15:57 UK time, Tuesday, 8 July 2014
Prime Minister David Cameron's recent visit to the Midlands brought into focus the political debate around localism and growth.
A second man is charged with murder after a fatal stabbing in the Sparkbrook area of Birmingham.
A dispute over funding puts a halt to specialist epilepsy procedures at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
A company is fined after a pupil's head got stuck in an electric gate at a Stourbridge school.
Shrewsbury Town sign West Bromwich Albion defender Cameron Gayle for a third time on a two-year contract.
BBC Local Live has finished for the day. We'll be back with more news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Friday.
It will be a fine and dry end to the day with some late evening sunshine for many. Overnight the dry weather continues, the winds will ease and clear spells will develop.
Minimum temperature: 11C (52F).
This evening we look back on public sector strikes in Birmingham and Wolverhampton. James Morris, the Conservative MP for Halesowen and Rowley Regis, will give his views live in the studio.
And after another knife surrender bin was unveiled in the city, we will hear from the parents of teenager Christina Edkins who was stabbed to death on a bus in Birmingham.
Watch BBC Midlands Today at 18:30.
The Aston Villa captain Ron Vlaar says he's proud of what his country, Holland, achieved at the World Cup, but it wasn't good enough to reach the final.
The defender saw his penalty - the first Dutch spot-kick - saved, as they lost on penalties against Argentina in last night's semi-final.
Life changing operations for epilepsy have stopped in Birmingham over the past 14 months because of a row over money, a surgeon has claimed.
One patient had his brain surgery cancelled less than two hours before he was due in hospital.
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital apologised, saying the procedure is not currently commissioned by NHS England. But NHS England claims it is working with the hospital on plans to further develop the service.
There is heavy traffic on the A456 Hagley Road West in both directions in Bearwood at Kings Head Cross.
Read more on BBC Travel News.
The news on BBC WM at 17:00 includes:
Has the public sector strike affected you?
See some of the photos on Facebook that were taken in Birmingham city centre earlier.
The Tamworth athlete Meghan Beesley's involvement in the Commonwealth Games is now in doubt because of a foot injury.
The Birchfield Harrier has withdrawn from the 400m hurdles at the Diamond League meeting in Glasgow this weekend and says she will find out next week whether she will be fit for the Commonwealth Games.
We've introduced BBC Local Live to bring you the latest news, sport, travel and weather all in one place. Tell us what you think.
Speedway fans behind the Save The Brummies campaign say they just want to see the team continue, in whichever league that may be.
Supporters have been told by the chairman of the British Speedway Promoters Association, Alex Harkess, that he is trying to put a temporary promotion in place so the team can complete this season in the Elite League.
Save The Brummies spokeswoman Tiffany Smith says dropping into the Premier League next season would not be an issue, as long as a new owner can be found.
The news on BBC WM at 16:00 includes:
I'm just taking a look through the photos I took while I was out covering the rally in Victoria Square.
I really like this photo of a woman taking stock and sitting back, looking at the rally near the water fountain, known as the floozie in the jacuzzi.
A gate firm has been fined after a pupil's head got stuck in an electric gate at a Stourbridge school.
The eight-year-old boy suffered "significant bruising" to the right side of his head and ear in the accident at Pedmore Primary School, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said.
Leicester firm Access Control Solutions admitted breaching safety rules and was fined £3,300 with £773 costs.
The BBC has asked the company for a response.
The mother of a teenage girl stabbed to death on a bus in Birmingham will unveil another knife surrender bin in the city this afternoon.
Christina Edkins, 16, from Birmingham, was attacked on the number nine bus at Five Ways in Edgbaston in March 2013.
Her mother, Kathleen Harris, who has worked for Tesco for 20 years, will unveil the purple knife surrender bin at a store in the area at 16:00.
Campaigners have begun a last-minute bid to save a historic Redditch needle factory from demolition.
Point in Time, which wants to turn the derelict Abel Morral site into a museum and arts centre, must raise £1m by Monday.
A 49-year-old man from Walsall has died after falling from a pylon in Cumbria.
The man fell about about 22ft (7m) while carrying out maintenance work in Great Orton on Saturday.
The University of Birmingham tweets: Proud new graduates and their families filing out into Chancellor's Court and Uni Square in the sun
Conservative MP for Halesowen and Rowley Regis James Morris says the strikes "are unnecessary".
He says: "They're going to inconvenience thousands of people across our region. They will hurt the economy and damage children's education.
