The Birmingham Post (England)

The Birmingham Post is the daily newspaper of Birmingham, England. The Birmingham Post covers local and national news, sports, business, and weather.

Articles from February 5, 2003

Abbey Sells Consumer Credit Operation
Mortgage bank Abbey National yesterday agreed to sell its consumer credit arm First National for pounds 848 million to the US-based General Electric Company conglomerate. The long-awaited deal will see Abbey dispose of the business, which provides...
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Allied Domecq in Low Spirits
Byline: John Duckers Shares in Allied Domecq, the world's second largest spirits group, slumped yesterday as it warned of only flat earnings this year. Industry analysts immediately cut their profit forecast by around ten per cent as profit growth...
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All Teachers Could Have to Learn Foreign Language
Byline: Dominic Hayes Foreign language lessons could become a compulsory part of training for teachers in future, Education Secretary Charles Clarke has indicated. He said he was 'very interested' in moves by the French government to make learning...
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Alstom Set to Secure Pounds 60m Carriage Deal
Byline: Phil Waller Troubled Birmingham train maker Alstom is set to win a pounds 60 million contract to make trains for London Underground's Jubilee Line. Tube Lines, one of the two consortia that hold 30-year contracts to maintain the capital's...
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ARMY Style at Ease; after a Gypsy Summer Last Year, Combats Make a Comeback in 2003. Laura May Goes on Parade
Byline: Laura May Once the uniform of the urban warrior, military-inspired fashion has ditched the boyish silhouette in favour of sexy styles that exude parade ground polish. This season's GI Janes are vamping it up in feminine interpretations...
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ATHLETICS: Hansen Preparing to Leap Back into Action
Byline: David Instone Ashia Hansen has expressed her surprise that the world indoor triple jump record hasn't gone up, as it were, in leaps and bounds. She's also delighted, of course. The record is hers. It's now five years since the popular...
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BEAUTY: Pass the Milky Bar, Kid; Modern Girls Are Imitating the Queen of the Nile to Get Creamy Complexions Reveals Shereen Low
Byline: Shereen Law The Egyptian queen Cleopatra, whose powers of seduction were legendary, used to indulge in a luxurious milk bath. In modern times, supermodel Cindy Crawford rehydrates her skin using a facial spritz containing a mix of milk...
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Beauty Style: Retail Therapy
Byline: Jess Hybert Who'd have thought that one of the Big Brother contestants would earn international recognition? Is it Jade? Or maybe Helen? Not likely. Sadly it's not a Brit. It's Aussie Jemma Gawned, who after spending her whole time on...
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Birmingham Post Comment: New Lords Should Represent Everyone
The arguments against the House of Lords as it exists today are easy to understand but the idea the 'great and the good' should scrutinise legislation is controversial. Our captains of industry, leading scientists and academics and veteran politicians...
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Biscuit Factory to Cut Back 900 Jobs
Penguin-to-Jaffa Cakes group United Biscuits expects to cut up to 900 jobs at a Midland factory amid a restructuring of its biscuits division. The group is planning to close production at one of its plants in Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire, at...
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Blair and Chirac Trying to Paper over Iraqi Disputes
Byline: Jane Merrick Tony Blair and Jacques Chirac yesterday attempted to paper over the cracks in Europe over war in Iraq by agreeing that the crisis must be resolved through the United Nations. At the end of a wide-ranging Anglo-French summit...
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Blair Hasn't Done Enough to Convince Public over Iraq, Says May
Byline: Shahid Naqvi Tory Party chairman Theresa May claimed in Birmingham yesterday that Prime Minister Tony Blair has not done enough to convince the British public to support a war with Iraq. 'We support the Government in its desire to eliminate...
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Bomb Timer Linked to Farm, Old Bailey Told
A timer and materials recovered from a bomb which failed to explode in Birmingham matched equipment recovered from a Yorkshire farm, the Old Bailey heard yesterday. The farmhouse was said to be used by alleged Real IRA members Robert Hulme (23),...
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Brakes Put on US Car Sales Rise
Byline: John Cranage Jaguar and Land Rover suffered last month as the brakes were slammed on the breakneck rise in US car sales. With monthly figures in from every major manufacturer except BMW, total seasonally-adjusted sales for January fell...
