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M6 northbound traffic held

Stephanie Barnard

BBC News

Traffic has been stopped on the M6 northbound between Walsall and Wolverhampton due to a "motorway incident".

Highways England is warning drivers to expect delays and consider alternative routes as traffic is at a standstill between junctions nine and 10.

i54 development plans submitted

Joanne Malin

BBC Midlands Today

Plans have been submitted for a 100-acre extension of the i54 site.

About 3,000 jobs could be created as part of a £600m expansion to the west of the business park near Wolverhampton, according to investors.

i54 site
BBC

The site is already home to Jaguar Land Rover's engine manufacturing centre, which employs about 1,400 people.

A cloudy day ahead - watch the latest forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

Today will be mostly dry and rather cloudy with the small chance of the odd spot of rain.

Feeling breezy with highs of 23°C (73°F).

Latest weather forecast for the West Midlands

West Midlands unemployment falls

Allen Cook

BBC News

Unemployment's fallen by 31,000 in the West Midlands in the 12 months up to June - the biggest drop of any region in the UK, official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.

People outside a job centre
PA

The latest jobless total for the region stands at 133,000.

Nationally, UK unemployment fell by 124,000 across the year to 1.36 million, the lowest for more than 40 years.

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

It should be a dry evening, with some late sunshine, followed by a clear night with lows of 13C (55F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Vaping 'can damage vital immune system cells'

Vaping can damage vital immune system cells and may be more harmful than previously thought, a study at the University of Birmingham suggests.

Vaping woman
Getty

Researchers found e-cigarette vapour disabled important immune cells in the lung and boosted inflammation.

They "caution against the widely held opinion that e-cigarettes are safe".

However, Public Health England advises they are much less harmful than smoking and people should not hesitate to use them as an aid to giving up cigarettes.

Video: What's the weather got in store today?

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

It should be a dry day with some sunshine, but also cloudy at times with highs of 23C (73F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Watch the latest weather forecast for the West Midlands

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

After some late evening sunshine it will be a dry night with clear spells and lows of 11C (52F).

Latest weather forecast for the West Midlands

Uncle used 'broken chair leg' to batter girl

An 11-year-old girl was battered to death with a table leg by her uncle just hours after a phone call to a nearby mental hospital crisis team for help, a jury has been told.

Jasmine Forrester died in hospital on 9 February after being found with a serious head injury at a house in Kent Road, Wolverhampton.

Delroy Forrester denies murdering Jasmine on the basis he was "legally insane" at the time of her death.

Jasmine Forrester
Family handout

On the opening day of the case at Wolverhampton Crown Court, prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC said Jasmine was the "subject of a frenzied and sustained attack".

Mr Forrester's daughter Tyler contacted the crisis team at Penn Hospital, that evening because she was angry her father was not in hospital, the court heard, although she told staff he was not at risk.

When being held by police, QC Mr Rees said, Mr Forrester told an officer: "The devil had to die, I kill her blud' and 'the devil is dead'."

The trial continues.

Traffic lights 'fully working' at scene of tram crash

Traffic signals at the site of a crash between a tram and a car in Wolverhampton this morning were not faulty, said Wolverhampton City Council.

It said workers were at the scene, ahead of the crash, "investigating another issue at the junction relating to tram detection exiting the city”.

It had previously been reported that the traffic lights had been out of sync, on Bilston Road Island.

One woman was taken to hospital after the crash.

Plans for £1.5m specialist veterans centre

Ben Godfrey

BBC Midlands Today

A new centre could be built in Shropshire to treat injured veterans.

The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry is planning to raise £1.5m, initially to offer limb and spinal surgery to servicemen and women.

It's hoped it will also provide respite care for retired veterans living in areas where on-going treatment has been harder to access.

The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry
BBC

Every year about 2,500 veterans are treated at the military clinic at the Oswestry Orthopaedic clinic and there is great demand for the service.

Now it wants to build a specialist centre which will offer more extensive surgery as demand grows.

