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19 November 2019 Issue 370 The official student newspaper of the University of East Anglia | Established 1992

Following the herd: Interview: Sophie Atherton Students vote to remove beef from SU outlets Chris Matthews Editor-in-Chief

An agriculture expert has said there seems to be “a trend towards campuses free of beef, and sometimes other meats such as lamb” after UEA became the third university to have some kind of beef ban on campus. Dr David Rose is an associate professor of agricultural innovation and extension at the University of Reading. He believes we should “encourage free speech and frank exchange of views, rather than banning everything all the time”. He also thinks universities should focus on sourcing

local meat. “This is the way forward, not a ban which alienates our hard-working meat farmers who are a crucial part of rural landscapes.” His words come after UEA Union Council voted to ban the sale of beef in student union shops last week and to lobby the university to do the same. Earlier this autumn Goldsmith’s became the first beef-free campus in Britain. Cambridge University removed beef from its menus to help

Continued on


Beef, Brexit and how uea(su) does represent UEA students


19th November 2019


Editorial Putting pen to paper Jess Barrett Deputy Editor

Photo: Pixabay

Not registering is worse than not voting Chris Matthews Editor-in-Chief

Concrete is moving from strength to strength. Last issue we had fantastic levels of engagement in the paper, and this week we’re hoping for the same with articles ranging from the argument around rainbow poppies (page 17), which is “juvenile”, apparently, to the hunt for dark energy (page 18). Have a flick through this issue - it’s our penultimate one of 2019! You can comment on our articles online, Tweet us @ConcreteUEA, or get involved in Concrete itself by scanning the code at the bottom of this article. Look out for our posts next week as well as we head to the regional Student Publication Association awards, hosted at the University of Warwick, in Coventry. We’re looking forward to it! There are two events I’ve been looking forward to even more than seeing this issue in print. The Media Collective Christmas Ball, and the upcoming election. If you’re part of the Media Collective, today is the last day to buy tickets to the Media Ball. It’s well worth it – I’ve had a peak at what’s planned and I can confirm it’s going to be fantastic! But anyway – the election. ‘If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.’ It’s one of those standard slogans you hear in the build up to an election. Many people often stigmatise those who don’t engage in our system of democracy by voting. Every vote is a numbers game. In a general election, where there are millions of people voting, votes

are not all equal. One vote in a marginal seat may prompt more actual political change than ten votes against the favourite in a safe seat. In a smaller vote, say of Union Council, it’s pretty much down to numbers. Every vote is equal, and as some people don’t turn up, a single vote can turn the tide, as we saw in the Union Council vote on banning beef from SU outlets. But let’s return to the general election. Most systems of democracy have some kind of flaw. First Past the Post means smaller parties may get a large percentage of votes across the board but not win many seats in parliament. (Think back to UKIP in the 2015 election.) And then there are safe seats. There are over 100 seats in England and Wales that haven’t changed parties since 1945. If you’re voting against the favourite in those seats, it’s likely your vote will not make a measurable difference. Union Council should work, and on page 12 you can read why SU officer Sophie Atherton believes it is council and uea(su) really does represent students at UEA. Yet some will believe 90 students representing 17,000 doesn’t add up. There should be hundreds of representatives of course, but after the first session many representatives decide they don’t want to sit through up to four hours of union council business, or drivel, depending on your disposition. I can completely understand the argument against the stigmatisation of people who have a vote but don’t use it. It’s your life. It’s your choice. And even if you don’t vote in an election in which your vote may

not count for any real change, that doesn’t mean you can’t complain. That is unless you don’t even register to vote. See, you don’t have to vote. You can sit at home and complain that your vote doesn’t matter anyway so you can’t be bothered. Or you can decide that although it’s not perfect, this is the best chance you have to make an impact on the political stage. And anyway, Brexit is in the air. With so many new candidates standing in so-called safe seats, there’s sure to be some upsets. Nothing is certain. In Britain, voting is a choice. But you need to register to have that choice. And that is a sticking point. If you don’t even take the time to register to vote, to give yourselves the option of voting, then no, you can’t complain. At least sign up to take part. And you never know, more students registering to vote may even shake off some of the snowflake accusations thrown at us in the wake of Beefgate. (Don’t hold your breath though.) Scan the code below with your camera to join Concrete today!

This semester is flying by – this is our fifth issue and my love for Concrete is growing more and more. This coming weekend we are going to the Student Publication Association Regional Awards, fingers crossed we win something! This issue has been quite an interesting one for me, most of what I have written about has discussed the Union Council’s motion to stop the sale of beef from uea(su) outlets. The editorial team has had some fun coming up with beef related puns, so please sit back, open up the paper and have a chuckle. If you want to read my opinion about the beef scandal, please turn to the Comment section where Venue’s Editor Ellie Robson and myself have a debate about the motion. In the Interview section for this issue you’ll find my interview with Sophie Atherton, uea(su)’s Campaigns and Democracy officer. We discuss everything from the general election, UEA’s accommodation pricing and uea(su)’s transparency. It was interesting to hear more about the goings on within the Student Union. I spend so much time in the media office so I often find myself looking into the SU office, wondering what kind of work everyone is completing to make UEA and even better institution. I’m particularly proud of the ‘Home of the Wonderful’ and ‘Media Collective’ spread. Take a peak and see what we got up to at last year’s Media Collective Christmas Ball and also take a second to look at the photos we have taken to advertise our awardwinning radio show ‘A Week in Concrete’. The artwork on Venue’s front cover this issue is amazing! (maybe because I drew it?) I am very much enjoying having student art on the covers on Venue, it is lovely to celebrate the work of UEA students. I thoroughly enjoyed drawing the purple face and loved having the opportunity to be creative!


ConcreteUEA Front page photo: Concrete/ Roo Pitt Cut out: ea(su)

The University of East Anglia’s Official Student Newspaper since 1992 Tuesday 19th November 2019 Issue 370 Union House University of East Anglia Norwich NR4 7TJ 01603 593466

Editor-in-Chief Chris Matthews Deputy Editor Jess Barrett Online Editors Alec Banister and Jack Oxford News Bryan Mfhaladi Senior Writer: Samuel Woolford Global Global Editor: William Warnes Senior Writer: Piriyanga Thirunimalan Features Features Editors: Paige Allen and Leelou Lewis Comment Matt Branston Science Science Editor: Jake WalkerCharles Travel Sam Hewitson Sport Sport Editor: Jamie Hose Sport Senior Writer: Luke Saward Chief Copy-Editors Nerisse Appleby Reeve Langston Social Media Amelia Groves

Editorial Enquiries, Complaints & Corrections

No part of this newspaper may be reproduced by any means without the permission of the Editor-in-Chief, Chris Matthews. Published by the Union of UEA Students on behalf of Concrete. Concrete is a UUEAS society, but retains editorial independence as regards to any content. Opinions expressed herein are those of individual writers, not of Concrete or its editorial team.



19th November 2019 | @ConcreteUEA

Following the herd: Students vote

to remove beef from SU outlets Chris Matthews Editor-in-Chief

Continued from front page in the struggle against climate change, yet most colleges still serve it. Uea(su)’s beef ban, which students proposed on environmental grounds, passed by 1%, with 47% voting for the ban, 46% voting against and 7% abstaining. Although there are hundreds of representatives in Union Council, only 90 people voted on the motion to ban beef. UEA has close to 17,000 students in total. UEA gained a reputation as an eccentric campus after banning sombreros, sugar, and even discouraged students from throwing mortarboards at graduation. Following the beef ban there was huge student backlash. Megan O’Shea is an environmental sciences student at UEA. She believes it’s “unacceptable that one person or a small council of people should be allowed to dictate what everyone is allowed to eat.” She added while she understood students’ environmental concerns over beef “it’s not up to them to limit everyone”. Elise Page is president of UEA’s

Jewish society. She says the ban may restrict what some religious students can eat on campus. “Some religious people (such as Jews and Muslims) have dietary laws, which each individual follows to their own individual extent. Some Jews, for example, don't follow kosher rules strictly, but they do avoid certain prohibited foods like pork and shellfish. “For a Jew who does want or need to eat meat but doesn't eat pork or shellfish, not being able to buy beef from SU outlets is going to restrict the range of food they can eat. It seems quite minor but the fact is, it might impact people like Jews and Muslims more than people who don't follow those religions”. In a statement uea(su) campaigns and democracy officer Sophie Atherton said: “Union Council discussed and passed a motion to cease the sale of beef products in Union outlets and lobby the University to do the same in theirs.” She added: “Currently beef products represent less than 0.1% of union revenue. Many items are replaceable with alternative products.” In an interview with Concrete on page 12 of this paper, Atherton said: “When you look at those 90 representatives, we do represent the student body. I think anybody who wasn't happy with the decision-making process, go and

fill out our democracy survey that's currently going on or get involved in the discussion of our [uea(su) democracy] review, because if you don't like our decision making that's why that review is taking place.” David Richardson, UEA’s vice chancellor, made clear in a tweet this was a student union and not university decision. He wrote: “The SU runs a shop and it’s right and proper that they decide what they stock in their shop. But it’s not a University of East Anglia decision”. The students who supported the motion say beef needs 28 times more land than chicken or pork, and global greenhouse gas emissions are higher from the agriculture

sector than from transport. While Dr Rose at the University of Reading agrees the production of beef has been connected to “a higher environmental footprint”, he believes banning beef is a rash decision. “We too easily tarnish other production systems with the brush of being terrible for the environment,” he said. “Much of our land in the UK cannot be used for arable production and grass-fed livestock can be sustainable in many parts of our country and is a key part of our production system and rural communities. If consumers buy local, grassfed, sustainable meat products, then this can help. We should not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Not

Photo: Concrete/ Roo Pitt

all meat is bad for the environment.” Dr Rose hopes the UK is not heading towards a time when all UK universities are beef free. “There is of course a clear trend towards vegetarianism, veganism, flexitarianism. This is helpful for the environment, but we should not forget the crucial role that grass-fed, sustainable meat plays in healthy, nutritious diets.“ Dr Rose’s message to consumers is to “Eat local, eat seasonal, eat grass-fed meat if you can. “Don't think all meat is bad and instead of eating avocados flown in from the other side of the world and thinking you're a saint, think about how you can eat more seasonally and locally, and support your local farmers.”

UK Universities plummet in latest university rankings Monique Santoso News Reporter

Numerous UK universities have found themselves falling in terms of world university rankings. Experts state that this is caused by the uncertainty around Brexit over research funding and immigration. UK universities have been seeing a fall in terms of university rankings since 2016. Along with University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, King’s College London and London School of Economics have also dropped by one or two spots. While the performance of many European institutions has declined, namely institutions in France, Portugal, Germany, and Italy, the most significant drop in rankings are in the UK. Fewer UK universities have made it to the top 200 in the Times Higher Education (THE) rankings, the number dropping from 29 last year to 28. Out of these 28 remaining in the top 200, 18 of them have dropped by at least one place. UEA also saw a drop in the

rankings, falling from 190 in the 2019 rankings to 192 in the 2020 rankings. This relation of UK universities plummeting in rankings is also seen in the QS, another high education thinktank’s rankings. Data from the tables also show that US universities, primarily those which receive substantial private

“But there is a sign that this is becoming diffcult because of Brexit” funding, continue to dominate rankings. California Institute of Technology (Caltech) overtook Cambridge to take second place and the University of Chicago overtook Imperial College for ninth place. All the while, it is still UK’s Oxford University that sits in the top spot for four years in a row.

