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Politics: Jo Stevens quits shadow cabinet over Article 50 vote P20 >>

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Taf-Od: A oedd CYI yn iawn i wrthod cwestiynau UKIP? P32 >> gair rhydd | freeword Cardiff ’s student weekly Issue 1091 Monday 6th February 2017 Wales town centres to receive £10m in regeneration loans


Photographer: Jonathan Baker

Thousands gather on Cardiff Queen Street to protest against ‘Muslim ban’ Gabriella Mansell and Harry Webster


housands of protesters took to the streets of Cardiff last Monday, in attempt to show ‘unity’ and ‘give a voice’ to those exiled by President Donald Trump’s controversial executive order. The polarising policy, which bans immigrants and visa holders from seven majority Muslim countries – Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Sudan – from entering the US for 90 days, has been met by staunch opposition and protest across the UK, and has even seen a petition put to Parliament to the ban the President himself from the country. One protester, a Cardiff University history student, Yousif Nadeem, told Gair Rhydd of how the policy had ruined his plans to move to the US upon obtaining his degree.

Speaking exclusively to Gair Rhydd, first-year Nadeem said, “I’m here because I am Muslim and I am hoping that after I’m finished with university for three years I am hoping to get a work permit in the US, and that’s probably not going to happen now. “By me being a part of this I can hope to help to prevent this ban.” Sympathy for Mr Nadeem’s feelings were shared amongst protesters, with many claiming they had come out to show unity, and support for those affected by the ban. One protester said: “I don’t believe what’s happening in America is the way forward, not just for America, but for the rest of the world. “I hope together we will see people out on the streets and give a voice to those in need, but it’s just saying to the people who are experiencing a live that most of us have never had to go through, apart from our grandparents and great grandparents, that

such hatred and hostility towards the other can’t go on in the 21st century, and in 2017.” Such a rhetoric was ever-present, with offers of assurances to those outcast by the President’s policy from protesters up and down the country. In the Cardiff protest, demonstrators were heard chanting “say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here.” Cardiff University law student, Tyler Ayah, expressed disbelief at Mr. Trump’s’ policy. She told Gair Rhydd: “I personally don’t agree with all that Trump is doing, and I think we are lucky to live in a place where we are not prejudiced by what we believe in.” When pressed to answer whether she was protesting directly against the ban, or against the British Prime Minister’s complicity with Mr. Trumps’ actions, Ms. Ayah said, “I think more with Trump’s actions but indirectly with the UK because they are refusing to do anything about it.”

First year student, Aisling Power agreed, stating that her main reasons for protesting consisted of: “Trump’s actions, as otherwise we wouldn’t have issues like the UK being complicit but Theresa May isn’t doing everything she could be doing, considering she is supposed to be the leader of one of the most powerful countries”. This was a feeling shared amongst many of the protesters with the Cardiff protest being of increased prominence, having coincided with Theresa May coming to the Welsh capital for the meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee. Mrs. May came under heavy criticism from many for her failure to stand up to the President following her recent state visit to the US.

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welve Welsh towns are set to receive £10m in loans as part of an effort to revitalise town centres. The money from the loans will be used to renevate derelict buildings and convert them into homes and business premises. In Cardiff, the funding will be utilised at Cardiff Bay, where a derelict raliway station on Bute Road could be given a new life as “live work units”, retail space or maybe even a military museum. Communities Secretary at the Vibrant and Town Centre Loans Fund, Carl Sargeant, told the BBC: “This funding will help local authorities regenerate their town centres by helping them find sustainable uses for empty sites and premises such as affordable town centre homes or tourist and leisure attractions.”

Wales’ Euro 2016 heroics made into documentary


film documenting the Welsh national football team’s historic return to tournament football at Euro 2016 is set to be released on March 1. The film was directed by Jonny Owen, of Merthyr Tydfil, who is also responsible for the highly rated biopic charting the back-to-back Euopean Cup wins by Brian Clough’s Nottimham Forest side. ‘Don’t Take Me Home’, named after the Welsh fans’ signature song, will tell the tale of Wales’ astonighing run to the semi-finals of the European Championships last summer. After ending 60 years of failure to qualify for a major international tournament, and experiencing the tragic loss of former manager Gary Speed, Wales personified passion and team spirit before losing to eventual champions Portugal in the semis. The film will be released nationally on March 1 for anyone who wishes to relive last summer’s roller coaster. Rumours that Gareth Bale will be played by Danny Dyer are yet to be verified.

2 EDITORIAL Gair Rhydd Coordinator Elaine Morgan Editor Maria Mellor

the free word

Student politics and student media

Deputy Editors Toby Holloway Emily Giblett News Toby Holloway Gabriella Mansell Harry Webster Comment Helena Hanson Caragh Medlicott Sam Saunders Columnist Helena Hanson Advice George Watkins Anwen Williams Politics Adam George Ellise Nicholls Science Tanya Harrington Kat Pooprasert Societies Aletheia Nutt Tom Morris Taf-Od Osian Wyn Morgan Liam Ketcher Sport James Lloyd Mark Wyatt Rich Jones Gareth Axenderrie Digital Media Editor Emily Giblett Cartoonist Tom Morris

Get involved Editorial conferences are each Monday at 6:30pm. Proofreading takes place from 6pm on Thursdays in the media office. Write to the editor editor@gairrhydd.com 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.

It’s important to get involved

Maria Mellor As nominations were closing last Wednesday, the SU made their last scramble to get people to run for an officer position. Posters have been posted, adverts have been advertised and emails have been emailed. Election week rolls around so quickly every year - here at Gair Rhydd we’re already preparing our game plan. If this is your first year experiencing the student elections let me tell you that you’re in for a treat! In recent years we’ve had people stripping on camera, wandering around in giant t-rex costumes, singing along (not very well) to parodies of chart hits. It’s never boring! There is always a little debate amongst students every year about the stupidity of campaigning, but I personally think it’s great. If the candidates acted as normally and professionally (for the most part) as government politicians, I doubt half as many people would listen. A fair amount of students so eas-

ily get complacent and are happy to simply take what’s given to them by the students’ union and by the university. I had the opportunity to sit in on student senate the other week and just that night of watching what happens behind the scenes was an eye opener. After two and a half years at university I finally saw the power that students have. It may sometimes be minor details that get discussed in these kind of meetings but students have the potential to bring up anything they think needs changing provided the motion has the appropriate support. Last week’s front page hopefully educated some students in the goings on in student senate. Several important motions were passed on behalf of the student populus, while two fell as they did not get enough votes. With elections, any student can run. You can take a break from your studies for a year and get stuck in with making the changes you want

to see. I love the passion that goes into student politics - people will argue over every detail to make sure the decisions made are the best for our union. In saying this, I want to highlight one important thing: you should vote. The people who get elected could have policies that would change the future of Cardiff University. There’s a lot of lobbying the government that goes on and taking part in local events. No matter how big or small, you can’t deny that student politics has an impact. I’m always surprised when people say they haven’t got involved in anything over their three years of being a student. As you can see, I have been heavily involved in student media in my time at Cardiff, as have many of the friends I have made. It’s never too late to do so either! We opened applications to enter the Cardiff Student Media awards - anyone can enter and anyone can win as long as you have done something for

one of the sections of student media. There is still time to write something in order to enter. Sign up to write something or contact one of the sections to pitch your idea. If you win you’ll get a great trophy to take home, something to put on the CV and eternal bragging rights. We have introduced an award for ‘Best Contributor’ this year to celebrate the great work contributors do for us. We wouldn’t exist as a paper if it wasn’t for the hundreds of students that get involved. If you think that you deserve to win this award, email editor@gairrhydd.com with a short paragraph saying how you’ve helped Gair Rhydd this year. The tickets are on sale this week for the awards night itself. We have been running the Cardiff Student Media awards for 20 years now, and it’s a guaranteed great night. Included in your ticket you will get a three course dinner, plenty of wine and oodles of banter. Get involved and have fun. I hope to see you there!


Campus in Brief

Emily Giblett

The amount of puppies illegally trafficked into the uk has trebled in three years


Welsh MP has voiced his concerns about a report projecting that inequality could soon reach levels not seen for 30 years. In a statement, Ken Skates, the Welsh Labour Cabinet Secretary for Economy, said ‘This report is a shocking indictment of the Tory UK Government’s failure over six long and painful years to support growth and prosperity outside of London and the southeast. Their response to the financial crash since 2010 has been to cut spending, slash vital benefits and ignore the needs of communities right across the UK. Whitehall has been a foot on the windpipe of the Welsh economy for too long and we need to see a new approach.’ The director of upcoming epic Jurassic World 2 has confirmed that part of the film will be shot on location in the Brecon Beacons. Speaking to the Spanish website Magazine, JA Bayona, director of the dinosaur movie reboot said that he could ‘barely speak’ about the film, beyond revealing the Welsh location that will be used for part of the project. It has been confirmed that original cast members Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard will return for the sequel, which will be released in 2018. Measures to protect seabirds and porpoises around the coast of Wales have been approved by the Welsh Government. The three new proposed Special Areas of Conservation are North Anglesey Marine, West Wales Marine and the Bristol Channel Approaches are now due to be considered by the European Commission later this year. Species that will now be under protection include the Red Throated Diver, the Tern and the Atlantic Puffin. Environment Secretary Lesley Griffiths told the BBC: ‘We are committed to creating a network of marine protected areas in Wales so species and habitats can thrive.’


It has emerged that David Cameron campaigned for the pro-Brexit editor of the Daily Mail to be sacked in the lead-up to the EU referendum last June. A source revealed to BBC Newsnight that the former Prime Minister had urged the owner of the paper, Lord Rothermere, to ‘reign in’ the editor, Paul Dacre. In response, Mr Dacre allegedly told the Prime Minister that he would not temper his editorial output, given that he believed his readers shared his Eurosceptic views. Despite the paper backing Cameron in the 2015 general election, relations between Dacre and the Prime Minister reportedly broke down after Cameron ordered the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics in 2011. The amount of puppies that are illegally trafficked to the UK has more than trebled in the last three years, according to officials. The number of dogs stopped at the border reportedly rose to 688 in 2016, from 208 in 2014. It is thought that thousands of dogs are bred on illegal puppy farms outside of the UK before being smuggled into the country. David Bowles, a spokesman for the RSPCA, said: ‘The scale of the illegal importation of puppies into this country is truly shocking. Thousands of dogs arriving at our shores may well have started their lives in appalling conditions on a puppy farm where their health and welfare came second to money and profits.’ Rail ticket selling procedures are set to undergo an overhaul in order to make it easier for consumers to find the cheapest priced ticket for their journey. Under new regulations, passengers will be shown the cheapest price for their journey, regardless of whether they are planning to make a single or return journey. The reform follows an investigation into rail fares after research showed that travellers were routinely not shown the cheapest fare for their journey.


A Dominican nun has been forced to defend her comments after receiving death threats for suggesting that the Virgin Mary was not a Virgin. Sister Lucia Caram, who rose to prominence thanks to her presence on Twitter, made the comments during an appearance on Spanish TV show Chester in Love. Caram, who lives in Barcelona, remarked ‘I think Mary was in love with Joseph and that they were a normal couple – and having sex is a normal thing’, sparking waves of online abuse including a petition to get her banned from her order. One of the oldest elephants living in captivity died in India on Monday, believed to be aged 85-90 years old. Indira, who lived at the Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary in Southern India, was reportedly instrumental in helping to train other wild elephants brought to the sanctuary for rehabilitation. Indira outlived the expectation for an elephant in captivity which is typically 65-70 years, with keepers attributing her long life to a diet including ‘lots of greens’. Keeper Mahout Jalil Ahmad told the New Indian Express ‘Today we feel we have lost a family member. In my service of 20 years, I’ve never seen her display anger on any occasion. Any visitor could approach her without any fear.’ Shares in tech giant Apple rocketed after the iPhone once again became the top selling smartphone in the last quarter of 2016. The sales figures for iPhone 7, Apple’s latest offering, were strong enough to outdo main competitor Samsung, who have held the title for top seller for the last five years. It is thought that the surge in Apple sales may be due to the worldwide recall of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 after widespread reports of exploding batteries. iPhone sales continue to account for two thirds of Apple’s total revenue.

Pictured: An Atlantic Puffin (Source: Sindre Skede via Flickr)

A Dominican nun has been forced to defend her comments after recieving death threats for suggesting that the Virgin Mary was not a Virgin



Editors: Toby Holloway Gabriella Mansell Harry Webster @GairRhyddNews news@gairrhydd.com gairrhydd.com/news

Cont’d: Protest succesful in ‘giving Wales a voice with regards to global issues’

Cardiff is s diverse and fantastic city, made even better by its diverse citizens and Muslim population. Ash Cox, Protest Organiser


irst Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones stated: “if the special relationship means anything, it must mean honestly calling one another to account. Silence and evasion are not the hallmarks of leadership.” Mrs May’s visit was also highlighted by the protest organiser Ash Cox, a first year Cardiff history student, as being a key reason for hosting the demonstration in Cardiff. News of the protest was spread via Facebook, with the event page, “Cardiff Demo Against Trump’s #Muslim Ban”, joined by 4,700 people with over 10,000 people invited. Speaking exclusively to Gair Rhydd, Ms. Cox said, “I was propelled to organize the protest by seeing Owen Jones’ demonstration in London and knowing that Theresa May was in

Cardiff on Monday, and seeing that there was nothing organized yet when I knew many people who would want to make their voices clear. Talking about the importance of protesting in Cardiff specifically she added: “I think demonstrating in Cardiff will show solidarity with refugees and immigrants both in Cardiff, nationally, and internationally, and hopefully encourage people to pay more attention to the struggles of immigrants and refugees, and hopefully give money to charities that help aid them. “I hope it also shows that Cardiff is a diverse and fantastic city, made even better by its diverse citizens and its Muslim population.” Additionally, Cox said that she was thrilled with how the event was re-

ceived, saying, “The general reception was fantastic, I got a small amount of anonymous abuse but nothing I couldn’t handle, and it was amazing to see Cardiff show up to defend people the way I did.” Despite the sheer number of attendees attracted to the demonstration, the protest was overwhelmingly peaceful with many of Cardiff ’s residents both students and locals joining together to voice their concerns for Trump’s executive order travel ban. Following the successful nature of the Cardiff based Trump demo and the upcoming parliamentary debate concerning whether or not Trump will be granted a state visit, the Cardiff People’s Assembly and future demonstrations organisers are “calling for a nationwide day of action to

stand up and say no to the future of hatred, racism and division that Donald Trump is trying to create – and to say no to the disgraceful complicity of Theresa May and the British government in supporting him.” In a post on Facebook Cardiff People’s Assembly stated: “Protests this week saw tens of thousands take to the streets at just a day’s notice. With a bit of work we can make this national day of action massive! “We will link up with One Day Without Us, who are already running protests on the same day, to fight for migrants’ rights”. Despite concerns that these protests are unnecessary, reports have shown that so far the numerous UK wide protests are putting continued pressure on the government.

Pictured: Protestors take a stand against Trump. Photographer: Thomas Madhavan

Promising young rugby star tragically electrocuted

Gabriella Mansell


young man who was electrocuted whilst working in Cardiff has been named as upcoming young rugby player. Tom Owen, 21 who worked for Western Power Distribution died following an incident last Monday where it is thought that he was electrocuted whilst carrying out routine utility works. The announcement of his death on Tuesday brought about heartfelt and moving tributes left by his family and local rugby club. Tom, from Efail Isaf near Pontypridd, had played for Beddau Rugby Club since a very young age. He had continued to progress through the club from a junior level, representing Beddau Rugby at all

levels. In a statement to the press his family said: “We are absolutely devastated by the tragic death of our son. He is our world. We are incredibly proud of the young man he had become”. Throughout this difficult time, Tom’s family are being supported by specially trained family liaison officers from South Wales Police, they have asked for privacy to allow them to grieve. Listed on Beddeau Rugby Club’s website a statement read: “Known for his wicked sense of humour and commitment to his fellow players and friends, Tom will be sorely missed”.

