tagged w/ Birmingham
It'd be hard to argue that Christmas has come early in one Birmingham borough.
Some people living in the Weoley Castle area of the city, are angry at the 5-foot excuse for a Christmas tree, planted in a park by Birmingham City Council.
They don't think it fits the yuletide bill.
In defence of the pygmy spruce, one Conservative councillor, Peter Douglas Osbourn, said "I have to admit it is a little one, but it's what you do with it that counts."
What do you reckon?It'd be hard to argue that Christmas has come early in one Birmingham borough.... more
A man has been arrested for breaking into the studios of Birmingham radio station Galaxy 102.2 and managing to put himself on the air swearing for 30 minutes and also according to some reports reading out the phone numbers of some of the DJ's.
The man had to be removed from the radio station by police at 5.30 this morning. It is not known how he managed to bypass security arrangements in the studios on Broad Street in Birmingham.A man has been arrested for breaking into the studios of Birmingham radio station... more
English middleweight Michael (The Count) Bisping, in a performance that was long on discipline and short on fireworks, won a unanimous decision over American Chris (The Crippler) Leben at UFC 89 on Saturday.
The mixed martial arts fight, at the National Indoor Arena in England's second-biggest city, served as a setup for Bisping starring as coach of the U.K. team for Season 9 of "The Ultimate Fighter," set to start taping in January. The U.S. coach will be either Dan Henderson or Rich Franklin.
The judges scored it 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 for Bisping.
"Take my time, stick and move, get a unanimous decision," Bisping said in describing his strategy.
A cheeky Leben entered first to the Sex Pistols' "God Save the Queen." Bisping, the poster boy for British MMA, chose "Song 2" by Blur and got a raucous welcome.
Leben (18-5) came out pressing, flicking kicks as he stalked the English fighter. Bisping (18-1) backpedalled, circled and countered, bloodying Leben's nose with some precise punches and using knees in the clinch where available.
In the second round, Bisping did more facial damage with his jab. Leben seemed game but limited and his striking defence was not up to the job. After Leben did connect himself, he waved at Bisping as if to say "Bring it on."
Bisping kept moving and counter-punching in the third, although a desperate Leben did take him down in the latter stages of the fight. By the end, Leben's bloodied, battered face showed the precision of the Bisping game plan.
Leben didn't like the strategy, putting his hands down and inviting Bisping to hit him as the fight ended. So Bisping did.
"I just wanted to put on a great show for you guys," said Leben, who was gracious in defeat.
Continued.......English middleweight Michael (The Count) Bisping, in a performance that was long on... more
At Birmingham crown court yesterday, Sean Creighton, a 44 year old from Coventry, admitted murdering Gerry Tobin. For legal reasons, his plea could not be reported until today.
Creighton had previously denied killing the 35-year-old biker but changed his plea ahead of the trial of six other men accused of killing Tobin near junction 12 of the M40 in August last year.
Tobin, who lived in Mottingham, south-east London, worked as a mechanic at a Harley Davidson garage.
A post-mortem examination found he died from single gunshot wound to the back of his head on the Warwickshire stretch of the motorway, as a he returned from the Bulldog Bash bikers' festival.
Creighton, who also admitted two firearms charges, was remanded in custody yesterday and will be sentenced at the end of the trial, which is expected to last for up to six weeks.
Mr Justice Treacy, who lifted a restriction prohibiting the media from reporting Creighton's pleas, warned jurors not to conduct their own investigations into the killing of Tobin.
Six men also face a charge of possessing a shotgun, while two (Turner and Dane Garside) are further charged with possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.At Birmingham crown court yesterday, Sean Creighton, a 44 year old from Coventry,... more
Nine English universities are to work together to ensure bright pupils from poorer homes take up degree courses.
Birmingham, Bristol, Leicester, King's College London, Leeds, Warwick, Newcastle, Southampton and Exeter universities will be "pooling" talent.
Under the scheme, students identified as able by one university's access programme would be able to apply to the other institutions taking part.
The initiative will begin for students applying to start degrees in 2010.
The institutions will continue with their own widening participation programmes, but will be formally able to recommend students to the other universities in the scheme.
Lesley Braiden, director of marketing and communications at Newcastle University, said the pooling scheme built on what was being done already.
"We're happy to be involved in this scheme - we're only too conscious of the fact that there are young people who have the potential for higher education study but have problems in their context," she said.
The scheme formalised universities' work to try to ensure these people did not "fall through the net", she added.
Professor Steve Smith, vice-chancellor of Exeter University, said the initiative reached out to students from the state school sector who got good A-level results but did not apply to the most selective universities.
"What this is about is universities as a group trying to work together to recognise each other's compact schemes," said Professor Smith.
Compact schemes are initiatives in which universities work with schools to provide master classes, summer schools or visits for students.
"If a student was on a compact scheme with Exeter and wanted to apply to another university, it could mean that university treating the student as if they had been involved in their own compact scheme."
Universities Secretary John Denham highlighted the initiative at the Labour Party conference in Manchester.