Photo: Concrete/ Bryan Mfhaladi “British universities have long been able to attract the most talented academics and students from across the world,” said Phil Baty, Chief Knowledge Officer of the THE, “But there are signs that this

is becoming difficult because of Brexit.” Meanwhile, Asian universities continue to make strong progress in terms of rankings. Japan has exceeded the UK on overall

representation, claiming 110 places, 7 more than the 103 that they had in 2018. They overtake Britain as the second most-represented nation in the world, after the United States in the overall THE Rankings.


19th November 2019


Brexit fueling rise in number of students studying Politics Ted Tuthill-Jones News Reporter

In the divisive era of Brexit, Trump, and the climate crisis, it is university politics departments who are reaping the benefits, with applications to politics courses up 28% since the 2016 Brexit referendum. Professor Lee Marsden, Head the Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication department at UEA, says that: “since 2016, there has been considerable growth in applications to both politics and international relations. I think that’s probably true right across the country, and the reasons are probably not too hard to discover,” Marsden explains. “Increased polarisation, hardening of positions in terms of things like Brexit, and populism as an emerging concept, means that people are discussing politics a lot and are looking to try to make sense of the world we are now in.” Applications to politics courses went up from 34,275 in 2013 to 47,445 in 2018 according to UCAS, and while Brexit has been a factor, it is one among many. On the global stage, the emergence of China as a significant international player, and a resurgent Russia, have sparked wider interest in global politics and international relations.

Meanwhile the rise of Donald Trump in the United States has, according to Marsden, “added a completely new dimension to politics, and his use of Twitter has been quite incredible.

“Applications to politics courses went up from 34,275 in 2013 to 47,445 in 2018” The idea of fake news has made for a very interesting political times.” Marsden observed that our current political climate has also driven a resurgence of direct political activism, saying that, “There is now far more emphasis on engaging in political debate but also trying to put that into practice. We’ve seen students organising events, participating in Extinction Rebellion, there’s far more activism than used to be the case. There is a movement now where people aren’t prepared just to think about politics, but are also actively participating in political processes unlike before.”

Photo: needpix

Conservatives' choice for Broadland Norfolk stands down amid rape comments

Election Strip: Young people not 'Dig-In' Brexi Bryan Mfhaladi News Editor

Matt Musindi News Reporter

The former BBC Radio Norfolk presenter, Nick Conrad, had been chosen as the party's candidate for the Broadland seat in Norfolk. However, he swiftly withdrew after a storm over his comments about rape was reignited.

“still stressing the magnitude of how unacceptable the comments were”

Photo: pxhere

During an on-air radio discussion in 2014, Conrad said that women should “keep their knickers on” to avoid rape and ever since then, the former MP has been heavily criticized. Prime Minister Boris Johnson weighed in on the issue, saying that Mr Conrad had long apologised but still stressing the magnitude of how unacceptable the comments were. In that same on-air exchange,

Conrad said: "I think women need to be more aware of a man's sexual desire. That when you're in that position that you are about to engage in sexual activity, there's a huge amount of energy in the male body, there's a huge amount of will and intent, and it's very difficult for many men to say no when they are whipped up into a bit of a storm.” The Conservative party released a statement on the past week stating that Mr Conrad said that he made a genuine and heartfelt apology for his ill-judged comments. Mr Conrad confirmed he was dropping out only two days after he was chosen as the party’s candidate. Jerome Mayhew, who runs an adventure company, has been chosen as the replacement for Mr Conrad. A few other nominees by other parties have withdrawn because of issues they are facing. Anthony Calvert withdrew from Wakefield, a key seat for the Tories, after some offensive social media posts came under scrutiny while Kevin McNamara stood down as the Liberal candidate after some racial and homphobic tweets were put under the limelight. Some controversial figures, like Zarah Sultana, have been allowed to run despite calls for them not to.

Young people are unhappy about the imminent outcome of Brexit, this according to a survey done by Dig In. The research of over 35,000 students was conducted via their database of UK students between 1st September and 15th October 2019. The survey questioned students about a range of questions pertaining to Brexit, including how they felt about it and their optimism levels of the future. From the 35,000 surveyed, 62% responded saying they either ‘hate it’ or ‘dislike it’ compared with the 9% who said they ‘love it’. Optimism levels have also fallen, as from those surveyed only 7% loved or liked what the future held for them after Brexit showing a fall from 27% the previous year. Students are more hell-bent about leaders shifting their focus from Brexit to climate change as a whooping 53% thought that leaders should do this. Commenting on the figures, CEO of Dig In, Chris Platt, said: “These findings are hard to hear - our student community is clearly concerned about its future. My hope is that their thoughts, feelings and future outcomes are carefully considered by whichever government is in power in their near future.”

19th November 2019



'Master's Degree isn't top priority,' employers state Harry Routley News Reporter

Most employers do not believe postgraduate degrees give workers an edge in terms of their skills, a new poll has suggested. According to a survey conducted by the Institute of Student Employers (ISE), only 19% of employers said that graduates

"They do not go on a faster track or get a premium" with a masters degree had better skills than those who did not take a postgraduate qualification. The report showed that only 6% in the IT sectors believed that there are benefits in doing a postgraduate degree, whilst no employers in the consumer goods sector valued the qualification. Whilst charities and public sectors do value masters degrees,

Photo: pxhere the graduates are not guaranteed to progress faster than those without the qualification. The survey concluded that only 12% of employers said that those with the postgraduate qualification progress more quickly in terms of salary than those without it. Chief executive of the ISE,

Stephen Isherwood said; “In reality, most employers simply don’t discriminate between those with a master’s and those with a degree. They see them as the same. They are treated the same when they join. They do not go on a faster track or get paid a premium. I think that is a bit of a shock to

some master’s students going into the labour market.” These findings may come as a surprise to the hundreds of thousands of postgraduate students who are paying more than £9,000 a year with the hope that a masters degree will boost their job prospects. A Universities UK

spokesperson said: “Higher-level skills are a key driver of economic growth with employers reporting an increasing demand for these skills in the future. Additional qualifications can enhance the valued analytical skills of students and can also give them a greater depth of knowledge in key subjects and sectors.”

'Corbyn unfit to be PM,' former Labour MPs say Lauren Sant News Reporter

Three former Labour MPs have spoken out, questioning Jeremy Corbyn’s ability as candidate for Prime Minister. They are encouraging the public to vote for Boris Johnson on the grounds of Corbyn being an “extremist,” who is “completely unfit” to be Prime Minister, and that him being voted into office would be a “disaster for Britain.” MPs Ian Austin, John Woodcock and Tom Harris, have chosen to vote Conservative to “keep Corbyn away from Downing Street.” Austin has called out some of Corbyn’s pacifist approaches as having “sided with the enemies,” but that he “wouldn’t say Boris Johnson is unfit to run the country.”

“MPs have chosen to vote Conservative to keep Corbyn from Downing Street” He argues Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson is “just not going to make it,” leaving it a choice between Johnson and Corbyn. The 54-year-old had resigned from Labour in February citing antisemitism under Mr Corbyn’s

Photo: Wikimedia leadership but now said he could not stand again in the Dudley North constituency he had represented since 2005 because he did not want

to “muddy the waters” and risk the Labour candidate getting elected. John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, has claimed Austin is

employed by the Tories and that is why he was saying this. However, Austin calls himself a “proper, decent, traditional Labour,”

who has chosen, in an attempt to thwart Corbyn’s election as PM, to vote Conservative in the upcoming election on December 12th.


19th November 2019


Strip: Refund students' tuition fees, says university adjudicator Election Parties gear up for the upcoming General Election

Ellie Robson News Reporter

Henry Webb

Universities have been told by the Office of the Independent Adjudicators to refund students tuition fees, following strikes earlier this year. This follows a recent announcement of potential strikes commencing at the end of

News Reporter

“Students should be refunded for atleast 50 per cent of their tuiton fees” November for up to eight days. The Office of the Independent Adjudicator has stated that students should be refunded at least 50 per cent of their tuition fees to make up for teaching time that was lost earlier this year, particularly as some universities failed to make moves to minimise the impact of these disruptions thus impacting heavily on the student's education. A total of 14 teaching days

Photo: Flickr were lost at over 65 universities, as lecturers and academic staff walked out over a dispute about pensions. The University and College Union has estimated that over 1 million students were affected by the strikes, with over 575,000 hours of teaching time being lost across

the country. Some establishments have attempted to make up for these lost hours by providing additional podcasts or lecture recordings to students, but evidence suggests that other universities have done nothing.

After filing a complaint with their university, students are able to take complaints to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for up to a year. The Office can then recommend refunds for these students after analysising the complaint.

Mamas & Papas goes into adminstration

In the past few weeks after the announcement of a general election, all the parties have launched their campaigns for what should be one of the most significant elections in British history. A key campaign issue is the ongoing debate about our future relationship with the European Union, and parties are going to extreme lengths to get the outcome they want. The “unite to remain” pact between the Liberal Democrats, Green Party, and Plaid Cymru involves each of the parties not standing in some constituencies, in an effort to combine the Remain vote to win seats from the Conservatives and prevent Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal. On the other side of the debate, Nigel Farage has announced that his Brexit Party will

“Labour is promising investment a £150bn investment” not stand in over 300 constituencies to help prevent Remain parties winning. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is promising a £150bn investment in public services and infrastructure over the next 5 years, with additionalfunding to transition the country from fossil fuels to renewable and low carbon energy

“The govenment's 2050 target for net zero emissions is too late”

Photo: Geograph

Lauren Bramwell News Reporter

The Retailers Mamas & Papas have announced it is going into administration, resulting in six store closures. The announcement by the British nursery brand has made 73 staff redundant and its head office in Huddersfield plans to ‘simplify’

operations which places a further 54 jobs at risk. Closures in Aberdeen, Lincoln, Leamington, Fareham, Milton Keyes and Preston were apparently necessary to save the business. Bosses believe in-store sales are falling due to the fact that more customers are choosing to shop online. In September, the company appointed advisers from Deloitte to

review options for the business as it struggled to remain profitable. An executive chairman of Mamas & Papas, Richard Cincotta, described the events as difficult but necessary. “We remain fully focused on maintaining our position as the UK’s most popular nursery brand,” he said. A managing partner at Bluegem Capital, Marco Capello, also said: “The business now has a solid

platform from which to achieve this ambition, so we can look forward to the future with confidence.” The announcement by Mamas & Papas follows rival store, Mothercare’s collapsing earlier that week, which led to the closure of its 79 stores and loss of 2800 jobs. Despite the closure of six stores, the re-purchasing has allowed Mamas & Papas 26 remaining stores, consequently saving around

sources. Meanwhile the Tories have promised additional funding for the police and NHS as well as investment in public infrastructure, however they see Labour’s plan as unrealistic, with Chancellor Sajid Javid calling it “fantasy economics.” The environment is also set to be an important issue, with many calling this, “the climate election.” Many environmental activists argue that the government’s 2050 target for net zero emissions is too late, with many asking for 2030 or even 2025 targets. So far the Liberal Democrats have brought the target forward to 2045, with the Greens at 2030. Labour are yet to release their 2019 manifesto, but it is thought that under pressure from groups like “Labour for a Green New Deal” that they will match the Green Party’s 2030 target.

