Life, the universe and everything Culture supplement Venue introduces its first ever Sci-Fi and Fantasy issue UEA’s Student Newspaper Issue 278 Free Tuesday 22 January
University refuses to fly Pride flag University Amy Adams Editor-in-chief The Union of UEA students has said that it feels “great disappointment” over a decision by UEA not to fly the Pride flag in February to mark the beginning of LGBT+ History Month. In an open letter of response to the University’s decision, LGBT+ officer Richard Laverick said the Union felt that flying the flag “would send a clear message to LGBT+ students, staff and visitors, that they are most welcome and can expect to be treated equally and respectfully on campus. Furthermore it would strengthen its commitment to ensuring the safety and rights of its students, regardless of sexuality or gender identity. Finally it would signal to all people its unwavering stance against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.” In the Union’s LGBT+ student experience survey last year, 83% said they wanted the University to fly the flag. Other institutions to do so in previous years include the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Norwich City Council, Norwich Castle, East Anglian NHS Trust,
The Co-Operative, Wadham College (Oxford University) and the University of Reading. A spokesperson for UEA said: “The university is fully committed to the principles of equality and diversity on campus and we take our moral and legal obligations in this area extremely seriously – always aiming for best practice rather than simply compliance. We have established a dedicated Equality and Diversity office and are proud of the increasing diversity of our campus, working hard with staff, students and local organisations to make UEA an inclusive and welcoming place to study and to work. “While we support wholeheartedly the rights of our LGBT+ students and staff, and wish the Student Union well for their celebrations during LGBT+ History Month, we are unable to agree to their request to fly the rainbow flag next month. The Registry flagpole is used to fly the official university flag. On the very rare occasions that we depart from this, it is to mark a ceremonial occasion such as a royal visit.” Anyone wishing to get in touch with the Union about this issue should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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SCI-FI THROUGH THE AGES
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News | Sophie Witts, Chris Teale, Amy Adams, Rachel Knott, Chloe Hashemi, Sam Gladstone, Abbi Forsyth, Sofie Cacoyannis, Robert Staniforth, Billy Sexton, Frances McKeown, Sidonie Chaffer-Melly Comment | Rosie Yates, Livvy Brown, Andrew Ansell, Robert Staniforth, Johnnie Bicket, Caitlin Gray Global | Robert Norris, Drew Nicol Features | Joey Millar, Billy Sexton, Lauren Cope, Joel Taylor Science & Tech | Dominc Burchnall, Rebecca Hardy, Sidonie Chaffer-Melly Travel | Maddy Hutt, Abigail Goddard, Caterina Incisa Della Rocchetta, Kirsten Powley Lifestyle | Abigail Miller, Maddy Hutt, Sidonie Chaffer-Melly, Bruno Gnaneswaran, Rebecca Layland, Emily Fedorowycz, Jasmin Chudasama Sport | Billy Sexton, Amelia Glean, Sidonie Chaffer-Melly, James Newbold Proofreaders | Charlotte Cox, Sidonie Chaffer-Melly, Stephenie Naulls, Emma Lee-Sang, Caitlin Gray, Elizabeth Jackson, Amy Osterloh Photographers | Emma Williamson, Jasmin Chudasama, Rebecca Layland, Jennifer Hymus, Sam Gladstone, Joshua Smithers, Anthony Collier, Abbi Forsyth, Chloe Hashemi, Jerusha Green, Elizabeth Margereson
The article “UEA lose University Challange final” in issue 277 was written by Polly Grice, not Chris Thomson as stated. The article “Union enforces bank boycott” wrongly states that the
Natwest on campus will be replaced by a Co-operative bank. This is not the case. The photograph of NatWest on page three of issue 277 should have been credited to Chris Teale.
The Editor’s Column What is it about January? It’s like everyone’s so scared of slipping into mundane post-Christmas blues that they go into dramatic overdrive. Even the weather is determined on transforming Norwich into the set of Narnia, or a Doctor Who Christmas special. Or maybe it’s more like Game of Thrones although sightings of wildlings remain unconfirmed. Just don’t forget to take your pet direwolf to lectures with you. Perhaps in light of these developments, Venue are fighting off the blues by launching their first ever Sci Fi and Fantasy-themed issue, including an incredible front cover from Comment editor Ciara Jack, so draw on a lightning bolt scar on your forehead and get excited. Meanwhile, University politics have also kicked off – rugby pun intended. If the RBS/Six Nations debate has passed you by, there’s an in-depth look on pages
12-13, and it will be debated at Union Council on 24 January. On the same night, Concrete will also be making its first foray into politics, proposing an amendment to the Union’s constitution which will exempt the Chief Executive from staff protocol rules which do not allow their salary, performance or conditions of employment to be discussed in Union publications; a rule that was broken by last fortnight’s front page, and a rule that I, personally, don’t think should exist in a democratic institution. Regardless of that, we have a great issue for you, and remember that it is never too late to get involved in writing for Concrete - or proofreading, or taking pictures for that matter. Just drop the editors an email at any time. May the force be with you, Amy Adams Editor-in-Chief
Your views: RBS boycott “If the Union wants to be ‘ethical’ in my book - and I take offence to the implication that using RBS is unethical - they’ll stop selling any meat products on campus. Why won’t they? Because people have different ethical standards.” -Lewis Robinson “One only needs to look at the benefits gained from the RBS ESSA, from societies such as the Economics and Management Society to realise that the positives far outweigh the disadvantages, not to mention the lost revenues from not showing the 6 Nations.” - UEA Investment Society “The question now is, how much are the students prepared to dilute their morals in order to be able to watch the 6 nations? Either they stand by their morals, and accept that having principles isn’t always easy, or they back down so that they can watch the rugby and apply for RBS grants. It’s just about how important those original principles are.” - John Taylor Join in the debate. Comment through
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University advises caution after students targeted in recent crimes Norwich Billy Sexton News reporter There have recently been a number of assaults made against students near the UEA campus. Issues have been raised concerning the safety of students as they leave campus late at night. Police believe the three incidents to be isolated. One happened on 6 December near the track leading from UEA towards Bluebell Road, followed by a handbag snatch on Earlham Road on 30 December. Two students were also assaulted on 8 January near Bluebell Road. On 14 January there was also a break in and theft of a student property in the West Earlham area. It is believed the thieves knew how to pick Yale locks or were in possession of a set of keys. The Dean of Students, Dr. Annie Grant, stressed that the University takes student safety very seriously. UEA security patrols campus 24 hours a day and a student safety group was set up in 2010, with members from DOS, UEA Security, the Union of UEA Students (UUEAS), Norfolk Constabulary and Norwich City Council to discuss and improve student safety and security. She encourages all students to take
appropriate precautions themselves, including avoiding isolated paths, particularly at night, even when they offer a short cut. Students are also advised to carry personal safety alarms, (available for £1 from the UUEAS), and not to use earphones whilst travelling alone at night as these can make students more vulnerable to a surprise assault. Trevor Smith, the Campus Services Manager in Security, also commented: “We are always looking to improve our camera coverage and have recently upgraded our open platform operating system to allow more cameras to be put onto the system. We are also considering improving lighting in some areas by adopting new LED technology.” Sam Clark, the Community and Student Rights officer at UUEAS, noted that whilst Norwich remains one of the safest university cities in the UK, this doesn’t mean that crime doesn’t happen. He also mentioned: “the Union has advice on their website with regard to travelling alone or in groups.” The security lodge can offer personal safety advice, as can the Dean of Students Office and the Union. If you are concerned about anything regarding your safety, the security lodge can be contacted 24 hours a day on 01603 592222.
Proposed amendment to Union NatWest boycott
University Sophie Witts News editor An amendment to the Union of UEA Student’s (UUEAS) Ethical Banking Motion will be proposed at Union Council on the 24th January. Put forward by Rhiannon Mohabir of UEA Korfball Club and seconded by Non-Portfolio officer Abbi Forsyth, the proposed amendment states that “the
Union will no longer bank with RBSNatWest, but the Union and its clubs and societies can still partake in events sponsored by RBS NatWest, including competitions such as RBS ESSA.” If the motion passes, students will be able to watch the RBS Six Nations Rugby in the bar when it begins in February, and apply for extra ESSA funding for clubs. Turn to page 12 and 13 for an in-depth explanation of the boycott and the Union’s decision.
Accommodation Nominations Office moving to open for union Nelson Court officer election University Sophie Witts News editor
University Sidonie Chaffer-Melly News reporter
The University has announced that the Accommodation Office will be relocating to Nelson Court, rather than Broadview Lodge as was previously believed. Students have raised concerns over the plans, citing the University’s decision to remove communal space without consulting the student body. A University spokesperson told Concrete: “The Accommodation Office is being relocated to allow the extension of the Union Food Outlet. Space is at a premium at the university and, despite everyone’s best efforts, the only viable site which has been identified is Nelson Court Common Room B. While the temporary loss of social space is regrettable, alternative bookable social space will be available in the new residences which open in the same part of campus next September.”
The Union of UEA Students has opened nominations for Union officers. They are also running several workshops on what job entails throughout the next month. There are 16 positions available (four full time and 12 part time), and nominations will end on the 15 February at 5:00pm. When asked what the Union was looking for in an officer, Communications officer Matthew Myles gave this statement: “The best Union Officers will be confident, enthusiastic, determined, empathetic and ambitious, with a real desire to make great changes for UEA students in the Union, University and world outside campus. “It's a unique experience with plenty of opportunity to become inspired and influential, and gain skills and Philip knowledge that will set you upThomas for life.”
Berry good for your health University Chris Teale Managing editor Women can reduce their risk of a heart attack by approximately one-third if they eat three or more servings of blueberries and strawberries every week, according to new research. Scientists from the UEA Medical School collaborated with researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and published their findings in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. The study shows that the berries contain high levels of powerful bioactive compounds called anthocyanins, which may help dilate arteries, counter the buildup of plaque and provide other benefits. They examined 93,600 women aged between 25 and 42, who completed
questionnaires about their diet every four years for 18 years. During the study, 405 heart attacks occurred, with women who ate the most blueberries and strawberries having a 32% reduction to the risk of having a heart attack compared to women who ate the berries once a month or less. Professor Aedin Cassidy, head of the Department of Nutrition at UEA led the study, and said: “This is the first study to look at the impact of diet in younger and middle-aged women. “Blueberries and strawberries were part of this analysis because they are the most-eaten berries in the United States. It is possible that other fruit and vegetables. “The findings were independent of other risk factors, such as age, high blood pressure, family history of heart attack, body mass, exercise, smoking, caffeine or alcohol intake.”
Dr Who Society materialises at UEA University Robert Staniforth News reporter
Students escape house fire Norwich Chloe Hashemi & Sam Gladstone News reporters Two students were rescued from a fire at their home in West Earlham on 22 December. The fire began following a night of heavy drinking when one of the students turned on the electric hob to cook a meal, but then passed out on the couch. A neighbour arriving home in the early hours of the morning spotted the smoke and alerted the emergency services immediately. Both students were pulled out of their home unconscious having slept through the fire and the sound of their fire alarms going off in their home. One of the occupants, who wished to remain anonymous, told Concrete: “I didn’t realise how damaging a fire can be
in such a short space of time. I guess the main point is how easy accidents are when drunk, just get a takeaway, don’t cook!” Both young men were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning. It took the firemen an hour to tackle the fire and it is estimated that six months will be required to renovate the house and return it to a suitable condition. The students were covered by the landlord’s insurance, but did not have any contents insurance to cover the loss of their possessions. The house was shared between four students, two of which were fortunately not at home during the blaze. Surprisingly, the house has already been rented out for the next academic year. For further information on fire safety, visit the Fire Safety Advice Centre online, which provides free procaution advice to prevent fire.
