gair rhydd | freeword Cardiff ’s student weekly Issue 1077 Monday 18th April 2016 Also in this issue
Comment: Should PM resign over tax revelations? P14>>
Students’ Union quiet as two sabbatical officers resign
Column: Is the spirit of childhood being lost? P18>>
• Katey Beggan and Kate Delaney both suffered from mental health issues in their roles as VP Heath Park and VP Welfare • Students’ Union is yet to publicise their March resignations despite officers being open to talk about their experiences • Delaney: “I really felt quite overloaded with no-one to directly go to” EXCLUSIVE Anna Lewis
wo members of the Students’ Union sabbatical team have resigned due to mental health issues, Gair Rhydd can confirm. Both VP Welfare Kate Delaney and VP Heath Katey Beggan have stated that they will not return to their roles as student representatives after taking extended sick leave. However despite the news the Students’ Union has not released a public statement to students explaining the situation at the time of print. Speaking to Gair Rhydd, Delaney and Beggan have openly discussed their decisions to step down following a personal struggle with mental health. When asked why students were not informed of the resignations, Delaney explained: “I don’t know why [the SU] haven’t put anything out.”
According to a Students’ Union spokesperson, students and staff “who work closely with Kate and Katey” have been made aware, although there was no mention of informing the wider student population. It was also stated that “as a matter of policy” the Students’ Union does not comment about current or former employees. The former VP Welfare has attributed her decision to resign to “ongoing mental health problems”, as she explained: “I reached a point in January where both my depression and anxiety were quite severe. After help and support from the SU, my GP, counsellor and friends and family I started to improve but decided I was not ever going to be ready to return to my role before my term finished. “I needed to prioritise my own mental wellbeing and I will be using the next few months to look after myself.”
Delaney and Beggan resigned at the end of March after being voted in for the role during the student elections last year. According to the Students’ Union constitution such a vacancy “shall be filled as soon as possible...or may remain unfulfilled if deemed appropriate by Student Council”. According to a spokesperson, the work of VP Welfare and Heath will now be shared between the remaining sabbatical officers, in order to ensure “student representation within their areas is fully maintained and students continue to receive the same levels of support.” Like Delaney, outgoing VP Heath Katey Beggan also described a similar experience in previous months as she confirmed: “it is with a very heavy heart that I have had to resign from my role as Vice President Heath Park campus. Beggan continued: “The choice I made to resign is not a decision that
Katey Beggan (bottom left) and Kate Delaney (top right) have resigned from their sabbatical roles at Cardiff University Students’ Union (Photographer: Joseph Atkinson)
Continued on page 4
Politics: Tuition fees under the spotlight ahead of elections P25>>
Science: Wild tiger numbers on the rise P29>>
2 EDITORIAL Gair Rhydd Coordinator Elaine Morgan Editor Joseph Atkinson Deputy Editors Carwyn Williams Anna Lewis
the free word It’s Varsity time
News Anna Lewis Joanna Beck Toby Holloway Advice Gwen Williams Caragh Medlicott Comment Em Gates Charley Griffiths David Williams Columnist Helena Hanson Politics Carwyn Williams Luke Brett Sam Patterson Science Maria Mellor Lizzie Harrett Societies Aletheia Nutt Taf-Od Rhian Floyd Park Life Vacant Sport Jim Harris James Lloyd Jamie Smith Social Media Editor Jack Boyce Proofreaders Jamie McKay Get involved Editorial conferences are each Monday at 5pm. Proofreading takes place from 5pm on Thursdays in the media office during print weeks. Write to the editor firstname.lastname@example.org Tweet us @gairrhydd
At Gair Rhydd we take seriously our responsibility to maintain the highest possible standards. Sometimes, because of deadline pressures, we may make some mistakes. If you believe we have fallen below the standards we seek to uphold, please email editor@gairrhydd. com. You can view our Ethical Policy Statement and Complaints Procedure at cardiffstudentmedia.co.uk/complaints Opinions expressed in editorials are not reflective of Cardiff Student Media, who act as the publisher of Gair Rhydd in legal terms, and should not be considered official communications or the organisation’s stance. Gair Rhydd is a Post Office registered newspaper.
and apply to be our next editor! Joseph Atkinson
usually find it a stretch to fill these 800-or-so words of editorial content, but for once I actually have a surplus of things to talk about. I have to start with our front page story, concerning the resignation of two of the Students’ Union’s sabbatical officers - Katey Beggan and Kate Delaney. I think it’s really admirable that both Katey and Kate have been willing to talk so openly about their mental health issues in order to raise awareness of what is an extremely serious issue. I don’t envy the negatives that come with the publicfacing nature of sabbatical roles at students’ unions, and I think that it’s extremely brave for both to discuss the problems they faced. For whatever reason the SU have been reluctant to publicise their resignations - both sabbs have been off for quite a long time and officially resigned at the end of March, but there has been no sign of that news apart from their photos being removed from boards around the Union. For two people so keen to have their ex-
periences made public, it seems unfair that they haven’t. One can only hope that the SU learns from this and makes sure that future sabbs are given all of the support that they need, as well as the opportunity to announce their departures if not. I don’t doubt that they don’t provide excellent provisions already, but mental health problems affect the majority of students according to studies and should not be taken lightly or swept under the carpet in any way. Giving support to people who need it is simply vital in such a highly pressurised role. Away from our front page, and I’m acutely aware that after this issue, we only have three more Gair Rhydd’s to go this year. With that in mind, we’re looking for a new editor to fill the proverbial hotseat and my relatively regular-sized boots. Applications are now open and remain so until this Friday (24th April). If you think you’d be interested and want more information, please drop me an email at email@example.com. Over Easter Gair Rhydd went to Loughborough for the Student Publication Association National Conference (SPANC to you and me). We
were lucky enough to pick up two awards (as you’ll find in the News section), and we were all made up to be recognised nationally for the hundreds of hours of work that goes into making Gair Rhydd - from those who write the fantastic content to the editors who design their sections, it’s a true team effort week-on-week. Handily one of our awards was for our coverage of the 2015 Welsh Varsity. This is handy because you’ll be aware, unless you’ve been living under a rock, that this Wednesday marks this year’s instalment of the annual sporting competition between Cardiff and Swansea. For the first time in my uni career I actually won’t be taking in the action, instead sitting back in the Cardiff Student Media office while thousands of Cardiffians travel to Swansea. We’ll be live-tweeting the day’s events as well as producing a live blog of the day’s events, and look out next week for our special Varsity pullout which will be in the middle of Gair Rhydd. In the middle of Gair Rhydd this week you’ll find a Varsity schedule and map of the Sketty Lane complex in order to help you in unfamiliar surroundings - please don’t rip up
the entire newspaper if you feel the need to take the map out - there’s some really good content in this week. Content including a look ahead to Varsity from some of the sports clubs that will be competing in Swansea on Wednesday. Elsewhere the Politics section have produced a detailed look at the education policies - specifically concerning tuition fees - of the parties running in the upcoming Welsh Assembly Elections, which are now less than a month away. Like much of the world’s media, we’re also trying to make sense of the Panama Papers leaks, with Comment tackling the question of whether Prime Minister David Cameron should resign over the revelations that he has directly benefitted from an offshore tax account. So, good luck to all of those competing in Swansea this week, and good luck also to those in the Gair Rhydd and student media team who will be forgoing the temptation of daytime drinking to cover every single sport. Hopefully we’ll have some more award-winning coverage on our hands!
THIS MONTH IN HISTORY: GAIR RHYDD 690 30/4/2001 This week throws us all the way back to 2001 when today’s Cardiff students were most likely to find their attention seized by recent playground fights than fast approaching exam dates and essay deadlines. Indeed we’ve decided to look so far back that almost all of our April editions are lost to history, we promise to get the dates right by the next edition! Though the logo has remained the same the layout has changed drastically over the past decade-and-a-half. Indeed, the Students’ Union have deemed it fit to increase our budget over the years. The editorial team today don’t face the daunting choice of picking the handful of pages impressive enough to break out the colour ink cartridges (pricey though they may be) for the faithful student media printer. The front page story focuses on the sad case of a student who had committed suicide after being kicked off his engineering course in March of 1999 for non-attendance. The student’s father blamed Cardiff University for failing to communicate his son’s status, while the University cited its confidentiality policies. 2001 was a time before Quench, and a time before Netflix as Gair Rhydd’s information pullout section (or GRiP) shows in their seven-day TV lisitings. Daytime television and student commutes were just as taxing on young minds then as they are now as some of the reviews show.
An early morning airing of Friends on S4C reads “when it’s my birthday everyone can come round my house and get battered except for the following people; Steve, Gareth, that cunt on the train last week...” Quite what the then Television editors were exposed to on their Arriva service is never quite explained. Instead an episode of Bagpuss is accompanied with an apology for quality of last week’s TV pages and a rant about the Independent. At the start of the new millennium the world was still getting used to the rightward shift across the Atlantic as President George W Bush entered his third month in office. Gair Rhydd staff of old bemoaned the ultra-conservatism that had consumed the country. As a former reality star with an unconvincing fake tan makes further progress in this year’s Republican nomination we can only shake our heads; if only they knew what was yet to come. Over the years Gair Rhydd’s sports reporting in come on leaps and bounds. Our editorial team returned from Loughborough last week with awards for best interview and best sports coverage. The section has doubled in size over the years, and unlike the unfortunate ‘Chip’ our editors have avoided abductions by ‘tyrant girlfriends’ who insist on trips to IKEA and repeated viewings of Bridget Jones’ Diary. - Jamie McKay
Campus in Brief
Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies has stated that he plans to cut business rates and give local communities the right to bid to takeover closing pubs if he wins in May’s assembly election.
eaders of Welsh political parties have released details of their tax details after similar moves from Prime Minister David Cameron, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Chancellor George Osborne. Leaders from the Welsh sections of the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat along with Plaid Cymru have revealed their tax payments, but UKIP’s David Gill said that he would not “jump on the bandwagon”. First Minister Carwyn Jones told BBC Wales: “I’m comfortable publishing my tax returns. They are very boring.” Jones continued, “It’s inevitable now that the public will want to see the tax returns of politicians. I think most of them will be fairly mundane.” A Welsh mother has been banned from naming her daughter after the poison Cyanide. The woman, from Powys, claims that she has a human right to name her own children, and said that Cyanide was a “lovely, pretty name” which has positive connotations as it was taken by Hitler before he shot himself. The Court of Appeal stated that the name could harm the children, with Lady Justice Eleanor King calling the name “unacceptable”. The Court also heard that the mother had a history of mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse. The Welsh Conservatives have laid out plans to reverse the decline in the number of pubs in Wales. Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies has stated that he plans to cut business rates and give local communities the right to bid to takeover closing pubs if he wins in May’s assembly election. Davies claims that these plans would help save jobs in the industry, which is a major employer. Labour Welsh Government Communities Minister Lesley Griffiths already came out last year and said that there was cross-party support to allow communities to bid on closure-threatened buildings.
Flagship energy-saving programme the Green Deal cost taxpayers £17,000 per house that was improved, according to new findings. The deal encouraged householders to take out a loan to pay for energy-saving measures such as double-glazing windows. However, only 14,000 households took out the loan, way below expectations. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) spent £240 million on the programme between 2013 and 2015. The National Audit Office (NAO) concluded their report on the programme, stating that “the Green Deal has not been value for money.” A husband and wife duo have been cleared over an alleged £7 million cocaine and money laundering operation. Graham, 36, and Lindsay Clarke, 32, walked free after a five-month trial after the case was found not proven. Prosecutors claimed that the operation helped finance a highly expensive lifestyle that had no legitimate income to back it up. The couple were also accused of using dirty money to pay for the setting up a soft play business. After being cleared, Mr Clarke said, “I’m delighted at the result. This has been a nightmare for my family. I’m just happy it’s over.” The NHS in England has suffered its worst ever performance for the second successive month in February. Official statistics showed that A&E departments kept 224,116 patients waiting for more than four hours to be admitted, transferred or discharged. This is compared to the 212,136 in January, and 131,248 in February of 2015. Only 81.6 per cent of patients were treated within four hours, down from the 95 per cent standard. The shadow health secretary, Heidi Alexander, stated: “These figures show an NHS on its knees and in crisis.” She continued, “we’re headed back to the bad old days of patients waiting hours on end in overcrowded A&E departments or stuck on trolleys because no beds are available.”
A woman has been charged with streaming the rape of a teenage girl on live video app Periscope. According to the indictment, Marina Lonina filmed the sexual assault, which took place in Columbus, Ohio, while her boyfriend Raymond Gates carried out the assault. At the time of writing, the court does not know how Gates intends to plead. An expert commented that the case conveys the impossible task of controlling content on live-streaming services. This is not the first time Periscope has been linked to an alleged offence, with instances such as a women streaming herself driving intoxicated and teenagers streaming footage of themselves robbing a van in Utah coming to light. The Communist Party of China have decreed that golf is no longer a crime. Banned by previous leader Mao Zedong, who despised it due to it being a “sport for millionaires”, the sport experienced a huge rise in players during the 80s and 90s before current president Xi Jinping again banned it during an anti-corruption drive. Despite reservations still surrounding the sport due to it being popular with businesspeople and corrupt officials, the official anti-corruption agency newspaper this week wrote, “Since it is only a sport, there is no right or wrong about playing golf ”. The newly appointed CEO of US cinema chain AMC has suggested that “text-friendly” auditoriums could soon become a reality. Adam Aron has talked about the need to change in order to continue attracting young audiences. Aron told Variety, “When you tell a 22-year-old to turn off their phone, don’t ruin the movie, they hear: please cut off your left arm above the elbow.” Despite this, Aron is not a huge fan of this possible innovation in the cinema, “There’s a reason there are ads up there saying turn off your phone”.
Pictured: A leak of more than 11 million documents from Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca has prompted political crisis (Photographer: Alejandro Bolivar)
The NHS in England has suffered its worst ever performance for the second successive month in February.
Editors: Anna Lewis Joanna Beck Toby Holloway @GairRhyddNews firstname.lastname@example.org gairrhydd.com/news
Cont’d: Two sabbatical officers quit
Continued from front page
The pressure and the nature of being a sabb is so intense for a recent graduate that with my underlying mental health problems, it did make me worse. I think VP Welfare is a tough role in itself as well. Kate Delaney
I have made lightly and there are numerous reasons why I thought it was best. However the overarching factor is my mental health, as I have been diagnosed with depression. It took a little while to come to terms with the reality that I may need to resign as I did not want to let my fellow students, who elected me into this role, down.” For Beggan, stepping down early will ensure that she is fit to practice and able to return to her course as a third-year medic in September. By making their own problems public, Delaney and Beggan hope to raise awareness of mental health. In the interview Delaney stressed that: “I hope that being honest and open about this can further the awareness of mental health and self care. Sometimes you have to put yourself first.” In a recent study made by the National Union of Students, it was revealed that 78 per cent - nearly eight out of ten students - have experienced mental health issues whilst more than half have not sought help. Earlier this year a Gair Rhydd investigation suggested that this rise has also been mirrored in the number of Cardiff students seeking counselling, with support services both at Park Place and Heath campuses reportedly under strain. According to the Delaney, the intense nature of work as a sabbatical officer was a contributing factor to her decision to step down. Delaney explained: “The pressure and the nature of being a sabb is so intense for a recent graduate that with my underlying mental health problems, it did make me worse. I think VP Welfare is a tough role in itself as well.” The VP Heath also added: “I think that the role of being a sabbatical officer is naturally going to come with a certain amount of pressure as your actions
are responsible to the student body. It is a public facing role where there are methods of scrutinising your work.” All sabbatical officers start their positions during the summer and work for a large amount of hours. On many occassions this involves working beyond a typical 9-5 workday and responding to emails and communications whilst outside the office. Talking about her typical week, VP Societies Hannah Sterritt clarified: “It varies massively depending on what’s on really, but I do the hours I do because I want to, not because I have any obligation to.” This includes attending society events every week. When asked about the support facilities offered by the Students’ Union Kate Delaney stressed “I’m not the only one who could use more staff support, but I really felt quite overloaded with no one to directly go to. Although it didn’t help, it wasn’t the root cause of my problems, it just brought out some underlying ones and made it almost impossible for me to get better once I’d slipped back down.” The VP Welfare suggested that the role receives the “least direct staff support”, as it was noted that other positions such as VP Education and VP Postgraduate benefit from the help of the Student Voice Team. For VP Societies and Sport the Activities department also provide information and support. Although there is a Welfare executive team consisting of volunteer students, the lack of a budget specifically for welfare matters was stressed during the student elections. Future VP Welfare Hollie Cooke has pledged to look at this matter. Overall though, Delaney did commend the Students’ Union’s behaviour as she described them as “better than I expect other organisations to be in terms of their support when I was
signed off sick, and I am grateful for that.” Indeed, Beggan also stressed that sabbatical officers receive substantial training during induction and throughout the supper period to help with the “stresses of the job and to make sure that you have the tools to do the job well”. This was confirmed by the Students’ Union, who stated that “support is provided for all employees as part of their employment within the organisation.” It was also confirmed that “reasonable adjustments are made for physical and mental health, and occupational health advice is available.” In addition, for employees who are also counted as students then facilities such as support services and counselling services are available. However, despite the training provided, it appears as if stigma towards mental health remains a problem. The VP Welfare told Gair Rhydd that “there’s still unconscious stigma surrounding mental health in all situations. People often just don’t know what to do or how to act still and tends to result in stigma. People mean well but we still need a lot
more education for mental health, even in the SU.” The interview concluded with the VPs thanking students and staff who have supported them during this time and reassuring students that support will be available. For matters concerning students in Heath park campus both Claire Blakeway and Neil Alexander will be available for support. Both officers expressed that they would like to apologise to students for their resignation. Whilst Delaney stated that “I feel very sorry for those students who voted for me and I’m sorry that I couldn’t achieve what I was voted in for”, Beggan continued: “I would like to apologise for not being able to complete everything that I was elected to do and complete my year.” However she also added that despite leaving early the VP Heath has been able to complete the majority of her manifesto pledges during her nine months in the role. Normally sabbatical officers earn £20,000 during a one year period, however it remains unsure whether both VPs will be paid for a full year.
Beggan also stressed that sabbatical officers receive substantial training during induction and throughout the summer period to help with the ‘stresses of the job’.
Pictured: Kate Delaney during Mind Your Head Week (Photographer: Cardiff Students)
Loanly hearts: interest rates soar by 75 per cent for student loans
Meanwhile graduate employment inequality continues
hose set to graduate in the near future have faced a string of bad news over the last week. According to the Independent, the interest rate for student loans are set to rise by 75 per cent in September. This is due to a drastic increase in retail prices index (RPI), the factor determining the amount of interest for students. Last March, RPI was only 0.9 per cent, but has grown to 1.6 per cent at the same time this year. The increase will affect students of all years dating
from 1998 and including prospective students. Meanwhile for those looking for jobs after graduation, a study from the Institute of Fiscal Studies has highlighted the difference in graduate earnings based on family wealth. It was proved that men from highincome household earn 60 per cent more than those from low-income households, with a 45 per cent different for women. This has been attributed to both the type of university that a student at-
tends and their chosen degree. In addition to this, a pay gap between female and male graduates continues to be an issue. According to the Institute of Fiscal Studies women still earn £3,000 less compared to their male counterparts even ten years after graduating. This is despite statistics proving that women often outperform men academically whilst at university. Those studying degrees including creative arts and mass communications are amongst the lowest earners,
with economic and medicine graduates coming out on top. In response to the study NUS President Megan Dunn said the results highlighted the need for “so much work” to ensure that students are treated equally. The report was created after using data from 250,000 graduates living in England. It is hoped the results will be used to help students, and especially those from lower-income backgrounds, to make an educated decision choosing their degree.
A pay gap between female and male graduates continues.
