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CARDIFF'S STUDENT WEEKLY

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ISSUE 915 FEBRUARY 15 2010

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Democracy in action AGM passes new constitution and votes to keep Healthcare Integration Officer for another year Gareth Ludkin News Editor Amendments to a revised and improved Students’ Union constitution passed without incident at this year’s AGM last week. Quoracy was never in doubt at this year’s AGM as the motions passed relatively swiftly without threat of a further meeting being necessary. The turnout was high, however, many students began to leave towards the end. Some of the speakers even joked about how nobody wanted to be there. During the AGM, the sabbatical position of Healthcare Integration Officer was maintained after Jack Naevin defended the value of the role, stressing that the job of uniting and representing healthcare students’ was

only half-done. A discussion over the implementation of bye-laws within Cardiff University’s Students’ Union (CUSU) caused the only real debate of the night after members of the student body questioned why a motion could not be taken to AGM rather than Student Council. An indicative vote was cast to gauge the opinion of students over whether the minimum number of students required for a society should stay at 20 or be raised to 30. The answer from students was clearly to maintain the status quo. The only motion to fail was the motion which proposed that the Union should offer its ‘solidarity to Cardiff University and College Union’ and the ‘Students & Teachers, Unite and Fight’ campaign. With little support, the motion fell. Student Council had

already rejected this motion, and it was not a surprise that is was rejected once again. Michaela Neild, the Academic and University Affairs Office, spoke out against the motion, but didn’t quite know where to start in her opposition. She said: “This motion…well it’s interesting…I’ve got so many problems with this.” She continued: “We should reject a continued attempt by a small minority to push through a motion that has already been rejected.” This year’s AGM provided students with the opportunity to vote on the key constitutional changes of the Students’ Union. The executive committee were mandated last year by Student Council to complete a “far-ranging, allencompassing and objective review of the governance of CUSU.” This governance review has taken

seven months to complete and ties up some of the vague loopholes in the Constitution that have previously been exploited. Wider amendments to the charitable status of the Union were also incorporated after the passing of the Charities Act 2006 required the Union to review its legal status as an Unincorporated Association. Amendments to the Students’ Union Memorandum and Articles of Association mean that the Union can set up a fullyfledged charitable arm of the Union, while maintaining its business and commercial interests. continued on page 2

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EDITOR Emma Jones DEPUTY EDITOR Simon Lucey CO-ORDINATOR Elaine Morgan SUB EDITOR Sarah Powell NEWS Ceri Isfryn Gareth Ludkin Emma McFarnon Jamie Thunder FEATURES Daniella Graham Robin Morgan OPINION Oli Franklin Paul Stollery POLITICS Damian Fantato COLUMNISTS Tim Hart Oli Franklin LISTINGS Steve Beynon Ed Bovingdon TAF-OD Nia Gwawr Williams Branwen Mathias Cadi Mai SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Amy Hall Priya Raj JOBS & MONEY Katie Greenway SPORT Jon Evans James Hinks Adam Horne Lucy Morgan Robbie Wells CONTRIBUTORS Tom Bevan Zoe Bridger James Dunn Alex Evans Bethan Evans Katie Greenway Emyr Gruffydd Amy Hall Rachel Henson Ayushman Jamwal Mike O’Brien Jack Parker Kimberly Partridge Hannah Pendleton Benjamin Price Ellen Sutherland-Wootton Bnar Talabani Lucy Trevallion Lawrence Waller Jake Yorath

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Success as Heath RAG week raises thousands for charity Daniella Graham Reporter This years Heath RAG week has raised thousands of pounds for charity. Ten years after the merger between Cardiff University and University of Wales College of Medicine, Heath RAG week has seen healthcare students join together to raise money for a variety of charities, including SKIP, Cardiff Marrow, Friends of MSF and the Haiti earthquake appeal. Before the merger, Med RAG Week was a huge tradition, with all medical students getting involved in a series of fundraising events to raise money for various charities. The annual event raised thousands of pounds each year, but was abruptly discontinued after the merger. A group of healthcare students, with the help of Healthcare Student Integration Officer Jack Navein, have joined together with Cardiff University RAG to resurrect this tradition. The

week was re-branded ‘Heath RAG Week’ to be inclusive of all healthcare students. A variety of events, including a Gangsters and Molls night at the Coal Exchange, a pub-crawl from the IV Lounge to Live Lounge, a screening of the England v. Wales Six Nations and a Lion King sing-a-long have so far raised £3,500. The pub crawl alone raised an impressive £2,500.

As gair rhydd went to print, the medic play, Anaphylaxis, looked set to raise another £3,500 for the various charities. Fran Yarlett, one of the Heath RAG Week co-ordinators, said: “Heath RAG Week couldn't have gone any better. It was great to have all Healthcare students involved and we're so pleased that everyone was so enthusiastic."

GANGSTERS AND MOLLS: One of the many RAG events

AGM runs smoothly Continued from front page Ed Dolding, Welfare, Campaigns and Communications Officer, spoke in favour of the motion, stating that the amendments are: “Fit for purpose and suit the current and future needs of the Union.” Questions were asked over whether students would back the continuation of the position, after the controversial debate at last year’s AGM. However, the motion passed overwhelmingly, demonstrating how valuable students consider the integration of healthcare students to be. Jack Navein spoke passionately about his position, stating that: “Our students are at one of the worst medical schools in the country.” He continued: “Vast and complex problems remain…half measures will not work. We either do it properly or not at all.” The details of the Constitution and amendments made to the Memorandum and Articles of Association can be found along with the AGM’s proposed motions at www.cardiffstudents.com.