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19th November 2019

Police remove 1,600 migrants from Paris camps Piriyanga Thirunimalan Senior Global Writer

Following promises of increased immigration crackdowns and controls, two of Paris’ large migrant camps, one at Porte de la Chapelle and one at Seine-Saint-Denis, were raided on Thursday 7 November. The dismantling of the camps came just a day after the French president Macron declared that the government would work towards closing down all makeshift camps in Paris by the end of the year. More than 1,600 immigrants have been driven out of these makeshift camps and the police have warned that any attempts to re-establish these camps, as has happened in the past, could result in individuals being sent to detention camps. Over a thousand immigrants and refugees lived in the dire and squalid conditions, cramped under overcrowded tents. As the Guardian reported, children and adults alike had been sleeping “under bridges and canals” around the areas of Northern Paris and Seine-Saint-

Denis for prolonged periods of time, and the conditions have meant that migrants are prone to the spread of diseases and unhygienic living standards. There have been many complaints about rats, water shortages, and crowded conditions.

“Over a thousand immigrants and refugees lived in dire and squalid conditions” The camps were demolished and cleared away on the morning of the 7 November, and the migrants have been temporarily taken away on buses to gym halls and buildings to reside in untill a decision is made on their status. Details have been taken by the authorities in order to identify the migrant status of the individuals. The Deputy Mayor of Paris, Dominique Versini, has estimated that, “around 15% to 20%” of the refugees have, in fact,

been granted asylum, but have not been able to find an affordable place to live. Many local politicians have turned to the state, demanding that the government needs to offer adequate accommodation and opportunities for asylum seekers and migrants in order to avoid the rise in migrant camps throughout Paris, and the country as a whole. As Versini has stressed, the evacuation of the camps at Porte de la Chapelle and Seine-Saint-Denis, “marked the 59th time that the makeshift camps in Paris have been cleared since 2015.” This inability to permanently solve the dire migrant crisis in Paris, especially since the closure of the camps of Calais in 2016, has led to a new strong stance

taken by the President Macron, determined to permanently shut down all the makeshift camps. The situation is clearly not only a problem in Paris, but nationwide, and conditions are worsening as winter draws near, with a 25 year old Nigerian man dying just last week after attempting to light a small fire inside his tent. The operation has been described by police authorities and politicians as “humanitarian” as they plan to find permanent housing for all legal migrants. Permanent police forces are to be placed at the campsites in order to ensure that people do not return to sleeping rough on the streets of Paris.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Macron claims NATO alliance is ‘brain dead’ Marco Rizzo Global Writer

In an interview with The Economist, French President Emmanuel Macron commented on the United States’ commitment to NATO as well as the need for a higher degree of European military independence after President Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Syria and allow a Turkish invasion. Emmanuel Macron has stated that NATO, the defensive transatlantic alliance formed in 1949, has entered a state of “brain death” after signs of waning commitment

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

from the main sponsor, the USA, stating, “It is turning its back to us”. The comments come after President Trump’s failure to consult NATO allies before his decision to pull US troops out of Syria, following a declaration of victory against Daesh (ISIL). The move took NATO’s European members by surprise, not only due to the lack of communication from their North American ally’s side but also because the move prompted Turkey (itself an important NATO member) to invade Syria’s northern frontier. President Trump has frequently commented on the lack of commitment from the USA’s European allies to the transatlantic organisation, often calling member-states “delinquents” due their failure to meet the required 2% GDP in military spending. However, this type of exclusion from military decisions in a region so close to Europe is a radical event. International response has been mixed: Germany disagreed with Macron’s comments, with Chancellor Angela Merkel describing them as, “drastic words”, while Russia, which sees American influence on the

Photo: Wikimedia Commons continent as a threat, agreed with the French President’s statements. NATO Secretary-General Jens

“[The US] is turning its back to us” Stoltenberg told Reuter that NATO has in the past overcome differences such as the Suez Affair in 1956. President Macron stated that Europe should recognise its status as a geopolitical force and establish its global influence. Macron believes that Europe could mediate between the mighty

powers of China to the east and the USA to the west in order “to stop the entire world catching fire”. France has often been vocal about the dependence that Europe has on America and is the main advocate for a common European army in order to limit reliance on their North American ally. According to Macron, Europe should unite in military, industrial and political matters in order to exert hard power, ideas which are often ignored in favour of a foreign policy focused solely on human rights and commerce. The United States remains the main protector of Europe, with multiple military bases in EU countries and a number of nuclear warheads stored in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Turkey. The status of NATO remains a crucial talking point in modern Europe, with an increasingly anxious Russia and a growing Chinese superpower.

Brexit Box

Sam Gordon Webb Global Writer

Boris Johnson’s chances of electoral success were helped earlier this week when Nigel Farage confirmed that the Brexit Party would not stand in 317 Tory seats, thus reducing any chance of the Conservative vote being split. The news will come as a mighty relief for Johnson who now stands a much greater chance of winning over leave-voting South West seats against the pro-Europe Liberal Democrats. However, the Brexit Party leader also said that he would be standing candidates in Labour marginals as the party had, “turned their back on Brexit”. This move prompted fierce backlash from some Tory ministers with one senior figure going so far as to saying that, “if we end up with a hung parliament again because of the Brexit Party all eyes will be on him. People will say, you did this.’” The Brexit Party’s Scottish MEP, Louis Stedman-Bryce, who was standing in Labour held Glasgow North East, stood down and told Twitter that “I joined the Brexit Party to change politics for good and uphold democracy and I do not trust @BorisJohnson to deliver the type of Brexit I voted for. I cannot support standing down PPC’s across all Tory seats.” Aaron Banks has claimed that Farage, who proved indispensable to Bank’s when they both campaigned under the banner of Leave.EU during the 2016 referendum, now has only “48 hours to save Brexit and save the country from a Corbyn government.” Despite Johnson making clear his intentions to “unshackle brilliant UK officials trapped in meeting after meeting in Brussels and Luxembourg,” it seems that the PM will now elect a new commissioner after caving under pressure from European Commision President Ursula von der Leyen. Number 10 said that “the UK meets its legal obligations, and our officials remain in regular contact with the president-elect’s team.” The PM had suggested that doing so would prove detrimental to British interests. Meanwhile Liberal Democrat candidate for Labour held Canterbury, Tim Walker, has stepped down after fears were raised that his candidacy would split the remain vote in the region. Photo: Wikimedia Commons


19th November 2019 | @ConcreteUEA

No end in sight as California wildfires intensify Henry Webb Global Writer

Wildfires continue to intensify across the state of California, putting significant pressure on emergency services. Keeping the fires under control is both difficult and expensive due to the rate at which they can spread, at times fuelled by winds over 74 mph. Over 6000 fires have been recorded so far this year, covering over 250,000 acres across the state. However, after last year, the worst on record for California, the

Photos: Flickr

state was more prepared and the number of injuries and the total area burned has been significantly reduced.

“Over 6000 fires have been recorded this year, covering 250,000 acres” The Kincade fire is the largest recorded so far and one of the most recent to be contained. It burned 77,000 acres over two weeks in Sonoma County near San Francisco, destroying 374 structures. E v e n fires that are brought under control much more quickly, like the Easy fire, can have significant impacts.

Thousands of residents near the site were forced to evacuate their homes while over 700 firefighters worked to prevent the blaze from spreading. Meanwhile an “extreme red flag” warning was given for the entire city of Los Angeles due to the smoke being carried by the fast winds. Some residents also had their power supply cut off due to the risk of electrical cables in rural areas starting further fires, a suspected source of the previously mentioned Kincade fire. Those fighting the flames face some of the toughest working conditions of any emergency services workers, sometimes enduring shifts of up to 60 hours. They often work in areas with extremely poor air quality, where the fires spread to urban areas and can create toxic chemicals, the health impacts of which are not yet known. Matt Alba who led a team of firefighters at last year’s Camp fire said, “There was this awful taste to it. We just knew it was wrong.” While the full extent of the health impacts resulting from this are unknown, a study of 30,000 firefighters by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found a 14% increase in cancer deaths for those

Photos: Flickr fighting fires in urban areas. Unfortunately with the rate of climate change continuing to increase, so does the risk of wildfires not just in California, but in the Amazon, and even in the Arctic circle. Humans suppressing wildfires can also increase their intensity when they eventually do burn as doing so allows fuel to build up, which would be naturally cleared had the fire continued to spread. While the exact cause of each fire can’t always be determined, it’s clear that they will only become more

common as the climate warms. Speaking on the issue, President Donald Trump has vowed no more federal aid will be given to the state of California. The President tweeted, “Every year, as the fire’s rage & California burns, it is the same thing-and then he comes to the Federal Government for [financical] help. No more. Get your act together Governor. You don’t see close to the level of burn in other states... But our teams are working well together in putting these massive, and many, fires out. Great firefighters!”

Uproar as recent issue of Sri Lankan stamps released Piriyanga Thirunimalan Senior Global Writer

The recent sets of national stamps released throughout Sri Lanka have led to widespread uproar and

“The release of these stamps has irritated an already infuriated Tamil diaspora” backlash over social media, and specifically the Tamil diaspora. The stamps depict the 18 stages of ‘Daha Ata Sanniya,’ translating directly to, as stated by the Tamil Guardian, the ‘dance of the demons,’ or ‘dance of the diseases.’ The stamps have the words “traditional exorcism ritual” written at the bottom as the ritual is practised widely in many regions in the south of Sri Lanka. However, one specific stamp stands out and has drawn much media attention and criticism to it. This stamp reads “Demala Sanniya,” meaning the demon of Tamil, a disease which causes hallucinations and bad dreams. The demon drawn on the

stamp is shown to be dark-skinned and wearing a “vibuthi” (a sacred Hindu ash which is applied on the forehead). This has further led to allegations of religious hatred and discrimination against the Hindu religion. Many Tamil activists have taken to social media, arguing that the

stamps are deliberately implying that the Tamil race is a disease. Mario Arulthas, the advocacy director of PEARL (People For Equality and Relief in Lanka), took to twitter expressing that the stamps show that, “racism runs deep” in the country and tweeted “This is Sri Lanka.” TAG (Together Against

Genocide), have also commented regarding the stamps, tweeting that the innate racism, “goes to explaining the genocide.” Hit by Civil War for 26 years, 1983 till 2009, the country has deeply embedded racial tensions, and the oppression and war crimes committed against Tamil civilians by the Sinhala-majority government

have still not been investigated or trialled. Previously, Tamil land is being grabbed by the Sri Lankan military and the predominantly Tamil north is still under heavy military presence. The release of these stamps has irritated an already infuriated Tamil diaspora.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons



19th November 2019

Movember: A Global Movement Advocating Men’s Health Monique Santoso Features Writer

Mental Health Crisis Have you walked across campus and noticed previously clean shaven men allowing their facial hair to grow? Welcome to Movember. Every November, men across the globe have decided to make a conscious decision to grow their moustache as a tribute to a worldwide campaign called Movember. The idea behind the movement is that men who would normally not grow their facial hair would be sponsored to do so to raise money for men’s health.

“Through social media, Movember became a visual campaign”

The movement, run by the Movember Foundation, focuses on raising awareness for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, men’s mental health, and suicide prevention. “Men are dying too young. We cannot afford to stay silent,” is the mission statement adopted by the movement. Since its start in 2003, the foundation has funded more than one thousand men’s health projects around the world. By 2030, they aim to reduce the number of premature male

death by 25 percent. Over five million men and women, also known lovingly by the charity as “mo bros and mo sistas,” have been part of the event since its inaugural year. Due to its focus on building relationships for a better quality

of life for men, the movement has garnered support from various well-known figures such as New Zealand’s rugby captain Richie McCaw, Today sports presenter Cameron Williams and Stephen Fry. Movember’s Global Marketing Director Paul Mitcheson said that the success of the movement is due to the

campaign’s “intrinsic ability to encourage creativity. ”Today, the rise in social media has sky-rocketed their movement in unpreceded levels. Through social media, Movember became a visual campaign, with men encouraged to photograph their moustaches online and create a personalized digital fundraising platform.