West Midlands veterans graphic
BBC

In the West Midlands, there are 207,000 veterans - of them about 29% require treatment for on-going back or neck problems, and a further 30% with arm or hand injuries.

Woman taken to hospital after tram crash

Part of the ring road in Wolverhampton was closed for a time after a tram and a car were involved in a crash, after traffic lights were reportedly out of sync.

Tram crash
Express and Star

One woman was taken to hospital after the crash, which happened shortly before 08:50.

The Express & Star newspaper reported traffic was blocked on the Bilston Road roundabout for around 30 minutes, although nobody was trapped.

Travel firm Inrix said it was alerted by Wolverhampton traffic control that traffic lights were out of sync at the junction about an hour and a half before the crash.

It is not clear whether the two incidents are connected.

Exhibition highlights lack of homeless shelter volunteers

An art exhibition will be held at a homeless shelter in Wolverhampton which was forced to shut over the summer.

Homeless
BBC

Church Shelter had to close because of a shortage of volunteers, it said.

It is hoped events like this one on Friday will attract the 60 to 70 volunteers the facility needs to stay open permanently.

Animal cruelty offenders given welfare training

BBC Midlands Today

A pilot scheme has been launched in Birmingham to educate people convicted of animal cruelty offences.

RSPCA animal centre
BBC

It's being partly run by the RSPCA after it revealed the West Midlands was one of the worst areas for reports of animal cruelty - last year there were more than 6,000 complaints .

The project has been devised to improve a participant’s understanding of animal care - and teach better emotional control and problem solving skills.

Safety inspection delaying rail services

BBC News Travel

A safety inspection of the track between Smethwick Galton Bridge and Wolverhampton is delaying trains through those stations, said West Midlands railways.

Monkey Dust cases 'almost doubled' since December

Stuart Ellis

Presenter, BBC Radio Stoke

The number of cases of people needing medical treatment after taking the drug known as Monkey Dust, or MDPHP, have almost doubled in the last seven months in the West Midlands.

West Midlands Ambulance Service ambulance
BBC

The ambulance service says, across the region, it was called to 22 cases related to the drug in December and that figure was up to 42 in July.

However, it's admitted the numbers could be even higher as some emergencies might not be recorded as being due to Monkey Dust.

As Staffordshire Police are today warning of a potential public health crisis due to the drug, the ambulance service says it can leave users with long-term illnesses.

Pension withheld from child sex assault ex-officer

Pension contributions made to a former police officer who was jailed for sexually abused boys as young as eight are to be withheld, said the head of West Midlands Police.

Allan Richards
West Midlands Police

Allan Richards, 54, who served with West Midlands Police for 31 years, was convicted of 40 offences against boys and young men and jailed for 22 years in 2016.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) David Jamieson said a pension forfeiture meeting was held on Tuesday.

The PCC said he had taken the decision to withhold as much of Richards's pension "as legal advice allows," and in this case it would be 50% of his total.

Only force contributions can be withheld, as officers' own contributions are not liable.

House of Fraser calls in administrators

BBC Business News

Department store chain House of Fraser is to appoint administrators after giving up the fight to save the business.

House of Fraser
Getty Images

In a statement, it said that talks with investors and creditors had "not concluded in a solvent solution".

Six stores in the Midlands - Birmingham, Leamington Spa, Shrewsbury, Telford, Wolverhampton and Worcester - were already set to close in January as part of the restructuring plan.

However two others in Solihull and Sutton Coldfield were among 28 nationwide which were expected to survive.

House of Fraser employs 17,500 people, including 11,500 concession staff.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

After a sunny start showers will move in before becoming clearer this afternoon with more sunny spells.

Feeling cooler than of late with highs of 19C (66F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Battery-powered trams to be rolled-out

More than 50 battery-powered trams could be added to the transport network in the West Midlands.

Tram
Transport for West Midlands

Transport for West Midlands said it was tendering for 18 new trams, with the option to purchase a further 32 in future, as part of the tram network extension.

All existing trams will be retro-fitted with the battery technology, it said, taking away the need for overhead electrical wires.