A new society is being created at UEA to bring together fans of the BBC series Doctor Who, which this year celebrates its fiftieth anniversary. The Doctor Who Appreciation Society, informally calling itself NINDA (“Norwich Investigations ‘n Detective Agency,” based on a similar group from the series), has been approved by the Union’s Societies Committee, and should officially become a society if approved at the upcoming Union Council meeting on Thursday. It was present at the Societies Fair on Thursday 10 January, and has already amassed over 20 paid members.
Set up by Elliot Folan, the group was created “because there wasn’t one” and “so people can come together as a group, appreciate Doctor Who in a group and have fun.” Whilst nothing is official yet, the society’s plans include possible trips to London’s BFI Southbank, where the British Film Institute is celebrating 50 years of Doctor Who throughout the year, or Cardiff, where much of the series is filmed. Other socials will be based on input from members, with some ideas likely to recreate famous moments from the series, such as TARDIS Hopscotch from 1965. The Doctor Who Appreciation Society can be found on Facebook, and costs £3 to join.
News 5 Graduates with High altitude adventure Firsts double in ten years in the Atlas Mountains 22/01/12
National Frances McKeown News reporter
Anthony Collier University Abbi Forsyth News reporter UEA Fell and Mountaineering club recently returned from their first ever overseas expedition to Morocco. Earlier in January, they successfully reached the summit of Jbel Toubkal, North Africa’s highest mountain, after four days of acclimatization. Jbel Toubkal is part of the High Atlas range of mountains in Morocco that run from east to west. Although Morocco isn’t normally associated with snow and ice, the team had to deal
with night time temperatures of -15 degrees centigrade and snow and ice on the paths. The challenging conditions provided the opportunity to develop winter mountaineering skills, using ice axes and crampons under the watchful eye of a guide. As well as the cold, the team had to deal with the sometimes debilitating effects of high altitude. In addition to summiting Morocco’s highest peak, the group also had the chance to tackle the second-highest peak, Ras Ouanoukrim, at 4083m. The ascent was more technically demanding and involved the use of a rope on a few sections. Reaching both summits was
a huge achievement for everyone and something that will be remembered for a long time. Both summit days required getting up before 5am, with the aim of being out the door as soon as possible and returning in time for a late lunch. This ensured that time was available in case anything went wrong. There are no mountain rescue facilities in the High Atlas Mountains, and expedition groups must deal with any emergencies themselves. The UEA team enjoyed a safe expedition without mishap, however a pair of girls that the group met were afterwards reported missing, though this later proved to be a false alarm. Following five days of mountaineering, the group experienced Morocco’s hectic capital city, Marrakech. The transition was a stark contrast to the peace and quiet of the mountains; the hustle and bustle took the group by surprise, but proved a fitting end to the trip before flying back to Gatwick the next day. Members of UEA’s Fell and Mountaineering club were lucky enough to be looked after incredibly well by the people of Morocco; from the mules that carried bags up to the refuge, to the meals they received from the expedition cook, and the wonderful expertise and knowledge of guide James Kniffen. The president of UEA Fell and Mountaineering club congratulated the expedition team, saying “it was a fantastic trip for everyone, and they achieved everything they set out to achieve and more.” To find out more information about UEA Fell and Mountaineering, send an email to email@example.com.
More photos from the Fell and Mountaineering club’s Moroccan expedition can be seen online at: www.concrete-online.co.uk/uea-morocco
The number of students graduating with a First Class degree has more than doubled in the last ten years, according to recent figures published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency. In 2012, a record one in six undergraduates were awarded firsts, totalling 61,605 students. This is compared to 41,150 in 2008. Universities across the UK showed a 16% increase on 2011 results, and here at UEA there was a 3% increase with 12% being awarded Firsts. More graduate jobs require a 2:1 degree as a minimum and with two thirds of students achieving either a First or a 2:1 last summer, employers will find it more difficult to differentiate between graduates leading to even more competition for jobs. However, although more students are achieving the highest grades, the number who go on to study at postgraduate level fell for the first time in the 201112 academic year. President of the with National Union of Students Liam Burns blamed the reduced enrolment numbers on the lack of financial assistance available to postgraduate students. Chief executive of Universities UK Nicola Dandridge, was quoted in The Guardian saying that “performance in A-level and other examinations has improved, so it is unsurprising that degree results would also show an improvement. However, the sector has recognised for some time that the current degree classification system is a blunt instrument.” The feeling was echoed in a response to the statistics by the Association of Graduate Recruiters, describing the current system as “barely fit for purpose.” They added: “The 200 year old degree classification system has become used more and more frequently by employers as an automatic cut-off point... as a recruitment tool it is a blunt and inconsistent measure.” In order to address the problems with the classification system, more than half of UK universities have adopted a new report card system, the Higher Education Achievement Report. This not only charts students’ academic achievements in more detail, but also provides potential recruiters with a broader view of the student by including extra-curricular activities, work experience and prizes or additional qualifications awarded alongside their degree. UEA proposed using the HEAR system in 2012, but later postponed its introduction.
Decline in number of non-EU postgraduates National Sofie Cacoyannis News reporter Figures released by the Higher Education Statistical Agency (HESA) show that the number of non-EU postgraduate students attending UK universities fell by 1% in the 2011/12 academic year. Over recent years the number of nonEU postgraduates has risen annually by an average of more than 10%. Jo Beall, director of education and society at the British Council said that the “reduction in postgraduate numbers is of real concern as international students make up the majority of numbers in many postgraduate courses and research teams in science, technology engineering and mathematics.” The number of students coming to the UK from China continued to rise, with 11,000 more enrolling in 2011/12 than in the previous year. Whilst India remained the second largest market, numbers fell by 23.5%. Similarly, Pakistan recorded a decline of 13.4%. By contrast the Netherlands has seen a continuous increase in the numbers of non-EU international students into its higher education institutions. UEA released a statement saying: “our non-EU postgraduate applications are currently up against the same point last year. While it is too early in
the application cycle to be certain of our final position, this is encouraging and suggests applicants continue to recognise UEA’s excellent academic reputation and the outstanding student experience we offer.” The decline in postgraduate study follows a letter by nine UK university vice-chancellors to The Observer on 6 January calling for the government to address the lack of support for postgraduate students. Last month the home secretary Theresa May announced that consular staff would interview more than 100,000 prospective students as well as implementing new limitations on students’ right to work during and after their studies. The measures are an attempt to prevent bogus applicants entering the country. However, Ms. Beall described the increase as “minimal when compared to other countries.” A UEA spokesperson remarked that the decline in some overseas markets, such as parts of Asia is “of considerable concern” especially as UK universities get 10% of their total income and a third of their tuition fee revenue from non-EU students. However, they added: “UEA’s ViceChancellor is working closely with Universities UK to bring the impact of this policy to the urgent attention of Ministers.”
Socialist Review editor defends rape controversy Judith Orr speaks to UEA Feminism
University Rachel Knott News reporter Editor of the Socialist Review, the Socialist Worker’s Party’s (SWP) monthly magazine, Judith Orr, was invited to speak to UEA’s Feminist society about women’s liberation on Thursday 17 January. However, questions quickly turned to the rape allegations that recently emerged against a senior member of the SWP. Judith Orr was confirmed as a guest speaker at the Feminist society’s discussion forum on Marxism, Feminism, and Women’s Liberation several weeks prior to the emergence of information regarding accusations of sexual assault against a senior member of the SWP’s central committee. News of an internal disputes committee’s decision to exonerate the party member caused controversy both online and within the party, resulting in the resignation of several key members. In an announcement on the society’s Facebook group, society president Hattie Grunewald stated “we had invited Judith to speak to us long before this story broke. “In the interest of free-speech and
lack of censorship, we are not planning to withdraw our invitation; however, we do plan to hold Judith accountable for the actions of her party.” After giving her intended talk on women’s liberation at the meeting, Orr opened up the floor to questions. Several audience members expressed concern at the SWP’s handling of such serious allegations. It was questioned whether it was fair of the SWP to deal with the matter internally instead of going through the court system, and whether an internal body could effectively punish such a serious offence if the party member had been found guilty. Orr maintained that the SWP were “more accountable than any other organisation,” being entirely intolerant of sexism, racism, homophobia, or any other hateful prejudices within their party. The decision to go through the party’s disputes committee, which Orr noted was elected yearly to ensure fair representation, was entirely the decision of the victim and expressed sadness on behalf of both parties involved that the matter, which was meant to be “utterly confidential,” had come out against their wishes.
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A party of free thinkers? Perhaps not. democratically elected member from his post simply for exercising his right to free speech.
“UKIP has sacrificed its own philosophy of libertarianism in order to appeal to an increasingly limited number of anti-equal marriage voters.”
Rosie Yates Comment writer Olly Neville, leader of UKIP’s youth wing, has been sacked for publicly voicing his support for equal marriage. Cementing the party’s position as one incapable of keeping up with popular thought on the subject of gay marriage, it also
simultaneously exposed its leadership as anything but the advocates of free speech they claim to be. Just this month party leader Nigel Farage gave an interview with The Guardian where he stated: “I want UKIP to be a party of free-thinkers.” There is something rather worrying when such a party ignores its own values, removing a
UKIP has a pretty good track record for remaining unfazed by the (worryingly frequent) outlandish comments made by its members. Last November culture spokesman Winston McKenzie received much criticism from the press for equating adoption by gay couples to child abuse. Hammering his offensive and ill-informed point home, McKenzie went on to suggest that some people come out as gay “as a sort of fashion.” You’d be wrong if you assumed that such comments might land you in hot water with UKIP’s leadership: Winston McKenzie remains in his post. This was despite the volume of negative attention those comments received in the press. Olly Neville’s support for equal marriage,
however, was deemed so damaging to UKIP’s reputation that he was sacked. It is doubtful that anyone would have paid much attention to Neville’s public support for equal marriage legislation had UKIP avoided sacking him. Instead, UKIP has rather shot itself in the foot over the matter. By sacking Neville the party has received a huge amount of press scrutiny over whether it allows members to practice the free speech it claims to uphold. In removing Neville from his post, UKIP was attempting to portray itself as the new choice for those voters disillusioned by Cameron’s progressive stance on gay marriage. UKIP is the only noteworthy political party whose policy remains opposed to equal marriage. The party relies so heavily on this policy to mop up voters who oppose the government’s introduction of equal marriage legislation that Neville’s comments perhaps threatened the gains UKIP has made in this area. UKIP has sacrificed its own philosophy of libertarianism in order to appeal to an increasingly limited number of anti-equal marriage voters. Whether such a sacrifice will pay off remains to be seen.
