Media Watch – Jan 28

By on 28/01/2010 in Media Watch

Top Birmingham City Council Stories

Tapping row councillor fights for political life (Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail) One of Birmingham’s leading Liberal Democrats (Ayoub Khan) launched a covert surveillance operation against a Labour opponent in an attempt to save his career after he was found to have misled a court while giving evidence under oath.

Councillors feel sick as absences still increase (Birmingham Post) When the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition took control of the city in June 2004, absenteeism stood at 9.8 days a year for each council worker. By the end of last year, despite numerous initiatives, the figure had risen slightly to stand at 10.3 days. Editorial comment: Still a sick council six years later.

Recession blamed for failure to reach health goals (Birmingham Post) An official drive to crackdown on unemployment, poverty and unhealthy lifestyles in Birmingham is failing to hit half of its targets.

Teachers are told to take bad marks ‘on the chin’ (Birmingham Post) Teachers have been urged to ‘take it on the chin’ and do better after government inspectors found one in ten Birmingham primary schools to be under-performing. John Hunt, chairman of the education scrutiny committee, pointed out that Ofsted also found 92 per cent of primary schools inspected to be satisfactory or better.

One step forward, two steps back for Quarter (Birmingham Post) Work has started on a £2.5million  scheme to transform derelict Jewellery Quarter buildings into work units – but an office that oversees the areas regeneration has been closed as part of spending cutbacks.

Lessons to target spray can menace (Birmingham Mail) Youngsters are set for lessons in the costs of graffiti and how they might land a criminal record if they deface public property, thanks to a new pack being sent to Birmingham schools.

Hunt on for best bar (Birmingham Mail) Staff at Birmingham’s nightspots are rolling up their sleeves to battle it out in this year’s ‘Best Bar None’ scheme.

Homeless in line for £23m boost (Birmingham Mail) Controversial contracts worth £23million have been awarded to organisations fighting to stop some of Birmingham’s most vulnerable people being made homeless.

Violent crime goes down nine per cent to make Brum safer (Birmingham Mail) Birmingham has retained its crown as the country’s safest core city.

Achtung! Parking ist verboten (Birmingham Mail) Ve hav vays of making you park. Bemused motorists could be forgiven for thinking they were in Berlin rather than Birmingham after a car park machine began issuing instructions – in German.

Politicians face pupil questions (Birmingham Mail) Four city politicians are to face their toughest grilling yet when they appear at a primary school Question Time debate this week.

Birmingham overspend trebles to £34m (Local Government Chronicle) Birmingham City Council will finish the financial year with a £34m overspend, it has been reported. Corporate director of finance Jon Warlow told a scrutiny committee that an £11.6m figure given to cabinet members earlier this month did not include other expenses, the Birmingham Post said.

Cuts threaten all Birmingham council’s nurseries (Nursery World)  All of the council-run nurseries in Britain’s second-largest city are under threat of closure as the local authority plans to slash the budget for early years by £1.45m from April.

Regional Headlines

Police find 2,000 cannabis plants in Stourbridge 
Two men have been arrested following the discovery of more than 2,000 cannabis plants at a disused shop the West Midlands.

Police given more time after Birmingham terror arrest 
Police have been given more time to question a man arrested in Birmingham on Tuesday under the Terrorism Act.

Solihull councillor sentenced for sex assault 
A former deputy leader of a West Midlands council has been given a conditional discharge after admitting sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl. Solihull councillor Ian Hillas, 42, pleaded guilty at Wolverhampton Crown Court to the offence, which happened in May 2009.

Cadbury staff in fresh protest at Kraft takeover bid 
Cadbury workers have staged a protest outside the firm’s Bournville factory as part of a campaign to safeguard jobs in the wake of a takeover bid.

National Headlines

Taliban talks high on agenda of key Afghanistan summit 
A summit on the future of Afghanistan is set to start in London with a possible offer of talks with moderate Taliban members high on the agenda.

Woman held as children found dead 
Detectives are waiting to question a woman suspected of murdering two young children whose bodies were found in a car in Heathfield, East Sussex.

More youngsters from poor homes go to university 
More of England’s poorest youngsters are going to university, but the wealthiest are three times more likely to win a place, a report says.

Climate e-mails row university ‘breached data laws’ 
A university unit involved in a row over stolen e-mails on climate research breached rules by withholding data, the Information Commissioner’s Office says.

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