The new trams will provide services on a number of forthcoming services running between Wolverhampton St George’s and Birmingham Grand Central.

The first of the new trams are expected to be in action by summer 2021.

Funding cut threatens independent cinema

The Black Country's only independent cinema is facing closure if enough money can't be raised to keep it running.

Light House
BBC

The Light House in Wolverhampton has been part of the city's cultural offering for more than 30 years and is also used as an arts hub.

A cut in public funding has left its future is in jeopardy.

We're talking to businesses and looking at sponsorship... but it just takes so much time, and it's come to fruition now that it's not going to happen overnight. So this is why we've had to have a save Light House appeal, because we know what we've got is worth saving."

Kelly JeffsChief Executive, Light House

Homeless rehousing scheme 'inhuman'

BBC Midlands Today

More than 350 families and individuals at risk of homelessness in London have been rehoused in the Midlands in the last three years - with councils in the capital taking advantage of the region's lower housing costs.

Tower block
BBC

But some rehoused families say they feel they've been forced to live here.

Over the last five years, the London borough of Brent has rehoused 22 families in private rented and temporary accommodation in Kidderminster alone.

Conservative Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier called the practice "inhuman" and "wrong".

It's inhuman at a level where you're taking people who've got friends and families and the prospect of work in a London borough, and you're moving them 140 miles away from that support network. That's just wrong."

Mark GarnierConservative MP, Wyre Forest

Brent Council says it always aims to house people as close to the borough as possible, but says it has a lack of affordable housing.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Kaye Forster

Weather Presenter

It will be a largely dry and bright day with the chance of a few showers into the afternoon and highs of 21C (70F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Where's your nearest defibrillator?

Do you know where your nearest defibrillator is, if you needed it?

It's a question being posed by paramedic Rob Moore, after it was announced this morning that West Midlands Ambulance Service is one of the first in the country to take part in a pilot to map where all of the public ones are.

The aim is to enable 999 call handlers to direct people to their nearest one and help save lives.

View more on twitter

Defibrillator trainer Helen Tennant shows you how to respond in an emergency.

How to use a defibrillator and save a life

Weather: Your forecast for tonight and tomorrow

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

Most parts of the West Midlands are expected to stay dry to start tonight - here's how the rest of tonight and tomorrow are looking:

Shefali Oza

To stay up-to-date with the latest forecast for your part of the region, head to the BBC Weather website.

Jackson brothers visit Wolverhampton youth centre
The Mowtown megastars visit a youth centre and talk about their love for the city's football team.

Motown megastars pop by for a visit

Joanne Malin

BBC Midlands Today

Here's a sight you don't see every day... Motown megastars The Jacksons dropping in to inspire children at a youth centre in Wolverhampton.

The Jacksons in |Wolverhampton
BBC

So what brought them to the Black Country? We'll have more on BBC One at 18:30.

Ian Bell: 'I wasn't in a good place'

Warwickshire's Ian Bell has told BBC WM's Bears Podblast he was on the verge of retirement
Warwickshire's Ian Bell has told BBC WM he was on the verge of retirement following a difficult spell last summer.

He stood down as Bears captain after struggling for form, while readjusting to county cricket but after finding form again, including club record T20 score for the Birmingham Bears, the 36-year-old says he'd now be open to an England return, if required.

Ambulance service to help map defibrillator locations

West Midlands Ambulance Service is to take part in a project aiming to map all of the UK's public defibrillators, in a bid to save thousands of lives.

Defibrillator
BBC

Information about the availability of the devices, which are used to help people going into cardiac arrest, is not widely known to ambulance services.

The NHS, British Heart Foundation and Microsoft are teaming up in a bid to map all of the country's public defibrillators.

Defibrillator
BBC

Change is on the way - watch the latest weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

Mostly dry through this evening and overnight; just a very small chance of a shower, with lows of 16C (61°F).

Tomorrow there will be a cooler, fresher feel, and there's even the chance of an isolated shower.

Latest weather forecast for the West Midlands