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Broad Street Taxi Ban to Stay as Bar Calls in Administrators
Byline: Paul Dale and Emma Brady The weekend night ban on cars and taxis in the heart of Birmingham's entertainment district is to continue - despite claiming its first 'victim' yesterday. The Rococo Lounge, formerly Bar 2 Sixty, has called in...
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Cabbie Is Jailed Nine Years for Killing Woman after Family Row
A taxi driver who killed a woman when he drove into a group of people outside a house in Birmingham following a row with his in-laws has been jailed for nine years. Ziar Mahmood (27), of Warren Road, Washwood Heath, was acquitted of murder but was...
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Charities Slam Jackson's Revelations of Sharing Bed with Boys
Revelations by pop star Michael Jackson that he shared a bed with boys and girls were yesterday criticised by children's charities. Leading children's charity Barnardo's said it was inappropriate for an adult male to share a bed with a child and...
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City View: Marlborough Stirling's Large Dividend Spanner
Byline: Richard Tyler Shareholders in software and services supplier Marlborough Stirling have an interesting month ahead of them. The Cheltenham-based company, which listed on the stock exchange in 2001 at 140p, has found itself in the unique...
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Construction Driven by Homes Boom
Britain's booming housing market continued to drive expansion for the construction industry in January, a key economic indicator showed yesterday. Housebuilders again provided the strongest rise in the snapshot of activity provided by the Chartered...
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CRICKET: Smooth Start to England's Campaign
Byline: Richard Gibson Paul Collingwood guided England home with a composed half-century as last-minute preparations for the World Cup began in earnest in Motherwell yesterday. Durham's Collingwood guided his side away from the potential perils...
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Cricket: Zimbabwe Row Takes Decisive Turn as Bosses Back Hussain's Men
Byline: Richard Gibson England's controversial World Cup match against Zimbabwe will almost certainly not take place in Harare following yesterday's support for the players by their bosses. The England and Wales Cricket Board stood shoulder to...
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Culture: Comedy Takes on Aga Louts; Successful Arabella Weir Is Still in Need of a Confidence Booster, Says Sarah Ebner
Byline: Sarah Ebner I t's nine years since The Fast Show brought Arabella Weir to public attention, but the comedienne is still lacking in self-confidence. Numerous television appearances and three best-selling books have not altered the fact...
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Culture: Excess All Areas for Jackass; Behind the Pain and Mutilation of Steve O's Performance, Lurks a Pretty Smart Guy, Says Colin Tudor
Byline: Colin Tudor I t would be difficult to have avoided Jackass over the last year. The MTV-produced crazy stunts show was born out of the crash scenes at the end of skateboard videos. It became apparent to the makers of the show that they...
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Culture: Wholly Successful Stab at Bront; Jane Eyre Malvern Festival Theatre
Byline: Richard Edmonds Here is a play that defies expectation. Obviously based upon the Bront novel, it moves across a vast tapestry which must include several households, a dozen or more characters and a fire. Clearly the prop of explanatory...
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Drug Barons' Counterfeit Games Scam
Organised criminals are leaving the drugs trade behind and reaping huge profits from counterfeit computer games, investigators have warned. Gangs are using cash raised from illegal activities to set up games factories to produce large numbers of...
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Enterprise: Building Workloads Increase
Business for small and medium-sized building firms in the West Midlands continued to increase during the final quarter of 2002, figures show. During the final three months of last year, 41 per cent of builders across the region reported increased...
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Enterprise: Devil Is in the Detail for Independent Entrepreneurs
Byline: Diane Rayner When a Chancellor announces help for small businesses, we are all delighted, but those of a more cautious nature or those who have been around for a long time can be heard muttering 'The devil's in the detail'. We are usually...
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Enterprise: Minister Vows No Red Tape Bonfire
Byline: Philip Waller Small Firms Minister Nigel Griffiths has defended the Government's controversial record on enterprise during a visit to Birmingham's biggest annual trade fair. Mr Griffiths rejected a growing tide of criticism from entrepreneurs...
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Enterprise: Shopfloor Skills Training Planned for Ceramic Work
The ceramic industry and regional development agency Advantage West Midlands are to set up a 'University on the Shopfloor' to fill the skills gap in the industry. The agency and the Association for Ceramic Training and Development have just agreed...
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Enterprise: Technical Translation Company in Line for Three Awards at Business Festival
Kidderminster-based Midland Technical Translations is in the running for three awards in the Hereford and Worcester Business Festival Awards. The firm, which has just won the national Business Growth Resources Champion of 2002 award, is shortlisted...
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Farmer Says Rural Firms Need New Blood
A Staffordshire farmer has issued a rallying call for more 'fresh blood' in agriculture. John Lewis, who was awarded an MBE for his efforts in preventing foot and mouth disease from engulfing the county, said he was optimistic about the future of...
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Film Firm Rally after Dispute Success
Byline: Richard Tyler Shares in Winchester Entertainment rallied yesterday after the film distribution company settled its dispute with a German film finance company for more cash than expected. The company has secured pounds 1.53 million in...
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Film Stars' 350-Guest Wedding 'Not Private'
Byline: Stephen Howard Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas chose to turn their wedding into an international media event and cannot claim intrusion of privacy, the High Court was told yesterday. The Hollywood stars lead a multi-million damages...
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Fishing for Compliments; Raw Fish and Vegetables May Sound like an Easy Meal to Make but the End Results Can Look Fearsomely Complicated. However, a New Book on the Market Can Help Take the Mystery, and Misery, out of Preparing Sushi. Julie McCaffrey Sharpens Her Chopsticks
Byline: Julie McCaffrey At last - a fast food that's good for us, tasty and getting more popular by the day. Sushi, with its fresh fish, seaweed and rice, is low in calories, high in omega 3 fatty acids, gluten-free and packed full of protein,...
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Football: Blues Dragged into Dogfight; Birmingham City 0 Manchester United 1
Byline: James Nursey Birmingham City's miserable form continued last night as Ruud van Nistelrooy's 26th goal of the season condemned Steve Bruce's side to defeat against his old club. The Dutchman's second-half strike settled the contest after...
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Football: Cameron Call Puts McInnes in Shade
Byline: James Nursey Berti Vogts, the Scotland manager, has given West Bromwich Albion skipper Derek McInnes further cause for concern by omitting the 31-year-old from the Scotland squad to face Ireland in a friendly at Hampden next Wednesday. ...
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Football: Henriksen Gift Vital for Harriers; Kidderminster Harriers 1 Bournemouth 0
Byline: Colin Stoner Bo Henriksen has scored more spectacular goals but, just when Harriers seemed set for a night of frustration against a play-off rival, the Danish striker's 12th goal of the campaign seven minutes from time sealed a vital victory....
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Football: Saddlers Earn Tidy Windfall from Ricketts Sell-On Clause
Byline: James Nursey Walsall chief executive Roy Whalley has revealed the Saddlers are to receive pounds 420,000 from Michael Ricketts' move to Middlesbrough from Bolton. Ricketts moved from the Bescot to join the Trotters for pounds 400,000...
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Football: Smith Bucks Leeds Trend in 3 1 /2-Year Deal
Leeds striker Alan Smith yesterday agreed terms on a new three-and-a-half year contract with Leeds in a deal which is likely to net the 22-year-old about pounds 40,000 per week. Smith, a lifelong Leeds fan, is expected to sign the contract soon...
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Football: Taylor Way Takes Shape; after a Year in the Job, Graham Taylor Is Making Progress, Writes David Instone
Byline: David Instone Graham Taylor may or may not one day leave behind an Aston Villa side placed higher in the Premiership table than the team he inherited from John Gregory. What would really scar him, though, and leave him struggling to look...
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Football: Top Clubs Angered by Call-Ups for Friendlies
Europe's leading clubs are threatening to refuse to release players for long-distance international friendlies in the future as the ill feeling over Brazil's friendly in China next week intensifies. The G14 clubs - including Arsenal, Manchester...
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Football: Wolves' Hopes for Huckerby Fading
Wolverhampton Wanderers are set to have Darren Huckerby threatening their path to promotion rather than helping it, writes David Instone. Molineux manager Dave Jones is said to have inquired about the Manchester City striker in the hope of securing...
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Football: Wolves' Hopes for Huckerby Lessen
Wolverhampton Wanderers are set to have Darren Huckerby threatening their path to promotion rather than helping it, writes David Instone. Molineux manager Dave Jones is said to have enquired about the Manchester City striker in the hope of securing...
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Gulf War Syndrome Attacked by MoD
A landmark ruling which officially recognised for the first time that 'Gulf War Syndrome' does exist was challenged by the Ministry of Defence in the High Court yesterday. The MoD, which has consistently argued that there is no such thing, appealed...
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Hopes Firefighter Dispute May End as Union Agrees to Talks
Hopes of an end to the fivemonth long firefighters' dispute rose last night when union leaders decided to attend fresh talks rather than call more strikes. The development came after the 'crucial' intervention of Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott,...
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Hospital Bosses Won't Quit over Pounds 6m Deficit
Byline: Sarah Probert Managers at Worcestershire Royal Hospital yesterday pleaded to be allowed to 'get on with their day job' as they came under further pressure over its finances. They admitted it was facing huge financial difficulties but...
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Hospital Hit by MPs' War of Words
Byline: Jonathan Walker The future of one of the country's first privately-funded NHS hospitals has sparked a war of words between Midland MPs amid accusations of intimidation, threats and plummeting staff morale. Dr Richard Taylor, the Independent...
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Israeli Spy Tells of Plot to Kill Mugabe
Byline: Mike Love A controversial political consultant yesterday told the treason trial of Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai that he was asked to help to arrange a coup and the killing of President Robert Mugabe. He said he was told...
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Local Peer Shortage Means Area Loses Power
The West Midlands has missed out on its fair share of representation in the House of Lords, a survey has revealed. The existing system, which includes appointed peers, the remaining hereditary members and Anglican bishops, gives too much power to...
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Manufacturers Get AWM Boost
Byline: John Duckers West Midlands manufacturing has been given a further financial boost by regional development agency Advantage West Midlands. The Agency has earmarked pounds 1.7 million to push the work of the Manufacturing Foundation over...
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Middle East Veteran's Widow Insists Radiation Caused Husband's Cancer
The widow of a Midland Gulf War veteran last night insisted her husband was killed by exposure to radiation in the Middle East - despite a coroner ruling that he died from natural causes. Christopher Ball, the deputy coroner for Birmingham and Solihull,...
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Minister: We Press on with Gun Laws
Byline: Neil Connor A senior Minister yesterday met the families of the two Birmingham teenagers shot dead outside a New Year party and pledged the Government would press ahead with tough new anti-gun laws. Home Office Minister John Denham said...
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MPs Fail to Find Right Reform for the Lords
Byline: Jonathan Walker Former Education Secretary Estelle Morris backed elections to the House of Lords last night as MPs failed to reach a consensus on seven different options for reform. In her first Commons speech since resigning from the...
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MPs in War of Words over PFI Hospital Managment
Byline: Jonathan Walker (Lab) said the criticisms would affect staff. Mr Foster, who visited the hospital on Friday, said he accepted Dr Taylor was not criticising doctors and nurses but added: 'When criticisms are made of the hospital, they affect...
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MyTravel to Axe 700 UK Staff in Cost Cutting
Tour operator MyTravel is planning to cut up to 700 of its 15,000 UK staff to reduce costs, it said yesterday. The firm, which runs the Bridge and Cresta brands and the Going Places travel agencies, said in a statement that it would be entering...
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New Kidman on the Block; Svelte Celebrities and Film Stars Are Well-Known for Releasing Fitness Videos Telling the Public How to Get Their Stunning Looks. Yet the Kidman in Question on a New Yoga Video Is Not Nicole but Her Younger Sister Antonia. She Tells Sarah Ebner How She Is Not Defined by Her Sister's Success and Is Quietly Famous in Her Own Right
Byline: Sarah Ebner Antonia Kidman does not want to talk about her older sister, Nicole. Her mood - which was light and humorous while discussing her yoga video, children and current pregnancy - has changed to stressed and uncomfortable. And her...
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OFFERS: Hole Up in a Hotel - for Free
Get away from it all with Swallow Hotels. We are delighted to offer you the chance to win one of two great weekend breaks with Swallow Hotels. Swallow Hotels are the ideal place to relax and recuperate after the excess of Christmas and the New Year,...