Pictured: The young man’s death has saddened local club (Source: Joz3.69 via Flickr)


“Business as usual”: Cardiff University receives £13m EU investment for research facility despite Brexit • £13m of EU funding for Institute for Semiconductors (ICS) • Research facility will be first of its kind in Europe • EU funding comes as concerns grow over post-Brexit economy

Toby Holloway

The Institute positions Cardiff as the UK and European leader in compound semiconductors. Heath Jeffries, Innovation Communications Manager at Cardiff University

” Pictured: Instruments used at the ICS (Source: ICS)


ardiff University has received £13m of EU funding for compound semiconductor research. The funding will go towards the development of a state-of-the-art clean room at Cardiff University’s Institute for Semiconductors (ICS). The ICS facility is a joint venture by Cardiff University and hi-tech company IQE, and will be located at Cardiff University’s Innovation Campus on Maindy Road. Compound semiconductors are used in many forms of technology, from mobile phones to GPS systems, and the ICS represents a significant commitment to innovation and hi-tech research in Cardiff. Speaking to Gair Rhydd, Heath Jeffries, who is Innovation Communications Manager at Cardiff University, said: “The Institute for Semiconductors (ICS) acts as a bridge between science and industry. It provides cutting-edge facilities that help researchers and industry work together to translate the science into a commercial production environment. Compound semiconductors drive the devices and technologies we use today, from smartphones and tablets to satellite communications and GPS.” The combined investment from Cardiff University, IQE and the EU aims to transform Cardiff into a leading city for research into semiconductors and create a cluster of hitech services and manufacturing. Mr Jeffries said: “Despite both a long-term need for a UK-based large-scale translational centre in compound semiconductors and a leading research base, no single com-

pany has been able to stimulate sizable UK investment. ICS works closely with the Compound Semiconductor Centre (CSC) – a joint business venture with Cardiff-based IQE, a world leader in the design and manufacture of advanced semiconductor wafer products. “The Institute positions Cardiff as the UK and European leader in compound semiconductors.” Speaking about the nature of the research that will be taking place at the ICS, Mr Jeffries said: “Focusing on fundamental science and device development, ICS will build on existing University strengths in optoelectronics, semiconductor devices and materials. The lab will explore novel growth methods and material combinations that industry cannot necessarily accommodate. “A unique UK facility, fabricating and testing technology in realistic environments, the Institute will generate excellent research and development. The modern facilities and highly skilled staff at ICS will support innovation by delivering services including: advanced device fabrication and process development; prototyping and small scale pilot production; and specialised training, outreach and networking.” Another aim of the ICS is to provide high-skilled employment for Cardiff, with science and technology graduates from Cardiff University set to benefit from opportunities provided by the Institute. Mr Jeffries said: “The Institute will offer opportunities for both master’s

Pictured: A researcher at the ICS (Photographer ICS)

students and post-doctoral research fellows. It will create opportunities to work directly with industry as the Institute seeks to develop commercial applications. IQE and ICS will be participating in the development of a Compound Semiconductor cluster which will bring commercial expertise together, creating job opportunities for skilled graduates.” Funding for the Institute has been provided by Cardiff University, the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund and the Welsh Government, as well as with £13m from the EU. I n the wake of the UK’s exit from the European Union, many from the science and research community have voiced concerns over the future of investments by the EU in projects such as the ICS. Further concerns have been raised over the state of Cardiff ’s economy post-Brexit, as it was revealed in a recent report by Centre for Cities that the EU is the biggest export market for 61 out of the UK’s 62 cities. More alarming for Wales is that Cardiff and Swansea are 2 of the top 10 UK cities that are most dependant on trade with the EU, with 61% of Cardiff ’s exports and 60% of Swansea’s destined for the EU. This is well above the UK average of 48% and suggests that the Welsh economy could suffer more serious consequences than other parts of the UK should the Conservative government fail to secure a good trade deal with the EU. Quoted by the BBC, Paul Swinney, principal economist with Centre for

Cities said: “When it comes to Brexit and trade deals we have to prioritise getting the best possible deal with the EU compared with any other country in the world. “It’s right to be ambitious about trade deals with the US and China, but the EU still accounts for the vast majority of our exports, so we have to be thinking of getting that deal right first if we’re going to protect and grow jobs in places like Cardiff and Swansea.” Questioned over the security of EU funding for future projects, Mr Jeffries said: “Around a third of the funding for the Institute comes from the EU. The UK Research Partnership Investment Fund provided £17.3m, Welsh Government provided £12m, and the UK’s Research Councils continue to support ICS. “The EU is providing £13m. In terms of long-term EU funding for future projects, nothing will change in the immediate future as the UK remains in the EU until a process for exit is agreed. Universities UK is seeking clarity on what is happening in relation to EU research funding. “In the meantime it’s business as usual. We will provide further information as it becomes available.” Despite a question mark over the future of similar projects, there is reason to be optimistic. The ICS represents a huge step forward and a statement of intent from Cardiff, as it aims to compete on the global stage and emerge as a front-runner in hitech research.

In terms of long-term EU funding for future projects, nothing will change in the immediate future. Heath Jeffries, Innovation Communications Manager at Cardiff University


Cardiff Uiversity study uses virtual reality to treat vertigo Pictured: Vertigo (Photographer: Marcus Pink, via Flickr)

“ Toby Holloway

Maria Mellor


irtual reality could be used to diagnose and treat visual vertigo, a Cardiff University study has found. A team of psychologists at Cardiff University discovered that in developing virtual environments that mimic the conditions that trigger episodes of vertigo, they can begin to understand the underlying causes of it. The causes of vertigo are relatively unknown to scientists, but the Cardiff University team believe that their pioneering methods could be used in the diagnosis of the vertigo, as well as in the treatment of the associated symptoms.


Vertigo can often be caused by misbalances of the inner ear, and can result in symptoms such as nausea, loss of balance and dizziness. Episodes of vertigo can last for a few seconds, or much longer, depending on the severity of the case. Vertigo is often misdescribed as the fear of heights (acrophobia) and is more to do with the victim’s surrounding environment. Regularly referred to as ‘Supermarket Syndrome’, vertigo attacks can be triggered by the repetitive ways in which supermarkets are laid out. Speaking to the BBC, Dr Georgina Powell of Cardiff University’s School of Psychology said: “All the patients

are very different and some environments might trigger symptoms for some patients whilst other environments might trigger symptoms for others.” “Other environments include walking by the side of a river, where you have motion one side of you but not on the other. “[Having vertigo] can mean that a patient can’t leave their house because they feel so sick and nauseous every time they walk around in their visual environment. “They can’t work, they just can’t function.” Speaking of the work being carried out by her and her colleagues,

she said: “We don’t know very much about what causes visual vertigo at the moment. “There also are not many effective rehabilitation therapies available, so the aim of our project is to try and understand those two things. “So by using virtual reality (VR) we can have vast flexibility over the different types of environments that we can show to patients and we can find out what their individual triggers might be and then tailor specific rehabilitation therapies.” Scientists at Cardiff university believe the approach has “real potential” in helping those suffering from vertigo.

Number of Welsh people applying to university plummets after grant cuts

ales has faced a significant decrease in the number of people applying to university this year. The drop in applications is the highest out of all of the UK nations following the changes in funding outlined in the Diamond review last year. Applications dropped by 7 per cent in Wales, compared to the 6 per cent drop in England and 5 per cent in Northern Ireland. In Scotland where university tuition is free, the number of applications reduced only 2 per cent. Wales’ universal tuition fee grants of £5,100 were scrapped in 2016, meaning that for the academic year Welsh students will have to pay more. The cuts were made in order to give students a higher maintenance grant, especially those from lower income backgrounds. There has also been a large drop in people from across the UK and internationally applying to Welsh universities. Sorana Vieru, vice-president of the National Union of Students, said: “Uncertainty around increases in tuition fees, loss of maintenance grants and the rising costs of living and studying at university are too much of a risk to some potential students”. This year applications from EU stu-

dents to all UK universities dropped from 45,220 in 2016 to 42,070. Technologies courses have been hit the hardest, facing a decline of 40 per cent in applications this year, followed by mass communications and documentation courses with a drop of 19 per cent. Applications to study combined sciences have fallen by 18 per cent. A Universities Wales spokesperson said: “Overall student satisfaction at universities in Wales hit its highest-ever level this year, with 86 per cent of students saying they are satisfied with their course. “These results are testament to the hard work Wales’s universities continue to put into delivering the best possible student learning experience for all Wales’s students, no matter their mode, place or pace of study. “The recent figures give an early indication that Wales may see a decline in full-time undergraduate student applications for the 2017/18 academic year. “It is unclear at this stage how far the recruitment pattern will change before the end of the cycle, or how far this will translate into actual enrolments at the start of term. “Figures across the UK point to a number of potential challenges emerging such as underlying population change - in particular the number of 18 year olds in Wales is

projected to continue to decline significantly until 2020 - and the impact of Brexit. “Our universities continue to have higher proportions of students from the most under-represented groups compared to the UK as a whole.

“As we look to the future we believe the implementation of the recommendations of the Diamond review will give many more talented people the opportunity to transform their life-chances through going to university.”

Number of Welsh students applying to university 71000 70000 69000 68000 67000 66000 65000 64000





2017 Data source: UCAS

By using virtual reality (VR) we can have vast flexibility over the different types of environments that we can show to patients. Dr Georgina Powell, Cardiff University School of Psychology

” Pictured: This graph shows a steep drop off in numbers of Welsh students attending university (Graph by Emily Giblett)


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COMMENT 9 Editors: Helena Hanson Caragh Medlicott Sam Saunders @GairRhyddCom comment@gairrhydd.com gairrhydd.com/comment

The not-so special relationship

Sam Saunders

President Donald Trump is under the impression that he can treat women how he pleases, for he is undoubtedly rich and powerful.


t’s happened again. Another proclamation from the leaders of the UK and the USA that our two countries share a so-called ‘special relationship’ that somehow infers preferential treatment for either nation. The view that I’ve always held on this idea is that it flies in the face of historical evidence, and depends on the personal and ideological relationship between the two leaders. The main issue I have with the idea of the ‘special relationship’ is that it gives the UK a sense of self-importance, that, in my view, it no longer has. We don’t have an empire anymore, thank God, nor the same diplomatic or military reach as in the first half of the twentieth century. The problem is that continuing to believe in this fanciful idea of parity with the US allows us to deny reality and think that we’re still at the forefront of international politics, when clearly the US, China and Russia are instead. The relationship was hardly ‘special’ under President Obama, who rightly put the rest of the world before the UK, instead emphasising relations with Europe and other countries. The most recent incarnation of this relationship is the Trump-May axis that has exploded across news websites in the past few days. Some may argue that with Brexit looming and Britain looking to reshape and redefine it’s role within the world, Theresa May is right to get cosy with the new president. However, the PM is clearly trying to force good rela-

tions where there is no possibility for them to exist, mostly due to the actions and comments of Donald Trump. Despite May’s efforts, even her best diplomacy can’t suppress the rage that many British people feel about the comments that Trump made before and during the presidential election campaign, which was on display in the protests that took place around the country last week. Another issue that Mrs May seems entirely capable of ignoring is that the political stances of the two leaders are completely at odds with one another. However much you disapproved of the PM’s policies during her time as Home Secretary, I think we can agree that she would never have advocated a shutdown of immigration from seven countries to combat terrorism, unlike the policy put in place by Trump. However, this shouldn’t surprise us, as history tells us that this isn’t an aberration on the special relationship. The idea has its origins in a 1946 speech by Winston Churchill, who did of course have very good relations with President Roosevelt during World War Two, although even here there was a slight stumbling block in that Dwight Eisenhower was named Supreme Allied Commander, despite the fact that the majority of the operations were taking place on British soil, although the Americans provided almost all of the troops for the invasion of France. The relationship was probably at its best and

most famous during the tenures of Reagan and Thatcher, which is the time that most people will remember and that Trump has referred back to, calling May ‘My Maggie’. The difference in this case, as I previously discussed, is that Thatcher and Reagan shared many of the same views on policy, as they were both believers in free market economics. The Cold War and relations with the USSR, also strengthened the ties between the UK and the US. However, even in this case, there was a time when the relationship was strained. When the US invaded Grenada in 1983, there was disapproval from Thatcher about the amount of notice she was given, as although Grenada was no longer a British territory, the countries still had close ties. This period was also a time when the UK was more important in international affaires, as Thatcher’s government acted decisively during 1982 to liberate the Falkland Islands from Argentine occupation. The last time Britain tried something similar, it resulted in the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, events that will continue to haunt the West for years to come. It took less than a week for May’s Britain and Trump’s America to come to a similar conflict. Sir Mo Farah, one of this country’s greatest Olympians, was unsure if he would be able to visit his family, who currently reside in the US, under Trump’s immigration ban as he grew up in Somalia before moving to Britain. It took

several hours for the Foreign Office to confirm that Farah would be able to join his family when he has completed his current training camp, but it was still an embarrassment for the UK government. The issue at stake is that I wholeheartedly disagree with the PM’s attempts to curry favour with a President who is so clearly opposed to the values that have made Britain a fabulous country, and even to the country that she is trying to turn the UK into after the vote to leave the EU. As Trump’s protectionist rhetoric comes through in actual policies, I for one am struggling to comprehend how Britain is going to actually negotiate a favourable trade deal from this president. But that’s a discussion for another day. The last week has done anything but fill me with confidence for future relations between the US and the UK, and with so many British people in uproar over Trump’s policies, I wonder how the Prime Minister can continue to genuinely claim to have both a workable relationship with America and to represent the views of Britain. As history has taught us, the special relationship only really succeeds when the personal and ideological views of the leaders of the UK and the USA are extremely well-aligned. My fear is that we risk compromising the values that we hold dear in trying to further relations with and not criticise a president that is so opposed to issues that are so important to the UK.

Pictured: Theresa May has tried to renew the special relationship with President Trump since he took office. Source: Karl-Ludwig Poggemann via

His success illustrates our failure as a universal race to think compassionately



Smart phones, dumb kids

There’s a new generation...and have they more followers than you. Olivia Botting

I fear the day where I walk past a park and it is filled with tiny little faces bathed in the blue glow from the screen of an iPhone 19s.


he Times reported on Monday that nearly half of primary school children have a mobile phone, and that figure climbs to 80% of children by the age of twelve. At risk of sounding like a miserly old person in a cardigan going ‘back in my day’ and pushing their false teeth back in, these technologically-informed people are children. I fear the day where I walk past a park and it is filled with tiny little faces bathed in the blue glow from the screen of an iPhone 19s or something, and no actual exercise or laughter. God. I’m freaking myself out now; I didn’t mean for that to sound so dystopian. Being able to contact your children in an emergency is obviously a good thing, and them having a mobile phone makes this contact so much easier. Over 50% of parents stated this as the reason their children owned a mobile phone, and that is understandable. That said, I can’t get my head around the fact that many parents buy their 8-year-old a brand new iPhone, for them to basically use it as a glorified Gameboy. (Ah the halcyon days of the Gameboy.) I understand where these parents are

coming from - I received a mobile phone when I was around eleven and moved to high school, mostly so my Mum knew I’d actually gone. My parents however, weren’t going to bestow upon me the (then) unquestionably cool Motorola Razr, no. I had a silver and pink clamshell brick with an extendable aerial. Oh how my classmates laughed. I later discovered that this extendable aerial was rather useful because upon extension, it had quite a reach. I used this reach to thwack unsuspecting classmates from a foot away. It was great. But there was no risk of me becoming addicted to this phone because texting was a chore (it literally took 10 minutes to write two sentences) and there was no social media to dedicate my life to. Looking back I don’t particularly know what I did with my spare time. It unnerves me that smartphones come with so many social media opportunities. Almost half of Instagram users are under 16, according to their stats, and many take no notice of the age limit, including my nine-year-old cousin, who mainly posts bad selfies and pictures of minions. She will look in ten years and weep.

I’m getting my granny knickers on now. I was recently in a shopping centre and there was a hefty clan of about 13-14 year olds in front of me. A line of iPhones and one lone Samsung were held aloft and all of them filmed themselves yelling at the camera for their Snapchat ‘stories.’ First of all, just why? Secondly, working on the deduction that these had mutual friends, the poor sods who weren’t present would have to sit through the same story about eight times before getting on with their lives

and wondering why they weren’t invited. We’ve raised a nation of over-sharers. Children’s playtime seems to consist of them taking photos of each other and posting them on Facebook. I’ve had enough. Next time I see someone under the age of 14 taking a selfie, I may shake them and yell “do something meaningful!” in their face. But then that seems a bit extreme. Maybe I’ll just tut and wrap my cardigan tighter around me like the old fogey I am.

Pictured: Most kids these days are well acquainted with technology. (Source: mogletho via flickr.)

A break to term-time holidays

Are unauthorised holidays disruptive to students? Silvia Martelli

It feels quite natural to wonder whether skipping school to go on holiday is appropriate, fair and truly beneficial to the students.


s prices for trips abroad reach their peak during the school holidays, it has become increasingly popular to take children away during term time. However, in 2006, after studies proved that missing lessons impairs children’s learning and attainment, the issue of a growing number of students having term-time holidays was addressed for the first time by the government. The Education Regulations were put in place into force, establishing that, in “special circumstances”, head teachers could grant a leave of absence of up to ten days for a family holiday. Furthermore, in “exceptional circumstances”, they could grant an extended period of leave. Otherwise, parents could be fined £60 for the unauthorised absence of a child. Shortly afterwards, schools reported that they were experiencing trouble with parents who were mistaking these guidelines as a right to two weeks’ annual holiday during term. Overall, the regulations were not very effective. In 2012, the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, said: “We need to do more to discourage holidays taken during term time: the rate of these absences in primary schools is double that in secondary schools.” In September 2013, tougher regulations established that head teachers in England were only able to give permission for a pupil to miss school in “exceptional circumstances”. Last week, the issue of term-time holidays came back into the news, when a BBC investigation showed that 35 councils in England have lessened policies on

fining parents for term-time holidays, following a successful high court appeal by a Isle of Wight father against a £120 fine. But is it really the best idea to make it easier for kids to randomly miss school days? We have all had that classmate who, in the middle of the semester, would disappear for a few days, or a week, sometimes even for a fortnight to then come back to school all tanned and smiley. Possibly, at times we were that classmate ourselves. Back then, it felt natural to dislike them for having a great time while we were double taking notes and confirming to the teachers that their fever was not improving, and that the recent facebook picture of them in the Bahamas had been taken the previous summer. When we were that kid ourselves, it was our own job not to feel miserable on the way back home and then catch up with everything we had missed at school (homework and lessons, not gossip). Hence, it feels quite natural to wonder whether skipping school to go on holiday is appropriate, fair and truly beneficial to the students. In my opinion, it is not. This isn’t simply out of jealousy towards that classmate who jetted off to exotic places nor is it because of the struggle of catching up with school work, it is because, at the end of the day, school requires a true commitment. As cliché as it may sound, education is among the greatest opportunities, or better put, privileges, we are given in life. As such, it should be addressed with the appropriate serious-

Pictured: Term time holidays can disrupt learning for the whole class. (Source: Ryan Stanton via flickr.)

ness and dedication. Allowing children to miss random weeks of school from a very young age could have a detrimental impact. Indeed, when parents take a child out of school, parents can lead their child to believe that they do not take their education very seriously. Consequently, the child will very likely disregard the importance of education, of a commitment to it and of consistent attendance. Taking children on holiday during the term can be also considered disrespectful- towards teachers, undermining the fact they are working for the pupils to let them best learn and thrive. In addition, it can be very disruptive both for the child in question and for their classmates, as they will have to catch up

when they return. Indeed, not only may the child face difficulties in engaging with the lessons due to a lack of knowledge of the previous ones, but they may also make the class run a bit behind schedule. There can obviously be exceptions to this, but overall I believe that term-time holidays create a high risk of developing an unhealthy attitude towards education. Finally, granting the possibility of missing a fixed amount of days per year will always be easily confused as some extra legitimate holidays that every student should have; yet, if every child happened to go on term-time holidays at different times it would be hard, if not almost impossible, for lessons to proceed smoothly.

