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Severe disruption: M5 West Midlands northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 West Midlands northbound severe disruption, at J2 for A4123 Wolverhampton Road Oldbury.

M5 West Midlands - M5 lane blocked on entry slip road and it's slow northbound at J2, A4123 (Oldbury), because of a car that's broken down.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Here's the weather for the start of the bank holiday

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

The sunshine is set to lead to a dry night with long, clear spells - here's the full forecast for the next 24 hours:

Rebecca Wood

You can stay up-to-date on the weather for your area by going to the BBC Weather website.

Dozens of drivers caught speeding at pedestrian crossing

Allen Cook

BBC News

Nearly 100 drivers have been caught speeding near a pedestrian crossing with one motorist recorded at nearly three times the speed limit, police said.

The crossing on James Watt Queensway
Google

Officers caught 97 people speeding near the site on James Watt Queensway, Birmingham, yesterday, with the highest speed clocked in the 20mph zone being 51mph.

They're targeting the crossings as 26 pedestrians died last year either on or near one.

The force said drivers who broke the limit near the crossings could now be charged with driving without due care and attention and face getting seven points on their licence.

Your say: 'True inspiration' praise for farming twins

Facebook

Praise has poured in on the BBC Midlands Facebook page for identical twins Laura and Anna Callwood after they shared their story of overcoming challenges to land their dream jobs in dairy farming.

Diagnosed with autism at 10 years old, they were told by a teacher "there's more to life than farming" but went on to work at farms across the Midlands.

Laura and Anna Callwood
BBC

On the BBC Midlands Facebook page, Alistair McMinn posted: "I've known these girls for a few years now through young farmers. They just show how much you can achieve if you are determined. A true inspiration to the future of farming."

Mel Butler added: "My son can absolutely relate to this. He often can’t and sometimes simply wont engage with people but will happily sit making noises to animals."

Brenda Dolphin wrote: "You go girls. Andy and Sarah will be very proud of you. And stuff the teachers who put you down. You've shown them the exact opposite."

Police sergeant charged with grooming offences

A West Midlands police officer's been charged with grooming offences involving a child.

He's been charged with attempting to cause/incite a female child under 13 to engage in sexual activity and attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

The officer's been remanded into custody to appear before magistrates today.

Andrew Harper: Police forces to hold minute's silence

BBC Midlands Today

Officers from across the West Midlands region will be joining forces around the country in observing a minute's silence today in memory of PC Andrew Harper.

PC Andrew Harper
Family handout

PC Harper, 28, was killed last week while responding to reports of a burglary in Sulhamstead, Berkshire.

Jed Foster, 20, of Pingewood, Burghfield, has been charged with his murder and was remanded into custody after appearing in court this week.

The silence is being held at 11:00.

View more on twitter

Four-in-one pill prevents third of heart problems

James Gallagher

Health and science correspondent, BBC News

A daily pill containing four medicines can cut the number of heart attacks and strokes by a third, a study shows.

Woman taking pill
Getty Images

The polypill contains blood-thinning aspirin, a cholesterol-lowering statin and two drugs to lower blood pressure.

Researchers - in Birmingham, Iran and the USA - said the pill had a huge impact but cost just pennies a day.

They suggest giving it to everyone over a certain age in poorer countries, where doctors have fewer options and are less able to assess individuals.

We've provided evidence in a developing or middle-income country - and that's a lot of countries - that this is a strategy worth considering."

Professor Tom MarshallUniversity of Birmingham

Sun cream Friday?

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

Dry and cloudy this morning, here's the full forecast:

Rich Davis

You can stay up-to-date with the latest forecast for your area by heading to the BBC Weather website.

Weather forecast: Turning dry tonight

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

We're in for a mainly dry night with more clear spells, here's the full forecast for the West Midlands for the next 24 hours:

Rich Davis

You can stay up-to-date with your local weather by heading to the BBC Weather website.

Severe disruption: M5 West Midlands southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 West Midlands southbound severe disruption, between J1 for A41 Birmingham Road West Bromwich and J2 for A4123 Wolverhampton Road Oldbury.

M5 West Midlands - One lane closed and queues on M5 southbound between J1, A41 (West Bromwich) and J2, A4123 (Oldbury), because of a break down.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

MPs call for living wage at university

Seven of Birmingham's MPs have written to the vice chancellor of the University of Birmingham calling on the university to pay a "real living wage" amid strike action from its employees.

This is not to be confused with the compulsory National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage, which is currently £8.21 an hour for anyone over the age of 25.

View more on twitter

Unison trade union members at the university have been taking industrial action, including strikes on campus during graduation days, over complaints about fair pay.

The group of Labour MPs have now written to David Eastwood echoing the union's calls and said they "cannot see the justification" to not pay staff a real living wage "given the University's strong financial position".

The real living wage, calculated by the Living Wage Foundation, is currently set at £9 an hour for workers outside London.

The university has previously said it has matched the voluntary living wage.

Severe disruption: M5 West Midlands southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 West Midlands southbound severe disruption, from J1 for A41 Birmingham Road West Bromwich to J2 for A4123 Wolverhampton Road Oldbury.

