially or religiously motivated".

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Arson attack at halal butchers - CCTV released

Here's CCTV footage of a man igniting bottles of liquid moments before a halal butchers was targeted in an arson attack.

He can be seen lighting the two bottles at a bus shelter in Wednesbury Road, Pleck, Walsall, on Monday evening.

The shop, on the same road, suffered extensive fire damage.  

West Midlands Police says it has "a positive line of enquiry suggesting [the attack] was not based on the victim’s membership of any ethnic group".

Man igniting bottle of liquid
West Midlands Police

Trains delayed between Birmingham and Leamington

Train services between Birmingham and Leamington Spa are delayed due to signalling problems at Dorridge.

Chiltern Railways, Cross Country and London Midlands services are all expected to be delayed between now and 16:00.

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This time last year: The weather

BBC Weather

Need cheering up? Perhaps don't look here. A year ago today, temperatures were rather hotter at 36C.

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Battle of the Somme: #WeAreHere

Photographer Verity Milligan took these photos as she walked through Birmingham New Street this morning as it held a living memorial to mark 100 years since the start of the Battle of the Somme.

#WeAreHere took place across various railway stations nationwide.

View more on twitter

Love Your Neighbour project: 'Do something kind today'


People from across Birmingham are being urged to do something kind today as part of a campaign to fight any ill feeling following the EU Referendum. 

People are being encouraged to put up banners outside temples, churches, businesses, schools and other places which read #LoveYourNeighbour.

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The campaign is headed by the council and faith leaders.

Watch: Battle of the Somme remembered at National Memorial Arboretum

Tim Wedgwood

BBC Local LIve

Children have taken part in a service at the National Memorial Arboretum to remember the soldiers who died in the Battle of the Somme.

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A two-minute silence was held as people marked the start of the battle 100 years ago in World War One.

Latest headlines: Battle of the Somme remembered 100 years on; people urged to fight back against racism

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

The top stories this lunchtime in the BBC WM newsroom:

- Commemorations are being held to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme

- The RSPCA is investigating the suspected poisoning of a dog in Walsall

- People across Birmingham are being urged to do something kind in the wake of hate crimes reported after the EU Referendum

Sawyers leaves Walsall to join Dean Smith's side

Romaine Sawyers is joining Championship side Brentford.   

Walsall FC say despite being offered a three-year deal, he's leaving the club to "link up with former Walsall manager Dean Smith and join the West London outfit".

Romaine Sawyers
Getty Images

'Doorstop' vase could sell for £1m later

A Chinese vase which was used as a doorstop at a house in Birmingham could fetch up to £1m when it's auctioned today. 

Auctioneer Hansons says the piece is believed to have been made during the reign of Emperor Qianlong between 1735 and 1799.

It has been valued at £300,000-£500,000, but it could sell for much more, auctioneers say, if "Far Eastern heavyweight collectors" make bids.

Door-stop vase discovered in Birmingham
Hansons auctioneers