India: time for equality and justice
Livvy Brown Comment writer The fatal gang rape of a physiotherapy student in New Delhi last month sent shockwaves across the world. News reports were filled with horror stories detailing the brutal attack, and the shocking indifference of Indian police to rape victims. India is a country steeped in staunchly conservative tradition. For many centuries, India was rooted in the traditions of the strict caste system. This system stratified society and dictated every aspect of life. It imposed severe behavioural expectations upon society. Though caste-based discrimination is now illegal, centuriesold attitudes and traditions linger. The Delhi rape case was not an isolated one. Many rapes were reported before, and many have been reported since. Reported rapes form a fraction of the total. This is true the world over. This rape was brutal and tragic – but it was not
a stand-alone event. The difference is that this time, the circumstances and appalling consequences, made India take notice. It made the world take notice. In the weeks since, Indian society has erupted with anger. Anger at the police; anger at the indifference and disdain with which victims are treated; anger at the slow and stagnating rate of change in Indian societal attitudes. Indian society, so long blinkered and stalling in the face of women’s rights, is awakening. Men and women throughout the country are sitting up and taking action. The laws, traditions and attitudes that enmeshed and restricted society are slowly falling away. Change is coming to India.
“Indian society, so long blinkered and stalling in the face of women’s rights, is awakening. Men and women throughout the country are sitting up and taking action.” Throughout the past two centuries, bravery and anger have gone a long way towards righting so many deeply rooted, historic wrongs. Many of the traditions and laws which kept humanity in a state of iron-clad segregation on the basis of colour, race, beliefs and sexuality, have slowly begun to melt away.
In the developed world, past divisions seem unthinkable now. Progress, both political and social, has brought us so far from where we once were. In India, as in so many developing countries, we can observe that very same trend occurring. Human society is never static; it is forever in turmoil, changing and adapting. When people are made to open their eyes, to see what has been hiding in plain sight, and to care, they can enact change. What happened in India last month
was horrific. It was enabled by political indifference, coupled with deeply ingrained societal traditions. The vitriolic demand for justice by the Indian people in the aftermath is proof that this is a country on the brink of historic change. Women in India, as across the world, deserve equal rights to freedom and independence. Jyoti Singh’s death was senseless, appalling. We can only hope that something positive can be born of such an event: justice, equality and change.
Can we trust the Tories on welfare? Andrew Ansell Comment writer Already in 2013 the Tory-led government’s knives are out, leaving the pockets of hard-working families to suffer. In what the Child Poverty Action Group is calling a “poverty producing bill”, the Welfare Uprating Bill, passed in the House of Commons on 8 January, will see the rise of certain welfare elements capped at 1%. Traditionally in line with inflation, the rise would have stood at 2.2%. This will mean a real terms cut for many hard-working families. For example, a single income family with children will be on average £534 worse off by 2015.
“The chilling reality of this latest cap on benefits will not go
up but a fraction of the overall spending on welfare of £159 billion. The bill that will hit working families hard is the latest piece of legislation in the tapestry of the disproportionality of austerity. In his speech during the Commons debate, David Miliband added with insight that the cumulative saving between now and 2015/16 from the richest is £1.1 billion. Whereas, those least able to bear the burden of a global economic crisis and the current government’s induced double-dip (and forecasted triple dip) recession is figured at £5.6 billion. The former Foreign Secretary further added that while the government’s fixated that those on benefits should not receive more than the average wage, they offer a tax relief worth £4,000 to those with £40,000 to spare; worth £3 billion in total. Contrary to government and public attitudes of scroungers - “with the blinds drawn” - the recent study by the
Rowntree Foundation disproves a culture of worklessness. 24% of those affected by this bill are in work. The reality is that it will affect “millions of ordinary families, whether they are surviving on meagre benefits or relying on tax credits to make work pay,” according to the Child Poverty Action Group. Those affected by this bill do not receive welfare through choice, it is necessary to supplement their wages that do not stretch far enough. It is unsurprising therefore that the Rowntree Foundation warn that “we are at risk of entering a decade of destitution.” Families of one adult with a taxable income of £60,000 or more will lose all their child benefit, and those with an income of £50-60,000 lose some but not all. The bill will introduce a gross inequality whereby a couple who both earn a wage with a combined taxable income of £100,000 would retain child benefit, but a single adult earner of over £60,000 would not. An
unnoticed in Norwich with nearly 20,000 residents set to lose out.” The language used by the government during the debate on this bill, presenting it as a choice between the “deserving” and “undeserving poor”, is identified by the chief executive of the Rowntree Foundation as “both morally and economically wrong.” Language matters, and the evident politics of class division employed by this government in an attempt to justify its agenda will pollute the minds of society. The bill introduced by Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, is a cut of ideology, especially when the sizes of the benefits affected are considered. To put the welfare budget into perspective, the employment and support allowance costing £3.58 billion (that the Welfare Uprating Bill will affect) makes
added implication of the bill is to provide an incentive for individuals to reduce their taxable income. Ways in which this may be done would be to work less or contribute more to a private pension. The bill is part of Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms that will introduce an incoherency to the welfare system. Robert Joyce, a senior research economist for the Institute for Fiscal Studies recognizes that the child additions to Universal Credit and child tax benefit will produce two systems of income related support for children; with the relationship to income different in each case. The chilling reality of this latest cap on benefits will not go unnoticed in Norwich with nearly 20,000 residents set to lose out. When the House came to vote on the bill, Norwich South’s Liberal Democrat MP Simon Wright, like the overwhelming majority of Liberal Democrat MPs, voted in support of the bill. In voting for it, Mr. Wright is punishing the very people who trusted him to represent them when they elected him in 2010. The bill amongst others acts to disprove Liberal Democrat spin that they are a restraining force against the worst instincts of the Conservatives. Come the election, Simon Wright and his party will be judged on their record, not their excuses. The passing of the Welfare Uprating Bill will impact millions of people across the country. As more hard working families feel the biting axe of Conservative led austerity, it will mark a turning point in Conservative support. The claim is traditionally laid against the Labour party that it cannot be trusted on welfare, but the callous irresponsibility surrounding the bill presses the question whether the Conservative party can safeguard social security. Characteristically of the coalition, the blinds are drawn; the lights are on, but nobody’s home.
A great shiny statue giveaway Robert Staniforth Comment writer If I were a rich man, or a famous and successful director or actor, I do think I would have a friend in the annual Who’s Who that is the international award season. However, as much as I would like to be, I am not. So I wish they would stop wasting my time – I have very little reason to deprive myself of sleep for these “prestigious” events. Indeed, this year if I were to watch the Oscars, it would only be for Seth Macfarlane, and the Brit Awards
for the live music and James Corden. I must admit, there are occasions when I agree that a film or album deserves recognition from the numerous ceremonies that seem to occur on an almost nightly basis at this time of year. There is also reason, however, to wonder who on earth chooses the winners, as sometimes it makes absolutely no sense. Look at Les Misérables, a firm fan favourite. It fared poorly in reviews, yet has won many awards. On the other hand, Avengers Assemble gained rave reviews from critics and was well received by film-goers, yet has not won many of the awards it has been
nominated for so far. This is a trend seen throughout history, with the Shawshank Redemption failing to pick up just one precious Oscar in 1995. The spectrum covers such a wide range of rather contradictory opinions that sometimes I feel the awards season does no good. I can’t see the benefit to films either, as most of them have already left the cinema by the time awards are announced: people will buy a DVD if they want to, no matter who has won what. All I see the award season as is a get together of the famous actors, actresses and critics so they can give each other fireplace ornaments.
And why shouldn’t I eat a horse? Johnnie Bicket Comment writer Now here’s a question: why should eating horse meat be any more upsetting than eating any other animal? The recent headlines concerning the presence of horse DNA in Tesco’s own-brand frozen burgers is of course disturbing, mainly because it makes you wonder what else is in there. The issue here lies with Tesco mislabelling a product; you can’t call it a beef burger if some of it is horse. I can’t honestly say I was surprised; at the best of times those cheap patties are mostly made up of the highly questionable and rather weird sounding “Mechanically Recovered Meat” – basically what’s left on a cow after the proper butchers take away all the good cuts of beef. There may be far worse horrors than horse meat lingering in that indistinguishable grey pulped matter ... The issue I am trying to get to is this: cows are lovely, dopey, rather docile mooing milk machines. They can be cute; they’ll even eat grass right out of your hand. So why should it be more socially
acceptable to kill them on a huge scale and eat them than it is, say, to eat horses? Yeah, you can say that horses are our perennial companions, and like dogs, we have forged too close relationships with
the species to turn around and make them into sausages. But I think this is bollocks. Cows have been domesticated for just as long as horses and dogs, so we’ve been caring for them, feeding them and
keeping them for years; it’s just that we have no problem with killing them either. Horses are all pretty and noble, sure, but that’s not to say we shouldn’t eat them. We can’t arbitrarily draw the line at animals that we find physically endearing; to do so is a denial of nature, and of what we as a species do to survive. It annoys me that people have a problem with the killing of horses more than they do with the killing of say, pigs. Despite pigs being highly intelligent, they aren’t always the most endearing creatures, so there’s less of a problem with eating them. I have eaten horse many times; it is delicious, lean and very nourishing, with a much lower fat content than beef or pork. Let’s just be clear about what meat is: if you feel strongly about animal welfare and do not eat meat, that is a perfectly valid opinion to hold, and is certainly worthy of respect. But I cannot help having very little respect for the people who eat any kind of meat, yet make a fuss at horses being eaten. It’s one or the other; you can’t have a problem with an issue that you actively perpetrate.
EU exit not necessarily an Atlanticist move Caitlin Gray Comment writer Cameron’s EU referendum speech has faced criticism from the Labour party, Liberal Democrat members of the coalition, and from senior EU officials, ahead of delivery. Douglas Alexander, the shadow foreign secretary, believes the prime minister’s call for a referendum is motivated by “low politics”, while EU officials have accused him of trying to “blackmail” European states into repatriating powers to the UK. Nick Clegg has also warned that uncertainty over the UK’s membership of the EU could have a “chilling effect” on the economy. Renewed speculation over Britain’s place in Europe is simply not in the nation’s best interests at present. Ed Miliband stated during Prime Minister’s Questions on 16 January that if holding a referendum now would be destabilising, calling one in five years’ time will be equally troublesome. Alexander agreed: “I don’t think it’s in Britain’s interests to have a prime minister who seems to be spending more time negotiating with his backbenchers than calling European leaders”. Cameron’s backbenchers are largely Eurosceptic, which has caused numerous troubles for the coalition. In October 2012, Cameron suffered a massive backbench revolt when 53 of his party members joined with Labour to defeat a government debate on the EU
budget. While our government remain at odds over Britain’s relationship to the EU, the president of the European council, Herman Van Rompuy, has called on the UK to remain an “active, full, and leading” EU member. US state department’s Phillip H Gordon, the assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs says that Britain risks damaging its relationship with the US and being sidelined in the international community if it leaves the EU. Speaking
publicly, Gordon stated that the US values a “strong UK voice in a strong European Union” and that British membership is in America’s interests; a British exit from the EU would not enhance the “special relationship” between the two countries in any way, and that Britain’s voice within the EU is “essential and critical to the US”. As a respected senior member of the administration, Gordon’s statement demonstrates the level of concern in Washington over the possibility of a
referendum on British membership of the EU. American desire for Britain to remain a significant force in Europe comes from the justifiable belief that, within the EU, the UK most accurately represents American attitudes towards issues. Menzies Campbell noted: “Britain and America talk the same language on defence and trade”, and that a British presence in Brussels would ensure “the EU retains a significant Atlantacist dimension”. The crisis is pushing Cameron towards a gamble. If it goes wrong, it could cost not only Britain’s EU membership, but also the vaunted “special relationship” with Washington. Clegg’s standing on the issue has underlined the sharp divide now emerging between the coalition’s two parties over Europe, which will only increase as the next general election approaches, as he has agreed with US concerns over Britain’s EU membership. Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander stated: “There is a real risk of Britain sleepwalking towards exit because of a prime minister motivated more by the need for party unity than by the interests of the country.” Miliband affirmed: “When it comes to Europe it’s the same old Tories: a divided party and a weak prime minister.” If forced to take sides, Cameron should be choosing the interests of his country over the interests of his party.
