Archive for August, 2006

Two hundred and fifty quid per person to distribute free literatue

Birmingham City Council have introduced an annual fee of £250 per person for any organisations wanting to distribute free literatue (free newspapers, leaflets, brochures, cards &c) in designated areas in the city centre, pretty much anywhere within the Queensways (see linked page for full list of roads and areas). This is billed as a step to reduce littering but could have a devastating impact on charities, unions, pressure groups and other cash strapped organisations who need to spread their message to raise awareness of important issues and/or the funds to do their work.

Recycling in Birmingham

BBC Breakfast News have been running segments on recycling of domestic waste, and the extent to which it can reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill. Currently in much of Birmingham only paper is collected to recyling, other materials can be taken to recycling centres but for people without access to a car these can be difficult or impossible to use. I emailed Birmingham City Council’s enviromental section to ask if they had any plans to provide collections of recyclable domestic waste. They resonded:

Thank you for your email. We are currently running a pilot scheme to collect platic bottles, drinks cans and glass bottles in parts of Stirchley and Kings Heath. This will be extended to other areas of Birmingham over the next year or so, but details have yet to be finalised. You will be informed when this scheme is extended to your road.

For more information email them at Recycling@birmingham.gov.uk.

Carry-On Terror

Either our intelligence agencies are doing a really good job or perhaps John Reid just wants to reinstill a bit of fear into the minds of the public, but as you must have heard in the news there have been 21 arrests around the UK today, 2 of which were in Birmingham over on Belchers Lane in the Alum Rock area. The apparent plot was to use liquid explosives, smuggled on to the plan in sports drink bottles with the detonator concealed in the flash of a disposable camera or an mp3 player. Consequently passengers were banned from carrying ALL non-essential hand luggage on board the aircraft. Obviously this resulted in massive disruptions in airports all around the country. The BBC has up-to-date travel information and links to various airport websites.

Hopefully in the future airlines will start seriously restricting the amount of hand luggage people take with them on board. On the last few flights i’ve been on some people have been carrying far too much in to the cabin and then take up the entire overhead luggage compartment meaning other passengers have had to either put their smaller things under the seats in front of them OR in other compartments further down the cabin (causing a hassle when they try and push through everyone when the plane is unloading in an attempt to get off the plane quicker).

Anyway… well done to the police, MI5, and all the other agencies involved. Although you may have only postponed the inevitable, it’s good to see that you’re doing your best.

Metboards are back

More congestion at New Street

Plans have been announced to reduce the number of trains that stop at Birmingham International station. It is feared that this will increase congestion at New Street station as passengers who would have entered Birmingham or changed trains at International will now be forced to do so at New Street. Further, health and safety concerns over the increased traffic through the station may even force the station to close a peak times!

At time when public transport, rail in particular, is being encouraged due to fears around global warming it seems ludicrous to hamstring rail travel in the Midlands, especially given how many services pass through Birmingham.

Abusing the Kindness of Strangers

It seems like every other day we get a leaflet through our mailbox regarding a collection of some kind coming by in the few days for things like old clothes, shoes, books, etc. I’ve been meaning to have a sort through all the piles of random junk in my house and was planning on leaving it for these collections on the assumption that it would all go to charity and that I was helping a good cause. Well the other day there was a segment on BBC breakfast concerning all these leaflets we get in the mail. Apparently a fair few of them aren’t really from registered charities at all, and are actually just private firms which then go and sell the stuff you donate to them for their own profit! Cheeky gits! The show also mentioned that even with some legit charities, collectors from other companies were coming around on the same collection day and picking up items left for the REAL charity!! wtf! Hearing this makes me glad I never got around to sorting my stuff out. When I do get around to it I’ll be sure to take it straight to the charity shop myself, but it’s a real shame that there are bastards like this out there who are taking advantage of people who just want to help those less fortunate. Still, at least some perpetrators are being caught

Community retake centre

Birmingham city council had closed Sparkbrook’s ‘Cottage of Content’ community centre and designated it for auctioning off to developers, a local collective decided to take it back, refurbish it and return it to community use.

Sparkbrook, a largely Muslim (Asian and, increasingly, East African) area is amongst the many deprived areas of the city, ignored by the city councillors in preference for Mosley and their prestige projects in the city centre, and the white elephant of “Eastside” (aka the arse end of Digbeth). Like most areas with a mix of ethinic groups at different stages of immigration, tensions can run high and integration of communities is difficult. The recent political campaigns of the BNP and Liberal Democrats (who preyed on the fears of the non-White population in their “It’s a two horse race” campaign, claiming that only a vote for the Liberal Democrats could keep the BNP out) have not helped settle concerns or deal with tensions.

Perhaps reclaiming of a community centre will help?

More Crime

Doctors Warning

Hmph. Paid a visit to my local medical centre earlier this week and saw the above notice. Does it seem to anyone else like crime is on the rise or am I just more wary because of what happened to me earlier in the week?

Beach Volleyball in Birmingham

Beach Volleyball in Brum

Walking through the town centre today I saw this Beach volleyball court being set up outside the Town hall in Victoria Square. I’m not sure what the occasion is though… anyone else know? Maybe there’ll be something more to take a photo of tomorrow…!

Update: Ok, it’s actually about the Birmingham leg of an Urban Beach Volleyball Tour. Cool!

Justice for Karhlo

.. well, not exactly “justice”, but at least those responsible got SOME punishment.

In case you haven’t heard this story in the news, some local idiot-kids threw a cat from a fifth floor balcony FOUR times. AND they decided to record the event on their camera phones for posterity. Seriously… how stupid do you have to be to want to do something like this AND record it? I think a more fitting punishment would be to throw them from the fifth floor of an apartment block four times. The gene pool would be a cleaner place without them.

Surely punishments for crime need to be more severe in this country? 4 months is nothing for scum like this and it’s hardly going to change their already twisted personalities for the better. Unfortunately, with an already massively overcrowded prison system, I’m not sure what the alternatives are. Maybe chop off a few fingers or something for them to REALLY remember?

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