"No-ne should feel their ambitions are blocked," he told delegates.
"Ten year ago too many of our kids though 'university - not for me' now more than half say 'I want to go to university'.
"I am delighted that some of our most selective institutions are working together to make progress in widening participation."
The Russell Group, which represents the top research-intensive institutions, said it was fully committed to working with the government on these proposals.
The National Union of Students said they were "fantastic".
President Wes Streeting said there were too many universities "at the higher end of the market" that did not seem a realistic prospect for students from non-traditional backgrounds.
Nine English universities are to work together to ensure bright pupils from poorer... more
Forty-five years ago, one of the most pivotal racist attacks of the civil rights era occurred. Local members of the Ku Klux Klan planted a bomb under the steps of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., on a Sunday morning, Sept. 15, 1963. The explosion killed four young girls, three of them age 14 and one of them only 11 years old.
Most popular accounts of the civil rights movement mark 1963 as the apex of nonviolence. In August of that year, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial facing an audience of 250,000 supporters.
But while King praised nonviolence, racist groups and individuals engaged in violence throughout the region. Birmingham was at the center of the fray. There were so many buildings and homes blown up by vigilantes there that the town was dubbed “Bombingham.”
Convictions for these crimes were rare. It was not until 1977 that prosecutors in Alabama aggressively went after the culprits in the 16th Street Church bombing, resulting in the conviction of KKK member Robert Chambliss that same year.
Things have changed in America since 1963. No one would argue with this. My own grandmother, who was born in Mississippi in 1901 and worked as a sharecropper and maid, never believed the day would come that a black man would be nominated for president by a major political party.
But let’s not celebrate the postracial Promised Land too soon. There is not only persistent racism in the United States, there is also persistent racist violence and the hatred that fuels it.
Sen. Barack Obama has had numerous death threats. The threats were so prevalent and so serious that he received Secret Service protection well before he was the Democratic Party nominee. In Denver around the time of the Democratic National Convention, the Secret Service had to investigate another plot against his life, and arrested four people who allegedly planned on shooting him with a rifle from long range.
In America, people of color are still victims of racially motivated violence.
In May a federal jury in Kansas City convicted two men of the racially motivated murder of a black man, William McCay, three years before.
Last month, Luis Ramirez, a Mexican immigrant and father of two, was beaten to death by four white teenagers in Shenandoah, Pa. They hurled racist epithets along with kicks and punches.
It is important to remember the lessons and legacy of Birmingham in 1963.
It is equally important to not turn a blind eye to the ongoing instances of racial harassment and violence today, from the threats of lynching that sparked the Jena 6 case last year to the numerous hate crimes that get reported to the Justice Department and civil rights watchdog groups each year.
It is not only naive to think we have completely eradicated racism in America, it is dangerous.
To be sure, racist violence never consumed the entire population or even the majority. Most people of color were not direct victims. And most whites did not throw the blows or the bombs. They simply looked the other way.
Apathy or willful ignorance in the face of racism and injustice yields the same net result, whether it is the blatant and widespread racism that showed itself in Birmingham, or the more subtle but no less real racism of today.
We couldn’t afford that apathy or that ignorance yesterday. We can’t afford it now.Forty-five years ago, one of the most pivotal racist attacks of the civil rights era... more
On September 6, the Marguerite Casey Foundation's Equal Voice for America's Families Campaign culminated with as many as 16,000 family delegates attending conventions in three cities to talk about issues they want to put on the national radar as the country prepares for the presidential election. In Birmingham, Alabama youth and their families came to talk about the issues that affect their lives, including violence, teen pregnancy, life in the rural south, and jobs. The youth shared their thoughts and feelings in short video logs (vlogs) or by writing blogs. Below is an edited version of their vlogs.On September 6, the Marguerite Casey Foundation's Equal Voice for America's... more
COUNCIL chiefs in one Midland city are spending more than £3 million of taxpayers’ money on fighting Muslim extremism.
Birmingham City Council has spent £525,000 in the last financial year under the Government’s controversial and secrecy-shrouded Preventing Violent Extremism Pathfinder Fund (PVE).
And it has secured a further £2.4 million under the scheme to spend over the next three years.
Councils across the country have received PVE cash to help communities tackle extremism. But there are concerns over how effectively local authorities are using the money.
Birmingham City Council used the £525,000 to fund projects at 10 mosques in the city.
Dr Mashuq Ally, the council’s Head of Equality and Diversity, the department in charge of deciding how to spend the funds, said the money had been used for 11 projects.
He said these focused on young people, religious institutions, and women and media. Among them was a scheme to teach imams English.
Another was aimed at developing management structures in the mosques.
"It was also about making sure they are embracing the involvement of young people and women in the decision-making process," Dr Ally said.
Another programme involved the council funding Criminal Records Bureau checks on all teachers and staff working at the Islamic schools – or madrassas – attached to the mosques.
Among the mosques to receive funding is the Green Lane mosque in Small Heath.
The Channel 4 Dispatches programme exposed hate preaching at this mosque.