In 2018, the movement introduced ‘Move’ – a program that challenged women, who were felt underserved in Movember, to run or walk for 60 kilometers. Not only did ‘Move’ help break down gender boundaries and get women and men active, but it also took a stance on physical activity and its benefits connected to mental health. Like ‘Move,’ ‘Host,’ another one of the Movember foundation’s initiatives, took shape from community feedback on Movember. ‘Host,’ works through

Photo: needpix

creating events that raise money for men’s health. The effect of these programs led to a staggering fundraising outcome of over £550 million in more than 20 countries. To support Movember and men’s health, the University of East

“Men are dying too young. We cannot afford to stay silent” Anglia is hosting the following activities: Movember Miles: Equivalent to ‘Move,’ the University hosts a free, no booking necessary, 5k run every Tuesdays and Thursdays from the Sportspark. Male, Female, and Non-Binary Mental Health Training: These sessions run on Mondays (18/11) and (25/11) and Wednesday (28/11) and are aimed to engage clubs and societies to reduce the stigma around talking about mental health through equipping them with signposts for students needing assistance. Movember Yoga: On November 15, the Yoga club is hosting a yoga class that supports men’s health charity. More events are posted on the UEA(SU)’s website. So show your support by attending these! Last year, the University raised over £7,500 as a result of Movember.

To drink or not to drink, that is the question. Jess Barrett Deputy Editor

Alcohol Awareness Week is a new initiative by uea(su) to raise awareness about how alcohol affects your mental health. University culture relies heavily on alcohol and activities surrounding drinking. However not everyone enjoys a drink or the culture that surrounds it. uea(su) is also a member of the NUS’s Alcohol Impact project. The project claims to challenge stigma surrounding drinking alcohol and impact societal norms around drinking. Additionally, the project also wants to support students on their journey to develop a positive relationship with alcohol and improve their mental wellbeing. Alcohol Awareness Week is also educating students on how to drink responsibly, particularly on what a unit of alcohol looks like for different alcohol beverages. It is commonly thought students regularly binge drink and are unaware of the impact of consuming vast amounts of alcohol can have on both your physical and mental wellbeing. Various activities have been held within Union Houses’ Hive to promote awareness about the negative impact drinking can have upon your wellbeing. The Alcohol Impact team have

been educating students about the number of calories the popular alcho-pop ‘VK’ has per bottle. The uea(su) bar have also held drink deals all week, reducing the price of Heineken 0%, Seedlip and Tonic and pints of Coke Zero and Lemonade. Jake Walker-Charles, a Second Year English Literature student stated, “As a student who doesn’t drink alcohol, I support the week and think it is especially important for first years because coming to uni is quite a big change and can develop quite a negative relationship with alcohol during this turbulent time.” Amelia Trew, Welfare, Community and Diversity Officer at uea(su) said: “Alcohol Awareness Week is a great opportunity to start a conversation about students relationships on campus. Our work [last] week [was a] small part of raising awareness about alcohol  consumption from a stall where students can better understand units of alcohol to reducing prices on alcohol free drinks over the week so people can give them a try on a night out in our venues. Beyond the week we have a whole host of activity to offer those  who chose not to drink from our year round Do Something Different programme to supporting societies to get access to cheaper non alcohol focussed socials.” Sam Hewitson, 3rd Year Politics and International Relations student first came to UEA at the age of 17,

“They’re important because having the option to not drink doesn’t make you feel forgotten about. I felt that coming to university revolved around drinking and I had anxiety about not fitting in. There is the implication is a prerequisite to having fun.” Alternatively, Matt Branston, a second year Politics student who doesn’t drink alcohol commented, “I think it panders to people who don’t drink because they feel quite derogatory and segregate you even further.” UEA is community and it is important to create and maintain relationships that do not rely on the consumption of alcohol. Alcohol can help students to come out of their shells and make friends at university, but it can sometimes contribute to the anxiety students feel and can consequently have a negative impact upon their wellbeing. Hangovers and ‘hangxiety’, can lead to students having a heightened level of anxiety and stress, in addition to any mental health issues they may be experiencing about their academic responsibilities. It is important to recognise university is a space where you can enjoy yourself without having to rely on alcohol. Initiatives and celebrations such as ‘Alcohol Awareness Week’, which celebrates being t-total are key to making the university community completely inclusive.

Photo: Jess Barrett


19th November 2019 | @ConcreteUEA

Student housing, a home from home Sam Hewitson Features Writer

Finding a house is stressful, there is no way to sugarcoat that. Having done it twice now, and because I am starting to have to think about my accommodation for after graduation, I can speak from experience when I say this. The Student’s Union offers many avenues of help when it comes to finding housing, so the support is there, especially if this is your first time joining the rat race. Homerun is a service provided by the SU, which lists properties for you to consider, and these are held back until a set date. They are therefore recommended houses that should, in theory, make your tenancy and hunting process easier, instead of going at it alone to then face problems the SU could have helped mitigate. This service is not open until after Christmas, so as to ensure all the ‘good places’ don’t get snatched up. There is also the housing and accommodation office in the Hive, where you can get advice about how to apply, dealing with landlords, and more advice that will help you through the process. As for the general advice they give, they list things to consider in each property, notably, location in proximity to the university and the city, parking if you have a car, and what style is desired.

However, some sacrifices will undoubtedly need to be made. For instance, I live within a fair walking and commuting distance to university, with amazing people in a really modern house, but getting to my part-time job in the city is a pain. Now, housemates. Possibly one of the most stressful parts of the process. If you sign too early, things could go wrong, but signing too late could also be problematic. Strike the balance perfectly then you are golden, but I would always argue that the people you live with are infinitely more important than where you are. Having signed for my second year house very quickly, for it to then go very wrong with my housemates, I am a shining example of this. Current flatmates may be a safe option, because there is a little safety in knowing that you know living together works, but coursemates may be a good idea given the common interest and how helpful this could be academically. Another thing that needs to be considered is bills. Do you want a place where the bills are included in the price? Alternatively, are you happy to sort bills yourself? Having done both, I can confidently say that sorting bills is not as much of a nuisance as some might suggest. Yes, you have to make sure your housemates pay you back when the money leaves your account, but if you

Photo: Geograph

like the people you are with, then that shouldn’t be too difficult. There are rumours floating around about all the different places to live in Norwich, which may put you off them. I urge you not to listen to such trends, because it is all about what you make of it, and varies from property to property. There are people that tellFlickr you Bowthorpe/ Photo:

Threescore is too far away, and yes, it is far, but the bus takes seven minutes to university. People will also say that the Golden Triangle is a dodgy area, but in reality, if all you see is your house and the 25 bus route, then where is the issue? Ultimately, it is a difficult process where sacrifices have to be made. It is a game of priorities,

where some things have to give in favour of others. You just need to work out where this takes you. I cannot stress enough how relieving it is to finally sign on the dotted line, but that does not mean rushing to get it done unnecessarily quickly. After all, you are preparing for a whole year, so your happiness must be the priority.

It is just blood. Period. Leelou Lewis Features Editor

A young woman walks into the kitchen, she is carrying a warm water bottle pressed against her stomach and she looks exhausted. She leaves after grabbing a sandwich and as she does a female family friend who we are visiting whispers, “That time of the month”, to which my dad very casually blurts out “You mean her period?”. Our family friend is shocked at first, as if she had never heard someone say it so naturally, especially not a man. To us, my family as well as my friends at home in Sweden, periods are not taboo but a normal conversation topic, natural as it is. However, this was not the first time I encountered periods being taboo to speak about or period stigma. Half of the world’s population bleed for, usually, about four to seven days every month, it occurs naturally and is therefore, more often than not, out of our control (there are of course ways to control your period but that is a different topic). Still, most people with

periods hardly speak about it. I remember whispering about it around school, asking my mum to write it on the shopping list, enabling me to avoid being seen buying pads and tampons. When in school, all the girls would try to hide sanitary products as they transferred them from locker to pocket when they needed changing. Every woman figures out ways to hide she has her period, many feel embarrassed, some get actively teased or harassed if they are “found out”. It almost seems as though

“Every woman figures out ways to hide she has her period” it

were a crime. Why? The female body has been taboo for decades, it is so deeply rooted in society that it will take time to make significant change,

though change is coming. How fast and in what manner depends on country and culture, among other things. Growing up in a different country I have first hand experience of this as periods, nudity and bodily functions seem more widely accepted in Scandinavian culture than it generally is in the UK, among other places. The UK is however improving, as is the rest of the world - there are several articles on the BBC discussing periods, there is a massive increase in charities working towards improving the accessibility of sanitary products for all, meaning providing free products as well as more and improved options. But to really initiate change and improve, or, normalise, the subject of periods we need to figure out where to start and where would be better than in schools and at home? The focus should not be on mainly educating girls regarding the subject, but equally educating boys as this would decrease the stigma and prejudice they might have. By increasing the information given to children we normalis the

subject and the phenomenon young woman start to bleed and it is completely normal, they use pads or tampons to absorb the blood and that too is completely normal, half the world’s population does it. So if you happen to be met by a lot of stigma regarding your period or if you might feel ashamed of it, please find someone you can start having conversations about it with, educate yourself but also educate others. And I can not put enough emphasis on the importance of educating everyone equally on this matter, so do not neglect your male friends as well. Usually they tend to be rather curious.

Photo: Unsplash



19th November 2019

Beef, Brexit, and how uea(su) Jess Barrett in conversation with campaigns After a hectic week within uea(su) largely focussed on Union Council’s decision to stop the SU selling beef, campaigns and democracy officer Sophie Atherton and I sat down to discuss what she’s been getting up to in her second year within the role. We met in a bookable room in Union House, away from the hustle and bustle of the Hive. I wanted to talk about the elephant, or rather cow, in the room. “So Union Council happened last week,” she tells me. “We had a motion called ‘We have beef with beef’. Our environment officer proposed that motion and I seconded it in support. “I have sustainability within my remit, so I thought it was appropriate, and I agree with the sentiments of it. Fundamentally what it proposes is that uea(su) outlets remove the sale of beef and we lobby the university to do the same. The university doesn’t have to do what we say. It would be amazing if they do look at this because beef is one of the most unsustainable meats. If you’re going to eat meat - eat chicken or pork - it’s more sustainable than beef.”

Atherton says, “UEA declared their climate and biodiversity emergency earlier this year. So, I think this is just sort of a thing that’s going to keep on coming.”

