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 March 1, 2006

AXA Surfs the Shares Wave
Byline: By John Duckers Business Editor The UK arm of French insurance giant AXA has reported 23 per cent growth in underlying earnings in 2005 to pounds 266 million. Adjusted earnings - net income before the impact of exceptional operations,...
Back to the Future for Louise at Bede Village
It was a case of double deja vu when a former inspector of care homes walked through the gates of a Warwickshire retirement village to begin her new job. Louise Thompson last visited the site of Richmond Bede Village near Bedworth four years ago...
Boxing: Nice Guy Khan Has American in His Sights
Amir Khan will face his first American opponent as a professional when he has his seventh paid fight at Glasgow's Braehead Arena next month. Promoter Frank Warren is hoping to reveal the identity of the opponent today or tomorrow for the Olympic...
Builders Benefit from US Market
Byline: By John Revill Business Staff Taylor Woodrow achieved a two per cent rise in annual profits as its North American arm offset a weaker showing from Bryant Homes in the UK. The Solihull-based housebuilder saw domestic business post profits...
Cricket: Vaughan's Future in Doubt
Byline: By Richard Gibson In Nagpur England captain Michael Vaughan has flown home from the tour of India with doubts growing over his career longevity. Vaughan, along with fast bowler and fellow knee-injury victim Simon Jones, will today receive...
CULTURE: Dance at the Cutting Edge; Matthew Bourne Talks to Terry Grimley about the Challenges of Turning Tim Burton's Cult Movie Edward Scissorhands into a Dance Show
Byline: Terry Grimley From the man who famously brought you an all-male Swan Lake, the latest dance extravaganza to tour the nation features a central character with two handfuls of lethal-looking blades. Based on Tim Burton's 1990 film fable...
CULTURE: Hard-Nosed Funk; JAZZ CD REVIEWS
Byline: Reviewed by Peter Bacon Jazz CD of the week Tim Whitehead/Giovanni Mirabassi Quartet - Lucky Boys (Home Made Records HMR050) pounds 11.99 ***** Tim Whitehead's title tune alternates between a funky loose-limbed New Orleans beat and a...
CULTURE: Rumours of Healey's Death Were Greatly Exaggerated; Amateur Stage
Byline: By John Slim The Moorpool Players' John Healey went down with acute tracheola-ryngal bronchitis, which is hard enough to say even if you haven't got a bad throat. It was in fact bad enough to cause the postponement in November of the...
CULTURE: Tenor Who's Always Very Good Value; Jazz Diary
Byline: Peter Bacon's Opportunities to hear the tenor saxophonist Tim Whitehead in the Midlands have been fairly few and far between. I think the last time he was here was for a jazz/classical collaboration with Colin Riley. Now he has an excellent...
EDUCATION: Poorer Pupils Are Still at a Disadvantage; the Government Yesterday Published Its Education Bill. Ruth Kelly, Secretary of State for Education, Explains Why the Government Is Determined to Continue with Its Reform Agenda
Byline: Ruth Kelly, Teachers, parents and pupils in Birmingham can point to progress for their hard work. Exam results are improving. In 1997, just over a third of pupils got five or more good GCSEs. Now that figure's up to 56 per cent, the national...
EDUCATION: What the Education Bill Says
Trust schools Every school will have the opportunity to acquire a trust. Trust schools build on the experience of specialist schools and city academies in using business and community "partners" to raise standards. Unlike academies, they do not...
EDUCATION: Why Not Let Schools Go Alone?
Maureen Brennan, headteacher of Hillcrest School in Dudley, who was made a Dame for services to education in the Queen's Birthday Honours last year "Some authorities in this country are superb and support their schools. In those areas I imagine...
ENTERPRISE: Gravy-Train of Jersey VAT Loophole about to Be Derailed
Large businesses that exploit VAT loopholes by distributing goods from Jersey are to have their licences stopped in a year. Several chain stores have moved internet mailorder operations to the island to avoid VAT. Many believe the practice has...
ENTERPRISE: Jenny to Bake Cake Fit for a Prince
A former pastry chef from Claridges who founded her own cake-making business has received a right royal appointment. Jenny Hudson, founder of Warwickshire-based Sweet As, has been invited to make a cake for Prince Charles and Camilla's first wedding...
