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Unemployment rises across region

Unemployment rose across the West Midlands in the three months to September, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The number of people out of work increased by 9,000 to 142,000.

Nationally, employment rose by 21,000 to 1.38m.

Online safety charity gets Children in Need boost

Last year, almost £5m was donated to BBC Children in Need from across the West Midlands.

The money supports projects such as the Wolverhampton charity Base 25, which is helping to keep young people safe online.

Wolverhampton charity helps keeps teenagers safe online

This year's main appeal show is on Friday.

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

Any early evening showers should clear leaving a dry night with lows of 5C (41F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Cases of modern slavery rise by 135%


West Midlands Police says it is dealing with more and more cases of modern slavery.

The force says cases of people being trafficked or forced into labour, criminality and sexual exploitation are up 135% in a year - from 140 in 2016 to 330 in 2017.

Staged photo of modern slavery
Home Office

Liisa Wiseman from the Birmingham-based Adavu Project, which offers long-term care to survivors of modern slavery, said: "They are bound by debt and frightened and terrified.

"They don't know what city or country they are in and don't speak the language.

"They don't have documents on them, and they believe they will be jailed or beaten if they escape."

Reality Check: Are more teenagers carrying knives?

Reality Check

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner said a £1.8m government fund would help "end the serious violence that has blighted our communities in recent months and years".

Knife crime statistics

West Midlands Police dealt with more than 2,000 knife crime incidents in the first six months of 2018, nine of which were fatal.

BBC's Reality Check has been looking at knife crime figures to try and find out if more teenagers are now carrying knives.

West Midlands gets £43m winter road repairs fund

A £43.5m fund for winter road repairs and local road maintenance has been announced for councils across the West Midlands.

It will cover repairs to pot holes and other maintenance projects.


Chancellor Philip Hammond made the announcement in the budget, with details of the funding issued today by the Department of Transport (DfT).

Staffordshire will get the most funding with almost £8.9m followed by Shropshire which received £7.2m.

It brings the region's total funding for roads this year to £144m, said the DfT.

Regional breakdown of funding
Department of Transport

Funding to tackle gangs and violence

The West Midlands Police area has been awarded £1.8m over the next two years to help tackle the problem of gangs and violence.

The news was welcomed by Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, who said it would be used on a range of schemes, including mentoring for young people to steer them away from criminality.

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Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

It should be a dry day with sunny spells with a few scattered showers this afternoon and highs of 10C (50F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: What’s the weather got in store?

Sara Thornton

BBC Weather

It will be very wet and windy for a time overnight with heavy rain moving through and lows of 7C (45F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Naval training centre given city honours

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Joe Sweeney

HMS Forward, the Royal Navy’s Midlands Reservist training centre, has been officially awarded the honour of "Freedom of Entry" to the city of Wolverhampton at a specially convened full council meeting.

HMS Forward

The privilege, which is the services equivalent of being made an honorary freeman or freewoman of the city, was bestowed on the local naval flagship by the Wolverhampton City Council Leader.

Based in Birmingham, the centre employs more than half of its recruits from Wolverhampton and serves the five counties of the Midlands.

The council granted the honour in recognition of HMS Forward’s services to the city over the years.

Three charged in connection with ram raids on businesses

Three men have been charged in connection with a series of ram raids at businesses across the region.

The three were arrested following a police pursuit in the early hours of Wednesday morning, said West Midlands Police, ending by a Small Heath canal.

All three are set to appear at Birmingham Magistrates' Court today.

Major transport projects set for sign-off after £43m pledge

Ten major projects aimed at tackling congestion are likely to be approved by the West Midlands Combined Authority today.


Funding worth £43m from the government's Transforming Cities Fund would be used to support a range of road, rail, tram, bus and cycling projects.

The money would be split into grants and will target known bottlenecks and highways as well improving public transport for commuters.

BreakingEx-JLR star to face rape trial

Former JLS member Oritse Williams has denied raping a woman in a hotel room after a concert.

Oritse Williams

The 31-year-old was arrested in December 2016 in connection with an incident in a hotel in Wolverhampton.

Mr Williams, from Croydon, south London, appeared at Wolverhampton Crown Court earlier to deny the charge.

During a 36-minute hearing, co-defendant Jamien Nagadhana, 31, from Hounslow, London, denied a serious sexual assault charge in connection with the same incident.

A trial date was set for 14 May.

Tonight's weather forecast

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

There are showers around in the West Midlands - here's how the weather for tonight and tomorrow's looking:

Shefali Oza

To get a forecast for your area at any other time, head to the BBC Weather website.

WW1 trenches virtual reality experience created by Tamworth firm
A virtual First World War trench experience is created by a Tamworth firm.

Man arrested over murder 'to face no further action'

A man arrested in connection with the murder of a father-of-four who was stabbed to death in Wolverhampton has been told he will face no further action.

Richard Helm
West Midlands Police

Richard Helm (pictured), 37, was pronounced dead after police were called to Raven Crescent, in Ashmore Park, at about 05:15 on 12 October.

Two men have been charged with his murder, as well as other offences.

Three other men had been arrested and released on bail - two of them have had their bail extended until January while the third has been released with no more action taken, police confirmed today.

WW1 leader was not a 'pantomime villain'


World War One leader Douglas Haig should not be regarded as a "pantomime villain", according to a West Midlands historian.

Field Marshal Douglas Haig
Universal History Archive

Field Marshal Haig was a national hero and was rewarded with the title of earl for leading Britain to victory.

But his reputation changed after his death and he was derided as one of the "donkeys" who sent so many "lions" to their deaths on the Western Front.

However Prof Gary Sheffield, of the department of war studies at Wolverhampton University, said Haig deserves better and his record should not be viewed through the prism of hindsight.

Double rainbow graces skies

BBC Weather Watchers

A double rainbow's been adding a splash of colour to skies over Stafford and Wolverhampton this morning, according to our BBC Weather Watchers.

These three are from users Rain Man Rich, Harry Mountain and Mom Nugg:

Rain Man Rich
Harry Mountain
Mom Nugg

Here's how Wednesday's weather is looking

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

It's started off cloudy and rainy for much of the West Midlands today but that could change later on, here's the full forecast for today:

Alex Hamilton

If you want a latest weather forecast for your area at any other time, head to the BBC Weather website.

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

Rain is expected to work its way in from the west through tonight, with a few heavy bursts of rain and lows of 11C (52F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands
Knife debate: Street, McGovern, Blakeley, Halligan, Campbell
The Politics Live panel looks at the causes of and potential solutions to knife crime in Britain's bigger cities.