Leaders of Birmingham City Council are expected to give their formal backing to a super-casino at the National Exhibition Centre on Monday, effectively putting paid to a rival scheme at Birmingham City FC. The cabinet will decide to join Solihull Council in promoting the National Exhibition Centre as the best location in Britain for an American-style regional casino with unlimited cash prizes. The decision means Birmingham will not itself be a contender in the race to acquire a super-casino licence, relying instead on a joint bid with Solihull. By not submitting a request to the Casino Advisory Panel, the cabinet will make it impossible for plans for a super-casino at a new Birmingham City Football Club stadium to progress any further - throwing into doubt a scheme for the Blues' #340million sports village.

Members of Birmingham City Council are set to vote themselves an above-inflation pay rise of five per cent. The proposed increase in allowances and special responsibility payments will bring the annual salary of council leader Mike Whitby to #67,000 and that of his deputy, Paul Tilsley, to #54,000. The 2006/07 pay deal is being proposed by an independent remuneration panel, which warned that the workload placed on councillors by the devolution of local authority services is increasing and might lead to higher salaries in future.

A code etched on a marble monument in the grounds of a Staffordshire stately home is a secret message that the Holy Grail is buried nearby, according to a Canadian codebreaker. One or both of the stones thought to make up the Holy Grail are "very likely" to be buried in the Shugborough estate, near Stafford, according to Louis Buff Parry. His two-year study of a mysterious code inscribed on the estate's Shepherd Monument follows research by code experts from Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire in 2003. They claimed the code was a message from a 18th Century Christian sect.