ENTERPRISE: Women's Businesses Face Blow
Byline: By Mike Feely and Joanna Geary Some of the region's best-known agencies helping women start businesses could be "going down the pan" after the end of a UK fund leaving a shortfall of millions. The Phoenix Development Fund - helping disadvantaged...
Expected Profit Fails to Materialise
Byline: By John Revill Business Staff Dutch electrical parts distributor Hagemeyer has reported its third straight annual loss after chalking up a pounds 29.4 million shortfall on sales of pounds 3.8 billion. The company, which employs around...
Football: Carrick Handed Surprise Call-Up
Byline: By Matt Barlow Picture/GETTY IMAGES Darren Bent and Michael Carrick have been given their chances to force their way into England's World Cup plans after being called up for tonight's friendly against Uruguay. Tottenham Hotspur midfielder...
Football: Delaney Backtracks
Byline: By Brian Dick Aston Villa's recalcitrant defender Mark Delaney yesterday brought an end to the heated exchanges between himself and manager David O'Leary after he 'clarified his position' with the club's board. Or did he? Delaney and...
Football: Fletcher's Background Moves Lift Coventry; Coca Cola Championship
Byline: By Ian Clarkson Whisper it quietly but since Paul Fletcher's appointment as managing director of Cov-entry City their results have gone on an upward curve. It might just be coincidence, of course, that Micky Adams' team has benefited...
Football: Johnson's Recovery Lifts Hopes for Blues
Byline: By Ian Clarkson Birmingham City's injury woes received a fillip last night with the news that Damien Johnson ' is expected to be fit for Saturday's crucial Premiership match at Middlesbrough. When the combative midfielder hobbled off...
Football: Nyatanga to Take Green's Record
Byline: By Paul Walker Lewin Nyatanga, 17 years 195 days, "knows what is needed" John Toshack is set to make 17- year-old Lewin Nyatanga the youngest full international to play for Wales in tonight's friendly at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium....
Football: Oakes Keeping the Faith in Saddlers Fight for Survival; League One
Walsall goalkeeper Andy Oakes has warned his teammates there is still a lot of hard work to be done if they are to avoid the drop, despite moving out of the relegation zone, writes Brian Dick. Oakes was the star as Walsall secured a encouraging...
Football: Patient Lambs Snap Up Johnson; Non-League
Tamworth's two-month pursuit of former Aston Villa and Celtic striker Tommy Johnson has finally reaped its reward. The Lambs yesterday clinched the signing of the 35-year-old on loan for the rest of the season from Scunthorpe United. Tamworth...
Football: Quashie to Face Further FA Charge
Byline: By Ian Clarkson Nigel Quashie's week deteriorated further with the news that the West Bromwich Albion midfielder has been charged with misconduct by the Football Association. The charge relates to his dismissal against Middlesbrough last...
For Sale Signs Up at Emap France
Byline: By John Marsden Business Staff Publisher Emap has announced plans to sell its struggling French arm which generates a quarter of its revenues. Emap, which runs Birmingham-based radio station Kerrang!105.2, decided to offload the business...
GKN Puts Pounds 200m in Pensions Pot after Aerospace Boom
Engineering group GKN has thrown pounds 200 million at its pension deficit after a strong performance in the aerospace sector boosted its performance. In its annual figures for 2005, GKN, saw sales rise by five per cent to pounds 3.65 billion, helping...
House Prices Fall Following Increase
House prices fell by 0.2 per cent during February following a strong rise the previous month, Nationwide Building Society said yesterday. The fall, which followed a 1.5 per cent increase in January, left the average house in the UK costing pounds...
In Brief
CRICKET: Phone lines open today enabling members of the public to book tickets for England's npower Test Match against Sri Lanka at Edgbaston. Tickets for the match, beginning on Thursday May 25, range from pounds 25 to pounds 50. To make your...
LEGAL MATTERS: Cracking the Code over Copyright
Intellectual property litigation experts at Birmingham-based law firm Eversheds said the Da Vinci Code case again raised the issue of copyright infringement. Rupert Bent, the company's intellectual property litigator, argued that while it could...
LEGAL MATTERS: Probation Staff Suspended over Critical Report into Financier's Killing
Four probation staff were suspended yesterday after an official inquiry exposed a catalogue of failings in the management of two criminals who killed financier John Monckton. Chief inspector of probation, Andrew Bridges, concluded there had been...