"Obviously we still face big challenges in terms of the government's finances, in terms of cutting the deficit. We've got it down by a third but there's still a long way to go."
Birmingham and its neighbours have a larger economy than Wales - and should have the same tax raising powers, according to a Commons inquiry.
Headlines on BBC WM include:
There's lots of blue sky around in the West Midlands. It'll feel warm with the sun pushing temperatures to 24C. Here's the map...
Keep up to date with the latest forecast on BBC Weather.
There's very slow traffic and delays on M6 northbound between J10, A454 (Wolverhampton) and J10a M54, because of an accident earlier on, BBC Travel News reports.
All lanes have been re-opened. Travel time is around 40 minutes. Congestion to J7, A34 (Great Barr).
The march is looping back to Victoria Square. Protesters have been singing popular songs with changed lyrics about cuts. There have also been whistles, horns and chants.
Birmingham shoppers are standing to one side to let people taking part in the rally go past.
Hundreds of public sector workers are marching from New Street towards The Bullring as part of nationwide protests over pay.
A 26-year-old man is in hospital after being seriously injured when he was struck by a van in Birmingham.
He was hit by a Mercedes Vito on Belchers Lane shortly before 13:00 on Wednesday. The man is in a stable condition with serious head injuries and a broken leg.
The road was closed for more than three hours.
The news at 13:00 on BBC WM includes:
I've just spoken to police who estimate about 600 to 700 people were at the rally in Birmingham.
The march is now under way
These drummers are poised on New Street ready for the march through the city centre shortly.
Unions estimate there are more than 2,000 people at the rally in Birmingham.
Retired factory worker Stan Davies, 78, from Wolverhampton, says he resents the public sector strike action taking place today.
The grandfather-of-four used to work at Bean Industries in Tipton and was a member of the Amalgamated Engineering Union while he was working.
He says: "The strikers seem to justify themselves but everybody is having to make sacrifices at the moment. Everything is more expensive. Maybe they just think they're better than everyone else."
The sun is beating down at the strike rally in Birmingham - one lady is ready for all weathers by shading under her brolly.
Police have confirmed the major fire in Broad Street on Tuesday was started by arsonists.
They're looking at CCTV in the area as part of their investigation and urging witnesses to contact them.
Watch Commander Dave Pitt told us on the day the circumstances were "suspicious".
Hundreds have gathered in Birmingham city centre for the strike rally.
It is extremely loud here as the horns and chants echo around Victoria Square.
Nick Kelleher, secretary of Wolverhampton, Bilston and District Trades Union Council for 18 years, told me "the purpose of today's action is not to cause disruption".
He works as an outreach worker in social services for Wolverhampton City Council.
Mr Kelleher said, despite the council introducing the Living Wage in 2013, he still wants public sector employers to re-engage with unions and staff about pay because public sector workers remain "more accountable for their actions" than those in the private sector in his experience of social and children's services.
The news at 12:00 on BBC WM includes:
Prime Minister David Cameron has condemned the disruption caused by today's public sector strikes and promised to tighten strike ballot laws.
Dave Prentis from Unison, which represents members in local government, healthcare, colleges and schools, said they were taking action because ''enough is enough''.
You can see more about today's strikes on BBC Midlands Today at 13:30.
Here's reporter Sarah Falkland in Victoria Square in Birmingham covering the rally.
This group from the adult social care team at Birmingham City Council are at the rally calling for "fair pay for all".
Horns are blasting in Birmingham's Victoria Square as hundreds gather for a rally as part of today's public sector strikes.
Jane Ceresa, deputy chair of Wolverhampton's Unison branch and a council worker of 14 years, says her motivation to strike was down to the "paltry" pay rises the public sector has been offered in recent years.
The news at 11:00 on BBC WM includes:
About 150 people are picketing outside Wolverhampton Civic Centre, accompanied by a steel band.
There are people here from Unison, NUT, the Fire Brigades Union and Wolverhampton Bilston and District Trades Union Council.
I'm heading out to Birmingham city centre to cover the strike rally in Victoria Square.
We'll have photos and updates from BBC reporters across Birmingham and the Black Country on BBC Local Live.
A government spokesman said the "vast majority" of public sector workers did not vote for today's strike action and pointed out early indications suggested "most are turning up for work as usual".
Education Secretary Michael Gove has also been critical of the NUT's ballot, which was held in 2012 with a turnout of 27%.
I'm with Chris Cooper who works in East Park, Wolverhampton. He says the council has turfed over flower beds to save money.