A preacher, Abu Usama, urged that homosexuals be thrown from mountains.
Other Birmingham mosques to benefit include Birmingham Central Mosque in Highgate and the Hazrat Sultan Bahu Trust in Balsall Heath.
Dr Ally said that none of the mosques was being handed cash directly.
He said: "We don’t give money out, we commission work and pay for the cost for things to be delivered. We don’t go and tender out, the reason for that is that it can create divisions within communities.
"This area of work is highly specialised, we are on a learning curve to discover how best we can project manage programmes to help in this area of work.
"We don’t know what’s out there and what we had to decide during last year’s pilot when we received just over £500,000 was how to identify what kind of projects will best prevent, and continue to prevent, violent extremism."
But Dean Godson, research director of the Policy Exchange think-tank, has questioned the relevance of some PVE projects in countering violent extremism.
"It was created after the 7/7 bombings, reflecting Tony Blair’s belief that the Muslim Council of Britain had not done enough to help fight the extremists," he said.COUNCIL chiefs in one Midland city are spending more than £3 million of... more
In a truly harrowing story, little Khyra Ishaq was neglected so badly that she simply starved to death at her home in Birmingham.
The mother and stepfather of the seven year old girl have been charged with her murder (along with seperate cruelty charges on 5 other children).
Seriously, what is wrong with the world? Social services should have stepped in long before this could have happened.In a truly harrowing story, little Khyra Ishaq was neglected so badly that she simply... more
When Birmingham City Council tried to instil pride in recycling efforts, it had the clever idea of sending out 360,000 flyers showing the city skyline.
Unfortunately the leaflets, saying: 'Thank you, Birmingham,' actually had a picture of Birmingham, Alabama, on them.
I see 2 things wrong with this. Firstly 360,000 flyers to thank people for recycling seems like a terrific waste of paper, and secondly getting the wrong city wouldn't fill you with confidence in your own council.When Birmingham City Council tried to instil pride in recycling efforts, it had the... more
Searches are up for Bermuda Triangle. But this isnt a story of disappearing ships off the straights of Florida, this is an altogether more seedy tale of missing caravans in the Midlands.Searches are up for Bermuda Triangle. But this isnt a story of disappearing ships... more
Although still unconfirmed by police, reports claim that a seven year old girl has died of starvation.
A report claims that a neighbour described allegedly seeing children at a house grabbing bread that had been thrown out for birds.
Two people have appeared in court, charged with neglect at Birmingham's Magistrates Court.
More on the shocking case:
Although still unconfirmed by police, reports claim that a seven year old girl has... more
A recent survey showed that the Birmingham accent is the most annoying in
Britain. But is it the accent at fault or the perception of the Brummie in
the media?A recent survey showed that the Birmingham accent is the most annoying in Britain.... more
One morning in mid-March, citizens of Birmingham, England awoke to find 15 pianos scattered around their sad city with spray painted signs on them that read "Play me, I'm yours". The creator of the installation is Luke Jerram worked with the Fierce arts organization, "a collaboration renowned for getting odd things into odder places". In the past Jerram has "floated an orchestra in hot air balloons to awaken the sleeping city, and created a ghostly installation in an abandoned railway tunnel."
Some pianos were bought and others were donated - some are being played and some have been destroyed by the rain only to be saved by the creative minds of a few 5th graders who gave a new face to their ruined piano using paint, glitter and anything they could find.
One thing is certain - the pianos are bringing some happiness to a town riddled with unemployment and despair where in some neighborhoods 1 in 3 men has never had a job. When asked about the installation one woman who has worked in a flower stall for 47 years says the music "cheers the place up. … We need cheering up."One morning in mid-March, citizens of Birmingham, England awoke to find 15 pianos... more
Four men have pleaded guilty in an uncovered plot that saw plans made to kidnap and kill a Muslim member of the UK armed forces.
The four-strong gang had enlisted the help of Birmingham drug dealers to aid in the plot which would have seen the Muslim soldier captured and driven to a lock-up garage where he would have been filmed being 'beheaded like a pig.' The gang's ringleader Parviz Khan said this video would then have been released online to "cause panic and fear within the British armed forces and the wider public."
It has also been reported that Islamic "fanatic" Khan was also involved with supplying 'equipment' to terrorists. The court was told that he had been bugged by security services and that he had been logged as buying night-vision goggles as well as inquiring about shipping costs for sending a container to Pakistan.
"The prosecution say that Parviz Khan is a fanatic. He is a man who has the most violent and extreme views. He was enraged by the idea that there were Muslim soldiers in the British army, some of them Muslims from the Gambia in west Africa."
In the wake of Gordon Brown and Musharraf's talks over terrorism, the Pakistan president's warnings that UK terrorism is 'homegrown' don't seem unfounded...Four men have pleaded guilty in an uncovered plot that saw plans made to kidnap and... more
This piece addresses one farmer's struggle through what Alabamians call "the 100 year drought" and its affects on his life, his faith, and his dairy farm. This piece addresses one farmer's struggle through what Alabamians call "the... more