LEGAL MATTERS: Whodunnit First? the Da Vinci Plot Thickens
Byline: By Stephen Howard The second instalment of the battle over The Da Vinci Code novel became a whodunnit first row at the High Court yesterday. Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh are suing publishers, Random House, claiming the internationally...
Make Your Entrepreneur Start-Up Dream a Reality
Byline: By Martin Faint The dream of starting a business will solidify into something a little less ethereal for those venturing to a special event next week. EnterpriseFest 2006 promises to bring a range of support agencies under one roof, together...
Maktavish Ready to Fly the Saltire
Maktavish can land a blow for Scotland and Lanarkshire-based trainer Ian Semple in the In Season For All Seasons David's 65th Birthday Claiming Stakes at Southwell today, writes Martin Kelly. The ten-times winner made the most of a drop down to...
Maynard Left Frustrated as Fijian Target Is Locked Up in Red Tape
Byline: By Brian Dick Rugby Correspondent Pertemps Bees' director of rugby, Phil Maynard, has lambasted Rugby Football Union registration policy after his club failed in their efforts to recruit Fijian international lock Isoa Damolailai. Maynard...
MFI Deficit Could Cost 1,500 Jobs
Byline: By Steve Pain Deputy Business Editor Furniture retailer MFI will close 11 stores and outsource more manufacturing operations in a move putting nearly 1,500 jobs at risk. New chief executive Matthew Ingle yesterday announced the changes...
MIDLAND: Birmingham Council Tax Set for the Lowest City Rise
A 1.9 per cent council tax rise in Birmingham next month will be the lowest of any major English city. The increase, 37p a week for a Band D home, is less than Manchester, Liverpool or Leeds. But the small rise led to a row last night, with Labour...
MIDLAND: Hammer Killer Is Jailed for Murder
Byline: By Katy Hastings A drug addict who attacked a church-going pensioner with a hammer while burgling his house and left him for dead has been jailed for life. Mohammed Naheem was on his way back from signing on at a police station as part...
MIDLAND & NATIONAL: BBC Blasted for Negative Attitude to Gays
BBC presenters such as Anne Robinson and Jeremy Clarkson have been criticised in a report for perpetuating negative attitudes towards lesbians and gay men. The report, by charity Stonewall, concluded that gay people were "almost invisible" on BBC...
MIDLAND & NATIONAL: Every Little Helps with Eco Fuel Facility
Plans for a pounds 13.5 million plant to create eco-friendly fuel from rape seed oil were unveiled at the National Farmers' Union conference in Birmingham yesterday. UK farmers will be able to provide raw material for the biofuel, Tesco chairman...
MIDLAND & NATIONAL: Why Tories Must Change, by 'Dave'
Byline: By Jamie Lyons David Cameron last night set out his blueprint for the future of the Conservatives, saying the party had to change. The Tory leader said the party had the right values. But he said he was fed up of hearing it was out-of-touch,...
Midlands Bankers Riding Crest of a Wave
Midland wealth management group St James's Place Capital yesterday posted a 63 per cent rise in 2005 profits and said it was well placed to grow further, pushing shares to a near four-year high. Pretax profit was pounds 213.4 million, up from pounds...
MIDLAND: Singer Arrested in City Centre
Byline: By Neil Connor Troubled singer Pete Doherty was arrested on suspicion of stealing a car after being chased by police the wrong way up a one-way street in Birmingham city centre. The Babyshambles front-man was held for possession of Class...
MIDLAND: Tragic Toddler Drowned in Sheep Dip While Mother Worked Nearby
A toddler drowned in a disused sheep dip at his parents' farm just minutes after going outside to play, an inquest has been told. Sam Bradbury, aged two, had wondered into the yard with his Jack Russell puppy Lucy while his mother Jennifer was busy...
Mini Slump Predicted during Factory Works
Byline: By John Cranage Automotive Correspondent Mini sales will fall this year as BMW's Oxford plant continues to undergo a pounds 100 million facelift. BMW sales rose by nearly 15 per cent to 93,811 units in January, chief executive Helmut...
More Retail Job Cuts Predicted in 2006
Grim trading conditions forced retailers into the biggest jobs cull for at least 22 years, the latest CBI quarterly distributive trades survey revealed. The business lobby group blamed "poor retail climate" for 37 per cent of firms reporting job...
NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL: Cat Is First Mammal in Europe Killed by H5N1
Byline: By Mike Love A cat found dead in northern Germany tested positive for H5N1, officials said yesterday, becoming the first infected mammal in continental Europe, as scientists confirmed more new cases of bird flu from Russia to Slovenia. ...
NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL: Comedienne Smith Dies of Cancer
Comedienne and broadcaster Linda Smith has died of cancer. She was 48. Smith, voted the wittiest person in radio by listeners, died on Monday, the BBC said. She was a regular on Radio 4's News Quiz and station controller Mark Damazer said: "Linda...
NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL: Jowell Now in 'Some Difficulty'
Byline: By Jonathan Walker Political Editor A senior Labour MP warned Cabinet Minister Tessa Jowell was "in some difficulty" after new details emerged about the financing of her homes in London and Warwickshire. Staffordshire MP Tony Wright (Lab...
NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL: Livingstone Stays as Mayor Pending Appeal
Ken Livingstone won a last ditch legal bid yesterday to remain London Mayor - hours before his suspension was due to begin. A High Court judge, sitting in private, ruled Mr Livingstone should have the controversial four-week suspension stayed pending...
NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL: Roadside Bomb Kills British Soldiers
Two British soldiers were killed in a bomb blast near a playground in southern Iraq. The bombers are thought to have planted an improvised explosive device in an abandoned car at the side of a main road near the playground in Al Amarah. It exploded...
Now Brown Wants to Change Government's City Borrowing
Chancellor Gordon Brown plans to shake up the way the Government borrows from the City to ease the latest pensions crisis caused by an acute shortage of the long-dated inflation-proof bonds which actuaries insist pension funds must buy to match their...
PERSPECTIVE: Iron Clad Reason for Not Taking Hobbies to the Grave
Byline: CHRIS UPTON Many of you will have come across the tale of Birmingham's famous printer, John Baskerville (who, incidentally, will be celebrating his 300th birthday later this year), and his unsuccessful attempts to get himself buried. The...
PERSPECTIVE: Time to Take Control of Our City's Future; the Debate Launched in This Paper about Proposals for a Greater Birmingham Mayor Has Seen an Unprecedented Postbag. Here Is a Selection of the Correspondence
Byline: Jonathan Walker's Dear Editor, I hear it every day the question why some constantly highlight conflict within this city. The answer is because it exists. The analysis isn't ushering in a problem. The analysis is vital because there...
Pounds 2.6bn in Profits Fails to Snuff out BAT's Anger
British American Tobacco took a swipe at the Government's smoking ban for pubs and clubs yesterday as it announced underlying profits rose nine per cent last year. The policy is based on "an intolerant and paternalistic campaign to protect smokers...
Powergen to Raise Gas Bills by a Quarter
Powergen - Britain's second-biggest energy supplier - is to push up gas bills by a record 24.4 per cent in response to soaring wholesale costs. The firm, owned by Germany utility E.ON, said it was also increasing electricity bills by a hefty 18.4...
Racing: Lingfield's Plan B
Byline: By Keith Hamer Plans have been made to hold an all-weather Flat meeting at Lingfield on Saturday should the National Hunt fixture scheduled for the Surrey venue that day fall to the predicted cold snap in plenty of time. A forecast for...
Royal Bank Shares Rocket on Stock Pledge
Byline: By Nevill Boyd Maunsell Economics Editor A promise to spend up to pounds 1 billion buying back stock this year with a 29 per cent increase in the final dividend sent the lacklustre shares in the Royal Bank of Scotland ablaze yesterday in...
Royal Bank Takeover Set the Standard Taking Bank into Big League
Byline: NEVILL BOYD MAUNSELL The Royal Bank of Scotland's NatWest takeover was far and away the most successful acquisition in late 20th century Britain. The great conglomerates, led by James Hanson, Owen Green at BTR and Nigel Rudd at Williams...
Rugby: Book Review: Stout Party Who Set the Benchmark for Tourism; the 1905 Originals by Bob Howitt and Dianne Haworth Harper Collins 4sportsbooks.Co.UK Price: Pounds 13.59, Saving Pounds 3.40 on Rrp
Byline: Peter Sharkey Irrespective of the sport, or the level to which it is being played, anyone who has ever had the good fortune to embark on a sporting tour, lasting anywhere from a weekend to a month, invariably accumulates enough memories...