Overall I believe that term-time holidays create a high risk of developing an unhealthy attitude towards education.


Let’s get ready to rumble!

Why Ant & Dec are national treasures, and why we really need them right now Kirby Evans

This week alone Ant and Dec accepted 3 National Television Awards and a couple of OBEs.


think we can all agree, 2017 has gotten off to a rocky start to say the least, and the news headlines are still tragic and heart-breaking. But in these troubled times, there is a dynamic duo who never fail to bring light into the lives of the British people. Since appearing on our screens in 1989 in Byker Grove, Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly have been an integral part of almost every family’s weekly viewings in one way or another, and they don’t look set to leave us any time soon. This week alone Ant and Dec accepted 3 National Television Awards and a couple of OBEs. Making their awards haul total something around the 115 mark. One of this week’s awards was ‘Top Presenter’, a title that they are not unfamiliar with, given it was their 16th consecutive year of going home with it! Love them or (if you’re totally off your rocker) loathe them, there is no denying that this pair are national treasures as, it is, after all the public that vote in such award ceremonies, and the public have spoken: Ant and Dec have stolen our hearts once again. To recap their career: They first appeared on our screens in 1989 on Byker Grove, although initially An-

thony McPartlin’s territory (born November 1975, Declan Joseph Oliver Donnelly (born September 1975) joined him a year after Ant’s first appearance as DJ-PJ. This somehow lead to a surprisingly successful music career for the boys. They launched the first of four albums in 1993 and they all feature some truly cracking numbers. Lest we forget Let’s Get Ready to Rhumble! Their career got off to a great start and hasn’t yet dwindled: They went on to receive their first BAFTA at age 19, and have since presented some guilty-pleasure cringe-worthy shows such as SM:TV Live, Ant and Dec unzipped, Saturday night takeaway, I’m a celeb and so much more! As of recent years, they have definitely pushed the boundaries of prewatershed television, all the while with a cheeky smile on their faces, radiating innocence. This combination of hilarity, purity and pure idiocy is what makes them so damn entertaining. The lads have the respect of the nation as well, which they have gained through charity work (recently they helped raise over £500,000 for the Children’s Heart Unit Fund) as well as covering very serious issues, not to men-

tion being ambassadors for a range of charities from ChildLine to the NSPCC. If they weren’t lovable enough already, its entertaining to know that they live just three doors down from each other, since moving out of their shared flat in London a good few years ago.w They represent a bromance. a

friendship that we can relate to or at least aspire to. Ant and Dec stand up for real causes and bring a smile to thousands of faces while they do it. All that seems left for them to do now is create a show that gives us our full TV fix, incorporating themselves, Mel and Sue and maybe even throw paddy McGuinness in for good measure. Get on with it lads.

Pictured: Ant and Dec have won ‘top presenter’ for the 16th consecutive year. (Source: Youtube.)

Princes propose statue marking 20th anniversary of Diana’s death Lucy Sullivan

Diana was renowned for her warmth and compassion. Some have raised concerns over a cold stone statue’s potential to polarise this image.


n August 31st 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales, died in a car crash in Paris. At the time, the Duke of Cambridge was just fifteen and his brother Harry was just twelve. The royal editor of the Sunday Express, Camilla Tominey commented that “they were too young when she died to have any role in the memorial.” I sympathise with their wish to make a contribution to maintain their mothers memory, Diana was the beloved patron of many charities; including the National Aids Trust and Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. She was and remains globally famed for her humanitarian work during her lifetime. The princes express that as “It has been 20 years since our mother’s death and the time is right to recognise her positive impact in the UK and around the world with a permanent statue.” They stated that their mother “touched so many lives” and that they hoped “the statue will help all those who visit Kensington Palace to reflect on her life and her legacy.” Peter Hunt, royal correspondent asserted in a BBC article that “This national monument to the wife of one future king and the mother of another

has been a long time coming”, a view shared by The Queen, who has expressed her “support” for the princes’ plans. Hunt points out that a statue of the Queen Mother was revealed relatively promptly, seven years after her death. Curiosity has been raised on this basis; with some believing that it reflects the establishment’s indifference to Diana. Controversy surrounding the idea does not end there. Diana was renowned for her warmth and compassion. Some have raised concerns over a cold stone statue’s potential to polarise this image. Furthermore, Diana was considered a ‘free spirit.’ Yet, this final family memorial at Kensington potentially deems her passive. Arguably it juxtaposes her proactive personality. However, some suggest that it renders her memory immovable against the establishment. In my opinion, the princes’ right to remember their mother must be considered a personal (and not only a public) matter. However, the private sector are concerned with the cost of such a monument, as it is unclear as yet to who will pay for the commission. This has been causing concern, particularly since the Queen Mother’s statue cost £5 million. Admittedly, I

am sceptical about funding, I ponder where such investments might be better placed. However, £5 million is not enough to fund, for instance, another hospital wing. That said, the Royal family generate close to £500 million every year for British tourism with Windsor Castle, The Tower of London, and Bucking-

ham Palace. Perhaps then, depending on where the money gained from tourism is spent, it is publicly beneficial in the long-term. I do think that Diana’s memorial statue at Kensington will be socially advantageous. I would hope the princes get the go ahead to erect the statue in memory of their mother.

Pictured: It is 20 years on from Princess Diana’s tragic death. (Source: Maxweel Hamilton via flickr.)



Trash talking Trump

Trump’s Muslim ban is dangerous, and the world needs to stand up and make their voices heard. Maria Mellor

Freedom is only available to old, white men, much like President



n two weeks of being president, Donald J. Trump has shocked the world with what he has managed to achieve. He told us what he wanted to do as president when he was campaigning: build a wall and ban Muslims amongst a multitude of other vague right-wing promises. We shrugged it off as nonsense, then when he was elected, as unachievable faff he would never be able to achieve. Yet just by signing a document he was able to show us what the next four years in the USA will be like: intolerable. The so-called ‘Muslim ban’ indefinitely prevents all Syrian refugees from entering the United States as well as citizens from seven predominantly muslim nations for 90 days. As soon as his pen left the page the act was set in place, meaning that people got off planes to find that they were unwelcome. They were detained, some for over 24 hours. It must have been like waking up in some nightmare land where liberal values have been stripped away leaving only bigotry and insolence. America has always been a huge paradox in my mind - they so often claim to be the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave’ yet the election of Trump as president has shown only cowardice and the limitation of freedom. Freedom is only

available to old white men, much like President Trump. In doing what him and so many others like him want, he is taking away rights from those who need it most. To quote Hamilton: everything he does betrays the ideals of their nation. It all just adds to the social discourse of the dichotomy between East and West. Supposedly this ban will help protect the US from ISIS, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it just adds fuel to the ISIS hate-fire, allowing them to recruit more members who feel demonised in society. After all America has made it very clear that people who practise Islam are not welcome. Trump has pinned the crimes of a few on millions of innocent people. What really highlights the true nature of the travel ban is the ‘case by case’ nature of not letting refugees into the USA. Preference is given for Christian over Muslim refugees from the Middle East. Trump claims that the ban will help “keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the US”. People actually believe that the source of all terrorism is Islam, which is entirely stupid. They just love to focus on the few terrorists who identified themselves as Muslim, and ignore all the white Christians who shoot up schools, or the American military who go and bomb civilians in Iraq

and Syria. Surely this act directly infringes upon the first amendment: freedom of religion. There are seven countries the ban applies to: Libya, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen and Somalia. The ban outlines people from these nations as potential threats, yet it completely excludes the nationalities of those behind the 9/11 attacks. If you’re going to be a bigot at least don’t be hypocritical. There are claims that Egypt, UAE and Saudi Arabia were excluded from the ban because Trump has business interests with them. He doesn’t want to offend their leaders. He probably is thinking of himself before his country. I’m still in shock over how this was allowed to happen, as I’m sure so many others are. Every single news article that gets published about the man make me want to be sick. A video came out last week of Trump kicking Spanish-language journalist Jorge Ramos out of a press conference. With more blatant racism (or perhaps xenophobia in general) Trump’s aide told the reporter to “get out of my country” - unaware that the gentleman is a US citizen. The footage is supposedly from 2015, but it just serves to highlight the intolerable nature of the now-President and the hate he generates.

At least we know that with every ounce of hate he generates for people who aren’t rich, old, white men, there’s a wonderful backlash of far more sensible people taking to the streets to swear, scream and yell at the guy. Hundreds of thousands of people across the globe are up in arms over what Trump is doing. Don’t be complacent, shout about what you believe in. A lot of people are saying that it’s pointless protesting in this country, as the whole thing is technically nothing to do with us. I disagree wholeheartedly - there’s a big difference between one country showing their disgust and the whole world. Why should we stand idly by and witness the discrimination of our peers. Hopefully Theresa May will see the protests and see that she can’t be so spineless when it comes to dealing with Trump. Her country is not happy with what’s going on in America and she shouldn’t be happy either. I’m still waiting for her to go all Hugh-Grant-in-Love-Actually on his ass: “a friend who bullies us is no longer a friend. And since bullies only respond to strength, from now onward, I will be prepared to be much stronger. And the President should be prepared for that.”

Pictured: Trash Trump. (Source: nevermindthe end via flickr)

He doesn’t want to offend their leaders. He probably is thinking of himself before his country.


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All the small things

Pull up your boots, put on a smile, and I promise we’ll make it through February. Helena Hanson

If february alone wasn’t bad enough, for the next 28 days we still have Trump, Brexit and the implications of both to deal with.


hate February. I hate February for an abundance of different reasons. Valentine’s Day is in February. A day put aside only to make single people hate themselves, and not-single people argue with their partner about who forgot and “you could have at least got me a card, Michael!” Some years, February has more days than other years, which will never make any sense, and it is still as cold and depressing as January, but you no longer have the excuse that it is January for over eating and crying all the time. It is also ‘national dental month’ and John Travolta’s birthday and those two reasons alone are enough to despise February. February’s only saving grace is Pancake Day, and that’s not even good. You will almost always forget it, and when you don’t you will have an argument with someone about why there is a day dedicated to eating pancakes and then consume so much pancake/sugar/ Nutella that you feel sick for three days later and vow not to eat pancakes until next year, because you don’t even really like them that much. If February alone wasn’t bad enough, for the next 28 days, we have still got Brexit, Trump and the implications of both to contest with. We also are knee deep in university work, as well as being expected to have secured a graduate job, saved some money and have a life plan. Oh, and we’re also being slowly killed by roast potatoes and toast.


Despite attempting to find solace in the simple fact that life expectancy for American males is only 78, with a bit of luck, Trump might just…die, and failing that then I guess suicide by roast potato can’t a bad way to go, I am still struggling to keep it all together. Third year, as well as general life, is taking its toll, and amongst all of the resentment and frustration and pain, it’s easy to forget how to be a good human being. Roald Dahl once said; “If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on their face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until you can hardly bear to look at it”. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. Trump, I would say, has one of these faces. A face that illustrates a lifetime of unkind thoughts, and hostile words. Alas, as unbearable as his twisted and crumpled little pidgeon head is, unfortunately Dahl did offer no remedy to fix such a face. It would appear Trump is stuck with his uglythought-face for the rest of eternity. Following this, Dahl says; “A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely”, and this too makes so much sense. I would like to think this part could refer to people like Mary Berry or James Corden, or Claire Balding.

I suppose we could all probably try a little bit harder to be a person with good thoughts. Kinder thoughts. In a world that is so full of hate and cruelty and despair, we want the sun to shine from our faces until we are all walking around glowing and beaming, like the sunshine baby head from The Teletubbies. I once read something that resonated with me, that said; “If today you found out you were dying, would you be nicer? Kinder? Love more? Well, you are. We all are”. And I thought holy shit! So we are! It serves as a poignant reminder that there is always so much more we can do to be better. It’s hard to be a good human right now, I know, because on a large scale everything we know has been turned upside down. We’re being governed by people we hate, our favourite foods are killing us, our managers are firing us and our boyfriends are breaking up with us. It feels like we’re all going to be miserable and sad for the rest of our short, potato-less lives and ultimately die miserable and depressed from toastinduced cancer. But we mustn’t forget to see the beauty of the world and humankind, which is buried within the microscopic, mundane, absolutely ordinary realms of everyday life. It’s actually all around us, embracing us when we are too busy reading the news, or thinking about being dumped or being broke. It lies within a shared eye roll at the queue in Lidl, or in the fiver you

find in your old coat pocket. It’s in a really good cup of tea or a really awful joke. It’s in heaps of golden brown autumn leaves and children wearing wellington boots and videos online of puppies wearing pyjamas. It’s in that moment you say exactly the same thing as your friend and then gawp at each other in awe and in that moment you finally find a lipstick that looks really great on you. It’s in those orange and purple sunsets, and in the ocean, and in glistening, snow covered mountains and it’s in the little fluffy bird that sits in your garden every single morning. If we remember these things, if we inhale them and absorb them and share them with others, then perhaps the sunbeams will shine from every pore, and we shall always look lovely. So if someone has broken up with you this week, or if you have just been fired, or if you did badly in a test, or if your parents are splitting up or if your president has made you feel unwelcome, what do you do? You take a deep breath, you make a steaming mug of tea and you put on a smile and you take on the day. You let pedestrians cross the road and you pick up things that people have dropped and you share smiles with strangers and you give that fiver from your pocket to a charity and the sun will beam from your face, and you will look lovely. In Matilda, Dahl says, “if you are good, life is good” and that is something worth remembering every day.

Pictured: Youth need to do more youth-y things. Like graffiti. (Photographer: Wallsdon’tlie via Flickr)

We must not forget to see the beauty of the world and humankind, which is buried within the absolutely ordinary realms of everyday life.



Editors: George Watkins Anwen Williams @GairRhyddAdv advice@gairrhydd.com gairrhydd.com/advice

Anxiety: A Personal Experience How to fight the fear

Pictured: Anxiety is (Source: Practical Cures via flickr)

Lydia Jackson


nxiety. I am anxious. It can be a trigger word for many; it makes you want to hide, run away, leave the room, find a safe place, cry. All of these things can make us feel inferior, not ourselves, and, unfortunately for many, weak or alone. Anxiety can be a taboo. Albeit widely discussed and recognised, it is not something that many of us want to admit to or talk about. Anxiety is personal and frightening – it is isolating. Personally, I find that one of the hardest things for people suffering from anxiety (I being one of them) is that you don’t want to admit to it, or don’t know how to raise it in conversation, despite it being one of the things that you feel is eating into your personality or leading to dehabilitation. Despite your exterior persona, or awareness of the person that you truly feel reflects you accurately, it can feel like the devil of anxiety is out to get you, and is forcing you to doubt who or what you are. This ‘split’ from your personality can dehumanise you and make you feel insane through its widely ranging manifestation of physical symptoms: sweating, detachment, numbness, tingling, lack of breath, embarrassment, shaking, insecurity, and visual ineffectualness, the list is neverending…

The symptoms are different for each and every one of us, and let’s be honest, they can be terrifying. It is difficult to know how to even begin tackling this array of panic and confusion, and it is commonly overwhelming. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Although anxiety is a part of you that you may want to lock away and hide from visibility there are more of us that suffer from it than is realised, and it is important to recognise and confront this, even though it may never seem like the right time to do so. Many times I have felt anxious and unwell, unable to leave the house, and have called in sick to work, or called off prior engagements. The guilt has set in, and I have felt helpless and alone. With such a seemingly bottomless problem it is difficult to know where to start, however through experience I have found the following approach a solid foundation in my attempts to find a solution: Accept the problem, admit to it, and discuss it – upon revealing my fears I have realised that people are far more understanding than anticipated, and in fact that many of my friends have had similar experiences. We must learn to support and lean on each other. Fear: it is human to be afraid – more often than not we can interpret

fear as weakness. IT IS NOT. Fear is a natural instinct, and part of being who you are. Everyone has fears, and we must do our best to learn from them. You ARE NORMAL: despite suffering from anxiety feeling like one of the most isolating situations possible, it is estimated that up to one in five of us are suffering from it. How to cope with anxiety: Ensure to always carry a bottle of water with you, this is extremely effective when struggling with breathing or speech Practice some breathing exercises which you can employ in any scenario: breathing slowly in and out through the nose can be largely underestimated, but can be extremely efficient when trying to prevent hyperventilation. Closing your eyes and focusing on the sensation of the air moving through your nasal cavity can enhance the calming effect of this Exercise: some people will be more willing than others in undertaking this approach, but the release of endorphins as well as the distraction of exercise is proven to be beneficial Stress balls and fidget cubes are a great way to give your mind something else to focus on when feeling uneasy, and are extremely cost effective Call someone: whether it is calling someone to calm you down or

to take your mind off things calling a friend or family member is a great way to distract yourself, whether you want to inform them of the situation in hand or not Be resilient. You are not alone, and you will be okay. Try to reassure yourself and fight away negative thoughts through recognition of your strength. Lifestyle changes such as healthy eating, cutting out nicotine and caffeine, as well as reducing consumption levels of alcohol, and avoiding drugs are also a great way to improving the symptoms of anxiety. It is all too easy to be overwhelmed by anxiety, and want to hide from rather than confront your fears. Although it is easier for some than others to deal with their anxiety, it is crucial that you recognise that you are not alone, and that although you may not be able to rid yourself of your fears, there are certainly things you can do to reduce them. Mindfulness and training yourself to have a positive outlook on life, although it may be difficult to do so, are methods which can be employed as a coping mechanism. Most importantly, we should all recognise and support one another, and seek further help if it is felt necessary. Anxiety is not something to be ignored, and through transparency and empathy we can help to relieve the symptoms of others.

More often than not we can interpret fear as weakness - it is not.


Exam results

Susannah Griffin


What to do if your results weren’t as expected

t’s no good being told ‘it’s not the end of the world’… When your grades aren’t what you expected, it can be incredibly disheartening, especially if you’ve put a lot of effort into essays and revision. However, what’s in the past can’t be changed; so here’s some advice on what to do if your grades aren’t what

you’d hoped for. Look towards the future: Unless you’ve failed completely, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to re-sit any exams to improve your grades. Therefore, rather than dwelling on the past, it’s best to look towards future exams and coursework, as doing better on these could improve your overall grade.

Analyse the problem, why didn’t you get the grades you expected? Identifying why you didn’t get the expected grades is vital. Did you revise as much as you could have? Did you give yourself enough time in the exam? Did you read the question properly? Analysing what may have gone wrong, and acknowledging any feedback given can help you

realise your mistakes and hopefully improve on the next exams. Finally…If you’re in first year and your course doesn’t count for this year, you’ve got next year to improve your grades. It’s understandable to be disappointed, however, taking on board criticism is valuable as it gives you experience and allows you to prepare for next year.

Dealing with bad grades Olivia Botting


kay, so you’ve received a bad mark. It’s a crap situation to be in, regardless of whether you dedicated weeks to an essay, or whether you wrote it in a blaze of caffeine-fuelled glory. The important thing is that you want to take said bad grades and make them good grades (or at least less bad). Now the good thing for you is that I have a few ideas to help in your endeavour for a first. Essays. I find essays to be rather difficult to gage. You’ve got loads of time to write them, but then you have too much to say, so you cram it into one sentence and confuse yourself and oh yes you forgot to reference—damn—and then you forgot which quote came from where and basically I’m not a fan of essays. The secret to referencing, firstly, is to reference as you go. So copy and paste, or write down the quote you want, and then write the reference next to the quote. Very simple. Then you won’t misattribute anything.


How to learn from your mistakes Secondly, in order to make the actual writing and content better, there are a range of services offered by the Uni. One suggestion from my personal tutor is to make a plan (always a good idea anyway) but then get your tutor who set the essay to look over it. That way they can tell you if you can cut sections out or need to add stuff in. There are essay writing workshops set up in almost all of the schools here as well, to help with your writing style. I have found that seminars are strangely useful for essays too, because that is where different arguments and opinions are debated. So pick up a couple of those to sneakily insert in, and you’re laughing. Probably the most important thing to do, though, is to learn from your essay feedback. It won’t take much to work on your areas for improvement, and straight away a better mark is calling. Exams. Honestly, the best advice I

Pictured: Left: Burn them. (Source: Mr Ashby via Flickr) Below: Us ladies gotta stick together (Source: Broken Simulacra via Flickr)

can offer for exam preparation is to start early. Revision in little but often chunks make the process a lot less stressful. Also, experiment with revision styles—maybe notes are your

thing, or maybe you need to make it a bit more creative with mind maps or diagrams. Either way, beginning ages before your exam gives you time to work it out.

Being a woman at university

Holly Chesterton

Identifying why you didn’t get the expected grades is vital.

What does it mean nowadays?

have asked myself multiple times these past two weeks, just what does it mean to be a woman? I only have to open my Twitter to find an abundance of inspiration; motivating pictures, witty comebacks and images of strength. But, what saddens me most is that it has come to this. Women are having to prove themselves as humans; they have reached a low where they must explain that they have the right to exist. How did it come to this? In a lecture last week, our professor asked ‘Who here is a feminist?’, to which every single hand was raised. And as I glided my eyes over my classmates, a feeling welled in my chest which I could only label as one thing. I was proud. Honestly and completely proud to be surrounded by men and women alike, who just wanted to be equal. Living in the UK, I know our current

struggle is nothing like what women in the USA are experiencing right now. But as a world, we must come together now, and stand for what we believe in. I know full well this has been said before, and I feel as an individual it is difficult to feel that these words will have much impact. But this is not a rant, nor a petition nor piece of propaganda of any sort, but a message to the world. It starts in the little things; we may not be able to change laws, but we can go against them in our own way. ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’, has never rang more true. You can give us equal opportunities, allow us equal pay, speak to us and treat us the same. If you are one of those people who can make this change, then do it. Because right now the world needs you to stand up for us.All these little changes will soon add up. When we all

come together and start making these changes, we form a unit, and we finally fulfil what it is to be human. Humans have lost sight of what it is to live. How can we live when not just our bodies, but our chances are being taken away? As a member of the female gender, I feel saddened. But keep standing, men and women. Give every ounce of charity, compassion and strength you have. We should not have to, but we do, not through violence, but through humanity. Whoever is listening, this is not the end of the battle. When someone asks if you’re a feminist, male or female, I hope you say yes, because I hope you stand for equality and don’t feel afraid to tell people. Ignore the stigma associated with such a title, because you should never be embarrassed or ashamed to stand up for something. As a community, we can make the change.

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Valid from 06/02/17 to 12/02/17



Editors: Adam George Ellise Nicholls @GairRhyddPol politics@gairrhydd.com gairrhydd.com/politics

Trump’s travel ban sparks outrage worldwide The President’s ban has caused protests around the globe

Ellise Nicholls

Anyone arriving from the seven countries – Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen – will face a 90-day visa suspension.


ast week, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order halting all refugee admissions and temporarily barring people from seven Muslim-majority countries, sparking protests across the US and drawing condemnation from the rest of the world. Others see the travel ban as Mr Trump sticking to his election promises to “make America great again”. The order instructs the Department of Homeland Security to “prioritize for removal” not only unauthorized residents who “have been convicted of any criminal offense”, but also those who “have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense” (meaning a conviction is not required) and those who “have engaged in fraud or wilful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency.” For 120 days, the US Refugee Admissions Programme will be suspended, alongside an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees. Anyone arriving from the seven countries – Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen – will face a 90-day visa suspension, although diplomats and the UN are not included in the suspension. All travellers who have nationality or dual nationality of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen are not permitted to enter the US for 90 days, or be issued an immigrant or non-immigrant visa, including those with dual nationality with allied countries. The order also caps the number of refugees to be accepted into the United States at 50,000 during 2017, a significant decrease against the 110,000 refugee limit previously set by former president Barack Obama. On Wednesday, U.N. human rights experts said that Trump’s travel ban contravenes international law and could lead to refugees being sent home to war and persecution. His executive order has aroused an international outcry and sown chaos and bewilderment amongst travellers. Three U.S states have legally challenged the order aiming to overturn it, saying it flouts constitutional guarantees of religious freedom. U.N. experts have urged Trump administration to protect asylum seekers and to not discriminate based on race, nationality and religion. The independent experts included the U.N. special rapporteurs on migrants, François Crépeau; on racism, Mutuma Ruteere; on human rights and counter-terrorism, Ben Emmerson; on torture, Nils Melzer; and on freedom of religion, Ahmed Shaheed. They said that the U.S should not

force back refugees, a practice known as refoulement. “Such an order is clearly discriminatory. based on one’s nationality. and leads to increased stigmatization of Muslim communities,” said the experts. “Recent U.S. policy on immigration also risks people being returned, without proper individual assessments and asylum procedures, to places in which they risk being subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, in direct contravention of international humanitarian and human rights laws which uphold the principle of non-refoulement.” On Monday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zaid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that the travel ban, which discriminates against people of specific nationalities, is illegal. The experts called on Washington to maintain internationally agreed obligations to offer refuge to those fleeing war. They voiced concern that people travelling to the U.S could be subjected to detention and deportation. Nils Melzer, United Nations rapporteur on torture, urged Trump not to return to George W. Bush’s interrogation techniques, which were banned by Obama, including waterboarding and other methods of torture. Trump’s top defense and security

appointees said they would oppose any use of it, despite Trump stating that he believes waterboarding works. “Any tolerance, complacency or acquiescence with such practice, however exceptional and well-argued, will inevitably lead down a slippery slope towards complete arbitrariness and brute force,” Melzer said. The UK foreign office released a statement saying that only if you are a dual citizen of one of those countries travelling to the U.S from outside the seven blacklisted countries, the order would not apply to you. It also said that “if you are travelling to the US from anywhere other than one of those countries (for instance, the UK) the executive order does not apply and you will experience no extra checks regardless of your nationality or your place of birth”. However, this is not 100% certain, as one Scottish veterinary student travelling on an Iranian passport was unable to return home from her holiday in Costa Rice because her U.S transit visa was no longer valid. White House Chief of Staff Reince Preibus has said that those who hold US green cards would not be affected, although he said to NBC’s Meet the Press Programme that they could be subject to greater questioning at airports. A senior Department of Homeland

Security official told CNN that no green card holder has been denied entry thus far. In his defence, President Trump has said the halt on the refugee programme was necessary as a means to give government agencies appropriate time to develop a stricter vetting system. This would aim to ensure that visas were not issued to individuals who may pose a national security threat. “To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting,” the President said in a statement released on Facebook. “This is not about religion - this is about terror and keeping our country safe. There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order. “We will again be issuing visas to all countries once we are sure we have reviewed and implemented the most secure policies over the next 90 days.” Mr Priebus said the seven countries were included because Congress and former President Obama’s administration had previously identified them because they were “the most watched countries harbouring terrorists”. Individuals from those countries applying for resettlement in the US were already subject to a process that could take up to 24 months, including a complicated background investigation and numerous security screenings.

Pictured: Vote to make America great again (photographer: Quinn Dombrowski)

This is not about religion - this is about terror and keeping our country safe.


Jo Stevens quits shadow cabinet over Article 50 Adam George

I must follow my principles and my conscience, even where that conflicts with the party position. Jo Stevens MP


he shadow secretary for Wales, Jo Stevens, has resigned from the shadow cabinet, saying that she could not vote to trigger Article 50 as she believes that leaving the European Union would be a “terrible mistake”. Stevens is the first shadow cabinet minister to resign in the wake of Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, imposing a three-line whip to vote in favour of the government’s EU withdrawal bill. The MP for Cardiff Central wrote a letter to Jeremy Corbyn to announce her resignation. In the letter Stevens described herself as “a passionate European”, who, alongside the majority of her constituents, had voted to remain. The MP acknowledged that the country had voted to leave and that the parliamentary numbers are such that Article 50 will be triggered. However, she argues that “to endorse the step that will make the exit inevitable, is wrong.” Stevens wrote “There have been no guarantees before triggering Article 50 about protecting single market access, employment, environmental and consumer rights, security and judicial safeguards and the residency rights of many of my constituents. And no guarantees for the people of Wales. Article 50 should not be triggered without these safeguards in place.” It has been seen by some commen-

tators as ironic that Jeremy Corbyn has decided to implement a three-line whip on such an important issue, having previously defied the whip on hundreds of issues of conscience throughout his parliamentary career. Stevens believes that Corbyn will understand her strength of feeling on the issue. “I must follow my principles and my conscience, even where that conflicts with the party’s whip in parliament,” she wrote. “It is with deep regret that this inevitably means I must resign from the shadow cabinet. It has been an honour and a privilege to serve as your shadow secretary of state for Wales, the country where I was born, bred, work and live.” Stevens said she was not seeking to sow division in the party. “Throughout my period on the frontbench I have always sought to promote unity across our party and I wish you, my successor and the whole of the shadow cabinet the very best in leading our party through this most critical period,” she said in her letter to Corbyn. The Labour leader released a statement in response to Stevens’ resignation in which he vowed that Labour would not frustrate Brexit. He admitted that he understood Jo’s difficulties and suggested that “MPs with strong Remain constituencies are understandably torn.” Jo Stevens is not the only Welsh La-

bour MP who has said that they will defy the party whip and vote against triggering Article 50. Stephen Doughty, Owen Smith and Ann Clwyd are also expected to vote against starting the process of leaving the European Union. Speaking on BBC Radio Wales, Pontypridd MP Owen Smith said: “I haven’t changed my view that this [Brexit] is going to make us worse off in this country, going to make people in Pontypridd poorer, to make our politics meaner.” MPs began debating the bill in Parliament last Tuesday after the Supreme

Court ruled that ministers could not trigger Article 50 without the consent of Parliament. Jo Stevens delivered a powerful speech in which she concluded “The referendum result last year felt like a body blow. The Prime Minister’s Lancaster House speech felt like the life support machine being switched off and triggering Article 50 will for me feel like the funeral. It is a matter of principle and conscience to me and I must represent the majority of my constituents and share their view. I will not vote for this Bill.”

Pictured: Jo Stevens MP (Source: Jo Stevens website)

Switzerland turns down post Brexit alliance with UK A new dent to May’s plans for a ‘hard-brexit’ has arisen

Lydia Jackson

It has emerged this week that the British government had hoped to work alongside Switzerland.


ew Brexit problems have arisen this week, this time not with members of the EU, but rather Switzerland, through its rejection of a post Brexit alliance with the UK. Switzerland has proven a point of inspiration for Brexiteers, with many hoping that Britain’s exit from the European Union could see the undoing of unwanted legislation, yet maintain the strong economic and trade links which are in place at present. Despite applying for membership to the European Union, Swiss accession never came about. In a 1992 referendum the Swiss public rejected European Economic Area (EEA) membership by 50.3% to 49.7%. This suspended negotiations for EU membership, and the application was formally withdrawn in 2016. However, Switzerland still has extremely close trade links with the EU and is a leading member of the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) alongside Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland. Switzerland sells over 50% of its exports to the EU. It also has its own trade deals with China, something which EU member states cannot do individually. Britain was part of the initiation of EFTA in 1952, and used to be a member, before leaving it to join the EEA in 1973. Switzerland has often been heralded and admired for being an EU independent yet prosperous country, and it would seem as though it is the aim of many to achieve this status through

Brexit. Brexit provides an opportunity for amendment of the bilateral treaties between the Swiss and British governments, and certainly provides scope for greater cooperation between nations as an alternative to integration. It has emerged this week that the British government had hoped to work alongside Switzerland, a country that is also opposed to the movement of free people as stipulated as part of EU membership, in order to gain access to the Single Market. This is unsurprising amidst the close relationship between Britain and the Swiss banking sector and pharmaceutical industries, an area which businesses of both states are also keen to protect. However, May’s aim for an alliance was rejected. As Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter has stated: “We want good, maybe even closer ties with Britain. But we will not forge an alliance with Britain against the EU.” It is thought that this could be in reference to Switzerland’s current stalemate with the EU as a result of a 2014 referendum leading to the implementation of legislation to restrict the number of EU workers from entering the country. Free movement of goods, people, services and capital are the four principles the European Single Market is based upon, therefore the Swiss government has faced trade restrictions and cuts to EU funded university research projects and Erasmus schemes as a response. The Swiss government has consequently conceded on some of its im-

Pictured: Didier Burkhalter, the Swiss Foreign Minister (Source: UN Geneva, via Flickr)

migration proposals in November last year due to its dependency on EU trade. Therefore, due to Switzerland’s need to maintain its own EU trade links, and its consequent rejection of an alliance with the British government,

it appears as though Theresa May’s Brexit blueprint is still unclear on how it will deliver and secure trade partnerships with reduced tariffs upon the triggering of Article 50, with another avenue seemingly failing to come to fruition in a bid for ‘Hard Brexit’.


Devolved administrations hold Brexit talks Anna Dutton

The plan contrasted Theresa May’s outlook on immigration by suggesting a more balanced approach was needed.

Pictured: City Hall in Cardiff, which hosted the talks (Source: Jon Candy via Flickr)


arlier this week, Theresa May met with the leaders of Wales, Scotland, and Ireland in Cardiff to discuss and outline a plan for leaving the EU. There is likely to be some dispute among leaders as both Scotland and Wales have outlined their own plans for their future relationship with the EU that stresses a commitment to the single market and less focus on curbing immigration. Before meeting with the Prime Minister, Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones and the Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood published their own Brexit plan. The leader said that the plan respected the Welsh vote to

leave, but understood that access to the single market was necessary for the Welsh economy. The plan contrasted Theresa May’s outlook on immigration by suggesting a more balanced approach was needed, linking immigration to jobs. It also called for a ‘fundamentally different’ relationship for the devolved powers and the UK government. There was some disagreement in Wales surrounding the plan as Neil Hamilton, leader of Welsh UKIP, felt there was no real policy on immigration and that instead of being a white piece of paper, it signalled a ‘white flag of surrender’ by giving the EU

everything they wanted. He went on to claim that the only way for Wales and the rest of the UK to control its departure from the EU is to exit the single market. In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that leaving the single market is likely to spark a second independence vote because Scotland voted to remain in the EU and like Wales, are more dependent on the single market. The differing stances on the UK’s position to the EU after triggering Article 50 is thus a difficult one because each faction of the UK requires a more personal deal. For Scotland

and Wales, the EU is a necessary market so access to the single market is imperative as it provides greater financial security. May has focused on immigration to reflect the concerns of the English voters, but has remained positive, saying she will take on board the views of devolved parliaments. In summary, leaving the EU will be a difficult process regardless of whether each country gets the deal they want in future negotiations. The Prime Minister does not necessarily have to listen to the devolved powers as the Supreme Court ruled that the Government is not legally compelled to consult devolved legislatures.

Hard-left Hamon wins French Socialist primary

Huge upset as heavyweight former Prime Minister Valls is defeated Rhys Thomas

These are not good times for French Socialists. François Hollande is a deeply unpopular President.


rench primary voters delivered another political upset as they gave Benoît Hamon, a former education minister, the nomination of the Socialist Party over heavyweight former Prime Minister Manuel Valls. Like Les Républicains candidate François Fillon, Hamon surged from polling in third place and took the lead in both rounds of voting to snatch a shock victory. These are not good times for French Socialists. François Hollande is a deeply unpopular President with one poll late last year putting his approval rating at four percent. None of their candidates for President regularly polled above fifteen-percent and there is a realistic prospect of Hamon finishing behind far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon. In short, the nomination is a poisoned chalice. The two candidates that made it to the run-off represent two very different strands of the party and their fundamental differences are replicated in centre-left parties all over the globe. In essence it was a left-wing idealist in Hamon versus a hardnosed pragmatist in Valls. Hamon the victor is an unapologetic leftist. He was promoted to the Cabinet in 2014 as Education Minister but quit after less than five months in the job in protest at the perceived abandonment of socialism by his bosses Valls and Hollande. He is also in favour

of a reduced thirty-two hour work week and the legalisation of cannabis, but his most eye-catching policy is the phasing in of a universal basic income where everyone will receive seven hundred and fifty euros a month. How to pay for it? A tax on industrial robots. Valls was promoted to the post of Prime Minister by Hollande after a disappointing set of local election results for the Socialist Party in 2014 and resigned last December in order to run for the party nomination where he was the favourite to win. He is from the right of the party and has a reputation as a tough, uncompromising figure. He is a strong believer in laïcité the uniquely French concept of secularism (separation of the state from religion) and used his time as Interior Minister to cultivate his steely image, notably clashing with anti-semitic comedian Dieudonné and banning his shows. In economic terms he is of the ‘Third Way’ and during his Premiership he reduced regulation on business and attempted to make the thirty-five hour work week less rigid for employers. He is a moderate social democrat not tied down by old socialist ideology. That is what helped him rise to the heady heights of the French premiership, but it is also why his presidential campaign went down in flames.

Pictured: Benoit Hamon, the French Socialist nomination (Source: Parti socialiste via Flickr)

Where does this leave the race? There is a triumvirate of frontrunners - conservative Francois Fillon, farright Marine Le Pen and independent centrist Emmanuel Macron. All are within a few percentage points of

each other in the polls, and Hamon’s victory will surely help Macron who will look to siphon off the votes of disillusioned moderate socialists who may well have voted for Valls had he been the nominee.


Molly Ambler

The suspect has been named as Alexandre Bissonnette and he has now been charged with six counts of first-degree murder


Six killed in Quebec mosque shooting

n a week which has given the world more political shocks, there was more to follow with an attack on a mosque in Quebec that killed six people and injured 17 others. A French- Canadian student was the sole suspect in the shooting, a shooting that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called “a terrorist attack”. The suspect has been named as Alexandre Bissonnette and he has now been charged with six counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted to murder. The police declined to discuss the possible motives for the shooting at the Central Culturel Islamique de Quebec, however, they are confident that there are no other suspects. The suspect is expected to appear in a Quebec City courtroom on Monday afternoon. The Prime Minister of Canada has made a point of welcoming refugees and immigrants to Canada, made a statement to the House of Commons in Ottawa, “Make no mistake, this was a terrorist attack”. There was also a personal message from the Prime Minister “Know that we value you. You enrich our shared country in immeasurable ways. It is your home. Last night’s horrible crime against the Muslim community was an act of terror com-

mitted against Canada and against all Canadians. We will grieve with you. We will defend you. We will love you. And we will stand with you.” The attack was most certainly out of character for Quebec City, the city only reported two murders in the whole of 2015 and mass shootings are incredibly rare with Canadian gun laws being stricter than that of the US. Reactions have been broadly similar. The U.S President Donald Trump has expressed his condolences, “and offered to provide any assistance as needed,” however, this expression of help has caused controversy across the world due to the President Trump’s executive order to halt the U.S refugee program and temporarily bar citizens from seven countries with a Muslim majority from entering the U.S. The French President, Francois Hollande has condemned the “odious attack” on the mosque and offered support to the Canadian leaders. Mr Hollande also said in a statement, “it was the Quebecois spirit of peace and openness that the terrorists wanted to harm.” Pope Francis also called for mutual respect from people of different faiths as he condemned the attack. Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume

Pictured: Canadian PM Justin Trudeau at Artlington National Cemetry, Virginia (photographer: trumpvstrudeau)

made a statement in which he said, “No person should have to pay with their life, for their race, their colour, their sexual orientation or their religious beliefs.” While the authorities in Canada are reluctant to label the mosque shooting as an act of terrorism, the Prime Minister and the Quebec Premier Philippe both described the shooting as an act of terrorism.

Four Opposition party leaders mirrored the call for unity. The political turmoil is clearly going to continue throughout this year, with growing intolerance of people from ethnic minorities and different religions. However, it has become clear that amidst the sorrow and heartbreak, communities can come together and show the best in humanity even when around them there is the worst.

Mexican President cancels Trump meeting

Peña Nieto cancels meeting in protest over Trump’s executive order Hannah Woodward

Trump has suggested that the decision to cancel the meeting with Peña Nieto was a mutual decision

Pictured: A border fence (photographer: Frederick Dennstedt)


nrique Peña Nieto, the President of Mexico has cancelled a meeting with President Donald Trump. The decision to cancel the meeting came after Trump moved forward with plans to build a wall on the Mexican border by signing an executive order. Trump has also claimed that Mexico would be forced to foot the bill. Trump has suggested that the decision to cancel the meeting with Peña Nieto was a mutual decision stating “The president of Mexico and myself have agreed to cancel our planned meeting next week, unless Mexico is going to treat the United States fairly, with respect, such a meeting would be fruitless and I want to go a differ-

ent route. We have no choice.” Trump’s ignorance towards the meaning of respect for other countries was perhaps the reason for Nieto’s withdrawal from the meeting, hence prior to incident Nietos released a short video statement adding that “Mexico will not pay for any wall”. The President of Mexico has received mass criticism throughout Mexico, due to failing to create a decisive strategy for coping with Donald Trumps polices. Following the video statement by Nieto, Trump appeared to be provoking Nieto into pulling out of the meeting, adding on social media: “The US has a $60bn trade deficit with Mexico. It has been a one-sided deal from the beginning of NAFTA

with massive numbers of jobs and companies lost. If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.” Many Mexicans welcomed Nieto’s ruling, but questioned why the stand against Trump had taken so long, and why it was not included in the short video statement. The explicit anti Mexican rhetoric has been a long standing part of Trumps manifesto, however due to the Nieto’s longstanding silence against Trumps comments his ratings are at a all time low at 12%. Political consultant Fernando Dworak described Peña Nieto’s response as “tepid”. “He needed to show strength. Something like: we’re withdrawing from all dialogue until there

are conditions to talk again.” The diplomatic spat is still centered on who will pay for the border wall. The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, stated last Thursday that a border wall would cost between $12bn and $15bn, but would not comment on how the cost of the wall would be offset in the federal budget. However the plans for the wall are evidently going ahead, and with few world leaders commenting on the insanity of the ordeal, the situation seems like a lost cause. Theresa May has failed to condemn Trumps actions, nonetheless seems more concerned with resurrecting the “special relationship” that has been apparent in recent decades, as opposed to standing up to the controversial Trump.

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Editors: Tanya Harrington Kat Pooprasert @GairRhyddSci science@gairrhydd.com gairrhydd.com/science

Okay ladies now let’s get in-formation Science during the Trump Administration

Tanya Harrington

Pictured: We’re in deep, but all is not lost (Photographer: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center).


Democracy should not include the suppression of facts. We have the chance to involve ourselves and demand better.

t’s been an odd couple of weeks, to say the least. Infowars is aiming for White House access. Teen Vogue regularly publishes quality analysis of American politics around pieces about celebrity date nights and Kim Kardashian. Sales of George Orwell’s 1984 have skyrocketed upon the rise of the ‘alternative facts’ catchphrase. The year is 2017, and it’s a strange and tumultuous time for the flow of information as we know it. Here, we’re focusing on the case of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In the short time since taking office, the actions of the Trump administration regarding the EPA have confused both Americans and onlookers from across the globe. Just days after his inauguration, the news broke that Trump had placed a de facto - a phrase which here means ‘not necessarily by legal right’ - gag order on the EPA, preventing employees from “providing updates to social media or to reporters,” according to emails obtained by the Associated Press. As well as this, new grants and contracts within the EPA were frozen “temporarily.” The time frame of how long “temporarily” may last has not yet been made known, although rumours are currently circulating that the strong negative public reaction to these decisions may influence the President to make it sooner rather than later. Parallel situations were seen from within other agencies which are environmentally concerned, with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, which works heavily around

issues involving climate change, also experiencing pressure not to provide information to the press. Badlands National Park faced backlash for tweeting information about climate change, using the hashtag #climate – tweets which were quickly deleted, perhaps reflective of an already tense relationship between the National Park Service and the Trump administration after images comparing the 2017 inauguration to the Obama inauguration of 2008 were posted to a separate Twitter account. This alleged censorship has spurred the rise of a myriad of ‘rogue’ Twitter accounts, all purportedly run by staff members of state agencies posting in an aim to reveal their version of events. The list of rogue or alt accounts includes @ActualEPAFacts, @RogueNASA and @altUSDA, whose biography reads “truth wins in the end.” Regardless of what your feelings are towards the Trump administration, the existence of these accounts shows that many scientific groups undeniably feel threatened by his actions since taking office. You may wonder how this relates to us. The goings on in America are important, of course, but why does science censorship all the way over there matter to students of a Welsh university? The first reason is that the United States already has the second highest level of CO2 emissions in the world, producing around 5334529.74 kt of CO2 in 2014, according to the Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR). Since we have to share a planet with the

United States, the limiting of at least one of the government bodies tasked with regulating and lowering their emissions may be incredibly damaging for us in the long term, as the result of such limitations will likely be higher carbon emissions from the US. As well as this, the EPA is a huge source of research and information that is often used by scientists globally, providing us with information on topics such as fracking, air quality, and the impact of climate change on human health. The loss of new funding for these resources will have an impact on us, even from far away. Furthermore, The United States sets a precedent for a number of other countries with regards to attitudes about climate, science, and even censorship. It would be wrong to speculate too greatly about what widespread political effects could potentially occur as a result of a long-lasting ban on funding or press communications for institutions such as the EPA, as we currently lack the information available to do so responsibly. However, it is a duty of the Trump administration to recognise its powerful global position in these matters and act accordingly. So, what can we do? It may seem somewhat out of our control from our position here in Cardiff, and it’s almost impossible to see the limiting of these institutions as not posing at least some small loss, but perhaps we should also consider this as a chance for people in the UK to step up and do good on a wider scale. There are a multitude of studies being conducted with UK Scientists that we can aim

to support – for example, the ICEARC - EU FP7 project, which seeks to document and predict ice loss in the Arctic Ocean. This, as well as many other research studies which the UK takes part in, is EU funded. One thing we can aim to do to continue being able to participate in EU funded studies is to call, email or write to our MPs (especially if they happen to be Conservative), making sure that they’re encouraging Prime Minister Theresa May to maintain good relationships with EU science institutions, so that we may remain as involved in these studies as we are now. A quick and easy way to do this is to visit the website writetothem.com, and fill out the form it provides. If you’d like to stay informed on and potentially even get involved with climate change initiatives in the UK, consider contacting your local Greenpeace group (for example, Greenpeace Cardiff, which is having its next meeting on the 15th of February), or Friends of the Earth, which also has a Cardiff group. For staying informed, good news outlets for climate and science information include BBC Focus, New Scientist, and the weekly journal Nature. As a rule, my co-editor and I try to keep the science section as apolitical as possible – but, as recent events have shown, science is political. Democracy should not include the suppression of facts. We have the chance to involve ourselves, demand better, and attempt to draw the best outcome we can from this strange situation. Let’s take it seriously.


Cardiff mathematician makes waves in tsnuami research Bethany Rudge

Devastating tsunamis could be mitigated by using acousticgravity waves.


hrough dissipating a waves energy over a wide area, the devastating effects of tsunamis would be minimised and lives saved. Dr Usama Kadri, from Cardiff University’s School of Mathematics, has published new calculations in the open access journal Heliyon demonstrating the possibility of halting tsunamis before hitting the Earth’s shoreline. This new research suggests that thousands of lives worldwide could ultimately be saved by using acoustic-gravity waves (AGWs) against tsunamis that are triggered by earthquakes, landslides and other violent environmental happenings. AGWs are naturally occurring sounds waves that move through the deep ocean at the speed of sound, Dr Kadri suggests that controlling these waves could give us a way of reducing a tsunami’s momentum and thus consequential damage. AGWs can measure tens or even hundreds of kilometres in length and can travel thousands of metres below the surface. Dr Kadri proposes if we can find a way to engineer these waves, they can be fired at an incoming tsunami and will react with the wave in such a way that reduces its amplitude, or height, and causes its energy to be dissipated over a large

area. Therefore, by the time the tsunami reaches the shoreline, the reduced height and impact of the tsunami would considerably reduce the devastating damage that tsunamis have been known to cause to both civilians and the environment. Dr Kadri also suggests that this process of firing AGWs at a tsunami could be repeated continuously until the wave’s power and momentum is entirely dispersed entirely. “Within the last two decawdes, tsunamis have been responsible for the loss of half a million lives, widespread long-lasting destruction, profound environmental effects and global financial crisis,” Dr Kadri said. The devastating tsunami that was generated in the Indian Ocean in

2004 has been recorded as one of the deadliest natural disasters in recent history after it caused over 230,000 deaths in 14 countries. However, Dr Kadri says that “up until now little attention has been given to discovering solutions to mitigate tsunamis, and the potential of acoustic-gravity waves has been largely neglected and unexplored in academic research”. This makes his potentially life-saving research one of the first of its kind. In order to successfully use AGWs in tsunami mitigation, Dr Kadri concedes that engineers will firstly need to devise highly accurate AGW frequency transmitters or modulators, which would impose various technical challenges as well as huge cost implications.

Dr Kadri continued: “In practice, generating the appropriate acousticgravity waves introduces serious challenges due to the high energy required for an effective interaction with a tsunami...” “But, this study has provided proof-of-concept that devastating tsunamis could be mitigated by using acoustic-gravity waves to redistribute the huge amounts of energy stored within the wave, potentially saving lives and billions of pounds worth of damage.” However, at present, this is still just a smart theory, and is yet to be tested in the real world. The next step would be a proof-of-concept experiment, which could be carried out on a small scale with a wave tank at a specialist research facility.

Pictured: The effects of tsunami could one day be less than devastating.

Study shows link between sleep deprivation and poorer immunity Joshua Green

Getting the right amount of sleep (7 hours plus) helps the immune system perform at its best.


o you, the wonderful set of eyes looking at this article right now, have an identical twin? Do you also have numerous qualifications in biological sciences, access to a peer review body, and a significant amount of funding? Then maybe you can help to replicate and show what researchers at the University of Washington have shown recently! All students out there may be empowered, perhaps, to know that there is more evidence to show a lack of a sleep deprivation has negative effects on people’s health. According to this recent study, from the University of Washington, used identical twins to find a link between a lack of sleep and a suppressed immune system. Dr Nathanial Watson acted as the head of the study into this link between the immune system and sleep deprivation. Dr Watson acts at the co-director of the University of Washington Medicine Sleep Center. There already exists evidence to suggest the link in the literature. There are already links established between habitual sleep deprivation in individuals and negative effects on the cardiovascular system, metabolic system and inflammatory effects are also seen. However, this study used twins specifically to eliminate variations on genetics and shared environmental factors the twins have. This allowed the study to focus on more nuanced factors by looking at the gene expressions in the identical

Pictured: Sleep deprivation can have more devastating effects than previously expected. (Photographer: Andrew Roberts.

twins. The scientists involved with the study took blood samples from each of the twins in where the twins had different sleeping patterns. The mechanism that was analysed, in which was used to justify what the researchers concluded with, was that of the gene expression of peripheral blood leukocytes. Leukocytes are otherwise known as white blood cells and peripheral refers to the maturity of these leukocytes. The white blood cells, as many of you probably know, are associated with the body’s immune system and the white blood cells ‘job’ is to protect the body from

outward threats such as disease and foreign bodies. When the time spent sleeping was recorded, the researchers obtained a mean value for the amount of time slept in a 24-hour period as 439.2 minutes. This equates to just over seven hours (this to me and most of the fellow student readers seems rather high and only obtainable within our dreams). There was a average recorded sleep difference of 64.4 minutes between the two twins. This separation alone was shown to have an effect as there were expected effects seen such as up-regulation of ‘genes involved with transcription,

ribosome, translation and oxidative phosphorylation’. What the researchers did not expect was downregulated genes were spotted in high quantities in immune-inflammatory pathways that are involved with white blood cell activity. This is indicative of the immune system partially shutting down. The researchers concluded that there was indeed an effect seen when individuals had less sleep when compared to their identical twin. This further builds up the scientific narrative that getting the right amount of sleep (7 hours plus) helps the immune system perform at its best.


Pigs set to replace lab-rats for human organ production Emily Murray

The future looks promising for the chimera hald pig half human breed.


oving in from growing human ears onto rats, scientists have now moved onto growing larger human organs, and larger organs means bigger animals. Due to their size and shape pigs have been selected to become human organ incubators. The human-pig hybrid will contain human organs and tissue that will also functionally work in the human body. Scientists hope that this will aid the supply of organ donation, giving the organs to hospitals to use for transplants. Scientists created an embryo of the human-pig, a “chimera”, which they terminated before it could be born. The research therefore is inconclusive, however pigs that possess human organs suitable for human donation might very well be the future. The chimeras might also over take other animals, like rats, as the preferred animal to test drugs on. The part-human fabric of the animal means that it would provide the same response as a human would to the drug. Therefore providing more reliable results on the effectiveness and effects of the drug. The scientists who worked on the embryo admitted that it was more challenging than they predicted. The scientific journal Cell published their

Pictured: Tubby puppers (Photographer: Annie Kavanagh)

report, which stated that mixing pig and human DNA together took decades to achieve. Challenges lie in trying to turn stem cells in petri dishes into functional adult cells, let alone trying to form the types of organs and tissues they set out to construct. It is one thing to build the organs, and another to ensure that they function fully. Professor Izpisua Belmonte used the analogy of a key to convey the difficulties he experienced, “It’s

like when you try to duplicate a key. The duplicate looks almost identical, but when you get home, it doesn’t open the door.” He admits, “We still have many things to learn about the early developments of cells.” The research began by looking at whether they could introduce rat cells into mouse embryos. The ratmouse chimera was successful and in 2010 they were able to create a mouse which had pancreatic tissue from a

rat. How the process works: gene-editing tools remove certain genes that build the organs in a growing egg. As the genes are removed they inject rat cells into the egg, immediately filling their space. The mouse embryo then continues to grow with the heart, eye or pancreas of a rat. A work in progress, but the future looks promising for the chimera half pig half human bread.

Delaying pot smoking may reduce adverse effects Anna Dutton

The individuals who scored poorly in the cognitive test reported smoking in their early teens.


study carried out by the Universite De Montreal has found that if teenagers delay smoking pot, (or marijuana), until after the age of 17, there may be a less harmful effect on their brains. Studies showed that those who started using the drug before the age of 17 scored worse on some cognitive tests at age 20 than those who started using it later. The study was carried out in the Universities children’s hospital where 294 teenagers were taken from a sample of 1,037 French-speaking white males from poorer areas. The teenagers filled out questionnaires between the ages of 13-17 and took cognitive tests at ages 13, 14 and 20. Around half (43%) said that they had smoked pot at some point during that time, with most only doing it a few times a year. By the age of 20, 51% said they still used the drug. Those who started smoking early had a worse working memory and short term memory- the sort of memory used to store phone numbers for example. The cognitive tests involved making associations between words, being asked to remember a list of words or numbers and finally playing a card game that made them gauge whether they would lose or win money. The individuals who scored poorly in the cognitive tests reported smoking in their early teens. CastellanosRyan suggested that the lower results in the verbal tests were because these individuals tended to drop out of school earlier. She then goes on to reinforce this statement by arguing it is the ‘… social mechanism’ of

Pictured: 420 (Photographer: danielfsnink)

dropping out of school that results in teenagers being unable to further develop their communication skills. The study also found that ‘…fundamental life-skills necessary for problem-solving and daily adaption’ were also being affected. These results consequently proved the findings of the study. It was then later published on the 29th of December in the Development and Psychopathy Journal, created by Cambridge University Press Natalie Castellanos-Ryan, who is the study’s lead author, has cautioned the results by explaining that the

findings were only really applicable to verbal-IQ tests or anything that relied on the frontal cortex of the brain, such as learning by trial and error. She further added that the results are not widespread, and that those who started smoking cannabis after age 17 ‘…performed equally as well’ as those who did not use cannabis. Castellanos-Ryan concluded that the message of the study was to delay marijuana use among adolescents for as long as possible. She wishes to investigate this further with other studies involving teenagers and see if cannabis can affect any other areas

of the brain. She continues by saying that prevention is important as the use of the drug has become more common as many think it is a less harmful recreational drug. In summary, it seems that cannabis use should be put off for as long as possible, but as Castellanos-Ryan says, we need to be realistic because it is unlikely that these findings will influence the behaviour of all teenagers. Therefore, although the study is not completely conclusive, it seems relevant that teenagers try and wait until the age of 17 before trying the drug.


societies Milly Dyer

Eleanor Philpotts

A platform for sharing the critical thought and creative flair of medical students

” Catherine Chamberlain


societies@gairrhydd.com gairrhydd.com/societies

and societies! Your feedback helps change the way we run things so please find time to fill one of the cards out. In other news – we have 6 new Societies as of last week, giving us

21 more in total this year! If you have an idea for a new Society head to the website and fill in a form! The Exec meets fortnightly to approve applications.

Student Doctors launch Journal

n innovative new journal has launched at Cardiff University, targeted at medical students and already with contributors from as far afield as the USA and the Caribbean. The Student Doctor, a peer-reviewed, open-access, biannual journal, was thought up last year by final-year Medicine students Shivali Fulchand and James Kilgour, and officially launched at their opening evening on Tuesday 31st January. Shivali and James were inspired to start The SDJ after realising the challenges medical students can encounter in getting work published. A 2011 study by Griffin and Hindocha found that only 14% of medical students had published literature, although the amount of interest reached 90%. Shivali and James decided to take matters into their own hands and The SDJ aims to not only build a clearer foundation for this, but nurture a more in-depth interest in academic research and publishing, spanning from creative writing to a more factual approach. Sections include Original Research; Discussion, Education, Reflections and Correspondence, giving primarily healthcare students the chance to express thoughts on many areas of medicine. 2016 was a busy year for the journal’. After first conjuring up the idea in March, they gained funding from Cardiff University School of Medicine, be-



Milly: Speak Week

his week is Speak Week – you may see various elected officers & student reps collecting feedback around campus. This feedback can be about anything: education, sports provisions


Editors: Aletheia Nutt Tom Morris

U Pride, the LGBT+ society, has been running loads of socials this term and there are even more to come! As a gold tier society we run a social every week, be it alcoholic or nonalcoholic. In the past we have held some great socials, including a joint social to playzone with English Literature and Harry Potter as well as lots of joint events with the other local LBGT+ societies from Cardiff Met and USW. In November we took 35 of our members to Manchester to go on a bar crawl on Canal street. We met up with Manchester and Manchester Met and had a wonderful night there! On the 24th of February we are heading to London for the weekend for the biggest event in our calendar, Student Pride! Just £69 for the weekend, which includes transport and accommodation. There are only a few tickets left so get buying! On the 7th of February we are hosting a board game and pizza night. Cardiff

fore The SDJ became an imprint of Cardiff University Press two months later. While the next few months were dedicated to expanding the team, from a Faculty Advisory Board to sub-editors and social media gurus, submissions opened last October, with the launch party on the same day as the release of the first issue. The event, hosted at the Hadyn Ellis Building, included an introduction by Shivali and James, as well as talks from four professors each renowned in their field – John Bligh; Elizabeth Treasure; Michael Owen and Sir Martin Evans. Professor Bligh, Dean of Medicine, discussed his background as editor of Medical Education, while Professor Treasure, Cardiff University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, spoke about how her approach to education has changed over the course of her own studies and career. Professor Owen, Professor of Psychological Medicine, imparted wisdom, having dedicated his research to genetics and psychiatry, particularly schizophrenia, while Cardiff University’s Chancellor Sir Evans’ conclusion of the evening provided everyone with a generous amount of inspiration, especially as he reflected on receiving the renowned Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2007, for his discoveries in embryonic stem cells. The overriding message was one of aspiration, something all students can get behind.

Such a high calibre of speakers was fitting for this exciting new project. The presentation ended with Stephen R. Covey’s quote ‘Strength lies in differences, not similarities’, and this was suitably demonstrated by The SDJ team’s video showcasing diversity’s benefits. Co-editor Shivali summarised the evening with, ‘Our vision is to create a platform for sharing the critical thought

and creative flair of medical students, packaged in a simple, modern and accessible way. We are proud to have released our first issue and look forward to starting work on the second. In the future, we hope to create a series of YouTube videos on the publishing process.’ If you’re interested in contributing to The SDJ, email editorinchief@thesdj. org.uk, or http://www.thesdj.org.uk/.

Pictured: All smiles at the SDJ launch.

14% of students had published literature, but interest reached 90%

An introduction to CU Pride Marrow are coming along to sign up donors as well, so it’s set to be a good night. It starts at 7pm in the Lounge at the Students’ Union. As well as our countless alcoholic socials, we host a Brunch every Saturday at the Flora pub at 12pm. We play board games, catch up from the night before and enjoy a delicious breakfast. What more could you need on a Saturday morning? Later this term we are going to do another joint social with Harry Potter and English Literature to go and play some pub quidditch (or pub golf for you muggles), set to finish off at our favourite cocktail bar, Mary’s! Our plus cards have sold well this year and a portion of each goes to our chosen charities, The Terrance Higgins Trust and Just Like Us. A few of our members have also been trained by Just Like Us and have been sent into schools to ensure that sexual and gender identity are addressed.

Pictured: Pride at the Freshers Fair.

24th February is the biggest event on the calendar: London’s Student Pride!


Diff Films hosts 48 hour film making challenge Tom Morris

Mali Taylor Powell

What are you waiting for? Get signed up!


ilm society’s film making branch, Diff Films, returned for 2017 with style in last weekend’s 48 hour film challenge. The challenge, which is held twice a year, sees several teams of about four or five people face off in a mad dash to make a short film in the hours between Friday night and Sunday evening. They also have to include a prop, a line, a title and a plot device which are all provided for them in a lottery at the Friday meeting. I myself joined in, making the film Willow’s Word with Joanna Godfrey, Amber Moss, Owen Wyn Jones and Hannah van Wyk. In the five minute short, two friends who play virtual reality Scrabble find their usual third player has gone missing- and later find out she is an AI. Amber was particularly excited to join in, as it was not just her first film challenge but one of the first things she had done at any society. She said: “I’ve learnt so much about making a film in only 48 hours and got to meet some great people too,” the kind of sen-


timent which must make it all worth it for the committee, of which Pete Leslie and Munzir Quraishy spent their weekend trailing all the teams to find out what they were up to- and make a film of their own, the always hilarious Behind the Scenes. Munzir said: “This was probably the most competitive 48 hour film challenge yet with five excellent films. The groups took a while to get started but got through their filming very efficiently, one group even finished by lunch. It was a shame to see a few people drop out halfway through but those who stayed for the ride definitely enjoyed their time. We’ve even gotten calls to run another one this year! The 48 Hour Film Challenge continues to be one of my favourite weekends of the year.” The highlight of the weekend has to be Sunday evening, when we convened at the Royal George to watch everyone’s masterpieces and hand out some chocolatey rewards. Although they were all side-splittingly incredible, the most

Pictured: Amber at the camera, and below, our film Willow’s Word.

remarkable thing was that the films got finished at all. Participant Max Modell remarked that lighting was poor due to being in a “room with a lamp which kept cutting out,” but he still enjoyed “producing amazing films with amazing people.” Ben Davies, meanwhile, had the challenge of smashing a glass with a hammer for a scene: “after about six attempts the glass still wouldn’t smash, so we decided to freeze it for about four hours.” Ben’s group also faced minor humiliation on the streets, as a man whistled the Men in Black theme as the well-suited gang walked past. Rachel Popplewell, whose script

Jailbreak is next month!

or those of you that don’t know what Jailbreak is, here’s the lowdown: You set off on Friday 3rd of March and embark on a 52 hour race to get as far away from Cardiff and back again - without spending any money on transport. You’ll have to beg, borrow (we don’t advise stealing) and charm your way onto flights, ferries and coaches. Teams are made up of a minimum of three and maximum of four and only one of you needs to be a Cardiff University student. Last year’s winning team made it all the way to Istanbul and back!

Within the allotted 52 hours, which is the main catch! Other impressive attempts included Paris, Scotland, Ireland, Amsterdam, Cologne, Austria, Spain. At Cardiff University, we don’t like to be outdone. Previous Jailbreak teams from other Universities have made it to Israel, Tokyo, LA and Australia. Don’t believe us? Google it. Are you up for the challenge? Think you can outdo Oxford or Warwick? Then this is the competition for you. You’ll need to get seriously creative to succeed! One University’s team guessed a billionaire’s e-mail

address and blagged return flights to Sydney! You can prep and do some of your blagging beforehand. Tip: getting hold of an airport’s marketing team beforehand and asking them to help you out because “IT’S FOR CHARITY!” might help. Even papers have been known to lend a hand, previous Jailbreakers have blagged return flights to San Diego from a Guardian editor in 2010. Part of a sports team or society? This will count as one of your volunteering activities with Cardiff Volunteering for the tiering system, plus your fundraising option! (You need to do one a year for silver, one a term for gold). If you are part of the Cardiff Award, this event will count towards your hours, so is an amazing way to tick off a large chunk. More of a homebird? Not to worry, we have plenty of opportunities to get involved at basecamp here in Cardiff. If you can volunteer your time, please email us! What are you waiting for? Get signed up! If you’ve got any questions, email us at volunteering@cardiff.ac.uk, call us on 02920 781494 or message us on facebook (Cardiff Volunteering). You can purchase tickets and see the terms and conditions by heading to www.cardiffstudents.com/ Jailbreak

required her to go homeless for a while, voiced similar concerns about classmates seeing her out on the street. Darren Simbol, whose film was a tribute to Diff Films itself, faced an altogether different problem: “one of our original four members decided to drop out after deciding that what we were doing was completely parallel to who he was as a person.” All of the films and the Behind the Scenes video will be available to watch on the Diff Films YouTube channel soon. Diff Films meets for exciting film making opportunities every Thursdayjoin their Facebook group for info.

A mad dash to make a short between Friday and Sunday evening.

