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  1. George Makin: Death of local democracy reporter announced

    The death of the West Midlands-based journalist George Makin has been announced.

    The reporter, who covered stories in Sandwell and Dudley for the BBC and Birmingham Live as part of the Local Democracy Reporting Service was diagnosed with incurable lung cancer just four days after receiving his first coronavirus vaccination, he revealed in April.

    Graeme Brown, editor of the Birmingham Mail said: "He was a great journalist and an even better man."

    An award in his name is to be set up for young local democracy journalists, he added.

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  2. West Midlands forecast: Scattered showers before turning drier

    BBC Weather

    Today is forecast to be mainly cloudy with scattered showers or spells of rain before turning drier this evening. High: 19C (66F).

    A yellow weather warning for thunderstorms is in place from the Met Office until 19:00 on Thursday with the area affected covering part of Warwickshire.

    Area affected by weather warning

    Tonight is expected to be dry with clear spells before turning cloudier towards dawn. Low: 13C (55F).

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

  3. Video content

    Video caption: Commonwealth Games: Birmingham 2022 puppies in training

    The puppies are named after sporting starts including swimmer Ellie Simmonds and gymnast Joe Fraser.

  4. Thunderstorms and possible floods forecast

    Drivers are being warned about the hot weather breaking to make way for thunderstorms later today and tomorrow.

    A yellow warning for thunderstorms has been issued by The Met Office, which is forecasting that some areas are likely to see thunderstorms later Wednesday through to Friday with the potential for travel disruption and flooding.

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  5. Universities launch art funding in City of Culture

    Two universities have launched a joint project to fund local artists during Coventry's City of Culture year.

    Coventry Creates 2021 will allow 12 Coventry artists to work with academic researchers to create digital artworks reflecting research themes connected to City of Culture.

    Successful applicants to the fund from University of Warwick and Coventry University will also receive consultation sessions with Coventry Art Forum experts and the opportunity to take part in networking sessions.

    The resulting art will be displayed in the Coventry Creates Digital Exhibition in December 2021 and a physical exhibition at the Resonate Festival on University of Warwick Campus in April 2022.

    The city centre has been given a colourful makeover for the year-long festival

    Since 2018 the collaboration between the universities has funded more than 50 research and creative projects in Coventry.

    Prof Jackie Hodgson, University of Warwick Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, said said the fund could provide up to £2,250.

    “This is an exciting time for the universities and an opportunity for researchers to work with artists of all descriptions in creative and innovative ways, engaging with City of Culture 2021," she said.

  6. University saddened by student's death in Durdle Door fall

    A university has said it is "saddened" by the death of one of its students, after a woman died falling from a cliff on the Jurassic Coast.

    The woman, named locally as Tahira Jabeen, from Birmingham, died from her injuries at Man o' War beach, near Durdle Door in Dorset, on Monday at about 15:00 BST.

    The University of Wales Trinity Saint David, which has a campus in Birmingham, has said she was one of its students.

    Man o' War beach, near Durdle Door and Lulworth

    A spokesperson said: "The University is saddened to hear of the death of one of our students in such tragic circumstances.

    "Our deepest sympathy and condolences to her family and friends at this difficult time.

    "Our student services team has been in touch with students and staff at the Birmingham campus to offer support to those who may be affected on hearing this sad news.”

  7. Jury deliberations on murder-accused PC paused by illness

    The jury in the trial of a police officer accused of the murder of former footballer Dalian Atkinson will not deliberate today due to the absence of a juror who is unwell.

    The prosecution claims PC Benjamin Monk, 43, used excessive force when he arrested former Aston Villa striker Dalian Atkinson in Shropshire in 2016.

    The jury began their deliberations on Tuesday afternoon.

    Birmingham Crown Court was told the juror's illness was not thought to be Covid-related.

    Dalian Atkinson

    PC Monk denies murder and said he believed there was a danger to life.

    His co-accused West Mercia Police colleague, PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, 31, denies assaulting Mr Atkinson.

    PCs Mary Ellen Bettley Smith and Benjamin Monk
  8. New grants for sports clubs

    Sports clubs in Wolverhampton can apply for up to £1,000 towards the costs of being Covid-19 compliant under a new grant scheme.

    Any volunteer-led clubs or providers in the city can apply for the grant from City of Wolverhampton Council, which aims to encourage regular Covid-19 testing and Covid-safe environments by offsetting the costs.

    Clubs will receive £250 once their application has been accepted, with the remaining £750 paid after they demonstrate a commitment to providing a Covid-secure environment.

    Stock sports image

    Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, said: “The grant is intended to help them get back on their feet and, at the same time, encourage them to be Covid-secure and embrace a routine of regular coronavirus testing."

  9. Around the web: Tributes to mum who died in cliff fall

    Birmingham Live

    Here are some of the headlines from Birmingham Live:

  10. West Midlands mayor agrees with Covid restriction extension

    The Conservative West Midlands Mayor Andy Street says he agrees with Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to extend Covid-19 restrictions until July.

    Mr Street said extending restrictions until 19 July would mean more people would be able to get their coronavirus vaccine.

    He admitted the delay was going to come "at a cost" to other industries such as hospitality but said without acting, there was the potential the country could go back to stronger restrictions.

    Andy Street

    “If you have two jabs you are pretty safe from this variant, if you either have one jab or no jabs you are at risk of contracting Covid seriously," he said.

    "There are still millions of people over 50 who have not had their two jabs and obviously we haven’t even offered the jab to people under 25.

    “The point is going to come where we have to say we are going to have to live with this disease, that is absolutely right, but the point that I am making….is you have to get to a best proportion of the vulnerable population vaccinated before we make that change in strategy.”

  11. Birmingham looking to be pilot site for children's jabs

    BBC Radio WM

    Dr Justin Varney, medical director for Birmingham City Council, said it had approached government to be a pilot site for vaccinating older children.

    Dr Varney said it was looking at more "innovative" ways to prevent the spread of the Delta variant.

    He said it had approached government to try to accelerate the vaccination of university students before they go home at the end of the term, as well as offering to be a pilot site for vaccinating schoolchildren.

    Stock vaccine image

    He said the need to vaccinate children is already in the public domain, with a plan coming in autumn.

    "We have said to government, the size of Birmingham, we have hundreds of thousands of children who will be eligible for the vaccine, we really want to be the pilot site, we want to be the area that government works with to develop how to do it at the scale of Birmingham," he said.

    "If we can work out how to vaccinate safely the hundreds of thousands of children that we have in Birmingham then frankly the rest of the country is going to be a doddle.

    "So the proposal we have put to government is 'we would like to be your pilot site' and that is partly about giving our children the first chance to be protected, because that is where we are seeing some of the highest case rates, but it is also because for us this is a much bigger challenge than it is in smaller areas."

  12. Around the web: Birmingham moves to surge testing

    Birmingham Live

    Here are some of the headlines from the Birmingham Live website today: