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 11, 1999

Alps Horror Continues as Avalanche Claims Briton
The body of a missing British skier was found in the French Alps last night as the death toll from a string of tragedies including the Chamonix avalanches mounted. A 200-strong team had been scouring the mountains in appalling conditions after the...
Anger over 'Something for Nothing' Benefits Bill
The Prime Minister vowed to end the "something for nothing" welfare culture with a radical Bill that could take benefits from single parents and the disabled. Mr Tony Blair and Social Security Secretary Mr Alistair Darling said the Welfare Reform...
Arts: Loose Tuber on Solo, High Profile, Populist Musical Journey; Martin Longley Previews Eclectic Flautist Eddie Parker's Appearance in Coventry Tonight
It sometimes seems that nearly every member of 1980s jazz big band Loose Tubes subsequently went on to forge their own high profile solo careers. Flautist Eddie Parker might not be as well-established now as Django Bates or Iain Ballamy, but he...
Arts: Passionate about True Dignity; Mike Davies Discusses Controversy Surrounding the Film Hilary and Jackie
It won't have escaped your attention that there's been a bit of a fuss kicked up about Hilary and Jackie, the film biography of the relationship between British cellist Jacqueline Du Pre, who died tragically young of MS, and her less famous sister...
Aspects: Why Do Women Choose God?; Ros Dodd Talks with a Birmingham Novice Nun about Her Reasons for Rejecting Marriage and Motherhood
She "rejoices" in being a woman, yet Rachel Crockett will almost certainly never marry or have children. Even boyfriends are out of the question. As a novice nun, the 32-year-old plans to take a vow of celibacy. "We do vow celibacy here," she...
Barney Rumbles Burglar by Smell of His Breath
A burglar who hid in a river and breathed through a plastic tube in a James Bond-style bid to evade capture was caught when a sniffer dog picked out the smell of his breath. Barney the German shepherd managed to track down Steven Jones in the River...
Battle Field as War Starts over US Takeover Bid
A bidding war broke out between US companies yesterday over UK packaging business Field. A second American group gazumped an earlier offer with an agreed pounds 212 million deal for the company. The bid from US group Shorewood has been recommended...
Blair Aims to Speed Up Peace Talks in Ulster
Mr Tony Blair is set to become more directly involved in a new move to try to quicken the pace of the Northern Ireland peace process and meet next month's government deadline for the transfer of legislative powers from London to Belfast. With the...
BMW Pledge on Job Losses at Rover
Workers at Rover Group got an assurance yesterday from a top member of the BMW supervisory board there would be no compulsory redundancies. It came as Dr Wolfgang Reitzle, who with Mr Bernd Pischetsrieder lost his job last week as Professor Joachim...
Boxing: Woodhall's Army Marching on Tyneside
Richie Woodhall flies to Newcastle today, knowing that he will be top of the bill on Saturday night's 'War of the Worlds' promotion as far as the majority of the crowd are concerned. Although world super-middleweight title rival Joe Calzaghe is...
Britan Cries Foul over Gibraltar Licence Row
Britain formally protested to Spanish Government last night after police on the Gibraltar border turned back drivers following Madrid's declaration their driving licences were no longer recognised. The Foreign Office also denounced as "extraordinary...
Central Trains Fined Pounds 1.2m for Poor Service
Central Trains has been fined pounds 1.2 million for its appalling service last autumn. The fine - the third largest in the country - was imposed by the Office of Passenger Rail Franchising after Central failed to meet punctuality and reliability...
Chief Faces Inquiry by Sleaze Committee
Birmingham City Council chief executive Mr Michael Lyons is to be questioned by the city's sleaze committee over his alleged failure to tackle complaints about improper behaviour. Mr Lyons has been asked to appear before the council's standards...
Comment: Through the Darling Little Gateway . . .; Welfare Reform? It's More like Alice in Wonderland, Says Chief Feature Writer Jason Beattie
In the Alice In Wonderland world of today's politics nothing is quite what it seems. Tweedleblair, who used to belong to the caring, free spending party, is all for cutting welfare. Contrariwise, Tweedlehague, who used to belong to the kick the single...