South Korea’s first female leader Drew Nicol Global writer President-elect Park Geun-hye will become the first female leader of South Korea in February this year. The Saenuri Party defeated the centreleft Democratic United Party in the 2012 December elections. Park, 60, is set to follow in her father’s footsteps as she won with a majority of 51.6%. The elections highlighted a positive moment for Korean democracy with a total of 70% of the population turning out to have their say. The Saenuri Party have marked this victory as an opportunity to finally lay to rest the controversy surrounding Park’s father, Park Chung-Hee, the former Korean leader. Chung-Hee, who died 33 years ago when he was assassinated by his own chief of security, had ruled as a dictator for 18 years following a military coup. The legacy of her father’s brutal regime, which was accused of torturing the opposition and imposing martial law has detracted from the rapid industrialisation and economic growth seen during those years. Park has attempted to repair the damage by focusing her policies on improving human rights laws and developing the pensions program for the countries aging population. The recent election focused mainly
on domestic reforms and regulating big businesses. Park plans to expand the country’s economy, which currently stands as the 11th largest in the world. With Korea’s geographic location in an economic hotspot, Park plans to bring the country into the modern age as her neighbour China has done in recent years. Park’s biggest challenge will be to improve relations with North Korea which have deteriorated over the last few years due to multiple border disputes and accusations of aggression from both sides. Tensions were increased during the election by North Korea’s successful launch of a long range rocket in December 2012. North Korean leader Kim Jung-un claimed the launch was part of the North Korean space program, which aims to place satellites in Earth’s orbit. However, other Asian states such as South Korea and Japan have accused the North of using the space program as a cover for testing intercontinental missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads. Many in South Korea hope the election of Park Geun-hye will usher in a new era of prosperity for South Korea through improved relations with the West and economic growth. Park has stated she plans to dedicate her life to public service and aims to guide her country into the modern age.
Afghanistan’s education revolution Robert Norris Global editor The education of women in Afghanistan has seen a radical change in only the last four years. Even before Taliban rule, most girls in the country would not have finished school. However, in Pashtun Zarghun, a district in Herat province to the west of Afghanistan and near Iran, there has been improvements in the number of girls completing their education. Three girls studying at a school in the district told Al Jazeera reporters that they believed the current education revolution that has struck Pashtun Zarghun was a great step forwards for the entire community. The three girls stated that they each wanted to become a teacher so that they could continue the hard work their current teachers are doing and to improve the standards of education for women. The rural district has seen a dramatic change in the levels of female education, with over 16,000 girls now enrolled fulltime in schools. Although with more girls being educated in the area than ever before, resources for classes have started running low. Often the girls must be taught in overcrowded tents and there is currently a shortage of qualified teachers. In the district there are currently 57
girls in school for every one teacher available to educate them. Heret province did ask the Ministry of Education in Kabul for an additional 2,000 teachers, but they received just 700. Only 100 teachers in the district are women, showing a need for more females to enter into the teaching profession in the area. Perhaps this is why so many of the girls attending school in Pashtun Zarghun want to break into the education industry themselves. The majority of girls are taken out of education once they reach the age of 14. Currently there are 30 girls in their final year of school education this year, which is more than double the number that were in 12th grade 11 years ago. These girls will be preparing to take their university entrance examinations soon, but they should be joined by another 1,200 girls who have been pulled out of education for a number of different reasons. Despite this, the rural district of Pashtun Zarghun has taken great strides towards getting girls to remain in education and go onto university. The district has seen little of the billions of dollars of foreign aid that has been donated to Afghanistan over the past 11 years. However, head of education in the district, Mohammed Daoud, has stated that Pashtun Zarghun has, and will continue to, take great steps forward in its “revolution of education”.
Western India suffers worst drought in over 50 years Robert Norris Global editor The state of Maharashtra in western India may be facing its worst drought in the past 50 years says Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar. The drought has not appeared as extensively as it perhaps should in the the western media, being eclipsed by other stories, but the situation has become so bad that the government is planning to
send drinking water to the region via railway wagons. As the natural sources of these areas have dried up, the effect on agriculture has been extensive. The state has asked that the Centre for Financial Aid provide a relief package of 2,400 crore (One Crore being worth 10,000,000 rupees), but so far only 780 crore has been received. The government has requested that nearby states help relieve the drought
by providing water to the areas in need. Wells and hand pumps have also been constructed in the area. Getting drinking water to Maharashtra and the other drought stricken states nearby is of has beocme the government’s upmost priority. Agriculture and industry will now have to come second in the race to get water aid. Over 12,000 villages in 16 districts of the state are suffering from a scarcity of water.
Make the most of 2013 Joey Millar offers some advice how to get the most out of the upcoming year Last year is going to take some beating. In spring the diamond jubilee made the Union Jack cool again; during the summer the world was introduced to both the Mobot and the idea of Andy Murray winning things; and as the year wound down, Obama was re-elected and Mitt Romney was sent back to relative obscurity. To get you through the January blues here are a few ways for you to make the best of 2013: Firstly, stop using dodgy online streams and actually get down to your local cinema for a change - it’ll be worth it. 2013 is going to be a bumper year for nostalgia with the Monsters Inc. gang back with a university-based prequel, and the original Jurassic Park, Top Gun and two Star Wars films returning in 3D. As if that wasn’t enough, Anchorman II will be released – it’s kind of a big deal. The city of Norwich also has a lot to
offer. In May the Norfolk and Norwich Festival returns with its usual eclectic mix. Throughout the year The Playhouse regularly has some of Britain’s finest comics performing and ticket prices are dirt cheap – just one of the big names booked for this year is Ardnal O’Hanlon (aka Dougal from Father Ted). The monthly Red Card Comedy Club held at Carrow Road is also worth a look. Plus, as the ice recedes and the sun comes out, campus becomes an increasingly attractive place to be. Despite the beauty of East Anglia, there isn’t anywhere quite as special as the clash of green and concrete that is UEA in summer. Frisbee by the lake, drinks in the Square. Graduation isn’t too far away, despite how far it may feel, so don’t waste this wondrous time. But when you do need to study, make sure you get a table in the library that doesn’t overlook the lake or the square – it won’t end well.
House-hunting in Norwich Features writer Billy Sexton dispells the negative rumours surrounding landlords, while Lauren Cope tells you where to go if you need any help.
Are landlords all that bad?
Need advice? Look no further
Everyone has heard some kind of story regarding a “landlord from hell.” The malicious property owners who have you paying over the odds for rent, refuse to fix anything until the following Monday and have your housemates and yourself marked down as simply another source of income. Of course, it could be the case that your landlord is property crazy and has many to attend to, leaving you out in the cold (literally) when you could really do with a helping hand. Fortunately, a number of students at UEA manage to find landlords that are comparable to parents or grandparents. For those settled in their houses, experiences of house hunting this time 12 months ago was often traumatic, as estate agents demand paperwork almost immediately after a viewing, leading to races against other interested students. Don’t be surprised if you are caught up in a bidding war for how much rent you are prepared to pay a month - for some it looked incredibly likely that they could be left out in the cold. Thankfully, some landlords turn out to be genuinely lovely people. In my own experience, our landlords ended up offering us the property at incredibly cheap rate considering its location, and were happy to take it off the Home Run website after just a verbal agreement,
Looking for your first (or even your second, third or fourth) house is daunting. Moving away from your parents to UEA accomodation leaves little room for dealing with problems that will arise in the “real world.” So, when you start phoning landlords and booking appointments to view houses, it’s understandable that the process is overwhelming, particularly when deposits and rent are so expensive. Double glazed? Double rooms? Electric and gas certificates? It’s likely that a lot of this will go over your head while you assess how suitable the living room is for pre-drinks and ask whether you can put up posters in your room, but
meaning we wouldn’t be caught in bidding wars. Since moving in to the property it has been redecorated and the landlords have been unbelievably helpful with regard to utility problems, have come to fix things around the house at the drop of a hat and didn’t step up the rate of rent when we expressed our interest in staying in the same property for the next academic year. Although some have experienced the horror stories of landlords, there are plenty who are just willing to help.
“There are landlords who aren’t motivated by the amount of extra money they bring in each month” Additionally, landlords who are registered with the Union’s Home Run site must also comply with “Minimum Standards” which include safety certificates and ensuring the house is “clean and in good order” before the tenancy begins. So for those panicking, quite simply, there are landlords who aren’t motivated by the amount of extra money they bring in each month, but who just want to provide four students with a great living experience during the time spent at university. You’ve just got to find them. Billy Sexton
this stuff is important, and it’s equally as vital you go into a house viewing knowledgeable, to ensure you ask the right questions. You can contact the Union Advice Centre for general advice on 01603 593463 or by emailing advicecentre@uea. ac.uk. The Union’s Home Run site also offers advice for students, and can be found at www.ueastudent.com/housing. Their website also offers a list of outlets which can offer some help, including the National Union of Students Housing Advice, the Gas Safe register and the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Lauren Cope
NatWest boycott: an explanation Features writer Joel Taylor examines the reasons behind the recent boycott and whether our ethical beliefs should be decided for us If you want to buy a KitKat at the UFO, you’re going to have a hard time. Nescafé coffee, Smarties and Aero bars are also conspicuous in their absence. In fact, all retailers owned by the Union are Nestléfree due to a boycott of Nestlé products in force since early 2005. Recent controversy has arisen with the announcement that this year the Union will be enforcing a boycott of the RBS-NatWest banking group. With a lot of conflicting information flying around, it seemed only fair to talk to Union directly. The policy proposing the boycott – “Ethical Banking Motion” – is not new. It was proposed three years ago, and was passed a year later in April 2010 after concerns were raised that RBS-Natwest were investing in oil and gas extraction methods which potentially damaged the environment. It called for the Union to cease banking with RBS-NatWest and for the Communications officer to write to both RBS-NatWest and the Chancellor of the Exchequer calling for them to cease these investments, and for the Union to boycott RBS-NatWest if the demands were not met. A date was set for August 2011 to allow RBS-NatWest time to respond. When no response was forthcoming, the Union announced the boycott would be taking place and switched their banking.
“The Union is intrinsic in the dayto-day academic lives of all UEA students - perhaps without them even realising it.”
All policies come up for lapse every three years. The Ethical Banking Motion was repassed in the second Union Council of this year. However, it was recently brought to the attention of the Union that the boycott was not being properly enforced. It is the renewed full enforcement of this boycott that his caused the recent outcry. The Union is bound to act upon the policies that council passes. Much like the courts applying statutes passed by parliament, their only leeway comes from how they interpret those policies. According to Joe Levell, Union Finance officer, the Union can only interpret the word “boycott” in its simplest form – a total ban. The knock-on effects this ban is
having has caused complaints from clubs and societies across UEA. The biggest complaint is that societies can no longer apply for funding under the lucrative ESSA sponsorship scheme. Another complaint highlighting how ridiculously far-reaching the boycott is points out that the Union Bar will no longer be able to show RBS Six Nations rugby or NatWest cricket – and asks whether that should also extend to Andy Murray, who recently extended his sponsorship from RBS.