Rugby: Italy Asked to Turn Second-Half Leads into Winning Best
Italy rugby chief Giancarlo Dondi has demanded the Azzurri "battle to the death" against Wales in their next Six Nations Championship outing as they go in search of a first win in this year's competition. The president of the Italian Rugby Federation...
Rugby: Luger among Trio of 15-Man Stars in Games Squad; Sevens
Former Lions star Dan Luger has been named in England's rugby sevens squad for next month's Commonwealth Games. Luger, who was also in England's 2003 World Cup-winning squad, is joined in the sevens party by fellow full internationals Henry Paul...
Rugby: PC Stifles English Identity
Byline: BRIAN DICK I wondered how long it would take before someone decided to be offended by the pre-match build-up to the Calcutta Cup. Surprisingly it took a whole two-and-a-half days before our own columnist, Pat Murphy, broke the silence. ...
Segal Set to Fly from PartyGaming
PartyGaming - the world's biggest online gaming group - yesterday said chief executive Richard Segal was stepping down after a year when the group beat forecasts by boosting revenues 63 per cent. "Given the rapid growth of the company, he and the...
SHARE PRICES: Vodafone Worries Drag FTSE Down; MARKET REPORT
Heavy profit taking dragged London markets into the red yesterday as shares in heavyweight Vodafone were at their lowest for three years. Only a handful of top flight stocks made it to positive territory as the FTSE 100 Index shed 84.4 points to...
St Modwen's Pounds 100m in Zoo Quest
Birmingham-based regeneration specialist St Modwen has clinched a new agreement with Dudley Council to set up a joint company to carry out the pounds 100 million redevelopment of Dudley Zoo and Castle. Work on the long awaited scheme should begin...
The Pensions Minefield; EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES This Week Advantage Business Angels' Managing Director Neil Mackay Looks at Pensions
Byline: Neil Mackay The blitz of marketing messages accompanying pensions A-day seems to be starting a bit later than expected, in part I expect because nobody knows whether there will be another big change in the expected rules. In particular,...
UK Pharmacy Market Is on Way Back Says Alliance
Byline: By Steve Pain Deputy Business Editor Healthcare group Alliance UniChem yesterday predicted that growth in the UK pharmacy market would bounce back this year as it prepares to merge with rival Boots. The forecast came as Alliance turned...
Union Leader Critical of Blair's Education Bill
Byline: By Shahid Naqvi Education Correspondent Birmingham's progress in school attainment risks being put into reverse under proposals in yesterday's Education Bill, a union leader says. Brian Carter, West Midlands regional secretary of the...
Up to 3,000 Jobs to Go at Cable & Wireless
Telecoms giant Cable & Wireless - which employs hundreds in Birmingham - has unveiled plans to axe up to 3,000 jobs over five years. The cutbacks are part of a restructuring of C&W's domestic business aimed at reducing corporate customer...
Virgin Next on the Menu for NTL
Byline: By Steve Pain Deputy Business Editor Cable operator NTL posted a five per cent fall in fourthquarter revenues as it prepared to complete its merger with rival Telewest. NTL, which has made a pounds 900 million indicative offer for Virgin...
Vital Balance to Keep Our Schools on Course
There are plenty of examples of schools which have succeeded when they have been allowed to go their own way. From the grant-maintained schools to city technology colleges, many headteachers have seen freedom from council control as an essential...
Walkout Hits City's Pounds 2bn PFI Contract
Byline: By Paul Dale Chief Reporter Another consortium bidding for a pounds 2.2 billion contract to repair and manage Birmingham's roads has pulled out, casting doubt on whether the scheme will go ahead. Atkins EDF Energy quit the bidding process...
Why Powerleague's World Cup Looks Set to Runneth Over
Five-a-side football operator Powerleague is looking forward to further spin-offs from this year's World Cup after doubling its first half profits. The company, which numbers Halesowen and Aston among its 32 sites, saw profits increase from pounds...
Why We Must Save More for Old Age
One way or another, by persuasion, compulsion or a combination of the two, Britons must save more for their old age. This was the Government's message yesterday when it welcomed pledges from the financial services industry to reduce pension scheme...