Comment: Why the Unequal English Must Kick Alex into Touch; A Scottish Football Manager of England's National Team Would Be the Final Humiliation for the English, Says Chris Gray
Now that Glenn Hoddle has been hounded out of his job for his bizarre and offensive views on the disabled, the search for his successor is looking beyond traditional boundaries. It seems that a belief in reincarnation and karma would mean instant...
Commercial Property: Property Market Gloom despite Low Interest Rates
Property market prospects for the next year are flat but low interest rates will benefit the more entrepreneurial property companies. Total returns from all property is likely to be as low as 7.5 per cent, said Mr Simon Robinson, head of property...
Councillor to Face False Accounting Charges
The former leader of Lichfield District Council has been charged following an investigation into alleged financial irregularities at a Walsall neighbourhood office. Peter Van Hagen, a Labour councillor representing the Boney Hay ward, was charged...
Cricket: England Wrecked by Crash Landing; Verbal Volleys Fuel Latest Batting Slide
Nasser Hussain lost his composure, many of his England batting colleagues lost their heads - and somehow they combined to let the first day-night final against Australia slip through their fingers. Once Hussain was stumped charging down the pitch...
Cricket: Solanki Shines before Tourists Raise Match from Slumbers
England took three wickets in the space of 14 balls, after Worcestershire's Vikram Solanki had given an eye-catching batting performance despite a neck injury, as Zimbabwe slipped to 94 for four on the second day of the second `A' international in...
Cricket: Under-19s Lose Ground to Another Papps Ton
Diminutive New Zealand Under-19 opening batsman Michael Papps scored 127, his second century in as many matches against England, on the third day of the second international at the Basin Reserve in Wellington yesterday. Papps was fifth out in New...
Economy Set for 12 Months of Slow Growth
The dark financial storm clouds hanging over the world have lifted a little, according to the Governor of the Bank of England Mr Eddie George. The Bank's latest inflation report cited a sharp deterioration in prospects for the world economy as one...
Executive Appointments: Seeing through Interview Lies Is Whopping Task
Job candidates are prepared to tell lies during interviews, according to a survey by financial recruitment consultants Robert Half International. One candidate who said he had been living abroad with his family had actually spent the time in prison....
Farm Post: Britain to Benefit as Millions Are Lost from CAP Changes
Proposed reforms to the EU's Common Agricultural Policy will cost UK farmers somewhere in the region of pounds 200 million to pounds 300 million, Agriculture Minister Lord Donoughue said yesterday. The estimate followed last week's confirmation...
Farm Post: Farm Digest
NFU on the attack over extension of beef ban The Government has been accused of defying common sense and taking away consumer choice by the National Famers Union over its decision to enforce the beef of the bone ban for another six months. East...
Farm Post: Pig Group Reveals 'Baptism of Fire' Disastrous First Year of Operation
The pig market remains deeply in the mire, suffering its worst conditions for 50 years, PIC International said yesterday. The breeder, formerly the pig improvement subsidiary of Dalgety, said that although prices are recovering slowly it does not...
Football: Connolly's Ace Cleans Up Victory for Irish; Republic of Ireland 2 Paraguay 0
David Connolly upstaged Wolverhampton Wanderers clubmate Robbie Keane to clinch a comfortable win with a goal he knew little about. The former Feyenoord striker has had to play second fiddle to the Republic's latest wonder boy, since returning to...
Football: England Given French Lesson; Wilko Left with Questions after Anelka Double England 0 France 2
As honeymoon periods go, caretaker boss Howard Wilkinson must have felt as if he had been ditched before the wedding cake had even been cut. For England learned a painful lesson at the hands of World Cup holders France - namely that it will take...
Football: FA Promising a Quick Decision
Howard Wilkinson took England's defeat firmly on the chin last night as the question of whether he would be among those considered as the permanent successor to Glenn Hoddle became a priority. With England's vital European Championship qualifier...
Football: Fry Puts in Good Word for Sorry Collymore; FOOTBALL ROUND-UP
Stan Collymore will return from his depression to show the kind of brilliance that clubs have gambled nearly pounds 20 million on during his career. That is the belief of Barry Fry, the man who launched the Aston Villa striker's career when he was...
Football: Merson Puts Back into Villa Return
Paul Merson has promised Aston Villa he will be ready for action when they attempt to put their Premiership title challenge back in forward gear next week, writes ROB BISHOP. Despite the back injury, which forced the 30-year-old striker to miss...
Football: Robinson Working Hard for Next Step on Welsh Ladder; GED Scott Meets the Talented Molineux Midfielder Laying Down Markers in Pursuit of an International Future
Wolverhampton Wanderers midfield starlet Carl Robinson is just one short step away from a full Welsh international call-up. Following a highly-encouraging debut at Wales 'B' level when he set up the only goal of the game for former Wolves reject...
Football: Savo Hits Target to Wrap Up Euro Win; FOOTBALL ROUND-UP
Former Aston Villa striker Savo Milosevic scored after coming on as a substitute in Yugoslavia's 3-0 win over Malta in a European Championship qualifier in Valletta yesterday Milosevic, who left Villa for Spanish First Division club Real Zaragoza...
Football: Strachan in Limbo as Konjic Left Stranded by Balkan Weather
Snowbound Coventry City defender Mo Konjic is struggling to make it back to England in time for Saturday's FA Cup fifth-round clash at Everton. The Sky Blues' new pounds 2 million signing returned to Bosnia this week to bring his family back to...
Football: Windows of Europe May Open in Britain
Football chiefs are to consider introducing a European-style "transfer window" into the British game. Peter Leaver, chief executive of the FA Premier League, revealed yesterday that football leagues throughout Europe were going to discuss the possibility...
Four Killed as Floods Ravage Tropical State
Four people were killed in floods after torrential rain hit the coast of Australia's tropical Queensland state. The heaviest floods struck the town of Gympie, 110 miles north of Brisbane, where the Mary River burst its banks. Only the roofs of...
GMC Supports 'MoT' Tests to Keep Doctors Up to Date
The General Medical Council yesterday voted overwhelmingly to implement regular testing of doctors to ensure they are fit to practice. All doctors will eventually have to prove that their performances are up to scratch with continuous assessments...
Golf: Seve Hopes for Desert Storm in Ryder Race
Severiano Ballesteros, golf's 20th Century superstar, sets out under the Arabian sun today looking to recapture his old magic in time not just for the Millennium - but to catch Mark James' eye. A host of top players make their first appearance of...
Golf World: How to Make Four Less Two Result in Trouble-and-a-Half
One day, should the muse arrive, I shall write a book about great sporting cock-ups. And I might start with the imbecilic tale of the Midland rugby club (I shall get around to golf presently. . .) who, in the old days of friendlies, set out in three...
Great Line-Up for Season's Opener
Asuperb selection of authors will join forces to launch the 1999 Literary Series at Birmingham Botanical Gardens on Thursday March 4. The list of author/speakers is led by Ludovic Kennedy - waiting, as he puts it, in life's departure lounge. The...
Internet Groups Crash after US Blow
It was a tough day for the FTSE-100 Index, which suffered sharp losses through the morning on the back of grim trading on Wall Street, pa01rticularly for high-tech stocks. But Wall Street improved in the afternoon and helped the Footsie recover...
Killer Who Ate Woman's Thigh with Pasta Jailed for Life
The killer of a 32-year-old mother-of-four who bragged that he had eaten parts of her body with a plate of pasta has yesterday been jailed for life. David Harker (24) was due to stand trial at Teesside Crown Court when he admitted manslaughter on...
Labour Taxes the Shires; Shire Taxation Madness Hague's Fury over 'Horrendous' Rises
Residents in the Midland shire counties face a council tax bombshell with inflation-busting rises. Bills will increase for most homeowners by at least pounds 50, despite the Government's pledge of the "most generous ever" settlement. Many rural...
Leading Article: Taxing Our Credulity
Every year it is the same story. Councils push up local taxes by more than the rate of inflation - sometimes by as much as four times the rate - then blame it on the local people. They claim, with little evidence to support it, that local people...
Letter: Clearing the Air over Lust
Sir, - With Valentine's Day fast approaching, I was interested to read a report that the Prime Minister's Press Secretary Alastair Campbell once argued that smoking can damage one's sex life. Even for Mr Campbell, this is a spin too far. According...
Letter: The Madness of the Ten Bob Profit on the Mini
Sir, - As a young teenager, the sight of Austin Devon and Dorset saloons on their way to North America made one feel proud that Birmingham was spearheading the vital export drive in the post-war recovery years. There was a skilled labour force drawn...
Love Letter Anger That Led Cheated Husband to Kill
A husband told a court yesterday how he strangled his wife after reading postcards and letters from one of her lovers. Jason Harper, a 28-year-old father of three, told Stafford Crown Court he felt cheated, angry, hurt and upset. He said he strangled...
Marching Base Rates Up and Down
The world changed in a way neither Mr Clarke nor the committee could have foreseen The Bank of England's monetary committee spent the first 13 months of its life edging official interest rates up by quarter-point steps from 6 per cent to 7 per cent....
Midland Digest
Villa star 'lucky to be alive' after car crash Aston Villa striker Darius Vassell admitted he was "lucky to be alive" after ploughing his car into a tree as he returned home from England duty yesterday. The teenaged player walked away from the...
Motorist Loses Claim over Wrongful Arrest
A black motorist who alleged he was arrested and imprisoned after he failed to give his address in three-seconds has lost his claim for damages. Mr Keith Lynch sued the Chief Constable of the West Midlands for false imprisonment, wrongful arrest...
National Power Dampener; United Pulls Plug on Surprise Merger
Electricity generator National Power yesterday revealed it had failed to pull off a surprise merger with United Utilities which would have seen it take on the supply of water as well as electricity. The talks are understood to have been started...
No Evidence of Torture, Says Yemen Terrorist Trial Judge
A Yemeni judge yesterday told the three Birmingham men facing charges of terrorism that they have so far produced no evidence that they were tortured into confessing. But lawyers for Shahid Butt (33), Malik Nassar Harhra (26), both from Small Heath,...
Olympic Games: New Batch of IOC Names in Salt Lake City Bribe Scandal; OLYMPIC SCANDAL
The International Olympic Committee's private investigation into the Salt Lake City votes-for-favours scandal will study new findings that link 10 more members to the affair. The IOC special commission, headed by Canadian lawyer Dick Pound, is to...
Parents Call for Ban on Lethal Dance Drug
The parents of a woman who died from a cocktail of drugs yesterday vowed to campaign to ban the substance which helped to kill her. Andrea Murphy, aged 25, died from a combination of amphetamine and the club drug known as GBH, a coroner recorded....
Review: Frenzy Took Tango to Sublime Heights; Tango Passion Symphony Hall
There is an extraordinary moment in this delirious evening of delectable tango dancing, and it occurs with La Cumparsita. Music and movement blended perfectly and the spirit of what tango dancing is about - it's sinewy grace and its torrid undertone...
Rugby Union: Best Takes England Honorary Role
Dick Best has been appointed as an England selector for the A and Sevens rugby squads, in an honorary capacity. London Irish, who recently shot from tenth to third in Allied Dunbar Premiership One, have agreed to release Best to work with the England...
Rugby Union: Exiles Tie Up Loose Ends of Bristol Deal; RUGBY ROUND-UP
Bristol and London Scottish have signed an agreement which could lead to the Exiles moving to the West Country. It means that whatever happens to Bristol's promotion aspirations, Allied Dunbar Premiership rugby will be played in Bristol next season....
Rugby Union: Stourbridge Turn to Their Mann in a Crisis
The ceremony of the changing of the fly-half, which is a regular Stourbridge occasion, takes an interesting diversion for the home game against Aspatria this week. A new name, Chris Mann, has entered the parade. Not really new, of course. Mann was...
Secret of Children's 'Stolen' Hearts; Hospital Kept Organs without Parents' Consent
A parent action group revealed yesterday that the scandal-hit Bristol Royal Infirmary retained - without parent knowledge or consent - the hearts and other organs of children who died in operations. The Bristol Childrens' Heart Action Group said...
Shares Soar Skywards as Million Set to Take Digital
Shares in BSkyB took off as the satellite broadcaster said it is on target to sign up one million digital TV customers. Better-than-expected numbers showed Sky Digital had more than 350,000 subscribers by the end of last month and is aiming for...
Shire Bad Luck as Towns Avoid Tax Bill Headache; These Figures Are Based on Council Projections. Some of the Estimated Percentage Increases Are Yet to Be Agreed and Are Subject to Change
The West Midland metropolitan authorities are poised to escape the worst excesses of the council tax rises that have left local authority bosses in the shires with a massive financial headache. Each council is judged through a series of complex...
Shop-Trip Friends Tell of Being Buried Alive
Three Britons last night gave a vivid account of how they were buried alive in snow when an avalanche struck the village of Tignes Les Brevieres, 50 miles from Chamonix. The three friends were walking from their chalet in the village to nearby shops...
Snooker: Slowcoach Duo Hauled into Wings
The chorus of disapproval from a Wembley crowd is normally reserved for an England football performance. But yesterday afternoon, the jeers were for the decision to call a premature halt to a snooker match next door at the Conference Centre. ...
Stately Home Owner Fights for His Life
The head of one of the best-known property-owning families in the Midlands has been struck down with a life-threatening illness on a trip to South Africa. Mr Andrew McLaren, husband of Mrs Clare McLaren Throckmorton, who runs the 16th century Coughton...
Taste the Orient with Sun Lik
Celebrate the Chinese New Year with Sun Lik lager and you could win a fabulous trip to the Orient. To get you in the mood, you could also enjoy a free taste of Sun Lik Lager when you dine out Chinese style. Our winner will enjoy a week's holiday...
Tennis: Rusedski Crumbles to Clavet
Greg Rusedski snatched defeat from the jaws of victory to crash out of the Dubai Open 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 to Spaniard Francisco Clavet. The British number two looked set to be cruising into the quarter-finals after taking the opening set and leading 3-0...
They Can't Have Their Cars and Ban Them
The Rover 75 could reasonably be described as the company's very own last chance saloon. Pretty soon, they will go on sale at a showroom near you and if you're in the market for a car in the pounds 20,000-pounds 25,000 bracket, do your duty and place...
TNT Chief's Explosive Pace Means Profits Soar
Philip Williams profiles the new West Midland businessman and businesswoman of the year The awards, run by the Variety Club, were presented at a fund-raising dinner at the Metropole Hotel last night by former Deputy Prime Minister Mr Michael Heseltine....
Warning as Police Doctors Privatised
West Midlands Police has privatised its police surgeon service as a part of a series of cost cutting measures. The force is the first in the country to hire a private company to run the 24-hour on-call service. But the move has been criticised...
We Said Bikes Not Dykes, Claims 'Strip' Inspector
A police inspector yesterday denied drunkenly imitating scenes from The Full Monty and calling two elderly passengers dykes on board a trans-Atlantic flight. David Perrett, who has 28 years' service with the West Yorkshire force, denies being drunk...
Winding Road That Led CBI Chief to City's Door
For Beverley Nielsen, the path to her present job was far from straight and smooth. Warmth, and an ability to get on with people, is her stock in trade and just about the only thread through a career of fits and starts before she found her feet...
Woodhead Rejects Curbs and Defends 'Blunt' Style
Chief schools inspector Mr Chris Woodhead yesterday rejected the suggestion of new curbs on his authority and defended the "occasionally blunt" style of his comments. Critics have told the House of Commons education select committee that the chief...
World Digest
Hundreds feared drowned as huge waves swamp ship JAKARTA: Rescue teams were searching for up to 312 people who were on board a passenger ship that sank in stormy seas between Borneo and Sumatra islands. Hopes of finding more survivors faded after...