"I think job cutting and cost cutting in Wolverhampton is just going to get a lot worse if we don't stick together and stand-up for what we believe in."
Members of the Fire Brigades Union are now on strike as well as public sector staff.
Firefighters are taking action today until 19:00 as part of a continuing dispute with the government over changes to pension arrangements.
The fire service says contingency plans are in place.
Four people have been rescued by police after a severe fire at a flat in Walsall.
Two men and two women, all in their 40s, were at the flat in Rowley Street, in the Chuckery area, when the fire started in the kitchen at about 02:00.
The four were taken to Walsall Manor Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation, but have since been discharged.
In the news at 10:00 we'll hear from the Conservative MP for Redditch, Karen Lumley, reacting to the strikes across England and Wales. Listen live to BBC WM..
Here's the picket line at Hamstead Hall Academy in Birmingham which is closed today because the majority of staff are on strike.
A pupil under suspicion of jabbing other children with a diabetes finger-prick pen has been excluded from Moreton Community School, Wolverhampton City Council's press office has confirmed.
Police told us last month they had identified at least 20 children they believe had been jabbed.
The BBC News story will be live shortly.
Today as teachers, bin men, firefighters and hundreds of thousands of other public sector workers go on strike - is taking tough action the only way to get what you believe in?
The government says its going to make it harder to go on strike - they believe this industrial action is irresponsible but if the workers did nothing would they get nothing?
Give me a call 03453 009956 and have your say. Listen live.
Four people were rescued from their Walsall flat when a fire broke out today.
I'm on the picket line outside Wolverhampton's Civic centre with council workers striking over pay.
Sue Brealey, chair of Unison's Wolverhampton branch, says they want fair pay for workers struggling to pay bills.
What do you think of BBC Local Live? We'd like your feedback about this service.
Trevor, who works for social services in Birmingham, says he's striking because he's facing a real terms pay cut.
Dozens of schools were closed today and frontline services disrupted as thousands of workers went on strike.
I'm reading the news on BBC WM this morning. The headlines at 09:00 include:
This morning we're asking for your thoughts on the national public sector strike taking place.
An anonymous person texted: "Strikes. No sympathy. They haven't had a pay cut they just haven't had a pay rise. Once again my daughters off school today which means i cant work today. The council need to cut these idiots jobs. Not services. This is the job they chose. Get on with it."
The owners of an historic needle factory in Redditch have confirmed that it's scheduled for demolition on Monday and the race is now on to save it.
The bulldozers are scheduled to flatten the famous Abel Morrall building.
A historical group wants to convert it into a working museum, preserving the techniques and traditions of the craft, but they have just three days to raise £1m so they can buy the site.
Firefighters, school teachers and council workers are among those taking part in national public sector strikes today.
Are you being affected? Perhaps you've had to take the day off work to look after your child or taking part in a union rally later.
Joe Morgan, regional secretary of GMB Birmingham and West Midlands GMB, says no wagons have left Birmingham's fleet and waste management central depot this morning.
As a result, bin services in the city will be affected, according to the union.
You can read more updates of how the strike is affecting services across the UK on the BBC News website.
I'm at a GMB picket line at Central Waste Management on Montague Street in Birmingham.
One worker, Jimmy, tells me: "We're here because we don't think we're getting a good deal from the government.
"We haven't had a pay rise in four years, we've had a three year pay freeze - all the overtime has stopped. We want a fair deal."
The government is set to be hit by the biggest strike over pay since it came to power as thousands of public sector workers across the West Midlands join a national walk out in a dispute over pay, pensions, jobs and spending cuts.
Picket lines are being mounted outside courts, council offices, job centres and fire stations.
You can hear more on BBC WM's breakfast show and we'll be bringing you updates throughout the day.
It will be a generally fine day with plenty of sunny spells. It will become a little cloudier through the afternoon but it should stay dry throughout.
Feeling warm in the sunshine and light winds, with highs of 24C (75F).
Beautiful sunshine this morning across Birmingham and the Black Country.
I'll be bringing you the latest news, sport, travel and weather updates today, as well as details on the public sector strikes taking place in the local area.
Listen to live sport commentaries from any of the BBC's 40 Local Radio stations
The latest TV news, sport and weather for the Midlands
M6 Warwickshire - Delays and queueing traffic on M6 southbound between J3a M6 Toll and J3, A444 (Nuneaton), because of an accident involving van and a lorry earlier on and recovery work. All lanes have been re-opened.
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