Next year's termination of the Central Trains rail franchise may have to be put off for up to 12 months because Government officials have fallen behind with the mountain of paperwork involved.
Last October, Transport Secretary Alistair Darling announced the train operator's network - including all West Midlands commuter trains as well as a number of long-distance services through Birmingham - would be split up among different operators following the end of the current franchise agreement on March 31 2006.
However, a number of rail industry sources told The Birmingham Post the Department for Transport and Strategic Rail Authority had gone quiet since the initial announcement.
Michael Howard's tough stance on gipsies sparked a row in Warwickshire after county council Tories said Labour was a "soft touch".
With council elections only six weeks away, Conservatives backed their party leader's pledge to introduce tougher laws to enable unauthorised encampments to be dismantled quickly.
A pair of endangered red pandas have been brought to a new home at the Birmingham Nature Centre as part of a nationwide captive-breeding programme.
The two pandas are brothers, born at Bristol Zoo in June 2003, but will be split up when a suitable female is found for one of them.
The breeding programme gathers detailed information on animals throughout the country in order to genetically match individuals for mating as a way of giving the species its best chance of survival.
The number of school visits to farms has plummeted despite renewed interest from farmers wanting to attract more visitors onto their land.
In the past four years, numbers have dropped by 11 per cent, with 50,000 less pupils enjoying a trip to a farm, according to figures published by organisation Farms for Schools.
Warwickshire-based group Farming and Countryside Education has launched a series of training courses for farmers in a bid to encourage more schools to visit.
Four gang members have been told they must serve a combined total of at least 132 years in prison for killing teenagers Charlene Ellis and Letisha Shakespeare in a drive-by shooting at a New Year's party.
Charlene's half-brother Marcus Ellis, Michael Gregory and Nathan Martin will not be released for at least 35 years following their conviction for the shootings in Birmingham in the early hours of January 2 2003.
Rodrigo Simms, the military-style "spotter" who guided the men into their target via mobile phone from outside the Uniseven hair salon in Aston, was told he would have to serve at least 27 years in custody.
Judge Mr Justice Goldring, who presided over the five-month trial at Leicester Crown Court, said he would have given Ellis, Gregory and Martin whole life terms had current legislation been in force at the time.
See Tuesday's Birmingham Post for more on all these stories