M5 West Midlands - One lane closed and queues on M5 southbound from J1, A41 (West Bromwich) to J2, A4123 (Oldbury), because of a car that's broken down. In the roadworks area.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Praise as ambulance service rated 'outstanding'

Allen Cook

BBC News

West Midlands Ambulance Service has been praised for bringing in new treatments and its training of staff as it was rated "outstanding" by the Care Quality Commission watchdog for the second year running.

It is the only ambulance service in the country to get the highest rating, following the inspections in April and June.

A row of ambulances
West Midlands Ambulance Service

The trust looks after 5.6 million people in the region and the CQC praised it for its innovations, patient transport services and its work with universities to train paramedics.

It also commended the ambulance service for training staff to deal with childbirth emergencies

The trust was however told to make improvements in 15 areas including the temperature at which medicines are stored at and making sure vehicles are consistently kept clean.

Why you might want to take an umbrella today

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

We could be in for a spot of rain this morning with a cloudy start, here's the full forecast:

Rich Davis

You can get a latest forecast for your area at any other time by going to the BBC Weather website.

Loss of HS2 would be a 'disaster' for the Midlands

"HS2 must go ahead in full - scrapping it or de-scoping it would be a disaster for the Midlands," according to Midlands Connect, which researches transport projects in the region.

Proposed design for HS2 train
Alstom

Its director, Maria Machancoses, said that while she welcomed a review to scrutinise the costs and benefits of the project, "we must not lose sight of the fact that HS2 will transform our transport network for the next century".

She said Midlands Connect will be submitting evidence to the review, announced today by the government, in favour of HS2 "for the whole Midlands".

"It's vital that the East Midlands isn't ignored in this process either," she said.

"The Midlands needs HS2 to be built in full to rebalance the economy and unite the country."

Designs revealed for new railway station

Designs have been revealed of how the new University Station could look in Birmingham.

It is expected to accommodate 7.2 milliion passengers a year, Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) said.

Plans include a new station building, wider platforms, a direct link over the canal to Birmingham University's campus and improved public space linking the station with existing bus stops and hospitals.

Computer generated image of the proposed interior of the new station
Transport for West Midlands
Computer generated image of the proposed interior of the new station
Transport for West Midlands

The existing station opened in 1978 and was designed to cope with 500,000 passengers a year. Today, 3.4 million passengers a year use the station, and that's set to rise, TfWM said.

A public consultation on the proposals is set to run until 6 September and a number of drop-in events are planned.

Computer generated image of the proposed exterior of the new station
Transport for West Midlands

Weather look ahead: Sunshine and showers

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

There will be plenty of sunshine around this morning but variable amounts of cloud building up over the course of the day, with the odd scattered shower as well.

West Midlands weather 21 August 2019

Good morning from the West Midlands newsroom

Riyah Collins

BBC News

We'll be keeping you updated with the latest news, sport, travel and weather until 19:00.

If you want to reach us, we're on Facebook and Twitter.

Severe disruption: M5 West Midlands southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 West Midlands southbound severe disruption, from J1 for A41 Birmingham Road West Bromwich to J2 for A4123 Wolverhampton Road Oldbury.

M5 West Midlands - One lane closed on M5 southbound from J1, A41 (West Bromwich) to J2, A4123 (Oldbury), because of a break down. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Court rooms in Birmingham 'sat idle'

Louise Hancock

Newsreader, BBC WM

Court rooms in Birmingham are sitting empty while criminal cases are being delayed, a lawyer's claimed on Twitter.

A general view of Birmingham Crown Court
PA Media

Jonathan Dunne, a barrister in the East Midlands, asked other lawyers across the country on the social media site to provide updates.

He claimed thousands of cases were being held up while, yesterday morning, 127 rooms out of 260 in 34 courts "sat idle".

His list included seven out of the 17 in Birmingham.

A Courts and Tribunals spokeswoman said there was a 12% reduction in crown court trial cases last year and waiting times for cases are the shortest since 2014.

Your weather forecast for the next 24 hours

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

A dry night ahead for the West Midlands with some clear spells, here's the full forecast including for the start of Wednesday:

Alex Hamilton

You can keep up-to-date on the weather in your area at any other time by heading to the BBC Weather website.

Your say: Well wishes for run over PC after dog visit

Facebook

Well wishes have flooded in on the BBC Midlands Facebook page after a police officer, seriously hurt when he was run over with his own car, had a hospital visit from his pet dog.

Diesel visited PC Gareth Phillips after he suffered a head injury and broken pelvis when stopping a suspected stolen car in Birmingham on 10 August.

Diesel visiting PC Gareth Phillips
West Midlands Police

On the Facebook page, Lima Alpha wrote: "What a lovely thing to do. Hope you are recovering although I imagine it’s not easy. Your beautiful dog is part of your family so only right that you get to see him."

Robert Hetherington added: "Get well soon Gareth. The bond between you and your dog is so special and the police family are all with you."

Paul and Melissa Ralph posted: "So lovely they let your fur baby visit you. Praying for a speedy recovery."

Barbara Fox typed: "Wonderful they have let Diesel in to see you, nothing quite like a dog's love and affection. Thank you for keeping our streets safe."

