Archive for January 17, 2012


BBC Birmingham output includes the regional TV news service, Midlands Today, radio services for the West Midlands, The Archers,  and the Asian Network. 

 programmes such as Farming Today and The Food Programme are made in Birmingham.

 
BBC staff in Birmingham will strike for 24 hours this week (18/19 January) in protest at management plans to move almost all network production for radio and TV away from the city. 
 
Strike action by BECTU members will start at 15.30 on Wednesday 18 January and will run through to 15.30 on Thursday 19 January. A public rally will take place in Victoria Square at 2pm on Thursday 19 January.
 
BECTU insists that plans to move production of network TV content such as Countryfile, Coast and Hairy Bikers to Bristol make no creative or financial sense. The BBC’s base in Birmingham, The Mailbox, has cutting edge facilities and cost effective work practices and yet the BBC is walking away from its strong reputation for quality programming robbing England’s second city of capacity and talent.
The union also points out that no money will be saved by the plans: on top of staff redundancy or relocation costs, new production facilities would have to be built in Bristol.
BBC managers also want to relocate some production for Radio 2 and Radio 4, either to Salford or Bristol; currently, programmes such as Farming Today and The Food Programme are made in Birmingham.  Union members believe that it is not value for money or sustainable to mothball the radio drama studio except for those days during the month when The Archers is recorded. 
 
Birmingham will be a media ghost town
Commenting on the proposals, BECTU national official, Anna Murray, said:
“These plans make no sense whatsoever; no money will be saved and production capacity and talent for the Midlands will be lost.
“The regional economy will be dealt a body blow and the aspirations of those wanting to enter the industry will be dashed.
“The BBC is on track to turn Birmingham into a ghost town from the media production point of view and we’ll do everything we can, helped by others, to stop that happening.”
The plans were announced last October as part of the corporation’s controversial cost-cutting strategy Delivering Quality First which seeks to cut the BBC’s budget by 20% by 2017 and cut 2000 jobs.
BECTU members voted overwhelmingly earlier this month for strike action in protest at the plans and at the BBC’s refusal to hold meaningful talks with union representatives or to listen to staff views.
The BBC insists that programmes will start moving in August 2012.  Staff concerns, including about relocation and the impact on families, are being overlooked.
“It is unfair that staff have only a few weeks to decide whether to relocate, especially as the BBC will not say what will fill vacant space at the Mailbox if these programmes go,” Anna Murray continued.
BECTU believes that the proposals are seriously flawed and that the BBC must immediately enter into meaningful consultation with staff and the public. Director- general Mark Thompson has yet to meet with staff or Birmingham MPs on the issues.
If these plans do proceed not only will a substantial production slate be lost to Birmingham but BECTU believes other output in Birmingham  will be so isolated that it too will be vulnerable. BBC Birmingham output includes the regional TV news service, Midlands Today, radio services for the West Midlands, The Archers,  and the Asian Network. 
Advertisements

 Reward Offered For Finding Those Who Killed Worcester Man

Andrew Heath

A month after Worcester man Andrew Heath was killed in a fire at his flat, West Mercia Police is offering a reward for information that will lead detectives to those who killed him.

Mr Heath, aged 52, was found dead at his home in Chedworth Close, Warndon after a suspected arson attack at around 4am on Wednesday 14 December.

£10,000 will be given to anyone who supplies information that results in the arrest and conviction of those responsible for his death.

Posters advertising the reward will be put up in the streets around Warndon and will feature a previously unreleased photograph of Andrew Heath. Meanwhile, every home in the estate will receive a letter this week appealing for help and information from local residents.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Williamson, who is leading the murder investigation, said: “Our inquiries have had a lot of support from residents in Warndon and provided lots of information.

“However, we need the small number of people who really know what happened the night Andrew Heath died to come forward and speak to us. I hope this reward will be the incentive that will make the difference.

“A family is grieving: elderly parents are in anguish because they do not know why their son died and I appeal to those who can answer their questions to contact us and tell us what they know.

“There may also be people who have small pieces of information that could be vital to our investigation.

“Do you know someone who has talked about the fire? Do you know someone whose behaviour has changed in recent weeks, who started acting strangely or doing things that were out of character just before Christmas?

“I think that the public still hold the key and somebody has that vital piece of information that can unlock this case and leads us to Andrew’s killer.”

West Mercia Police can be contacted via the non-emergency police number 101 or information can be passed on anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

A WORCESTER teenager who admitted burglary has been spared custody to take up jobs abroad.

Jack Taylor has a contract to work as a slaughterman in Norway and is wanted to take part in the culling of baby seals in Alaska, Worcester Crown Court was told.

 Jack Taylor

So, although his offence merited custody, Recorder Edward Coke gave him a six-month community order and said he must carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

Taylor, aged 18, of Monarch Drive, was also ordered to pay £340 costs, £75 compensation to his victim and observe a 7pm to 7am curfew for three months. The recorder said Taylor had “got off his backside” to work.