“If you’re going to eat meat - eat chicken or pork” Although there are 17,000 students at UEA, only 90 voted on the motion, which passed by just 1%. Atherton tells me, “When you look at those 90 representatives, we do represent the student body. I think anybody who wasn’t happy with the decision-making process, I tell them go and fill out our democracy survey that’s currently going on or get

involved in the discussion of our review, because if you don’t like our decision making - that’s why that review is taking place.” We turn our discussion to the upcoming general election on 12th December. Atherton explains she’s been working with the city council to encourage students to register to vote. “I do work with our marketing team to get some stuff put together for doing a slow push - we knew a general election was coming in the current political climate.” She adds, “The plan is to have more voter registration drives, which I’m hoping to do in collaboration with the political student societies on campus. “The hustings will take place before the deadline to register. So hopefully that will be another drive for people to come and get involved in the discussion that’s being had about the decision we all have to make on the 12th. “And don’t forget to register to vote whilst you’re here.” Interestingly, Atherton states, “It’s probably worth noting the university has a legal requirement to encourage students to register to vote. First year students and student’s living on campus typically get automatically registered. And that’s the result of a data sharing agreement that the university has got set out. I believe it’s in the

works to make that happen for second and third years and there are more discussions with the university and the city council to [make] that happen.” Atherton says the reason students should vote is to “get to have their voice.” “If we can get students and young people 18 to 24 to vote, then they’ll have conversations with friends. I think it’ll make such a huge difference,” she adds. Atherton moves the conversation to Brexit. “If we look at the Brexit referendum the younger electorate voted more to remain and the older electorate voted more to leave. Obviously it was a close result. If we can encourage 18 year olds from day one when they turn 18 [to vote]... I think hopefully we can see some really positive changes in electoral engagement.” But Atherton’s job doesn’t only revolve around student and national politics. In her manifesto she said she wanted to increase SU transparency. I

ask her whether she’d succeeded. “I’d say yes and no. I think there’s always more we can do. Something I’ve been really keen on is having more Instagram stories about what us as officers are up to. I always do a blog on what happens at the last union council, so I’m linking in my officer update for that so the wider student population can see that.” Atherton talk to me about her attempt to engage students. “I sent out emails to the heads of each school saying, ‘this the work I’m doing, if you can promote that to your students, that would be really great’. I think I can do so much and I want students to come and talk to me. I want to hear their opinions on how we can change things positively.” In addition to engaging the wider student community, Atherton reveals, “Something I was really keen to do in my manifesto and I think I did list it, is I want office hours. “Unfortunately, this isn’t something I’ve been able to achieve yet. I’m wanting to get banners saying this is your democracy officers and all five full time offices will eventually have these. I think it would be good to set up hubs in the


19th November 2019 | @ConcreteUEA

does represent UEA students and democracy officer it with various individuals to work towards because I think that’s a key bit of information in improving Wolfson and Orwell - which are lower ranked accommodations.” Atherton remarks, “The discussions I’ve had with university staff from a student’s union perspective, people never agree with increasing accommodation.” Atherton states, “According to the uni poll survey that went live last year and we’re in the bottom third [for pricing], but I still have students telling me the accommodation is too expensive. So I think it’s balancing that.” Atherton confirmed her stance, saying “I would never say increase rents. I fought on a manifesto way back in March saying I want fair rents for students.” I wonder whether accommodation pricing is particularly bad at UEA or whether it is a nationwide problem? Atherton tells me, “It is a nationwide problem. I know there is a nationwide scheme that the welfare officers worked quite passionately on called: ‘cut the rent’ and ‘rent strike’”. Atherton outlines, “So I think it is a national problem and I think it n e e d s to be Hive - key places students will be so that students can come and talk to us. I’m always at the end of an email ... I’m more than happy to be approached.” Atherton recently attended a student accommodation roundtable. She seems set on claiming an inaccuracy in a tweet by universities minister Chris Skidmore. “I was one of two student representatives that were in the room, which differs to Chris Skidmore’s tweet saying that there was four - there was two of us.” Atherton tells me about UEA and student purpose-built accommodation, “Obviously you’ve probably seen Crown Court go up and Crown Place and the second tower wasn’t ready in time.” Atherton explains, “So a discussion on actually having them [Crown Court and Crown Place] built in time came up and we talked about codes and regulations and whether they can be tightened, and different students informed.” Atherton divulges that some students had to be informed that their student accommodation wouldn’t be ready in time for their arrival. Atherton explains, “we allowed them to come out of that [student accommodation]

contract and move elsewhere if they want to.” When discussing accommodation rent pricing further, Atherton outlines, “I think the prices range from between 600 pounds and a thousand pounds a month in Crown Place, which is quite expensive, I mean, I know I wouldn’t be able to afford it.” Another important point of discussion within the interview was the link between accommodation and student wellbeing. “We spoke a little bit about wellbeing and I raised the point, ‘why should the maximum student loan for the highest accommodation?’ ‘Is it because they haven’t attended university before and it’s a safety mechanism?’ That’s a piece of work I would like the university to do. I have raised

Sophie Atherton addressed in a wide scale, which is why Chris Skidmore, I think, had that roundtable. It was something on the cards before he got an

“We’re all human, we support students” interest because the Department for Education were setting up an accommodation advisory group, which I’d been invited along to feed into the response to the Augar review - whether the Augar review will be implemented - we don’t know, but I don’t think accommodation is going to be stopped talking about soon.” Atherton wants the university to be have a more “transparent approach” to accomodation prices. “I think it’s all well and

good saying it’s going back into the university, so it’s benefiting students. But I think there needs to be a transparent approach to it.” She adds, “I think that transparency does need to be done so that students can understand where that money is going. “Because surplus needs to be done sometimes for maintenance, for security and for the wardens that look after the accommodation.” We end our interview talking about her role and how she may have changed the way she conducts it. Atherton says, “I think this role is really rewarding. It’s really difficult at times. “And I think we’re all human, we support students and are doing everything we possibly can. “I’d say if someone’s passionate about changing things definitely consider going for an officer role, whether that be a part time, or a fulltime position. “I definitely see the benefits of it even through the highs and lows of the role.”



Photos: Concrete/ Roo Pitt

19th November 2019



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19th November 2019


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#UEA Check out these photos from last year’s Media Collective Christmas Ball! The Media Collective is having a Christmas Ball! today is the last day to buy your ticket! Tickets are only £30 and can be found on the SU website! Photos: Daniel Clegg Photography



19th November 2019

Concert culture: manners maketh moshpit

Photo: Oliver Shrouder

Oliver Shrouder Comment Writer

On 5 November 2019, the classic rock band Feeder, most well-known for the songs ‘Buck Rogers’ and ‘Just a Day’, played at the LCR to a mixed crowd, though consisting mainly of older male non-students. During the set the band was met with an uproarious crowd, swelling in enthusiasm as they began to focus more on the classic songs from their earlier work. However, as this enthusiasm increased, so did the raucousness of the older members of the crowd.

Throughout Feeder’s set, perhaps not heavy enough to warrant such a reaction from the crowd, two people were pushed to the ground and remained there until able to push themselves back up. One woman was pulled to the centre of a group of moshers and found herself unable to leave. One UEA student commented about a hit to the nose from a man standing in front, causing a nose bleed and forcing him to leave the concert early. Sadly, these events did not occur within a mosh-pit. Instead, it came from the boisterousness of a group of men in the second and third rows, not

conscious of those surrounding them. Most notably, the actions of the crowd broke the unspoken rules of mosh pit etiquette. If one has frequented venues to listen to heavier bands, the pits in which people get thrown around have a notable hypersensitivity to those that choose to dance within it. People are picked up when they fall during these more organised pits. On previous occasions I have seen lost items held in the air to be retrieved once the song had concluded. On that basis, it is a shame that these methods of safety were

not upheld by the crowds present during the concert. No distinct pit was established to dance within and this left those simply there for the music unable to back away from those shouldering each other. The floor was littered with crushed SU cups knocked from those not wishing to be involved but had been forced into the centre. Mosh pits, on principle, should not present a danger to those in the crowd, let alone those involved, and this led to people having to leave the concert early, despite the £25 spent on tickets. Perhaps the most notable issue of the night was the failure of the

bouncers present at the venue to both acknowledge the deliberate violence of those in view, and escort them out of the venue before further people became injured. In the same vein, if this behaviour occurred during any club night, such as Damn Good or A-List, the perpetrators would have quickly been thrown out, yet this failed to occur during a night when people were beginning to get injured. Both the SU and those working under it have a duty to ensure the safety of those who come to the LCR to watch the bands they enjoy. I feel that their actions were not up to the standard I expect from the university.

‘It’s a shame and it’s infuriating’ Gabriel Ward Comment Writer

In the wake of the announcement that ISIS had been defeated, the US withdrew troops from Syria, with an understanding that there wouldn’t be fighting between the Kurds and Turkey. However, President Erdogan took the opportunity to launch an invasion into Northern Syria and push back the US-backed Kurdish fighters. As a result, Trump sent a letter to Erdogan threatening economic sanctions and requesting he negotiate with Kurdish leaders. Trump’s letter is an embarrassment. Not because of its threatening tone or lack of verbosity, but for its disgusting insincerity. If Trump cared about the Kurdish people, he wouldn’t be withdrawing troops from Syria. The letter is an attempt (admittedly, a mind-bogglingly pathetic attempt) by Trump to save face. Being widely panned for his decision to withdraw from Syria

must have made him think twice – about himself. Let’s take the letter seriously, it’s from the leader of the free world after all. Firstly, there is the threat of economic sanctions in the place of military involvement. This is an inferior shield to the Kurdish people. The threat of economic sanctions, without military intervention, is only effective as a deterrent. Should Erdogan decide to begin killing the Kurds, the sanctions can’t stop him. By way of assurance, in his letter Trump references the case of Pastor Brunman as an instance where such economic sanctions worked (the Turkish government backed-down from arresting Mr Brunman, and permitted him to return to the US). The implied argument then, is that such sanctions – increasing tariffs on Turkish products – will work again. The comparison is a flawed one. Without meaning to sound callous, Brunman was a relatively minor issue. He was one man, and almost

entirely unimportant to Erdogan’s regime. The issue of the protection of the Kurds has higher stakes – potentially millions of lives. It is entirely possible that the Turkish regime will decide to take the hit, in which case, without the military intervention Trump appears so opposed to, the Kurds will die. To those squealing readers who don’t believe that military-force can have any positive effect, I direct your attention to NATO intervention in Kosovo. Bankrolled almost entirely by the US, the air-strikes there drastically shortened the war. Secondly, and this has not been brought up much, there is the issue that Trump broke confidentiality. He includes, to Erdogan, a private letter written by Mazloum Abdi – the nominal Kurdish leader. In this letter, Abdi states his willingness “to make concessions that [he] would never have made in the past”. Other than being a disgraceful betrayal of principle, this is, to put it bluntly, incredible. Should the Kurds

attempt to bluff – a viable, if desperate, negotiation strategy – Erdogan will see right through it. It is almost as though Trump is now working with the Turks against the Kurds, rather than with the Kurds against the Turks. The only thing I can praise the letter for is its clear, stern tone. Generally, there is too much pandering to dictators, and too much spineless verbosity in diplomacy where there ought to be solid principle. It’s a shame and it’s infuriating that it’s just phoney.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Flickr


19th November 2019 | @ConcreteUEA

The beef ban is udderly undemocratic

Photo: Pixabay

Jess Barrett Deputy Editor

As a result of a union council vote, the sale of beef in uea(su) has been banned. Consequently, Unio, shop(su) and bar(su) will no longer sell products with beef in them in an attempt to reduce the university’s environmental footprint. Unfortunately, this decision was made without sufficient consultation to the wider student body. It’s an issue that affects all students who study and work at UEA - they all should have had a say in this motion. Furthermore, about 90 students were present and the vote only passed by 1%, clear evidence of how torn the student body is about this issue. As a student who attended that particular Union Council meeting, I believed that the motion wouldn’t pass – there were a few strong arguments against the prohibition of beef sales. Before the vote, one student asked if the sale of quinoa and avocados would also be prohibited, as they too have a large, destructive impact upon the environment. Secondly, two students argued that those who can only eat kosher and halal meat would be restricted even further if the sale of beef products on campus was banned. I agreed with all these arguments against the ban and voted against the motion. Following the passing of the motion to ban the sale of beef

on campus, I would be interested to know if the SU will be bringing in substitutions for the number of products that will no longer be sold. One perspective that wasn’t discussed in Union Council was the impact that this motion would have on local businesses. UEA is based in Norfolk, this motion will have a detrimental effect on the business of farms across the county. We need to break out of our student bubble and see the wider effect upon the Norfolk community. Furthermore, it’s ridiculously unfair for there to be less options around campus for those that already face dietary restrictions. The much better solution would be reducing the amount of single use plastic that is used within uea(su) outlets. Yes, there are reusable cups in the bar and a reduction in drink prices for those who use keep cups in Unio, but so much more could be done. One student’s suggestion to tax beef would be infinitely better than what the SU has decided. Personally, I agree with this idea because tax could be expanded to address other environmentally harmful products such as quinoa, avocados and plant-based milk alternatives. Obviously, I support improving UEA’s environmental impact, but more students should have been consulted before such a significant decision was made. This is a dark day for UEA’s democratic process.

