Supporters of rival super-casino bids are engaged in a furious war of words after business leaders vowed to press ahead with a controversial ballot.

Birmingham Chamber of Commerce is to poll members of its governing council to discover whether they back plans for a casino at the NEC, in Solihull, or Birmingham City Football Club's proposed new stadium complex in Saltley.

But it has ruled that anyone who fails to vote will automatically be counted as backing the NEC proposal - because that is the preferred option of the Chamber's policy director Jerry Blackett.

The ballot provoked an angry reaction from Blues' managing director Karen Brady, who accused the Chamber of vote-rigging.


The NEC Arena is to review its security arrangements after two stewards were shot during a concert by US rapper Kanye West on Tuesday night.

A 45-year-old security guard - who was shot at least three times in his neck, lower stomach and foot - was in a critical condition in Heartlands Hospital on Wednesday night after undergoing two operations.

His colleague, whose details are unknown, was released from hospital on Tuesday night following treatment for a graze.

Deborah Smith, communications director, NEC Group, said, the level of security in place on Tuesday night had been based upon a detailed risk assessment.


The West Midlands has the highest rate of infant mortality and obesity in women in the country, according to a new report. Health Reporter Emma Brady spoke to the region's director of public health Dr Rashmi Shukla to find out why...


Local transport bosses have saved the West Midlands' busiest rail line from Government cutbacks.

Last year, the Department for Transport asked Central Trains to calculate the savings that would be made if the Cross City Line was cut from six trains an hour to four.

However, Passenger Transport Authority councillors are now expected to agree a deal giving public transport executive Centro the authority to sign a franchise extension deal with Central to run until November 2007.

The package includes continued Government funding for a "turn-up-and-go" frequency of services on the line - one of the busiest commuter routes outside the South-east.

Read Thursday's Birmingham Post for more on these stories