Severe disruption: M5 West Midlands southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 West Midlands southbound severe disruption, at J2 for A4123 Wolverhampton Road Oldbury.

M5 West Midlands - M5 lane closed on exit slip road southbound at J2, A4123 (Oldbury), because of a break down. Traffic is coping well. In the roadworks area.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Ambulance service to take over non-emergency 111 calls

From November, the non-emergency 111 medical helpline is going to be run across the West Midlands by the region's ambulance service, with the exception of Staffordshire.

West Midlands Ambulance Service said it plans to integrate the service with its 999 call-handling and that this would mean "patients can be better directed to the most appropriate care".

WMAS call centre
WMAS

WMAS also said that when it takes over from Care UK, there would be fewer 111 patients being sent an ambulance and fewer being sent to accident and emergency departments.

It added it would look to transfer across staff already working for Care UK.

Severe disruption: M5 West Midlands southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 West Midlands southbound severe disruption, from J1 for A41 Birmingham Road West Bromwich to J2 for A4123 Wolverhampton Road Oldbury.

M5 West Midlands - One lane closed on M5 southbound from J1, A41 (West Bromwich) to J2, A4123 (Oldbury), because of a break down.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Ford cars 'most likely to be stolen' in West Midlands, says PCC

BBC Midlands Today

Ford vehicles have the topped the list of cars most likely to be stolen in West Midlands.

A Ford garage
BBC

The region's police and crime commissioner, David Jamieson, says more than 1,500 of them have been stolen already this year, and since the start of July, 30 keyless Ford Fiestas have been taken in Walsall and Wolverhampton alone.

The PCC said even when you take that into account that Fords are the most popular car in the region, the level of thefts is disproportionately high.

Ford says they continuously invest in technology to deter the theft of their vehicles.

Fortified wheat flour 'could prevent millions of vitamin deficiency cases'

Adding vitamin D to wheat flour could prevent 10 million new cases of deficiency over the next 90 years, researchers at the University of Birmingham have said.

Wheat flour
Getty Images

The researchers also suggest that by reducing vitamin D deficiency in this way, the NHS would save £65m as demand for healthcare and treatment would decrease.

Adding the supplement would cost 12p per person per year, the study suggested, and would help prevent conditions such as rickets, soft bones, bone pain and muscle weakness.

Dr Magda Aguiar, who carried out the research, said she hoped the government would consider policy changes such as flour fortification, "to address this serious health issue".

Addressing vitamin D deficiency in the UK requires a multi-disciplinary approach, and preventing conditions that are the consequence of deficiency would save the NHS money to the extent that it would more than compensate for the money needed to implement flour fortification at a national level.

Dr Magda AguiarUniversity of Birmingham

Overturned vehicle narrowly avoids hitting house

Allen Cook

BBC News

A vehicle came off a road and demolished a front wall, ended up on its roof and narrowly avoided going into a house.

Vehicle on its roof
West Midlands Fire Service

The accident happened shortly before 05:00 on Oldbury Road, Oldbury.

Firefighters said no-one was hurt but the vehicle came to rest "millimetres from the property".

Vehicle on its roof, showing damage to front wall
West Midlands Fire Service

Will you need a brolly later?

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

We're set for a mainly fine, dry day with sunny spells, here's the full forecast.

Alex Hamilton

You can get the latest forecast for your area at any other time from the BBC Weather website.

Turning dry and clear tonight

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

The showers we've seen today in the West Midlands should fade as we head into tonight which is expected to be mainly dry and clear:

Alex Hamilton

You can get a latest forecast for your area at any other time by heading to the BBC Weather website.

Injured PC gets hospital visit from pet dog

PC Gareth Phillips, who is recovering in hospital after being run over by his own police vehicle when he stopped a suspected stolen car in Birmingham, has had a hospital visit from his pet dog Diesel.

PC Gareth Phillips with pet dog Diesel
West Midlands Police

After regaining consciousness, one of the first things that PC Phillips asked about was how Diesel was, West Midlands Police said.

His 13-year-old chocolate labrador was allowed to visit the hospital to say hello and lift his spirits.

“He’s got a shattered pelvis and is in pain, but is taking each day as it comes and is making small steps in his recovery," colleague Supt Dave Twyford said.

Mubashar Hussain, 29, formerly of Sherwood Road, Hall Green, appeared at Birmingham Magistrates' Court last week charged with Mr Phillips's attempted murder.

Severe disruption: M5 West Midlands southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 West Midlands southbound severe disruption, at J2 for A4123 Wolverhampton Road Oldbury.

M5 West Midlands - M5 lane closed on exit slip road southbound at J2, A4123 (Oldbury), because of a break down. In the roadworks area.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Will you need your umbrella again?

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

A mix of sunny spells with some heavy showers - here's the full weather forecast.

Alex Hamilton

Stay up to date with the latest weather for you area by heading to the BBC Weather website at any other time.

Wet day turning to dry night

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

After all the rain we should be in for a largely dry night - here's the full forecast, including for the start of your weekend:

Rebecca Wood

Keep up-to-date with the weather where you are at any other time by heading to the BBC Weather website.