“Much like the courts applying statutes passed by parliament, their only leeway comes from how they interpret those policies.” It is worth noting at this stage that the closing of the on-campus NatWest branch has absolutely nothing to do with the boycott. NatWest has had the branch earmarked for closure for some time due to a lack of use. The Union owns only the Paper Shop, the Post Office and the UFO and has no say whatsoever on what other retailers are present on The Street. Levell hurried to point out that the potential financial losses suffered by societies are minimal. The ESSA is a highly competitive sponsorship programme for which only six societies were shortlisted last year for the main prize. Although societies can pay money to be entered into competitions for further funding, it is unclear exactly how many, if any, UEA societies received funding from RBSNatWest in this way and thus how many would be losing out due to the boycott. Further to this, there are UEA-specific funds set up by the Union including the UEA Ticket Rep scheme, the “Working Together” fund and the Cultural Fund – each potentially worth just as much to clubs and societies here at UEA. The Union is intrinsic in the day-today academic lives of all UEA students – often perhaps without them even realising it. Policies on aspects of their life include issues over coursework, exam feedback and registers of lecture attendance. The overarching concern amongst students, however, is that the Union and council can impose and enforce policies which aren’t necessarily vital to the running of the university and student welfare. The question arising now is: should the
Union be allowed to enforce these “social conscience” policies? Does the council have a mandate to act as a pressure group, wielding the “opinions” of 17,000 students to further a political aim? Does the Union have a right to make ethical decisions and impose its moral views on our behalf? By writing to George Osborne, the Union is walking in the grey area where a charity becomes illegally political. This issue, however, is not one of legality but one of morality. Whether you think that boycotting RBS-NatWest and Nestlé or marching against the government’s tuition fee increases are noble aims or not, we as human beings have a right to free will and free choice. Any derogations from those rights must be proportionate and justifiable. We wish for the choice to not attend lectures if we so desire, and the Union campaigns on our behalf because the introduction of registers to increase attendance is not a justifiable and proportionate measure to achieve this. Another point of contention raised by most is simply, why only NatWest? It seems unrealistic to believe that Natwest is the only banking institution that has been linked to unethical practices. It has been widely, and accurately, pointed out that these social conscience policies infringe students’ right to free choice – many may not condemn Nestlé or RBS-NatWest for their practices or history, or see a boycott as an effective means of achieving change. These boycotts affect every single student on campus, yet benefit only the minority who could otherwise make the personal choice not to buy Nestlé or watch the Six Nations. In its upcoming constitutional review the Union would do well to critically analyse what is happening at every level of the system they have in place. The general opinion is that it must realise that its primary concern as a Union is to improve the academic experience of UEA students, with the social university experience coming a close second. One issue of concern that has been indicated includes whether or not the Union should continue furthering its own political aims on the claim they are representative of those held by UEA students, especially where furthering those aims affects every student. The policy and its wider implications will be debated at Union Council on 27 January, where an amendment to the original motion has been posed which limits the boycott to the Union’s banking
Why RBS-NatWest? Environment officer Benjamin Brown provides the reasoning behind the boycott With all the focus on the effects of the RBS-NatWest boycott on campus, it is easy to forget its broader objectives, yet it serves a real purpose in redefining what is considered acceptable in the banking sector. RBS has invested more in dirty energy than any other UK bank, providing £40bn in loans for fossil fuels over only a six-month period, and is the biggest UK investor in the Canadian tar sands, which are notorious for indigenous treaty rights violations; the destruction of ancient boreal forests; and as the most carbonintensive project in the world. The continued support of RBS is enabling plans to triple capacity by 2020, threatening our ability to avert dangerous climate change. RBS is not being targeted in isolation, but as part of a concerted civil society campaign, and has already been forced to defend itself publicly. Other boycotts are in place at other universities, including Manchester and St. Andrews. Simultaneously, NGOs including Platform, World Development Movement and People & Planet have all been pressuring RBS over their investment policies. The Union of UEA Students claims to value ethical investment as a priority campaign, and they believe that this is an oportunity to keep up the pressure. Of course other banks are also at fault, and if changes could be made to all their practices they would be made, but unfortunately it isn’t possible. RBS was selected because it was previously the Union’s bank, although following the boycott they have since changed banks to the Co-operative, who have an explicit policy of ethical banking. Also, it is important to remember that a boycott was not the first option. The Union gave RBS a 16-month period to respond to requests for improvements against ethical criteria, but RBS failed to do so. Maintaining a principled objection to RBS remains necessary, but a blanket boycott is problematic. Banning sports screenings was never the intention, and this was an unforseen consequence of the policy’s wording that can be amended at Union Council. Whereas banning broadcasting Six Nations rugby matches is unlikely to capture RBS’s attention or make a noticeable difference. However, with the ESSA scheme there is a clear link with RBS’s financial activities. Participation provides RBS with greater legitimacy amongst students, and a principled rejection sends a clear message. The frustration amongst societies to lose out on much needed financial support is greatly felt, and an abrupt withdrawal from the scheme was regrettable, but comprising our values to thrive as students isn’t the way forward. As RBS is over 80% owned by the taxpayer, it is sensitive to public opinion and as RBS is financing these activities with public money, demands for divestment from fossil fuels are more legitimate. Students are a particularly important constituency for RBS - university is when many people open accounts that they keep for life, so student activism can be particularly influential. We need to be vocal in resisting the practices of banks and other institutions holding us back from the future we want, and as students we have a unique opportunity to make change. Let’s not waste it.
Science & Tech
The largest thing in the universe billion light years across at its widest point. To put this in perspective, the distance from London to New York is just under 0.019 light seconds. The distance from the Sun to the Kuiper Belt at the edge of the solar system is roughly seven light hours. And the width of the Milky Way galaxy is 100,000 light years across.
“Quasars are formed by the cores of Dominic Burchnall Science writer The thing about space is that since it’s big enough to contain everything, sooner or later, it’ll contain anything. Astronomers have recently discovered what is thought to be the biggest object in the known universe, a 73 strong quasar super cluster. Quasars are formed by the cores of galaxies collapsing in on the black hole at its centre, and blasting out radiation as they do so, in the same way that if you try and tip a lot of water down a drain at once some of it will spill over. Though only persisting for around 10 million years, short lived in astronomical terms, while they live they are the brightest objects in existence. This accretion of galactic furnaces is grouped together in a formation four
galaxies collapsing in on the black hole at its centre, and blasting out radiation as they do so” The cluster is so large it challenges the cosmological principle, a theory forming the basis of modern cosmology put forward by Einstein that, from a wide enough perspective, the universe will look the same no matter how it is observed. However, this super cluster is so enormous you would likely be able to spot it no matter how you viewed the universe. As such, this intergalactic inferno has the potential to necessitate a major re-write of the astronomy rulebook. So if you didn’t manage to stick to your new year’s resolution to go to the gym, and still feel a bit big after Christmas, just remember: at least you’ll never be this big.
Tactile phonescreens on the way Dominic Burchnall Science writer One of the biggest frustrations with modern smartphones and tablets is the lack of tactile feedback when typing a text or e-mail. Unless you’re one of the gifted few who’ve mastered the art of touchtyping with such gadgets, most of us have to either devote complete attention to composing a message, or else have to edit a paragraph of gibberish. However, a company called Tactus is working on circumventing the problem with a new technology which causes tangible keyboard buttons to pop up out of the surface of the screen, returning to their original flat state when no longer needed. The system, called the Tactile Layer, was revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show at the beginning of the year. The invention itself consists of a thin overlay put in place over the top of the surface of the touchscreen device, and when activated with a tiny electrical current, uses a technology called microfluidics, which concerns with the behaviour and control of minute quantities of liquids, to form solid buttons of a pre-determined size and shape on the top of the screen. Once deactivated, the veneer flattens and
smooths to its original shape of its own accord. Rather than vibration alerts for hitting the virtual keys, this would instead offer a physical change in texture to assist in typing. The company plans to integrate this new technology with existing touchscreen devices, and is also planning on expanding to test other possible applications, such as remotes, television and desktop computer interfaces, and internal vehicle controls. Considering how quickly these technologies move, if it strikes a chord with the consumer market, it might not be long before both “pure” touchscreens and the hard plastic keyboards we’re used to are superseded by these memory form bubbles.
The great graphene race Rebecca Hardy Science editor Graphene is the new, hot prospect in the technology world, with valid reason too. It is a form of carbon that exists as a sheet, one atom thick with the atoms arranged into a two-dimensional honeycomb structure. Its remarkable qualities make it around 100 times stronger than steel, as flexible as rubber, and able to conduct electricity better than copper. With these exciting properties, it is being touted as a possible replacement for silicon in electronics and opens the doors for the possibilities of roll-away television screens and flexible tablets. There is also scope to mix graphene with materials such as plastic or ordinary cloth, as a mixture of only 1% could make them conductive. The discovery of graphene was announced in 2004 by the journal Science. It was discovered at the University of Manchester by two Russian-born scientists named Andrei Geim and Konstantin Novosolev, and their early work earned them a shared Nobel Prize in 2010, followed by knighthoods. Obviously, following this hype, the race for the rights to this technology is heated. The race for patents, and therefore control over the technology of this
material shows China in the forefront with 2,204 patents, followed next by America with 1,754. However, considering the material was first discovered in the UK, it is in the running with only 54 patents and entitlements. Samsung are making the strongest bid for this innovative technology, where it is thought that the first initiatives will be towards making flexible touch screens, lighting within walls and enhanced life batteries. But the possibilities for the future are endless, including areas such as energy, IT and even medicine.
New site launched by Kim Dotcom
Sidonie Chaffer-Melly Science writer A new file-sharing and storage site has been set up by the owner of Megaupload, Kim Dotcom. The new service, named Mega, allows users to upload and store files to an online cloud. It went up on Sunday morning following the closure of Megaupload in January. Within hours, Dotcom reported on his Twitter account that the site had registered over 250,000 accounts, though restricted server capacity meant that many could not gain access to it. It is set to rival similar sharing websites such as Dropbox as it offers 50 gigabytes of free storage. However, only those who upload data will have access to it.
Megaupload was shut down after police raids on the offices and home of Mr. Dotcom in 2012. US law enforcement accused him and other managers of the site of profiting from piracy after suspicions that users were illegally sharing content and material. The company was run from New Zealand, and Dotcom is currently fighting a legal battle to find out whether he will be extradited to the US. He is accused of costing the entertainment industry $500 million due to the pirated material being available on his website. The case has caused controversy in New Zealand about the methods of gathering evidence the police and intelligence services used prior to the raid, and the country’s prime minister was forced to apologise to Dotcom. Born Kim Schmitz, Dotcom has assured the public that his new site is totally legal and that attempting to remove it would be pointless. He is being supported by prominent figures of the computing world such as Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple. Dotcom has reported that he is working with lawyers to retrieve the data seized in 2012 and return it to users. He is due to undergo a hearing on his extradition to the United States in March.
I know a great little place ... Every week our writers will tell you their favourite place in the world. This week, Abigail Goddard describes her favourite beach in Brazil. Ilha Grande is an island located just off the coast of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and is known for its scenic beauty and remote Brazilian Atlantic rainforests. A short hike from the main town of Abraão (which is off limits to cars) is Lopes Mendes beach. Ranked as one of the top 10 beaches
Jennifer Hymus Are you a budding photographer? Here at Concrete we love seeing your travel pictures, so why not send them in? Just email them to email@example.com.
A walk through Brussels Maddy Hutt Travel writer There is surely no better way to be welcomed into a country than to be asked: “You like beer? You like chocolate? Welcome to Brussels”. If you answered either of those questions with anything but “yes of course”, then stop reading now. If you were hooked at “beer”, then read on for a walking guide to experiencing these two delights as well as the city’s many other attractions. Travelling to Brussels by train or coach will take you to the Gare Bruxelles Centrale, which is helpfully situated a five minute walk from the Grand Place, where there is no shortage of bars serving a vast array of beers from the tamer blond variety to the richer stout. Some bars and restaurants serve their beers by the ¼ litre, ½ litre and, for the brave among you, by the litre, with prices ranging from four to seven euros depending on the brand and quantity. Most restaurants in this area offer a wide variety of cuisines including Flemish dishes such as Waterzooi stew. As for the chocolate, the best way to begin your introduction to Belgium’s most indulgent export is at the Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate located just off the Grand Place. For a very reasonable price
you can taste freshly tempered chocolate and learn about the art of traditional chocolate making, as well as observing their unusual creations, such as a train carriage and dresses. This area is bursting with shops with exquisite window displays, often including chocolate renderings of the famous fountain Pis, a little naked boy peeing. Your visit would not be complete without posing for a photo next to this quirky statue. A few minutes’ walk west of the Grand Place sits the Saints Michel and Gudula Cathedral amidst the monolithic constructions of the European quarter. This beautiful building is adorned with intricately painted stained glass windows and a stunning nave, offering a calm respite from the bustling centre. Further on is the Parc de Bruxelles where you may find yourself among dozens of runners dodging the Brussels sprout and pint glass sculptures that stand aptly throughout. Past the park is the impressive Royal Palace and the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, currently displaying Magritte’s surrealist work alongside its stunning permanent collection. Easily accessible by Eurostar, Brussels is the perfect destination for a city break, just be sure to save room in your suitcase for edible souvenirs!
in Brazil and relatively untouched by civilisation, except for the odd rubbish bin, it was the most beautiful place I have ever seen. As one of 102 beaches on the island, 10km of fine white sand set this one apart with strong waves excellent for surfing.
Mouthwatering Montreal Caterina Incisa Della Rocchetta Travel writer Whatever the season, Montreal is the perfect city to explore: in the summer you can’t turn a corner without encountering a jazz or comedy festival; in autumn there’s the beautiful changing of the leaves and apple picking; brave the fierce winters and you will be rewarded with tobogganing on Mount Royal or ice skating on Beaver Lake; step into spring and go for a walk in Westmount park and watch the flowers come to life. With a multicultural population numbering over four million there’s so many food opportunities available in Montreal. Over the years there have been several waves of immigration and currently Montreal has one of the largest Jewish populations in Canada. The Jewish community has churned out some of the city’s best known eateries, the most famous of all being Schwartz’s Deli, established in 1928, making it Canada’s oldest deli. Going to Schwartz’s is a rite of passage for most visitors. You will usually have to queue and once inside it is a small, Rianna Hudson at the Li River in China noisy, steamy place with signed pictures from celebrity patrons adorning the walls. A waiter will gesture wildly at you to sit anywhere and will stare at you impatiently until you tell them your order (Schwarz’s waiters are famously rude, but that’s all part of the experience). The traditional order is a smoked meat sandwich on rye bread with mustard, french fries, a pickle, and a cherry coke. There are other things on the menu but if it’s your first time that’s really what you’re expected to order. The smoked meat sandwich is a thing of beauty - nowhere has ever put so much meat between two
pieces of bread. It’s hot, with a smoky and peppery taste, and very indulgent. The other Jewish hot spot of Montreal is Wilensky’s. Originally a cigar counter, Wilensky’s was a popular spot in the Jewish Quarter where men would come to smoke cigars and play cards. Legend has it that a customer requested a sandwich one day and The Wilensky Special was born: an “all-beef salami with all-beef baloney sandwich grilled to mouth-watering perfection on a tasty roll with a hint of mustard,” as their website describes it. Wilensky’s is no longer a cigar shop but they still sell The Special, and not much else. You can have The Special with or without cheese, but never without mustard and you can never ask to have it cut in half; those are rules. They also sell wonderful old style sodas, using homemade syrup and soda water. This strict, select little place has a wonderful charm about it and all the furnishings are from when it was established in 1932. Finally, the most famous, if not least healthy, dish Montreal (or Quebec) is known for is poutine. It’s a very simple dish: French fries, smothered in gravy and topped with delicious cheese curds, often with other toppings thrown in. It may sound unsavoury to some readers but it is the most amazing comfort food. You can get poutine all over the city, from cheap greasy spoons to top-end interpretations of the dish: the lobster and goats cheese poutine at Lawrence, to the even more decadent foie gras poutine at Au Pied de Cochon. Whatever your taste, or budget, there’s a poutine out there for you! If you’re looking for a different food experience get yourself over to Montreal immediately, I’ll be waiting for you at Wilenksy’s with a Special!
Boston: city of many faces Kirsten Powley Travel writer Boston, Massachusetts is the go-to place for all the history of North America that you could ask for. No one will know it better or have it so ingrained in their mind than an English person on a Freedom Trail tour, where you will be mocked mercilessly for the Boston Tea Party and the Boston Massacre. Guided like a class on a field trip and transported into the 17th century, Americans do what they do best: put on a show. With a month to spend in this small and modest city, there was time for the standard tourist must-sees and the more obscure attractions. Quincy market and Faneuil Hall resemble Covent Garden: a bustling marketplace filled with pricey but tempting treats and cobbled streets, the playground for an array of street performers. From the crowded marketplace to the peaceful and natural surroundings, if there’s one thing summer calls for inIssy Boston; it’s in kayaking Witcomb Sloveniaon the Charles River. Seeing the riverside sights from the water is so breathtaking that it may even distract you from working hard
paddling along. The combination of buildings with the abundance of green from the trees and bushes along the bank reflecting in the river gives a surreal but unique quality to Boston. It’s a city and a quiet escape all in one: five minutes or so and you can have whichever you please. The summer obsession with water is inevitable in the humidity of Boston. Activities such as whale watching are magnificent. Don’t leave it until the last minute though as it’s not guaranteed you will see any. Duck Tours are common in England too, but given the American love for flair and a show, this one is a must. If you’re lucky, for five or ten minutes you can even hold the fearful lives of fellow passengers in your hands by becoming captain of the Duck Boat. From the water to the sky, Boston isn’t one of those cities you’d automatically consider for amazing panoramic views, but it delivers. At the Top of the Hub, don your best gear and enjoy a fancy dinner while looking out through the floor to ceiling windows displaying the skyline. With a cocktail in hand and level with the highest lights, Boston is a city with an array of sceneries, there really is something for everyone.
A beginner’s guide to house hunting in Norwich Abigail Miller Lifestyle writer The Home Run list has been released and it is time to look for a home for next year. Whether looking for the first time or the fifth, it can be difficult. Concrete is here to lend a helping hand and offer some advice. The first thing to think about is the location of the property. There are a range of possibilities; from the elusive Golden Triangle, to West Earlham, or to Bowthorpe. It is important to be realistic when considering how far you are willing to travel each day. What if every Monday starts with a 9am lecture in Thomas Paine? Also, look out for local public transport links and local amenities, such as takeaways and local supermarkets. So now that the location has been chosen, next is the house itself. It is easy to get carried away when on viewings as the excitement of finding your own home can cloud ones judgement. First, always look at the exterior: is it well maintained? Look out for broken guttering, missing roof tiles, cracked window panes or damaged doors - there is always the risk that what initially seems minor can cause large (and
expensive) problems six months later. If there is a garden, is it well maintained and clear of rubbish? Is a lawn mower provided if it is your responsibility to take care of the garden? The interior of the house is most difficult to judge in a short viewing so it is important to look carefully, perhaps take a camera to record anything you don’t see the first time. Make sure that the interior of the property is also well maintained,
so look out for any signs of damp. Make sure that the hot water and heating work and that the décor and furniture are in a good condition. Safety is also incredibly important, so make sure that all windows are lockable, there are suitable strong locks on the front and back doors, there are working smoke and carbon dioxide alarms and that the landlord has a current gas safety certificate for the boiler (this can be checked on www.gassaferegister.co.uk).
The communal living spaces will be the most-used rooms in the house, so make sure that they are large enough for the number of people. Many students embrace leaving the microwave-ovens of campus accommodation behind and enjoy a new kitchen, but make a note for the important appliances: oven, hob, microwave, washing machine, and perhaps even a dishwasher. Next, are the bedrooms of sufficient size? Remember, students do have to do some work so a desk and chair is essential; if there is not one currently make sure there is room. Bathrooms can seem unimportant, but can be the cause of tension between housemates. Consider how many bathrooms are necessary for the number of people, and look closely at the fittings: cracks expand with time. Finally, speak to the current tenants if possible. They will know every inch of the house and will give a frank and honest opinion on the property, especially when it comes to bills. Some are lucky enough to have bills included, but to others they can be an unexpected cost. Keep your eyes open, be ruthless and remember you don’t need to say yes to the first property.
Heritage homeware: the great British brand boom Maddy Hutt Lifestyle writer 2012 was the year that Britain shone on the international stage, with Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June and a summer of Olympic and Paralympic glory in London. Union Jacks were flying in many a street and patriotism was at an all-time high. Last year’s events have helped to revive our pride in British production, encouraging more of us to be inspired by our heritage. This newfound appreciation for all that is British has sparked a resurgence of brands such as Cath Kidston and Emma Bridgewater, who represent a growing nostalgia today for heritage styles. In the 1950s, Laura Ashley set the trend for quintessentially British homeware with her distinctive Victorian-inspired
pattern. Today, Kidston and Bridgewater have found their place in the homeware market, and each with their own unique style. Kidston’s pastel tones and floral prints and Bridgewater’s dotty crockery can be found on almost every UK high street, and undoubtedly in homes across the country, representing the idyllic country home with a modern twist. It is their awareness of the public’s love of heritage patterns and styles married with their adaptation to modern tastes and advances in technology that has much to do with their success. Bridgewater matches an understated design with rich colours, making her products adaptable to the modern home, whilst Kidston’s smart-phone covers have become one of the company’s best-selling items. It would seem that this marriage of old and new has been key to their success in the
UK market. Another reason for the rise in popularity of such brands could be linked to the revival of afternoon tea-time. Streets across Britain were flooded with residents and their baking delights last year when the Jubilee celebrations urged the public to come together in the street parties, which have had a huge part to play in encouraging more of us to take pleasure in the simple act of enjoying tea and cake, but also in recognising this tradition that is so integral to our heritage. Television has also been hugely influential to this recognition, with such programmes as The Great British Bake Off attracting an audience of 7.2 million for its series finale last October. The humble cupcake has also been thrown into the limelight in recent years in the form of everything from earphone covers
to money banks, and the teacup has seen a similar glorification. Other British homeware and fashion brands steeped in history have seen a revival in recent years, notably Roberts with its vintage radios and Barbour, whose garments epitomise country life. As with Cath Kidston and Emma Bridgewater, these brands have ensured that their products suit today’s market whilst retaining the quality and style for which they have been renowned since their initial creation. Though some have been concerned by the expense of the events of 2012, it must be noted that British production has seen a surge in popularity thanks to the year’s celebrations. Our national pride and appreciation of our brands has found new strength, and long may our love affair with British heritage continue.
