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  1. Updates resume at 08:00 on Monday 5 January
  2. Updates on Friday 2 January 2015

Live Reporting

By Alex Homer

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good evening

Local Live has finished for the day. We're back at 08:00 on Monday with more news, sport, travel and weather.

Tonight's forecast

Rebecca Wood

BBC Weather

Starting mainly dry and cold with winds easing. However, cloud will gradually increase from the west with rain arriving later.


There could be some snow across higher ground, mainly in the north. Lows of 3C (37F)

Coming up on Midlands Today

Mary Rhodes

Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

It's not a complete cure for traffic jams, but getting more of us to use public transport is one way to keep the West Midlands moving. Could this be the key? It's called the Swift card and you'll be able to use it to pay fares on buses and trains.

Peter Plisner using the Swift card

The trouble is only a handful of operators are signed up so far. Our transport correspondent Peter Plisner has been looking into it.

Join us for the

Midlands Today at 18:30 on BBC One.

Disruption on trains warning

BBC Travel

Overhead line problems at Nuneaton are causing disruption for trains at Birmingham New Street, Sandwell and Dudley and Solihull.

Here is

the latest information.

Speeding fines in Birmingham and West Midlands drop by 64 per cent

Birmingham Mail

The number of speeding fines dished out in the courts to drivers in Birmingham and West Midlands

has dropped by nearly two thirds since 2010.

Fines handed to speeders fell to 1,442 in 2013, compared to to 2,203 in 2011.

Belfry stabbings: More arrests

Steve Hermon

Journalist, BBC WM

Two more men have been arrested as part of an investigation into

the stabbing of six people at the Bel Air nightclub at The Belfry.

A 26-year-old and a 21-year-old, both from the Birmingham area, have been arrested on suspicion of violent disorder today. Both are in police custody.

A total of seven people have now been arrested,

according to the Warwickshire force.

MP calls for fair fares

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Dudley North MP Ian Austin is calling on the government to ban taxis from charging extra to carry wheelchair users.

Investigations have found that taxi firms in Nottingham, Hull,

Middlesbrough and a number of other areas have all been taking part in the practice.

Labour MP Austin said he had written to the Equalities Minister Nicky Morgan urging them to enforce the Equalities Act to ensure that wheelchair users pay the same fares as others.

Lucky escape for council worker after Aldridge crash

Express and Star

A council worker had a lucky escape after a

car ploughed into the back of his van, which he had been standing behind only seconds earlier.

The driver of a Hyundai i30, a man in his 50s, is believed to have suffered a health scare at the wheel which made him lose control of his car in Red House Lane, Aldridge.

Black Country bed sores down

Andrew Dawkins

BBC News

Hospitals across the Black Country have cut the the number of patients developing bed sores, while

the number increased six-fold at a Warwickshire health trust.

Skin with potential bed sore - generic image

Bed sores, or pressure ulcers, happen when pressure restricts blood supply to the skin, causing it to break down.

Cases at

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which includes Heartlands Hospital, Birmingham, and Good Hope, Sutton Coldfield, also increased from 116 in in 2011-2012 to 199 in 2013-14.

In the Black Country however,

The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust had an 80% fall in cases, from 192 in 2011-2012 data to 38.

Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust had a 50% fall, from 118 to 59, and Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust saw a decrease of 49%, from 79 to 40.

Missing Erdington girl appeal

Concerns are growing for the welfare of a 13-year-old girl from Erdington who has been missing since around 14:00 on New Year's Eve.

Sharntay Dixon, who lives in Jubilee Gardens, was last seen by the One Stop shop in Perry Barr.

Sharntay Dixon
West Midlands Police

She has links to friends and family in Walsall, Oldbury, Kingstanding, Erdington and Selly Oak. Police are urging anyone with information to call 101.

Titles do not bother Pulis

Mike Taylor

BBC WM Sport

During Tony Pulis' first press conference

as West Bromwich Albion manager he was in a jovial mood. On his new job title, he said: "I was asked if I minded being called Head Coach. I said you can call me Head Bottle-washer if you want."

