An army of cats is coming to Birmingham
Plus: The drive to eliminate new cases of HIV
Good morning readers — welcome to Thursday’s Dispatch.
Our Brum in Brief today leads on the welcome news that HIV opt-out testing will be available in Birmingham as part of a government trial. The aim is to eliminate new HIV cases in England by 2030.
And among our recommendations is something for cat lovers! The event listed below is run by a couple of welfare charities which encourage people to rescue poor strays, so I think it’s worthwhile. This is also the purrfect (I’m really sorry) excuse to share a pic of one of my cats, Puca. She is named after a creature from Irish folklore. She has long white socks and a cartoonish energy.
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Brum in Brief
🩸 HIV opt-out testing will be rolled out in the West Midlands, in a £20 million expansion of existing trials elswhere. Hepatitis B and C will also be tested. Councillor Mariam Khan — cabinet member for Health and Social Care at Birmingham City Council — said: “I am delighted that the government has finally listened to our calls to bring forward opt-out HIV testing in Birmingham. As a city with high prevalence rates and a diverse population, this will save lives and help us to bring down the rates of HIV in our city, as well as help to raise more awareness around testing and the importance of detecting early.”
📽️ A mother and son from Dudley have appeared in a series of short films — one of which has been honoured at a Hollywood film festival. Rita Jagpal-Mohan and her son Reece met producer Keith Large when Ms Jagpal-Mohan cut his hair in her salon. The BBC reports: “‘The best thing was seeing our film on the big screen in Hollywood and the audience just laughing along with our three short films that were entered,’ [Ms Jagpal-Mohan] said.”
🚨 A man who is on trial, accused of murdering his infant son is believed to have suffered a mental breakdown just before the baby’s death on 18 October 2022. Kadees Mohammed’s sister called 999 with concerns for her brother’s health. She claims when paramedics arrived, they recommended he call his GP in the morning. The BBC reports: “Ms Zahir protested that counselling was not what he needed at that point, because of the severity of the symptoms he was showing.”
🐈 Cats of all shapes, sizes and breeds will descend on the NEC tomorrow and Saturday for Catstravaganza. The event includes a competition for the best cat in every breed, a host of different shopping options, and most excitingly, professionals from lots of different cat rescue organisations. It is run by charities Loving Cats Worldwide and The Meserve Foundation. Tickets from £20.
🎞️ Renaissance: A Film By Beyoncé opens at The Mockingbird cinema tomorrow. “It is about Beyoncé’s intention, hard work, involvement in every aspect of the production, her creative mind and purpose to create her legacy, and master her craft.”
🎛️ Grassroots electronic music project Listening Sessions turns 10 this week and is celebrating with a party tomorrow at PST in Digbeth. The initiative was set up by producers Tom Hayes and Mat Goose (Elkie and Goosensei) to encourage collaboration among Brum artists. Tickets cost £5 + £1 booking fee and all proceeds will go to Safe Passage — a charity that works to open and defend safe legal routes and reunite children with their families in the UK and Europe.