How to get a job after university Sidonie Chaffer-Melly Lifestyle writer It may seem a little early to start thinking about your future career prospects, but in reality you can never be too prepared. According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, one in six undergraduates achieved a first class degree last summer – that’s approximately 61,605 students. The already competitive graduate job market is becoming increasingly tighter, and with so many people now holding high-class degrees you need to find a way of making your CV stand out to employers. Making an appointment with the Careers Centre will be most people’s first step. They offer everything from
CV feedback to advice on careers and experience. They will help you assess your options to choose the path that suits you best, and how to go about getting it. They also offer mock interviews to help you prepare. Going to a careers fair, workshops and events will let you get advice from UEA alumni and prospective employers. Get as much work experience as possible. This will show your ability to work in a professional environment, and it will also set you up with some useful contacts in the industry. You’ll get a good understanding of the career you want to go into and what you need to do to get there. Showing your eagerness and ability to work will also be recognised, and you’ll be able to leave with some solid references
to add to your CV. Social media can also help you to promote yourself. Instead of procrastinating on Facebook and Twitter, start following relevant employers and graduate schemes. Getting a LinkedIn profile will allow you to upload your CV and post your skills where companies can see them. It also lets you connect with other people, broadening your network. While you’re at it, it’s also for the best to clean up your Facebook and Twitter profiles so that potential bosses and employers won’t judge you on that drunken picture from that night you’ll always regret. You have to be prepared to adapt. This may mean moving away from home or doing unpaid work while you gain
experience. Starting at the bottom and working your way up may feel a little hopeless, but getting your foot in the door will be invaluable. Doing the dirty work and getting to know the right people will eventually get you noticed, whilst showing your commitment. Possibly the most important thing to remember is to not give up. You might be thrown into despair by a string of rejections but as long as you persist you will eventually have a breakthrough. You won’t get very far by not putting yourself out there, and any experience is good experience. Learn to spot the opportunities, build your CV, gather a network of contacts and don’t lose hope!
The importance of a good night’s sleep
Bruno Gnaneswaran Lifestyle writer On average, we spend a third of our lives asleep. Sleep is a very fundamental and a crucial part of our lives. Some have the privilege of being able to sleep the “ideal” eight hours or perhaps more, while others sleep as little as four hours in order to accommodate the busy and strenuous life that has seemingly been brought onto us by the 21st century. Students on the other hand will generally try to sacrifice sleep for partying, playing video games or studying and subsequently going to lectures half asleep or even not going to
them at all. Why do we sleep? How much sleep can one get away with? Surprisingly the function of sleep is still unknown, despite our rapidly increasing understanding of the processes involved in sleep. There are several hypotheses suggested by scientists as to why we sleep. It is suggested that sleep is needed for energy conservation and homeostasis, brain detoxification, and in the adult brain for learning and memory. There are two types of sleep: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM), and they are involved in memory consolidation and energy homeostasis respectively. REM sleep, where dreams
occur, accounts for 25% of sleep, while NREM accounts for 75%. Students in particular may be asking themselves if they are getting enough sleep and how much sleep is actually needed in order to be fully functional in daily life. Approximately 15 years ago, it was commonly thought that between four and five hours was enough sleep in order to have your cognitive performance remain intact. However, that myth was contested by research conducted by David Dinges, Chief of the Sleep and Chronobiology department at the University of Pennsylvania. He took dozens of research participants and split
them into three groups: those that slept four hours, six hours and eight hours, and this was done for two weeks. Interestingly, their findings showed that those who slept four hours or six hours had their ability to sustain attention decline steadily with each passing day, whereas it did not for those who slept eight hours. By the end of the two weeks, those that slept six hours a day for two weeks were just as impaired as someone who was deprived of sleep for 24 hours – the cognitive equivalent of being legally drunk. Although some may be partying away or intensely studying late into the night, there are also some who find it difficult to close their eyes and get a decent amount of sleep. Taking daily exercise and avoiding naps during the day will most definitely help you sleep. Losing certain habits before going to sleep and improving the environment one sleeps in will also be beneficial. Smoking and consuming alcohol, a regular habit for certain students, will make it more difficult to get a good night’s rest. Creating a bedtime routine such as having a bath and drinking milk before bedtime and not watching the clock whilst in bed will invite drowsiness and make you feel less anxious about sleep. Avoid caffeine and eating big meals before going to sleep and it is important to have comfortable mattress and pillow. Getting a decent night’s sleep is important for memory, recharging your batteries and general well being. Not obtaining enough sleep for long periods of time can be dangerous, especially in activities or careers which involve attention and alertness. Understandably, as a student, consistently getting eight hours of sleep may prove difficult, however every opportunity to obtain a good amount of sleep should not be missed.
Exotic nachos recipe Rebecca Layland Lifestyle writer The fresh fruit, nuts and jalepeños make this an exotic take on a traditional nachos recipe. Ingredients One bag of tortilla chips 100g of grated cheddar cheese One can of mixed beans, washed and drained One bag of dried mixed fruit One bag of mixed nuts Jalapeños Fresh fruit such as pomegranate, strawberries or raspberries
Method 1. Pre-heat oven to 200C. 2. Spread a layer of tortilla chips over the bottom of the dish and sprinkle half of the mixed beans on top. Cover with half of the cheese. 3. Cover with another layer of tortilla chips and scatter the remaining beans on top. 4. Sprinkle the nuts and dried fruits on top of the beans and finish with the jalapeños and remaining cheese. 5. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes. 6. Once removed from oven, place fresh fruit on top and serve from the dish.
Toad in the hole
Emily Fedorowycz Lifestyle writer
Jasmin Chudasama Lifestyle writer
5. This is a great recipe to warm you and your housemates up on a chilly winter’s day. Ingredients 800g of turkey or chicken 1 onion, finely chopped 1 garlic clove, crushed ½tsp of garlic powder 2 chicken stock cubes 1.5 litres of water 3 tsp of cornflour/plain flour 100g of Whitworth’s soup and broth mix (soaked overnight) Any leftover vegetables you may have Method 1. Preheat the oven to 190C. 2. Boil together the garlic, onion and stock cubes in the water in a large pan. 3. Add the soup and broth mix and chopped raw vegetables to cook. If vegetables are already cooked, add later. 4. Add the cornflour to some cold
water in a separate cup and mix until smooth. Add to the boiling pan to thicken, stirring continuously until it reaches a creamier consistency. Now add any cooked vegetables and the turkey to heat through. Transfer into a casserole dish and place in the oven with foil over the top to keep in the moisture. Cook for about 20-25 minutes. Serve whilst hot with crusty bread.
The extra mile ... If you want to make it even more of a homely dish, why not add some dumplings? To make them, combine 250g of self-raising flour and 125g of cold butter in a large bowl until they resemble fine breadcrumbs, season with salt, pepper and a dash of mixed herbs and add water as needed to bind it into a dough. Then add them on top of your casserole when placing in the oven, pressing them down slightly so that they are half submerged. Do not forget to add a cup of boiling water into the stew to replace the moisture that they soak up!
5. Yorkshire puddings are frequently regarded as a tough dish to master, but this toad in the hole recipe will dispell any foodie fears you may be harbouring. This cheap and delicious recipe will keep you and your housemates warm right through the winter months, whilst also being kind to the pursestrings. Partner with seasonal vegetables and a homemade gravy. Serves six.
Ingredients 115g of plain flour 4 eggs A pinch of salt A pinch of pepper 300ml of whole milk 6 pork sausages Method 1. Preheat the oven to 200C. 2. Add the salt and pepper to the sifted flour and mix into a large bowl. 3. Make a well in the flour, crack the eggs in and whisk. 4. Add the milk and whisk until the
mixture is of a smooth and creamy consistency. Leave to one side. Put 4 tablespoons of oil into a deep tray before placing it into the oven. In the meantime, add a small amount of oil to a pan and cook the sausages on a medium heat. Allow them to brown, but not to fully cook. After the sausages are browned, remove them from the heat and take the tray out of the oven. Pour the batter into the tray and place the sausages on top. Cook for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the batter turns golden brown. Serve with vegetables and gravy.
The extra mile ... To make your own onion gravy, caramelise onions in the fat leftover from the sausages. To do so, slice one onion per person and allow them to cook slowly over a low heat. This should take roughly 45 minutes, or until the onions are of a golden brown colour. Once cooked, add 300ml of stock and allow the gravy to simmer. For a healthy alternative, simply replace the pork sausages with a vegetarian alternative.
Premier League set for more January moves Amelia Glean Sports correspondent
Editors’ column Billy Sexton Sports editor It is slightly proposterous that football is still the most popular sport in the country and throughout Europe. For well over a year, controversy has surrounded the sport in the form of three malicious beasts: racism, managerial sackings and astronomical wages and ticket prices. The racism issue needs no background. Key Premier League players such as John Terry and Luis Suarez have tarnished “the best league in the world” whereas numerous black players across the continent have experienced racist chants from so called fans. It’s an issue that needs to be kicked out of the game, sooner rather than later. Managerial sackings are also becoming ever more frequent and also without good reason. Nottingham Forest’s Kuwati owners sacked Sean O’Driscoll on Boxing Day - the club had just defeated Leeds 4-2 and lay one point and place outside the playoffs. Although O’Driscoll failed to string a good run of results together, he had mass amounts of respect from the Forest players, an essential ingredient to any dressing room atmosphere. Similarly, Nigel Adkins was dismissed from his duties at Southampton on Friday despite positive results against Chelsea (2-2), Arsenal (1-1) and Newcastle. Adkins had won over 50% of his games in charge at Southampton and they were looking increasingly likely to survive the Premier League drop. Money has been an issue in football for years and it would seem that fans have had to reluctantly accept the fact that players will recieve six figure wage packets at the end of the week. Ticket prices has become an issue in the past few weeks, as a refeering official sent Manchester City players to the fans who had forked out £62 to watch 90 minutes of football. Unfortunately ticket prices and mangerial sackings look set to remain a characteristic of modern football. There is a widespread disregard for “normal” fans, with the football club becoming increasingly corporate; a real shame.
With the transfers of Demba Ba, Loic Remy and Daniel Sturridge already complete, we can look forward to a number of potential “big moves” before the window shuts on January 31. Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez has admitted he wishes to return to Boca Juniors once again, although it has been reported that City intend to offer Tevez a new contract to prevent the striker leaving for free in the summer. The Argentinean has declared a hunger to return to his first club, telling ESPN’s Sportscenter programme: “The will to return to Boca
always exists, even more so with [Carlos] Bianchi as a manager. I would like to wear the shirt of the team I love again.” Could Tevez be on his way out of Eastlands before the window closes? Additionally, fresh rumours of Liverpool moving in for Dutch international Wesley Sneijder have surfaced. The star has been earmarked as a marquee signing for the Reds with a number of news reports suggesting Liverpool are looking to hijack a deal to take the talented midfielder from the clutches of Galatasaray. With Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and Sneijder in the same line up, this is certain to transfix Premier League fans. Nevertheless, a move has remained unlikely with some reports suggesting Liverpool have distanced themselves from a deal in recent days. It is claimed Athletico Madrid’s star striker Radamel Falcao, who has scored 16 goals in 17 league games this season is a transfer target for big-spending Paris Saint-Germain, despite Chelsea’s longterm interest in the Colombian. With PSG also heavily linked to Chelsea’s left-back Ashley Cole, there is scope for a double upset at the hands of the French. Falcao is reportedly excited by PSG’s ambitious sporting project and although many believe it will take time for the scheme to succeed, the striker would be an invaluable asset in the clubs attempts to fashion a fiercely competitive side.