He considered it was important for a young man with a girlfriend to be in employment.

Taylor was arrested near his home in the early hours of August 19 last year when householders were woken by the sound of a 50cc motorcycle being dragged along their drive.

The bike had been taken from the garage and when the intruders were spotted they ran off, dropping the machine on to the floor and breaking the wing mirror, said Alex Warren, prosecuting.

Taylor and a 15-year-old boy were arrested, but no action was being taken against the juvenile.

Siobhan Collins, defending, said Taylor had no previous convictions and was supported by his family. He had taken the motorcycle because he thought cannabis was hidden under the saddle.

Since the offence, he had reduced his alcohol intake and was spending more time with his girlfriend and family. He was suffered real remorse and was anxious to take the jobs offered to him.

I have emailed this to story to national news papers

New coins won’t work in parking meters and vending machines

Millions of 5p and 10p coins could be rejected by parking meters, vending machines and payphones as the Royal Mint rolls out new-sized coins from this month.

Parking meter - New coins won't work in parking meters and vending machines

Parking meters in rural areas could be a particular problem as they cannot be easily changed 
 

 

The new coins will be slightly thicker, and customers will be left fumbling through their change to find a coin that will be accepted, since some machines will no longer take the old-style coins while others will reject the new ones.

The new coins were originally meant to be introduced last year, but were delayed because of a campaign from the vending industry. They are a cost-saving exercise for the Government, because the current coins are made of an alloy of copper and nickel, which has become more expensive. The new coins, which the Royal Mint started to produce at the beginning of January, are made of steel.

Jonathan Hilder, head of the Automatic Vending Association, said the delay had allowed the vending industry to prepare for the new coins, but added that there would be issues with accuracy as the machines would no longer be able to judge the coins by weight.

He added that parking meters in rural areas would be a particular problem as these could not be easily changed, meaning that customers would find their money rejected “Once again this will hit the less well off and rural communities,” he said.

Jeff Wilkes, managing director of Solitaire Payphones, said his company estimated that there were 100,000 of its own payphones across the country that would not be able to accept the new coins, although the rest of his company’s payphones had been upgraded.

According to the Government’s own impact assessment of the introduction of the new coins, they will save the Treasury between £7m and £8m a year. However, the cost to industry and local councils of the transition will be around £80m over two years.

 

IS there something we should know? What appears to be a spy plane has been spotted circling the city, but its purpose is a mystery.

The plane, which looks to be a Sentinel twin-jet aircraft, was seen in the clear blue sky above Worcester yesterday.

It was well above 2,000ft, the level below which all traffic is monitored by RAF air traffic controllers who were unable to shed any light on its identity.

The plane’s purpose remains a complete mystery.

It is not the first time an unidentified aircraft has been spotted gracefully circling the Faithful City, but it is the first time this type of plane has been spotted.

The aircraft, which was photographed by @wildaboutimages on Twitter, appears to show a Global Express-type fuselage, which is built by Canadian firm Bombardier.

The military version – the Raytheon Sentinel – has a distinct ‘bulge’ under the front of the cockpit, which can be seen on the photo, and the RAF operates a compliment of the planes from RAF Waddington.

But an RAF spokesman said Waddington had no planes out over the area yesterday between the times it was sighted, from 9am until 2pm. Twitter user Sean Mooney appeared to contradict that, however, when he said: “I can confirm it was the Sentinel of 5 Sqn Waddington as I work on it.”

The Ministry of Defence has announced its RAF Sentinel planes, adapted to carry sophisticated radar, are being pulled from service to save money on the defence budget once Britain completes its withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Air traffic controllers at Birmingham Airport, who guide civilian passenger planes passing over the city’s airspace, said they had not registered any planes under their control circling the city.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the NATS, which provides air traffic control across UK airspace, said they had had “no issues” with civilian aircraft yesterday, suggesting the aircraft was likely military.

One possible explanation is it could be a United States Air Force plane operating from RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk.

The circling aircraft, which left wide oval-shaped contrails over the city and neighbouring counties, sparked much interest on  Facebook and Twitter, with many people speculating as to its purpose.

Mondays article https://simonpreston31.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/a-mystery-aircraft-has-been-circling-worcester-all-day-leaving-elliptical-contrails/

 

Stereo Equipment Seized From Noisy Neighbours

Worcestershire Regulatory Services have cracked down on anti social neighbours who refuse to turn their music down.

Warrants were executed at three addresses including two in Redditch and one in Worcester City.

Equipment including laptops, television, amplifiers and speakers were seized during the raids. The occupiers had ignored previous warnings and had failed  to comply with the terms of noise abatement notices served upon them. Criminal prosecutions are also being considered.

