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Advice: For Valentine’s Day, you share your tinder horror stories P12 >>

Science: The phobia of chewing, breathing and other everyday sounds P20 >>

gair rhydd y

gair rhydd | freeword Cardiff ’s student weekly Issue 1092 Monday 13th February 2017 Police and paramedics called to SU following coach incident

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Credit: Student’s Union

Majority of students fail to engage with student politics despite looming elections EXCLUSIVE Toby Holloway

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air Rhydd has conducted a survey investigating Cardiff University students’ interest in and awareness of student politics. In the run up to the student elections at the end of this month, the survey attempted to gauge how much of an involvement Cardiff University students have, or want to have in the future, in the student democratic system. The annual SU elections, which determine next year’s Students’ Union President, as well as the six Vice Presidential positions, have an infamously low turnout, with only 6,555 students voting in last year’s elections. Gair Rhydd’s survey aimed to discover how interested students were in student politics, and how important they thought it was in university

life. The survey also asked if students had attended any student politics events whilst at university, such as the Annual General Meeting (AGM) or a Student Senate meeting. Participants were also questioned over whether they would like to be more involved with student politics in the future. The results showed a lack of enthusiasm among most students for students politics, with 28.4 per cent of respondents ticking ‘1’ on a scaled of one to ten when asked: “How involved do you tend to get in student politics?”. This option was selected twice as much as any other option, the next two most selected options being ‘2’ and ‘3’. Only 75 of the 176 respondents selected an option above ‘3’, showing a definite lack of interest in engaging with student politics. However, around 42% of participants stated that they had attended a student politics event, the majority of whom had been to the AGM. A pop-

ular reason for attending the AGM was students’ representing their society, some stating the fact that they “had to” as three members from each society’s committee are required to attend. Other students attended in order to find out “what’s going on at uni” and one person stated that “Voting on policies is important to me at the student!”. A number of other students also singled out the fact that they were “interested” in the meeting as the reason for them attending it. Many students expressed opinions over how student engagement with SU politics could be improved. One said: “more university staff (lecturers, etc), encouraging voting and actually behaving as though it matters, because it does. maybe more publicity and an emphasis on student politics as central to university life rather than just as an aside for most.” Some mirrored this view, with one student saying: “I think it just needs a

greater awareness campaign, as most students don’t really know anything about student politics except the SU Presdident and other Sabbatical Officers! I don’t think it’s very clear what the scrutiny committee or student senate have the power to do unless you specifically look for it.” Another argued: “I don’t think engagement needs to improve, but I think the people involved to be more open minded. This in itself would improve engagement, for example I tend to not talk about politics because certain groups who disagree with me then become defensive and make me not want to participate.” Some felt that the world of student politics was difficult to penetrate, stating: “Easily accessible, explain to us HOW we should be engaging, what our engagement would mean.”

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olice and paramedics were called to Park Place at approximately 5pm on Monday February 6 in response to a coach driver’s concerns for three male passengers on the coach, who had passed out and appeared unresponsive. Further assistance was required whilst dealing with one of the three males who was being uncooperative with the officers who were merely trying to manage the situation. Shortly after the man in question was safely removed from the coach and put into an ambulance. All three males were admitted to hospital for further observation. Gair Rhydd has received no further comment from South Wales police as of yet. Updates to the situation will follow if any new information arises.

Welsh fashion brand partners homeless charity

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Cardiff based fashion brand, Two of A Kind is a new street style clothing brand which has vowed to go beyond making good clothing and has partnered with Welsh homelessness charity, The Wallich. The non-profit clothing brand will be selling jumpers at their Pop Up Shop event on February 17th and 18th taking place in Duke Street Arcade, Cardiff. All profits from the sale of jumpers will be donated to The Wallich which in turn will support its WISE program. WISE (Working in Sustainable Employment) is a project which supports homeless people helping them move into employment by delivering training, volunteering opportunities and work placements in order to give these participants their independence. Angharad Griffith, a third year University of South Wales Fashion, Marketing and Retail Design student is the creator of this project which was undertaken as part of her final major project.


2 EDITORIAL Gair Rhydd Coordinator Elaine Morgan Editor Maria Mellor 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 Copy Editors Molly Ambler Phoebe Grinter Conor Holohan Lydia Jackson Olivia Botting Hannah Woodward 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 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.

the free word People don’t have their life together as much as they seem to Don’t worry - you’re not the only one without a job yet Maria Mellor

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anic, stress and worry: the defining emotions of third year. Sure, some of it involves parties and general making the most of student life, but this week has taught me a lot about the general vibe third years are having around this time. This week the interviews for the annual The Times Final Year Student Survey took place. I’m pretty sure most final years were batting away desperate cries of ‘WILL YOU LET ME INTERVIEW YOU?’ I myself was an interviewer, and felt like I learned a lot about my peers. Namely, no one has their shit together yet. I don’t think anyone I interviewed has found a job yet, a few have plans to do a postgrad and a couple want to go travelling. I had thought that I was the only one not to have received any job offers yet. To anyone else thinking the same thing: you are not alone! The way I see it, it’s social media culture. We mould our social media

profiles to display the best version of ourselves, so we don’t get to see much of the panic, stress and worry of others. What does that make us believe? That we’re alone in our failures. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media. I couldn’t live without Facebook and would get major FOMO if I had a phone that didn’t let me have snapchat. LinkedIn is probably the worst for making it seem like everyone else has their lives totally sorted out, when in reality they’re trying to polish their turds of CVs. I think part of the reason why I have all the work experience I have is because I assumed that compared to everyone else I had nothing. Year after year, universities across the country churn out graduates all with the same single thought in mind: what the hell do I do now? We’re left with crippling amounts of debt, sent out onto the streets in search of a job, expected to fend for ourselves. We’re supposed to go headfirst into a nine-to-five career despite having spent the past three (or more) years indulging in naps and

lie ins wherever possible. If I’ve learned anything by now, it’s that things don’t always work out. What have we got to do? Lie down and die? NO! If you knock, knock me over, I will get back up again! (Yes, that was a song from the recent Trolls film, don’t judge me.) Get that experience, say yes to joining that society, help your mate in their election campaign! These things will all be your weapons against the horrors of graduate life. Your experience will be your shield. While companies raise their standards for what they want in a new recruit, stand confident in your abilities. Pretty much everyone is in the same boat as you. In the same way that social media has produced a rather unhealthy culture of vanity and plumage ritual, it also makes job hunting very different to what it was 20 or even 10 years ago. Aside from the big-name companies, it can be hard to differentiate between a genuinely wonderful job and some guy wanting a secretary for his home office. There are job adverts plastered all

over LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, all with undoubtedly dozens of random people who have already applied. I don’t even know what to think. I do know that I have seen quite a few that have been offering way below what could even vaguely be considered as a ‘living wage’, especially some based in London when they know they’ll have graduates begging for scraps from their tables, desperate for employment. Times change, and we change with them. Come summer we all will have graduated and will be set free from our bonds of education. We could be wandering aimlessly for a little while, or we could snap up a job straight away. There’s no way of knowing just yet, so I say there’s no use in worrying about it. This week in Gair Rhydd we have made some changes - six new copy editors have been hired in the hopes that fewer typos will slip under the net and that the paper will have a lasting legacy with more second and first years to rise up through the ranks. It’s all about that experience, yo.


EDITORIAL 3

Campus in Brief

Emily Giblett

Donald Trump could still recieve an invitation to speak in parliament during his state visit

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est Wales NHS could be set for an overhaul as £600m plans to transform the services currently in place are submitted soon to be submitted to the Welsh Government. The proposals, jointly submitted by Swansea University and the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg and Hywel Dda health boards, will seek to offer a long term solution to tackle the “huge pressure” that the NHS is currently under. Plans include reallocating places at Swansea’s Morriston Hospital to the sickest patients, and creating a life science research campus on the land adjacent to the hospital site. Plans from telecommunications giant BT to close iconic red phone boxes have caused outrage in communities across Wales. Now the organisation has come under further criticism after failing to open consultations in Welsh alongside English. Although BT later re-ran the consultation in Welsh, the fact that this rerun was only held in six counties has led critics to argue that this move categorises Welsh speakers as second class citizens. Phone box usage has declined by 90 per cent over the last decade. Despite BT’s plan to remove phone boxes that are not used, they are willing to leave them installed in areas where there is major opposition to their removal. Cardiff ’s City Road was closed for several hours on Wednesday, after a pedestrian was hit by a van near the junction with Kincraig Street. Emergency services were called to the scene and South Wales Police have confirmed that the pedestrian sustained minor injuries and was taken to the University Hospital of Wales. Bus routes were diverted whilst the road was cleared, and the road was reopened after around 25 minutes. A local business owner, interviewed by WalesOnline, said he rang the emergency services after witnessing the collision between a man crossing the road, and the van.

National The so-called Dubs Amendment, a law that aimed to offer support to some of the 90,000 migrant children currently residing in camps in EU, is set to change at the end of March, after helping only 350 children arrive in the United Kingdom. Lord Dubs, who designed the law after months of pressure on the government from the public to offer aid to migrants in the Calais jungle camp, has branded the decision “shameful”. Whilst there was no specific number specified in the legislation, campaigners had suggested that the law could allow the UK to help up to 3,000 of the most vulnerable. The pay gap between millennial men and women could be shrinking but only as a result of lower wages for a new generation of male workers, a new study has found. According to research by the Resolution Foundation, men born between 1981 and 2000 will have earnt £12,500 less than men born between 1966 and 1980 by the time they are 30. The change is attributed to a larger amount of men taking up what are considered as lower-skilled jobs such as bartending and working in retail, which has nearly doubled from 85,000 to 165,000 since 1993. Donald Trump could still receive an invitation to speak in parliament during his state visit, according to the Lord Speaker, Lord Fowler. Despite the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, suggesting that he would block any plans for the president of the United States to speak in Westminster Hall. Although Bercow has the power to block a speaker in the House of Commons, he has less power over what occurs within The Royal Gallery, where the House of Lords is held. Bercow came under fierce scrutiny from a number of Conservative MPs after taking the unprecedented step of speaking out against Trump last week.

International The number of monarch butterflies spending the winter in Mexico dropped by 27 per cent last year, according to a study released last Thursday. Experts say that the steep decline could be due to winter storms that blew down 100 acres of forests in the country. Millions of butterflies migrate from the US and Canada to forests in the west of Mexico City. Omar Vidal, head of the Mexico branch of the World Wildlife Fund, told the Guardian that the drop in numbers “is a clear reminder for the three countries that they must step up actions to protect breeding, feeding and migratory habitat.” Nine people in Russia have been detained after a nationwide manhunt for a hacking group who stole around one billion rubles from Russian bank accounts was launched. A total of twenty-seven people are now under investigation for hacking charges associated with the ‘Lurk’ hacking collective. According to ABC News, hackers were able to access the top levels of Russia’s ‘critical infrastructure’ including military bases. It is alleged that Russian hackers were also behind the alleged rigging of the US election in favour of Donald Trump. Two men who live-streamed a siege in a Michigan police station on Facebook were arrested last week. James Baker and Brandon Vreeland, self-proclaimed “independent police auditors”, entered the police station dressed in body armour and masks, and carrying a large rifle. In the video, the men are heard saying “We’re going to in and file a complaint because we were illegally pulled over an hour ago. We felt a little afraid for our lives when we were pulled over, so we figured we better protect ourselves”. Though it is not illegal to carry guns in Michigan, both men were charged with misdemeanours for the act.

Pictured: Iconic red phone boxes (Source: Neil Turner via Flickr)

The pay gap between millenial men and women could be shrinking


4 NEWS

news

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

Continued: Student politics survey Continued from front page

“ The Student Senate voted for a motion that will give campaign officers more publicity in the union in a hope to raise engagement.

The Student Senate voted for a motion that will give campaign officers more publicity in the union in a hope to raise engagement. When asked how important students believed student politics to be on a scale of one to ten, the majority of students selected ‘7’ as their choice, suggesting that despite a lack of engagement and awareness, many students do believe that student politics is important. This points towards issues over the way student politics at Cardiff University is structured, advertised and carried out, as many students do not feel engaged with the current system despite recognising the importance of having a democratic process at university. Another respondent highlighted student politics’ role in representing the student body to the wider world, saying: “[student politics] shapes the unions policy/outlook/future and also how Cardiff Students are to appear to the public as well as the media.” One also said: “How else can the union and university grow and change as students see fit? How else can we unite as a body of youths and academics to effect any change? How else can we create a safe, educated, informed, fair, and open-minded platform upon which to vie for the values we seek to promote and instil in the world?” This 3rd year student declared that they had been to many AGMs and student senate meeting, and rated the

importance of student politics as 10/10. One student, who claimed to be a student rep under VP Education, Mo Hanafy’s, leadership, expressed dissatisfaction with the sabbatical officer. They said: “Mo has been a useless VP Education but our little rep team has achieved amazing things totally independent of his ‘leadership’. If strong individuals appear in one place or another then great things happen - I can’t see how the SU politics has affected any part of my student life. “Essentially, it all depends on the people in each job, not the politics or how they got there.” The 1st year student also said that they had only attended the AGM because they were a student representative and “had to”, showing that even some of those most involved with student politics were dissatisfied with some of the ways in which the SU is being run. This Gair Rhydd survey, whilst valuable in representing student attitudes towards SU politics, must be taken with a pinch of salt, as some biases are likely to have occurred. For example, 42 per cent of respondents were in their 3rd year at Cardiff University, with only 11.3 per cent of those who participated declaring themselves 1st years. This may have affected the results as those students who have spent more time at university are more likely to be interested in and engage with student politics.

This being said, it is possible that if students from all ages were represented equally with more 1st years taking part in the survey, the results could show an even lower level of interest in and engagement with student politics. Additionally, the results could have been affected by the fact that students who are interested in politics are more likely to have responded to the survey, meaning that students’ interest in student powlitics could potentially be over exaggerated. Finally, Gair Rhydd asked partici-

pants if they would like to get more involved with student politics in the future. 42 per cent selected ‘no’, whilst another 38 per cent said ‘maybe’. Only 17 per cent of students said that they would like to get more involved with student politics in the future, suggesting that some effort must be made by the powers that be to get the student body more engaged with the politics that surround them. Failure to do this could result in another low turnout in the forthcoming student elections.

Would you like to get more involved in student politics in the future?

Yes (17.2%) Other (2%) Maybe (38.4%) No (42.4%)

Mo has been a useless VP Education but our little rep team has achieved amazing things totally independent of his ‘leadership’. Anonymous survey respondent

Congestion charge proposed for Cardiff’s city centre Anya Phillips

Pictured: Congestion Charge Sign (Photographer: mariordo59 via Flickr)

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walking charity has called for a congestion charge, along with a speed limit of 20mph, to be implemented in Cardiff city centre in order to help eliminate traffic, and combat pollution. Living Streets, a charity that promotes the action of ‘everyday walking’ to help try and moderate traffic-prone roads and pollution, have suggested that a road-charging system should be employed in busy and areas in Cardiff city centre. This would mean that drivers would be charged for entering certain parts of the city within particular time zones. The only other place this kind of system currently operates in within the UK is London, with motorists expected to pay a daily charge of £11.50 for entering the congestion zone between 7am and 6pm. This marks a dramatic increase from the initial daily rate of just £5, introduced by the then Mayor of London, Ken Livingston in 2003. This is not however the first time that such a charge has been suggested for Cardiff’s city centre, with similar proposals being put forward by the then dep-

uty council leader Ralph Cook in 2012. These proposals did however limit the charge to apply only to motorists coming from outside of the Welsh Capital. Proposals were however met with opposition from both members of the council and from citizens, who were sceptical about the necessity of a congestion charges in a medium-sized city, arguing that it would limit people’s travel flexibility. These concerns have since been dismissed by other Labour members of the council, and proposals have since recently resurfaced as a means of controlling traffic in the city centre. In addition to the congestion charge, the charity has also suggested that a 20mph limit should be instigated across the city, similar to that currently being trialled by the city council in areas such as Roath, Cathays and Riverside. Thus far, Living Streets have expressed their disappointment with such trials, claiming a speed limit needs to be enrolled throughout the city centre. The charity has also highlighted that both the proposed congestion charge and speed limit are just one of a number of ideas and pledges they

have cultivated, in attempt to encourage walking in Cardiff’s city centre. Other proposed initiatives include the creation of walking friendly centres throughout the city, while also introducing programmes that reward those walk or cycle to their workplace. Living Streets hope that the introduction and execution of these systems and charges will reduce air pollution, car dependency and traffic, whilst also raising money for walking and public transport campaigns and schemes. The charity have also asked that

all political parties prioritise walking initiatives in their manifestos, and are set to meet with politicians in the hope that they will sign their pledges in time for May’s election. Nerys Lloyd-Pierce, chair of Cardiff’s Civic Society, agrees that citizens need to reduce their reliance on cars, fearing that “the city’s population is set to grow, but our roads are already at capacity.” However, she also emphasised that the proposed congestion charge is “controversial”, and worries that it could result in the less well-off being penalized.

The city’s population is set to grow, but our roads are already at capacity. Nerys LloydPierce, chair of Cardiff’s Civic Society


NEWS 5

Cardiff man tried for murder after attacking girlfriend Boyfriend of Xixi Bi called police after critically injuring her Silvia Martelli

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he former boyfriend of a Cardiff Metropolitan University student who was killed on August 18 last year is being tried over allegations that he beat his girlfriend to death. Xixi Bi, a 24-year-old Metropolitan University student from China, was allegedly beaten to death by her boyfriend Jordan Matthews, 23, over the night of August 18 and the following day, was pronounced dead at 09:30 am at the University Hospital of Wales. Last Friday, Mr. Matthews appeared at Cardiff Crown Court where he pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his girlfriend, but denied murder. Miss Bi had started a masters in international hospitality and events management in July 2015, and spoke fluent English, French and Spanish. She had been with Mr. Matthews for 16 months and moved in with him in April 2015, supporting him financially. After that, her friends described her as becoming “quiet, withdrawn and submissive”. On the night of the incident, Shannon Pocknell, who lived above the couple in Ely Road, Llandaff, Cardiff, reported that at around 1.30am on August 19, she could hear Mr. Mat-

thews repeating “Why do you keep doing this?”, something she recalled him screaming on previous occasions. She described his tone of voice as “really shaky, like he was angry”. Throughout the night, Mrs. Pocknell heard “crying and whining”, and thuds and bangs. The crying kept going until 7am, when Mrs. Pocknell went to sleep. She stated she thought about calling the police but was scared that Mr. Matthews could hear her, as the walls of the flats were “paper thin”. At 9am, Mr. Matthews called 999, saying he had been “really, really horrible to his girlfriend” and that she was struggling to breathe, despite responding to the CPR he had given her. The paramedics arrived within minutes and found Miss Bi in cardiac arrest. Paramedic Craig Dunn later on described her as “lying on her back”, looking “very bruised and discoloured”. Mr. Matthews was arrested at the flat whilst the paramedics tried to revive his girlfriend. He told the police he got very angry after seeing a dating app on her phone, and “hit her around”. However, Paul Lewis, QC, prosecuting, told the court it did not appear that the app was installed nor that it had ever been.

Pictured: Cardiff Crown Court (Photo: Cardiff Crown Courts via Flickr)

Mr. Matthews added they had “make-up sex” after the beating and that, despite being a black belt in karate, he believed it was “nowhere near enough to kill her”. Miss Bi had suffered numerous and widespread bruises over her head, face, shoulders, chest, arms and legs,

which indicated multiple “blunt impacts” by fist, knee or foot. The bruises were so extensive that the doctors did not manage to give an opinion on the number of impacts she had suffered. Mr. Lewis described the attack as “vicious, sustained and prolonged”. The trial continues.

She described his tone of voice as “really shaky, like he was angry.” Shannon Pocknell, local

Welcome to the Hotel Can’t-afford-ya! Hotels in Cardiff raise their prices with the approach of the Six Nations matches being held at the Principality Stadium Emily Murray

Pictured: The Principality Stadium (Photographer: Gordon Plant via Flickr)

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otels around Cardiff are raising their prices with the approach of the Six Nations matches being held at the Principality Stadium. The annual hike in fees for accommodation in Cardiff comes as record numbers of rugby fans descend on the Welsh capital as the Six Nations comes to town. One of these hotels, The Village Hotel Club Cardiff, advertises that their room prices start from £70 per night. To stay in their “clubroom” on February 18, it

will cost you £132. However, if you want to book that same room just a week earlier, for a night’s stay on 11th February, it will cost you a hefty £702. That’s a £570 price difference, a staggering 431.82 per cent increase. The high price rise is due to arguably the most hotly anticipated Six Nations fixture - Wales vs England - taking place on that day. Whilst the 3 star Village Hotel Club Cardiff can be considered one of the more upmarket hotels in Cardiff, even the 2-star Big Sleep Hotel Cardiff is

ramping up its prices to £515 for 1 night’s stay in a Newly Deluxe Twin Room on February 11. If you wanted to stay in the same room just a week later, on Saturday 18th February, prices drop to £125. representing a £390 price increase during the weekend of the Wales vs England match - an inflation of 312 per cent. Visitors would also do well to avoid coming to Cardiff on March 10 when the Ireland v Wales game is on. In some cases the prices can get even higher:

a double room at The Village Hotel Club Cardiff for 1 night on 10th March would cost you £683. However, booking for the following week, on Friday March 17, would cost a mere £79. The price jump for the Six Nations in this case represents an increase of £604, or 764.56 per cent. One could theoretically take a week’s holiday in Amsterdam, renting out an entire home with Airbnb (flight included) for same price as one night’s stay in a Cardiff hotel. Having said that, even Airbnb hosts have been getting in on the action and increasing their prices. It’ll cost you around the £700 mark to stay in a double bed apartment in or around Cardiff for one night on February 11. According to Eleanor Kutylowski, in charge of UK external relations for Trivago, prices are set to continue to rise year on year. She stated that: “Whilst these results are comparable to those from the 2016 Championships, this year’s highest price increase of 345 per cent tops last year’s 317 per cent.” She also argued that Cardiff has been one of the worst affected cities in terms of hotel room price inflation, saying: “The effect is greatest in the smaller host cities: Cardiff, the least populated city of the six, shows the largest price increase while heavily populated London, Paris and Rome are amongst those with the smallest changes.”

Visitors would also do well to avoid coming to Cardiff on March 10 when the Ireland v Wales game is on


6

COMMENT

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

The invisible people: Cardiff’s homeless crisis

Caragh Medlicott

We see it with homeless people, we see it with the refugee crisis, by generating fear and anger towards those who are in need we can justify not giving help.

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t was a bright, beautiful day in Cardiff last May. I was walking back from town, about to go through the underpass by City Hall when I spotted a man, face-down, lying in the bushes at the side of the wall. I didn’t stop straight away, just slowed, quickly concluding from his ragged coat and long un-brushed hair he was homeless. Soon, a few others began to gather with me, we stood staring at the lifeless body. There was a sense of unease, fear even. Eventually one of the guys in the group approached the man, “mate?” he called, climbing onto the wall and crouching next to him, “mate, you okay?” There was a groan. “Ah, he’s breathing” – a symphony of sighs“stinks of booze. Just passed out drunk.” The group (me included) dispersed in relief, satisfied with this evidence. But I’ve thought about the incident a lot since; thought about how it might have gone if it was a man in a business suit, or a student with a bag full of books face-down and not moving. Would our help still have only extended as far as checking the passed out person was still alive and off we’d all pop to go about our day? Sadly, I think I know the truth. No. Much more would have been done. A phone would be searched for, emergency services contacted, compassion and concern given. Because to us, a nonhomeless person is still fully human, an individual with family and friends who care about them. It’s a brutal thing to admit to yourself - isn’t it? - That on some level you don’t think of homeless people, as people. But I’m afraid it’s probably true. How else could we live with it? Leaving a fellow human, cold, hungry, vulnerable and alone on the streets. Why else are these damaging narratives constructed

around homeless people- saying they are scum, lazy and have only themselves to blame? They come from guilt. It’s to make people feel better about walking past them each and every day. On the 31st of January people across the UK tuned into watch the first episode of the BBC documentary series ‘Cardiff: living on the streets’. The programme opens with the shocking statistic that the number of people sleeping rough in Cardiff has more than doubled in the last year. As with everyone I’ve spoken to who watched the documentary, I was deeply moved to see the personal stories of those without homes around Cardiff. I even found myself recognising the faces of many of those who appeared. The show did a great job of giving an insight into the identity and lives of those it featured, with this episode namely following “Smurf” (real name Stewart), Raymond and Dean. For me, one of the most horrifying moments took place when Smurf - trying to reach out to people who were out on the town for the weekend- was met with serious verbal (and near physical) abuse from a group of men. He was told ‘to get a life’ to ‘stop begging, you don’t need to beg’. The level of rage that seemed to accumulate in such a short space of time surprised me, but perhaps it shouldn’t have. These men became particularly angry because of the material items Smurf had which they perceived to be too nice for someone without a home. This is actually an idea that pervades our society- the concept that poor people shouldn’t have things -they should lack certain items in order to suitably qualify as “needy”. Deep down I think maybe the anger these men felt came from a want to blame

someone, to rid themselves of the sense that they should be doing something. It was easier for them to turn this responsibility back on Smurf and make themselves feel better. It’s not something unfamiliar to us, to blame those more vulnerable than ourselves for their own misfortune. We see it with homeless people, we see it with the refugee crisis, by generating fear and anger towards those who are in need we can justify not giving help. Homelessness can occur for numerous reasons, but generally it is rooted in the breakdown of relationships with friends and family which can leave people who are in desperate situations without any support network. Hence many young people on the streets are actually LGBT folk and have found themselves without help after receiving hostility from their families. Speaking to fellow students I found that many of us don’t always know how best to help those sleeping rough. I don’t think anyone likes to think of how many times they’ve said ‘no thank you’ to the Big Issue, how many times they’ve mumbled a ‘sorry’ at a request for change. Of course, no one person can single handedly change things. If I said yes to every Big Issue, gave change to every person sleeping rough I’d be broke by the end of the day. But a change in attitude, people trying to do more and telling people about what you’re doing, well that can make a difference. An article published on Wales Online quotes Danny, who is one of Cardiff’s many homeless people, saying - ‘Homeless people don’t just want your money […] we just want five minutes of your time, someone to speak to us’. This is confirmed by Ceri – a representative of the Wallich, a Welsh homeless charity-

she told me that a conversation and a cup of tea ‘can not only brighten up a day but help prevent existing mental health conditions from worsening’. This isn’t to say giving food or money isn’t helpful, of course it is and I’d even actively encourage it. But it’s worth considering the delivery too. Being friendly when you give these things, or even just approaching someone who looks a bit sad or lonely to see if they’d like a few minutes of your company. Both statistics from the Wallich and the Welsh government confirm an 83% increase in those sleeping rough in Cardiff. While we can’t solve a housing crisis in the blink of an eye, we can change how we treat those effected. The Wallich run a volunteer programme for those eager to help and details can be found on their website. If you’re in the city centre on the 17th or 18th of Feb why not stop by Two of a Kind, a pop up shop in the Duke Street Arcade- all profits will be going to Wallich. I’d recommend everyone download the Street link app which can be used to notify people with the proper resources of anyone who is sleeping in rough and in need. Don’t forget to check out other Welsh homeless charities such as Huggard and Shelter Cymru. It is even worth thinking about what companies you support, coffee shops such as Pret run some wonderful programmes which can benefit homeless people. Above all though, the most important thing we can do is to give our compassion to homeless people - whether that’s in giving away some old books, having a conversation, or even just a smiling and saying hello when you’re in a rush. Sometimes human-contact lifts mood more than any macchiato ever could.

Pictured: An image from the BBC programme, ‘Cardiff: Living on the Streets’. (Source: BBC iPlayer)

It’s a brutal thing to admit to yourself isn’t it? That on some level you don’t think of homeless people, as people.


COMMENT 7

Food for thought

When did ‘clean eating’ become so dirty? Lucy McDaid

I am one of too many people who have absorbed unrealistic depictions of healthiness

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ast Wednesday I went for a prosecco afternoon tea with my housemates. It was a birthday surprise, and a great one too. We went on a 2-4-1 cocktail crawl (basic) and ended the evening in the chippy. Photos were posted on Instagram, the whole occasion was documented on Snapchat, and the only thing missing was a ‘Boomerang’ of clinking prosecco flutes. The best bit? The fact that I managed to go out on a Wednesday afternoon and have genuine, guilt-free FUN (almost guiltfree, anyway). If only most experiences like this weren’t plagued with guilt as a result of disordered eating and anxiety. I have set upon a mission (admittedly only on the sixth day) to selfheal and assassinate the demons that have been inhabiting me for too long. I stand firm that one of the main reasons for this is social media and the subsequent exploding health and fitness community. I am not the first person to admit this, and I hope more people will realise that it’s not identity-destroying to do so. I would like to set the record straight from the outset, though. In no way do I criticise the people who contribute to this community. I quite often discover a new ab workout on Instagram that burns brilliantly, but I am now one of too many people who have absorbed these unrealistic – and quite often untruthful - depic-

tions and punish myself every single day for not looking the way social media suggests to me I should. I am in no way advocating a nationwide boycott of social media. For every troll, hoax and ‘how to lose a stone in a day’ page, there is something amazing happening to counterbalance the bad. Remember the Paris terror attack in November 2015? People used hashtags on Twitter to promote shelter for as many victims as possible. Campaigns for the terminally ill go viral every day and raise both awareness and essential funds. I am currently writing this article and simultaneously snapchatting friends with stupid filters and triple chins. Social media is fantastic. But some aspects can be harmful if not taken with the pinch of salt that they need to be. We need to learn that life is quite simply not as ab-tastic and wrinkle-free as social media portrays it to be, and we should absolutely embrace that fact. In 2017, it is virtually impossible to browse your favourite apps and not see someone’s workout routine or poached eggs on toast. There seems to be a growing popularity for ‘what I eat in a day’ videos by vloggers, and I don’t think I have many friends who haven’t tried that endlessly promoted detox tea that actually just makes you shit loads. Celebrities post photos of cocktails with the hashtag ‘#cheatday’ (wait a second, cocktails are only

allowed on cheatday?) and fitness gurus post photos of unbelievable physiques in gym mirrors with captions about how they are ‘back in the gym’ to work off those ‘cheatday’ calories – or convert them into ‘gains’, sorry. This is not a criticism of certain diets or lifestyle choices, but somebody has to stand up for the people who absorb these messages and now believe that body image is more important than being spontaneous and enjoying life. Unfortunately I am one of those self-indulged, uptight – and yes occasionally extremely moody people on a night out – who believes this to be true. Where on earth did I get that from? An article was posted recently about Brooklyn Beckham eating a baguette. I don’t need to tell you who posted that. Brooklyn’s ab-workout video hit over a million views the previous day and the daily newspaper claimed that he then tucked into a ‘HUGE baguette’ without ‘health fanatic parents’. What the f*** is wrong with baguettes? So many things were wrong with this article, and if you struggle with eating disorders or any related mental health issue, then this could be seriously damaging. Also, yes a workout is only ‘4%’ of my day – as social media keeps telling me – but sometimes I would rather spend that time drinking wine and eating cake. At the start of 2017, the hashtag

‘gainingweightiscool’ was trending. HALLELUJAH. One of the points here was to prove that if making memories with friends and family over Christmas meant missing the gym, gaining a few pounds and losing some muscle, then so be it. Believe it or not, a happy soul is also important. If you are going to make some gains anywhere, then start here first. This is what I am trying to do. I am still going to the gym – in fact I am sat in gym gear right now – but I am telling myself every single day that I will only go for the right reasons. Sweating in the gym makes me feel great, and exercise has always been a part of my life, but I have developed an obligation to go and an unbearable guilt if I don’t. The next time I wake up and cannot be bothered, or my friends spontaneously ask if I want to go to the pub, I vow to ditch the gym if it doesn’t fit in that day and know that I am not lazy or undisciplined, but a great advocate of balance (go me). I should also unfollow some fitness pages on social media, purely to rid my life of an influence that hasn’t affected me in a wholly positive way. I am elated to be releasing these thoughts at a time when the fitness community seems to be responding to these issues, but I still think that a lot needs to be done. I have also changed my mind about the gym, I can’t be arsed today.

Pictured: Does anybody even like this stuff?! (Source: Jo via Flickr).

It is impossible to browse your favourite apps and not see someone’s workout routine or poached eggs on toast.


8

COMMENT

Time for a change? As Capaldi moves on, is it time for a female or black doctor? Mélissa M Azombo

Mr Moffat has dropped all the hints. Is it time for a woman to play The Doctor or someone of a different race?

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hovians (fans of the hit longest running sci-fi series Doctor Who) worldwide, have expressed their disappointment at Peter Capaldi’s announced departure. A few weeks ago, on BBC Radio 2, he told Jo Whiley it would be his last season stating “I’ve never been in the same job for 3 years,” with his last episode planned for Christmas 2017, Christopher Eccleston style. This news came just a few days after the devastating news that Sir John Hurt had passed away. Among his incredible career playing Olivander in the Harry Potter films and featuring in Alien, he played The War Doctor in 50th Anniversary special The Day Of The Doctor. This was where Peter Capaldi made a surprise first appearance. Three years later, Peter Capaldi has called time on playing the Time Lord. During his tenure, he delivered the inspiring speech from episode The Zygon Inversion, from Series 9, proving his acting chops and fitting for the time (being around the time of the Paris attacks of 13th November 2015). This, alongside companion Clara played by Jenna Coleman, who herself had a go at a type of portrayal of The Doctor, in Series 8 episode Flatline. This was to be taken as Moffat hint number 1. Steven Moffat has been the showrunner of Doctor Who since Russell T Davies’ departure in 2010. He announced last year that he

would be stepping down from this role with Broadchurch’s Chris Chibnall set to take over. While still writing away, Moffat introduced Doctor Who a newly regenerated Master in the form of Missy, “short for Mistress”. This, as The Master, last seen as John Simm had regenerated into a woman played by Michelle Gomez. The general in Series 8 finale Hell Bent also regenerated into a woman, who was black. Mr Moffat has dropped all the hints. Is it time for a woman to play The Doctor or someone of a different race? All 13 other Doctors have been white men. Will series 11 bring such a change? Ratings for the show have notably dropped since David Tennant left as The 10th Doctor. Chris Chibnall may have this in mind when he takes over and may want to change things up to try and improve this. However, viewing behaviours have changed over time, with more people delaying viewing with the introduction of BBC iPlayer. Furthermore, BBC iPlayer views are not counted in the overnight figures. Less and less people are watching television now. So, in actual fact, ratings may not affect who is cast as The Doctor (or hypothetically the next companion). If race or gender was to be disregarded when casting The Next Doctor, who could it be? Helena Bonham Carter has played many roles, including Bellatrix Lest-

Pictured: Peter Capaldi recently announced that he will leave his role as the 12th Doctor after the 2017 Christmas special. (Source: Gage Skidmore via flickr)

range in Harry Potter. She no doubt has the skills to portray the wondrous character of The Doctor. Eddie Redmayne has been a popular choice but he will be busy with the next four Fantastic Beasts films for many years to come, so perhaps he could play the 20th Doctor? Richard Ayoade has also appeared on the list of possible Doctors in the past. The geeky character Moss he played in The IT Crowd shows he could fit right into the role of The Doctor. So, what’s stopping from the BBC? Ultimately, fans want The Doctor to be The Doctor. They want the actor to feel like the right actor. However, if casting director Andy Pryor goes by what the

fans want when casting, the show may not change, as some do not want the show to move on from the 60s, commenting it’s always been a white male Doctor, so it should always stay that way. A minute on Twitter or the Doctor Who Facebook groups will show you that. Some even think it would ruin the show if a female Doctor was cast. So, what can we expect for the casting of the next Doctor? Amidst all the speculation, rest assured Peter Capaldi is not leaving our screens for another 11 months. So, as Series 10 is set to start on 15th April, watch this space (and time) for further updates.

Some even think it would ruin the show if a female Doctor was cast. So, what can we expect for the casting of the next Doctor?

English classes for immigrants aren’t the answer Harry Heath

In typically reactionary fashion, a cross-bench group of MPs decided that newcomers to Britain should either learn English prior to their arrival

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hen Theresa May quipped that “if you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere”, she merely added her name to the already sizeable list of Prime Ministers who have sought to define themselves as embodying national identity. Her predecessor David Cameron had declared that multiculturalism had failed and adherence to sacred British values was the paramount ingredient to the creation of a truly cohesive society. The Casey Review into opportunity and integration found that the levels of social segregation in some areas of Britain are worrying and suggested an increase in English classes for socially isolated groups. In typically reactionary fashion, a cross-bench group of MPs decided that newcomers to Britain should either learn English prior to their arrival or attend compulsory classes once they are here, concluding that speaking English proved “the key to full participation in our society and economy”. Such calls are not unfounded, migrants who are unable to speak the national language make up some of the lowest paid workers in Britain. When Labour MP Chuka Umunna describes integration as a “two-way street” he is also correct: foreign nationals benefit from state education, infrastructure and public services and

in turn gain employment, start businesses and make a net contribution to the exchequer.The objection that one has to demand that migrants take more language lessons is not whether or not this is a justifiable expectation but rather that they already do. The latest census figures show that of the eight percent of those in Britain that do not speak English or Welsh as their first language, over ninety percent can speak English. The actual figure is that 138,000 people in Britain do not speak English. Of that number a considerable amount will be children as the census considers people over the age of three. The evidence also suggests that a majority of the remainder are currently in the process of learning the language, something that those of us who studied foreign languages will accept is no easy task. For most migrants to Britain, learning English is a primary means to their social mobility, and is realised to be so mostly by the migrants themselves. The demands made by public figures is an impressively tenuous attempt to ride the wave of public opinion on immigration as a whole. Successive governments have overseen rises in net migration to Britain because of the economic benefits, something the British public never consented to. Mass immigration for many it is considered something that happened to them; the topic consistently leads

as the highest concern in opinion polls and of course played a vital role in the Brexit vote. They masses want their country back, their sovereignty back, the need to ‘control’ immigration back – control immigration in the sense that control is synonymous with ‘stop’.If they were honest, the Little Englanders would admit that if their desperate pleas of ‘wanting their country back’ were to be implemented as policy, migrants without grasp of perfect English would be on the first boat home. Engaging in idle talk about our expectations of newcomers is to have the debate on the terms of the isolationist right who are certain that immigration has caused nothing but misery to British nationals. In his disdain for Johnny Foreigner the Little Englander suffer from doublethink, a contradiction in his own mind. This contradiction is that immigrants are both not integrated sufficiently and must have language tests imposed on them, yet also be too integrated so that they are stealing jobs and lengthening queues for services. An increase in state-funded language classes will by no means worsen social cohesion but to suddenly shift focus to language is to side-step the actual issue which is public concern over immigration numbers. Speaking the national language of the country

Pictured: MPs have suggested that all immigrants coming to the UK should have to learn English. (Source: Dave Catchpole via flickr)

you live in will of course improve opportunities to form social relationships and find employment in an already competitive labour market, although after uprooting themselves and moving to Britain to better their lives and those of their families, migrants will be more than aware of this without the advice of MPs. What increasing state-funded language classes will not do however is change the way that many angry Brexiteers and Ukippers perceive the citizens of the world who would be forced to take them.

In his disdain for Johnny Foreigner the Little Englander suffer from doublethink, a contradiction in his own mind


COMMENT 9

Should political messages have a place in sport? Andrea Gaini

The power of the media has grown exponentially giving it almost total control over the people’s mind

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n the night that proclaimed the New England Patriots champions of the 2016 season of NFL, the NGR Stadium in Houston saw another bright star shining on the field during the halftime break: Lady Gaga. After last year’s incredible execution of the National Anthem the NFL decided earlier this year to give the half-time show space to Lady Gaga, who did not disappoint. In 13 minutes, she took the audience on a journey through the biggest hits of her career such as “Poker Face”, “Born This Way” and “Bad Romance”. However, her incredible performance has not been the only reason for her popularity online and in the news. Lady Gaga started off the half-time show by singing “God Bless America”, but combined with the song “This Land is Your Land” by Woodie Guthrie which is considered to be a song of protest against racism in the 1950s. Additionally, during the song “A Million Reasons” Gaga walked through the audience and stopped to hug an African-American girl while singing the words “I want you to stay”. These two moments have been considered, by some journalists, as a political message of unity and acceptance in this particular moment of American history. Some have also questioned the appropriateness of political state-

ments like hers, during one of the most important events of the year in the United States. Lady Gaga said earlier this week that she had no intention to express any statements during the half-time show “apart from the one that she has been supporting throughout her entire carrier”. As a matter of fact, Lady Gaga has always been a very strong supporter of LGBT rights and women’s rights as well as integration and equality. The political and cultural context in which Lady Gaga and everyone else are immersed shapes our vision of the world and the sentiments we feel. Music, as well as any other types of art, are the expression of these sentiments through a vehicle that helps us to interact with other people and exchange different opinions. Any kind of art that doesn’t aim to express emotion will never really provoke the same feelings. The famous French painter Eugene Delacroix, for example, while painting “Liberty Leading the People” was, in his words, “painting for his country” to express his sentiment of pride and patriotism for his country, which had just defeated a new form of authoritarianism that could have taken away what they had gained during the French Revolution. Furthermore, the question of whether the Super Bowl was an ap-

Pictured: Lady Gaga performed during the Super Bowl LI halftime show. (Source: Texas.713 via flickr)

propriate platform in which to express political views or not raises other issues. When we consider the world we live in today, it seems like any context has now become subject to political influence. In fact, the power of the media has grown exponentially giving it almost total control over the people’s mind. For example, being represented in the media, no matter how badly, has now become essential to the success of a political campaign i.e. Donald J. Trump. In the past, only a very limited part of the population could take part in the political conversation, nowadays

with the growth of the internet and social media anyone can express their opinion and take part in the political discussion, which is absolutely not a bad thing. However, people are now required to look at the world in a much more critical way in order to recognise where the media is trying to influence us and whether we want to be influenced or not. In my opinion, Lady Gaga’s performance should be considered the application of her right to freedom of speech within her role as a public figure. By doing so she has shared a message of love and equality for all.

Inclusive policy risks encouraging further division Lucy McDaid

Firstly, transphobia is unacceptable and Sussex University’s attention to gender inclusivity is commendable. No human being should be made to feel inferior

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t the start of 2017, Sussex University’s Students’ Union announced their new gender inclusive policy. The policy requests that individuals state their gender pronoun at the start of any activity in the union, whilst the use of gender neutral vocabulary such as ‘them’ and ‘they’ must be used in all other circumstances where gender identities have not been confirmed. The union has essentially requested to dismiss the use of ‘he’ and ‘she’ wherever possible. According to The Independent, this comes as a result of ‘students’ requests to help prevent transgender discrimination on campus.’ The union is supposedly ‘one of the first in the country to promote the use of gender-neutral language’ but a number of other universities are said to be considering similar action too. The policy extends to all areas of student media and the entire population of staff and students that use the union. One cannot help but think though, is this just another example of political correctness taken too far? Firstly, transphobia is unacceptable and Sussex University’s attention to gender inclusivity is commendable. No human being should be made to feel inferior, and this applies to every form of discrimination that exists today. In spite of the recognition that the union deserves though, no decision is made without its controversy. Some will disagree with the decision to request gender neutral pronouns, and some will particularly disagree with

the decision to determine the gender identity of each individual at the start of a meeting. It must be said that even some people who wholeheartedly believe in the prevention of gender discrimination will likewise agree with this controversial opinion. The ruling encourages division instead of inclusivity and will most definitely cause unnecessary discomfort and pressure. A new pronoun – or at least a revision of gender pronouns – is undeniably essential for the absolute equality of gender non-binary peoples, however this new identification process is assumptive and insensitive. It invites far too many queries and concerns for it ever to be wholly effective, and aims to adapt a language that is societally ingrained. As a society we want to remove gender discrimination, and this update of policy will cause controversy and division, potentially bringing those who discriminate to the forefront. The official website for Sussex University students explains that the policy intends to ‘promote the inclusion of non-binary individuals and transgender people’ and to ‘avoid making assumptions about anyone’s gender identity.’ The explanation concludes with a ‘glossary of basic terms’, which one cannot help but think is potentially quite isolating for the people it directs attention to. Time should be spent educating people and encouraging gender inclusivity and equality for all. In an ideal world, policies would not need to be put in place to ensure

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

that people are respectful and sensitive to others. Whilst there is no doubt that this policy has been introduced with the best intentions, it is difficult not to read without thinking about the other assumptions that are often made about identities. This excludes – and possibly even underestimates – the other types of discrimination that have equally long-lasting effects on individuals. Just like someone with mental health issues or learning difficulties may not want to assert these at the start of a meeting, trans individuals may not feel comfortable being expected to do so either, especially if they are at a difficult stage in their journey. The policy may consequentially force people to feel pressured into lying about their gender identity, causing a mental distress that nobody needs, and not to mention a complete contradiction of purpose. This opinion is admittedly formed by someone perhaps too naïve to comment, however

every individual should feel comfortable to correct others or assert their gender identity confidently. This type of action should not become a policy, and is at risk of being labelled authoritarian. Another issue is that, no matter how discriminatory one may perceive the use of ‘he’ and ‘she’ to be, it is unfortunately not possible to immediately dismiss their usage from everyday language when most people use them without discriminatory intent. People will most likely continue to harmlessly use them and are now potentially at risk of expulsion if they do. We are at great risk of reaching a stage in society where the fear of political correctness prevents people from freely communicating. Instead of forcing people to adhere to policy, we should continue to encourage equality and support through education and awareness. Subjects such as gender and sexuality should be discussed without needing a university policy to ensure their consideration.

Another issue is that, no matter how discriminatory one may perceive the use of ‘he’ and ‘she’ to be, it is unfortunately not possible to immediately dismiss their usage


candidate question time ASK YOUR POTENTIAL REPRESENTATIVES AND LEADERS QUESTIONS BEFORE VOTING OPENS MONDAY 20 FEBRUARY. TWO EVENTS WHERE YOU CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT CANDIDATES AND THEIR POLICIES. Tuesday 14 February – 18:00 Julian Hodge Lecture Theatre Vice President Education, Vice President Heath Park, Vice President Societies, Vice President Welfare, Black and Ethnic Minorities Officer, Students with Disabilities’ Officer, and Mental Health Officer. Thursday 16 February – 18:00 Julian Hodge Lecture Theatre Students’ Union President, Vice President Sports, Vice President Postgraduates, and International Students’ Officer.

CARDIFFSTUDENTS.COM/ELECTIONS


HEL ON EARTH

11

Buried treasure

What I would put in a university time capsule Helena Hanson

Perhaps they will have pioneered some revolutionary technology that allows you to hold more than four VK’s in hand at any one time.

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trange things happen in the world every day. Sometimes, really strange things happen. Over the past month, a family in Idaho woke up to find a moose had snuck into their wine cellar at night, Russia erected a statue of a giant cockerel made from poo, and in the most British news to have ever left the UK, an iceberg lettuce shortage has swept the nation, and broccoli is now rationed in all supermarkets. In other strange, painfully British news, construction workers have accidentally dug up a Blue Peter time capsule…thirty-three years earlier than planned. Not only did they dig it up, they then attempted to destroy it. Thinking they’d discovered treasure (yes, really) they endeavoured to break into the capsule by going at it with anything they could find, including hammers, shovels and eventually...a forklift. Then, just when you think the story cannot possibly get any more ridiculous, they gave up and dumped the 1998 Millennium Dome time capsule in a skip. Credit where it is due, good old Rich and Katy from Blue Peter did not let us down with that capsule. It is quite literally spewing beautiful, tacky, plastic 90s goodness. It was buried back in 1998, and in case you can’t remember being two or three years old, this was the prime of the 90s. Saving Private Ryan, The Truman Show and Bugs Life were all in the cinema, Titanic was making a clean sweep at the Oscars and Buffy the Vampire Slayer was the best thing on television. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was the book on everybody’s bedside table and we were snuggled up in our Groovy Chick bedding with our Furby tucked under one arm and our

Baby Born snuggled under the other. ‘Pretty fly for a white guy’ was the track blasting from our Sony Walkmans, Boyzone were still sexy and crimped hair, flared jeans and crop tops were what defined the decade. The capsule was pretty reflective of a 90s childhood. A Teletubby, a Blue Peter pin, a Tamagotchi, roller blade wheels and a Roald Dahl book all made it in. There was also some symbolic pieces, a picture of a dove to represent peace in Northern Ireland, and a photograph of Princess Diana to remember her a year on from her death. In thinking about the premature discovery of Richard and Katy’s time capsule, I began wondering what I would put in a time capsule of my own. A capsule of student culture, and student living, that could be dug up in years to come by students of a new era. Without a doubt, first and foremost in the capsule would be an orange VK. The primary symbol of student life at Cardiff University. I can only hope that students of the future will continue to drink the golden, syrupy, sugary goodness that is the orange VK, but nothing is certain. Perhaps they will have pioneered some revolutionary technology that allows you to hold more than four VK’s in hand at any one time, or perhaps that prevents immediate spillage when they are inevitably dropped on the floor. I’d throw in a library book, with an angry library fine sellotaped to it. Who knows? Perhaps the future of the physical library is unclear. With 95% of my required and additional reading now available online, perhaps the future sees no room for a physical room of books. Perhaps, even, student minds will have im-

proved so far that they have created a way to complete university whilst avoiding compulsory reading all together. What a future. I’d include a wristband ticket to Tiger Tiger, Pryzm and Popworld. There’s not a chance in hell that these new, exciting, innovative young people of the future would set foot in such venues, and therefore they will exist only as a memory. A tacky, ugly, golden memory, stuck forever in a capsule. It will include a flyer for Live Lounge, which will remain as sticky, sweaty and grubby as ever, but will somehow inevitably live on for the rest of eternity. The only thing that will change for Live Lounge between now and the future is the flyer. My imagination physically cannot comprehend a future in which Live Lounge does not serve £2 doubles and dad-bands don’t perform the exact same setlist. You just know that in 2095 students will still be fist pumping towards the stage to ‘Stacey’s Mom’, ‘Mr Brightside’ and something, or anything, by Oasis. Probably ‘Wonderwall’. Definitely ‘Wonderwall’. Of course, there would be a copy of Gair Rhydd, and a copy of Quench and a copy of student media’s pitiful budget. Students of the future will celebrate us for our creativity and innovation during times of hardship and perhaps they’ll dedicate a future issue to us? A whole newspaper? A

shrine? I would even print out my favourite collection of articles from ‘The Tab’. At the top of the pile would be the piece from George Lawlor who spewed a colourful piece of garbage entitled “Why I don’t need consent lessons” ft. a picture of him holding up a sign saying “this is not what a

rapist looks like”. For good measure I’ll include a packet of pins and some matches, you know, just in case. I’d include a varsity ticket, a student card, a scrapbooked filled to the brim of all our favourite memes. A Talybont laundry card to remind them that we had to take out a mortgage to do our washing and a photograph of Taly-North so they can understand what genuine poverty looks like. A flyer from when Wednesday night was still called the Lash and a pub crawl t-shirt that named all our favourite stops. There would be a photograph of Germaine Greer, a photograph of Trump, of Theresa May (pins already included), of pregnant Beyoncé sat in a flowerbed and of Shia LaBeouf when he watched all of his own movies back to back. There would be a photograph of Harambe, surrounded by the voting cards of all those thousands that actually voted for a dead gorilla in the 2016 US election. Finally, a copy of our university fees, and more importantly, our debts. Perhaps they will shriek in horror, or perhaps they will gasp that we had it all so good. I’d love to have my Cardiff University time capsule brought to me, in one hundred years time when I’m 121 years old and waiting around to die. I could reminisce varsity, and the lash, and how I used to dance on the stage in Live Lounge with a pint of white wine, as I pored over old copies of Gair Rhydd with my wrinkly, little old lady hands. I could be rest assured that if I haven’t died before 121, drinking a 100 year old VK and re-reading articles from The Tab would probably, finally, finish me off.

Pictured: Back to the Future. (Photographer: Mike Licht).

There would be a photograph of Germaine Greer, of Trump, of Theresa May, of pregnant Beyonce sat in a flowerbed.


12 ADVICE

advice

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

It’s never too late: A guide to dating apps Are you a tinderella or bumbling useless? Pictured: Bute library getting festive. Photographer: Anwen Williams

George Watkins

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t’s 2017, and like many people, I am single, so a while back I decided to embark on a journey of discovery through the mad world of dating apps. Here’s my top three. 3. Happn. The premise is simple here: you save on the effort of trawling through endless people in your area by being notified when you walk past someone who also has the app. It feels creepy, and that’s because it really is. It gives you a location of where you crossed paths, what time the meet

happened, how often you have crossed paths since, not to mention giving you the ability to talk to them if you both swipe the right way. It would feel wrong to give this any higher than a solid 3/5. It is easy to use, and an entertaining idea. 2. Bumble. Relatively new to the dating scene, Bumble was founded by Whitney Wolfe, one of the co-founders of Tinder. She was ejected from the company, and this app very much feels like an attempt to get her own back. It feels familiar, despite being bumblebee

themed, and using yellow as its primary colour, and the reason is simple: it is a rebranded version of Tinder with a slight twist. The girl has to make the first move, and if they don’t chat within 24 hours, you’re unmatched. For samesex couples, either can send the first message. It is nice, in theory, but with Tinder still the main dating app used, it struggles to shore up as a real competitor for me, so I gave it 4/5. 1. Tinder. You could have guessed without reading this far. The classic is

still the best. Despite the frustrations of being treated like a second-class user without Premium membership, it is still the foremost dating app out there, particularly for students, as you are guaranteed to know a lot of people on it. Whether that’s a good thing or not is up to you. If you want to put yourself out there, but are unsure about going in the deep end with a more niche app, I would say give Tinder a try. Who knows, you could become a true TInderella. 4/5.

Tinder Horror Stories The good, the bad, and the ugly George Watkins

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llie: My one and only tinder date ended with him trying to feel me up in a packed bar. After he puts his hand up my skirt, I run to the loo, remembering I’m on my period. I make the excuse that my sister’s cat has run away. I hear him going “urgh” as he realises he has my period blood on his hand. And that is why I’m never using tinder again. Anonymous: I matched with a girl last year and thought things were going really well, until one day she messaged me asking if I was into kinky

stuff. I asked what she meant, expecting less than the confession that she had a sex swing in her student house. Needless to say I panicked and deleted her. I still see her every so often. Sarah: Last year I matched with a guy on tinder and straight away he asked for sex. Usually I would have just left it but I was with my housemates at the time and they persuaded me to make the most of the situation. I told him I was available and that he should take my number but instead I gave him my heterosexual friend,

Josh’s number, who is a foreign student and didn’t have a UK number at this point. Next thing I know this guy is asking for my email address, and he’s messaging Josh asking for nudes and we’re all getting messages from a very confused Josh. My housemates would not let this go and persuaded me to give it to him and play around a little. I did the standard ‘I’ll send you one if you go first’ move and next thing you know I have an email from him. All my housemates were in my room at this point eagerly anticipating the open-

ing on the email. I opened it to find a picture of a very, very crooked penis. I’ve seen penises before and I knew straight away, that this was most definitely NOT what a penis should look like. Imagine a twig snapped in half, this is what I was seeing. As promised, I sent a picture back to him - only this was a creepy picture of Josh with the caption, ‘go to the doctors.’ I deleted tinder a few hours after and have never spoken to or run across the guy thankfully. My housemates refer to it as ‘The Tale of the Crooked Cock.’

Who knows, you could become a true Tinderella.


ADVICE 113

Gifts on a budget Are you tight or just a student? Sarah Harris

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alentines Day seems great when you have a partner and are in a happy relationship but the impending issue of what to get your partner is always a pain. I love Valentines Day but the first two months of the year always leave my bank account dry with it being my mothers birthday, my parents and also mine and my boyfriends anniversary’s and to follow, my boyfriends AND housemates birthday. Having maxed out my price limits earlier this month, I asked my boyfriend if we could just stick to sentimental or cheap presents this year. I am the worst person to shop for and never give any hints so he was pretty happy about not having to spend hours trying to conjure up ideas for a present. Over the last week I’ve been scouring

the Internet for presents on a budget and found a few decent ideas – 1. If you’re totally broke give your partner a coupon book. Yeah, it sounds pretty cheesy but ‘1 coupon for me to clean your dishes’ or ‘1 coupon for me to tidy your room’ can be pretty romantic when you’re a student and drowning in coursework. 2. Groupon actually has some pretty sweet deals. Browse the Cardiff deals and you can get discounts on flowers or chocolates. I found a great deal to name a star after your partner so if you want to be totally corny on the big day, you can point up at a totally random star in the sky and drop a smooth line like ‘your star shines almost as bright as you.’ (I apologize to anyone who does have to hear this specific line)

3. I asked a friend what she wanted for her birthday a couple of months ago. She asked for something sentimental and after weeks of thinking, I stumbled across a cute box in TKMaxx for only $3 and decided to give her a box full of letters. This is probably the second cheapest thing you’ll be able to do bar the coupon book but I know my friend sure loved it and if your partner wants something sentimental then this will be perfect for them too. 4. Pretty much everyone I know loves food and if a guy turned up at my house with a box full of doughnuts instead of a bouquet of flowers on Valentines Day, I would be over the moon. Again TX-Maxx has a great selection of cheap boxes of chocolate or if you want to be a little fancy for the day, get your partner

a box of macaroons or hey, you can even make your own box of truffles or chocolate coated strawberries at home – tastemade has some great recipes on their website! 5. Last but not least, if you have a little more money to spare or have been saving up so your loved one – book a little getaway for the both of you. There’s a whole bunch of websites other than the typical Groupon that have great deals for holidays in the UK or in Europe. Canopy & Stars is a personal favorite of mine. Valentine’s Day isn’t all about the presents but it can be nice to be spoiled a little on the day but if you’re seriously completely out of ideas and very broke, just wrap yourself in a ribbon and turn up at your partners door – I’m sure they’ll appreciate just being with you.

Valentine’s Day isn’t all about the presents but it can be nice to be spoiled a little.

How to boss Valentine’s day alone It doesn’t have to be a drag

Sanya Arora

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alentine’s day is just around the corner. If you’re single like me, you probably detest me for bringing up the most-hated ‘V-word’ for all the non-committed people. It’s already bad enough seeing all the cute teddy bears, heart-shaped chocolates, bouquets of red roses and giant cards in shop windows, not to mention constantly being reminded about this dreaded day. However, just because you don’t have that special someone in your life to celebrate Valentine’s day with, doesn’t mean that you need to mope about it. There are plenty of things which you can do to make your day

memorable. Here are some of them: Get together with your single pals and go out- and celebrate the fact that you all have more time to concentrate on friendship. Couples tend to spend much more time with each other and hardly have time for their friends. If all your friends are in relationships and you don’t have any single mate to go out with, do not fret. Order food from your favourite restaurant and watch “Friends”- Or any other comedy TV show, for that matter. A good night with a lot of laughs is guaranteed. Since you are saving a lot of money by not having to buy a present for

your partner, pamper yourself. Gift yourself something that you have been wanting for long but never actually bought. Go for a solo trip. Embrace the fact that you are single and are free to do whatever you want. There are no discussions or arguments, you are able to have your way every time! Enjoy the feeling of independence. Eat a lot of chocolate! So what if someone didn’t buy it for you, get a box yourself and indulge. Chocolate is bound to make you feel better. Write a love letter to yourself and preserve it. A few years down the line, reading it will definitely make you nostalgic. And it’s a great thing

to show your future husband and kids! Volunteer at an orphanage or oldage home. The feeling of bringing a smile to someone else’s face is priceless. It will also make you thankful for all that you have. Play loud music and dance to your heart’s content. Who says that you need someone else to have fun? Finally, remember that you are not alone. There are so many singles out there enjoying Valentine’s day. Whether you keep yourself busy or have a quiet evening at home, enjoy your time and remember: it’s just one day of the year after all!

sales, so you might get lucky, Jewellery is what every desperate man on the eve of the 13th or after work on the 14th will be after, in a last ditch attempt to salvage a decent stash of brownie points. For the best discount, don’t go down this route whatsoever. Stores will ramp up prices in anticipation of Valentines, and knowing that suckers will pay whatever they charge.

Look for something else. Tailor the present to the person. It’s more likely to be well received if it’s meaningful, instead of a random heart tacked onto a bracelet you picked up for a few quid. In short, relax. Think properly about what the person would really like, and don’t dive in too deep with something you can’t afford for the sake of a commercial orgy. Is it really worth it to put yourself too far out of pocket?

Love a bargain? Here’s how to bag yourself a valentines discount George Watkins

Think properly about what the person would really like.

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hether you’re in a relationship or not, we all love a good discount. Realistically, it’s unlikely that students will be able to afford a luxury romantic getaway to Celtic Manor Resort, but it feels important to not be too stingy. We took a good look at what’s on offer in Cardiff over the next week or so, so you can treat yourself or that special someone in your life. Your first point of call for any discount in the city at this time of year should be the Thorntons outlet on Queen Street, near the Capitol centre. They offer great discounts on chocolate at the best of time around the year, but I can only assume that they will ramp it up for Valentines. Get your sugar fix for good value.

Next, there will be plenty of restaurants offering Valentines menus or offers, but they will probably have been booked out fully for approximately 11 months. With this in mind, I would say go out of the ordinary with your pick of restaurant (see our burger guide, for example). McDonald’s is probably too stingy, but bear in mind that every year Domino’s stream out the discounts for Valentines. For shopping, the general sales in clothing stores will start towards the end of the month, so if you were wondering whether those wavey garms were on offer in time for the 14th, I would say either look online, or hold fire for another couple of weeks. Urban Outfitters and a few others tend to go in fairly early with their

Pictured: Will you be able to get a bargain box of Thorntons?


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ADVICE 15

Valentine’s: A tragic history Charlotte Gehrke

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veryone knows about the origin story of Valentine’s day; be it Saint Valentine or the flower industry. Most people, however, associate this Tuesday less with romance and pralines but rather with pressure to find a great gift for one’s significant other and stress to have a good time – by this definition, Valentine’s day has assumed the status of the couple’s version of Christmas and Year s combined. combined New Year’s Therefore, one cannot help but wonder why our society is making such a big deal out of a day dominated by an armed, obese infant with wings accompanied by a lot of drama? The answer to this question is as obvious as it is frustrating: love is a messy and tragic affair. And, as some would argue, it is exactly this excitement inflicting drama that most people love about love. After all, we are obsessed with love stories, such as Casablanca, Romeo and Juliet, Cleopatra and Mark Anthony, The Great Gatsby, Titanic, Bonny and Clyde, Brokeback Mountain, and the list goes on. And while some of these share the honor of featuring Leonardo DiCaprio in their screen adaptions, all of them end tragically and in most cases with more than one person dead.

So, perhaps instead of asking ourselves about the reasons of this masochistic obsession of consuming stories to which we already know the heartbreaking ending, we should simply face the ‘facts’, a world without much meaning these days. This might sound pessimistic or cynical but as history, literature and film has shown us, love is tragic (especially since James Cameron stated in a recent interview with The Daily Beast that it would have been impossible for both Rose and Jack to survive on that door) – so it’s time to face the music, bite the bullet and swallow the pill (or a bucket of Ben & Jerry’s). Indeed, love often ends tragically and Valentine’s day is simply a reminder of this omnipotent condition. Therefore, we owe it to ourselves to make the best of it: So, whether you’re single, with someone or too cool to put a label on anything – St. Valentine and the flower and chocolate industry gave all of you the gift of a dedicated day for couples to publicly display their (tragic) affection for one another and for singles to mercilessly mock, ridicule, despite and condemn them in healthy distance of cupid’s games of tragedy and drama. Enjoy!

Pictured: Are these pictures making you feel sick yet? Photographer: Anwen Williams

Hollie’s note

There’s plenty happening in the next week

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s I am sure you are aware, it is Valentine’s Day this week. However, this can be a great day for some people, but a difficult one for others. So this Tuesday we are trying to focus around being positive about yourself. We will be going around with love heart post-it notes and

asking you to write one reason why you love yourself. We will then stick these up all around the reception area, celebrating the fact that self-love is the most important thing. So come find us between 11 and 4 on Tuesday in the SU reception to write your reason.

Pictured: Hollie Cooke. (Credit: Cardiff Students’ Union)

Next week is also National Student Money Week. The second semester is often the hardest for budgeting, so we have got a whole campaign week to give you some tips on how to stretch your money a little further. Keep watching the Student Advice page to get all the information. Also, don’t forget if you need any support,

The best burgers in Cardiff Buckle in for some bun fun! George Watkins

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eeling like something different for your meal on Valentine’s? If you’re feeling like a burger, you’ve come to the right place. My bank balance won’t thank me, but here’s a tour of (some of ) the best burger joints in Cardiff. The Big Boys: 1. Grazing Shed. So good they set up three separate restaurants within about half a mile of each other. Their main selling point at face value is a novelty menu, with burgers being themed around current affairs, such as the ‘The Holy Bale’ during the European Championships. They are so critically acclaimed that they were recently voted the ‘Best Burger Joint in Wales’, according to the Britain’s Best Burger competition. The positives then are the variety, and the general choice of flavours. However, when I went in for

a standard cheeseburger, I found the patty dry and the whole thing too expensive for a student budget (coming in at over £10 for a cheeseburger and chips). 8/10. 2. Five Guys. A quick heads-up; if you’re allergic to nuts, then this isn’t the place for you. Once you’ve tried their fries, you won’t want to go back to normal McDonald’s standard.They fry them in peanut oil and dust them with enough salt to make you dribble every so slightly. According to them, there’s 250,000 ways to order their burgers, as their toppings (excluding cheese) are free. So if you fancy onions, mushrooms, ketchup, to name but a few, go ahead. It’s free. The downsides are the cost (at over £10 again for a cheeseburger and chips), but I feel like as a treat every so often it’s absolutely fine, even on a student budget. The patty

was fantastic, and the cheese melted through it enough to make it soft, in all the right ways. 9/10. The Underdogs: 1. The Heath. Ideal for medics, but possibly a slight hike for anyone who doesn’t live at the top end of Cathays, this slips into the article as one of the more underrated places to get a burger. The first good thing to say is, that as a pub, it’s easier to sit down for a more formal meal than the more takeawayorientated joints already mentioned. Plus you’ll be able to watch sport. Despite not being quite as strong with the burger range, they definitely live up to the value for money appeal. 6/10. 2. The Flora. A late contender, considering that the pub itself only opened at the start of this academic year. I was surprised that the food was

as good as it was. Despite it coming on a wooden board, which has always been more reminiscent of something from 50 Shades rather than something to et your food off, the burger itself was fantastic, not to mention being fairly cheap, at under £10. 7/10. 3. The Taf. A hotly controversial choice, depending on who you ask. For me, this has been the staple of my uni life since my days as a rosy-faced fresher, diving in on a Saturday evening to watch the late kick-off with a £5.75 ‘Union Burger’, cheap and cheerful, and always pretty quick to arrive. If you hold it up to the standards of Five Guys or Grazing Shed, it’s like seeing Accrington Stanley playing Spurs in the FA Cup, but there’s something authentic and honest about lower-league teams. Somewhere between 5 and 10/10.

Feeling like something different for your meal on Valentine’s?


candidate question time ASK YOUR POTENTIAL REPRESENTATIVES AND LEADERS QUESTIONS BEFORE VOTING OPENS MONDAY 20 FEBRUARY. TWO EVENTS WHERE YOU CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT CANDIDATES AND THEIR POLICIES. Tuesday 14 February – 18:00 Julian Hodge Lecture Theatre Vice President Education, Vice President Heath Park, Vice President Societies, Vice President Welfare, Black and Ethnic Minorities Officer, Students with Disabilities’ Officer, and Mental Health Officer. Thursday 16 February – 18:00 Julian Hodge Lecture Theatre Students’ Union President, Vice President Sports, Vice President Postgraduates, and International Students’ Officer.

CARDIFFSTUDENTS.COM/ELECTIONS


POLITICS 17

p politics

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

Commons backs Brexit bill Harry Busz

Last Wednesday, the bill got its Commons third reading and was passed by a majority of 372.

” Olivia Coombes

It was certainly met with approval from Labour and SNP MPs.

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ince the historic referendum vote on the 23rd of June, dispute surrounding the mammoth task of withdrawing the United Kingdom from the European Union has dominated national headlines and political debate. Following the Supreme Court’s verdict earlier this year, the conservative government has accepted that Article 50, the bill that will trigger the beginning of the two-year period in which the UK will formally leave the EU, must be consulted by and pass through parliament and not solely be implemented by Theresa May through the royal prerogative. As a consequence, last week MPs had their opportunity to vote on a Brexit bill, formally named as the ‘European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill’ which will transfer power to Theresa May to start the Brexit process. Since its conception the bill has caused much controversy in the Commons with many heavily criticizing it for being too vague, and so offering the Prime Minister too much power over negotiations with the EU allowing her to implement a so called ‘hard Brexit’. The vote has placed political parties in a difficult position, many proEuropean MPs are being asked to respect the referendum result and not hamper the Brexit process. This has been no more visible than with swathes of Labour MPs whose leader Jeremy Corbyn has heavily pressured his party to back the bill, regardless of their personal beliefs or

that of their constituents. After two days of debate, the chamber voted by a large majority of 384 votes to back the government’s plans with a mere fifth of Labour MPs defying their leadership, and voting against the bill. In total 47 Labour MPs, rebelled feeling they would not be doing justice to their constituents often in London’s urban areas and younger generations if they back the bill, which was echoed in whispers of ‘suicide’ by one MP as the result was read out. The three-line whip enacted by Corbyn led to resignations from his own front bench, and serves to demonstrate the divisions not only between the party’s officials, but also their constituents surrounding the issue. The SNP also opposed the bill, amid concerns that none of the counting areas in Scotland backed Leave in the referendum, that the multiple nations of the UK were not being involved enough in the debate and fears that being withdrawn from the single market would harm the economy. Alongside them were the Liberal Democrats whose pro-European rhetoric since the referendum led them to success in the Richmond by-election, with leader Tim Farron stating that ‘What started with democracy must not end up with a Government stitch-up’. Although the bill has passed the so called ‘first hurdle’, the Commons and the Lords still have the ability to

Pictured: Left, Theresa May (photographer: Daniel Leal-Olivas), Below, Houses of Parliament (photographer: Lacy via Flickr)

scrutinise and attempt to amend the bill in the coming weeks. However early signs are showing that May and the Commons at large are unwilling to manipulate the bill. Multiple amendments, for example, giving more consultation to devolved administrations and May giving reg-

ular updates on negotiations have so far failed to gain success in the Commons at the committee stage. Last Wednesday, the bill got its Commons third reading and was passed by a majority of 372. It will now be passed on to the House of Lords.

Bercow bans Trump from Parliament T he Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, voiced his opposition at allowing the US president Donald Trump to address parliament in an emotional speech to the commons on Monday. Bercow, who has held the position as Speaker now for 8 years, cited ‘racism and sexism’ as two of the major reasons why he would make a move to block the President from entering parliament. Bercow stated that an address to the houses of parliament by a foreign leader was not an ‘automatic right’ but an ‘earned honor’. The speaker suggested that he would have opposed the address even before the President’s actions in recent weeks and thus Trump’s ‘travel ban’ simply cemented the fact that he should not be allowed to speak to parliament. Bercow argued that this honor fundamentally should not be bestowed to Trump who has been heralded as

‘racist’ by multiple parties, including Bercow. Bercow’s speech was met with cheers and applause by many members of parliament. In an effort to really push his opposition to Trump’s visit, Bercow said that customarily an invitation to a visiting foreign leader is issued in the name of the speakers, and that he would not be putting his name on that invitation. There has been no word yet on whether this would impact Trump’s presence at parliament, yet it was certainly met with approval from Labour and SNP MPs. The reaction from the Tory MPs was to be expected. They criticised Bercow in parliament for not remaining impartial, with some going as far to say that Bercow should stand down from his position. In an effort to maintain this incredibly ‘special relationship’ Theresa May

has had her say on the issue in question. She said that Bercow’s comments were an issue for parliament but argued that she would not give her ‘full confidence’ to Bercow. May continues to stress that she is extremely excited to welcome Trump on his state visit to the United Kingdom. It is worth mentioning that although Lord Fowler (speaker of the House of Lords) is keeping an ‘open mind’ on the matter, he has stated in the Lords that he has worked tirelessly over the last 30 years against discrimination and particularly within the LGBT community. Whether this is hinting at an opinion close to Bercow is a matter of semantics, but the fact remains he may still hold some sort of abhorrence towards Mr. Trump and perhaps consequentially his visit to the United Kingdom.


18 POLITICS

Le Pen launches presidency bid Far Right leader started her campaign in Lyon last week Molly Ambler

“What is at stake in this election is whether France can still be a free nation.”

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ith the French elections on the horizon, France could be the next country to face a political upheaval. Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far right National Front Party has launched her bid for the presidency. She held a rally at Lyon in which she declared her want to return to the French Franc as well as pulling France out of NATO and promising a referendum on remaining in the EU. In the rally Le Pen stated “what is at stake in this election ... is whether France can still be a free nation.” Le Pen promised to protect French traditions and national character, most notably from immigrants. On this topic Le Pen made her views explicit, “those who came to France came to find France, not to turn it into their country of origin” she said. “If that’s what they wanted they should’ve stayed in their country.” The parallels between Le Pen and Trump are worrying. She has praised him on the action he has taken against immigration and his election to the US presidency “shows that people are taking their future back.” However, she is not the only candidate in the elections. Emmanuel Macron has surged ahead in the polls amid his opponent and rival Fran-

cois Fillon becoming surrounded by scandal. The latest poll suggest that more than 20% of the French population plan to vote for Macron, but also found that 25% of people plan to vote for Le Pen setting up a showdown between the two. The popularity of the centre-right candidate Francois Fillon plummeted as accusations were made that his Welsh wife has a fake job. Mr Fillon strongly denies the accusations: “I am being blamed for wanting my wife to be the first of my collaborators”, he told the nation. “There is nothing illegal to it.” This is reflected in the polls with only 18.5% of the people planning to vote for him. Emmanuel Macron resigned as Francois Hollande’s economy minister in the summer, leaving the position with a fair degree of anonymity. However, he has emerged as a surprise candidate in this election forming a new grass roots movement called En Marche! Macron is a former banker and comes from the left side of politics. He has vowed to unite people from all backgrounds being part of a “democratic revolution.” His critics on both sides of the political scale have wrongly predicted that his campaign would quickly run out of

steam. Mr Macron’s chances have risen as the Socialist party have chosen leftwing rebel Benoit Hamon as their candidate. Could this be another political upset in Europe? Only time will tell. The first round of voting

takes place on the 23rd April 2017, with a second vote on the 7th of May if any candidate fails to get 50% of the vote. France looks to be in a precarious political position and will go into the coming months with a degree of uncertainty.

Demonstrators rally in Romania against decree

Marie-Claire Alfonso

Some protesters were calling for the removal of PM Sorin Grindeanu.

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nti-government protests flooded the streets in Romania last week against a decree that would decriminalise corruption. An estimated number of up to 500,000 civilians were protesting in major cities across Romania and even after the PM Grindeanu’s cabinet repealed the decree on Sunday the 5th of February the protests still continued. Romania’s ruling coalition made an executive order on January the 31st to decriminalise abuse in office by officials. Ordered without any input from parliament, the decree would have stopped all investigations for pending corruption offences, freed officials imprisoned for corruption, and blocked further investigation related to those offences from being brought to justice. Protesters remained dissatisfied with a revised version of the bill which was put to parliament.

The government’s attempt to still pass the decree has created further distrust amongst civilians and protests continued for days after the original version of the bill was withdrawn. The revised version of the decree contained clauses that had previously been declared unconstitutional, so could have been declared invalid at any moment, thus meaning the initial decree would stand. It has been reported that some protesters were calling for the removal of PM Sorin Grindeanu and his government. Even though the protests has continued, the number of protesters had fallen in the days following the repeal of the original decree. On the 8th of February, three days after the mass protests forced the Romanian government to withdraw the controversial decree, a vote of no confidence took place on the revised decree which was rejected in parlia-

ment by the majority of lawmakers. These protests have been the biggest in Romania since the fall of communism in 1989. Romania, a country of 20 million people and host to a U.S. ballistic missile defence station, remains one of the poorest and most corrupt ridden members of the EU. However, since its accession into the European Union in 2007 it has been praised by the European Commission on how well its anti-corruption efforts have been. On the corruption-perceptions index compiled by watchdog Transparency International, Romania improved its rank from 69th in the world in 2014 to 58th in 2015. The Romanian government commands a parliamentary majority, controls many institutions, and has backers in the media, but it is continually vulnerable to anti-corruption efforts which have seen many of its prominent members and supporters

jailed. The amnesty for those with convictions was also seen as an attempt by PSD (the Romanian Social Democratic Party) leader Liviu Dragnea to clear his own path to becoming prime minister – a position from which he is currently excluded due to a conviction for electoral fraud. Critics saw it as an attempt by the government to let off many of its own officials caught in an anti-corruption drive. It would not only go lightly on future offenders, but also take some politicians off the hook for cases pending against them. The government had argued that the changes were needed to reduce prison overcrowding and align certain laws with the constitution. Nine Western powers including Germany and the United States said they were deeply concerned the decree could undermine Romania’s partnerships in the EU and NATO.

Pictured: Above, Protest on the 15th September at Piata University (photographer: Bogdan Giușcă ); Top-right, Marine Le Pen (photographer: Remi Noyon)


POLITICS 19

Labour to investigate Universal Basic Income Adam George

UBI has been promoted by people from all across the political spectrum, from liberals to libertarians, including Martin Luther King and Milton Friedman.

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he Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, has told The Independent that Labour are setting up a “working group” to investigate the policy of universal basic income. McDonnell suggested that the party would like to report back on its conclusions before the next general election. He will be publishing the report with the help of Guy Standing, founding member of the Basic Income Earth Network and well-established advocate of the policy. Universal Basic Income (UBI) is considered by most as a radical idea that is usually only discussed by fantasists on the fringe of mainstream politics. The concept itself is a very simple one: a minimum amount of money is given to people to offset depressed wages and poor quality of life. This would mean a total overhaul of the welfare state and ditching meanstested benefits in favour of unconditional flat-rate payments to all citizens. The Shadow Chancellor detailed Labour’s plans by stating “What we’re going to do is bring forward a publication and then tour around the country and have discussions with people around that. It’s interesting – the winds have sort of taken in the sails of basic income at that moment”. UBI has been promoted by people

from all across the political spectrum, from liberals to libertarians, including Martin Luther King and Milton Friedman. It has been gaining publicity in recent years due to several countries trialling the policy. Finland has recently voted in favour of trialling UBI for two years, Oakland in California will be the first area in the United States to perform a similar trial and the Swiss recently voted against the idea in a referendum. One of the main reasons for the increase in discussion around UBI is because of the modern problem of job insecurity born out of zero-hours contracts and public-sector contraction. The Silicon Valley bigwigs and some prominent scientists including Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the internet, see UBI as the means to deal with the threats to jobs posed by robots and artificial intelligence. Economists at the World Bank see it as a way of tackling the favoured target of populist politicians: red tape. UBI, it is theorised, would remove layers of bureaucracy from the current system. However, as to be expected, there are also many criticisms of the policy. Obviously the policy would not be free and comes with an incredibly high cost, even factoring in the savings on means-testing. A common problem with policies that put universalism above means-

testing is the danger that the poorest will benefit far less than those better off. It is also seen by critics as a way to damage the incentive for people to work, meaning those that are unemployed will not feel the necessity to look for work. We are living in an increasingly volatile economic atmosphere and UBI is certainly one way to provide a guarantee of basic inequality whilst also offering personal financial security in

general. Labour’s number two seemingly coming on board with the idea is certainly a step forward for UBI. It shows how far the policy has come from being a concept only favoured by rogue economists and not serious politicians. With campaigners well funded and well organised, we could certainly be seeing a debate on the issue taking place in the United Kingdom in the coming years.

Pictured: John McDonnell outside Central London County Court (photographer: Jonathan Goldberg)

Northern Ireland invite President Trump Ex-First Ministers sent congratulatory letter after victory

Lydia Jackson

The letter proceeded to boast that “no fewer than seventeen of your predecessors had ScotsIrish heritage,”

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resh divisions have arisen this week in relation to President Donald Trump within Northern Ireland. The new spat surrounds a “warm invitation” to Mr. Trump to visit Northern Ireland, in a letter addressed from former First Minister Arlene Foster, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, and former deputy First Minister Michael McGuinness, retired Sinn Féin politician. These parties currently hold the most seats from Northern Ireland within the UK parliament. Upon Executive Office confirmation of an invitation it has become clear that the letter was sent on November 9th 2016, the day after Trump had won the presidential election to become the 45th President of the United States. Upon congratulating the then President-Elect, and reminding him of the strong economic ties between the US and Northern Ireland, the letter proceeded to boast that “no fewer than seventeen of your predecessors had Scots-Irish heritage,” before concluding that “we wish you every success in your new role and we extend an invitation to visit Northern Ireland. You can be assured of a warm welcome.” However, since Trumps inauguration his policy implementations and the proposed visit have received large amounts of criticism includ-

ing from the new Sinn Féin leader in Stormont, Michelle O’Neill, who insists that a visit would no longer be appropriate. Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin President and party leader, also stated that people are “appalled” by “the racist, anti-women and anti-immigration policies of President Trump”, and Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the parliament in Republic of Ireland, has been one of Trump’s toughest critics. Others, such as Social Democratic and Labour Party leader Colum Eastwood, expressed shock that Foster and McGuinness would “sell out their principles so quickly”, and has called for the invitation to be recalled. The SDLPs hold the third most seats within UK parliament of a party prominent in Northern Ireland. Similarly, Stewart Dickinson of the Alliance Party has expressed concern over the prospective visit, in particular regarding potential brownnosing. Of the five Northern Irish parties with the most seats in UK parliament, the Ulster Unionist Party, led by Mike Nesbitt, are the only party that have outwardly expressed approval of the visit. He has argued that Mrs. Foster and Mr. McGuinness had “got something right in trying to get the leader of the wealthiest nation in the world to visit Northern Ireland”.

Pictured: Dáil chamber, Dublin, Ireland (photographer: Tommy Kavanagh)

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s invitation for Trump to visit Britain has also faced criticism including over one million signatures on a petition calling for her to retract the invitation. However, there has also been a counter petition signed by over 100,000 people to encourage the visit to go ahead.

All in all, it would appear that there is a continuance of contrasting opinions on Trump’s actions, intentions and abilities to “make America great again”, as well as how they should be responded to, and that they are clearly having a divisive effect on politics within the United Kingdom.


20 SCIENCE

science

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

(Dis)comfort in sound. James MacLachlan

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

” Joshua Green

These newfound discoveries can challenge scientific laws and held beliefs.

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e’ve all sat at the dinner table with someone with eating habits that annoy us far more than they should; crunching, chomping, sipping, and slurping - they all contribute to a reaction that some of us can’t stop ourselves from experiencing. But there are some people in the world that experience this feeling on another level. A team of neurologists from Newcastle University’s Institute of Neuroscience have discovered that the phenomenon in humans that makes us despise the sound of others eating, among other things, is a genuine ailment related to how our brains process these sounds and not just an irrational hatred of them. Misophonia, derived from the Greek words misó- meaning hate, -phon-, meaning sounds, and concluded with the suffix -ia, which makes the noun a condition, (much like anorexia, trichotillomania, or schizophrenia, for example), is, as the scientists call it, an ‘affective sound-processing disorder characterised by the experience of strong, negative emotions (anger and anxiety) in response to everyday sounds, such as those generated by other people eating or drinking. In their article ‘The Brain Basis for Misophonia’ published earlier this

week in the journal ‘Current Biology’, the scientists document their experiment which involved examining the brains of twenty people that had Misophonia and twenty-two people that did not. The participants of the study were made to listen to various ‘unpleasant’ sounds, such as screaming, sounds considered to be ‘neutral’, like rain, and what people consider their ‘trigger’ sounds, such as the noises people make when eating or breathing. While in general, none of the test subjects particularly enjoyed listening to the trigger sounds, when those that had Misophonia listened to these noises they started to perspire and their hearts rates increased. Through analysis of MRI brain scans taken during the experiment, the researchers could see that certain regions of the Misophonic test subjects’ brains reacted stronger to the stimuli than those without the condition. This was due to a high number of blood-oxygenlevel-dependent responses flooding the Anterior Insular Cortex, which affects our interoceptive perception and emotion processing. The Anterior Insular Cortex was not only more active whilst the trigger sounds were heard, but also interacted with the other sections of the brain more than usual. The scientists believe this over-interaction with

the other sections of the brain contributed to the ‘exaggerated responses’ in some people. The scientists concluded that the trigger sounds heard by the subjects with Misophonia were associated with abnormal functional connectivity between the Anterior Insular Cortex and a network of regions of the brain responsible for the processing and regulation of emotions. Such regions include the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex, Posteromedial Cortex, Hippocampus, and Amygdala. Like other many other psychological conditions, Misophonia is uncommon, and the more that is found out about them through research, the better. This

will allow us to understand how the brain works in a more significant way and may possibly allow us to develop treatments for them in the future. Because, remember everyone, ‘knowledge is power’.mouse 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

Pictured: Rage against the eating machine. (Photographer: Darwin Bell).

Conductivity laws challenged by new discovery

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lectricity flows but without conducting predicted heat in the metallic vanadium oxide There are quite a few laws and rules when it comes to physical laws and, indeed, most of nature. Some of them are well known such as the laws of thermodynamics or the laws founded by Newton surrounding motion. Sometimes in science new evidence, new thoughts or new theories are brought to light within the scientific community. These newfound discoveries can challenge scientific laws and held beliefs. Sometimes these challenges rewrite laws, generate new laws or destroy laws. One of the lesser well known laws is called the Wiedmann-Franz law. This is law that is deemed to be empirical. An empirical law is simply a law derived by experiences in observation rather than pure logic or theory. The law states that the electronic contribution to a metal’s thermal conductivity (as electrons primarily are responsible for conducting heat in metals) over the electrical conductivity of the metal is proportional only to temperature and a constant. This leads to a conclusion that, in metals, the ratio between the conductivities remains the same for different metals at the same temperature. It also leads to a simpler

conclusion that metals are usually both good electrical conductors and thermal conductors. At the near end of January of this year, scientists from both the U.S Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Oak Ridge National Laboratory, UC Berkeley and Duke University have revealed a metal that violates this empirical law quite significantly. This study’s principle investigator was Junqiao Wu who works with both the Berkeley National Laboratory and is a Professor of material science and engineering. A material called vanadium oxide (VO2) is an already odd material for properties such as switching from being an insulator (that which does not conduct) to a material that conducts and becomes metallic at 67 degrees C. When vanadium oxide is metallic something rather strange happens. The Widemann-Franz law predicts that this metal should behave like others in that the material is both a good conductor thermally and electrically. However, what scientists at the two institutions observed was that the thermal conductivity dictated by the electrons was ten times smaller than the law predicts. Essentially this metal can conduct electricity but

Pictured: Shiny (Photographer: INTVGene)

hardly any heat. Scientists attributed this exotic property to how the electrons moved in unison ‘like a marching band’ in vanadium oxide. Heat is usually conducted, in metals, due to random motions of the electrons. Electrons usually ‘rely’ on having the ‘freedom’ to jump to many different electronic configurations available to them. Whilst constricted in this ‘marching band’ they cannot do this so

heat is not conducted as well here. There are many possible exciting applications for vanadium oxide being proposed because of this discovery such as conversion of wasted heat to electricity or to cool down buildings as a window covering. The ability to ‘tune’ the material by adding different materials such as tungsten allows for these applications to be possible because additions can lower the metallic transition temperature of the vanadium oxide (for example).


SCIENCE 21

Could personality be contagious? Charlotte Gehrke

The study sheds new light on the controversy of “nature versus nurture.”

” Lorena Stancu

Science is making remarkable steps in the fight with the disease, both the prevention and the survival rates.

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he question of where personality traits come from has intrigued scientists across numerous fields resulting in extremely varying responses concerning their origin and manipulability. Are they simply ‘assigned’ in the form of hereditary attributes or are they taught? And if so, by whom? Is it parents, teachers, grandparents, nannies, or friends that shape our personalities? How and why do personalities change? Can personalities even change or are they genetically pre-determined? A study by psychology researchers at Michigan State University sought to answer some of these questions suggesting that pre-schoolers’ social interactions with one another shape their personalities. The study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology examined two US preschool classes over the course of one school year discovering that the children were assimilating to their playmate’s personalities. The classes were divided by age; one was filled with 3-year-old children, the other one with 4-yearolds. According to an article in MSU Today, this study is the first of its kind in terms of the prolonged period of time over which the gradually changing characters of the preschoolers were studied. Dr. Catherine E. Durbin, the study’s

co-author and associate professor of psychology at MSU, stated that in the pre-schoolers’ case, instead of “their parents or their teachers affecting them – it was their friends. It turns out that 3- and 4-year-olds are being change agents.” These findings are significant considering the frequent and perhaps partially misguided focus on a child’s adult relations in the form of parents, care givers and teachers when examining early influences on personality traits. Contrary to expectations, the psychologists observed that positive attributes, such as being extroverted and hard-working, were taken on by the children’s playmates while negative personality traits, such as overanxiousness or being easily frustrated, were not adopted by other pre-schoolers. This urges considerations regarding the children’s ability to distinguish ‘good’ and ‘bad’ character traits and questions concerning the source of these evaluations, such as instincts or a perception taught by parents and other authoritative figures. The study also sheds new light on the controversy of ‘nature versus nurture’ since the “finding, that personality traits are ‘contagious’ among children, flies in the face of common assumptions that personality is ingrained and can’t be changed,” as MSU associate professor and co-au-

Pictured: Contagious laughter? (Photographer: Paul L Dineen).

thor of the study, Jennifer R. Watling Neal described. While these results do not entirely discard the impact of genetics on the development of a child’s personality traits, it is a clear argument in favour of the possibility of changes in character and children’s personality being shaped by their social environment. These findings might cause parents to pay even closer attention to their

children’s social network; an attitude that is supported by Dr. Watling Neal, who appealed to the importance of the study’s discoveries concerning the children’s future considering that “some personality traits can help children succeed in life, while others can hold them back.” Finally, this all begs the question: how did your pre-school playmates influence you?

Manchester drug trial leaves man cancer free

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he tough battle with the frightening disease was won by 60-year-old Bob Berry from Stockport, Manchester, after taking part in a clinical trial testing a combination of drugs which completely destroyed any traces of the tumour. Bob was diagnosed three years ago with lung cancer, and although he underwent surgery, followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments, these were not efficient and the doctors predicted he would only have less than two years to live, since the disease had already spread in his body. As a last resort, he was referred to the trial in the NHS experimental cancer centre The Christie, where a new drug was to be tested. The new treatment was applied to only 12 people worldwide, 3 of which being treated at the Christie institute, but out of these only Bob showed such significant reaction. Although not much information has been released about the substance itself, it is known that it functions in combination with immunotherapy, a relatively new treatment which helps the body to naturally destroy cancer cells. Medically, cancer cells are caused by cancerous factors of various sources, from genetics to pollution or smoking, yet there remains a degree of uncertainty in the medical arena over its causes and why it affects certain people. Tumours form because the body’s immune system

Pictured: Could this make cancer treatment easier? (Photographer: NEC Corporation of America).

fails to identify and attack these destructive cells. Therefore, the new drugs experimented in this particular research are designed to firstly kill the cancer cells, and then aid the body’s own immune system to produce the antibodies that would target the abnormal proteins. Successfully responding to the treatment, Bob’s latest results indicate no traces of the disease. Although these results are promising, the doctors are keeping Bob under observation, and are cautious in generalising the success story, given the variety in the forms of cancer and the complexities of our own human bodies.

Professor Hughes, who is chain in experimental cancer at the Christie centre, says that “only about one in five people with immunotherapy get the response akin to Bob’s”. Cancer Research Organisation reports there are around 250, 000 patients per year taking part in clinical trials, but the process of testing these new substances is lengthy and researchers estimate that from a first-man test to releasing the drug on the market there can pass up to seven years if the results are positive throughout. Science is making remarkable steps in the fight with cancer, both the prevention and the survival rate be-

ing on the rise, and new medicines being tested every day. Bob’s case brings happiness to himself and his family, as well as bringing hope to those fighting the same battle against cancer. Taking part in drug tests not only can get someone access to medicines that are not otherwise available, but can also make a great contribution to the world of science. On the other hand, the risks and side effects must also be carefully considered. In spite of this, Bob is whole-heartedly encouraging people suffering from cancer to embrace medical innovations.


22 SCIENCE

Booze and binge eating: food for thought? James McLachlan

These comfort foods, delicious as they may be, are high in calories.

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ating a takeaway pizza, a colossal burger and chips at a restaurant, or enjoying a Frappuccino at your nearest Starbucks, makes us feel good when we consume them, but sadly, with this pleasure comes a price. These comfort foods, delicious as they may be, are high in calories. On the one hand, this means that they satisfy our hunger, but unfortunately, eating too much of this calorific food coupled with a thirst for alcoholic beverages can create serious problems for our health. Binge Eating Disorder, or simply: binge eating, is more prevalent in modern society than one might imagine. It’s more common that breast cancer, HIV, and schizophrenia. A group of scientists from University College London have discovered that consuming large amounts of alcohol, which is the second most caloriedense nutrient (after fat), can trigger overeating in humans. Ordinarily, the intake of calories suppresses brain appetite signals, satiating our need to eat. The fact that alcohol intake increases the desire to eat had puzzled the scientists. Previous studies in the area had recognised that stimulating agouti-related protein neurons, which are found in the hypothalamuses of both mice and

humans, can cause over-eating even when the animal does not need this extra energy. In a statement about the experiment, researcher Sarah Cains stated that they ‘were thinking about how alcohol is associated with eating in cultural situations in humans, and wanted to see if there was something neurological underlying that behaviour.’ Through research on mice, they discovered that this occurs because the alcohol activates a particular set of hypothalamic neurons associated with feeding behaviour. This reveals a hitherto unseen connection between binge drinking and binge eating. Mice were used because their biological composition closely resembles that of humans, and many symptoms of human conditions can be replicated in mice, thus providing a reliable end result. Initially, the scientists examined whether the presence of alcohol compelled the mice to binge eat. In what they call an ‘alcoholic weekend’ experiment, the researchers injected both male and female mice with a single dose of alcohol equivalent to an adult human drinking one and a half bottles of wine, every day over a three-day period. Three days prior to the experiment as well as three days after, the

Pictured: Too good to resist. (Photographer: jeffreyw).

‘alcohol mice’ were given a saline solution, while control mice were given the saline solution for the entirety of the experiment. To ensure a fair test, as well as to dissuade any ‘group mentalities’, the mice were housed individually. The researchers found that on the days they were given alcohol, both male and female mice consumed larger amounts of food within one to four hours of being injected. This revealed that increased alcohol levels directly contributed to the overeating in indi-

vidual mice. Analysis taken from the deceased, ‘alcoholic mice’ displayed that deepbrain ethanol levels increased and activated agouti-related protein cells, mimicking how hunger hormones are known to affect these neurons. The research proves that there is a direct correlation between alcohol consumption and binge eating and may pave the way towards our better understanding, and perhaps treatment of eating disorders.

Decrease of a third in new HIV cases among men

Anna Dutton

If the treatments continue, hopefully HIV will no longer be an issue for future generations.

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ince 2015, new cases of HIV in gay men have dropped by a third. Despite this welcome decrease, a study has shown that these results could be because of sufferers buying medication over the internet against practitioner’s advice. The results, although preliminary, seem to be taking place across the UK with four London sexual health clinics reporting the same outcome, giving promise to those more susceptible to contracting the disease. On Wednesday, there was an HepHIV conference in Malta held by Valerie Delpech, who works for public health England. She reinforced that the results appear to show a decrease in the number of new HIV cases among gay and bisexual men, but emphasises that the data is still ‘preliminary’ and for a clearer picture to surface, ‘all data for 2016’ would have to be collected first. HIV infections are more common in gay men, and only until last year, just over half of the new infections were in this category. These results, if completely accurate, will have a profound effect on the spreading of HIV and help rupture any future epidemics. One theory behind these results is that individuals are taking medication that will reduce their chances of contracting the disease. This is known as a pre-exposure prophylaxis or PreEP. However, because these drugs are not available on the NHS, and cost roughly £400 if bought privately, many gay men instead choose to buy versions on the internet from online or international pharmacies.

Pictured: Prevention techniques and medications are helping. (Photographer: Nico Paix)

The NHS say this is dangerous because the medicines purchased could have the ‘wrong active ingredient, no active ingredient, or the incorrect dosage.’ A spokesman on behalf of the UK medicines and healthcare Regulatory Agency has added to this by emphasising how prescription medication is such for a reason, hinting at the possible side-effects of purchasing a knock-off drug. To counter this, many are choosing to buy the drugs from a server

called ‘I Want PrEP Now’ that works with the NHS to ensure the drugs are legitimate and with few side effects. GP surgeries are also offering urine tests to ensure the drug isn’t affecting kidney function as this is a common side-effect. There are also other solutions, such as giving people medication as soon as they are diagnosed, or wider testing that ensures the infection can be caught early and treated. This has made it less likely for the infection to be passed on because it reduces the

amount of the virus in the genital fluid. Both forms of treatment are important as the NHS is currently trying to make the medicine available as part of a 10,000- people trial of LGBT+ and straight individuals. In summary, all of these treatments are promising and are hopeful for the future. If the treatments continue and are funded, hopefully HIV will no longer be an issue for future generations, and bring relief to those already suffering.


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24 SOCIETIES

societies

Editors: Aletheia Nutt Tom Morris @GairRhyddSoc societies@gairrhydd.com gairrhydd.com/societies

The Society of the Month is... Milly Dyer VP Societies

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ongratulations to the Sports and Exercise Medicine Society for being selected as Society/SLS of the Month for February! The Society host the annual Wales Exercise Medicine Symposium every January and this year’s

event was not only the biggest in its history, but included one of the most exciting speaker line-ups for an event of its kind. Over 250 students and industry professionals attended the one-day event, with Guest Speakers from across the country and even as far-afield as

ce to the United States in attendance rcise discuss the importance of exercise as medicine. mmitWell done to the SEMS commitgantee for all your hard work in organising this amazing event!

Sports and Exercise Medicine Society! SEMS host Exercise Medicine Symposium Daniel Phillips

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he physical inactivity pandemic, according to the World Health Organisation is the 4th leading cause of mortality worldwide. The Welsh Health Survey 2012 reported that 71% of the population are not doing the recommended 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, 5 days a week. In 2007, Wales topped the table for having the most unfit schoolchildren in Europe, a statistic that requires immediate action to rectify the future health of the population. Physical inactivity costs the NHS close to £1 billion a year and in here in Wales it costs our economy £314 million a year; these figures demonstrate the urgent need to act. Since 2013, the Wales Exercise Medicine Symposium has brought together policy makers, healthcare professionals, academics, exercise

Pictured: Packed out lecture theatre for the Symposium.

Physical inactivity costs the Welsh economy £314 million a year.

professionals and students from all over the world to help address the physical activity pandemic and to discuss ways in which exercise can used as a health tool. This year’s symposium was the 4th Wales Exercise Medicine Symposium and sold out 2 weeks in advance. It brought together international speakers to inspire 270 delegates, igniting debates, sharing new ideas and research in everything that is #exerciseismedicine. The symposium was organised by Cardiff Sports & Exercise Medicine Society (CSEMs), a student run society from Cardiff University. The day began with Ms Arry Cain from MacMillan discussing how physical activity has shown to reduce the risk of cancers such breast, colorectal and endometrial cancers and how physical activity can improve the quality of life of cancer patients. The Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton highlighted the challenges facing Wales; he highlighted that the most deprived people in Wales are those who need an increase in physical activity. Professor Gareth Stratton followed this by introducing a scoring chart for Welsh

Pictured: Student Daisy Burroughs demonstrates the treadmill.

schools on the uptake of physical activity, a strategy that hopes to help push schools into increase participation. Mr Ian Ritchie, Past President of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh, expressed the importance of encouraging surgeons to use exercise as a treatment in cases of obesity, especially because joint replacement surgery is becoming increasingly high in demand. He stated that be-

ing physically fit before surgery can decrease mortality and morbidity rates after surgery. Professor Greg Whyte OBE (former Olympian and Sports Relief star) highlighted that interventions need to address the whole population, not just middleclass Caucasians. The apps and fancy gyms that target them may not be the solution for minority groups and the most deprived. Professor Steven N. Blair from the Arnold School of Public Health, South Carolina discussed ‘Fitness vs Fatness’. Individuals with an elevated BMI who are fit, have better all-cause mortality figures than those with a lower/normal BMI and are not physically fit. Mrs Leonie Lightfoot discussed the many psychological barriers in engaging in physical activity. Afternoon “break-out” workshops focussed on cardiovascular disease, neurological disease and exercise technology, which included Cardiff University’s very own Professor Peter Elwood OBE. There were also talks by Dr Elisabeth Williams and Dr Craig Ranson on the current sports medicine buzzword “concussion”. Special mentions must go out to chief organisers Daniel Phillips, Samuel Pickles, Rachel Williams and Dr Bryn Savill along with the rest of the society’s committee. We are fighting to gain momentum for a more active and healthy nation! See you next year!

Apps and fancy gyms may not be the solution for the most deprived.


SOCIETIES 25

Student Volunteering Week: What’s on? Mali TaylorPowell and Michelle LentonJohnson

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tudent Volunteering Week is just around the corner, next week to be exact, so if you’d like to get amongst it and give volunteering a go, why not check some of what Cardiff Volunteering has to offer? We’re running 3 main events and we’d love you to join in!

the paint, you just need to bring yourself. No wellies required – but wear clothes that you don’t mind getting messy in. You’ll even be able to visit all the animals during your break! So what are you waiting for .. get a ‘moo’ ve on and sign up on the Give it a Go pages.

day 20th February between 10am and 4pm. We will provide transport and paint, so all we need is you ! Let loose your inner child and

A Day on The Farm Paint Pots for Local Tots

We provide the transport and the paint, you just need to bring yourself.

Ever fancied helping out at a farm but don’t like the thought of all that mud and mess? Then this is the perfect one-off volunteering project for you! We are hosting a Give It A Go Student Volunteering Week event with our partners at Amelia Trust Farm to give their on-site sports barn a face-lift with a new lick of paint. You will be helping to repaint the interior of the barn, which is used to host community projects and events. The project will run between 2pm and 6pm on Wednesday 23rd March. We’ll provide the transport and

We are kicking off Student Volunteering Week with a fabulous Playground Make-over at one of our local Primary schools – Stacey Primary. The children there currently have a very “grey” playtime in a tired looking outdoor space – and we think they deserve something much more inspiring and enjoyable than that! There are benches to be painted, hop-scotch and snakes and ladders games to paint on the drab concrete floor and much more. The event will take place on Mon-

your imagination, and help us create a fantastic and fun new outdoor space for these local children. Sign up on the GIAG pages. Mural Make-over Madness We are working with our partners

Cadwyn Housing to deliver a really special ‘make-over’ project at their Nightingale House family hostel on Newport Road during Student Volunteering Week. We are looking for volunteers to help brighten up the children’s lives by painting a mural on the wall of their crèche facility. You don’t have to be arty to take part, just willing to get your hands (and possibly your clothes) dirty while you throw around some brightly coloured paint ! The project will take place on Tuesday 21st February between 10am – 4pm but you don’t need to be there for the whole day; you can join us for as long as you are able! We will provide the transport and the paint, you just need to provide enthusiasm, a helping hand and a smile ! If you would like to brighten up the lives of local children then sign up on the GIAG pages. If you have any further questions, please e-mail us at Volunteering@Cardiff.ac.uk

You can join us for as long as you are able!

Pictured: Volunteers at the Amelia Trust Farm.

Spotlight: Pride and Marrow hold joint event Tom Morris

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here were smiling faces all round at this joint event last Tuesday, where Pride, the LGBT+ society, met to enjoy a few board games with good friends at Y Plas’ food court. Games included everything from Family Fortunes style Tension to old party favourites like Twister and Jenga. To one side, Marrow set up a stall where those interested in getting on the Anthony Nolan register to donate bone marrow could spit in a tube, fill in some forms and officially register their interest. Even after everyone had a few slices of Cardiff ’s finest Rocket Joe’s pizza, the saliva was still salvageable! Neither society is a stranger to such joint events. Marrow won Best Collaboration last year at the Societies Ball, for their joint events with Asian Society. This followed the revelation of Asian committee member Vithiya’s cancer and the fact that

Asians are under-represented on the UK donations register. After an upsurge in Asian donations which may well have saved lives elsewhere, Vithiya is now back to her studies after a successful transplant. Pride meanwhile has been a regular collaborator with societies including Harry Potter and English Lit. New Members Rep, William Delves, told me that Pride is a “very charitable society,” with members actively involved in many causes, of which Marrow is only one. They regularly raise money for the Terrence Higgins Trust and Just Like Us. Just Like Us is particularly close to many Pride members’ hearts, as their representatives head into secondary schools to educate pupils about sexuality and gender identity. Marrow’s media coordinator, Eleanor Philpotts, said: “it’s fantastic to co-ordinate with LGBT society.

Joining up with other societies at Cardiff allows Marrow to reach a wider representation of potential donors.” She has a point. Although the social was a cheery affair, with board games, pizza and a few pints

sneaked in from the Taf, there was a serious side. In organ donation, diversity can mean the difference between life and death. Any other societies wishing to collaborate with Marrow should email: cardiffmarrow@hotmail.com

Pictured: Marrow’s Sam and Ellie show how it’s done.


26 TAF-OD

taf-od

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

Clodfori carfan Cymru ar y sgrin Yn y llun: Carfan Cymru yn dathlu eu llwydiant (Tarddiad: Jon Candy drwy Flickr)

Osian Wyn Morgan

Cyfarwyddwyd y ffilm gan Jonny Owen, sydd o Ferthyr Tydfil yn wreiddiol, a gafodd ei glodfori gan y Guardian fel ‘crëwr ffilmiau gorau’r byd pêl-droed” ar ôl iddo gyfarwyddo’r ffilmiau ‘Svengali’, ac ‘I Belive in Miracles’.

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yhoeddwyd yr wythnos diwethaf y bydd ffilm sydd wedi ei greu ar gyfer clodfori llwyddiant ysgubol Cymru yn Nghystadleuaeth yr Ewros, yn cael ei ddangos am y tro cyntaf fis nesaf. Bydd y ffilm, ‘Don’t take me home’, a chaiff ei enw o’r gân enwog o’r un enw a oedd yn boblogaidd iawn ymysg cefnogwyr Cymru yn Ffrainc dros yr haf, yn cael ei ryddhau ledled Prydain ar y 3ydd o Fawrth. Fodd bynnag, bydd rhai sinemâu yng Nghymru yn derbyn y cyfle i’w ddangos ddeuddydd o flaen llaw ar Ddydd Gŵyl Dewi, gan gynnwys pump sinema yng Nghaerdydd, sef ‘Cineworld’, ‘Odeon’, ‘Showcase’, ‘Vue’, a Chapter Caerdydd. Bydd y ffilm yn adrodd stori hanesyddol carfan Cymru haf diwethaf, lle llwyddodd y chwaraewyr a’r hyfforddwyr i synnu’r byd, wrth gyrraedd

rownd gynderfynol y gystadleuaeth, yn y gystadleuaeth ryngwladol cyntaf iddynt gyrraedd ers 1958, pan gyrhaeddodd Cymru’r rownd gogynderfynol, yng nghwpan y byd yn Sweden. Cyfarwyddwyd y ffilm gan Jonny Owen, sydd o Ferthyr Tydfil yn wreiddiol, a gafodd ei glodfori gan y Guardian fel ‘crëwr ffilmiau gorau’r byd pêldroed” ar ôl iddo gyfarwyddo’r ffilmiau ‘Svengali’, ac ‘I Belive in Miracles’. Wrth siarad â Golwg 360, dywedodd y cyfarwyddwr mai ffilm ‘am lwyddiant annisgwyl’ ac am ‘wlad yn darganfod ei lle yn y byd’. Dywedodd: “Ni yw’r wlad leiaf i gyrraedd rownd gynderfynol prif gystadleuaeth, fe guron ni gwlad fwyaf y byd Rwsia ac mi guron ni ffefrynnau’r gystadleuaeth yn y rownd gogynderfynol. Felly oeddwn i’n meddwl ei bod hi’n ffilm brydferth i’w gwneud.”

Dysgu’r Gymraeg gyda’r Taf-Od Y Chwe Gwlad Cymru = Wales Kum-ri Iwerddon = Ireland Eu-werth-on Lloegr = England Lloi-ger

“Fy nghynllun oedd cael deunydd gan y cefnogwyr fel fy mod yn medru dangos eu stori nhw a’u cyffro yn Bordeaux a Tolouse,” meddai wrth Iolo Jones, gohebydd Golwg 360. “Dw i’n credu mai dyma’r defnydd mwyaf o ddeunydd ffonau symudol sydd erioed wedi bod mewn ffilm.” Cafodd cefnogwyr Cymru eu canmol gan lawer o bobl am eu hagwedd iach a brwdfrydig wrth iddynt ddilyn Gareth Bale a’i dim o amgylch Ffrainc fis Mehefin diwethaf. Bydd yr un cefnogwyr yn teithio i ddilyn, ar y 24ain o Fawrth, i weld y crysau cochion yn wynebu Iwerddon, wrth i’r garfan geisio ennill lle yng Nghwpan y Byd yn 2018 yn Rwsia. Nid stori am y garfan a’r cefnogwyr yn unig yw’r ffilm hon, ond am y rheolwr, Chris Coleman, a’i dasg anodd o ysgogi’r Tîm ar ôl marwolaeth eu cyn-

reolwr, Gary Speed. Dywedodd Jonny Owen: “Stori am dîm a gwlad yn symud ymlaen ar ôl y trasiedi o farwolaeth Gary Speed.” yw’r ffilm yn ôl y cyfarwyddwr, “a stori am Chris Coleman yn gorfod ymdopi â hynny, tra roedd y tîm yn parhau i alaru.” Dywedodd yr oedd yn ymwybodol na enillodd Cymru y gystadleuaeth, felly ni fydd y ffilm yn gorffen gyda’r gân ‘We Are The Champions’, gan Queen. Fodd bynnag, roedd y mae’r stori werth ei dweud, oherwydd Cymru oedd y wlad leiaf erioed i gyrraedd rownd gynderfynol yr Ewros, sydd yn gamp anhygoel. Er na fydd ‘We Are The Champions’ yn cael ei chwarae yn y ffilm, bydd caneuon gan y Super Furry Animals, Mogwai, Richard Hawley a’r Small Faces i’w clywed yn y ffilm.

Learn Welsh with the Taf-Od The Six Nations Yr Alban= Scotland Er Al-bahn Yr Eidal = Italy Er Ey-dahl Ffrainc= France Fryinc

Bydd rhai sinemâu yng Nghymru yn derbyn y cyfle i’w ddangos ddeuddydd o flaen llaw gan gynnwys pump sinema yng Nghaerdydd.


TAF-OD 27

BBC yn hybu agenda gwrth Gymraeg Yn y llun: Logo BBC Radio 4 (Tarddiad: Radio things drwy Flickr)

Liam Ketcher

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ae’n hen bryd i ddod â’r ddadl yma i ben. Dyma ni unwaith eto yn delio gyda’r un rhagfarnau ag erioed. Radio 4 sydd wedi ennyn yr ymateb yma ar ôl ei rhaglen ‘Any Questions’ lle gofynnwyd i’r panel a fydden nhw’n blaenoriaethu ariannu’r Gymraeg neu wasanaethau gofal. Nid dyma’r tro cyntaf i’r BBC wneud rhywbeth o’r fath, gwnaethant yr un peth ar raglen BBC Radio 2 y llynedd, pan roeddent yn chwilio am bobl i rannu eu barnau am bam ddylai’r llywodraeth gadael i’r iaith Gymraeg i farw. O blaid ariannu gwasanaethau gofal oedd Nia Griffith sef llefarydd amddiffyn y Blaid Lafur a chyn-ysgrifen-

nydd Cymru Stephen Crabb. Dywedodd Ms Griffiths “yn sicr” y bydd hi’n dewis gyllideb ar gyfer y gwasanaethau gofal, oherwydd “gofal yw’r brif flaenoriaeth mewn cymdeithas”. Cytunodd Stephen Crabb gyda Nia wrth awgrymu bod arian sy’n cael ei wario ar gynhyrchu deunydd dwyieithog yn cael ei ‘wastraffu’. Ond wrth gefnogi’r iaith Gymraeg anghytunodd Syr Emyr Jones Parry, Canghellor Prifysgol Aberystwyth, a Leanne Wood, arweinydd Plaid Cymru, gan ddweud ni ddylai fod yn fater o ddewis rhwng un neu’r llall. Cytunaf gyda hyn, tro ar ôl tro yn y ddadl hon y disgwylir dewis rhwng un neu’r llall. Nid dweud ydwyf fod rhaid ariannu’r Gymraeg dros y

gwasanaethau gofal, ond mae’n rhaid cael tegwch wrth ymdrin gyda’r pynciau yma yn wleidyddol. Ac nad oes rheswm yn fy marn i, i ddweud pam na allai fod rhaniad teg rhwng y ddau achos, oherwydd yn fy marn i a nifer o’r Cymry Gymraeg mae’r ddau yr un mor bwysig â’r llall. Yn ystod y ddadl dywedodd Syr Emyr Parry Jones nad oes angen dewis rhwng y naill neu’r llall, a gan gyfeirio yn uniongyrchol at Stephen Crabb, dywedodd Leanne Wood: “Os ydych chi’n caru’r iaith Gymraeg, rhaid i chi weithredu ar eich gair. Pe baech chi’n torri pob ceiniog sy’n cael ei gwario ar y Gymraeg, fyddai’n gwneud dim gwahaniaeth o gwbl i’r gyllideb ofal.”

Dyma yn union sydd yn bwysig i’w chofio, gan dorri cyllideb tua’r iaith Gymraeg fyddi’n cael dim gwahaniaeth ar sefyllfa ariannu’r gwasanaethau ofal. Roedd yna ymateb angerddol i weld ar Trydar, gydag ymatebion yn dod gan @YesCymruLlundian, a ddywedodd: “Unwaith eto mae BBC yn hybu agenda wrth Gymraeg.” Felly mae’n amlwg i weld bod nifer o bobl wedi dechrau sylweddoli ar agwedd y BBC tuag at y Gymraeg yn ddiweddar. Ymatebodd Heledd Gwyndaf, Cadeirydd, gan gwestiynu “Beth am: NHS neu’r iaith Saesneg?”. Gellir dadlau mai’r un ddadl sydd i weld y fan hyn.

Yn ystod y ddadl dywedodd Syr Emyr Parry Jones nad oes angen dewis rhwng y naill neu’r llall

Llofruddiad yn Llanbedrog

Yn y llun: Tap Heddlu (Tarddiad: Tony Webster drwy Flickr

Osian Wyn Morgan

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r Ddydd Sul y 5ed o Chwefror, fe lofruddiwyd dyn 18 oed yn Llanbedrog, Pen Llŷn. Bu farw Peter Colwell am 00:15, pan gafodd ei saethu mewn maes parcio, y tu allan i’r dafarn ‘Ship Inn’. Ar ôl asesiad ‘post-mortem’, darganfuwyd y bu farw’r dyn ifanc ar ôl cael ei saethu unwaith yn ei ben. Daeth Mr Colwell o Gapel Uchaf, ger Clynnog Fawr, ac roedd yn gyn-ddisgybl yn Ysgol Botwnnog. Dywedodd Dylan Minnice, Prifathro’r ysgol, a cyn brifathro i Peter, yr oedd yn ddisgybl tawel, dymunol, a oedd yn trio’i orau ar bob achlysur, a bod yr ysgol yn tristau ar ôl y newyddion erchyll o’i farwolaeth. Yn ôl y Prifathro, enillodd Peter y wobr am y disgybl gorau ym mlwyddyn un ar ddeg, wrth ddilyn

cwrs yng Ngholeg Glynllifon yn ystod ei flwyddyn olaf yn Ysgol Botwnnog. Roedd Peter yn bysgotwr a heliwr brwdfrydig. Roedd yn astudio cwrs peirianneg yng Nglynllifon, a thalodd Aled JonesGriffith, sydd yn Bennaeth Cynorthwyol Coleg Meirion Dwyfor, deyrnged iddo, gan ddatgan: “Tristwch mawr i staff a myfyrwyr ar safle Glynllifon oedd clywed am farwolaeth drist Peter.” Disgrifiodd Peter fel myfyriwr ‘distaw, gweithgar a chydwybodol’, cyn ychwanegu ei fod yn fawr ei barch gan bawb o’i gydnabod. Dywedodd “Rydym, fel coleg, yn cydymdeimlo’n fawr iawn â’i deulu a’i ffrindiau yn y cyfnod anodd yma. Wrth siarad â’r Daily Post, siara-

dodd Dylan Davies, un o ffrindiau Mr Colwell, am ei dristwch yn sgil y digwyddiad. Dywedodd Dylan, a oedd wedi nabod Peter am ddwy flwyddyn a hanner, yr oedd Peter yn un o’i ffrindiau agosaf, ac yr oeddent fel brodyr i’w gilydd. Yn ôl Mr.Davies, roedd Peter yn treulio llawer o amser yn ei dŷ, ac roedd yn rhan o’r dodrefn yno. Dywedodd Angela Russel, cynghorwr Llanbedrog, fod y gymuned wedi derbyn sioc fawr. Dywedodd “Mae’n le mor brydferth a thawel, ac mae digwyddiad fel hyn wedi digwydd yng nghanol y pentref ” cyn ychwanegu fod pobl yr ardal yn methu credu bod y digwyddiad wedi cymryd lle yno. Fodd bynnag, roedd Iestyn Davies, ‘Detective superintendent’ Heddlu Gogledd Cymru, yn awyddus i’r cy-

hoedd wybod nad oedd rhaid i drigolion yr ardal boeni am y digwyddiad. Dywedodd eu bod wedi cyflogi arbenigwyr i ddarganfod sut yn union y digwyddodd y llofruddiad. Dywedodd “Hoffwn dawelu meddyliau’r gymuned mai digwyddiad ar ei ben ei hun oedd y digwyddiad hwn, a oedd yn ymwneud â phobl leol, ac nid oes angen i’r cyhoedd boeni” cyn ychwanegu “Nid ydym yn chwilio am unrhyw un arall mewn cysylltiad â’r ymchwiliad, a bod y dryll wedi ei ddarganfod.” Yn ôl Det Supt Iestyn Davies, er bod y digwyddiad yn cael ei drin fel llofruddiaeth, mae gennynt feddwl agored. Dywedodd bod pedwar o ddynion lleol wedi eu harestio, ond eu bod bellach wedi eu rhyddhau.

Daeth Mr Colwell o Gapel Uchaf, ger Clynnog Fawr, ac roedd yn gyn-ddisgybl yn Ysgol Botwnnog.


28 SPORT

Cobras the comeback kings to win first divisional title in 11 years Rich Jones

It was an impressive triumph for the Cobras, who are closing in on an undefeated season and are celebrating their first conference title since 2006.

” Mark Wyatt

We need to do business straight away I think, not wait until the season starts. Neil Warnock, Cardiff City Manager

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ardiff Cobras clinched their first conference title in over a decade with a thrilling 14-11 win over Exeter last weekend. The Cobras staged a dramatic comeback to make it six wins out of six in competitive fixtures and establish an unassailable lead at the top of BUCS South West 1A. Wide receiver Scott Higgins continued his impressive form to score both touchdowns for the Cobras, who were cheered on by a number of alumni ahead of their 30th Anniversary Dinner later in the day. Once again playing in Bristol due to Llanrumney’s pitches being deemed unplayable, the hosts got off to a slow start. They struggled to move the ball early on, and although their defence largely held firm the Demons were able to open up an 11-0 lead at half time. After a slow start to the second half, they appeared set to go out with a whimper – but they launched a determined fightback to turn the game on its head. Quarterback Max Milburn connected with Higgins for two big plays mid-

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

way through the third quarter before finding the star receiver in the end zone to hand them a lifeline. A big punt from Jak Canham pinned Exeter deep in their own territory in the fourth quarter, and after some tremendous Cobras defence and a poor Demons punt the home side gained the

ball in excellent field position. Milburn subsequently hit Higgins for the go-ahead score before a superb interception from Linebacker Tom Earl sealed victory and sparked jubilant scenes. It was an impressive triumph for the Cobras, who are closing in on an unde-

feated season and are celebrating their first conference title since 2006. It is the 12th time they have won their division in their 30-year history and they will have high hopes of finishing the year strongly to earn some silverware and promotion to the top tier of University American Football.

Warnock vows to bolster squad ahead of 2017/18 promotion push

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eil Warnock revealed he is working towards transfers for next season and even admitted he would only need £5 million to spend in the window. After a January transfer window that boasted only two signings, there are parts of the Cardiff City fan base that are calling out for new signings, and a striker is first on the list. The Championship has seen some big money moves over the past 12 months, with record signings being spent on forwards especially. Fulham’s top goal scorer Ross McCormack moved to Aston Villa in the summer for £12m potentially rising to £14m. Dwight Gayle was allowed to leave Crystal Palace in the same window as Newcastle United made him a £10m acquisition. And more recently Jordan Rhodes has moved on loan from Premier League side Middlesbrough to Championship team Sheffield Wednesday on loan, with the option to buy him for £10m at the end of the season. It was this deal that Neil Warnock spoke of after his sides 1-0 defeat by Norwich last Saturday, Norwich’s first away victory since October. “I don’t need anywhere near that sort of money (paid for Jordan Rhodes). Half that figure will do me” claimed Warnock. His business since he joined the club showed that Warnock has the tenacity to do well in transfer windows even with a limited budget.

Pictured: Cardiff City Stadium under the lights. (via Jon Candy)

His moves for Junior Hoilett and Sol Bamba on free transfers back in October proved to be great aquisitions. Sol Bamba has secured his place in the first team and Hoilett has been showing promising signs over the past few fixtures. In January Warnock brought in veteran Hull City goalkeeper Allan McGregor on loan until the end of the season and he has already proved to be a mainstay in the side. Cardiff City fans will be hopeful that

the next transfer window will be more fruitful than last summer, which only saw a handful of players enter the club and who have all had mixed fortunes. One position that must be addressed is a striker. Cardiff have seen three different recognised strikers find the net this season in Rickie Lambert (4), Kenneth Zohore (2) and Rhys Healey (1). In contrast Anthony Pilkington, playing on the left of midfield, has netted 8 goals this campaign already. It would appear that Warnock has

already set his sights on his new additions to the squad. Speaking after his side fell to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Norwich City

last week, Warnock revealed he had already started looking for players. “We’ve got two or three players we’d like to bring in, which we will try to do.” Warnock told the press. “We need to do business straight away I think, not wait until the season starts.”


SPORT 29

Gareth Axenderrie

The chances of a Welsh name appearing on the Snowdonia slate trophy appear as slim as ever.

Rocket Ronnie out to defend Welsh Open crown T he 2017 Coral Welsh Open returns to Cardiff ’s Motorpoint Arena this week as the world’s finest snooker players descend upon the Welsh capital in a bid to pocket major prize money and ranking points in one of snooker’s most prestigious events. The event has attracted controversy since moving to the capital in 2015. Four time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan made clear his dissatisfaction with the change of venue in 2015, describing the Motorpoint Arena as “a shopping mall”. A year later, he declined the opportunity to score a maximum break of 147, describing the £10,000 cheque as “too cheap”. Despite his protestations, ‘The Rocket’ will be most people’s favourite this week. Coming off the back of a record seventh Masters title, and the defending champion, Ronnie favours the shorter format of the game. Building momentum quickly and getting on and off the table in quick time is where he is most comfortable, and the Welsh open suits this style. So, who can challenge the mercurial ‘Rocket’ this week? World Champion and World Number One Mark Selby is an obvious challenger. ‘The Jester from Leicester’ has the best safety in the game, and despite only winning The Welsh Open once when he beat O’Sullivan 9-8 in 2008, he will be keen to get his hands on his first trophy of 2017.

Also a four time winner, John Higgins is always a threat, winning in Cardiff as recently as 2015. The Xfactor duo of Judd Trump and Neil Robertson are scoring as highly as ever (they scored the highest breaks at the Masters), but both have struggled to win silverware recently. Then there is wildcard Anthony Hamilton, who comes into the tournament off the back of a first win at the German

Masters earlier this month. A sad fact each time the snooker circus rolls into town is the realisation in snooker halls across Wales that the tournament favourites are almost always void of Welshmen. A country that has produced great snooker names like Reardon and Griffiths, now struggles to produce title challenging players. Mark Williams is still there, but the two-time

World Champion from Ebbw Vale hasn’t won a ranking event since his German Masters success in 2011. Keep an eye out for the upcoming Michael White, who will hope to harness home advantage, but the chances of a Welsh name appearing on the Snowdonia slate trophy appear as slim as ever. Gair Rhydd Sport will be bringing you live coverage throughout the week via Twitter.

Pictured: O’Sullivan in action. Can he defend his Welsh Open title? Photograph via Flickr.

Cardiff Devils reach third final in three years James Lloyd

But after losing the final to the Panthers last year, Cardiff will be hoping to go one better and make it a second Cup win in three years after scooping the crown in 2015.

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ardiff Devils shocked Belfast Giants 5-1 to reach the Challenge Cup Final for the third time in as many years. The Devils were left reeling after the first leg of the tie after the Giants shocked Cardiff in their hometown, 5-4. Jim Vandermeer was the hero for Belfast after his last minute strike broke Cardiff hearts. But the Welsh outfit fought back in the second leg in the Northern Irish capital, cruising to victory and to a 9-6 overall aggregate win. Cardiff will play either Nottingham Panthers or Sheffield Steelers who battle it out in the other semifinal on Saturday (correct at the time of writing). Patrick Bordeleau and Mark Louis eased Cardiff into the lead during the opening period. Louis extended the advantage soon after before Chris Jones made it 4-0. Chris Higgins replied for the hosts for some consolation, but Matthew Myers put the seal on the win late on for Todd Kelman’s Devils. In fact, the Devils remain well on course to secure a Cup and League double. They sit pretty at the summit

of the Elite Ice Hockey league on 59 points, one ahead of the Giants who have been the in-form team in recent weeks. Cardiff ’s home venue, the Ice Arena Wales, will play host to the

Challenge Cup Final this year which means the Devils have a slight advantage over their opponents. But after losing the final to the Panthers last year, Cardiff will be hoping to go one better and make it

a second Cup win in three years after scooping the crown in 2015. They beat the Steelers 2-1 that day courtesy of goals from veteran Andrew Lord and Craig Culligan.

Pictured: Cardiff Devils line up a shot. (Via Flickr).


30 SPORT

Dazzling display from Women’s Lacrosse sees them secure BUCS promotion

Pictured: Women’s Lacrosse team following their 14-6 win over Exeter at Llanrumney last Wednesday. (via Bex Jordache)

We have been working on our fitness and we made a good start and just ate away at the scoreline so we are really happy. Bex Jordache

” James Lloyd

Gareth Axenderrie Cardiff Blues Columnist

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ardiff Women’s Lacrosse first team stormed to a convincing 14-6 win against Exeter at Llanrumney last Wednesday to all but secure promotion from the Western 1A. Skipper Bex Jordache ran the show for Cardiff bagging six goals with Phoebe Smith also enjoying a sublime display. The hosts were dominant in the first-half of a frenetic game, but were pegged back slightly by a stubborn Exeter side who made things tricky for Cardiff after the break. But it was the girls in the Red & Black who came out of the blocks firing and soon took the lead through Maeve McKenny – who played an energetic role, covering every blade of grass on a damp Llanrumney pitch. And soon after the opener, Smith doubled the hosts’ advantage before the visitors clawed a goal back. It was fast paced, enthralling and largely entertaining as Cardiff took a foothold of the game with Jordache at the heart of the home attacks. The Great Britain cap found Grace Fearn in space who slammed the ball in to the net. Jordache then saw an

effort cannon off the crossbar and missed another opportunity seconds later. Smith made it 4-1 before Exeter marched up the other end and pulled another back with a well worked strike. A seesaw battle ensued as both teams exchanged goals with Cardiff forcing a time-out. Revamped from a dose of peach loops Katie Foster extended the lead before Jordache fired one into the top corner. And seconds later the medic produced a moment of magic to make it 8-3, pirouetting and juking past a number of Exeter defenders before launching another past the Exeter goalkeeper. The Devonshire side, though, were clinical going forward and scored another with Jordache on hand to ensure Cardiff led 9-5 at the break. The hosts had to show patience after half-time as the visitors defended in numbers but Smith was on the end of another positive home attack. A frustrating patch for Cardiff saw chances go begging courtesy of a number of saves from the Exeter ‘keeper and shots hitting the woodwork. But Jordache made it 11-6 before

Smith had a goal disallowed and saw another hit the post. Jordache and the spritely Smith combined beautifully for goal number 12 and produced a carbon copy minutes later. And late on, Jordache put the seal on the win with her sixth of the game leaving her feeling delighted with the comprehensive victory. She said: “That was such a good game for us, as last time we only beat Exeter by one goal, so we knew it was going to be a difficult game to go into. We haven’t played a game this side of Christmas yet so it was good to come out especially in the first-half and play well. “We have been working on our fitness and we made a good start and just ate away at the scoreline so we are really happy. “It was definitely our game plan in the first 10 minutes to not concede anything and get some goals to boost the confidence. It was a big focus area for us so it was good to get a few goals there and settle everyone. “We definitely had a dip in the second-half. We took some easy shots at

goal and made their ‘keeper look really good – which she is – but we made her look even better.” Cardiff face a Cup fixture on Wednesday against Midlands 1A side Nottingham Trent. But Jordache is relishing the game despite knowing a loss will see them bow out of the competition. “We haven’t played Nottingham Trent before, but cup games are always great and they are straight knock-out,” she said. “It is always nice to play a team that you haven’t played before. It will be nice to go out and play on home turf and move on to the next round.”

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squad players, a combination that has worked well for English clubs in the competition for years. They still managed to concede 53 points in that game however, and we have to ask the question what purpose does the AngloWelsh Cup serve to the Welsh regions if they never make the knockout stages? The Ospreys came very close this year with all due respect, losing just one game and notching impressive victories against Wasps and Bristol, but that was more exception than rule. You can argue that the regions have to use the competition as a development ground for the next generation and to

build strength in depth. How else are they going to compete through a full season if they do not have a squad full of proven resources to call on? The English clubs use the competition to develop young talent and build squad strength with great success after all. That argument falls down however when you realise that the Irish and Scottish sides do not play in the Anglo-Welsh Cup. All they have as a development competition is the British and Irish Cup, another tournament the Welsh regions make full use of. The Irish provinces and Glasgow routinely outperform the regions both in the Pro

12 and in European competitions. They do not have a glorified paperweight development competition to hone their squads alongside England’s elite. So, has the Anglo-Welsh had its best days? The English clubs like it, but the Welsh regions are merely cannonfodder in their sights. I guess a Pro 12 ‘A-League’ is the dream, but there are no funds to support such a venture. Could the British and Irish Cup be developed to greater strengthen development for the Celtic nations? Possibly. Whatever happens, the Anglo-Welsh Cup has become more of a limp flop for our professional sides.

s the Blues get back to Pro 12 action this month, still in the hunt for European qualification places, a lacklustre campaign in the Anglo-Welsh Cup has not gone unnoticed. The Blues finished with four straight loses, some of which were heavy, and another lacklustre performance from the Welsh sides has led many to question Welsh involvement. Shipping 187 points in four games does very little to develop anything for the Blues in my opinion. They left it until the very last game of the pool stages against Worcester to finally balance youthful development with experienced

Women’s Lacrosse Team: (Back Row from the left): Laura Pallas-Clark, Alice Petheram, Alex Richards, Grace Fearn, Cass Trend, Liv Turner, Emily Owen, Shanti Kang, Becca Creamer, Katy Crisp. (Front Row from the left): Hannah Bodin, Katie Foster, Phoebe Smith, Ella Fairlie, Bex Jordache, Maeve McKenny, Amelie Woods, Grace Wilson.

But it was the girls in the Red & Black who came out of the blocks firing and soon took the lead through Maeve McKenny – who played an energetic role, covering every blade of grass on a damp Llanrumney pitch.


SPORT 31

Con’t: How the players rated: Cardiff 43-8 Swansea Rich Jones

Philip Marsh Cardiff City Columnist

Backs:

Forwards:

15: Julian Mogg - 7 out of 10 - Did his job at full-back, tackled well and gained some yards for the hosts.

1: Nick Ibister - 7 - Always involved in the action and did plenty of work as a ball carrier.

14: Owen Williams 7 - Scored a try from wing after Haines’ set up, solid display from the youngster.

2: Jack Haines - 8 - Covered every blade of grass, threw well at the lineout and teed up Williams’ try.

13: Rhodri Walls - 7 - Contributed to a slick Cardiff back line who made numerous line breaks and always threatened.

3: Aron Willimas - 7 - Cardiff ’s scrum offered a solid base throughout with the front row at the forefront.

12: Harry Griffiths - 9 - Superb game from the hard-hitting, bulldozing, beanpole centre. Scored a try in the second-half.

4: Jack McGrath - 8 - Fine game for the captain who defended well and was on hand to score a try.

11: Harri Lang - 7 - His speed always stretched Swansea and made him a threat.

5: Tom Bell -7 - Departed to the bin, but that aside played well and got on the scoresheet.

10: James Davies - 8 - Enjoyed playing the conductor role and was pretty impressive with the ball in hand. Kicked well throughout.

6: Luke Waller - 7 - Cardiff were superb at the breakdown and organised in defence, as Waller exemplified.

9: Louie Silver - 7 - Cardiff ’s backs benefitted from Silver’s quick-ball from scrums and rucks, decent game for the half-back.

7: Aron Hughes - 8 - Excellent at the breakdown and started the move for Cardiff ’s third try with a big hand off and neat pass.

Replacements: S Starks, R Jenkins, A Rees, O Hitchings, B Egan, D Brooks, C Graney, O Evans.

8: Chris Williams - 8 - Good at the lineout and reliable in defence. Complete game from the Chairman.

N

eil Warnock and Joe Ralls’ nominations for Manager and Player of the Month respectively last week demonstrated how far Cardiff have come in 2017, but both will know there is a lot more work to be done. Four league wins from six games in January lifted the Bluebirds away from the relegation zone, however three defeats in the past four games has halted progress. Last week’s home defeat to Norwich will come as a real disappointment to Cardiff fans, who left the match aggrieved not to have picked up at

least a single point. To rub salt in the wounds, the scorer of the only goal of the game was exCardiff City player Cameron Jerome, who celebrated by doing the ayatollah - an action synonymous with Cardiff City. In the post-match press conference, Warnock expressed his frustrations at not being awarded at least one penalty. He said: “I’m disappointed with the penalties, probably seven or eight referees out of 10 would have given them. Both of them, really. I can’t accept it.” On top of the disappointing penalty

decisions, Cardiff ’s finishing in the final quarter of the match will be cause for concern. Craig Noone, Kenneth Zohore and Kadeem Harris were all guilty of wasting good opportunities, especially the later of the three. Tomorrow night’s away trip to Derby will be a real test for Warnock’s Cardiff City. The Rams have faltered recently but their home form has been the backbone of their promotion push this season. Steve McClaren’s men will have learnt lessons from the weekend’s fixture against Bristol City but will still be hurting from their extra-time

defeat to local rivals Leicester in the FA Cup last week. If the Bluebirds manage victory at Pride Park, the next home fixture against bottom-of-the-league Rotherham will have to potential to be season defining. Six points will quite possibly elevate Cardiff to the top half of the table for the first time since September. Bluebirds fans will for the first time be quietly confident of avoiding relegation, but will also be aware the likelihood of promotion is slim. As things stand, Cardiff are heading to a solid mid-table finish.

Pictured: Action from Wednesday’s fixture at Llanrumney. (Via Ines Teixeira-Dias).


sport p

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

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C

ardiff men’s rugby first team hit Swansea University for six as they thumped their South Wales rivals 43-8 at Llanrumney last Wednesday. It was the final time the two teams will meet until April 5 when they face off at the Principality Stadium for Welsh Varsity. And Cardiff ensured Swansea travelled back West along the M4 with plenty to ponder after this convincing rout which left Alun Wyn Davies in a bullish mood. The Head of Rugby reckons the White & Greens have had “their wings clipped” following the sixtry feast which has put his side into third place of the BUCS South A Division, behind Bristol and Hartpury. Davies said: “I think it is a confidence booster. Every time we have played Swansea in the past two seasons, I think they have been on top. “Last season we lost away and won narrowly at home, and lost the Var-

sity game, so I think they have had their wings clipped a little bit today which is positive for the club and positive for the university and it was something we wanted to focus on. “Considering the build-up we had to the game, I am pretty pleased with it. We haven’t played for a while, so today was really positive and I am really happy for the guys. “It was a combination of things; I think we were quite nervous as we haven’t played for a long period of time. “Swansea have done well in recent weeks. But it was nice to see what we have been working on translate onto the pitch. It was great to see the players enjoying themselves and expressing themselves.” James Davies was amongst those players who enjoyed a bit of freedom. The outside-half played an instrumental role pulling the strings for a number of Cardiff attacks. Despite a cagey opening, it was the hosts who took the lead through a bruising effort from flanker Aron Hughes. Davies added the conversion and knocked over a penalty

minutes later as Cardiff took a hold of the game. Hooker Jack Haines blocked down a Swansea kick and fed Owen Williams who ran in with ease to extend the advantage. With plenty at stake, tempers flared as Tom Bell and Swansea’s Tom Hayward departed to the bin following a scuffle. On the stroke of half-time Davies had a go from halfway with an outrageous penalty attempt, which fell short. Rory Garrett booted a penalty for the visitors leaving Cardiff with a chip on their shoulder and a sense of anger. Harry Griffiths, though, relinquished that and waltzed his way through weak Swansea defending for try number three before Bell bagged the bonus-point at the posts. Garrett offered brief resistance for Swansea with a try. But captain Jack McGrath crashed over at a maul and Rhydian Jenkins made it six beneath the bar late on – with Davies cracking the cork with the extras to seal the victory.

Pictured: Chris Williams, Chairman of CURFC, wins a lineout for the hosts against Swansea. (Via Kelsey Rees)

Continued on page 31

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Gair Rhydd - 1092 - 13th February 2017  
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