Podcast: Shakespeare’s Engine

The bloody Bull Ring again, suggesting that the first mayor of the Midlands really needs to sort out the region's crippling stock picture shortage. Image: Getty.

This week, CityMetric’s tour of the upcoming mayoral elections takes us to the West Midlands: the annoying name for the multi-centred conurbation that takes in Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Coventry and points in between.

The West Midlands is the most competitive of the major metropolitan regions that will pick their new mayors on 4 May. Indeed, it’s the only one of the big three where we don’t in effect already know the result: right now, according to the polling expert Professor John Curtice, Labour’s Siôn Simon and the Conservatives’ Andy Street are neck and neck.

And so I’ve been to Birmingham to interview them both. Simon tells me about the region’s cultural and engineering heritage; Street talks about his plans to boost the local economy. And, obviously, I make both of them nerd out about trams for a bit.

Before and after those interviews, I’m joined by my colleagues Stephen Bush and Helen Lewis, a Midlands native herself, to talk about the region, the election – and to make some foolhardy predictions for who is likely to win.

If you want to learn more about the West Midlands mayoral election (could happen), you can read my rundown of the candidates here. And here's my series of articles on the region from last autumn.

The episode itself is below. You can subscribe to the podcast on AcastiTunes, or RSS. Enjoy.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and also has a Facebook page now for some reason. 

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Epidemiologist update: Covid-19 death toll passes 350,000 worldwide

An update from GlobalData Senior Epidemiologist Nanthida Nanthavong:

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have surpassed 5,609,000 with over 350,000 deaths and 2,287,000 recoveries.

The US continues to have the highest number of cases, followed by Brazil then Russia. Incidence rates in Brazil are also second to the US, but may surpass the US if the current incidence trend continues in Brazil. Russia has reported a steady number of new daily cases for the past week. The Moscow region accounts for the majority of cases in Russia.

Daily incidence rates in India have continued to increase as the country reported four of its highest daily incidence totals over the last few days.

South Africa has the highest daily incidence and highest number of cumulative cases in Africa. South Africa has also reported its two highest daily incidence totals over the last few days.