Skills Development Service news


kills Development Service FREE course at The Heath Campus to help enhance your professional skills and confidence in Communication. No exams, no tests. Wednesdays 15/2-15/3 inclusive 2-4pm, Ty Dewi Sant 15/2 Speaking & Presenting 22/2 Negotiation Skills 2/3 Listening & Awareness 8/3 Customer Communication Skills 15/3 Practical Presentations Course content at https://www. cardiffstudents.com/jobs-skills/skillsdevelopment-service/sds-courses/ sds-certificate-of-professional-development/ Successful completion is rewarded by a Certificate of Professional Development signed jointly by the University VC and Students’ Union President. A good acquisition to your CV/PDP. Enquiries to sds@cf.ac.uk

John Steele






13:00-15:00 IN THE LODGE 11:00-14:00 IN THE VJ GALLERY


12:00-14:00 IN THE VJ GALLERY

12:00-14:00 IN THE LODGE

11:00-12:00 & 13:00-14:00 IN HADYN ELLIS



Golygyddion: Osian Wyn Morgan Liam Ketcher @Taf_od tafod@gairrhydd.com gairrhydd.com/tafod

Addysg i arwain ni i ‘Filiwn o Siaradwyr’ Yn y llun: Cadeiriau yn ystafell dosbarth (Tarddiad: Amanda Mills)

Liam Ketcher

Mae yna nifer fawr wedi cwestiynu’r cynlluniau hyn yn ddweud nad oes digon o strwythur i’r cynlluniau, a ffordd o ddistawi’r nifer sydd yn brwydro dros yr iaith ydy’r targed ‘miliwn o siaradwyr’.


yhoeddwyd cynlluniau’r llywodraeth y llynedd sydd yn targedu i godi’r nifer o siaradwyr y Gymraeg i filiwn erbyn 2050. Mae Gweinidog y Gymraeg Alun Davies wedi deud eisoes hoffai weld targedau pum mlynedd yn cael ei sefydlu er mwyn ategu tuag at y broses er mwyn sicrhau bod y llywodraeth yn bwrw’r targed o filiwn. Ond mae yna nifer fawr wedi cwestiynu’r cynlluniau hyn yn ddweud nad oes digon o strwythur i’r cynlluniau, a ffordd o ddistawi’r nifer sydd yn brwydro dros yr iaith ydy’r targed ‘miliwn o siaradwyr’. Yn ôl nifer nid oes ddigon o gefnogaeth a phwyslais ar addysg Gymraeg gan y llywodraeth. Er rydym fel myfyrwyr wedi gweld newidiadau mawr yn y Brifysgol yn ddiweddar gyda lansiad Polisi Iaith y Brifysgol ym

mis Tachwedd, a darlith feddygol trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg gyntaf ar ddechrau mis Ionawr eleni mae’r targed o filiwn o siaradwyr yn bell i ffwrdd. Un o’r prif sectorau mae nifer yn gweld fel canolbwynt i ffrwd yn y niferoedd o siaradwyr Gymraeg ydy addysg cyfrwng Cymraeg. Yng ngogledd Powys mae yna bryderon ynglŷn ag addysg uwchradd cyfrwng Cymraeg ar hyn o bryd. Pryder y gantores Siân James, fod yna ddiffyg o ysgolion uwchradd Cymraeg yn yr ardal a bod hyn iddi yn bryder at ddyfodol yr iaith. Mae ysgol uwchradd yr ardal Ysgol Caereinion ond yn cynnig addysg dwy ffrwd. Felly mae yna gal war gyfer addysg gyfrwng Gymraeg yn unig yn yr ardal. Cytunwyd Dr Gwenllïan Lansdown

Dysgu’r Gymraeg gyda’r Taf-Od Y Chwech Gwlad

Er Ch-weh-ch Goo-laad Cymru = Wales Kum-ri Cais = Try K-ice Trosiad = Conversion Troh-shad

Davies gyda sylwadau Siân James ar sefyllfa addysg Gymraeg Sir Drefaldwyn “Dwi’n cytuno cant y cant, mae angen i ni gael ysgol benodedig cyfrwng Cymraeg i ateb y galw am addysg Gymraeg yn Sir Drefaldwyn a dweud y gwir mae angen mwy nag un ysgol benodedig Gymraeg ac mae hwnnw’n gyfrifoldeb sy’n perthyn i’r cyngor sir. Mae’n dipyn o gywilydd mewn ffordd mai hon yw’r unig sir yng Nghymru sydd heb ysgol uwchradd benodedig Gymraeg.” Gwelwyd fod yna dadleuon tebyg yn y Brifddinas. Mae yna wedi bod galw ar gyfer deg ysgol gynradd Gymraeg newydd yng Nghaerdydd erbyn 2021. Mae’r Archesgob Barry Morgan wedi galw ar gyfer Gyngor Caerdydd, ar y cyd gyda nifer o enwogion Cymraeg eraill i

agor fwy o ysgolion cynradd Gymraeg. Caerdydd sy’n cynnwys dros 10% o boblogaeth Cymru, a dyma ganran sydd dal i gynyddu. Yn ôl Owain Rhys Lewis, Cadeirydd Cell Caerdydd Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg: “Mae’r galwad am ddeg ysgol yn ymddangos yn uchelgeisiol, ond does dim lle yn ysgolion presennol y ddinas, ac mae hanes twf addysg Gymraeg yn y ddinas yn dangos y byddai’r ysgolion yma, o gael eu hagor mewn cymunedau ar draws y ddinas, yn llenwi.” Felly mae’n amlwg fod addysg yw ganolbwynt i lwyddiant targed o filiwn o siaradwyr, gobeithiaf yn awr byddir y llywodraeth yn ymateb i’r pryderon hyn ac yn gwneud fwy i wella safonau addysg cyfrwng Cymraeg ar draws y wlad.

Learn Welsh with the Taf-Od The Six Nations

Yr Eidal = Italy Er Ay-dahl Sgrym = Scrum Sg-rum (the same as the English but with a ‘G’) C’mon Cymru! = Come on Wales! K’m-on Kym-ri

Addysg yw ganolbwynt i lwyddiant targed o filiwn o siaradwyr.


UKIP 1 - 0 Cymdeithas yr Iaith Yn y llun: Bethan Jenkins AC (Tarddiad: Plaid Cymru drwy Flickr)

Osian Wyn Morgan

Rwyf i’n anghytuno â phenderfyniad y Gymdeithas i wrthod ateb cwestiynau gan aelodau UKIP.


ythefnos yn ôl, cynhaliwyd cyfarfod gan Bwyllgor Diwylliant, Iaith a Chyfathrebu’r Cynulliad, i drafod y cylch nesaf o Safonau’r Gymraeg a gyflwynwyd i’r Cynulliad yr wythnos diwethaf. Roedd disgwyl i ddau gynrychiolydd o Gymdeithas yr Iaith fynychu’r cyfarfod er mwyn cyflwyno tystiolaeth i’r pwyllgor, ond gwrthodwyd yr hawl iddynt wneud ar ôl iddynt anfon e-bost at gadeirydd y pwyllgor, Bethan Jenkins AC, yn datgan na fyddent yn ateb unrhyw gwestiynau a ofynnwyd iddynt gan UKIP, sydd ag un aelod, Neil Hamilton AC, ar y pwyllgor. Dywedodd Heledd Gwyndaf, Cadeirydd Cymdeithas yr Iaith, bod y mudiad yn gwrthod cyd-weithio â phlaid sy’n “hybu a goddef agweddau rhagfarnllyd yn erbyn nifer o grwpiau yn ein cymdeithas”. Rwyf yn dallt teimladau cryfion Cymdeithas yr Iaith yn erbyn UKIP yn iawn, ac yn cytuno’n llwyr gyda’u hatgasedd tuag at y blaid. Mae UKIP, fel y dywed y Gymdeithas, yn blaid sydd â rhagfarnau ‘yn erbyn pobl lesbiaid, hoyw, deurywiol, a thraws, lleiafrifoedd ethnig, mewnfudwyr, pobl sydd â HIV, a’r Gymraeg’. Rwyf yn anghytuno’n llwyr a UKIP ym mhob achos, ond yn anffodus, nid yw oddeutu 130,000 o etholwyr Cymru yn anghytuno â nhw, gan olygu fod gennym 6 Aelod Cynulliad hollbresennol o UKIP. Nid yn aml yr wyf yn ysgrifennu erthygl gan wybod y bydd llawer ohonoch yn anghytuno â mi, ond yn wahanol i’r cannoedd o Gymry Cymraeg a foddodd fy nghyfrif trydar gyda negeseuon yn cefnogi gweithred Cymdeithas yr Iaith bythefnos yn ôl, rwyf i’n anghytuno â phenderfyniad y Gymdeithas i wrthod ateb cwestiynau gan aelodau UKIP. Nid agwedd y Gymdeithas yn erbyn UKIP oedd y broblem i mi, ond y ffordd yr ymdrinient â’r agwedd hwnnw. Dylent wedi dadlau yn erbyn UKIP, a dadlau yn erbyn eu hagwed-

dau gwrth Gymraeg, yn hytrach na gwrthod eu hateb yn gyfan gwbl. Onid oes gan UKIP yr hawl, o ganlyniad i’r gefnogaeth a gawsant yn yr etholiad diwethaf, i ofyn cwestiynau am bolisïau’r Cynulliad? Mae’n anochel yr oedd rhai o’r 130,000 o bleidleisiodd dros UKIP yn siarad Cymraeg, onid yw’r Gymraeg yn perthyn iddyn nhw hefyd? Onid yw’r Gymraeg yn perthyn i bawb? Neu yw’r Gymraeg yn perthyn i Gymdeithas yr Iaith yn unig? Neu’n perthyn i bawb sydd â daliadau gwleidyddol tebyg i bwyllgor y Gymdeithas, a nhw yn unig a gaiff ddylanwadu ar bolisïau sy’n ymwneud â’r Gymraeg? Mae gan UKIP, fel unrhyw blaid arall, yr hawl i ofyn cwestiynau am bolisïau sy’n dylanwadu ar y pobl sydd wedi eu hethol, ond os byddai’r blaid wedi gofyn cwestiynau rhagfarnllyd yn erbyn y Gymraeg, byddai hynny wedi bod yn gyfle euraidd i’r Gymdeithas ddadlau yn eu herbyn, a hysbysebu eu rhagfarnau ar lawr gwlad. Yng nghyfarfod cyffredinol blynyddol Undeb Myfyrwyr Prifysgol Caerdydd eleni, pasiwyd cynnig yn datgan na ddylid gwrthod rhoi ‘platfform’ i wleidyddion a siaradwyr gwadd rhagfarnllyd, yr oedd y rhan fwyaf o’r myfyrwyr yn anghytuno â, ond rhoi’r ‘platfform’ iddynt fynegi eu barn, fel y gall y myfyrwyr ddadlau yn erbyn eu rhagfarnau, a’u cywilyddio am eu rhagfarnau pitw. Dyna’n union y dylai’r Gymdeithas wedi ei wneud pe byddai aelod o UKIP wedi gofyn cwestiwn rhagfarnllyd iddynt. Rwy’n ffyddiog y byddai’r rhan helaeth o aelodau’r pwyllgor – sydd yntau ddim yn gyfrinachol am eu hatgasedd tuag at y blaid adain dde eithafol – wedi ochri hefo’r Gymdeithas yn y fath sefyllfa, yn hytrach na gorfod gwrthod yr hawl i’r Gymdeithas fynychu’r cyfarfod, a chyfrannu’n weithredol, oherwydd y ddyletswydd ddemocrataidd arnynt i wneud. Yn wir, oherwydd i’r Gymdeithas ymyrryd a gwleidyddiaeth yn

ehangach yn yr achos hwn, yn hytrach na chanolbwyntio yn unig ar yr Iaith Gymraeg, effeithiodd hyn ar eu gallu i ddylanwadu yn gadarnhaol ar yr iaith. Yn fy marn i, dylai’r Gymdeithas ymyrryd â materion sy’n ymwneud â’r iaith Gymraeg yn unig – boed yn faterion sy’n cael effaith uniongyrchol neu anuniongyrchol ar y Gymraeg. Nid oedd y Gymdeithas yn fodlon ateb cwestiynau UKIP oherwydd eu bod yn anghytuno gyda hwy – ond a olyga hyn nad ydynt yn anghytuno â phleidiau eraill y Cynulliad? Byddai rhai yn dadlau fod gan rhai o aelodau’r Ceidwadwyr, a Llafur hyd yn oed, ragfarnau afiach, dylai’r Gymdeithas wedi gwrthod ateb eu cwestiynau hwy hefyd? Nid hanfod democratiaeth yw gwrthod ateb cwestiynau gan bobl neu bleidiau (sydd wedi eu hethol gan bobl Cymru, cofiwch) yr ydych yn anghytuno â. Beth ddigwyddir pe byddai Llafur, a Phlaid Cymru, yn gwrthod ateb cwestiynau UKIP yn y Siambr oherwydd eu bod yn anghytuno â nhw? A beth ddigwyddir os fyddent yn gwrthod ateb cwestiynau’r Ceidwadwyr am yr un rheswm, a’r Ceidwadwyr yn gwrthod ateb cwestiynau gan Lafur a Phlaid Cymru gan eu bod hwythau yn anghytuno gyda’r pleidiau hynny? Byddai’r Cynulliad yn debycach i feithrinfa, gyda phlant bychain yn gwrthod chwarae a’i gilydd oherwydd eu bod wedi ffraeo ac anghytuno y diwrnod cynt, yn hytrach na chorff cenedlaethol sy’n benderfynol o gydweithio i gynrychioli Cymru a’i phobl i gorau eu gallu. Ymdebyga hyn i deimladau Bethan Jenkins ar y mater hefyd. Wrth siarad â’r BBC, dywedodd Bethan Jenkins nad oedd modd i dystion ddweud eu bod am wrthod ateb cwestiynau gan Aelod Cynulliad penodol, gan nid dyna’r ffordd y mae system ddemocrataidd yn gweithio. Dywedodd cadeirydd y pwyllgor nad oedd hithau’n hoff o gwbl o’r ffaith

fod gan UKIP Aelodau Cynulliad, ond awgrymodd y dylent ymladd yn eu herbyn, yn hytrach na’u hanwybyddu, er mwyn sicrhau nad oes ganddynt yr aelodau hynny yn yr etholiad nesaf, ymhen 5 mlynedd. O bosib fydd rhai ohonoch yn credu fy mod yn ochri gydag UKIP yn yr erthygl hon – gallaf warantu nad ydwyf! Mae gennyf gymaint o atgasedd tuag at y blaid ffiaidd ag unrhyw aelod o bwyllgor y Gymdeithas, ond rwy’n parchu democratiaeth. Rwy’n parchu’r ffaith fod degau o filoedd o Gymry wedi rhoi croes wrth y blwch ‘UKIP’ yn yr etholiad diwethaf, ac rwy’n parchu hawl UKIP i ofyn cwestiynau ym mhwyllgorau’r Cynulliad – gan obeithio y byddai’r pleidiau a mudiadau eraill yn dadlau yn er herbyn. Hyd y gwelaf i (ac rwy’n barod i gael fy mhrofi yn anghywir) ni chyflawnodd Cymdeithas yr Iaith ddim yn yr helynt yma. Oherwydd eu gweithredoedd, ni chawsant y cyfle i gyflwyno tystiolaeth i’r pwyllgor a chyfrannu’n gadarnhaol at drafodaethau am yr Iaith. Portreadent y Cymry Cymraeg fel pobl fewnblyg sy’n anfodlon trafod gyda phobl yr ydym yn anghytuno â. Creant densiynau rhwng y Gymdeithas â phleidiau ac Aelodau Seneddol eraill y Cynulliad, gan gynnwys Bethan Jenkins, un o’r Aelodau Cynulliad sydd fwyaf cefnogol dros y Gymraeg, ac sydd wedi gweithredu drosti fwyaf. Yn waeth na dim, rhoddent gyfle i UKIP bydru’r wasg gyda’u rhagfarnau, gan roi fwy fyth o sylw i’w plaid. Yn hytrach nag ysgrifennu am y trafodaethau cadarnhaol a gymerwyd yng Nghyfarfod y Pwyllgor ar y 18fed o Ionawr (gan gynnwys cryfhad ar y safonau iaith a fydd yn cael eu gosod ar brifysgolion Cymru), roedd y stori hon yn fel ar fysedd holl newyddiadurwyr Cymru, gan roi mwy fyth o sylw i Neil Hamilton a’i blaid anfoesol, y sylw y mae’r blaid ei hangen er mwyn lledaenu eu rhagfarnau erchyll. UKIP 1 – 0 Cymdeithas yr Iaith.

Mae UKIP... yn blaid sydd â rhagfarnau ‘yn erbyn pobl lesbiaid, hoyw, deurywiol, a thraws, lleiafrifoedd ethnig, mewnfudwyr, pobl sydd â HIV, a’r Gymraeg’.


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Warwick Castle SATURDAY 11 FEBRUARY 2017 09:00-20:00 Spend the day indulging in everything Warwick Castle has to offer! From dungeons to ramparts, it has seen centuries of pivotal British history. From the conquest of France’s William the Conqueror to Richard III, and even the Plantagenet family.


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Rich Jones

“I probably lost a bit of zip last year which I think was because of missing out on that strength and conditioning work in preseason. Michael Hogan

Glamorgan step up preparations for 2017 season G lamorgan star Michael Hogan believes his first Christmas in Cardiff has prepared him perfectly for the 2017 season. The Australian seamer opted to remain in Wales with his family over the winter period instead of travelling back to his homeland to play. Hogan, 35, is now back in pre-season training with Glamorgan as they step up preparations for the new campaign. And he believes the opportunity to fully recharge the batteries and work on his fitness will pay dividends over the summer. Said Hogan: “Obviously I’ve had no game time this winter which has probably been good for my body, but I’ve still had a chance to work on a few things in the nets which has been nice. “It’s not snowed yet which has been a bonus, it’s been quite mild and I think we’ve all enjoyed being here for Christmas. “Our boys are enjoying school over here, and it been good to actually spend some time with the family too. We’re all enjoying ourselves. “It’s the first time in three or four years I’ve had a chance to spend some good time in the gym and do some fitness work. “I’ve been able to work on things I’m not used to, and I’m feeling fitter and stronger already. “I’ve been watching the Big Bash in the mornings, and it’s been nice to catch up with the Aussie cricket and

England cricket in India as well. It’s been fun to spend the winter watching some cricket rather than playing it! “I’ve been flying around the world for the last few years, so it’s time to give the family some control over their lives as well I guess. “I probably lost a bit of zip last year which I think was because of missing out on that strength and conditioning work in pre-season. “Hopefully with the work all the boys have been putting in, we should get that little bit extra and start the season well.” Meanwhile, wicket-keeper Chris Cooke can’t wait to get back onto the field after missing the second half of last season due to back surgery. The South Africa-born star also spent his winter break in the Welsh capital. And he feels there are plenty of positive signs for Glamorgan already in pre-season as they eye a fast start to the campaign in March. “It’s good to be back in the nets,” Cook said. “Everyone has had a nice break, and the boys are all working really hard and getting excited now for the campaign because it’s only just around the corner. “I had my second British Christmas and I thoroughly enjoyed it down in Swansea. It was a slightly different vibe to Christmas in Australia and South Africa but it was really good. “It’s been going well for me. I’ve

been in since the end of October. There is a bit of stiffness but I think that’s just par for the course. “I feel good, but there is a couple of months to go and I just can’t wait to get back on the park really. “Although it’s only the start of the year, we’re trying to hit the ground

running and create a positive environment that Crofty (head coach Robert Croft) is trying to bring in. “At the end of the day it’s early days, but it’s all about working towards being ready to hit the ground running at the end of March and early April.”