NUS presidential candidate criticised over ‘anti-Semitic’ comments • Malia Bouattia described the University of Birmingham as a ‘Zionist outpost’ • Jewish societies’ leaders pen open letter to candidate
We are shocked that someone who is seeking to represent this organisation could possibly see a large Jewish student population as a challenge. Jewish Society Leaders
Gair Rhydd should be particularly proud of themselves - the awards this year were so competitive and the whole team have done a fantastic job. SPA Chair
otential NUS President and current NUS Black Students’ Officer Malia Bouattia has been criticised by Jewish Societies across the UK for remarks she made about Birmingham University’s Jewish population. The remarks, which Ms Bouattia made in 2011, referred to the University of Birmingham as “something of a Zionist outpost in British Higher Education”. The NUS President candidate has since addressed the allegations, stating last Thursday that her political views had been “misconstrued” by critics. Ms Bouattia has also been asked to clarify her links to the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPACUK), a society which has been blacklisted by the NUS since 2004 for anti-Semitism. Ms Bouattia’s presidency campaign was publicly endorsed by Raza Nadim, a member of MPACUK, to which the candidate replied: “Thank you”. The controversial remarks made by Ms Bouattia were published in a blog post written by her from 2011, and prompted the penning of an open letter from Jewish society leaders from universities across the UK. 47 Jewish Society presidents signed the letter, part of which read: “There are roughly 8,500 Jewish
students in the UK, which is 0.12 per cent of the seven million students that are represented by the NUS. “We are shocked that someone who is seeking to represent this organisation could possibly see a large Jewish student population as a challenge and not something to be welcomed. “Our question for you is clear: why do you see a large Jewish Society as a problem?”. The letter went on to accuse Ms Bouattia of hindering interfaith relations at UK universities, whilst also alleging that this apparent anti-Semitism was not a solitary incident. The Jewish Society leaders made references to an instance when the NUS President hopeful described Prevent, a government scheme set up to combat radicalization at universities, as the result of a ‘Zionist lobby’. The letter claimed that accusations such as these created “an element of suspicion towards Jewish students on campus”. In response to the allegations, Ms Bouattia said in an open letter: “I do not now, nor did I five years ago when I contributed to the article cited in your letter, see a large Jewish Society on campus as a problem. “I celebrate the ability of people and students of all backgrounds to get together and express their back-
grounds and faith openly and positively, and will continue to do so. “I want to be clear that for me to take issue with Zionist politics, is not me taking issue with being Jewish”. Ms Bouattia also disassociated herself with MPACUK spokesperson Raza Nadim, stating: “In all honesty, I was not aware of who Mr Nadim was or his position when he posted to my wall and responded in the same way I would
to any post. This certainly does not constitute a relationship or accept an endorsement”. Finally, the NUS president candidate wrote: “In my role as the Black Students’ Officer I have a long track record of opposing racism – in all its forms and actively campaigning against it. I am also an advocate of inter-faith work both inside of our union and beyond”.
I do not now, nor did I five years ago when I contributed to the article cited in your letter, see a large Jewish Society as a problem. Malia Bouattia
Gair Rhydd wins at national awards
air Rhydd has received two national awards after winning at the Student Publication Association (SPA) annual conference. Editor Joe Atkinson won the award for Best Sports Coverage as part of the sport editors team from the last academic year. This follows Gair Rhydd’s coverage of Varsity 2015, which included a live blog, Twitter updates and a special pull out sports section in the newspaper. Talking about both his own award and the work of Politics Editor Carwyn Williams, Atkinson said: “We worked really hard on the Varsity coverage and Carwyn’s win is reflective of the hard work he puts in. To win two national awards represents all of the hard graft and hours that goes in and I hope that we can replicate it in our Varsity edition this week.” Meanwhile Politics Editor and Deputy Editor Carwyn Williams won the Best Interview award for his interview with First Minister for Wales Carwyn Jones. Speaking of his award Williams said: “I’m so pleased to have won an SPA
award, it’s been a fantastic year at Cardiff student media and it’s great to be recognised for the hard work that’s put in. I only hope students are now hearing my message and get out to vote on May 5th”. Overall, Gair Rhydd was nominated for seven awards including best publication and design. Representatives from Quench magazine also attended the event and received five nominations. The award ceremony took place in the middle of a two-day conference hosted by Loughborough University. During each day representatives from student publications across the UK received talks from industry professionals including journalists from Sky News and the Financial Times. Speaking to Gair Rhydd, SPA chair Jem Collins congratulated the paper and said: “Gair Rhydd should be particularly proud of themselves - the awards this year were so competitive and the whole team have done a fantastic job this year to come away with not one, but two wins.” Collins also praised the SPA confer-
Pictured: NUS president candidate Malia Bouattia (Source: NUS)
ence and its delegates: “Both myself and the whole of the SPA team were completely overwhelmed and delighted by SPANC16. It was by far the biggest and best we have ever had and we had some amazing speakers and some great discussions from delegates. “I’m always totally taken aback by the friendliness and collaborative attitude of delegates too and this year was
no exception.” Overall, University of East Anglia’s student newspaper Concrete won the largest number of awards, taking home five titles including Best Publication. Judged by the Press Association training, they described the standard for Best Publication as “high” with “several titles in the running.”
Pictured: Carwyn Williams receiving his award (Photographer: SPA)
Anti-terrorism vigil held in Cardiff
Charlie Knights & Joanna Beck
The real ambassadors of Islam are the young men and women that you see before you today. Harris Ali Din, President of the Pakistani Society
candlelight vigil to reflect on recent terror attacks and to take a stand against terrorism took place last Monday outside the Main University building. Around 100 students attended the event which was organised and supported by 13 societies from the University, including; YUVA Indian Society, Model UN Society, Pakistani Society, Red Cross Society and Islamic Society. The organisers described the motivation for the event: “This vigil is for the purpose of promoting peace, unity and remembrance and tribute to all the people who have lost their lives recently in brutal terrorist attacks.” The vigil promoted coming together to fight terrorism and avoid negative stereotyping or assumptions. Harris Ali Din, president of the Pakistani society, spoke about the recent terror attack in Lahore, Pakistan, which killed 72 people including 29 children: “The fear of terrorism is a daily threat and a barrier to everyday life which effects everyone from the old to the young. “Effects of terrorism effect all, not just us living in the west, that is why it is fundamentally important that we condemn these acts.” He went on to discuss Islam: “Islam
promotes peace and unity between all races and religions. There is no doubt that Islam promotes peace and deters acts of terrorism and extremism. “There is no need for me to entertain such points, even go as far as apologising on behalf on Islam for the terrible atrocities that have been committed all across the globe, so-called in the name of Islam because these men and women are not Muslim, they are far from human. “The real ambassadors of Islam are the young men and women that you see before you today. My sisters who proudly wear the Hijab, my brothers who proudly portray their willingness to be part of a diverse society.” Another speaker addressed the effect of terrorism on refugees. Representing Cardiff Student Action for Refugees, one speaker discussed the importance of removing “negative narratives” surrounding terror attacks and how these narratives can have an impact on attitudes towards refugees and asylum seekers. “By coming together and remembering people we can create a positive message; we are united, we grieve and we will not let terrorism divide us and cause further tensions in our communities. “Many of the people who attend our drop in service in Cardiff are fleeing from persecution from terrorist groups
and have lost loved ones who have fallen victim to them.” The event was held at the University but the majority of people found out about vigil through Facebook. Many expressed surprised that there was not a larger turn out and some felt the University was partially to blame for this. Although the Students’ Union gave expressed their support for the vigil, it was suggested that they could have done more to help raise awareness for the event. When asked by Gair Rhydd if they felt that the university was doing enough to support events such as this, one attendee said: “No. I feel like they need to advertise these types of things more.” They went on to say that they felt they might have attracted more people if it had been advertised better. Event organiser Anusha Sriram, however, said that she was “extremely happy with the turnout” and said that the “Students’ Union did help out a lot so that’s where we got our support”. Universities and Higher Education facilities in Wales have recently come under scrutiny regarding terror prevention after criticism surrounding the Prevent law. Under the 2015 Counter Terrorism and Security Act, all statutory bodies are
required to attempt to stop people from being radicalised. Some, however, say that this infringes on Students’ right to freedom of speech. Speaking to BBC Wales, criminology lecturer Dr Rizwaan Sabir said that the Prevent Law encouraged a “systematic spreading of fear”. He went on to tell them: “Rather than leading to engagement, this policy, Prevent, is leading to disengagement, systematic spreading of fear and the closing down of expression and debate.” The Vigil, which took place outside the Cardiff University Main Building, attempted to bring people from all backgrounds and religions together. First year Politics and Religious Studies student Rory Wades spoke to Gair Rhydd about the importance of events like this: “I think its important to have events like this given the diversity of the university we have, to create cross-cultural understanding, to promote tolerance and the idea of unity because the fact that so many people of different backgrounds are here, getting along and being friendly. “Thats exactly going against the rhetoric of these extremists. I think University is a place that shapes people to be who they are in the future.”
Incidents bring Cardiff to a stand-still
wo men have been arrested after two unrelated incidents in Cardiff City Centre on Wednesday evening led to a number of roads being closed. The first incident involved a 36 yearold man who was spotted on the roof of the NCP car park. The man, who was from Roath, was arrested arrested
on suspicion of criminal damage after a stand off with the police that lasted most of the evening. South Wales Police Spokesperson has confirmed that the man remains in police custody. Many roads around the city centre were closed and motorists with cars in the NCP car park were unable to get their vehicles out.
A spokesperson for South Wales Police told Wales Online: “He was already wanted for another matter and he has been arrested with regards to the outstanding matter.” An unrelated incident also took place on Wednesday evening when two police officers were assaulted. The officers were taken to hospital but
were not kept in overnight. The assault took place in Stuttergarter Strasse at around 8pm on Wednesday night. South Wales Police have confirmed that a 35 year-old man from Whitchurch has been arrested on suspicion of assault and confirmed that the arrests were “two separate incidents.”
Pictured: Candlelight Vigil outside the Main Building (Photogapher: Shubham Oswal)
WIN a month’s rent for you and your housemates* Whether you’re searching for a property, renting a room in a house with other students or graduates or buying a new home, Move Me In gives you a customised set of tasks tailored to your search or move. You can add photos of the potential property, share tasks with housemates and create your own list of jobs to complete.
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Editors: Gwen Williams Caragh Medlicott @GairRhyddAdv email@example.com gairrhydd.com/advice
From fresher to third year: The evolution of a student
e all come to university a bit overwhelmed. For lots of us, it’s one of the biggest changes in our lives thus far. It’s a completely different system and way of life to learn in a new city. The transition part can be quite difficult, so here are some pointers that can smooth the change, not only from pre-university life to first year, but from year to year while here. First Year
I would also highly recommend applying for a CUROP placement. The list of projects is up on the university website.
At this stage in the year, the two main points for advice are on module selection and summer exams. When choosing your modules, you have a few things to consider. You want the best degree classification possible, so you want to choose modules you can get high grades in. Some of these will be because you’re really interested in them, some will be because the lecturer is amazing at teaching that particular area, some will be because you naturally find that part of the course easier than others. All of these are perfectly valid reasons for choosing a module. But you also need to consider what employers might find attractive. I know it seems early on in your university career for this, but it could make a big difference. What skills will each module develop? Do third year modules depend on second year options? Have a look at the module guides the second years are getting and don’t be afraid to actually ask older students for their advice.
The one key point to put across about exams is: revise. I know that sounds obvious because you’ve been through the whole process of exams and essays before and you know how it works. I know you only need 40% to pass. But first year is a brilliant opportunity to see what amount of work will get you which grades. And do you really want to get the bare minimum and go into next year knowing you have to prove yourself to everyone because you only just scraped a pass? You will make it so much easier for yourself if you start with good, solid grades. I would also highly recommend applying for a CUROP placement. The list of projects is up on the university website currently (just google “Cardiff CUROP”). If you haven’t heard of them, they’re paid research placements for undergraduates that will give you invaluable experience, give you a closer working relationship with the academics in your department, and look stunning on your CV. Second Year So you’ve made it to second year. You might be doing more modules you’ve chosen for yourself and care more about. You might be feeling confident because you were hung over during 65% of your first year lectures but you’ve still made it this far. But don’t get too cocky. For lots of courses, Year two counts for 40% of your degree. The grades you get now matter. You need to start actu-
ally doing your readings before the seminar, and not just writing your lab report at one o’clock the night before. It’s time to get more serious about things. The work from first to second year doesn’t necessarily get harder. The biggest difference between the years is the rise in pressure and expectations. In recent years, both The Guardian and BBC News have reported that over 3/4 of graduate jobs require applicants to have achieved at least a 2:1. Second year is an amazing opportunity to build up a high average, and the higher it is at the end of the year, the easier it will be to maintain; you’re used to the work level, and it can help offset the occasional low mark. This is also the time to make sure you learn from your mistakes, as every third year mark counts for more. You can also learn from your mistakes, and get to know exactly what specific lecturers want of you, if you haven’t managed this in first year. Module selection is now more important than ever. Again, read the module guides, talk to older students, decide what you want to show employers. This is especially crucial for students choosing whether or not to do a dissertation. If you’ve got a solid 2:1, interested in a particular field of research, and want your degree transcript to look good to employers, then yes you should. They are a lot of work. They take up a lot of your time and sanity, but they are incredibly rewarding. your school
will support you, and employers will see your ability to independently create high-quality work. Second year is prime time to apply for summer internships. Many large firms offer summer placements for undergraduates with a view to offering them a job if they perform well. A good way of cutting out the final year stress of job hunting is getting on one of these schemes and showing the company first hand that they should want you back with them in a year’s time.
Pictured: Alex shares tips on making the change between years easier (photograph by Alan Parkinson via Flickr)
Third Year Final year brings the greatest increase in difficulty of work and of workload. Those looking for graduate jobs should start applying as soon as possible, and the most proactive will start applying before the workload begins to mount up. Careers and Employability are there for one-on-one meetings and job fairs, tutors will write wonderful references if you ask, and the Skills Development Service offers free classes to boost your CV throughout the year. The government is now offering loans of up to £10,000 for Masters degrees for English students, so postgraduate courses are now much more accessible. This is the year to really give it your all, the final step before becoming a fully-fledged independent member of society. This is your final opportunity to make the most of everything Cardiff university, has to offer you, so make the most of it.
Second year is an amazing opportunity to build up a high average, and the higher it is at the end of the year, the easier it will be to maintain.
Moving into a student house can require a lot of organisation, Anna gives us some helpful tips
oving into your new house is an exciting thought, whether you’re escaping halls for the first time or just finding your new dream pad. However, before things can start to run smoothly there are a few things that are worth keeping in mind to ensure you and your flatmates keep the peace. One of the first things to consider after signing for your new place is who’s going to have which room. Sure pulling straws or names out of a hat is an easy way to assign bedrooms but more often than not you’ll have a much happier group if you just sit down and talk about it like the adults. Most likely everyone will have different preferences anyway, whether it be living upstairs or downstairs or in the room in the attic. If you do have a bedroom that’s the same size as Harry’s cupboard under the stairs it might also be worth organising that its owner pays
less rent than those in better rooms, just to avoid any bad blood. When moving day finally arrives it’s also important to keep organised and ensure everyone knows what they’re bringing. Make sure you have a way to keep in touch with each other over the summer, and make a list of everything your house needs, from toasters and kettles to cutlery and mugs. Then assign one job to each person- speaking from experience your house really doesn’t need four of everything and a 50 piece group set of cutlery. Perhaps the most important thing is to pay attention to your house as soon as you move in. Look for stains, cracks in furniture and things in need of repair and make a record of it. Let you agency aware of the problem to ensure they you don’t pick up the bill at the end of the year for something which isn’t your fault. Now to the boring bit- paying bills.
It may seem overwhelming and scary and something that only real adults do but don’t panic, it’s not that bad. When it comes to electric, gas and water you can find out what companies and arrangements past tenants had by checking with the letting agency or through letters in the post. It’s easy to keep with the same providers as before but check beforehand whether they really are giving you the best deal. It’s also essential that you check your electricity and gas meter as soon as you move in to avoid paying for anything that isn’t yours. In terms of wifi there are some good deals out there so it’s worth having a quick google to find the best prices. Some companies such as Virgin offer student contracts which are nine rather than twelve months, an option which saves you paying when you’re at home for the summer. Before setting up your accounts
it’s important that you choose who will set it up in their name- you need a housemate who’s reliable, likes to be organised and who will be there during the term and not away on a semester abroad or an extended holiday. In terms of paying your bills you can either create a shared bank account between you, or if a flatmate is willing, to have all money come from one individual account. Regardless of what you choose everyone must set up a regular direct debit to the account that the money is taken from, transferring the correct total each month. Keep organised and make a record of how much each bill is every month, so there’s no nasty surprises at the end of the year. Most of all make sure you enjoy your new home and the time you have in it-you’ll soon love the independence it creates and the memories that follow!
Speaking from experience your house really doesn’t need four of everything and a 50 piece group set of cutlery.
Tolerating teething: Wisdom teeth W isdom teeth. Some people are lucky enough never to have them, others have a painless experience. The rest of us… well it’s like pulling teeth really. When they decide to erupt through your gums, they do so slowly, stopping and starting again and again and often painfully. People feel that they can’t complain because teething is associated with babies. Lets face it, the pain causes babies to scream the place down and honestly i don’t blame them. Think about it, if your bones started sprouting out of your skin it would be excruciating! Teething
can cause your jaw, face and head to ache, much like a head cold, and can turn the most pleasant of students into grumpy temper tantrum toddlers. Recently my wisdom teeth began coming through and when you’re trying to write your dissertation it can be difficult to concentrate. I’m sure some of you will recognise this student struggle. Here are a few ideas to alleviate the aches. Firstly, try some painkillers, especially when you need to attend lectures. Ibuprofen is an effective pain relief as it has anti-inflammatory properties. I found that teething gels
helped a great deal, although the woman at the tills in Boots wanted to know how old my ‘little’un’ was! To be fair though I did buy a teething ring too (don’t judge, it works). However if you don’t think you’re cool enough to pull off a teething ring you can alternatively eat hard fruits, like apples, as the pressure of biting down can block the pain. It’s more important than ever to keep on top of your oral hygiene when your wisdom teeth break through the gum. Try and brush your teeth after every meal and use mouth wash to avoid infection. Gargling with warm salt water also helps
as it is a natural antibacterial. Unfortunately there’s not much else that you can do about it. However, if the pain persists along your jaw for a considerable period of time and is causing you unbearable pain, why not book an appointment with your dentist? S/he can look for sign of infection and examine whether your wisdom teeth are coming through at the right angle. The whole experience can make you irritable, so try not to snap at people. At the end of the day, all you can do is try your best to continue on with life as normal and sink your teeth into your work.
I did buy a teething ring too (don’t judge, it works).
How to get that all-important reference
sking someone to provide you with a reference can be a daunting task, yet for many third years looking to go into graduate level jobs or continue into postgraduate education it is unavoidable. When I began my MA application I realised I needed two references from lecturers in order to support my MA submission. For some students this would be an easy enough task as they may feel that with they have built up a close bond with their personal tutor and lecturers on their course. However, for me this was somewhat of an issue as I didn’t feel I knew my personal tutor very well, and while I knew of many lecturers I liked, I didn’t feel I knew any of them well enough to ask for a reference. Part of this boiled down to a belief
that if I asked them I thought they would not remember me, or would think it strange that I would go to them as a reference. Despite this, with deadlines fast approaching I was forced to go out of my comfort zone and talk to two members of staff. The motive behind mentioning this is to prove a point that while you may feel intimidated at the thought of approaching someone about a reference, it will never be as bad as you imagine it to be. Both the academics I spoke to were extremely helpful and more than happy to provide me with a reference. So the first thing to remember when you want to get a reference is that people will be flattered you have asked them and are generally happy to give you a strong reference that you can use in any way you want,
providing ask in the right way. So how best to go about getting a reference? Obviously whenever you are asking someone for something that takes up their time, it is important to be courteous and grateful. After all, they are taking time out of their own schedules to do something just for you. If you ask a lecturer for a reference in a very flippant way and pressure them to get it to you quickly, not only are they going to have less time to write a decent reference for you, they will probably think less of your character- not exactly something you want from someone who is vouching for your character. When first initiating the request it is okay to use email to get in contact with them, but I would recommend doing this solely as a means to arranging actually meeting them
in person. This is particularly important if the person you’re asking for a reference does not know you very well as this allows time for you to prove yourself and it should make you stand out as an applicant among many other students asking them for references. It also gives you time to talk through your achievements and future goals, making your reference more ‘tailor made’ to your personal ambitions and less generic. The final thing to remember is to be helpful and offer to provide any further information the person may need to write you a reference, often bringing in a CV is a good idea as it offers a full profile of your qualifications and achievements. Doing all these things will really help you get the best reference possible and help you in your future.