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OFFERS: Win Champagne and Candlelight
Laurent-Perrier is offering you the chance to win the vital ingredients for a successful Valentine's Day - candlelight and Champagne. Three lucky winners will receive a set of the new, limited edition Laurent-Perrier candlesticks, specially commissioned...
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Operation Bungle: Council Gives Advance Notice of Police Stolen Goods Raid
Byline: John Revill It was codenamed Operation Spritzer. The objective was simple enough - a raid on council-owned lock-up garages that may have been used to hoard stolen goods. A successful outcome would have been reason enough for celebratory...
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Output and Jobs Are Evaporating in Region
Byline: John Cranage The slump in West Midland manufacturing was highlighted yesterday by a CBI regional trends survey that showed output and jobs are evaporating at a faster rate than anywhere else in the UK. The survey, which covers the last...
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Perspective: A Billionaire Popstar's Lifestyle Is Not Such a Thriller; Living Life in the Public Eye Cannot Be Easy, Especially If Your Name Is Michael Jackson. So, Asks Paul Groves, Why Not Take a Step Back from the Spotlight?
Byline: Michael Jackson Where do you start? It is hard to know what represented the most disturbing image from the television documentaryLiving With Michael Jackson. Looking at footage of the early, fresh-faced popstar and then up-to-date shots...
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Perspective: Discovering the Healing Properties of Drowning
Byline: Chris Upton Now listen closely. You must first walk into the water so deep that it will reach to the breast. Then lie down gently on the belly, keeping the head and neck perfectly upright, the breast advancing forward, and the thorax inflated,...
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Perspective: The Forgotten Victims of Domestic Violence; the Fall-Out from Domestic Violence Can Be Felt for Years Afterwards. A New Campaign Looks to Highlight the Impact on the Children of Victims, as Chief Feature Writer Paul Groves Discovers
Byline: Paul Groves I t was a source of comfort for 12year-old Ellie. She was part of a happy, settled, loving home. Three of her best friends from school had gone through the pain of seeing their parents divorce and Ellie, although sympathising...
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Pounds 130m Library Plan for Eastside Backed
Moves to build a pounds 130 million Library of Birmingham at Eastside were backed by city councillors last night after Labour rejected claims that the project was shrouded in unnecessary secrecy. Conservatives raised fears about what they said were...
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Pounds 50 Litter Fines Plan Running into Trouble
Byline: Paul Dale Litter louts in Birmingham face pounds 50 on-thespot fines as part of a city council crackdown on anti-social behaviour. Local authority officers are to team-up with the police to patrol city centre streets and suburban shopping...
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Racing: Pearl's Weight Problem
Byline: William Hayler Florida Pearl may have to wait another year before taking his chance in the Martell Cognac Grand National, despite his apparently favourable treatment at the hands of the handicapper for this year's race. The Irish-trained...
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Review: When Swearing Really Paid off; Amateur Stage
Byline: John Slim The Nonentities took a brave decision in going ahead with David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross at Kidderminster's Rose Theatre last week. My regret after the first few minutes was that I had not been counting the profanities, just...
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RUGBY UNION: Prop Injuries Hit England Plans
England face a potential prop crisis before their Six Nations Championship showdown with title holders France at Twickenham a week on Saturday. Tightheads Phil Vickery and Julian White are undergoing detailed medical assessment after suffering injuries....
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Ryanair Soared Last Year but Buzz Staff Will Go
Budget airline Ryanair soared to record-breaking heights in the third quarter of last year, the no-frills company said yesterday. During the period to the end of last December, the Irish-owned carrier, which flies the Birmingham to Dublin route,...
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Saddam Says That US Must Control Oil to Control World
Saddam Hussein, in an interview broadcast on Channel 4 last night, said that Iraq does not have a relationship with al Qaida and reiterated that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction. 'If we had a relationship with al Qaida, and we believed in...
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Share Prices: Another 100-Point Slump as Iraq Looms
London's blue-chip index slumped almost 100 points yesterday as worried investors put back nearly all of the previous session's gains. Fears over Iraq again dominated the mood, particularly ahead of US Secretary of State Colin Powell's weapons statement...