47% for 46% against 7% abstain

There’s no problem with the beef ban

Photo: Pixabay

Ellie Robson Comment Writer

Vs. 17k




The ban on the sale of beef at uea(su) outlets has sparked outcry from students on social media. However, the fact that this motion was passed at the most recent Union Council meeting demonstrates that there is support for the ban. I, for one, am in favour of the SU’s initiative and think that those who aren’t are missing the point. Only SU outlets are ceasing their sale of beef, which just means that it will no longer be available from the bar or the SU shop located on The Street. Other university owned outlets, such as Campus Kitchen, will continue to sell meal options that include beef. For meat eaters, there are still a range of options in SU outlets, you will only need to look elsewhere for your beef. This is easy to source from other locations. For example, the Tesco that is relatively close to campus still offers beef, and, whilst expensive, is arguably cheaper than the items that are frequently labelled as overpriced at the SU shop. I’m not sure that a “beef ban” is the best way to promote this move to students, but it is easier to understand when you regard it as less of a ban, and more of a choice from the SU to no longer engage with

a part of the meat industry which causes so much environmental damage. This isn’t a campaign from non-meat eaters who are trying to force you into their way of living, it is a smart move to make the campus more environmentally conscious in reaction to the current climate crisis. This is a positive move from the SU. We all do what we can for the environment on a personal level, whether that’s by being strict with your recycling or walking to university as an alternative to transport, but we need change on a larger scale to make a real difference. The literal state of the planet is far more important than the annoyance of a few people who now need to go to Tesco to purchase their beef, or simply select a different meat from the SU’s range. I have seen several comments stating that if the SU really cared about the environment, they would tackle the issue of single use plastic on campus, with many referring to the huge amount of VK bottles disposed of after an LCR night. I’m sure that removing the availability of VKs from the LCR would just cause another kind of backlash. But realistically, we need to start somewhere, and it is fantastic to see the SU taking this initiative. Hopefully, this “beef ban” is just the first step in UEA becoming a more environmentally friendly space.

‘The argument about rainbow poppies is so juvenile’ Amelia Groves Comment Writer

Surrounding the date of Remembrance Day, another controversy popped up on Twitter. A screenshot of a glittery, rainbow poppy being sold on eBay caused outrage amongst people, arguing that LGBTQ+ people were trying to hijack Remembrance Day. There were multiple dividing opinions, with people stating that many LGBTQ+ people would have died in the war so why couldn’t they get some recognition? Others claimed that it was political correctness gone wrong, and the symbol should not have been made to be about gender identity or sexuality. However, it is important to point out that in the eBay listing, there was no mention of the rainbow

representing LGBTQ+ people, it was simply labelled ‘rainbow glittery poppy style badge’. People seemed to get upset at the thought that LGBTQ+ people would have a voice and representation around Remembrance Day. The general rhetoric on Twitter that saw no issue with the poppy pointed out that homosexuality was criminal and socially unacceptable during the war, and thousands of soldiers would have lost their lives hiding their true sexuality or identity. Another person mentioned was Alan Turing, who played a vital role in defeating the enemy in World War Two and was homosexual. Even if this rainbow poppy was to represent LGBTQ+ people in the war, I personally see no issue with it when there are lots of different versions of the poppy, not just the red one. There are white, black,

purple; you can even buy poppies conjoined with football team logos on the British Legion website. You cannot be prejudice to one version of the poppy and not the others. If you are going to argue that a rainbow poppy is taking away from the essence of what the poppy represents, then all the other versions do too. Accepting the red poppy conjoined with Everton Football team but not a rainbow poppy representing LGBTQ+ is prejudice towards the latter group of people. Alternatively, I have an overarching opinion that this whole drama alludes to the commercialisation of Remembrance Day. People tend to get caught up with symbolism and forget what it’s epitomising. The argument over the rainbow poppy is so juvenile and insinuates how far removed we have become from remembering.

However, if the money is going to charity, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with wearing the representation that you feel most comfortable with, whether that be red, white, black, purple or rainbow.

Photo: Needpix

Science The hunt for dark energy


19th November 2019

Photo: Unsplash

Mali Hitchcock Brown Science Writer

It is currently widely accepted that both space and time started with the Big Bang. The Universe started as a small singularity that was infinitely dense and has continuously expanded since. This can be evidenced by an observed pattern called redshift (a result of the wavelength of electromagnetic radiation increasing). However, gravity in simple terms works to pull objects together, so how come the Universe is expanding? The answer is… Dark Energy. Dark Energy is a relatively new concept and is thought to represent

95% of the Universe, while the atoms that build galaxies, stars and planets are only 5%. The theory developed from observations in 1998 showing that the expansion of the Universe was accelerating, where at the time physicists believed that the expansion would slow down due to gravity. This meant that something had to be opposing the force of gravity and later this was attributed to Dark Energy. However, over 20 years after its discovery, almost nothing is known about Dark Energy, it is still just a theory. This has been described as ‘embarrassing’ by academics such as Prof Ofer Lahav from the University College London.

However, a new project based in the U.S hopes to help understand this mysterious force. A team of researchers plan to use a device called the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) that contains 5000 optical fibres, all acting as a telescope. It will be fitted onto the Mayall telescope in Kitt Peak Observatory in Arizona. Each telescope in the DESI will be able to capture light from a galaxy at peak intervals of every 20-minutes, so up to 360,000 galaxies a day. It will be able to map each galaxies distance from Earth and calculate how much the Universe has expanded in the time it took the light to reach Earth, all at an accuracy triple that of any project

done before. The project aims to observe a selected 35million galaxies to create a map of the Universe. But what does this mean in terms of Dark Energy? The project will be able to calculate the rates of acceleration more accurately than ever before, helping to confirm the theory of Dark Energy, but will also help scientists understand how Dark Energy works to oppose gravity. The key to this is a concept called Vacuum-pressure, a force created by subatomic fluctuations in spacetime. Current calculations show that the Vacuum-pressure should be larger than the force currently observed pushing galaxies apart. It

is thought that the Vacuum-pressure during the early universe was much greater than it is now, however if the study finds that the early Vacuum-pressure was the same as it is now then theories start to become speculative, such as our Universe being part of a ‘Multiverse’. What if Dark-Energy does not exist? The study also hopes to test the currently accepted Einstein’s theory of gravity, as it is possible the theory is incomplete. The device will be able to see far back into the past and see how gravity built the galaxies we see. So much is still unknown about the Universe and the laws of physics, hopefully this project will help develop more understanding into the Universe we know.

Discovery illuminates interactions between humans and mammoths Elena Damian Science Writer

Mammoths have captured the fascination of countless scientists along the years. There is a strong sense of mystery attached to their image: herds walking almost silently through the unforgiving freezing winds and storms of the ice age and yet thriving... But how? What made them so strong in the face of the cruel nature at that time? Mammoths have always captured

people’s imagination; resulting in iconic cave paintings and modern artists often depicting them as these mountainsized animals, but the truth of the matter is that they were not that different from their cousins – the elephants. All species of mammoths were almost the same size as the Asian elephant and had incredibly similar behaviour: very social and attached to its herd. Most of the differences between elephants and mammoths came around as a

need to adapt to the climate. Their thick fur helped during harsher conditions, their layers of fat helped them during fasting periods when food was scarce, their small tail and almost unnoticeable ears kept them safe from frostbite and ultimately, their most iconic feature – their curved tusks, almost 4 metres long, assisted them in finding food, defending themselves and scraping away the snow and ice. From 4.8 million years ago to up until about 3,700 years ago,

mammoths roamed the lands of Europe, Asia and North America. But what led them to extinction? Was it the climate or humans? In a short answer – we still don’t know. Humans did play their part in hunting them, but mammoths have gone extinct in places where humans never lived, too. A recent discovery might have shed some light on how exactly humans managed to defeat these animals that were about twice their size. For the first time, the use of traps has been discovered and in them the

remains of 14 woolly mammoths. The discovery was made in Mexico and originally the excavations were carried out for creation of a landfill, but once the 15,000-year-old skeletons were found, the site was taken over by archaeologists and anthropologists to further investigate the relationship between early humans and mammoths. You might ask yourself – why is any of this important? Because every discovery is a piece of the puzzle that will finally make us understand the world. And because every discovery leads us closer to the answers of the questions we don’t even have yet. our planet?

Photo: Wikimedia Photo: Commons Unsplash


19th November 2019 | @ConcreteUEA

Droughts devestate South Africa Monique Santoso

Science Writer

In the midst of South Africa’s World Cup successes, it is perhaps less widely known that the country is also facing its worst drought in living memory. The country has taken up various emergency measures and is declaring several parts of the country as disaster areas. Smaller towns in its Northern and Eastern Cape provinces have not had access to water for the past five years. This threatens their total water supply and livestock; foreshadowing a financial ruin. Heatwave conditions and late rains have caused a decrease in the local supply of water in many parts of the country. Although its urban areas still have reasonable water levels from dams, Cape Town’s introduction of ‘Day Zero’ will only add fear to those already suffering. On Day Zero, The City of Cape Town will switch off all its taps, which could mean that residents will have to stand in queues to collect 25 liters of water per person per day.

According to current projections in TIME, Cape Town could be out of water in coming months. Although the residents are not responsible for this crisis, they will need to cut down their usage drastically if they want to prevent it. During the past month’s heatwaves in Gauteng province, local reservoirs also ran dry. Climatologists at the University of Cape Town state that man-made global warming is the likely factor behind this horrific change. They also outline how this event is not an outlier and could soon happen to many cities across the globe, whether developing or not. For those in South Africa, city officials in Cape Town have urged the quick stocking up of the emergency supply of drinking water. The water crisis also stems from poor town planning, three past years of drought, and poor crisis management. With the country’s increasing population, its outdated water infrastructure has long struggled. Nevertheless, recent research shows that South African groundwater supplies are not yet being negatively affected.

Olivia Johnson Science Writer

package deals for clubs & societies an alternative to alcohol-focused socials

Photo: Pixabay



19th November 2019

Are big brands impeding on local cuisines? Laura Taylor Travel Writer

When I was younger, my parents had a rule on family holidays that we could not eat at McDonald's or Starbucks when we were away. A way of preserving the cultural experiences of our trips, this unfortunately didn't always work. A late night McDonald's after a delayed flight and a Starbucks early the morning after were just too convenient to resist at times, and once broken a rule never holds quite the same. I completely understand my parents thoughts when they decided this was the way family holidays should be. I have many treasured memories of tasting new delicacies in restaurants far away from the tourist trail having no idea what I was about to eat, ordering using a few words thrown together from a phrase book and some pointing. This has led to some slightly less palatable ones after the

local delicacies which proved themselves to be... interesting. This summer however our destination of choice was California, and it's not hard to argue that the local cultural staples

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

are the McDonalds and Starbucks we spent many trips avoiding. This proved to be an interesting experience in itself; Starbucks tastes somewhat sweeter across the pond, portion sizes are enlarged and the choices seem to be endless. While big brands are the centrepiece of American culture, this is not so true for other nations worldwide and there is much fear that globalisation is impacting upon cultural integrity. Brands have the power to change culture through their products and advertising and need to seriously consider the impact they may be having. But merely considering the impacts isn't enough - there needs to be more safeguards to keep corporations responsible for the consequences of their actions in developing nations. Native cultures need to have a voice. However, a piece in Forbes last year suggests that for both culture and brands to thrive, they should be intertwined. The argument being that both find their roots in stories and

storytelling, and they need to tell stories that people can relate to. This could mean not telling people living in rural areas of Asia about the characters on American TV but about their local celebrities, but it could also mean telling consumers in Hanoi about the ways they could benefit from a development. While it appears that this idea could provide a dual benefit, the idea of having culture and corporate so closely linked

“Native cultures need to have a voice” seems scary, and rightly so. It's important to consider who the storyteller is in this narrative, and what their intentions are. I'm sure we all know that for the most part big brands don't

care about the issues occuring in rural native populations. While there has been a rise in 'conscious' brands whose marketing is structured around the positive messages of their brand identity, the transparency of these companies is still up for debate. Tourists need to also consider how they spend their so called 'tourist dollar'. How tourists spend their money directly contributes to the development of growing economies and dictates whether smaller businesses will survive the growth period. For many small business owners, being able to feed their families their dinner depends directly upon visitors deciding to buy their wares that day, and with corporate competition increasing, there are worries that it will get harder to stay afloat. While more McDonald's and Starbucks will be popping up around the globe, I'll still try and avoid them on my next trip in the hopes that my tourist dollars can directly contribute to someone's livelihood instead.

The 'Pho'-nomenal food of Vietnam 'It is undeniable that food is Nhu Ngo Travel Writer

Writing this article has been an emotional ride for me, as it reminds me how much I miss food from home. Most dishes take lots of time and effort to cook, which is probably the reason why t h e r e

aren’t many Viet restaurants here in Norwich. However, if you get a chance to go to London, there are some authentic places that you should definitely pay a visit! My friends recommend BunBunBun, though I haven’t really tried it out personally. As you may not know, Vietnamese food is considered to be one of the healthiest cuisines around the world (I’m not being biased here).

Similar to other Asian cuisines, Vietnamese cuisine also follows the Mahubhuta principles – every dish needs to comprise of the five fundamental tastes to generate the overall balance flavour – spicy, sour, bitter, salty and sweet. Due to the difference in heat level, different regions tend to have their own signature taste so that they can adapt to the climate better. Food is milder and less spicy in Northern Vietnam, whereas people in Central Vietnam prefer spicy flavour and people from the South (where I am from) like their food to be sweeter. Many of you may have heard of Pho, our wonderful, hearty traditional dish. Thus, I want to introduce you to another superb noodle dish, Bun Bo Hue. To explain the name, Bun Bo means ‘beef noodle’ whilst Hue is a city in central Vietnam, where the dish originated. The dish contains spicy broth with rice noodles, with a kick of lemongrass. It may take quite some time to prepare the dish but the result will always be fantastic! Another interesting fact is that after every meal, we serve fruit as dessert as we find it rather refreshing than having a heavy sweet dish!

Photo: Flickr

every Malaysian's identity' Sylvie Tan Travel Writer

Malaysia is a bustling melting pot of cultures and a very unique nation in South East Asia, not only for its colourful racial and cultural diversity, but for its vast array of cuisines. It is undeniable that food is every Malaysian’s identity; speak to any Malaysian and ask them what they miss about home and the answer will definitely be the food. There will always be restaurants or hawker stalls open at any time of day so you can grab a bite whenever you want. With Malay, Chinese and Indian being the three main races, the Malaysian cuisine has been drastically influenced by the combination of the delicacies from these three cultures. Here are a few of my favourite dishes that I miss the most:

your morning with a little heat!

Cendol & Rojak

As Malaysia is situated in the tropics, cendol is a popular dessert to quench one’s thirst. It is a mountain of shaved ice topped with coconut milk, gula melaka (palm sugar syrup), green rice jelly and additional condiments such as red bean and sweet corn. This sweet and creamy dessert can be enjoyed anywhere; by the roadside, in your local kopitiam (coffee shop), or in shopping centres. Cendol is often enjoyed with another delicious Malaysian snack rojak, meaning ‘mixture’ in colloquial Malay, that consists of shrimp fritters and fried tofu dressed with shrimp paste. The combination of the sweet and icy cendol dessert with rojak fritters is the definition of a Sunday late afternoon indulgence for Malaysians.

Nasi Lemak

The renowned national dish of Malaysia. With its literal meaning of ‘fat rice’, nasi lemak is a delicacy from the Malay culture typically eaten as a breakfast dish. It comprises of coconut rice, sambal (chilli), fried anchovies, peanuts, cucumber slices and hard-boiled egg wrapped in a banana leaf package. This flavourful and spicy dish is the perfect way to kick start

Photo: Wikimedia Commons


19th November 2019 | @ConcreteUEA

Hidden gems of the culinary world Monique Santoso Travel Writer

No matter where you travel, you have to challenge yourself to the local delicacies, as the chances are you’ll ever eat it back home. After all, travel is about experiencing the differences and understanding how others live their lives. Admittedly, it doesn’t always work out, however, if you take a chance on the dishes below, I am certain you will not be disappointed.

Bird’s Nest Soup, China

China is home to one of the most expensive delicacies in the world: the bird’s nest soup. Dubbed the “Caviar of the East,” the soup’s high cost comes from the dangerous retrieval process of the nests and the painstaking cleaning they need to undergo before being certified safe to eat.

It is often cooked with rocksugar and served as a sweet dessert, highlighted by a soft gelatinous texture from the nest. Some also cook it with warm milk instead of sugar. To cook, you cannot simply microwave or boil it, it needs to be gently and slowly steamed in a double boiler after being soaked with warm water. Different fruits and syrup can be added before serving.

“You have to challenge yourself to the local delicacies” Mofongo, Made


Puerto fried



plantains, mofongo is a must-try Puerto Rican dish. It is often mashed with garlic and mixed with pork cracklings, before being shaped into a ball and served in a pilón (a mortar). While the classic mofongo is made of chicharron (fried pork rind), variations now exist that range from vegetarian options with garlic broth to shrimp and chicken. To cook, you need to make the broth and the mofongo separately to ensure premium taste.

soy sauce and serve with rice cakes or coconut milk rice. The result is a crisp and flavourful meal that anyone will devour.

Sambal Goreng Tempeh, Indonesia

Kapenta Zimbabwe

If you are looking for something vegan, Indonesia’s sambal goreng tempeh is high on plenty of visitor’s favourites list. Simply take tempeh and fry it in a wok before throwing in sambal, a smooth paste made from the crushing of tamarind, shallots, garlic, galangal powder, and red chilis. Temper it with some sweet

“A crisp and flavourful meal that anyone will devour” with


Due to the large fisheries that harvest kapenta, pronounced locally as ‘matemba’, this beautiful fish delicacy is almost exclusively eaten in Zimbabwe. Before cooking, the kapenta is dried in the sun for a day, before being stewed in a traditional recipe with tomato and groundnut sauce. Served with cooked sadza

(ground maize) or rice, the kapenta is the epitome of traditional cuisine across the country.

Dolma, Turkey

Dolmas, also known as stuffed grape leaves around the world, are made with different variations. The original Middle Eastern recipe of this appetizer involves a jar of grape leaves, parsley, and onion. While cooking, you must take good care of not ripping the leaves and leave them to dry on the cutting board before removing its stem. After assembling its filling (rice, vegetable broth, garlic, onion and lemon juice), you can place it in the lower-mid portion of the leaf where the stem used to be and roll the leaf until the filling is no longer visible. Proceed by putting the dolmas onto a pan simmered in olive oil before heating. The real experiment here is the spices: from oregano to mint to thyme, let your taste buds come to life with this recipe.

Photo: Flickr

The delicacies and disasters of Swedish food Linnéa Kalnins Travel Writer

When one thinks of countries with strong food culture, Sweden is rarely the first one that comes to mind, or even the fifth. Yet, food is something important to us, as becomes evident during holidays when all we do is eat.

But are all things we eat really that good? Absolutely not. Without further ado, let me introduce you to the highs and lows of Swedish cuisine:

Fermented herring

We’re off to a strong start at the very bottom of my list. “Strong” is an awfully mild

way of describing the extreme smell that accompanies this rotten (yes, you read that right) delicacy. Few people actually eat it, but it is nonetheless considered a traditional Swedish food.

Pickled herring

Thought we were done with the fish? Think again. Pickled herring is considered better than its fermented cousin (maybe because this dish isn’t actually rotten) and is frequently found among traditional Swedish foods. Still, it’s slimy and quite frankly disgusting, according to yours truly.

Salty liquorice

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

T h o u g h t liquorice couldn’t get any worse than it already is? Wrong. Throw some salt on and you’ve managed to make matters even worse.

Alright, let’s move away from the not-so-pleasant foods into more mouth-watering areas.


If you’ve ever been to IKEA, you know that Swedish meatballs are a thing. We love them so much that they too go on the list of foods consumed during every major holiday, and deservedly so, in contrast to a certain pickled fish.

Cinnamon buns

With pearl sugar, not some weird icing. We adore cinnamon buns so much that we have a full

“Are all things we eat really that good? Absolutely not.” day dedicated to the celebration of said pastry (National Cinnamon

Bun Day is on 4 October, no joke).

“'Strong' is an awfully mild way of describing the extreme smell” Tacos

Tacos might not be a Swedish invention, but since we first encountered the glorious dish we have adopted it and made it our own. Try to find a stereotypical Swedish family that does not start their weekends with tacos, I dare you. We love tacos. So, there you have it! The very best and worst that Swedish food has to offer. If you ever were to pay a visit up north, steer clear of the first three objects on this list, and indulge yourself in the three last ones until you’re stuffed enough to resemble the Swede’s favourite spherical object, the meatball.


19th November 2019


The 2021 Formula One regulations don’t work

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Marco Rizzo Sport Writer

The long-awaited regulation changes for the Formula 1 2021 season were unveiled by the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) during a press conference on the 31 of October. The changes were presented by FIA President Jean Todt and Ross Brawn, the senior figure behind the new regulations. Currently the Motorsport and Technical Director of the Formula One Group, Mr Brawn spent the last two years crafting a new set of technical and financial regulations in order to bring sustainability and competition to the sport.

While the technical regulations will have a profound impact on the F1, the financial rule changes have stolen the spotlight. For the first time in the history of the sport, a spending cap has been introduced, inspired by leagues such as the NFL, with severe consequences if teams are found to breach the cap. The FIA aims to level the field and allow mid and lower table teams to compete more consistently with the teams at the top of the grid. Starting from 2021, constructors will have a $175 million budget (around £137 million) per season and this will cover everything under the umbrella of car performance, from the development to the construction and upgrade of the car.