Pictured: Glamorgan paceman Michael Hogan (via Glamorgan Cricket) Below: Oliva on the podium via Jazz Jones)

Cardiff Medic blitzes to Keirin gold medal at National Championships C “ James Lloyd

Lewis’ knowledge and experience as well as his fun-loving, humorous mannerisms make him an excellent addition to the team. Jazz Jones

ardiff University student and cycling sensation Lewis Oliva stormed to keirin glory last weekend at the 2017 HSBC UK National Track Championships. Oliva, riding for Team USN, had to hold off a late Matt Rotherham charge to sneak the gold medal. Not only did Oliva seal a national title, he was also crowned the coveted Athlete of the Week. Cycling President Jazz Jones submitted the Athlete of the Week nomination for Oliva and shed light on her teammate and fellow student. She said: “Lewis’ knowledge and experience as well as his fun-loving, humorous mannerisms make him an excellent addition to the team. “He has big legs and a big heart, super speedy and a super nice guy. Lewis is the club powerhouse and the club are chuffed to have him on board and we can’t wait to see him representing us wearing his CURCT socks at the LA World Cup in February. “We wish the best of luck to Lewis in

his next few races and we will be watching and supporting him all the way.” Oliva is a first year medical student and has enjoyed a successful cycling career to date. From Monmouthshire, Oliva has been part of the Great Britain cycling team

since 2008, but has since stepped down since enrolling at Cardiff University. He is the current British sprint champion and has won medals at both the European Championships and World Cup events.

The 24 year-old represented Wales at two Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014, and added to his 1st place in the keirin, Oliva also cycled his way to a 3rd place in the Sprint championships.


Cardiff Cobras close in on historic title triumph Rich Jones

The Cobras continued their unbeaten start to the BUCS campaign with a comfortable win in treacherous conditions.

Rich Jones

He has already revealed he dreams of winning his first World title in front of his home fans in the Welsh capital.

Gareth Axenderrie Cardiff Blues Columnist


ardiff Cobras are closing in on history after a 26-0 win over the Oxford Lancers last weekend. The Cobras continued their unbeaten start to the BUCS campaign with a comfortable win in treacherous conditions. Two touchdown catches from Scott Higgins plus scores from Carwyn Chamberlain and Robin Ford saw them come out on top. Another solid defensive display was at the forefront of their success as they bounced back from a heavy defeat against the highly-rated Filton Pride Academy in a friendly a week earlier. The result moved the Cobras to 5-0 in the BUCS 1A South West and left them facing a huge clash with secondplaced Exeter at home on Saturday knowing a win would see them all but clinch their first division title since 2006. After a slow start, rookie Quarterback Max Milburn connected with Higgins, who broke a tackle to score a 60-yard touchdown and give them the lead late in the first quarter. As the first half drew to a close, the same duo again connected, this time from 10 yards out with Higgins mak-


ing a smart catch to double their advantage. They quickly settled any nerves early in the second half as running back Chamberlain found the edge and burst around the outside to score a 40-yard rushing touchdown. After the defence forced a safety and veteran Ford recovered a bad snap on

an Oxford punt to score their fourth touchdown, they ran out 26-0 winners. Although not a perfect performance, the Cobras never looked in danger of slipping up and fully deserved their victory in the wet, muddy conditions. They are closing in on one of their

most successful seasons in history heading into the business end of the campaign as they go in search of promotion to the Premier Division. But after slipping up to arch rivals Swansea in the closing stages of the season last year, they will be keen to avoid a repeat and complete a memorable year.

Cardiff boxer Cordina turns professional

oxer Joe Cordina has his sights set on becoming Wales’ next big star after turning professional with Matchroom Boxing. The Cardiff-born 25-year-old represented Great Britain at the 2016 Rio Olympics but missed out on a medal after losing a split decision in the last 16. The highly-rated fighter has now opted to move into the paid ranks and put pen to paper with Eddie Hearn’s promotion. Cordina will look to follow in the footsteps of fellow Olympians Anthony Joshua and Kal Yafai who have gone on to become World Champions under the guidance of Hearn. He will begin fighting in the SuperFeatherweight division and is set to train under Tony Sims in Essex. He has his eyes focused on the top as he aims to emulate fellow Welshmen Nathan Cleverly and Lee Selby by climbing to the top of the world. And he has already revealed he dreams of winning his first World title in front of his home fans in the Welsh capital. After being announced with Match-


Pictured: Cardiff Cobras in action against Swansea at Welsh Varsity 2016 (via Kelsey Rees)

he Blues’ season began with optimism and a belief that the Welsh regional dominance of the Ospreys and Scarlets could be broken. Form has dipped since then, and they still trail their western counterparts. However, with league and European form still showing signs of rude health, it’s not all doom and gloom. Danny Wilson deserves a huge amount of credit for restoring a sense of identity and purpose that fans are really backing. There’s a sense of stability around the place, and global names like Nick Williams, Willis Halaholo and Rey Lee-Lo have been added to

room Boxing, Cordina told their official website: “It’s brilliant to be working with Matchroom Boxing and Sky Sports. Anthony Joshua and Kal Yafai turned over with Eddie Hearn and became World Champions and I believe that I can follow that same path to the top. “I want my name up in lights in Las Vegas, that’s the dream. There’s pressure there but I don’t feel it from what people think, it comes from myself. That works for me, if I put pressure on myself it makes me perform. “We talk to psychologists at Team GB and they teach you to turn pressure into a positive and that’s what I do, sometimes people say that you shouldn’t put pressure on yourself but I use it to get out there and do the business. “I just want to put on a good show against anyone put in front of me, excite the fans and build up a profile. I want people to be talking about me and raving about my performances because in three years’ time I want to be fighting for a World title. “There’s no better feeling in the world then having your hand raised at the end of a fight. It’s such a high that you

can’t explain it, you have to do it to really know what it’s like, and it’s a feeling I want to keep experiencing. “People in Wales have been asking when I’m going to turn pro for a while now as they want to follow my progression, Lee Selby has done great things, won a World title, Nathan Cleverly is a World champion again, but I think that people in Cardiff are waiting for someone to draw everybody in and I feel I

can be the man to do that. “I don’t want to fight for my first World title anywhere but Cardiff, and I think that the Welsh public will get right behind me. I’m a very proud Welshman, I’ve been around Team GB and English and Scottish boxers a lot so I don’t look into it too much but I want to be a guy that Welsh fans can call their own and be proud of.”

a more streamlined and manageable squad. At times, defence has seen huge improvements, while an exciting style has benefitted from the artificial surface at the Arms Park. The region looks in its healthiest place for many a year, so what exactly must be done to ensure development continues toward narrowing the gap on the Pro12’s established elite? On the field, big name acquisitions must continue to be targeted. If you look at sides like Leinster, Munster and the Ospreys, they have a wealth of big names in their ranks. One such name attached to the Blues is that of

Leigh Halfpenny, who left the region for Toulon in 2014. Out of contract with the French club at the end of the season, it is believed that the WRU and the Blues are doing everything in their power to attract Halfpenny back to the capital. His signature would be a huge coup, and would counter the argument Wales cannot attract or retain star names. What is happening off the field, is perhaps of most importance. The Blues must continue to develop the brand. Hosting British and Irish Cup games across the region is a long overdue step. Many cynics still believe the region is

nothing other than a glorified Cardiff RFC, but progress is being made to reach out to many of those previously disillusioned with the regional game. The region’s name is still a moot point, with many calling for officials to drop the ‘Cardiff’ part, just as the Scarlets and Ospreys have done. That’s as unlikely as ever, but one thing that the Ospreys and Scarlets have started to master is the ability to represent and reach out to an area far greater than Swansea and Llanelli respectively. Becoming a completely inclusive and representative region is paramount to future success on and off the field.

Pictured: Cordina (left) at Wales’ Olympic homecoming celebration last year. (via Flickr)


This Cardiff Girl Can campaign a roaring success says AU President Elin Harding James Lloyd

It has definitely motivated me to go to the gym between lectures rather than catching up on Jeremy Kyle. Alice Edwards


ardiff University celebrated its This Cardiff Girl Can week last week – a campaign aimed at empowering women in sport. Its aims are to eliminate the stigma surrounding women’s sport and to inspire women to be active. Cardiff University hosted its own week of celebrating and raising awareness for women’s sport, which AU President Elin Harding has hailed a success. The Athletic Union hosted daily challenges and a talk evening with Becky Oatley, a Welsh international Netball player and Charlotte Arter, a Team GB runner in attendance giving speeches. Harding, who recently announced the news that the university women’s rugby team will play at the Principality Stadium at Welsh Varsity, was delighted with the campaign last week. She said: “This Cardiff Girl Can was a huge success last week. It’s all about empowering women and celebrating women who are active and enjoying sport. “We held daily challenges last week and we had loads of people getting involved. We had some excellent per-

formances and everyone seemed to be enjoying it. Rhino team wear, who supply Team Cardiff sports kit, also helped back the event.” Harding enjoyed Wednesday afternoon watching and supporting the Cardiff teams in BUCS action – with the Netball first team the standout performers winning 64-29 against arch-rivals Cardiff Met. The weekly Students’ Union night, YOLO, was also pink themed to support the week of women’s sport. It has been a fantastic fortnight for women’s sport, but the main aim is to ensure people become active. Alice Edwards, a third year English Language student, echoed Harding’s thoughts, adding the Tuesday night talk was beneficial. “I found the talk really motivating and inspiring,” said Edwards. “Seeing how both the girls [Oatley and Arter] managed their sports whilst at university shows real commitment and urges me to actually get up and go to the gym when I only have nine hours of lectures a week.

“Charlotte runs 80 miles a week and Becky has to get up and train at 6:30am. It has definitely motivated me to go to the gym between lectures rather than catching up on Jeremy Kyle. “They both spoke about different setbacks that they had to overcome, but explained how it has made them better at

their sport. It motivates me as it is about not letting negatives stop you and also applying that to university and life in general, I am very glad I attended.” But ultimately, the main message from the talk and the week in general is: “Don’t do it unless you enjoy sport and activity. It is all about enjoyment.”

Pictured: Left: Cardiff University Netball First Team (Via Elin Harding)

Who will reach the Champions League Final in Cardiff? The road to the Welsh capital resumes with the last 16 Mark Wyatt

Harry Borg Cardiff City Columnist


n Saturday June 3rd, Cardiff will host the biggest club football event in the calendar as the Champions League rolls into town. The competitions’ grand finale is watched annually by over 300 million people worldwide and all eyes will be on the Principality Stadium to see who takes this years crown. Currently only three British teams remain in the competition; Arsenal, Leicester City and Manchester City. The Gunners face another knock-out stage tie with Bayern Munich, their fifth fixture against the German giants in four years. Claudio Ranieri’s Foxes will look to put poor domestic form behind them when they play Europa League champions Sevilla. And Manchester City will be looking to go one better than last year’s semifinal devastation, but will need to overcome a stern Monaco side in the last 16.


n average the dull moments in a football game tend to outnumber the exciting ones. Even if you are watching the team you love you should be able to realise passing it back to the goalkeeper is objectively boring. However, the brilliant moments make us forget the tiresome square passes between our centre-backs. Cardiff vs Preston was your typical January game: dark, cold and lacking in quality. But that all changed when one man allowed us to forget the mundane and focus on the sublime. In early January Neil Warnock said the emergence of Kenneth Zohore

The tournament favourites are Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, who will be hoping to defend their 2016 title for the first time in the competition’s history. Amongst their ranks will of course be Welshman Gareth Bale, who will be hoping to add a third Champions League crown to his trophy cabinet. The Principality Stadium is no stranger to hosting big events, the stadium has been host to the Rugby World Cup Final, five Heineken Cup finals and six FA Cup finals since it was built in 1999. Back in 2003 the Principality, then named the Millennium Stadium, put a bid in to host the Champions League final. Thanks to their five star UEFA rating they held a good chance of hosting it but eventually they lost out to Old Trafford where AC Milan overcame Juventus in Manchester in the all-Italian affair. This year the Principality will host a

wealth of world stars including Coldplay, Justin Bieber and Robbie Williams. The centrepiece of the sporting calendar for University students across South Wales will also have it’s time to shine as both the men’s and women’s first XV rugby teams for Cardiff University and Swansea University will battle at the Principality for the Welsh

could save the club a fortune in the transfer market. When Warnock provided this insight the striker had only actually made eight appearances so far this season; the bemusement this statement caused among fans was justified. However, on the 31st of January the young Danish forward provided a glimpse of what Warnock had meant. Zohore’s goal against Preston North End was Cardiff City’s second of the game, his second of the season and wonderful. It is difficult to impose a binary means of measurement upon things of beauty. The most conventional method is by comparison

but with football comparing goals is kind of pointless. Although it allows fans to categorize goals it reduces the unique magic of the moment. Some of the most wonderful things goals produce are the noises from the crowd. Zohore received the ball on the edge of the centre-circle inside his own half, his back to goal and no less than three Preston players closing him down. What followed was something great. Surrounded by three defenders Zohore took a touch, turned to his right and span away from the three oncoming Preston players. As if conducted each Cardiff fan gasped.

Varsity 2017. The Champions League final will be sure to see Cardiff invaded by waves of fans and an influx of European culture to the city. It’s sure to be a huge event that will attract thousands of people to the centre of Cardiff with a sure boost to local commerce.

Editors’ Predictions for the Champions League Final Rich: Barcelona vs. Bayern Munich James: Real Madrid vs. Borussia Dortmund Mark: Sevilla vs. Bayern Munich

Zohore took advantage of some abysmal defending and chopped it through Daniel Johnson’s legs. The Cardiff fans produced screams of excitement and cries of encouragement. Their striker charged towards goal. On entering Preston’s box Zohore took a touch with the outside of his left boot, pushed the ball towards the left and created the angle for what was to come. Zohore then took a quick glimpse up, noticed the fast advancing goalkeeper and proceeded to produce an exquisite dink that nestled in the back of the net. Cardiff’s fans erupted into a harmonious crescendo of cheers.

The competitions’ grand finale is watched annually by over 300 million people worldwide.


Editors: James Lloyd Mark Wyatt Rich Jones Gareth Axenderrie @GairRhyddSport sport@gairrhydd.com gairrhydd.com/sport

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ardiff University women’s rugby head coach Richard Jones is relishing the opportunity to lead his team out on the Principality Stadium turf. The women’s side will make history when they run out on the famous pitch at Welsh Varsity on April 5. Plans for the prestigious, student sporting event were announced last week with the festival returning to the Welsh capital after a two-year lay-off. Swansea’s Liberty Stadium played host to the men’s rugby, the main event of the sporting showdown between the two rival universities for the past two years. But this year the women will have their say at the Home of Welsh Rugby, marking history in British university sport. Jones, who has been coaching the women’s side for eight years, is looking

forward to the game and believes it is a big leap for women’s sport. He said: “It’s a dream for every athlete or rugby player to play in the national stadium. It’s fantastic for university rugby, especially the women’s game. “It will be good for future recruitment and us as a team going forward. “I think it’s a good thing for women’s rugby in general and women’s sport as an overall thing. Over the past seven to eight years since I have coached here at the university, it is getting a bigger profile. “Playing at the Principality will be huge, and I think women’s rugby in general across the UK is growing.” Cardiff and Swansea have exchanged close results in the past year with the Red & Blacks winning the 2016 Varsity, 19-18. The Swans, however, came out on top 14-12 in a BUCS game in October courtesy of a last minute try. But Jones reckons the momentous occasion will bring out the best from his

team. “Varsity itself brings the pressure,” he explained. “All students realise that Varsity is the big occasion and the one everyone wants to play in. Playing in front of a big crowd, in front of a big stadium will bring more pressure for the individuals. “But I think the team can use it to their advantage and have a good day and enjoy the moment.” A question that naturally comes into debate is the stadium’s retractable roof. Recently, Six Nations chiefs denied Wales’s request to have the roof closed for their matches against England and Ireland. And it is a question that even Jones has been pondering. He said: “I have been thinking about the roof situation. It depends on the weather, though. The past few Varsity days have been in the sun so if it’s a nice, sunny day then the roof should be open. “But when the roof is closed the atmosphere is a lot more intense.”

Pictured: Women’s rugby in action at Welsh Varsity 2016, coming out 19-18 victors against Swansea. (Via Kelsey Rees)

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