Local side Norwich City are strongly linked with Celtic’s striker Gary Hooper, with boss Chris Hughton looking to strengthen up front. Grant Holt, whose scoring record has saved the side on a number of occasions throughout the season, is battling to return to fitness and it is felt Hooper could be the right man to step in and provide a necessary alternative. An offer has also been made for Swansea City man, Danny Graham. However, Celtic rejected the Canaries’ initial approach for Hooper, with that possible transfer looking set to rumble on for the rest of the month. Everton boss David Moyes has responded to speculation about Marouane Fellaini by reiterating he is not looking to sell players in the current transfer window. Fellaini has been linked with a move away from Goodison Park, with reports suggesting there is a £22 million buyout clause in the 25-year-old’s contract, which several major clubs could be looking to trigger, such as Manchester United and Chelsea. Finally, Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente, formerly linked with Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham, has admitted he wants to taste life in the Premier League. However, fresh reports have claimed the striker is in advanced talks with Italian giants Juventus, a move that would see the player turning his back on the Premier League clubs currently chasing his signature.
Andy Murray strolls into Australian Open quarters Sidonie Chaffer-Melly Sports correspondent Both Andy Murray and Roger Federer have made it into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open following victories over Gilles Simon and Milos Raonic respectively. Murray has not dropped a set yet in Melbourne, and eased to victory over the Frenchman, 6-3 6-1 6-3, to record another win. Meanwhile Federer coasted to an easy win over Raonic having previously disposed of home favourite Bernard Tomic, securing a 6-4 7-6 6-1 win despite the Croation-born’s hubristic confidence that he would be triumphant. He now faces seventh seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as he continues his bid for his 18th Grand Slam title. Maria Sharapova dominated seventime Grand Slam winner Venus Williams 6-1 6-3 in just 76 minutes. It marks a series of impressive wins from the Russian, who has lost just four games in three rounds and looks set to be sure for the final. Serena Williams was victorious over Japan’s Ayumi Morita, winning 6-1 6-3 and also setting the record for the fastest speed for a serve so far in the tournament
at 128.7mph. Novak Dvokovic was also successful over Radek Stepanek in a difficult match that lasted two hours 22 minutes. The Serbian, who has five Grand-Slam titles, beat 34-year-old Stepanek 6-4 6-3 7-5 but was given an entertaining workout after the Czech charged the net 67 times. Dvokovic survived the pressure and later praised Stepanek’s performance before letting loose heavy criticism of Lance Armstrong’s recent doping confession. Laura Robson played a gripping game against former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, beating the Czech 2-6 6-3 11-9 in a match that went on late into the night. The 19-year-old Brit suffered an error scattered match, double-faulting twice in the first game only for Kvitova to win the first set by making fewer errors but struggling as well. Her 18th double-fault of the match helped Robson to secure a win, finishing it out to love. However, Robson’s campaign came to an end after she was beaten 7-5 6-3 by American Sloane Stephens. Robson’s game was hampered by a shoulder injury she sustained in training, and she had to be treated several times on court. Robson took British hopes for a women’s singles
title with her as Heather Watson was knocked out the night before by Agnieszka Radwanska. The Pole beat the British number one 6-3 6-1 in 84 minutes after a run of 11 straight wins in Auckland and Sydney. The second week of the Australian Open started on Sunday, with the women’s singles final taking place on Saturday 26th and the men’s taking place the following day on the 27th. Can Murray win his second grand slam?
Interview: Tom Kristensen Sports correspondent James Newbold sat down with the record-breaking Dane - one of the prominent names in Le Mans 24 Hours sportscar racing.
As far as dream interviews go, they don’t get much better than this. I’d previously interviewed Carlos Sainz, the darling of Spanish rallying whom I had followed on the television as a kid, but this was on another level altogether. Denmark’s Tom Kristensen has won the gruelling Le Mans 24 Hour race a record eight times – six of which were consecutive – while driving for three different manufacturers. It is a phenomenal record which marks the 45-year old out as one of the all-time motorsport greats, worthy of mentioning in the same breath as Michael Schumacher, Jimmie Johnson and Sebastien Loeb. It was therefore with a degree of apprehension that I sat down opposite the living legend, but I had no reason to worry. If Kristensen recognised me for the nervy reporter I was, he saw through it with a warm smile and answered my questions with an effortless panache. An accomplished all-rounder and former champion in German and Japanese Formula 3, he is used to success in all forms of motorsport, from Le Mans prototypes to single-seaters. Kristensen is a race winner in touring cars and a threetime runner up in the season ending Race of Champions – defeated only by Lotus F1 driver Romain Grosjean back in December. The only item missing from Kristensen’s resume is an appearance in Formula One.
But, as so often happens in motorsport, the right opportunity never quite arose and Kristensen ended up exploring an alternative career path, his immense success at Le Mans proving ultimately that Formula One certainly isn’t the be-all and end-all it is sometimes made out to be in professional motorsport. “I love racing, that’s the long and the short of it. I just love to be competitive,” Kristensen said. “I’ve always followed Formula One and tried to push to get there, but at the same time as I was doing that, my career has gone better in sportscars, so when I look back over the years I don’t regret anything. You need to specialise nowadays; it’s so difficult to be versatile, even though I love the challenge of driving different cars. Being so many years with Audi and one year with Bentley, it has been very enjoyable.” Respected motorsport journalist and present editor-in-chief of AUTOSPORT magazine Charles Bradley, identified Kristensen as the most talented racer never to start an F1 race, quite some accolade when considering that the likes of Dario Franchitti, Tony Stewart and the late Peter Brock also fit into that category. Did he ever see himself attaining so much success? “You hope, there’s always that, but for sure you can never be confident of these things,” he said. “Coming from a small country like Denmark, I didn’t even have
the money to finance a season in go-karts, so without all the help I got from the local importer of karts and the work I did for him, I would never have got anywhere. Being in Japan for four years also helped me mature in the business, so to be successful in racing I’ve had to rely on a lot of people’s help and friendliness and their belief in me.” He is in danger of sounding overly modest here, for Kristensen has faced significant physical and mental obstacles in his career, not least a horrific impact in the 2007 DTM opener at Hockenheim, which could well have had the beating of a man less committed and professional. Bad luck is part and parcel of motorsport, and had all gone to plan, Kristensen could quite conceivably be sitting on 11 Le Mans victories in 16 attempts rather than just the nine; a truly staggering statistic. In 1999 Kristensen’s BMW V12 LMR led by 4 laps when a stuck throttle denied him what would have been his second Le Mans victory, while another win went begging in 2007 when his Audi R10 shed a wheel at speed and crashed. His fighting spirit is epitomised by a one-off appearance in a GT-spec Audi R8 at the Spa 24 Hours last July, alongside Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler. A mishap in the pits for Lotterer within the first hour required a 25 minute stop for repairs, effectively ending their prospects at the
first hurdle, but undeterred, Kristensen and co. went for broke, managing to recover 3 laps back on the leaders and finish an eventual sixth. “It was actually a fabulous weekend,” smiles the Dane. “What I was proud of was that we three drivers and our mechanics fixed the car and we never gave up. We wanted to be back on the first page, which everyone laughed at, including ourselves, because no-one believed we could do it. We were 11 or 12 laps down in P63 after the first hour, so to finish P6 and gain 3 laps back showed that we had done a good race. For sure it wasn’t close to any headlines, but it was very satisfying that some people within the team said that we were the secret winners. That’s just racing.” Despite the challenges to Audi from Toyota, who returned to sportscar racing after over a decade away in 2012, and to the dominance of the all-star Kristensen/ McNish line-up by their younger teammates of Lotterer/Fassler/Benoit Treluyer, Kristensen is unfazed and as highly motivated as ever. Despite all his prior success, Kristensen is not content to sit back on his laurels and is still driven by that indescribable winning sensation. “I don’t need to focus on anything like records. Of course that helps, and I’m very much aware of them, but you always want to be winning races,” he says. “Today, there are new technologies, new regulations, all things that are very interesting to explore. There’s always something you would like to push further. I really like to be in the environment of optimising cars, developing them into race cars and to work with competitive, clever people. That’s still very much the motivation.” With the recent retirement of Italian Rinaldo Capello, Kristensen and Scotsman McNish will have a new partner in 2013, most likely Brazilian ex-F1 driver Lucas di Grassi, as they attempt to capture the 2013 World Endurance Championship title, and of course another Le Mans crown. “Being with Allan and Dindo for so long, we have grown very close. Dindo is a great loss for sure, but this was something we know would come,” says Kristensen of the new era. “It’s not just from a driver perspective, but as a human being, he’s such a great guy. But he’s still around; we sent him a text in the driver briefing asking where the hell he was, so we’re still doing the usual jokes. Now Lucas is joining as well; he’s very welcome in our team and the first impression he gave was very nice, calm and collected and very good at feedback with the engineers, which is what we’re looking for.” The World Endurance Championship commences with the 6 Hours of Silverstone on April 14.
Concrete Sport UEA
Issue 278 22 January 2013 Interview:Tom Kristensen
UEA student takes to the track Billy Sexton Sports editor Postgraduate student Josh Rayman is set to return to national level kart racing later this year as he takes part in the MSA British Superkart Championship. The karts Rayman races use motocrossderived 250cc engines and race on “long” car circuits like Silverstone, Donington Park and Brands Hatch with a top speed of 130mph and an average lap speed in the range of 90-110mph.
“Rayman competed against drivers that are now racing all over the world – the most notable name has to be Max Chilton, a young British driver who has landed a seat at Marussia F1 for the 2013 season.” Rayman wants to take his 2013 as a learning season, due to the big step up from short-circuit karting to long-circuit – the average lap speed is roughly doubled between the two from 50 to 100mph. Although Rayman has some experience in long circuit racing, he is set to compete against other racers who have more experience, but he remains hopeful that his team can achieve their aim of being competitive by the end of the year. He started karting in 2000 when he was 10 years old. After a flirtation with car racing in 2006, he returned to karts a
season later, as the financial difficulties of racing began to take its toll. Despite limited results, Rayman is immensely proud of his team’s effort at the MSA British Junior Championships in the 2004/05 season. He finished in a seeded 13th position, which came with a small prize and the right to use that number the following season. Rayman competed against drivers that are now racing all over the world – the most notable name has to be Max Chilton, a young British driver who has landed a seat at Marussia F1 for the 2013 season. Rayman has been able to strike a perfect balance between his sporting passion and academic progress. His karting took a back seat for 2008 – 2011 as he studied for his undergraduate degree in Music and at the end of 2011 he competed in a couple of races for Lincolnshire based outfit Ramotak Racing, which resulted in a full time return to racing in 2012. With regard to balancing his work, Rayman focuses purely on work associated with each commitment at a given time before switching to focus on another project – which works well with his current research and its less formal structure. Josh also spends a lot of time maintaining his fitness and is currently training for the Silverstone Half-Marathon, and sees training as “a good way to break up what would otherwise be a lot of reading, computer work and generally not seeing the sun very much.”
2013 British Superkart Championship Schedule
Page 23 January transfers
May 6 Castle Combe (Bristol) June 8/9 Silverstone (Northampton) July 13/14 Snetterton (Norfolk)
Page 22 Australian Open
August 17/18 Thruxton (Southampton) September 7/8 Cadwell Park (Lincolnshire) October 19/20 Donington Park (Derby)