Pulis's first press conference

BBC WM Sport

New West Brom Head Coach Tony Pulis says he will watch

Saturday's Gateshead game in the FA Cup from the stands not the dugout.

Tony Pulis and Terry Burton

The future of the existing coaching staff is not yet clear. Dave Kemp, whom he worked with at Palace and Stoke as his assistant, will join them on the bench tomorrow.

Holidays reach their end

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Sorry. It's official. Christmas is over and we're all back to work soon if not already. The Christmas tree at the back of The Mailbox has been taken down today.

The Christmas tree being taken down

Rowett wary of cup upset at Blyth

Richard Wilford

BBC WM Sport

Birmingham City boss Gary Rowett's told me how he is preparing for

the FA Cup game against minnows Blyth Spartans tomorrow.

Birmingham City manager Gary Rowett

"You know they're going to lift their game massively against a team like us. It's a huge game for them," said Rowett.

Canal bridge project progress

Stourbridge News

The transformation of historic canal bridges in Dudley and Old Hill is

almost half way through.

NEC Group sale expected

Peter Plisner

BBC Midlands Business Correspondent

The sale of

Birmingham's NEC Group is expected to be announced shortly, the city council has said.

NEC Group

The council had originally hoped the sale would be completed by the end of 2014 but said an announcement was now expected in the New Year.

A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said: "BCC is making progress in discussions with a preferred purchaser for the NEC. An announcement will be made in due course with completion expected in the New Year."

Belfry stabbings: Event's 'success'

Jennifer Scott

BBC News

The promoters of a New Year's Eve event at The Belfry resort in which six people were stabbed have

branded media reports of the incident "malicious".

In a statement on their Facebook page, promoters Nude Nights, said its "Nude Year's Eve" event at the Bel Air nightclub was "hugely successful".

The entrance to the hotel

Warwickshire Police says it's made five arrests and three people are in hospital following the stabbings.

The Belfry said Nude Nights' statement contained "inaccuracies".

Tipton pools to reopen

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Maintenance work on the pools at Tipton Leisure Centre has now been completed and they will reopen on Monday from 14:00, says Sandwell Council.

Paul Slater, chief executive of Sandwell Leisure Trust: "We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused."

Swimming lessons will also be back to normal when the pool re-opens. More information is available


Gray to stay?

Daz Hale

Sport Presenter, BBC WM

Birmingham City are aiming to keep hold of 18-year-old winger Demarai Gray after rejecting a £1.5m bid from Championship leaders Bournemouth

according to the BBC Football gossip page.

Birmingham City forward Demarai Gray

Search for new business chief

Birmingham Post

Former Birmingham Chamber of Commerce president Bridget Blow will

lead the search for the new person to head up the business group.

Felicity Jones: 'Awards are a bonus'

Birmingham-born Felicity Jones is nominated for her role in The Theory of Everything at the Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. She is also tipped to score an Oscar nomination in mid-January.

Eddie Redmayne (Stephen Hawking) and Felicity Jones (Jane Wilde Hawking)
focus features

Jones, stars as Jane Wilde Hawking, who married Stephen Hawking (played by Eddie Redmayne) in the biopic. She says

the awards buzz is "really flattering."

Minister justifies fare hike


We interviewed Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin earlier outside New Street Station and he explained the

hike in rail fares by saying "the country supported the rail industry by £4bn a year" and the government was investing in upgrading stations and lines across the country.

Birmingham star tipped for awards

Birmingham-born actress Felicity Jones is

being tipped as a potential Oscar nominee for her latest film The Theory of Everything.

Felicity Jones
Getty Images

She plays Jane Wilde, who married Professor Steven Hawking in the movie, based on Wilde's memoir. Oscar nominations are announced in mid-January and bookmaker William Hill has her 12/1 to win best actress.

New Street delays: Update

London Midland

tweets: #BirminghamNS LM network is running as normal but some services may still be delayed or revised. Delays expected until 13:00

Villa to loan Bent again

BBC Sport

Out-of-favour Aston Villa striker

Darren Bent is poised to sign another loan deal, at Derby County until the end of the season.