Officers acted before Christmas after investigating complaints that music was being played at excessive volume, often at unsociable hours, which had caused considerable noise nuisance to other residents. 

Steve Jorden, Head of Worcestershire Regulatory Services, said:  “This action sends a clear and strong message that this Service will act decisively in cases where excessive noise is causing misery to people in the community.

“We will not hesitate to use the powers that we have at our disposal in order to achieve this aim.”

Anyone who is troubled by noise nuisance problems is asked to contact Worcestershire Regulatory services on (01905) 822799.

From 1st June 2010 the County and District Council functions of Trading Standards, Environmental Health and Licensing have been combined into a single Worcestershire Regulatory Service hosted by Bromsgrove District Council.

 

 

A man has been arrested on suspicion of stealing drain covers in Redditch.

A member of the public contacted police at around 3am today, Tuesday 17th January, to report seeing two men in a van acting suspiciously in Appletree Lane, Brockhill.

Officers stopped a van nearby and recovered 20 drain covers.

A man was arrested on suspicion of theft and remains in police custody assisting with inquiries.

Police clear Parliament’s tent city after 10 years

Two people have been arrested as tents and protesters were removed from Parliament Square, the Metropolitan Police said.

A spokesman for the force said officers arrived on the scene at about 7.30pm on Monday to remove “all tents and sleeping equipment from Parliament Square”.

They finished the operation by 10.30pm, having cleared between eight and 10 tents and “moved on” 10 to 12 people.

Officers were enforcing the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act of 2011, which gave police powers to prevent encampments around Parliament Square.

The spokesman said two people were arrested for breaching the Act, and a third person was given a court summons for the same offence.

City of Westminster Council Clean Streets teams assisted officers in removing the protest camp, loading equipment into marked lorries.

The council proposed a new by-law in December which would impose £500 fines for failure to remove the tents.

Council leader Colin Barrow expressed support for the police action, saying: “For too long local people and tourists have been unable to fully enjoy the square. This is a tragedy and the sooner this historic site can be enjoyed by the public the better.”

Police said some tents remained on the site, however. “One person has launched legal proceedings. At the High Court yesterday the Met undertook not to enforce the legislation against that individual while proceedings are ongoing,” the spokesman said.

Protesters – led initially by the late peace campaigner Brian Haw – have occupied the pavement opposite the Houses of Parliament for about a decade. Campaigners set up Democracy Village on the green in May 2010. They were evicted in July 2011 by the Greater London Authority following a High Court order, but some protesters then pitched tents on the pavement next to the lawn

Police clear Parliament’s tent city after 10 years

Two people have been arrested as tents and protesters were removed from Parliament Square, the Metropolitan Police said.

A spokesman for the force said officers arrived on the scene at about 7.30pm on Monday to remove “all tents and sleeping equipment from Parliament Square”.

They finished the operation by 10.30pm, having cleared between eight and 10 tents and “moved on” 10 to 12 people.

Officers were enforcing the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act of 2011, which gave police powers to prevent encampments around Parliament Square.

The spokesman said two people were arrested for breaching the Act, and a third person was given a court summons for the same offence.

City of Westminster Council Clean Streets teams assisted officers in removing the protest camp, loading equipment into marked lorries.

The council proposed a new by-law in December which would impose £500 fines for failure to remove the tents.

Council leader Colin Barrow expressed support for the police action, saying: “For too long local people and tourists have been unable to fully enjoy the square. This is a tragedy and the sooner this historic site can be enjoyed by the public the better.”

Police said some tents remained on the site, however. “One person has launched legal proceedings. At the High Court yesterday the Met undertook not to enforce the legislation against that individual while proceedings are ongoing,” the spokesman said.

Protesters – led initially by the late peace campaigner Brian Haw – have occupied the pavement opposite the Houses of Parliament for about a decade. Campaigners set up Democracy Village on the green in May 2010. They were evicted in July 2011 by the Greater London Authority following a High Court order, but some protesters then pitched tents on the pavement next to the lawn.

(LEDBURY UK) A MEETING to discuss  plans for the Diamond Jubilee was attended by just seven people.

Mayor Allen Conway spoke of his “disappointment” after the meagre turn-out in the Burgage Hall on Tuesday evening.

He said: “I had hoped for a room full of people, but there are more councillors here than members of the public.”

“I put 50 chairs out tonight, and I didn’t need to do that. I am disappointed by the attendance.”

Notice of the meeting was given through the press and on notice boards.

Former town mayor Coun Jayne Roberts said: “I don’t want to be negative, but we have no representatives here from local firms, or from our traders. It is a pretty depressing situation.”

The handful of people who did attend included New Mills resident James Barnes who suggested raising a public subscription with “every man, woman and child” in Ledbury contributing £1, raising around £10,000.

The jubilee bank holiday will take place on Monday June 4 and Tuesday June 5.

A simlar meeting held in London was attended by just two people.