The West Midlands new hi-tech tram system between Wolverhampton
and Birmingham is expected to be officially launched this summer
by the Queen. Transport bosses have been holding "informal" talks
with the region's Lord Lieutenant about making an approach to
Buckingham Palace to invite the Monarch to head the opening of
the 145 million Midland Metro system.
Metro bosses feel such a "prestigious project" should be recognised
at the highest level and it would therefore be fitting for the
Queen to open it. The first Metro line service was pencilled in
for this month (January) and Altram, the company in charge of
designing, building and operating the new supertram, has already
warned of financial penalties for work finished on the system
Metro is now going through the formalities of inviting the head
of state. In the meantime tests are being carried out on the Wolverhampton
to Snow Hill run to make sure everything is ready for the big
new Millennium Mini, which is being built at the famous car's
existing home - Longbridge, Birmingham - could go on sale in America,
says the Rover Group. The company adds that the Mini is very popular
in America where there are more Mini clubs than anywhere else.
The current model costs around 9,000 and the company says the
new vehicle will cost more than that. However it suggests that
the floated figure of 13,000 was probably a little high.
Sales of the legendary vehicle in the United States stopped
in the late 1960s after tough emission rules were brought in by
The new Mini is a successor to the car which captured the imagination
when it first came out in 1959 - but it's wider and longer than
Cannock needle-woman, Sylvia Everitt, is really putting
herself on the map for the year 2,000. She is making an ambitious
22ft-long tapestry covering the last 1,000 years - and it is expected
to go on show at venues throughout Staffordshire in the new century.
Sylvia, of Cannock Wood Road, Rawnsley, sees the work as the
county's version of the Bayeux Tapestry. She took five years to
complete ten of the 11 panels which cover 19th century transport,
a fabulous map of Staffordshire and the earliest car made by the
Star Cycle Company of Wolverhampton.
The former wages clerk says that Wolverhampton and West Bromwich
are included in the tapestry because they were part of the county
for 700 years.
Wood, silk, leather, jewels, pearls and beads are among the
materials being used in the tapestry. Sylvia's contribution to
the millennium is being sponsored by a number of local councils.
Nearly 1,000 jobs are in the pipeline for the 75 million
leisure complex being planned in Birmingham by Richardson Developments
of Oldbury, in partnership with Wolverhampton based Tarmac. The
new centre - Star City - is going up at a former power station
near Spaghetti Junction and is due to open at Easter. Making their
mark at the ceremony will be actor-director, Lord Attenborough,
and screen, stage and television star, Julie Walters.
Smethwick-born Julie and Richard Attenborough, have already
visited the site and recorded their handprints in concrete in
a Warner Village Walk of Fame at the new venue. The 25-acre fun
centre, all under one roof, will have a 30-screen cinema, restaurants,
and a family entertainment centre, the first of its kind outside
Movie mogul Lord Puttnam is taking on a demanding new
role for the millennium - as the godfather. He has been appointed
as one of the 10 expert advisers for the exhibition inside the
758 million, Millennium Dome.
The award winning producer is advising on both the Work and
Learn Zones at the Greenwich Dome. The "godparents" are there
to work with the Dome organisers, The New Millennium Experience
Company, and zone designers and sponsors to ensure the highest
standard. Among other "godparents" announced by the NMEC was children's
TV presenter, Floella Benjamin. NMEC also announced a 1.5 million
scientific developments, including computers that are able
to respond to human thoughts, could well be on the cards.
The first month of the political
year is also considered to embrace tension and serious criticism
of the government.
is profound opposition to the approaching single currency
system, including talks in some quarters of possibly abandoning
the whole project.
There could be major sex scandals involving
British government representatives and clashes between Israelis
and the Palestine police are forecast.
peace moves in Northern Ireland are continuing with excellent
chances of a positive agreement, but not of major deals.
Civil violence is likely in Russia and there
could be a mutiny within the army there.
refusal to compromise coupled with bitterness proves the
scenario in several hotspots, including Africa. Major
institutions, both political and financial, are expected
world may be facing tragedies, possibly maritime disasters
and displays of public grief or religious fervour. The
British government must prepare itself for heavy losses
in the local elections.
Derby at Epsom could be won by the second favourite, and
a French trained filly could win the Oaks.
government in Palestine is in danger of being dissolved,
producing anarchy on Israel's border.
may well be concern expressed about new diseases and increasing
pressure on Britain's over-stretched health service.
laws concerning marriage and divorce could be brought in for
Britain - and a messy divorce involving a celebrity will be
in the news.
October. The cocaine cartels bid for power in Columbia
fuels drugs wars in Latin America.
Doncaster the second favourite is tipped to win in the November
unrest could be on the cards in Britain, but legal decisions
that could strengthen workers rights are more likely.
The world views states which have nuclear
potential with suspicion, as it has through most of the year.