Darren Bent

The 30-year-old England international has just ended a loan spell at Brighton and is set to hold talks with Rams head coach Steve McClaren on Friday.

Analysis: Rail fare hike

Richard Westcott

BBC Transport Correspondent

For 10 years or so, successive governments have taken a conscious decision to get more money out of rail passengers through

higher fares.

They get hammered every time they put prices up, even if it's just by inflation, so why do they do it?

A passenger buying a train ticket

The reason is simple. If passengers pay more, the government, and therefore all the other taxpayers, pay less.

And the fact is that the vast majority of commuters, about 95%, don't take the train. Most people drive.

Burgess: Pulis must have control

Adrian Goldberg

Presenter, BBC WM

West Bromwich Albion legend Daryl Burgess told me earlier that he believed new Baggies boss had the man management skills needed for modern footballers as he said "there were a lot of big egos now".

West Brom manager Tony Pulis
Getty Images

He also said he could not believe Pulis would have agreed to come to the club "without having full power over what players he was after and the players he could bring to the club", referring to the

continental management structure preferred by Albion with their previous head coaches.

Island ambassador from bedroom

The Daily Telegraph

A pensioner has been awarded an MBE for his work as ambassador for the world's remotest inhabited island, despite

living 6,000 miles away in land-locked Birmingham.

Mini sculptures on show

Jennifer Scott

BBC News

A Birmingham sculptor, whose works are so small they can only be viewed through a microscope, is holding an exhibition in his home city.

Usain Bolt

Willard Wigan, 57, a micro-sculptor, creates pieces

that sit within the eye of a needle or on a pin-head, such as this miniature version of the athlete Usain Bolt.

Reason behind signalling problems

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

A spokeswoman for Network Rail says the signalling problem at Birmingham New Street is similar to one faced by passengers yesterday and "the pressure was on" for workers to remedy it as soon as possible today because a normal timetable of services has begun again - so more people are affected.

New concourse

I'm told the problem is technology related. The station needed some data cards to be replaced and the ones it used yesterday were not sufficiently modern. The new ones have been delivered from Derby today and it is hoped they will be installed by 10:45, and then tested for about 15 minutes, so normal services can resume as soon as possible after that.

Virgin trains 'severely affected'

BBC Travel

The delays are expected to last up to one hour on Virgin Trains between Wolverhampton and Coventry, and between Birmingham New Street and London Euston due to the signalling problem at Birmingham New Street,

warns BBC Travel.

Train delays until midday

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

There is no firm estimate yet of how long disruption will last at Birmingham New Street Station but it is likely to continue until at least 12:00,

says National Rail now.

Trains delays at New Street

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

A signalling problem at Birmingham New Street is causing delays of 20 minutes for a host of services coming into and out of the station. Birmingham Updates

tweets that the delays are expected to last until 11:00.

Keep up to speed with the latest information from

BBC Travel. We're trying to find out more from managers at the station too.

Goalless at Villa Park

BBC Sport

Prospective Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew saw the London club claim a

goalless draw in a turgid encounter with Aston Villa.

Alan Pardew at Villa Park

Villa created more opportunities, with Christian Benteke and Alan Hutton both testing Julian Speroni with shots, but there were few chances in the game.

Rail disruption

London Midland

tweets: We've just had a report of signalling problems at Birmingham New Street. All lines through station affected. More info when known.

Walsall council tax cut reduced

Express and Star

A council tax reduction on hundreds of empty properties in Walsall

will be cut under new plans revealed today to save the cash-strapped council more money.

Draw in front of new boss

BBC Sport

New manager Tony Pulis watched West Bromwich Albion come from behind with a goal from Saido Berahino (pictured)

to pick up a deserved point at West Ham.

Saido Berahino

Despite taking a seat in the stands, Pulis appeared to relay instructions to the players and also visited the dressing room at half-time.

Coventry Road delays

BBC Travel

The A45 Coventry Road in Sheldon is busy but moving between Eagle Court business park and The Wheatsheaf,

warns BBC Travel.

Transport Sec held to account

Adrian Goldberg

Presenter, BBC WM

I am speaking to the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin live at New Street Station shortly about a hike in rail fares.

British Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin

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