The budget cap does not include the salary of the drivers, marketing and the expenses of the top three people in management. It is not clear however, how the budget cap is going to affect the operations of the current four engine suppliers (Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Honda). While a step in the right direction, the truth is that seven of the teams to this day do not reach the $175 million budget meaning that, while the top three teams (currently with budgets in the range of $400 million) will be limited in their spending, they will still outspend the rest of the grid by large margins. The only solution for the financial disparity in the circuit is

a rework of the shared revenue system, which is universally agreed to be the main cause for the disparity in performance between the big three and the rest of the grid. In short, the top three teams receive a disproportionately large share of the circuit revenue at the end of each season due to bonuses and extra payments negotiated in the 2009 and 2013 Concorde Agreements. To give an example from last year, Williams received 25% of the share compared to Mercedes or Ferrari. This, in comparison with the Premier League 2018/19 which awarded bottom team Huddersfield Town a share 65% the size of Manchester City, the top placed team in the league. The current system also operates a number of bonuses

for the top four teams allowing teams like Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull to consistently receive the largest share of the revenue, even after underwhelming seasons. If the FIA actually wants to increase the level of competition, especially between mid-table and top teams, there has to be a rework of the prize money distribution system in order to stop the richer teams from consistently outperforming the rest of the grid solely by outspending them. Hopes are high for the 2021 season, with the FIA confident in their promises to deliver closer and more exciting races. But there is still a long road ahead with clear obstacles that will need to be confronted, sooner or later.

Lest we forget: Norwich City remembers Photo: Flickr

Jamie Hose Sport Editor

The Canaries observed Remembrance Day a little earlier than most of the country, with their match against Watford on the 8th functioning as part-ceremony and part-charity event. Service personnel and Royal British Legion volunteers manned the entrances Carrow Road, armed with collection tins. Norwich City players also bore poppies on their

match kits, which were auctioned off online after the match, with all the money going to the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal. Dual-branded poppy pin badges were made available in the Club shop at Carrow Road, purchasable for a minimum donation of £3 to the Royal British Legion. The limitededition badges sold out quickly, and fans were urged to buy theirs quickly by the club’s website to avoid disappointment. News of the events scheduled to take place at the game was released on the Canaries’

website on the Wednesday prior to the match. Two wreaths were laid by the side of the pitch, one from the home team, and one representing the Watford players. After that, the referee’s whistle brought a minute silence down over the pitch, during which the mournful tune of the ‘Last Post’ rang out. When the proceedings had finished, the match began. Norwich was soundly beaten down 2-0 by Watford, with goals from Gerard Deulofeu and Andre Gray, and a

yellow card to Watford’s Christian Kabasele. Again, at half time, the pause in the game was an opportunity for reflection, with a pitch parade involving RAF Marham, Royal Anglicans, ACF Norfolk Artillery Battery and Norwich Sea Cadets. The club also awarded the status of ‘Community Hero’ to Lyn Hatch, the Community Fundraiser for the Royal British Legion. This position is awarded by the team once a month to “a deserving community-minded individual,”

who is then offered the chance to place the match ball on the plinth prior to kick off. In response to the opportunity, Ms Hatch thanked both the team and Norwich supporters for their generosity. “Being a veteran, I love the fact that I have the opportunity to meet so many others,” she said. “To have the chance to work with, and still be a part of, the Armed Forces family… is incredible.” Norwich City’s next match is scheduled to be an away game against Everton on the 23 November.


19th November 2019 | @Concrete_UEA

Old Boys weekend for UEA Hockey

Photo: UEA Hockey

Bronwen Brown Sport Writer

This year, UEA Hockey Club’s annual Old Boys Weekend took place on the 9-10 of November. Old Boys Weekend are two days of the year when the club’s players, old and new, come together for a great weekend of hockey and reuniting with old friends.

And this year saw a huge turnout! The main aim of Old Boys Weekend is to fundraise for UEA HC’s charity ‘Meningitis Now’, in memory of one of the hockey club’s Old Boys, Mike Covell. Over the years, UEA HC has proudly fundraised on behalf of Meningitis Now in memory of Mike, to provide necessary funds for research and to support the families

affected by Meningitis. There are so many ways that the club fundraises, from selling scrunchies to the men’s and women’s fantasy hockey league. It’s a great way of using the sport to raise funds for an amazing cause. The fact that UEA HC has a history of fundraising for Meningitis Now means there is a huge amount of support behind all fundraising efforts.

Sunday 10 November was our day of hockey, where old boys and girls faced the current UEA hockey players. The event was a huge success, with a brilliant turn out from the club, past and present, and many other supporters. Zoe Collis, the club’s Fundraising Secretary, commented: “Old Boys annual weekend is a great way to catch up with old hockey friends.

“This fundraising weekend helps bring the club together past and future.” She went on to say, “It is important to remember our club’s history and why we are here: in the memory of Mike Covell in hope of raising money for a great cause, Meningitis Now. “It’s been such a lovely weekend and we’ve raised lots of money so far!”

Norwich City defending duo makes England U21s squad

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Charlotte Sykes Sport Writer

The Under 21s England Squad are currently in the qualification stage for the 2021 European U21 Championship and are currently at the top of their group after their 5-1 win over Austria. Norwich City defending duo Ben Godfrey and Max Aarons have joined Boothroyds team and have so far ensured victory each time

the two have been on the pitch as England have, so far, only suffered one loss against Romania. Godfrey, 21, was signed for Norwich back in 2017 and has since made appearances with the team in the Championship, FA Cup, EFL Cup and now Norwich City’s return to the Premier League, since being relegated in 2016. The centreback has made appearances in all 12 games this season, proving a valuable defender most notably in September when the team

established they were a force to be reckoned with beating Premier League Champions Manchester City 3-2 despite the champions having over 20 shots on target. Godfrey has also had an almost perfect clean sheet this season in the Premier League, having been awarded only one yellow card against former Champions Manchester United. The right-back signed for Norwich in 2016 and has since scored two goals for the Canaries under 18s team and two for Norwich

city in last year’s Championship against Rotherham and Bristol City. Aarons has played 10 out of 12 matches in the current Premier League and has been awarded three yellow cards so far against Newcastle, West Ham and Manchester United. Currently Aarons has played three out of five matches since joining the Under 21s England Squad equating to 230 minutes having played full time against Turkey and last minute substitutions

in the Kosovo and Austria games. So far, he has earned 1 yellow card in the England v. Turkey match. York born defender Godfrey has played for England 2 out of 5 games so far, equivalent to 99 minutes, of which England have won against Kosovo U21s 2-0, and Turkey U21s 3-2. He also received a yellow card in the Kosovo match. Upcoming matches for the Under 21s European Championship are on November 15 and November 18 and are being shown live on BT Sport.


19th November 2019


The role of celebrities in sport

Photos: Wikimedia Commons

Luke Saward Sport Senior Writer

In the early hours of Sunday just gone, fans across the globe will have tuned in to watch the boxing rematch between YouTube sensations KSI and Logan Paul. At the Staples Center – home to both the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers – the pair, who boast more than 40 million subscribers between them, put on a second underwhelming display, lacking in boxing ability to an almost laughable extent. However, this was different; this time they fought as professionals – not amateurs – in a six-round cruiserweight bout with lighter 10oz gloves and without protective headgear. Promoter of the rematch, Eddie Hearn explained this, stating that the duo would have to “follow the code of everybody else,” to avoid it being a “novelty event.” This is quite the retraction from his position before the first fight that he would not get involved, even being insulted by it as a purist of the sport. The first fight – over a year ago – generated a live gate of almost £3 million and close to 1 million payper-view purchases at £7.50 each. Considering many more opt to stream these events using pirated

websites, it could be argued that the fight introduced boxing to a younger, previously out of reach demographic. However, in response to this, it is submitted today that these fans will simply not be followers of boxing in the long-term. Generally, the most loyal sports fans attend events where they are financially able to do so. Therefore, it is interesting to note that unlike their first amateur bout where they sold out the 21,000 capacity Manchester Arena, the YouTube megastars were unable to fill the 20,000 seats available to be purchased in Los Angeles. Why, you may ask? One would assume that a professional boxing match without as much protective gear, with world championship fights on the undercard, in what has traditionally been the world’s biggest boxing nation, would lead to an enormous demand that could not be met by the organisers. But one would be mistaken. Interest in attending appears to have fallen, and it is clear that the many casual or even committed fans of the internet sensations were not sufficiently convinced by what they saw in the first fight to attend the sequel. This should have been anticipated. If you’re one of the 20 million YouTube subscribers or 9 billion viewers of KSI and Logan

Paul’s videos, you don’t care that IBF super-lightweight champion, Josh Taylor, said they’re not boxers. Nor that promoter, Frank Warren, called them, “Not even decent amateurs.” If you’re not watching the main event for the quality of the boxing, then likewise, why would you care about professional boxing at all? Those two having top-billing over world champions, such as Billy Joe Saunders, compromises the integrity of boxing. Paul had a far greater advantage in both reach and weight than is standard in a boxing match, yet the combined lack of skill of the pair managed to render these factors almost immaterial. The fact that the duo received a professional boxing license in itself is nonsensical. According to the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports, boxing record, boxing experience, boxing skill and physical condition are all factors to be considered in the granting of such a license. Aside from their first fight, only one of the two YouTubers had a single amateur fight to their name. KSI was coached by Viddal Riley, a British boxer of only three professional bouts, while Paul’s trainer was a former world heavyweight title holder Shannon Briggs, who has been unable to obtain a licence to fight himself since failing a drugs test.

Surely then, former England footballer Rio Ferdinand – a professional sportsman trained by drug-free Richie Woodhall, a former WBC super-middleweight champion – would be granted a licence. He was not. In fact, general secretary of the British Boxing Board of Control, Robert Smith said that this would not be “sensible for him or for the sport”. Clear as day it is then, that this divergence from standard policy must be linked to the far greater financial incentives in play. This is not unfamiliar territory for boxing. The finest boxer of his generation, Floyd Mayweather Jr – unbeaten in 49 fights and 26 world championship contests with titles in five weight classes – fought an opponent with no professional boxing experience, Connor McGregor. These unsafe, illogical events are not one-offs. Former manager Frank Maloney, described former cricketer Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff’s sole foray into boxing as “a mockery.” Outside of boxing, there is CM Punk – a formerly scripted wrestler – being granted a waiver to compete in the UFC, the largest MMA organisation in the world. This is in spite of him having no amateur fights to his name. Strangest of all may have to be Jesse Owens’ races against thoroughbred

horses. Of course, exceptions to all rules of thumb exist, with Soccer Aid – a charity football event that raised almost £7 million for children’s charity Unicef – being a prime example of this. Here however, they take greater care with the health of the celebrities involved, perhaps illustrated best by Michael Sheen repeatedly being substituted after only a matter of minutes each year that he turns out for the event, simply due to a lack of fitness. Further, Soccer Aid helps to bring an important social message to a wider audience, much like the Battle of the Sexes between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs in 1973, which brought women’s sports – particularly tennis – into the limelight. Had KSI and Logan Paul donated the proceedings of their rematch to charity, then they would certainly be entitled to the “respect” that Eddie Hearn believes they deserve. Instead, the rank commerciality of the event reflects a bastardisation of the sport that attracts fans of celebrities, who quickly get bored, rather than enthusiasts who can appreciate the rules of the match. I am inclined to agree wholeheartedly with a comment made by fellow promoter Bob Arum: “there are things in life to get excited about and this is not one of them.”

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