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Shopping Landmarks Sold for for Pounds 120m; Retail Sales: The Mall Partnership Acquires Key Properties
Byline: John Cranage Business Staff john_cranage@mrn.co.uk - Two landmark West Midland shopping centres changed hands yesterday in deals worth a total of nearly pounds 120 million. Sutton Coldfield's Gracechurch Centre was bought by The Mall,...
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Siege Man Accused of Murder
Byline: Ross McCarthy A man who brought Birmingham city centre to a standstill during a building site stand-off with police had earlier killed his former girlfriend, a court was told yesterday. Officers had been looking for Gary O'Leary after...
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Sneak Video Allowed in Court
Byline: Campbell Docherty The country's most senior judge has condemned the behaviour of a private investigator who got into an accident victim's home and secretly filmed her in an effort to prove she was not as seriously injured as she claimed....
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Speak to Us Plea in Hunt for Family
A detective co-ordinating the hunt for four children who were abducted from the care of social services yesterday issued a personal appeal for their parents to contact police. Det Insp Charlie Hill, of West Mercia Police, said his main concern was...
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Style Counsel: Feelin' Groovy
I've worked hard on sorting my wardrobe out, I just need some advice about the latest looks for hair and make up. Please help. S Thompson, Rubery This month the style panel is made up of: Obsession Hair & Day Spa, Trish McEvoy at Harvey Nichols,...
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Teather & Greenwood Seeks Shareholder Help to Cope
Teather & Greenwood is seeking the help of shareholders to provide it with the funds to carry on operating successfully. The embattled stockbroker is paying fees of up to pounds 522,000 to raise pounds 2.9 million through a onefor-one rights...
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TENNIS: Fitzgerald Vows Not to Underestimate Threat from Underdogs; DAVIS CUP
Byline: Phil Casey Australia's Davis Cup coach John Fitzgerald insists he is not taking anything for granted against a seriously depleted British team. Injuries to Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski have robbed Britain's captain Roger Taylor of his...
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Trust Wins High Praise over Top Standards of Care
Byline: Sophie Blakemore A Birmingham hospital trust has received one of the top reports in the country from an independent NHS watchdog. The University Hospital Birmingham NHS Trust has been praised in a routine report by the Commission for...
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UK Full Immigration Controls to Be Set Up in Calais
Full UK immigration controls are being set up in Calais following an Anglo-French deal signed yesterday. Customs and immigration officers will be given complete legal authority on French soil for the first time from this summer, enabling them to...
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Victoria Finds New Canadian Partner
Victoria has found a new distribution partner for its high quality carpets in Canada. The Kidderminster-based group has signed an agreement with Elte Carpets & Home, a Toronto-based home furnishing company, which has purchased a 50 per cent...
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Watchdog Criticises Land Sale by Council
A council has been criticised by the local government watchdog for selling land to a builder without informing him of extensive mining work below the ground. The Local Government Ombudsman found maladministration causing injustice to the builder,...
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Water and Waste Problems Need a Green Champion
Byline: Sarah Probert An environment champion is needed for the Midlands to tackle problems of flooding and waste mountains - and to kick-start a revolution in green issue awareness. The Environment Agency is hunting for a regional director to...
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We Will Press Ahead with Tough New Anti-Gun Laws - Minister
Byline: Neil Connor A senior Minister yesterday met the families of the two Birmingham teenagers shot dead outside a New Year party and pledged the Government would press ahead with tough new anti-gun laws. Home Office Minister John Denham said...
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WINE on the Grapevine; Clive Platman Tries Vom Fass and Royal Tokaji Wines with Cheese and Chocolate
Byline: Clive Platman It's French-owned from a German concept, now in the UK. It is the next retailing phenomenon, the new-generation off-licence and poised to take off big-time. It's Vom Fass and, translated from German, means 'straight from the...
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Worshipper Claims He Shot at Gang of Attackers
A Muslim worshipper fired a gun over the heads of a gang who attacked him during a weekly prayer meeting at a packed mosque, a court heard yesterday. Amir Khan pulled the gun from the waist band of his trousers, aimed it at an elder from the mosque...
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