Be helpful and offer to provide any further information the person may need to write you a reference.
Sleeping like a baby?
Aislinn discusses dealing with both insomnia and extreme fatigue
Sleep is important for our health, but also our mental health and emotional wellbeing.
s someone who has suffered from both insomnia and glandular fever (also called mono, which, if you are lucky enough to have never suffered it, is a viral disease lasting several months at a time which has a primary symptom of exhaustion and fatigue), I am able to come at the issue of sleep from both angles. Not sleeping enough wasn’t fun, but neither was sleeping all the time. Sleep is important for our physical health, but also our mental health and emotional wellbeing. Having an unusual (or non existent) sleeping pattern can lead to problems with work, problems with friends, and a perpetuation of the problems (like anxiety or physical illness) which have caused the sleeping problems in the first place! When I could not sleep, I had no energy to socialize or work, and when I was constantly sleeping, I had no time, which only led to me being more and more concerned about my sleep, and likely to lay awake worrying. For those of us at university, it is especially important in exam season, as sleep is essential for the consolidation of memory. That all sounds very doom and gloom, but having been through both
sides and come out swinging (and napping), what have I learned? Firstly, how do I sleep at night? Well, first of all, the best way to have a good night is a good day. Get up in the morning, be active, even if that’s just walking to lectures, eat well, and make sure you’re hydrated. I know, I know, I sound like your mum, but it’s true! Secondly, advice usually given is to have a bedtime routine, which you do every day, to prepare your body for sleep. For some, that is showering, or having a cup of green tea, or just washing your face; others might have more elaborate or precise routines. Although it is more complex than this, think of it like simple pavlovian conditioning; if every time you are are about to go to bed you do the same thing, you will begin to psychologically associate that action with sleep, making it easier, or even automatic, to sleep afterwards. Relatedly, many of us, particularly those living in small student accommodation, live our whole lives sat on our bed. We work on our bed, socialize on beds, maybe even eat sat on the bed. Keeping your bed as a place for sleep (or other bed-specific activities wink wink) will stop you associating it with things that keep you
awake and alert, particularly work. You can’t sleep at your desk, so don’t work in your bed. Lastly, if you are struggling to sleep because your mind is buzzing or you are worrying, mindfulness activities can be extremely helpful. Adult colouring books are everywhere now, but originated as a mindfulness activity. They give you the chance to focus on a simple activity and cease thinking about external factors for a few minutes, while creating something pretty. Also, basic breathing exercises help to not only clear your mind, but slow your heart rate and physically prepare your body for sleep. Personally, I imagine a constant line of breath, and focus on making it as smoothly undulating as possible, like a sinusoidal curve. A final tip which has personally worked for me is listening to audiobooks when you go to sleep. Apps like audible have sleep timers, so you can set the book to play (quietly) from your phone for 8, 15, or 30 minutes to relax you and send you to sleep. Now part of my bedroom routine, I rarely make it past the first few sentences, such is the extent of my conditioning! The best audiobooks for this are those with softly spoken
narrators, and which you know well, so you are not focused on the plot but rather simply enjoying a familiar story. Some people like Stephen Fry’s Harry Potter audiobooks for this – personally I get too caught up in the Golden Trio’s adventures, but it is often a good place to start if you don’t listen to audiobooks often. Most of the tips above are about how to sleep better at night, but as I said, I have experience of what it is like to be simply exhausted and sleeping all the time as well. The first piece of advice I would give to someone who finds themselves consistently exhausted or sleepy for an extended period of time is to see a doctor. Fatigue is often a symptom of other medical problems, including glandular fever but also anemia, depression, or metabolic diseases. Snap with extended periods of insomnia, see a doctor, and do not suffer in silence. Even if they can’t help you directly, having a doctor’s note is essential for negotiating extenuating circumstances with the university. Be honest with your friends and family, and first and foremost prioritize your sleep. If you have to miss a night out, or a house meal, to sleep then that’s okay. Sleep is important, healthy, and cuddly. Sloth on!
Pictured: Sleeping is a key part of student health (Photographer: elias quezada via flickr)
The first piece of advice I would give to someone who finds themselves consistently exhausted or sleepy for an extended period of time is to see a doctor.
Campus Censorship debate Monday 18th April Cardiff Studentsâ€™ Union Room 4J Doors open from 6pm
COMMENT 13 Editors: Em Gates Charley Griffiths David Williams @GairRhyddCom firstname.lastname@example.org gairrhydd.com/comment
Politics at Glastonbury: Should Corbyn be allowed to speak?
It is hard to ignore the fact that Corbyn will not be as focussed on the EU referendum as he should be by attending the festival. I suspect you will not see David Cameron or Nigel Farage speaking at a music festival at a time like this.
The arrival of new character, Zari, is a way for children of both genders to identify with a strong, young individual.
hether you agree with his politics or not, there is a wider debate surrounding Jeremy Corbyn and his choice to speak at Glastonbury 2016; an event which coincides with the EU referendum on the 23rd June 2016. It is widely regarded as one of the biggest decisions the UK has made in many years and is likely to be the final say on Britain’s membership of the EU for a generation. Like myself, I am sure when you think of Glastonbury you are unlikely to think of politicians but there has been a political presence at the festival for some years now. Last year, the Dalai Lama spoke at the event and, in previous years, so too have Green Party leaders Caroline Lucas and Natalie Bennett. Although, they did not speak at a time when Britain has to decide on their membership of the European Union. This has resulted in criticism of Corbyn and whether this is the best time to be making an appearance at such an event. But is this a new and somewhat clever idea by Mr Corbyn or a distraction from the serious matters facing the country in the near future? Labour’s John Woodcock was concerned that the party would not be able to capitalise on any problems that arise for the Tory Party post referendum. Others have also criticised him for not being focussed enough on his job as Labour leader. At an event that has such large connotations with music, people
are questioning the reasoning behind the idea of mixing politics with music. The message that Corbyn will give at the event, whatever that may be, is unlikely to stay strong in the minds of festival goers who will possibly be thinking about the bigger acts such as Coldplay and Adele. Yet, it is clear that many, especially the younger generation, are feeling increasingly marginalised and disengaged by politics, so the decision by Corbyn to speak at the festival may not be such a bad thing after all. The audience of the Glastonbury Festival generally are quite young and the Labour leader may see an opportunity to appeal to a wider audience and get more people interested in politics. Sure, he already has a wide support base among younger generations, but his presence at the venue may increase their political awareness and that surrounding the EU Referendum in particular. Many have argued that this is a shameless gimmick merely for Corbyn to enhance his popularity and for personal gain. Glastonbury is not the time or place to be talking about politics for a mainstream party leader. However Corbyn is, and will continue to be, a man who will remain true to himself despite the criticism he faces; when has Jeremy Corbyn ever been mainstream? He has defied what is usually seen of politicians with his unorthodox style during Prime Minister’s Questions and his more radi-
cal politics that have, to everyone’s original surprise, propelled him to leader of the Labour Party. It is hard to ignore the fact that Corbyn will not be as focussed on the EU referendum as he should be by attending the festival. I suspect, and I am only guessing, you will not see David Cameron or Nigel Farage speaking at a music festival at a time like this. But, many politicians will do the usual door to door or more general public speeches; Corbyn is likely to be alone in his presence at Glastonbury. I am by no means
saying that this a new type of politics, it has been done before by other leaders, but it has not been seen by a leader of a mainstream political party. He may well be onto something. It doesn’t matter that Corbyn has been accused of being radical or too different before. It doesn’t matter that he will face criticism for participating in events such as this. Corbyn has continued to defy the odds and grow in popularity, but will it carry on after taking such a controversial decision to speak at Glastonbury at a time of great national importance?
Pictured: Is Corbyn playing to the right crowd on referenundum weekend? (Source: Flickr user)
New muppet promotes women’s rights
n 2011 the Embassy of the United States in Kabul funded the launch of a new TV show ‘Baghch-eSimsim’ translating to the commonly known children’s TV show ‘Sesame Street.’ The show aimed to increase education amongst children in Afghanistan considering that 45 per cent of the population are in fact under the age of 15. The show recently introduced a new Muppet in hope of empowering young females and promoting females rights in a country that is rapidly developing and slowly moving away from it’s traditional views. The Muppet is named Zari. She sports a traditional Afghan scarf over her multi-coloured hair and school uniform. Producers manifested Zari in hopes of teaching young Afghani females about health, careers and their emotional well being. The sudden appearance of the character is a big deal for young Afghans as the country is notable for their imposition of ‘backward’ limits on the freedom of women and their rights. Since the fall of the Taliban government 14 years ago, there have been many
developments for women, however some conditions are yet to improve. Only a shocking 5.8 per cent of Afghani females over 25 have a sufficient secondary school education, a statistic that in modern day Western society would be bewildering. Around 16 per cent of the current labour force in the country is built of women, which again is shocking in this day and age. Womens rights in Afghanistan first started to change under the reign of King Amanullah in 1919. The King stressed the importance for young Afghani girls to obtain a good education and encouraged families to start sending their daughters to school. In 1921 he promoted the unveiling of the traditional Afghan dress for women, the Burqa and suggested they adopt a more Western approach to the way they dress. Later that year he also banned forced and child marriages and put heavy restrictions of polygamy which was commonly practiced in the country at the time. However, modern social movements were first introduced under the reign of Queen Soraya who to this day has been the
only female to rule over the country. She was highly credited for being one of the most influential and powerful Muslim and female activists. The Karzai administration has relaxed policies around women’s right. Women are now allowed to openly drive cars and engage in activities which they would have previously been unable to participate in. However, the current government still enforces rules upon women that most people would claim absurd. For example, within most cities in the country women are not allowed to travel without a male companion and are not allowed to mingle with unknown men in public. Humans Rights organisations across the world have expressed concern over the state of women’s rights in Afghanistan. Sherrie Westin, the executive vice president of global impact and philanthropy for Sesame Street, stated that the arrival of new character, Zari, is a way for children of both genders to identify with a strong, young individual. ‘It’s a way of making sure we are not just teaching but we are modelling
which is very powerful,’ said Westin. It’s clear that forces in Afghanistan are aiming to improve general culture for the next generation and I feel that the creation of the new Sesame Street character is a step in the right direction. However the ever present issue of women’s rights is still at large and the Afghani government needs to come up with a way to tackle the problem . Female activists in the country need to be given a stronger platform to voice their opinions and concerns. Western society has come so incredibly far in terms of both human rights and women’s rights and we are incredibly privileged to have done so. But despite this, those in countries such as Afghanistan are yet to do so and our attention needs to be focused on them. I feel activists in the West need to stand together as a whole and raise concern on the impending issue of feminism in Afghanistan and surrounding developing countries so that we can really make an impact and allow for these women to exert the freedom they have the right to.
However the ever-present issue of women’s rights is still at large and the Afghani government needs to come up with a way to tackle the problem.
Should Cameron resign?
NO: Adam Muspratt
The type of fund that the PM benefited from is subject to distributor funds, so all tax is paid in a completely above board manner.
YES: Sam Saunders
avid Cameron has done absolutely nothing wrong, yet the kerfuffle over his private finances has ruptured in a sickening storm of sneering accusations, a motion which is spearheaded by the refusal to consider the actual facts. The only fault of the PM is his inability to deal with a crisis, he should be screaming the moral case for his actions, not giving into the hysterical lynch mob by flinging tax forms left-right-and-centre. Unfortunately he has made himself look a guilty figure with his fingers in the till, and as such, the media and the vocal minority have had their dubious suspicions confirmed. They say “we’ve got him,” “he’s a greedy this-and-that,” and “a rich toff only out for himself.” Enough of this nonsense. Those who would wish to see David Cameron resign, please consider the following if you can avoid from frothing at the mouth in envy at the PM’s affluent background (let’s be honest, it’s probably what it is). The main points of discussion are his off-shore investments and his inherit-
ith social media in uproar this week after the revelations of the business activities of David Cameron’s late father were revealed in the so-called ‘Panama papers’ information dump, you could be forgiven for thinking that the writing was on the wall for David Cameron and his premiership. Despite the uproar, Cameron has remained stubbornly in office, although his approval ratings have now dropped below those of Jeremy Corbyn for the first time. Whilst he remains in his job however, this seems to be the perfect time for a Cameron resignation. What I mean by this is not that the political climate is right or that it is at a time of Cameron’s choosing. This revelation, that the Prime Minister and his wife owned shares in an off-
ance. To tackle the former, and to cut a long story short, “a man makes a modest investment and pays all of his tax” as so succinctly quipped by tax lawyer, James Quarmby, to the BBC. This didn’t fit the narrative of course as the BBC presenter then stumbled through a series of “um’s” and “well’s” in the onslaught of Quarmby’s tax expertise. It’s kind of a microcosm of this whole episode in all honesty. The type of fund that the PM benefited from is subject to distributor funds, this means that every penny that the fund makes goes onto a tax return, so all tax is paid in a completely above board manner. People set up off shore funds not to avoid tax, but because they are easier to create due to relaxed laws. “There is no tax efficiency in this fund, it is a terrible way to avoid tax” as further noted by Quarmby. Furthermore, the firm, Baltimore Holdings was moved to Ireland in 2010 which is full member of the EU. Hardly a dodgy off-shore investment, it’s a standard vehicle for investing in foreign stocks. Millions do the same thing through their pension funds.
Secondly, the money that the PM inherited from his mother. What an awful woman she must be, giving her son £200,000 after his father died, why didn’t she wait until she passed on so that £70,000 could go to the government? I don’t think there is a parent in this country that wouldn’t want their children to do better in life, it’s a basic human instinct and to decry it as “immoral” is nonsensical. The Cameron family operated above board and paid no more tax than they should have. “Man receives monetary gift from his mother in the same manner that millions have across the UK” would be an appropriate headline for this non-story. In-fact, Chas Roy-Chowdy, head of taxation at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, surmised that “he seemed to have been doing all the wrong things in terms of minimising his tax bill.” I feel that there is a trend here among tax experts. The fact is that money moves between spouse’s tax free, and the PM’s mother is still alive. This means that no inheritance tax has to be paid on the
money she transferred to him. Besides, it had already been taxed as part of his father’s earnings. It’s the inheritance tax itself that is immoral, and the only surprising thing about this story is that people are outraged by what millions across the UK are already doing. I wouldn’t even go as far to suggest that it’s a “loophole” it’s simply what any sane person would do and it’s perfectly advertised on Gov.uk. It’s damming that this witch hunt was started by people who saw guilt by association of the PM being a Tory, and well, incredibly rich – but the electorate already knew these things since they voted him into office. We learned nothing new from this episode, except that he inherited some money and owns some shares. What shockers those morsels of news are! Envy is a debilitating condition, and quite widespread it seems. I don’t know how sensible tax planning makes you a bad person, it’s not sneaky it’s what you’re supposed to do. To suggest the PM should resign over this is absurd quite frankly.
shore company, flies in the face of everything that the government has been attempting in terms of cracking down on tax avoidance, especially in recent months. The ‘triumph’ of getting Google to pay around £130 million in tax recently was seen by many as a sign that the Conservatives were still lazy on this particular policy; people deducing that the Tories are still on the side of the mega rich and big businesses. This modicum of tax that Google paid was seen as a huge success by the Chancellor and the Prime Minister, but all of that work has now been undone by the recent allegations about both individuals, especially as the spotlight has changed to the chancellor after his tax return was released. I suppose the main reasons for a resignation at this time are thus. The
idea of even owning shares in an offshore trust means that Cameron is a hypocrite and has not only damaged his own reputation but most of the progress that had been made to make the Tories appear more friendly and open to the whole country. It means that one of the lynchpin policies of the majority Conservative government is now in tatters, as the general populace and the other MPs in the Commons are unlikely to trust the Prime Minister on tax avoidance strategies ever again. Also, this latest debacle comes at a time when Cameron is still reeling from several recent and high profile defeats, as well as a lot of negative press. The defeat over working tax credits last year, the more recent defeat over changes to Personal Inde-
pendence Payments and the fallout over the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith have damaged Cameron, and I believe that this damage may be irreparable. Cameron is also presiding over one of the worst periods of Tory infighting over Europe in recent memory, something which will only get worse as the referendum approaches. Given the record of austerity started by the coalition and this government, the rest of the negative press Cameron has received and the ongoing Europe feud within the Conservative Party, it is my view that he should resign. It’s time for another MP to have a go at steering the government for the remainder of this term, because, if nothing else, I believe the country will benefit if Cameron were to resign.
Pictured: Cameron’s job is being debated by many in Great Britian (Source: Number 10 via Flickr)
The idea of even owning shares in an offshore trust means that Cameron is a hypocrite.
His optimism to find that missing part of his life should be applauded.
Pictured: Libraries provide a valuable service to all. (Photographer: Stewart Butterfield)
Bravery of ‘Gary Gatwick’ appeal H eritage, in contemporary society, is a key source in constructing your own identity. Whilst many don’t appreciate heritage or cultural values embedded in their family history, Steven Hydes, also known as ‘Gary Gatwick’, was abandoned at Gatwick airport 30 years ago as a baby. Steven is currently making an appeal to find his parents or relatives to find out the who’s, what’s, where’s and why’s he has always wanted to discover. In an interview with Sky News Steven Hydes stated that “It’s the not knowing...why it happened and things like that I really want to know. To me
it’s just a blank space that everyone else seems to have... I’d just like to know what happened, it will explain more about myself, complete me in a way”. Rather sadly, many Twitter users have tweeted comments asking why you would even abandon a baby for anyone to pick up instead of consulting an adoption agency, calling the parents idiots and worse. When analysing a situation such as this, we cannot ignore the fact that despite not handing over the baby to social services, we as consumers of information do not know the situation Steven’s parents were in at the time of the event. A poll by UNICEF
was undertaken which showed that approximately 400,000,000 children world-wide are abandoned, with no recollection or concept of the terms ‘family’, ‘parents’ or even ‘identity’. Whilst it may be somewhat immoral to neglect and abandon children, many of these parents are not in a stable financial state or are categorised as mentally unstable, hence the decision to abandon. The real question that needs answering though, is why has nobody came forward? No family member or even distant relative, despite his long- lasting search for his family. Is it due to the shame of the family for
their abandonment? Are they still alive and well? Are they in a position when they want to see him? Now think, if these questions pervade our minds and concerns, think about the concerns of Steven. Put yourself in his shoes, would you continue searching for your familial heritage? Personally, I think Steven’s appeal to find his parents is extremely brave and his optimism to find that missing part of his life should be applauded. However, we must remember that this is just one case within the UK and not forget about the abundance of other children who are left, abandoned and ultimately forgotten.
We do not know the situation the parents were in at the time of the event.
Why we should save public libraries
he library. A place of knowledge, literature, and pain. At least that’s what most of us feel like when we are students. But, many moons ago when I was a child, the library was my favourite place. It had soft cushions, brightly coloured carpets, and most importantly: books. All the books a child in a very small seaside town could read. And then, when I had read them all, they ordered more in for me. Libraries are to children what sunlight is to plants – they feed us, make us grow, and we reflect the spectrum of light they give us onto others. Every child loves adventure, and a library is an endless source of them. You might say that books are the source of all this joy, and that the library as it exists now is no longer how we access books – we read them on kindles, we order them off amazon, and we watch them as movies. But all of the above require money, and access to the internet, or the ability to travel to the shops. The reason local libraries are so precious is that they are a
free resource accessible to everybody, and shutting them down becomes a class issue, where only the privileged are able to experience the full range of exploration and happiness that can come from books. The children’s author Cornelia Funke summed up the underappreciated beauty of libraries thus: “If I was a book, I would like to be a library book, so I would be taken home by all different sorts of kids”. However, libraries are not just for young people and fiction aficionados – libraries are the face of open-access knowledge, of education for all, and the maxim that you can learn something new every day. Libraries, and librarians, can provide information or source books to help everyone from a fifteen year old girl wanting to know more about the Scottish history which inspired Game of Thrones, to a retired builder who thinks it’s about time to read Dickens, or just someone wanting a book on how to fix their leaky sink. Libraries are the bridge for the gap between what is known and what
you actually know. Again, one could say that Google has made this function of the library pointless. However, this first assumes access to computers, smartphones, and the internet, which we cannot assume for the underprivileged in a time where record numbers of people cannot even afford food. Secondly, to quote the brilliant Neil Gaiman (whose books I discovered in a library):“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers, a librarian can bring you back the right one.” Local libraries are being cut because of austerity measures affecting every service in the country. I am aware that sacrifices have to be made and that many would argue that this is hardly the most extreme effect of budget cuts in the UK. However, I think that they are something we need to fight for. Libraries, and what they represent in our society, are worth fighting for. As writer Anne Herbert said: “Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.”
Joint honours subjects need better organisation
Poor communication between schools is a common problem... and it isn’t just at undergraduate level.
oing a joint honours subject is a great choice for those who want to pursue two different subjects at the same time. Perhaps you were undecided on which subject you wanted to do, or were torn between different disciplines? This was my reasoning for choosing to do both Language and Literature. Our year was the first to trial it as one single honours course, yet is still technically treated as double honours. Right from the start, this was very confusing. I had two personal tutors, yet wasn’t sure who to see about what. I was also missed off some of the e-mail lists, with each subject thinking I was solely doing the other subject. When applying for second year modules, there were clashes between core modules in Language and modules I really wanted to do in Literature, or times when it was impossible to find a seminar that would fit into the timetable. And to top it
off, in my final semester of my final year, I now have two essays due in for Literature on the same date as a Language exam. Yes, I understand that the Easter holidays have kind of messed around the structure of the semester. But I now have to write two lwts of 3,000 word essays whilst trying to revise for an exam whilst doing lectures at the same time. Considering my school has the word ‘Communication’ in the title, I am doubting how successfully the subjects have really communicated. At first, I thought I was just being a bit over-dramatic. Third year sucks and we have to do a lot, get over it. But when I was talking to other joint honours students, it does seem that poor communication between schools is a common problem. Grace, a first year JOMEC and ENCAP student told me: “I’ve had timetable clashes and I’m currently finding it difficult sorting out reg-
istering for second year modules as my two schools have different enrolment procedures with very limited information and support for joint honours students… I shouldn’t need to prompt the two schools to communicate better.” Similarly, James, a first year Politics and JOMEC said “I think the bad thing is you don’t feel a part of either department! I guess communication is poor from both sides due to the fact that you’re not completely attached to either of the schools.” Tom, a second year Journalism and Sociology student agreed with the other students, saying that “the two schools don’t seem to talk to each other at all”. It turns out, the problem isn’t just at undergraduate level either. I also spoke to two Masters students, Lizzie and Lisa, who both study Science, Media and Communication. Lizzie said how “the lack of communication between SOCSCI and JOMEC at the start of the year was
awful with regards to letting us know our timetables”. Lisa agreed, and told me that “they gave us so many optional modules in one school that clashed with core ones in a different school. We’re constantly running between JOMEC and SOCSI lost”. She even said how two core modules clashed meaning they had to leave some workshops early and missed important things but were never sent anything to catch up: “neither school could fully understand what we were missing”. Overall, it sounds incredibly frustrating that by Masters level this still isn’t being resolved. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Cardiff, it is just annoying that lack of communication between schools seems to have caused unnecessary stress for myself and other students. To me, it seems like double checking timetables between schools wouldn’t be too hard. If they offer the potential to join courses together, they need to make sure they actually can.
I have enjoyed my time at Cardiff, it is just anoying that lack of communication between schools has caused unnecessary stress.
When events become inflated to such commercial value, animal welfare is prioritised below entertainment and profit.
There should always be a separation of church and state. We all have different beliefs.
Horses don’t choose to race!
very year the Grand National re-generates the controversial debate over animal welfare and rights. This is mainly due to the deaths of competing horses. But whilst many voices are heard calling for the abolishment of the sporting event, this does not deter the millions who sit quietly at home watching and enjoying it instead. This year, five horses have now died after injuries incurred over the three-day event. 10 million tuned in for the final race, a record viewing figure for Channel 4 and a record death rate at the festival for the last six years. In the past, horse racing has come under criticism for its use of whipping, drugs and of course the deaths of horses that have fallen. Animal rights groups such as PETA and Animal Aid consistently call for the banning of the sport altogether or stricter regulations to improve the treatment of the animals. Since 2000, 47 horses have died over the Grand National festival. Aintree holds what is said to be the world’s most dangerous jump (Becher’s Brook) and a common opinion is that the racecourse is too crowded with 40 horses competing in the final event greatly increasing the risk. It is not uncommon for seriously injured horses to be killed or sold off, as their financial value is now zero because they are no longer fit to race. This runs the risk of horses being seen as a replaceable tool; an instrument
for the jockey to use. Like any other sportsman, when their instrument is broken it is discarded and replaced. It is not just racing that endangers horses. Sports like polo incur damage to the animals through accidentally being hit with mallets or suffering leg injuries related to the fast pace turning they are made to do. Olympic equestrian events like show jumping and dressage also similarly involve risk to the horses’ health. The Grand National only receives more vocal negative attention because of the higher profile spectacle, the death and injury of animals being impossible not to notice. Some argue that of course all sport involves risk. But what differentiates horse racing from other sports is the animal not consenting to compete and risk injury. Also, I would argue, the element of betting- putting money on a sport that endangers the horses’ lives, is what gives horse racing an unethical image. Of course people who take part in equestrian sports are not all heartless owners simply in it for the money and entertainment. Clearly many retired racehorses are re-homed to caring environments and it would be unfair to tarnish racehorse owners as abusers of animals. A great deal of people, certainly on a lower profile event scale, love their animals and are devoted to them. But when events become inflated to such commercial value, animal welfare is prioritised
below entertainment and profit. The animal lovers can become blinded slightly and miss the basic point that no matter how well the horse is treated and looked after, they are still putting that animal in a position it has
not chosen, where their life is at risk. Euthanasia may be the humane option for an injured racehorse, but would it have come to this drastic measure if the sport were safer or banned altogether?
Pictured: Horse racing is controversial (Photographer: Paul via Flickr)
Why is religion still influencing the law?
ock legend Bryan Adams cancelled his concert in Mississippi after the US state passed a “religious liberty law” that aims to enable private enterprises and religious groups to refuse service to the LGBT community. This comes after Bruce Springsteen cancelled a show in North Carolina after a similar law against the gay populace, in which obliges them to use public toilets that match the gender in their birth certificates. While hearing these backward laws made my blood pressure rise, it is rather comforting to know that the rockstars are on my side. I am 1,000 per cent certain that religion should not be influencing laws, because if they should, then governments would be in a sticky situation akin to that of the Islamic State. I could be exaggerating, but isn’t having religion as law the core of ISIS? Fine, also Saudi Arabia, but that’s another issue altogether. You could argue that a community in the south of Siberia also makes their religion as their law and they are peaceful, kale-loving people. But you also have to note that these people never go down the mountains, they wear white all the time, and they praise a leader in his early 50s who looks like Jesus. Feel free to Google this if you don’t believe me. What I’m saying is that in order for a religion as law to work, you have to
purposively be in some sort of community that think the same say as you do, and have a complete disregard of contemporary society (aka go off the grid and start a life outside the city.) Otherwise, discrimination in any shape or form becomes inevitable. There should always be a separation of church and state because we should acknowledge that we all have different beliefs. Laws cannot interfere with these beliefs because these are all very individualistic. If the state would want to satisfy every single citizen, then they will be contradicting each other, making laws completely pointless. Laws, first and foremost, are there to bring order to a civilized society. They shouldn’t be there to merely satisfy one political, cultural, or economic group over the other as this is the sickening root of discrimination. Law and religion are very challenging subjects to cover because it varies from person to person. Two Catholics living in the same state could have views and principles that are poles apart from each other. In an ideal world, we have laws so we don’t go on a killing spree when people do us wrong while we have religion to make us realise why it is wrong. In the real world, we don’t even need to have a religion to know what is wrong from right, and like ISIS, the law allows you to do harm to other people.
Supporters of these laws in North Carolina say that they are just trying to guard the interests of those that have been victimised by men who would pose as transgenders, attack women and children, and then use the legal protections as cover. While it is justifiable, it also shows how these people have been living in fear. It is upsetting that it seems we are always expecting the worst from people within our own communities.
If we all continue to think like this, how are we any different from Donald Trump who wants to build a 20 billion dollar wall? I am sure that these laws were passed with good intentions in mind. I believe we all try to come from a place of kindness, but somehow, because there are times that we become too self-involved with our own issues, we tend to forget those who are also fighting their personal battles.
Pictured: Organisations in Mississippi are legally allowed to refuse service to gay people (Photographer: Paul Sableman)
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18 THE GAIR RHYDD COLUMN
Doing the dirty
British children now spend less time outside than British prisoners, and it sucks.
A typical Saturday afternoon in the seventies would be spent frolicking in building sites, swinging from the scaffolding and playing piggy in the middle with bricks.
ver the Easter break I suffered from what is occasionally identified as ‘the kissing disease’. Unfortunately this is not an ailment that causes those around you to find you deliciously kissable, nor does it see you overcome with the yearning to kiss anybody else. The kissing disease instead confines you to your bed with a throat so constricted it is near-impossible to breathe, swells your glands to the size of two small planets, and a gives you a temperature so sweltering that absolutely, categorically nobody wants to kiss you. If you’d have asked me a few weeks prior to my contraction of glandular fever, I’d have been delighted at the prospect of spending two weeks confined to my bed, with nothing to do but eat, sleep and consecutively watch all three series of Gavin and Stacey (plus Christmas specials) without being judged and/or disturbed. However, being confined to bed for a sustained period of time is no fun at all. In reality, it actually only takes 48 hours to become infuriated with not knowing what happened during THAT fishing trip and for the initial disbelief at James Corden’s 2007 weight to wear off. So then, a couple of days in, having exhausted the ‘British Sitcoms’ category on Netflix and having caught chlamydia from just watching the new series of Geordie Shore, I was desperate for something new to pass the time. Queue, old family videos. Aside from being repulsed by what a genuinely horrid child I was (I was fashioning a standard 90s bowl cut with pink-and-green floral trousers from GAP, and was regularly caught
attempting to push my sister down stairs whilst humming the tune to The Ketchup Song). I couldn’t help but notice the evident differences between myself as a child fifteen years ago, and children of today. After mentioning this to my parents at dinner, conversation turned to their own childhood, and what it was like to grow up in the seventies. They chuckled at the comprehensive absence of health and safety when they were young. A typical Saturday afternoon for a child under ten in the North would be spent frolicking in building sites, swinging from scaffolding and playing piggy in the middle with bricks. Bricks. You’d go out across town for the day and your parents wouldn’t worry about not hearing from you until midnight, and if you hadn’t been a little bit run over at some point, you weren’t really worth knowing. Without doubt, childhood is changing. No longer are your pre-teens dictated by advice in GirlTalk and convincing your mum to buy Pokémon cereal, and no longer is the biggest commitment in life remembering to feed your dogs on the Nintendo DS. Today, youth is sculptured by advice from Google, and PornHub, convincing mum to buy £80 Calvin Klein underwear and the biggest commitment in life is mastering contouring before you get to high school and finding your good angle to impress the boys on Snapchat. I spent the weekend at my boyfriend’s house, charmed by old family videos of him and his sisters performing rap battles in France and traipsing around Welsh castles with picnics. The
tapes were similar to those of my own family, and probably to many others of the Tammy Girl/Tamagotchi/Beanie Baby generation. Handheld SONY video camera, navigated by confused Dad with running commentary of date/location and the occasional “careful” or “don’t push your sister off the cliff edge”, with tired-looking mum running round with baby wipes and ham sandwiches in tin foil. But most evidently, outside. Always outside. With the constant deafening whoosh of recorded-wind in the garden, or by the sea, or up a hill, we were always outside. So then, when I read in The Guardian earlier this week that more than three quarters of children spend less than an hour outside every day, I was dejected. Less than an hour, is less than maximum security prisoners. Just to reiterate that, British children are spending less time outside than extremely dangerous British inmates. Two fifths of the children polled had never played stuck in the mud, and 18 per cent had never played outside at all. At all. Imagine growing up having never played stuck in the mud. That game was an essential tool to understanding the opposite sex (the nice boys would always free you) and critical to learning empathy. You just KNEW how shit it was to be stuck for ages with no hope of rescue. The study was commissioned by laundry detergent company ‘Persil’, the posh version of Lidl’s ‘Formil’ (which is probably made from ground up children and dandelions but is two pounds cheaper and thus definitely worth the risk). In response to their shocking results, the #DirtIsGood campaign was
born, in order to kick-start what they hoped will be a ‘global conversation’ about the importance of outdoor experiences. I sincerely think if I was deprived of outdoor play when I was younger, my life would be incredibly different now. Being alfresco nurtured my love for nature and wildlife, and I built relationships in gardens and sandpits and mud baths. Dr Stuart Brown, an expert from the campaign, says that the importance of a child’s “immersion in the outdoors and in ‘dirt’” is imperative for their long-term health and wellbeing. I agree Stu, what kind of a childhood is all screens and controllers and classrooms? But how much time do students spend outside? How much time do I spend outside? Surely we must be outside more than maximum security prisoners. Alas, I concluded this may not be the case. My life is divided between lecture halls, libraries, my cinema job, my house, Live Lounge and the SU. Perhaps I don’t go outside enough either. So this week I’m going outside. In the words of Natasha Bedingfield circa 2004, I will be feeling the rain on my skin as I trudge through Bute Park and sit out in beer gardens and stop taking the train from Cathays to Central. I’m going to go for picnics and search for bugs in the park and drag my friends around Cardiff Castle and maybe I’ll even sit outside in our concrete walled, grey and brown, flood-filled, rubbish spilled garden. Dirt really is good, so go and get dirty. Even if you can’t afford Persil to get the stains out.
Pictured: Fewer children are playing outside in Britain (Photographer: Shawn Nystrand)
Imagine growing up having never played stuck in the mud. That was an essential tool to understanding the opposite sex - the nice boys would always free you.
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Monday 18th April Sport / chwaraeon equeStrian kickBoxing
Venue / lleoliad dinefwr park Sketty lane - paVilion
time / amSer 11:00 17:00
tuesday 19th April Sport / chwaraeon waterpolo
Venue / lleoliad welSh national pool
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wednesday 20th April Sport / chwaraeon athleticS Badminton netBall Sailing tae kwon do tenniS cricket golf Swimming freSherS’ rugBy men’S SquaSh men’S ultimate friSBee ladieS’ hockey ladieS’ lacroSSe ladieS’ ultimate friSBee men’S fencing men’S footBall american footBall canoe polo ladieS’ BaSketBall img footBall ladieS’ rugBy ladieS’ VolleyBall ladieS’ SquaSh men’S hockey men’S lacroSSe Staff netBall ladieS’ footBall men’S BaSketBall ladieS’ fencing men’S VolleyBall Staff footBall
Venue / lleoliad outdoor track Bay campuS Sketty lane - main hall tata Steel Sailing cluB Sketty lane - paVilion outdoor courtS ynySygerwn cricket cluB pennard golf cluB national pool Sketty lane - rugBy 1 tenniS cluB SquaSh courtS council pitch 2 Sketty lane - aStro council pitch 3 council pitch 2 Sketty lane - paVilion Sketty lane - main pitch Sketty lane - rugBy 2 national pool Sketty lane - main hall council pitch 1 Sketty lane - rugBy 1 Bay campuS tenniS cluB SquaSh courtS Sketty lane - aStro council pitch 3 leiSure centre Sketty lane - main pitch Sketty lane - main hall Sketty lane - paVilion Bay campuS St helen’S
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Important Information When you attend the Welsh Varsity tournament, you are representing Cardiff University and the Students’ Union. Please behave in a responsible manner. Inappropriate behaviour may result in ejection from any sporting venues. Please ensure you arrive promptly for your allocated bus times. Please remember, alcohol will not be permitted on coaches travelling to Swansea. Sketty Lane is licensed venue. You will not be able to take your own alcoholic drinks in to the Sketty Lane site, and security searches will operate on entry. Food and drink will be available at both Sketty Lane and at the Liberty Stadium supporters’ village at student friendly prices. We encourage you to enjoy the day responsibly and to take good care of yourself and others. If you have any queries about the Welsh Varsity tournament, check out our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ page at cardiffstudents.com/varsity.
6 CANDIDATES. 1 LIVE DEBATE. Y PLAS 25.04.16 #CCDECIDES
POLITICS 23 Editors: Carwyn Williams Luke Brett Sam Patterson @GairRhyddPol email@example.com gairrhydd.com/politics
Panama revelations embarrass PM
The people exposed in this leak include 143 politicians from around the world and twelve national leaders, most notably David Cameron and Vladimir Putin.
he Panama Papers are the unparalleled leak of 11.5 million files from the world’s fourth largest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca. These files have basically revealed what a lot of us had already suspected; some of the most influential people on our planet have been adept at covering their fortunes from both the tax man and, in some cases, law enforcement agencies. The people exposed in this leak include 143 politicians from around the world and twelve national leaders, most notably David Cameron and Vladimir Putin. A $2 billion trail leads all the way to the Russian leader. Putin’s best friend, Sergei Roldugin, is at the centre of a scheme in which money from Russian state banks is hidden offshore. Some of it even ended up in a ski resort where Putin’s daughter Katerina got married in 2013. The other national leaders involved in this scandal include the Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif and the Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, who has since resigned. The revelations also show that six members of the House of Lords, three ex-Conservative MPs and dozens of donors to British political parties have benefited from offshore assets. “Frankly some of these schemes where people are parking huge amounts of money offshore and taking loans back to just minimise their tax rates is not morally acceptable.” Those were the words of Prime Minister David Cameron back in 2012. Cameron was discussing the tax arrangements of comedian Jimmy Carr and to be honest it is very hard to disagree with the Prime Minister’s sentiment. However, thanks to the recent leaking of the infamous Panama Papers it has emerged that the Prime Minister himself was actually benefiting from one of these “very dodgy tax avoiding schemes”.
After the news of the leak broke, Cameron denied ever making any profit from offshore companies which has since proven to be a lie. After five days and five different statements, the truth finally emerged that the PM had a £30,000 stake in his father’s company, Blairmore Holdings, a company based in the Bahamas. This has led to mass protests in London and a Twitter hash tag of ‘#resignCameron’ trending for days. This disappointing evidence from Panama must, surely, put more demand on David Cameron to stop trying to ignore the issue of tax havens and tax avoidance. The Panama Papers are also embarrassing for Cameron because they identified the British Virgin Islands, an overseas territory of Britain, as a major centre of overseas activity. This calls into question the PM’s claims that he is leading the fight internationally against tax evasion. Recently he has attempted to brush off criticism by pointing to a conference he is hosting next month against corruption. However, holding a conference is not exactly going to clamp down on the abuses taking place. Cameron’s Brussels voting record on tackling these issues is patchy at best, and actively unhelpful at worst. To find out where this corruption lies it is imperative that we allow the authorities to know who owns both companies and trusts. The UK does now have a ‘beneficial ownership register’ for companies and this is definitely a step in the right direction. However, the UK government were key players in preventing this transparency to go further and also cover the trusts. Perhaps these revelations from Panama force the Prime Minister into serious action, but this is still uncertain. The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has described the publications as
an attempt to destabilise Russia and claims that there is no evidence of any corruption on his part. Speaking at a media forum in St. Petersburg he noted that his own name was not mentioned in any of the 11.5 million papers and argued that journalists had sought to “pin allegations on his friends and acquaintances”. He even suggested that the papers were orchestrated by the United States government officials and spy agencies. Putin also defended his friend Mr Roldugin and claimed that it was “nonsense” Roldugin had made billions of dollars. In plain speaking tax avoidance is the arrangement of one’s financial affairs to minimise the tax that they have to pay. In most cases it is totally legal and above board, however, a lot of people view it as morally wrong. It should not be confused with tax evasion which is completely illegal in all forms. A classic example of entirely benign tax avoidance is when the general public put their savings into an Individual Savings Account (ISA) to avoid paying income tax on the interest earned on their cash savings. ISAs were established by the Government to encourage regular people to save. So when people avoid tax in this way they are doing precisely what Parliament intended. However, there is a big grey area in relation to a lot of other tax avoidance schemes created by accountants and often only marketed to wealthy people. Sometimes HMRC will argue that rich people are extracting a tax saving benefit that MPs never intended them to have. The rich people’s lawyers will argue that it is not clear what Parliament intended. Often the only way to resolve this question is in the courts. An example of this kind of contested scheme in recent years are the film investment funds, established after the
government introduced a tax break to encourage people to invest in films made in the UK. HMRC has challenged and shut down a host of these funds after concluding that they amounted to evasion. It is difficult to see where David Cameron’s offshore fund sits on this spectrum. When former Prime Minister Thatcher government removed restrictions on the amount of money UK residents could take out of the country in the 1980s it made it extremely possible for Britons to buy into these offshore funds (which then invested in stocks and shares all around the world). It is common today for people to invest in off-shore funds – and many ordinary people will be doing so through their pension funds without even knowing it. Labour has attempted to capitalise on the Tories’ woeful handling of the Panama Papers scandal by demanding a public inquiry and has also published a five-point plan to increase tax transparency. The Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, has said that the argument over tax avoidance comes down to an “issue of basic morality”. Labour proposes that there should be an immediate enquiry into the Panama Papers and also that all MPs and peers should be made to publish details of any offshore investment that they hold. They have also called for more resources to be made available to the HMRC so they are able to investigate any potential breaches of the law. McDonnell went on to say that the fact that more than half of the companies named in the papers were registered in UK-governed tax havens is a “matter of shame”. He went on to state that “not only has this government impeded international efforts to crack down on tax avoidance and to tackle tax havens but senior figures are personally implicated in these immoral schemes”.
Pictured: Panama City (Photographer: Charlie Leu)
Labour has attempted to capitalise on the Tories’ woeful handling of the Panama Papers scandal by demanding a public inquiry.
Northern Ireland prosecutes woman for abortion, but what is the legal position?
Many travel across to one of the other three nations of the United Kingdom.
t the end of March Donald Trump entered the headlines for yet another one of his now famed demagogic comments. Interviewed by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews he stated that he believed that women who choose to have an abortion should face “some form of punishment”. Though he later retracted on these statements after coming under heavy criticism from centrist Republicans, Democrats and pro-choice activists his usual bombastic rhetoric caught attention from media outlets across the world, especially in Great Britain. But, as British media outlets across the spectrum focused on the latest controversy initiated by the Republican front runner, less attention was granted to recent events in the abortion debate within UK borders. Though legal abortion was established across England, Wales and Scotland under the 1967 Abortion Act, it remains an offence in the fourth member of the United Kingdom. In Northern Ireland, on the 4th of
April this year, a 21-year-old woman was found guilty of undertaking an unlawful abortion and handed a threemonth sentence, suspended for two years. She experienced an unwanted pregnancy at the age of 19, though the then teenager tried to save up the money needed to travel to England she soon had to resort to far more desperate measures. Ordering an assortment of abortion pills online she induced a miscarriage at home. However, her flatmates found blood stained items and foetal remains in a bin and alerted the police. Using drugs with the intention of inducing a miscarriage would still be a criminal offence in the rest of the UK but an abortion would still be legal as long as it takes place before the current 24-week limit. Though the 1967 Act concerning abortion was never extended across the Irish Sea, abortion is legal under particular circumstances. If the life of the mother is considered to be under threat, this applies across both
Northern Ireland and the Republic to the south. Over the last two years, Northern Irish authorities have recorded sixteen terminations of pregnancy among the country’s 1.8 million population. Though, as previously mentioned, many travel across to one of the other three nations of the United Kingdom. In 2014, the UK-based charity, the Family Planning Association, estimates that in 837 abortions were performed in England with smaller numbers of Northern Irish residents choosing to travel to Wales or Scotland. Though the less restrictive laws in Great Britain have served as a benefit to those Irish women seeking an abortion, many lack the financial reserves necessary buy the tickets needed to cross the Irish Sea or find themselves in a situation where they are unable to travel. Just four years ago the Republic of Ireland found itself flooded by controversy as Savita Halappanavar died after complications of septic miscarriage seventeen weeks
into her pregnancy. The last Labour government faced calls to extend the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland, but the then Leader of the Commons Harriet Harman blocked the move claiming it might be shot down in the House of Lords. Though proponents for the extension of the Act speculated that the then government may have negotiated a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party in order to secure their support for plans to detain terror suspects without charge for 42 days. Northern Ireland is recognised as the most religious region of the UK with 82 per cent of the population describing themselves as Christian, compared with 57 per cent of Welsh citizens. Though polls in Northern Ireland show a majority in favour of the extension of the Abortion Act, it remains to be seen how long the Northern Irish government can restrict access to abortion services available to the rest of the United Kingdom.
Secession: What does international law say?
f you have lived in Western Europe for the last five years, secessionist movements will have become a part of your daily life. In Scotland, a referendum on independence was held in September 2014 and Nicola Sturgeon has said that, if Britain chose to leave the EU, demand for a second independence referendum could become ‘unstoppable’. In Catalonia, a pro-independence coalition controls the parliament after the most recent elections, and Catalan president Carles Puidgemot has recently declared a period of ‘pre-independence’. We are familiar with the standing of these movements with domestic law. But what does international law say about secession? International law is the system of rules which is generally accepted to regulate relations between states . It has been constructed through centuries of testing between nations as to what rules would best regulate this sphere.
International law governs areas such as diplomacy, trade, aircraft, shipping, and investment. It applies not only to states but to organizations and individuals. In the past, secessionist movements have benefited from operating within the law, as this makes it easier for new nations to be ‘recognized’ by the international community. We can expect Scottish and Catalan secessionists to try to make a case that they have a right to secession. So how will they try to make their case? There are several sources that can give us ideas about the legality of their proposals. The UN Charter, for instance, states in Article 2(1) that one of the purposes of the UN is to develop “friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principles of equal rights and self-determination”. However, self-determination is different from secession. Self-determination is the right of a peoples to choose how they are governed. Secession is the right of a peoples
to separate from their parent state. We will probably see the members of the UN be respectful towards the decisions of these movements, but not actively supportive. There are other sources as well that might be more relevant. In 1960, the UN General Assembly issued a statement about the right to independence of colonized people. The Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples stated that: ‘All peoples have a right to self-determination; by virtue of that they freely determine their political status’. While statements made by the General Assembly are not legally binding, they are nevertheless respected by UN members as the General Assembly reflects the views of 193 states. Finally, we may look to past cases of secession to see what the international community decided. For example, in 1980s-90s a secessionist government
was in power in the Canadian region of Quebec. At one point, the Québécois government conducted a referendum without the authorization of the Canadian government. The Canadian Supreme Court pondered on whether unilateral secession (a peoples separating without consent from the parent state) was legal under international law. They reached the conclusion that unilateral secession was only legal in the context of colonialism, foreign occupation or when self-determination is being denied. We may expect to see these pro-independence governments trying to make their case using these sources or others that they have a right to secession. International law is deeply political and entities have been able to make their case successfully by interpreting a Treaty a certain way. Given this fact, let us hope that they don’t make a decision based on purely political motives as secession is a permanent move.
Pictured: Left: A pro-life rally in Dublin in 2011 Right: A prochoice rally the same day (Photographer: William Murphy via flickr)
We can expect Scottish and Catalan secessionists to try to make a case that they have a right to secession.
Election Spotlight: Tuition fees
n an interview with Gair Rhydd in the autumn, Carwyn Jones said that he and Welsh Labour were adamant they would not betray students. After mounting pressure over accusations that the current policy is unsustain-
laid Cymru have been very critical of the government’s blanket tuition fee policy for Welsh students, adding that the fact that over £90m was going to English universities was “inappropriate”. To compen-
irsty Williams, the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, defended her party on tuition fees to Gair Rhydd before Christmas, saying that no Welsh MP voted for the tuition fee rise. However,
elsh Conservatives are taking a similar stance to the Welsh Liberal Democrats, arguing that living costs are a bigger barrier for students than tuition fees. The party has proposed
elsh students studying in Wales would not have to pay tuition fees if the Green Party were to win the Assembly election. That was the message of the party’s deputy leader, and Cardiff
he party has yet to outline exactly how it intends to support Welsh students, but a spokesperson has said it has “always advocated cutting if not scrapping university tuition fees where fiscally possible.”
Cost of the current policy (£million)
able, Labour have refused to say what their policy will be until the Diamond Review has reported. The review will publish its findings in the autumn. Media speculation however suggested that the party would introduce
a means tested tuition fee, as Cardiff University’s Vice Chancellor Colin Riordan has recommended. To calm these fears, Jones ruled this out, saying it would “put huge amounts of debt on other students.”
“What we will never do is put Welsh students in the same financial position as their colleagues in England,” suggesting the party will continue on the same policy into the next Assembly term.
sate for this the party has unveiled a policy to increase tuition fees, but wipe-off up to £6,000 a year off the debt to Welsh students that return to Wales to work. This would be for a maximum discount of £18,000 for
a three year degree, meaning student would have a debt similar to current students, if they were to stay in Wales after graduation. Plaid’s education spokesperson, Simon Thomas, said “Our plans will
enable students from Wales to study wherever they want - and will ensure the Welsh economy can benefit.” He went on to say there was “no need to raid student maintenance grants” to pay for the policy.
looking ahead the party argues that the current model is unsustainable, and students worry more about maintenance than tuition. Students would therefore get a £2,500 living support grant a year to
help with living costs. This would be paid for by increasing tuition fees, but would also result in a funding boost to Welsh universities. Their education spokesperson, Aled Roberts, said: “Access to higher
education should be determined by academic ability and not social background. He went on to say that Wales’ universities “have been starved of funding due to the Labour government’s irresponsible policy.
a financial arrangement, whereby the government would pay half of students’ rent during their studies. On average this policy would see Welsh students receive £59 a week, and wherever Welsh students were to study.
Speaking to the BBC last week, Andrew RT Davies, the party leader said, “ultimately, what I want to see is parity between vocational education, and academic education. It is a fact that if you have a degree you will earn
more in the workplace. “One thing students tell us time and time again is one of the cost of living”. He went on to admit that students could be worse off under the Welsh Conservatives.
Central candidate, Amelia Womack has announced. The Green Party would therefore extend the current policy to Welsh students, but restrict it to those choosing to study outside Wales.
Under the current system up to £90million of Welsh Government grants goes to English universities. She said: “We want to be able to give that free education elsewhere, but the reality is we cannot do that in a five-
year process.” The party’s manifesto also aims to introduce a fee and maintenance loan for postgraduate students, as well as giving parity of funding to part-time students as to full-time ones.
The party has suggested that it would prioritise some students over others, and remove tuition fees for students taking approved degrees in science, medicing, technology, engineering and maths. This would be on the condition
they work and pay tax in the UK for five years after graduating. They have also suggested the number of students taking these courses for free could be capped. UKIP proposed last year that they
would drop the 50 per cent target on school pupils making it to university, and said in their 2015 manifesto they would encourage students to choose careers that would help close the skills gap.
Current Welsh student tuition fee (£)
Current English student tuition fee (£)
Number of new Welsh students every year
Local candidates will be debating at Cardiff SU next Monday 25th April, register at cardiffstudents.com
Dutch referendum rejects Ukraine-EU agreement Jamie Mckay
The Netherlands was the only member state of the EU who had not ratified the agreement.
Donald Trump’s grip on the nomination was loosened notably with a significant loss in Wisconsin.
Holland’s PM has promised to recognise the result
s divisions between Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the European Union became ever clearer, the Netherlands held a referendum concerning the association agreement negotiated between the European Union and Ukraine. The agreement would have committed the Ukraine to reform both its economic and judicial structures. The agreement was the result of six years negotiations between European officials and the ex-President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. Though Putin succeeded in Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the splitting of various rebel regions he only enabled a great decline in Ukrainian-Russian relations. Perhaps not surprisingly, pro-Russian sentiments among the Ukrainian peoples have been greatly reduced since 2013. In February last year, the Ukrainian Parliament registered a draft degree suspending relations with Russia. This suspension failed to pass, although Ukrainian diplomat Dmytro Kuleba admitted earlier this month that relations between the two states had deteriorated “almost to zero”. Though the majority of European leaders have emphasised their support for Ukraine and opposition to Putin’s ever growing interest in expansionism into those former Soviet states in Eastern Europe, the Netherlands was the only member state of the EU who had not ratified the agreement. Capitalising on the division evident in Dutch politics, Eurosceptics within the Netherlands initiated a referendum on whether or not to accept the proposed deal between Ukraine and the Union. Opponents of the European Union from both extremes of the political spectrum rallied behind the ‘No’ vote calling on voters to reject the association agreement. Both the Dutch government and the main parties rallied be-
hind the ‘Yes’ campaign, which cast the ‘No’ campaign as being too close to Putin in their goals for Europe. Indeed, the ‘Yes’ campaign went so far as to print posters showing Putin engaging in a homoerotic kiss with the controversial right-wing leader Geert Wilders urging voters to reject Putin’s ever present attempts to intrude on European affairs. Sadly, this was all in vain as Dutch voters seemed to reject the agreement on the day of the vote. How-
ever, the overall turnout fell well below one third of the total number of Dutch voters. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has promised to recognise the results of the referendum with the Dutch Parliament having already backed the agreement. Despite the less than encouraging results, the Ukrainian government has pledged to stay on course in its aims for European alignment. Though a loss for those advocating further European engagement, those
critical of further European integration may take heart from the recent results in the Netherlands. Britain’s most famed Eurosceptic Nigel Farage, who has previously urged foreign leaders such as Barack Obama not to intervene in other countries affairs, made speeches for the No campaign shortly before the vote and cheered at the outcome. Readers are urged to turn out come the end of June and make their views on Britain’s membership known.
Pictured: “Kiev wants in” (Photographer: JTGraham via Flickr)
Looking ahead to the New York Primary
ince our last edition in midMarch, the US Presidential election has taken some exciting twists and turns. Since March 22nd on the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders won eight out of the last nine primaries and caucuses and he won big - most between forty and sixty percentage points (albeit in smaller states with fewer delegates). Regardless, the Sanders campaign has shown momentum and the Vermont Senator has done incredibly well to be on this run of victories and still in with a chance of winning overall. On the Republican side, Donald Trump’s grip on the nomination was loosened notably with a significant loss in Wisconsin - Ted Cruz of Texas winning by a margin of thirteen points, and raking in the delegates to due the Wisconsin Republican primary operating a ‘Winner-take-most’ system. Many in the Republican estab-
lishment are now reluctantly backing Cruz as he’s the only way they can stop Trump, despite the fact he’s hated for his extreme views and obstructionism in the Senate. The next big contest for both parties is the New York primary on Tuesday, April 19th. Both Democratic candidates have links to New York - Sanders was born and raised in Brooklyn, whilst Hillary Clinton represented the state as a Senator for eight years sandwiched between her time as First Lady and her tenure as Secretary of State. This contest is seen as a crucial crossroads in the battle for the nomination - if Sanders wins then Clinton is firmly on the back foot, but if the reverse happens then she tightens her grip on the nomination ahead of July’s convention in Philadelphia - the latter is more likely with polls universally putting Clinton in the lead.
The Democratic establishment has always called for Sanders to drop out in the name of ‘party unity’ and expect those calls to intensify once more if he loses in New York, whatever the margin. Make no mistake Senator Sanders will take this all the way to the convention, and it is not a battle that Secretary Clinton is happy to have to fight. For the Republicans, their frontrunner Donald Trump is on home turf too with the billionaire born and bred in Queens. Commentators may humorously reference Cruz’s quip that Trump had “New York values”, referencing his pre-race liberal political and social views. He’s feeling the heat from Cruz as most indicators point to a ‘contested convention’ in Cleveland, whereby no candidate wins the party nomination and the party nominee is decided by bartering and back room deals - a throw-
back to decades and centuries gone by. In addition to his victory in Wisconsin Cruz romped home in Utah and Colorado, and poor state-bystate organisation has meant that Trump lost some delegates at State conventions (the process is complicated, but in essence the Cruz campaign is taking advantage of arcane delegate selection procedures). Despite this, in New York, he holds significant poll leads as well as in other states that come a week after such as Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut - the North-East is fertile ground for Trump. Both battles for the nominations of the respective parties have become noticeably uglier coming into New York, the frenzied home of the nation’s media. Whatever the results, you can expect party divisions to widen and the rhetoric to get even more depressing.
Both battles for the nomination of the respective parties have got noticeably uglier.
science Tanya Harrington
The researchers’ model details Planet Nine as an “ice planet,” containing an iron core and surrounded with an “envelope” of hydrogen and helium.
Editors: Maria Mellor Lizzie Harrett @GairRhyddSci firstname.lastname@example.org gairrhydd.com/science
Further ‘Planet Nine’ details discovered
fter an announcement in January made by the researchers Dr Konstantin Batygin and Professor Mike Brown at the California Institute of Technology, regarding a potential ninth planet in existence in our solar system, astrophysicists have been at work trying to get a better picture of what this planet may consist of. The discovery of this planet, now known as ‘Planet Nine,’ came about after observing the movements and alignments of other planets and objects in our solar system, and realising that these were best explained by the existence of another planet influencing its surroundings with its placement and gravitational pull. Now, researchers at the University of Bern in Switzerland, Professor Christoph Mordasini and PhD student Esther Linder, have undertaken a study which has been accepted by the Astronomy and Astrophysics journal, regarding further details about what Planet Nine may be like. Stating that “we assumed that it is a smaller version of Uranus and Neptune,” the researchers were able to trace the thermodynamic evolution of the planet, starting from the beginning of our solar system – an estimated 4.6 billion years ago. Using this model allowed the researchers to propose many potential pieces of
information about the planet, such as its mass, radius, temperature and distance from the sun. According to these researchers, the planet is thought to have a mass equal to 10 times that of Earth, a radius measuring 3.7 times Earth’s, a temperature of approximately -226 °C (or 47 Kelvin, which is a more commonly used measurement of temperature in astronomy), and is 700 times further away from the sun than Earth – making it come close to 105 billion kilometres away. The researchers’ model details Planet Nine as an “ice planet,” containing an iron core and surrounded with an “envelope” of hydrogen and helium. Due to its distance from the sun, it is thought that Planet Nine would receive hardly any warmth and reflect very little light, if any, which is why it may have remained undiscovered for so long by optical telescopes. It is possible that infrared technology may help to better ‘see’ the planet, by finding any heat it may radiate from its core. In fact, the planet may already have been spotted as recent findings from OSSOS (the Outer Solar System Origins Survey) include the discovery of a new object, stated by Professor Mike Brown to be “exactly
where Planet Nine says it should be.” The object, labelled “uo3L91”, will certainly be the subject of much research in the near future. While Dr Batygin and Professor Brown lean towards the idea that Planet Nine has always been a part of our solar system, other researchers, such as Alexander Mustill from the Lund Observatory in Sweden propose that
the planet could have originated from around another star, making it an “exoplanet,” and has been “stolen” by our suns gravitational pull. However, the fact stands that regardless of its potential origins, it certainly seems as though Planet Nine will be here to stay – and researchers will definitely be uncovering more information about it very soon.
Pictured: Astronomers have been confirming planetary details (Photographer: Steve Dorman)
Gene therapy approved to treat ‘bubble babies’
We’ve seen the huge impact gene therapy can have on children’s lives and that the approval of a licensed gene therapy medicine for SCID is a very positive step. Bobby Gaspar
genetic therapy has been approved by the European Medicines Agency to treat a disorder that leaves children with a severely deficient immune system, which could mean that any infection could be fatal. This means that all patients in Europe can potentially access the treatment, enabling them to build lifelong immune systems with the help of transplanted genes. Gene therapy is where DNA is inserted into a patient to correct for faulty genes that cause genetic disorders.This is a massive advance for this type of treatment. Susan Walsh, director of PID UK, a charity representing parents and children with inherited immunodeficiency diseases, described it as “an amazing moment and an absolute landmark for gene therapy,” adding that “an advance in one area improves prospects for other conditions.” Such a treatment will be highly implicated in those suffering from severe immunodeficiency disorders that are affected by faulty genes, such as children with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). Children with SCID don’t have a working immune system, which can make routine infections fatal. Thus, babies with SCID must be isolated, dubbed “bubble
baby” disease. In this disorder, patients have defective copies of the gene that makes adenosine deaminase (ADA), an enzyme extremely important to the immune system - without it, toxic debris builds up in white blood cells, killing them before maturation. Bone marrow transplants can help treat this disease. Some children might be lucky enough to find a bone marrow donor, but tragically many die while waiting for one. An alternative treatment to bone marrow transplant is called Strimvelis. This treatment has been developed by the teams at San Raffaelel Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy in Milan, Italy and GSK, the giant pharmaceutical company, and aims to permanently alter DNA within a patient’s cells. This involves extracting bone marrow stem cells that regenerate the immune systems and infecting them with a harmless virus that uploads a correct copy of the gene for ADA. These altered cells are then injected back into the patient and are able to generate a healthy immune system. Moreover, since the gene inserted is assimilated completely into the genome, this means that the effects are long-lasting, even, permanent. A trial consisting of 22 patients, a mix of boys and girls at an average
Pictured: Gene therapy could give ‘bubble babies’ a new life (Photographer: Gerolf Nikolay)
age of 18 months showed 100 per cent survival and that “the first patient is now 13 years post-treatment, and the median over all the patients is seven years survival so far” said Sven Kili, head of gene therapy development at GSK. While this is just the first time this technique has gained approval, for more than 20 years, children with ADA SCID have been treated with a similar procedure on a trial basis at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and the Necker Hospital in Paris. Additionally, doctors at the Milan institute have also used this technique
to treat 20 children with a fatal, nervedestroying inherited disease called metachromatic leukodystrophy. In the future, hope to try it on an inherited condition, beta thalassemia, or even more common conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Bobby Gaspar of Great Ormond Street summed up the whole avenue accurately, saying “we’ve seen the huge impact gene therapy can have on children’s lives and that the approval of a licensed gene therapy medicine for SCID is a very positive step and shows that gene therapy can become a standardised medicine.”
Children with SCID don’t have a working immune system, which can make routine infections fatal.
Number of wild tigers rises for the first time in a century While they are still endangered, conservation efforts have so far been a success
We still have a long way to go if we want to restore the population back to what it could be.
or the first time in a century, the estimated number of wild tigers in the world has risen. But whilst this is a really positive step in the right direction, it’s not time to celebrate just yet. Conservationists from The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Global Tiger Forum counted 3890 wild tigers in the last global census. Whilst this is a great so–called ‘increase’ from the 3200 tigers that were counted globally in 2010, in 1900 there were more than 100,000 wild tigers. We still have a long way to go if we want to restore the population back to what it could be. The century of constant decline has seen tiger populations decimated for a number of reasons. Across their ranges, tigers have seen unrelenting pressures from humans. They are poached for their skin, they are hunted in ‘retaliation’ for harming livestock in farming communities and they are continuously forced to compete for space with ever-expanding human populations. The biggest blow recently has come from Cambodia. There are now no breeding tigers in the wild within Cambodian borders; therefore, tigers are functionally extinct in the country. However, a reintroduction of the species is on the cards to hopefully restore populations in the South East Asian country. Indonesia has also seen some of the most substantial declines in tiger populations of recent history. Tigers are losing their forest habitats in the region as vast swathes of land are cleared to meet the growing demands for palm oil, pulp and paper. Habitat loss is one of the biggest killers of many species around the
Science myths: Debunked We only use ten per cent of our brains. Just think about it. What would be the point of having all this grey matter in our heads and only ten per cent of it being useful? Brain tumours would only be ten per cent as bad, and gunshot wounds to the head would only be 100 per cent as likely to cause real damage. Each part of our brain has a specific function, and all though there’s a lot we don’t know about the human brain, we do know that we use all of it. Sorry Matilda.
Sugar makes children hyperactive. Sugar has no effect on children’s behaviour, however it may affect parent’s expectations, with parents claiming that their child is hyperactive after a sugar fix, even when that fix is actually fake. But what about kids’ birthday parties when they’re stuffed full of cake and causing mayhem? Psychologists put this down to the natural high-spirits of children when they get together.
globe as animals are increasingly forced to retreat from their natural areas to make way for agriculture and expanded urban spaces. Orang-utans are another great example of an endangered species that have been forced out of Indonesian habitats due to palm oil pressures. The Indonesian government has been called upon to do more to protect their forest species. In 2015 Indonesian fires that were created to clear agricultural land raged out of control and thousands of species suffered as a result. Yet, despite all the habitat loss, there is still enough forest area on the planet to sustain a substantial population increase for our troubled tigers. In fact, the tiger population at present could be doubled and our global forests could still accommodate the numbers. However, for a big population projection to work, conservationists need to work closely with political powers and regional communities to ensure we’re all working together to sustain populations. However, as it was mentioned before, it might not be time to celebrate just yet. It can’t be confirmed whether the new estimated numbers of tigers worldwide is a surefire increase just yet. Improved survey methods, better counting tools and greater areas of land being included in the count could simply mean that we are now more aware of how many tigers there are. An increase in population might not be on the cards just yet. But what we can be thankful for is that we’re getting better at measuring populations, and therefore we can fully understand where the populations are that need best protection.
Lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice. This is completely false - in fact it is inevitable that lightning will strike the same place twice as it tends to strike the highest point it can find. A spot where lightning has struck is just as likely to be struck again as any other spot. There are even video compilations you can find on the internet where lightning strikes the same spot up to 50 times!
The 5 Second Rule You hopefully know this already but the five second rule is not a real thing. When you drop food on the floor, it immediately gets dirt stuck on it, no matter how miniscule. With this dirt comes the germs - five seconds or no five seconds. However, these germs won’t necessarily be harmful so it’s up to you whether you’re going to continue eating your fallen food or not.
Are bats really blind? You may have heard the expression “as blind as a bat”. However, contrary to popular belief bats are not blind. While bats do famously use echolocation to hunt for prey, which is a
Pictured: It’s amazing that the number of wild tigers has risen considering the adveristy they face (Designed by Lisa Carr)
Remaining range (7%)
Lost range (93%) 1900
form of sonar that uses the echoes from sound waves for navigation, they also rely on their vision to get from A to B. They use photoreceptor cells to see, which are found in the retinas of all mammals.
If a jellyfish stings you, urine will help alleviate the pain Friends fans may remember the famous scene where after getting stung by a jellyfish, Chandler pees on Monica’s leg to alleviate the pain. According to the Marine Conservation Society, urine doesn’t have the correct chemical makeup to sooth the pain. Instead, seawater and vinegar are recommended as better liquids to use. In fact, urine can actually make it worse. It is often diluted and has a similar composition to freshwater, which will alter the concentration of salt surrounding the tentacles’ stinging cells found on the skin. This can cause these cells to burst and release venom onto your skin.
the poor goldfish. This has been debunked, as goldfish have been proven to be capable of learning, retaining this information and subsequently being able to recall and act on this after time has passed. A 15-year-old Australian student was able to condition responses in his goldfish to test their memory. He placed a lego brick in the tank before feeding the fish. Three weeks into the experiment, the fish were approaching the brick and waiting for food before it was placed into the tank.
Do goldfish have a three second memory? If you have to name a species with a poor memory, many people’s first answer will be
Tweet us your questions to @gairrhyddsci
Looser brain connections linked to insomnia If you have trouble sleeping it may be due to white matter
Regions in the right hemisphere were less well connected in the people suffering with insomnia when compared with the healthy sleepers.
The researchers found that the Neanderthal Y chromosome was genetically distinct from modern day humans.
ver had difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep? The brains of insomniacs have been scanned and shown to have looser connections in the right hemisphere when compared with healthy sleepers. Approximately five per cent of the population suffer with insomnia and it is the most common sleeping disorder in the UK. Insomnia is characterised by sleeplessness and the inability to fall or stay asleep, although it often remains unrecognised and untreated. Persistent insomnia can have a significant impact on the quality of life – limiting your ability to function during the day, affecting your mood and leading to problems in relationships. Individuals with insomnia are also five times more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression if it is left untreated. It can also increase the risk of developing other diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and an increased mortality risk in the elderly. The brain contains both grey and white matter. The grey is comprised of cell bodies and synapses and the
white is composed of white bundles and their tails (axons), which connect regions of the brain to one another. Shumei Li, a radiologist, and her team from Number 2 Provincial People’s Hospital in China conducted a study comparing 23 severe insomniacs and 30 people with normal sleeping patterns. The team used diffusion tensor imagining, which is a technique that lights up the white matter circuitry. Regions in the right hemisphere that support learning, emotion, smell and memory were less well connected in the people suffering with insomnia when compared with the healthy sleepers. The team concluded that this was due to loss of the fatty myelin sheath. This surrounds the axons in the white matter and assists the transmission of signals. Poor connections were also identified in the white matter of the thalamus, the region of the brain responsible for regulation of consciousness, alertness and sleep. It has been suggested by a study carried out in November that the loss of the myelin sheath could be down
Pictured: You snooze you lose? (Photographer: Leif Harboe)
to smoking cigarettes. Max Wintermark, a radiologist from Sanford states that there could be other factors, “It’s not possible to say whether poor connections are the cause or the result of insomnia.” However, the team who recently
conducted the study has proposed a mechanism for the cause of insomnia. Wintermark continues to explain that this has brought us closer to understanding the cause and therefore finding a potential treatment for the disorder.
the Y chromosome may have led to ancient humans being unable to mate with Neanderthals to produce fertile offspring. Because the differences are on the male-only Y chromosome, this means that male foetuses conceived through a human female having sex with a Neanderthal male would have been miscarried. This ultimately could have led to total divergence between humans and Neanderthals, who then eventually became extinct. However, this is currently still a hypothesis. Professor Carlos Bustamante stated: “The functional
nature of the mutations we found suggests to us that Neanderthal Y chromosome sequences may have played a role in barriers to gene flow, but we need to do experiments to demonstrate this and are working to plan these now.” A small amount of Neanderthal DNA lives on in present day humans, with genes related to skin colour and fertility being identified. However, this has all been found on the X chromosome, that the mother passes down to their children, and other chromosomes which are not related to sex.
Neanderthal breeding barrier due to Y chromosome?
e diverged from our ancient Neanderthal relatives over 600,000 years ago, with the fossil record showing that they became extinct between 40,000 to 28,000 year prior to today. Researchers at Stanford University have found that it may be due to differences between humans and Neanderthals in the Y chromosome. The Y chromosome is one of two human sex chromosomes. Unlike the X chromosome, it is passed from father to son and if present will confer male sex in a foetus. Neanderthals remains have been found all across Eurasia: from Western Europe to Western Asia. Remains found suggest they look like rather badly drawn version of us: with short limbs, a barrel shaped rib cage and larger nose and deep brow. Despite having died out, its accepted that Neanderthals had advanced behaviour, making advanced tools and living in complex social groups. The research conduced analysed the Y chromosome from a 49,000-year-old male Neanderthal found in Spain, comparing it to the Y chromosome found in chimps, ancient and modern humans. This is the first time a study has looked at the Y chromosome, with previous studies sequencing the DNA of Neanderthal women who instead have two X chromosomes. They found that the Neanderthal Y chromosome was genetically
distinct from modern day humans. “We’ve never observed the Neanderthal Y chromosome DNA in any human sample ever tested,” said coauthor Professor Carlos Bustamante, from Stanford University in California. He added, “that doesn’t prove it’s totally extinct, but it likely is.” Researchers are currently unsure why no Neanderthal DNA is found on the modern day human Y chromosome. One idea proposed is that the Neanderthal Y chromosomes include genes that are incompatible with other human genes. The researchers discovered that mutations found in four genes that could have prevented the transmission of the Y chromosome down the paternal line to the hybrid children, which could have played a role in the loss of Neanderthal Y chromosomes in human populations. One of the genes identified, KDM5D, has previously been linked to an increased chance of miscarrying as it can cause pregnant mothers to induce a massive immune response. “That could be one reason why we don’t see Neanderthal Y chromosomes in modern human populations,” says Mark Pagel an evolutionary biologist from the University of Reading. The classic school textbook definition of a species, is being able to mate with other organisms to produce fertile offspring. Genetic incompatibility due to differences on
Pictured: All that’s left of our Neanderthal cousins is fossilised remains (Photographer: Mike Steele)
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Editor: Aletheia Nutt @GairRhyddSoc email@example.com gairrhydd.com/societies
Hannah Sterritt VP Societies
The band was fantastic and all wonderfully coordinated by Margaret Graham and Emily Cully.
Society Ball Awards nominations open
i everyone, hope you’ve had a relaxing Easter break and are enjoying being back on campus! The holiday always goes far too quickly, but here in the Societies Department there was a lot going on behind the scenes to do a lot of prep before the end of term. One massive event that’s happening is the Societies Ball, a sell-out event with 330 attendees, happening at the end of April. We also had the Societies Council last week, with a lot of very useful feedback gained from outgoing committee members. The evening included a year in review, where the general theme was that this year has been pretty amazing on all parts, with a record number of Society
members, committee members and countless excellent events run week on week for dedicated members. It was a massive University Open Day last week, a surprisingly sunny day with thousands of prospective students around the campus. It’s so weird to think that we were all applying to University a few years ago, with a lot of us never having been to Cardiff before. We had a few performance Societies performing on Horseshoe Drive at the back of Main Building, with some really good feedback about how friendly students were and engaging to talk to. I can’t quite believe that this week is Varsity, it’s come round so quickly! I’m looking forward to seeing the
hard work all the athletes have put in paying off when we hopefully win the Varsity Shield once more. Cardiff Marrow is the official partner charity this year, where the Society and it’s Swansea counterparts out spreading awareness of the Bone Marrow Register and its importance. Another thing happening of national importance is the NUS Conference, where a lot of important policy issues affecting students all across the UK are discussed. This year it’s being held in Brighton, and should be a pretty interesting few days! We’ve got a Cardiff delegation heading there on Tuesday so no doubt I’ll report back on what happened next week.
A double bill of Act One productions!
n first seeing the adverts for the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, I did actually think it was a spelling bee, and was not sure what exactly Act One were trying to pull off. Then finding out that it was a musical about a bunch of kids with a range of issues, involving audience participation... Well I wasn’t really sure what I was going to be watching. But lo and behold, what came about was one of the funniest, original, and engaging musicals/productions I have seen in quite a while. I went to review it on the Thursday night before the Easter break, and with Thursday nights being renowned for the ‘Thursday Night Curse’ where things go wrong, I was expecting the cast to make mistakes and trip up on lines. Instead I was treated to a smooth performance, with a great musical score that had me in stitches for most of the show, tearing up at others, and having a great time. It took the form of a spelling bee, ran by Rona Lisa Peretti (Claire Totten) and Douglas Panch (Rhys Johns), an ambitious ex-spelling bee champion and an angry vice-principal, hinging on the verge of madness and a stalkerish crush on Rona. Backed up by a cast of six “spellers”, such as Leaf Coneybear (Matthew Hutchinson) the unsure, not very smart, hilarious innocent character, and William Barfee (Andy Morgan) the very smart but unsure in himself speller with a magic foot, both of whom also portray the young Logan Schwartzandgrubenniere’s (Olivia Annan) gay fathers at points during flashbacks. With other hilarities ensuing from the ‘last years winner’ Chip Tolenn-
tino (Ashley Rodgers) losing, and then opening the second act to a song about his erection, to an audience participant misspelling cow on stage, and the audience watching in disbelief before seamlessly covering it. There was even an appearance by female welsh Jesus, portrayed by Mared Jones who also played the comfort councillor Michelle Mahoney, who turned up to give comfort to the otherwise stoic Marcy Parks (Rachel Allen). The final Speller was Olive Ostrovsky (Esther Morris), a timid and sad character that did bring tears to my eyes during a haunting song in the second act. For a production which was mostly first years to have the scope and depth speaks great things about what is to come in the next few years they are with us. The band was fantastic, and all wonderfully co-ordinated by Margaret Graham and Emily Cully, who put on a surprising and utterly gripping musical. I found myself searching for something wrong with it, some misstep or issue, and found absolutely none. Bravo to them, to the whole cast, and to Act One for this production. Seeming to have dedicated myself to Act One at the moment, I continued in a double bill, and went on to see Chronolust the following week. I had heard great critical reception for the production written and directed by Act One’s own Sam Walker, as it had been put on in a fifteen minute rendition last spring, as part of Act One’s ‘Staging A Coup’. “Welcome to the Chronolust Foundation,” the Facebook event informed me, “Choices can be made, but the
path of our lives is already set in stone. Our team of well-trained professionals will observe the successes of your life so far, and then guide you into the unknown; we offer a glimpse at what is yet to come. Your future is in our hands. Tomorrow’s Memories Today.” The play took the concept that a procedure had been discovered, one where you could review and explore the pivotal moments in your life, both past and future. Lead by Dr Lynch, portrayed by Lucy Howlett, the audience was led through several characters’ lives, all overlaid with a wonderful sombre and dystopian. However this did not detract from scenes of humour throughout, especially shown by the interplay between Dr Lynch’s co-workers: the no-holdsbarred crisp loving Tom Mclean, or Liz Clements brilliant cringe inducing “go-get-‘em” phrases. I’ll admit, I had higher than usual expectations going into this play, having heard the rave reviews from last years snapshot version, as well as the incredible performances put on in the two plays I had seen in the previous weeks, but I have to say Sam created an incredibly elegant yet complex narrative, where the interplay not just between characters, but between different characters at different points in their live. Showing vulnerability and uncertainty, such as in the case of James ColeEzen’s character, or through pride, such as with Sarah Bulmer’s character, it all worked together to create a unique experience. I hope we haven’t seen the last of Mr Walker’s works, and look forward to seeing where he takes this approach from here.
Being a lead volunteer gives you additional responsibility to being a general volunteer. You’ll be in charge of a team of volunteers who will rely on you to ensure the project runs smoothly.
Cardiff Volunteering Now recruiting lead volunteers!
e are now accepting applications for lead volunteers for the following academic year (2016-2017). Here’s five reasons why you should consider being a lead volunteer! 1. Gain Leadership Experience: Being a lead volunteer gives you additional responsibility to being a general volunteer. You’ll be in charge of a team of volunteers who will rely on you to ensure the project runs smoothly. You’ll be involved in all stages of the recruitment and management of these volunteers! You’ll also have the opportunity to be more involved with our charity, and can help make decisions about the future direction of your project, alongside the day to day running such as what activities you will be doing each week! 2. Complete accredited training: All of our lead volunteers receive a Certificate of Personal Development following ten hours of bespoke training. You’ll complete sessions in “leadership styles”, “leadership in difficult situations”, “motivation”, “problem solving” and “speaking and presenting”. These are all great sessions run by our friends in the Skills Development Service. The sessions will help prepare and support you throughout the year, but are also great standalone sessions to include on your CV! They show employers you are proactive in your learning and development! 3. Develop a variety of skills: We could talk for hours about all the different skills you will develop by being a lead volunteer, and by the end
of the year, you’ll be able to too! You will be able to evidence fabulous organisation skills, communication with students/staff and external organisations, time management (especially if you’re a final year!) commercial awareness… the list goes on! Your teamwork will no doubt increase massively, as you’ll be able to talk about your volunteer team, your lead volunteer team and working as a team with members of staff – plenty to talk about in any interviews you may have. Cardiff Award students, can you see how it’s a perfect opportunity for you yet? 4. Get work experience: many of you may be starting to think about future career paths following university. Taking an active role on a project that’s linked to your plans after uni, such as working with children, those with disabilities, the elderly or even sports will help you test the waters, find out if that’s definitely the area you want to go into and give you first hand experiences that will help give you the edge over other candidates. 5. Meet new people + give back: It may be cheesy but it’s true. You’ll get to meet likeminded people both on your project and other projects, and help give back to the local Cardiff community. Volunteering is very rewarding and we challenge you not to have fun! For more information on being a lead volunteer, please visit our website over at cardiffstudents.com/ jobs-skills/volunteering, or email us at volunteering@Cardiff.ac.uk with any questions you may have!
Platinum for Cardiff University Wind Orchestra!
ardiff University Wind Orchestra, conducted by Martin Humphries, is one of the many ensembles within the Cardiff University Music Society. It provides opportunities for talented and committed players to perform exciting wind band repertoire to a high standard. They are an auditioned ensemble comprising mainly of music students, and perform challenging and modern music. NCBF is a yearly event and is renowned as “the largest, most active, enterprising Festival for wind instrument musicians who play in wind bands or big bands throughout the UK.” On Sunday 15th November CUWO performed in this years West Regional NCBF and secured themselves a place in the NCBF Finals after being awarded a Platinum Award. After months of weekly rehearsals and a lot of hard work from all involved, the day had finally arrived and CUWO were finally on their way to the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester to perform in the finals. CUWO played three pieces for their performance; Simon Dobson’s Another World’s Hell, Amaz-
ing Grace arranged by Frank Ticheli, and King?, A Response to Notorious B.I.G’s ‘Hypnotise’, composed by CUWO’s very own principal trumpeter, Andy Wareham. All three pieces were greatly received by the audience and the two judges, and conductor Martin Humphries was complimented on how challenging and varied the choices of music were. After performing the set and receiving the initial brief feedback from the judges, the waiting game began and CUWO retreated to the bar until the judges were ready to announce the results. CUWO played in the open section of NCBF, alongside bands from Oxford University and Trinity College of Music and Drama. 4 o’clock finally came and it was time to hear the news everyone had been waiting for: CUWO had been awarded Platinum, coming top of their category after beating all the other bands, even Trinity College of Music and Drama’s band who received a gold award. A huge congratulations to all of Cardiff University Wind Orchestra’s members and to their conductor Martin Humphries, all the hard work certainly paid off!
Pictured: Cardiff University Wind Orchestra Award.
All three pieces were greatly received by the audience and the two judges.
Golygydd: Rhian Floyd @Taf_od firstname.lastname@example.org gairrhydd.com/tafod
Trafodaethau’n parhau ynghylch tynged gweithfeydd dur Port Talbot Ai dyma ddiwedd y diwydiant dur yng Nghymru?
Mae’n siomedig yn fy marn i nad yw’r Llywodraeth am helpu.
yda thrafodaethau ar hyn o bryd am dynged gweithfeydd dur Port Talbot, mae nifer o gymunedau yn paratoi at effeithiau difrifol gall y newidiadau hyn greu. Yn sicr, mi fydd pobl Port Talbot yn teimlo’r effeithiau yn drwm gan fod nifer fawr o deuluoedd y gymuned yn derbyn incwm gan y gweithfeydd, a hynny ers nifer fawr o flynyddoedd. Bydd ardaloedd amgylchynol Port Talbot yn cael eu heffeithio hefyd megis Maesteg, Porthcawl a Chastell-nedd i enwi ond rhai. Serch y trafodaethau negyddol eu naws, yn ôl y BBC mae’r Ysgrifennydd Busnes, Sajid Javid, wedi cyhoeddi fod yna bosibilrwydd o wladoli’r diwydiant dur yn y DU. Dywed fod y Llywodraeth yn barod i “gydfuddsoddi” i’r busnes sy’n weddill gyda phrynwyr posib, ond mae hyn yn “annhebygol iawn”. Nid oedd Sajid Javid yn barod i ymhelaethu.
Amcangyfrif colled dyddiol y safle (£)
Nid problem ddieithr mo hwn i’n gwlad. Gwelwyd y problemau cyntaf yn codi yn y 1980au pan gyhoeddwyd gan Lywodraeth Thatcher eu bod am gau pyllau glo cymoedd de Cymru. Wrth feddwl am yr holl bwysau mae’r mudiadau a threfniadau hyn yn rhoi ar ysgwyddau cymunedau clos de Cymru, mae’n siomedig yn fy marn i nad yw’r Llywodraeth am helpu i achub y niferoedd o swyddi a all gael eu colli gan gau’r gweithfeydd. Ar y llaw arall, mae’n rhaid i ni ystyried y golled mae’r cwmni yn ei wneud bob diwrnod. Yn ddyddiol, mae’r cwmni yn gweld colled o tua £1miliwn gyda chyflog dechreuol o £30,000 y flwyddyn i’r 4,000 o weithwyr sydd yn gweithio yn y ffatri ym Mhort Talbot. Nid yw’r golled hwn yn hollol annealladwy, felly. Mae nifer o bobl yn teithio i’r ardal er mwyn gweithio i’r diwydiant dur, ac felly yn naturiol yn creu
Isafswm nifer o swyddi sydd yn y fantol
busnes i ardaloedd amgylchynol Port Talbot, megis y marchnadoedd a gwasanaethau cyhoeddus eraill. Pe bai’r gweithfeydd yn cau, byddai’r gwasanaethau cyhoeddus rheiny yn gweld colled hefyd. Yn bersonol, rwy’n adnabod cynaelod o staff y gweithfeydd dur, a symudodd ymlaen at swydd newydd yn ddiweddar. Fe wnaeth ef y penderfyniad hwn cyn i’r trafodaethau am dynged y gweithfeydd ddechrau, ond rwy’n ymwybodol ei fod yn falch o’i benderfyniad. Pam? Wel, mae’r gweithfeydd yn colli gormod o arian yn ddyddiol i fedru byth sicrhau swyddi i’r bobl yn ei dyb ef. Hyd yn oed gyda chymorth y Llywodraeth, nid yw’n credu y bydd ffordd o achub y gweithfeydd bellach. Yn ôl y sôn, roedd yna drefniadau ar y gweill i newid y gweithfeydd i fod yn ardal ailddefnyddio dur sgrap yn lle ardal sydd yn ei chreu. Golyga hyn cael gwared ar y ffwrnais chw-
Dur cynhyrchwyd y flwyddyn (milliwn tunell)
yth er mwyn cyflwyno ffwrnais ar gyfer toddi’r dur yn lle. Er gall hyn achub diwydiant yr ardal i raddau, yn anffodus, ni all sicrhau swyddi i bawb sydd wedi’u cyflogi yno ar hyn o bryd. Ni fyddai angen cymaint o weithwyr ar gyfer y math hynny o waith beth bynnag. Does dim dwywaith y byddai colli’r diwydiant hwn yng Nghymru yn rhoi’r wlad dan bwysau mawr, a hyd yn oed peryglu’r economi. Yn fy marn i, mae’n bwysig cadw’r gweithfeydd dur ym Mhort Talbot oherwydd ni fyddai hyn yn unig yn achub nifer fawr o swyddi ar gyfer pobl leol, ond achuba swyddi a bywoliaeth pobl mewn ardaloedd cyfagos hefyd. Rydym wedi dioddef colled ddiwydiannol unwaith yn ein hanes, ac mi fyddai’n siomedig iawn i weld hyn yn digwydd eto. Gobeithio y clywn newyddion mwy cadarnhaol am y sefyllfa yn fuan iawn.
Blwyddyn agorwyd y safle yn wreiddiol
Yn y llun: Gweithfeydd Port Talbot (tarddiad: Flickr)
Mae’r gyfres hon yn sicr wedi rhoi enw drwg i ‘Gwaith/ Cartref’.
‘Gwaith/Cartref ’ gwan. Oes esgus?
iomedig iawn bu fy nheimladau wrth wylio cyfres ddiweddaraf S4/C o ‘Gwaith Cartref ’. Mae’n deg i ddweud mai’r ddwy funud olaf oedd yr unig beth da am y gyfres gyfan. Gyda chyfresu o’r gorffennol yn ein gadael ar flaen ein seddi, trist yw gweld nad oedd y gyfres hon yn cael yr un effaith. Trist hefyd oedd gweld nad oedd yr hen gymeriadau i’w gweld yn y ddrama, ac eithrio dau ohonynt sef Aled a Sian. Roedd pobl eisiau gweld lle’r oedd yr hen gymeriadau arni, gyda chymaint o gwestiynau heb eu hateb yn y gyfres ddiwethaf - atebion yr oeddem yn ysu i’w derbyn. Ni fyddai dim gwell na rhagor o sgandalau am y cymeriadau crwn yr oeddem ni wedi gwir gysylltu â hwy yn y gyfres flaenorol. Ai teg yw enwi’r gyfres yn ‘Gwaith/ Cartref ’, gan ystyried nad oedd y gyfres yn dilyn unrhyw beth o batrwm
y cyfresu cynt? Bu’r ddrama ond yn ugain munud o hyd eleni, a hynny ar nos Fercher yn hytrach na nos Sul. Yn ogystal, lleolir y ddrama mewn ysgol gwbl newydd sydd yn gwbl wahanol i Fro Taf. Yn bersonol, dylai S4/C wedi newid enw’r gyfres. Mae’r gyfres hon yn sicr wedi rhoi enw drwg i ‘Gwaith/ Cartref ’, cyfres a fuodd mor gyffrous i’w wylio ac yn destun trafod ar fore Llun! Heb fod yn orfeirniadol, bu iaith y gyfres yn peri gofid i mi hefyd. Roedd Dr Murphy sef prifathrawes y ddrama yn defnyddio llawer o Saesneg. Yn ogystal, roedd y plant yn defnyddio llawer o Saesneg hefyd gor-ddefnydd yn fy marn i. Oes bosib y byddai prifathrawes sydd yn defnyddio mwy o Saesneg na Chymraeg yn cael ei chyflogi mewn ysgol? I mi, anodd oedd gweld realiti’r sefyllfa, a dyna’n union beth yr ydym eisiau mewn drama, sefyllfa y gallwn weld yn digwydd mewn
bywyd bob dydd, sefyllfa realistig. Gyda defnydd mawr o eiriau Saesneg , teimlaf fod ‘Gwaith/Cartref ’ wedi israddio’r Gymraeg. Gydag un sianel Gymraeg yn unig, dylai S4/C fod yn cymryd bob cyfle i ddefnyddio’r iaith
Gymraeg a hynny yn gywir. Efallai fy mod yn ymddangos yn hen ffasiwn neu’n draddodiadol, ond byddwn i’n croesawu hen gyfresu ‘Gwaith/ Cartref ’ yn ôl i’m sgrin unrhyw ddydd!
Yn y llun: Chwith: Arwydd Ysgol Bro Taf o’r gyfres flaenorol. (Tarddiad: Flickr) Isod: Howard Marks (Tarddiad: Flickr)
Marwolaeth Howard Marks Cipolwg ar hanes bywyd troseddwr mwyaf adnabyddus Cymru
Cafodd ei ddal yn 1988 gan yr awdurdodau yn America a’i ddedfrydu i chwarter ugain mlynedd dan glo.
ae Howard Marks, y smyglwr cyffuriau, yr awdur ac ymgyrchydd o Gymru, wedi marw yn saithdeg oed. Fe gyhoeddodd Marks, a oedd yn rhugl yn y Gymraeg, bod ganddo ganser y coluddyn nad oedd posib ei drin, y llynedd. Cafodd Marks ei eni ym Mynydd Cynffig ger Pen-y-Bont ar Ogwr, ac aeth ymlaen at brifysgol Rhydychen I astudio ffiseg. Tra’n astudio yn y coleg, bu’n arbrofi â’r cyffur canabis, cyn dechrau gwerthu’r sylwedd ymysg ei gyfoedion. Erbyn 1972, roedd yn un o gyflenwyr canabis mwyaf gorllewin Ewrop, ac yna un o’r smyglwyr cyffuriau mwyaf adnabyddus yn y byd. Soniodd am smyglo llwythi hyd at dri-deg tunnell o ganabis ar draws cyfandir Ewrop ar un adeg. Yn ystod ei yrfa fel cyflenwr, roedd dan sylw nifer o fudiadau amlwg gan gynnwys y CIA, yr IRA, MI6, a’r Maffia. Cafodd ei ddal yn 1988 gan yr awdurdodau yn America a’i ddedfrydu
i chwarter ugain mlynedd dan glo yng ngharchar Terre Haute yn Indiana. Treuliodd saith mlynedd o’i ddedfryd yng ngharchar, cyn cael ei ryddhau ar barol yn gynnar, a hynny yn Ebrill 1995 oherwydd ei waith yn cefnogi ac addysgu carcharorion oedd yn wynebu’r system gyfiawnder yn America. Roedd Marks yn ymddwyn fel cynghorydd i’r carcharorion wrth iddynt dderbyn gohebiaeth gan eu cyfreithwyr, ac ar ôl hynny bu’n ymgyrchu i gyfreithloni canabis. Safodd fel ymgeisydd yn yr Etholiad Cyffredinol ym 1997 gan ganolbwyntio ar y pwnc hwnnw yn unig. Aeth ymlaen i ysgrifennu am ei brofiadau, gyda’i hunangofiant o’r enw “Mr Nice”, sef un o’i ffugenwau yn ystod ei yrfa fel cyflenwr, yn cael ei droi’n ffilm gyda’i ffrind Rhys Ifans yn ei bortreadu ar y sgrin. Tra roedd yn ‘casau Cymru’ ar un adeg gan ei feddwl hi’n wlad ‘gul, amherthnasol a diflas’, fe ddaeth i barchu ei famwlad ar ôl dod i sylweddoli
ei chyfraniad i’r byd. Cafodd ei ddisgrifio gan ei ffrindiau agos fel person a oedd yn amhosib peidio’i hoffi. Roedd yn gymeriad gwresog gyda meddwl annibynnol, ac un oedd yn gofalu ac yn meddwl am eraill, yn eu gwneud nhw i deimlo’n bwysicach nag ef ei hun. Roedd ei bersonoliaeth yn rhywbeth a oedd wedi cydio yn nychymyg pawb gan ei droi e’n beth fydden ni yn ei alw yn “arwr gwerin”. Yn ddiweddar, cyhoeddodd Marks gyfres o ‘ddarlleniadau fyw’,
yn adrodd straeon am ei ddyddiau smyglo a’i amser yn y carchar. Mewn cyfweliad ym mis Ionawr 2015, yr un fis a gyhoeddodd bod ganddo ganser, nad oedd yn edifar am yr hyn a wnaeth yn ei fywyd. Dywedodd Marks, “rydw i wedi dod i delerau gyda hyn yn fy ffordd fy hun. I fi, roedd o am ddysgu sut i grio. Mae’n amhosib i fi edifar am unrhyw ran o fy mywyd pan dwi’n teimlo’n hapus, a dwi yn hapus rŵan.”
36 SPORT WELSH VARSITY PREVIEW
Schedule: 2016 Welsh Varsity Monday 18th April
SKETTY LANE - PAVILION
WELSH NATIONAL POOL
SWANSEA BAY CAMPUS
SKETTY LANE - MAIN HALL
TATA STEEL SAILING CLUB
TAE KWON DO
SKETTY LANE - PAVILION
YNYSYGERWN CRICKET CLUB
PENNARD GOLF CLUB
WELSH NATIONAL POOL
SKETTY LANE - RUGBY PITCH 1
TENNIS CLUB SQUASH COURTS
MEN’S ULTIMATE FRISBEE
COUNCIL PITCH 2
SKETTY LANE - ASTRO
COUNCIL PITCH 3
LADIES’ ULTIMATE FRISBEE
COUNCIL PITCH 2
SKETTY LANE - PAVILION
SKETTY LANE - MAIN PITCH
SKETTY LANE - RUGBY PITCH 2
WELSH NATIONAL POOL
SKETTY LANE - MAIN HALL
COUNCIL PITCH 1
SKETTY LANE - RUGBY PITCH 1
SWANSEA BAY CAMPUS
TENNIS CLUB SQUASH COURTS
SKETTY LANE - ASTRO
COUNCIL PITCH 3
SKETTY LANE - MAIN PITCH
SKETTY LAIN - MAIN HALL
SKETTY LAIN - PAVILION
SWANSEA BAY CAMPUS
Tuesday 19th April WATERPOLO
Wednesday 20th April
WELSH VARSITY PREVIEW SPORT 37
Selected team previews
The Cardiff team remain in a bouyant and confident mood, but they know that they can’t afford to relax as Swansea look to bounce back from a crushing defeat in last year’s Varsity.
The team have been in the gym working on their strength and are ready to come out fighting in front of what will be a raucous Swansea crowd.
Cardiff will be full of confidence and fearing nothing following their superb win on the Liberty Stadium turf last year.
By Harry Eade
fter a dominant 47-7 victory over Swansea in 2015, expectations are high for the Cardiff University Netball team as they head back to defend their crown. The Cardiff team remain in a buoyant and confident mood, but they know that they can’t afford to relax as Swansea look to bounce back from a crushing defeat in last year’s Varsity duel. A convincing BUCS season for Cardiff Uni, during which they beat 2015
finalists, and runners up, Cardiff Met, resulted in a strong mid-table position for the reigning Varsity champions. This has put them in a great position for next Wednesday. Vice Club Captain, and 1st team defender, Lauren Fraser is in a confident mood ahead of the game: “After the Easter break, the girls have returned with a strong positive mental attitude, and despite Swansea putting on extra training sessions over the break we have
ardiff Cobras are a team vying for revenge as they search for their second consecutive Varsity American Football victory on Wednesday. They have been beaten three times by the Swansea Titans this season but have high hopes of defeating their archrivals at the fourth time of asking to end their campaign in perfect fashion at Sketty Lane. After edging a dramatic 19-17 win in
he Cardiff Ladies first team squad head into their Varsity match-up in good stead having undertaken extra preparation in their build up. Last years’ Varsity fixture was a tense 0-0 draw with Cardiff edging the Swans 4-2 on penalty flicks courtesy of Jess Greaves, Olivia Abbott, Mollie Hunt and Rachel Dunning finding the net. Their training has been very intense, coming back early from Easter to boost their fitness and skills. The ladies are
istory is on the side of Swansea, who have taken 12 victories from the 18 previous outings, but Cardiff will be full of confidence and fearing nothing, following their superb win on the Liberty Stadium turf last year, running out 27-22 winners in front of a record crowd estimated to be around the 10,000 mark. Since last April, Cardiff have not had the best of times on the pitch,
very much ready to repeat last years’ heroics, although they will hope the game will be finished in regulation time and not on penalty flicks. The team have been in the gym working on their strength and are ready to come out fighting, in front of what will be a raucous Swansea crowd. As well as the Varsity preparation, the Ladies are also preparing for their expedition to Gibraltar in May for the European Championships. The Cardiff girls
Cardiff fightback. After seeing their rivals proceed to complete an undefeated BUCS season, winning the overall Division 1 title to earn promotion to the top tier, the Cobras head into Varsity hungrier than ever to come out on top. The Cardiff defence has been the backbone of their success throughout the season. They have been led superbly by President Toby Lock, along with defensive linemen Will Harris and
Shaun Rees, all of whom will be looking to end their Cobras’ careers on a high. However, perhaps the key player for Cardiff will be starting quarterback Chris Brinkworth, who missed the opening two encounters with Swansea through concussion. He put in a big performance on his return in their losing play-off cause last time out, and if he can perform to a similar level then the Cobras are certainly in with a chance of victory.
qualified for same tournament last year, and are very excited to be representing Wales in such a notable tournament. Both the ladies’ and men’s 1st teams will have plenty of support on the sidelines at Varsity from their hockey colleagues, with most of the club looking to make the trek to Swansea. In the regular season the ladies finished with an impressive four and two record as well as scooping four draws, leaving them 3rd in the Premier A
South league. The ladies dismantled Oxford Brookes twice by a 4-0 scoreline and secured a draw against tabletoppers, Exeter. This Varsity fixture has increased significance for many of the 1st team with players having the honour of putting on the famous red jersey for the final time as they head for graduation. Both the men and the women are hoping to go out with a bang and hope to contribute to Cardiff’s Varsity Shield haul.
Cardiff 0(4) 0(2) Swansea 2015
finishing in 3rd place, topped by Exeter’s 2nd XV and Hartpury College’s 2nd XV. It is fair to say the men in green have seen more of the try line than Cardiff, with a positive points difference of 64, compared to Cardiff ’s miserable -223. It is rumoured that Swansea draft in a number of Ospreys academy players to boost their squad on Varsity game day, though it didn’t aid them last year as they were forced to limp home and lick their
wounds after the, what some would describe as, surprise defeat. Louis Tonkin has a big task ahead of him to overhaul the Swans in their own nest. The Pontypool Head Coach needs his side firing on all cylinders, both in the forwards and the backs and hit Swansea hard at the scrum. Both sets of fans will do their part to roar on their team, in what will be an unforgettable atmosphere in most of the young players’ lives.
Cardiff 27 22 Swansea 2015
By Alice Petherham
huge goal differences and ended their BUCS season third in the league with the same number of points as 2nd place Bristol. Ahead of Wednesday’s Varsity clash, co-captains Bex Jordache and Ella Fairlie said: “We’re really excited for this game, it’s such a highlight of the season! Hopefully we’ll get sunny weather and a great atmosphere on the sidelines. The girls have worked so hard and deserve another year of being Varsity champs!”
Cardiff 19 17 Swansea 2015
By Liam Corcoran with a poor 15/16 season they have mustered only two wins from their last 12 matches, defeating USW and Nottingham on home soil. They finished sixth out of seven in the Premier South A Division, with the table being propped up by local rivals USW who fell into the dreaded relegation place. Despite being in a lower division, Swansea have enjoyed a fairly decent season, picking up 7 wins from 12 and
Cardiff 47 7 Swansea 2015
By Eliza Brett
Ladies’ Lacrosse o finish off yet another great season, the Ladies’ Lacrosse First Team comes face to face with their greatest enemies once again. Their games against Swansea often prove to be entertaining and skilful battles. Cardiff’s closest rivals in the world of lacrosse are Bristol and Exeter which both proved to be challenging and exciting games. They won all of their matches against Swansea, Bournemouth and Cardiff Met, each with
ing seven for the Varsity team. Co-captain, Katherine Chadwick and fellow defender, Caitlin Horsley also bring experience to the squad having played for Team Bath NPL and West Midland Warriors NPL respectively. Although the Cardiff 1st team has recently lost Steph May, a player who had previously been a fundamental member of the team, it has provided Carys Mansfield – Club Captain – the opportunity to be promoted to the Varsity squad.
By Rich Jones
the fixture last year, the Cobras entered the BUCS season with promotion ambitions in the Western 1A division. They got off to a flying start, winning their opening six fixtures without conceding a point, only for back-to-back defeats against Swansea to cost them the Western 1A crown. Their promotion ambitions then came to a devastating end at the hands of the Titans, who held on for a 30-22 win in the play-offs following a brave
a very talented squad who are all motivated to produce a top performance.” Within the selected twelve-person squad, there is a plethora of talent with both English and Welsh girls who have represented at very high standard. Goal Attack, Sally Fisher, who has previously been selected for the England Under-17’s training squad, and Elin Harding (Goal Shooter and 1st team Captain), who has recently been selected by the Welsh Under-21’s squad, are among the start-
Last year, the Varsity game attracted a big crowd and the final score was 18-4 to Cardiff, with the team ending their season on the sweetest of highs. The team constructed an impressive five minute spell, scoring five goals from Emily Weighton, Flora Milne, Fiona Tait, Amy Rochford and the ever-reliable, Jordache. The girls are confident heading into the fixture, yet are keeping their feet firmly on the ground, knowing that
Swansea can do some damage on home turf. And the team have been training intensely in the weeks leading up to the match-up knowing that, for some it could be their last game in Cardiff red. At the end of last term, Cardiff hosted a pre-varsity lacrosse game at Talybont which saw a turnout of over 70 people on the sideline and ended with a score in 22-0, once again reminding them of what we already knew; Varsity is going to be a good day.
Cardiff 18 4 Swansea
Cricket: Glamorgan head into new season in confident mood
With just one promotion place up for grabs, they will have little margin for error if they are to move up to the top flight.
Rhys Thomas Cardiff Blues Columnist
lamorgan County Cricket Club will enter the 2016 season in a period of transition with a new head coach at the helm. Legendary off-spinner Robert Croft, who spent 23 seasons playing for the club before his retirement in 2012, takes over from Toby Radford at the SWALEC Stadium. Croft has a workmanlike team at his disposal, who will look to unlock their potential and show progression from their solid, yet unspectacular, 2015 campaign. Glamorgan finished fourth in the County Championship Division Two last year and, disappointingly, failed to progress in either the T20 Blast or the Royal London One Day Cup. Despite their struggles in the shorter formats, the Welsh side have undoubtedly made positive strides in the four-day game - progress that they will be keen to continue in the forthcoming season. With just one promotion place up for grabs as part of a restructuring of the County Championship, they will have little margin for error if they are to move up to the top flight. However, the departures of powerhouse pair Surrey and Lancashire following their promotions last season should give them plenty of encouragement that they can be in the mix. Meanwhile, the arrival of Australian paceman Shaun Tait for the T20 Blast will surely bring a new wave of en-
thusiasm heading into the showpiece competition, which gets underway in May. Furthermore, the return of South African star Jacques Rudolph as overseas player and captain gives them the benefit of an experienced, seasoned performer in all formats of the game. Rudolph is joined by veteran trio Graham Wagg, Dean Cosker and Michael Hogan, who can all be relied upon to provide consistency and solidity in the side whilst offering plenty of assistance to the younger players. On the subject of young players, there are perhaps few more exciting talents emerging at this moment in time than Welsh teenager Aneurin Donald. The 19-year-old batsman showed flashes of his undoubted potential in 2015 and will be looking to hold down a first-team place across all formats, where his youthful exuberance and natural ball striking ability could make him a potential match-winner. Young spinner Andrew Salter is also highly-rated at the club, whilst Scottish youngster Ruaidhri Smith will be hungry to bounce back from an injuryplagued 2015. There has been little activity over the winter in terms of incomings or outgoings at the SWALEC, but they seem to have made some useful acquisitions. Young seam bowler Harry Podmore is an interesting loan signing from
Middlesex and could have a big part to play. However, Dutch paceman Timm van der Gugten, who arrives with a wealth of domestic experience in Australia and international experience with the Netherlands, has the potential to be the new-ball threat they crave. He arrives highly-rated despite limited first-class experience, and if he gets to grips with the British conditions he could prove to be one of the signings of the summer. Craig Meschede has made his move permanent after spending 2015 on loan from Somerset, and he offers plenty of ability across all formats with both bat and ball. Alongside fellow South African-born Kolpak player
Colin Ingram, the pair will provide the backbone of Glamorgan’s power hitting in limited-overs games. Overall, this is most likely to be a year of consolidation for Glamorgan as they adapt to a new management structure and look to bring through their young players. However, a top-half finish in the County Championship, with the potential for a promotion push, should be the aim whilst progression in at least one of the limited overs competitions must be on the agenda. If Croft can take to his new head coaching role well and bring out the best in some of their young talent, then the 2016 season could well be the start of a promising run for Glamorgan.
Pictured: Glamorgan in action against Middlesex at Lord’s. (Photographer: Nagarjun Kandukuru)
Dodgeball hopeful of 2017 Varsity place after Swansea encounter
ne of the Athletic Union’s (AU) youngest clubs, Dodgeball, travelled to Swansea University’s recently built bay campus on 13th April in a precursory event to this week’s 2016 Welsh Varsity. The club brought ten players to make two teams against Swansea’s three teams of five. A few minor injuries were sustained during the course of the mini tournament, which boasted a good number of spectators and was refereed by Swansea’s social secretary, Emma Price. The games were played in bestof-three rounds, in a rotation system with the three Swansea and two
Cardiff teams all getting to play one another. This means that for one round Cardiff played against their own players. In the first few games, Swansea won quickly but once Cardiff warmed up victories soon arrived. The final took place between Cardiff and Swansea’s “A” teams and Swansea had their strategies organised down to a tee- taking out the four men still representing the visitors before finishing off the last woman standing. Nick Wilson, club president and founder, kept morale high, stating that “our dodging game was strong today.” The tournament was followed by
a last man standing game, where it was one against all. When one side became too small, players from the larger side swelled in numbers, and the court gradually became smaller. It was testament to the quality of Cardiff ’s players that the last four men standing were all CUDC members. Sam Rocewicz, coach, pointed to this fact, saying: “We’ve got the players; we’ve got the team- we just need to put time in on the court to become the best Welsh university club.” Bryn Knight, another Cardiff player, remarked that the match was like the “curtain call of Varsity.” Whilst Dodgeball is not currently a
BUCS sport, both clubs hope that if it becomes accepted as one next year, there will also be a dodgeball competition as part of the Welsh Varsity. Other members made light of the fledgling sport’s unorthodoxy, with Cardiff player Kathryn Cribbin joking that Swansea’s victory was a “consolation for when they lose Varsity next week.” However, these statements were made in jest- as a friendly match, the atmosphere was jovial. Swansea’s well-established team were more than happy to play against the younger CUDC in a light-hearted manner whilst still competing at a high performance level.
It’s been a good few weeks for Cardiff Blues, and that’s not a sentence that has been written too often! Two home bonus-point victories against Munster and Treviso (an eight try hammering) were followed up by an entertaining win at play-off contenders the Scarlets in Llanelli. This mini winning streak has seen them rise to eighth in the PRO12 table; leapfrogging the Ospreys and placing them only four points behind Edinburgh in seventh and five points behind Munster in sixth. This run could see them qualify for next season’s European Champions Cup - it’s
a complex qualification system but in essence The Blues would probably need to secure a top six spot. Not impossible, especially with Edinburgh to play on the final day of the season, but they would need the sides immediately ahead of them to drop points. There has also been the announcement of a trio of new signings; centre Willis Halaholo from Hurricanes in New Zealand, bruising South African second-row George Earle and former Wales Under-20’s captain and hooker Kirby Myhill, both from Scarlets. I’m not sure how wise it was to re-sign
permanently out-of-form wing Alex Cuthbert, but with other recruits arriving next season like Matthew Morgan and Rhys Gill, The Blues are developing some strength in depth and healthy competition for places in the starting team. It’s especially important to have quality throughout the squad when there are international call-ups, with losses at bottom two clubs Treviso and Zebre coming during international periods. If it wasn’t for those two defeats in particular, The Blues would almost be certain of qualifying for the top tier of European rugby next season.
At the time of writing, The Blues are yet to have played the Dragons in the eagerly anticipated East Wales derby, but I expect it to be an entertaining contest with Cardiff on such a good run and The Dragons coming off the back of a remarkable victory at Gloucester in the European Challenge Cup quarterfinals. Danny Wilson had been able to turn around the squad since earlier in the season and positivity is finally back at Cardiff Arms Park. Expectations are growing for this side, and The Blues might be competing for silverware sooner rather than later.
In the first few games, Swansea won quickly but once Cardiff warmed up victories soon arrived.
The roars of the crowds lining the streets from the prison all the way back into student territory in the middle of Cathays really helped.
Dan Heard Cardiff City Columnist
Cardiff World Half Marathon: A participant’s perspective
f anything, it’s worth running a half marathon just for the free bananas they give you at the end of the race. Of course, the feeling of accomplishment and achievement is great too, but I didn’t have to buy bananas from Lidl for a good week after that, which was great! During the Easter break, I joined over 25,000 other runners, some professional (including the British team’s captain, Olympic Gold Medallist Mo Farah, and silver-medal winning British Championship runner Dewi Griffiths, from Swansea), and many first-timers taking part in one of the most anticipated events in the athletics calendar. Running with my mum, a veteran of five half marathons, in aid of our charity of choice, Crohn’s and Colitis UK, we were as determined as any other competitor out there, if not more. Following the route used during the annual Half Marathon held in the Welsh capital every October, competitors old and young, amateur and professional, over-confident student and… not overly confident student, lined up in the shadow of Cardiff Castle. I say shadow, there was no sun that particular day. Didn’t see it once. But more about the weather later!
Eventually, we were released in pre-designated time groups (i.e. the elites expected to run it in an hour, then an hour and a half, two hours etc.). I found myself in the red section, as thanks to my time of 01:55 in my only previous Half Marathon attempt, I was in the same holding pen as the two hour-troublers. Before I knew it, Lord Coe was at the podium, meaning we were only minutes away from starting. Then we were off! Past the castle, down towards Sophia Gardens, into Canton and coming up to the Cardiff City Stadium in under five minutes, as the one mile marker flew past. Getting into my stride, I was closing in on quite a few of the green section runners, meaning if I kept up my current pace (which I later learnt was an average of twelve and a half kilometres, impressive considering a standard mobility scooter has a top speed of about eight), I’d be in with a chance of hitting the hour and a half mark come the finish line. By this point, the heavens had well and truly opened. Crossing into the Vale of Glamorgan and heading up towards the entrance to Penarth, we were soon drenched from a downpour of fine rain, which, I’ll admit, as refreshing as it was, I could have
Cardiff took five points from a possible twelve up for grabs in what has proved to be a hectic month on and off the pitch for the Bluebirds ahead of the home match with QPR. City snatched a point against a resilient Reading side marooned in mid-table, with loanee Lex Immers again adding to his growing popularity with fans, heading in the equaliser after Gareth McCleary’s opener. This point on the road at the Madejski Stadium kept the visitors just outside the final Play-Off place, three points adriift of Sheffield Wednesday with only eight league games remaining
of the current season. In a bid to capitalise on their rejuvenated form, City executives took the decision to re-open the infamous Ninian Stand extension, red seats and all, and offered free tickets to fans who had renewed for the next campaign, for the home game with Derby County. The numbers didn’t disappoint, with over twenty eight and a half thousand packing the Cardiff City Stadium, according to the club. On the pitch, the players didn’t disappoint, with the constant performer that is Bruno Manga heading the hosts in front just before the break.
done without. Worse was yet to come though. As we made our way around the marina and onto the barrage stretching out beyond the bay, it began to hail. And I mean really hail. For a good mile or two, it was relentless, and with the wind picking up, one false move could have sent you tumbling under a few thousand pairs of feet behind you, or worse, into the freezing cold waters below. Thankfully, it eased off as we passed Assembly Square towards the steelworks and the flyover back into the city centre. It was at this point that large numbers of runners began to drop off, a combination of hitting the halfway point and the torrential rain and hail no doubt taking its toll. Unmoved, I continued. The roars of the crowds lining the streets from the prison all the way back into student territory in the middle of Cathays really helped (seeing my dad, clutching his newly-purchased Sports Direct umbrella, shouting support at the top of his lungs was also nice!). Down through Wellfield Road, around Albany Road, I headed straight for what I considered the hardest stretch of the whole raceRoath Park. Again, the supporters did their bit admirably, but this is where I began to struggle again, as I had done before a year ago, in nearly the same spot. My pace slowed, and the only thing quick about me at this point was my breath. My rather fetching Crohn’s and Colitis running top, a striking combination of lime green and purple, was stuck to me, my calves ached, my head was starting to spin. But I had to carry on. I couldn’t stop, wouldn’t stop. Crohn’s affects over 300,000 people in the UK and,
though what I was doing was tough, it in no way compared to what sufferers of this awful condition go through on a daily basis. Putting this before the pain, I ploughed on. Eventually, I was around the lake, finally on the home straight towards the finish. Markers began to tumble away. Eighteen kilometres, nineteen, twenty, just one more to go. As cruel as the course is, if I had my way, the incline up towards Cathays Cemetery would no longer exist, such is the pain it caused for so many runners (the guy holding the “You’re Running the Wrong Way!!!” sign though did brighten our not-yet broken spirits). Then we were on Cathays Terrace. Past the Flora, past Lidl, over the bridge, Hoffi Coffi gone in a blur. The last corner, rounding towards the line. With the closing theme from “Rocky” blasting through my headphones, I sprinted those final few hundred yards and raised my arms like Stallone once I was across. And that was that. A space blanket, a free t-shirt and many bottles of water later, we finally received our medals, shaped like the castle we’d run past what seemed like many hours before. Checking my time afterwards, it turned out I’d beaten my previous personal best by nearly quarter of an hour, clocking in at 01:41:35. The thing that struck me most, though, was the way the whole city had seemingly come together to offer such tremendous support to every competitor, regardless of how fast, slow, old or young they were. On top of that, I hope I made some kind of contribution to making the lives of those affected by Crohn’s a little better. Oh, and I got free bananas too! Did I mention that?
Chris Martin scraped an equaliser five minutes after the restart, before Stuart O’Keefe, a revelation in his new role in the heart of the midfield, popped up with the winner for the second time in five games. City could only draw a blank against league leaders Burnley at Turf Moor, with another January loan signing Kenneth Zohore hitting the crossbar late on, after David Marshall had twice denied George Boyd and Ashley Barnes. Derby hitt Hull for four and another win for Wednesday meant the gap between sixth and seventh was now four
points, with Cardiff knowing only a win against a struggling Fulham at Craven Cottage would keep their push alive. On the banks of the Thames, Immers again proved his worth, meeting Aron Gunnarsson’s pinpoint cross to bag his fifth goal of the season. The home side levelled a minute after half time, though, with Scott Parker firing home from a tight angle, before defender Emerson Hyndman bundled in the winner in stoppage time. Even after Wednesday’s capitulation against Bristol City, Derby’s win over Bolton saw the Play-Off gap extended to five points.
Pictured: Above: Dan photographed with his mother, Hayley, before the half marathon. (Photographer: Lyndon Heard) Below Left: Two professional athletes battle against the torrential downpours. (Photographer: via Flickr)
Crohn’s affects over 300,000 people in the UK and, though what I was doing was tough, it in no way compared to what sufferers of this awful condition go through on a daily basis.
Editors: Jim Harris James Lloyd Jamie Smith @GairRhyddSport email@example.com gairrhydd.com/sport
Also this week
Cardiff Uni Half Marathon: A personal account P39>>
Team Cardiff all set for fierce Swansea showdown as 2016 Welsh Varsity nears
Cricket: Glamorgan begin 2016 campaign P38>>
As Cardiff look to record their 14th consecutive Welsh Varsity title with victory over Swansea University, we take a look at some of the teams competing in the biggest sporting event of the academic calendar. Jamie Smith
rguably the most eagerly anticipated university event of the academic year is quickly descending upon us. A hotly-contested battle between two fiercely competitive rivals, the 2016 Welsh Varsity is surely going to be an immense sporting spectacle- especially if it materialises to be anything like last year’s competition. Cardiff and Swansea will compete against each other in over 35 competitions in a bid to get their hands on what is possibly the most prestigious sporting title available to both universities. But it is not just the tangible rewards up for grabs. Defeating the Swans will be worth more than just the silverware. Cardiff’s bragging rights will be renewed for yet another year if they can repeat the resounding success achieved over their South Wales neighbours in 2015. Last year’s event, back on Swansea
territory after a four-year absence, saw Cardiff retain the Varsity title for the 13th year in a row with a comprehensive 25-13 overall scoreline. That success was emulated in the rugby as Cardiff’s first team overcame Swansea 27-22 in a tight encounter at the Liberty Stadium- their first rugby win in Varsity since 2012. AU President and VP Sport, Sam Parsons, is optimistic that Team Cardiff are fully capable of replicating that 2015 glory after a successful year of sport on the whole. “Last year, the atmosphere at Sketty Lane and at the Liberty Stadium was electric,” Parsons told Gair Rhydd Sport. “It was much louder than at the Millennium Stadium and there was a fiery atmosphere. It was a brilliant occasion and I hope for the same this year. “I’m definitely confident that Team Cardiff will put the shift in that we need. We’ve had a great year across the board really, both in BUCS and outside of BUCS, so I’m sure we can go down
the M4 again and get that shield back to Cardiff for the 14th consecutive year.” Louie Tonkin’s rugby side have endured an underwhelming 2015/16 campaign having finished second from bottom in the BUCS Premier South A division- winning just two games all season. But their struggles in the domestic league will surely strive them on to repeat the heroics of their 2015 Varsity predecessors, with Parsons highlighting the return of key players from injury as a major boost to the team’s hopes of retaining the trophy. “If you look at results and the form, the boys had a rocky start to the season but they have gradually been getting into their stride towards the end of the season,” the Cardiff University Journalism graduate commented. “They had a lot of injury problems but those players have come back in at the right time so it’s going to be an exciting occasion.”
Pictured: Cardiff Men’s rugby team line up before their 27-22 defeat of Swansea at the 2015 Welsh Varsity. (Photographer: Cardiff SU)
Previews on page 37
Dodgeball: CUDC hoping for BUCS status despite Swansea loss P38>>
Columns: The latest from Cardiff City and Cardiff Blues P38-39>>
Cardiff's student weekly