Cardiff student runs for Haiti Rachel Henson Reporter A student from Cardiff is running a half marathon to raise money for the Haiti Appeal. Brian Dias is entering the Llanelli Half Marathon on March 7 after undertaking an intensive training regime. He aims to raise funds of over £2000, all of which will be donated to the relief work following the Haiti earthquake in January. Brian is currently studying Welsh and has previously run for Cardiff

University. Last month he ran the annual Lliswerry eight mile road race in Newport for the same cause. In the run up to the half marathon next month, he is doing track sessions and eight mile runs. He hopes to improve on his existing best time for completing a half marathon, which currently stands at 1 hour 37 minutes. He said: “It’s very hard work, but it’s worth it when you have something to aim for.” The Haiti earthquake struck near the capital Port-au-Prince with a magnitude of 7.0 on Tuesday January 12. It left thousands in need of food, wa-

ter, shelter and medical supplies and was the worst earthquake to hit the country in 200 years. The donation will be made to Concern Worldwide, an international humanitarian aid organisation that works to reduce extreme poverty and offers worldwide crisis response including water distribution for areas in need. Anyone can get involved in Brian’s fundraising efforts by supporting a cake sale in the Union on Wednesday, donating to collection tubs in the Students’ Union, collecting sponsorship money or donating online at: wwwww.justgiving.com/brian-dias4.

Alice Clarke's appeal case accepted Jamie Thunder News Editor Alice Clarke, the Bar Vocational Course (BVC) student who took Cardiff University to the High Court last year, has had her appeal for extenuating circumstances in one of her exams accepted by the course’s Board of Examiners. In August, Justice Wyn Williams ordered the University to reconsider Ms. Clarke’s appeal relating to the Negotiation exam taken in March 2005. The initial decision to reject it was taken by an Extenuating Circumstances Committee that included two staff members whose actions formed part of the extenuating circumstances cited by Ms. Clarke.

The Board of Examiners originally upheld the decision, but last December they opted to accept her appeal. Ms. Clarke retook the exam later in 2005 and passed, but could only achieve the lowest pass mark (50%) as it was a resit. gair rhydd understands that her resit mark will now be treated as if it was from the first exam. This would increase her mark to in the module to 62%, but would not change her overall grade for the course. A University spokesperson said: “In 2005 the Examining Board judged that the submission made by Ms Clarke presented contradictory explanations for her performance in the assessment and, consequently, on that occasion the Board rejected the request for extenuating circumstances.

“On this occasion Ms. Clarke did not put forward all the arguments which she had previously submitted and the Board was therefore, in effect, considering different information and, following detailed consideration of this information, accepted Ms. Clarke's application.” The spokesperson did not explain which arguments were put forward either in 2005 or last December, citing confidentiality. However, Justice Williams’ decision in August noted that in 2005 Ms. Clarke had appealed on grounds of stress prior to the exam caused by staff members, but had also complained that her exam had been ‘incorrectly and inaccurately marked’. The issue of costs in the case is yet to be resolved.

CLARKE: Appeal accepted

NEWS 1 EDITORIAL & OPINION 8 COLUMNIST 13 FEATURES 14 POLITICS 18 TAF-OD 22 SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT 23 JOBS & MONEY 24 LETTERS 25 FIVE MINUTE FUN 29 SPORT 31


NEWS 03

gairrhydd | NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

Anger over ENCAP shake-up plans Changes likened to 'tearing an animal's heart out' Alex Evans Reporter The ENCAP department is planning a radical shake-up of its staff offices, according to a source within the school. The proposals, which have not been made public by Cardiff University, will see all Centre for Language and Communication Research (CLCR) administrative staff moved into an open-plan office on the second floor, shared with the Philosophy staff. Some argue that the move is certain to affect the privacy of key ENCAP staff members, and that this is likely to have a detrimental effect on students. The availability of an approachable point-of-contact for ENCAP students could be put under threat by the plans, which are reported to be widely opposed by both administrative and academic staff within the department. A Facebook campaign entitled ‘Save CLCR Office!’ has already been started and is quickly gaining momentum, with almost a hundred students joining the group in a matter of days. Members have been encouraged to contact Cardiff University Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students, Jonathon Osmond, in order to voice their disapproval over the changes. An email address has also been set up by ENCAP staff asking students to send in their comments and make their opposition to the changes heard. Ronen Shayovitz, a doctorate student and year one Philosophy tutor, said: “I, along with many others in Philosophy feel that the move would have a highly detrimental effect on the cohesion of the department and

student welfare.” When contacted by gair rhydd, a member of the ENCAP administrative staff, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “To take the admin offices out of the different school sections would be like ripping out the heart of an animal and putting it on life support: It would function, but it would not be as good as it was previously. "I worry that students will feel alienated from staff and their course if this move takes place, and would subsequently not want to approach the office if they had any problems – small or big; they all count in our experience at university.” As another staff member, who also wished to remain anonymous, put it: “As section administrators we are worried that this proposed move might have a detrimental effect on the student experience. We also feel that there will be a negative impact on academic staff as it will be difficult to support them as we do at present when we are located away from them. “Although we have expressed our concerns on a number of occasions, unfortunately it is looking extremely likely that the move will go ahead. However we will do our very best to ensure that the students and academic staff are not adversely affected.” First year English student, James Dunn, agrees with the staff members' criticisms. "I think this is a terrible idea. I used to work in an office and I don't see how the paperwork for such a variety of different departments can be steered successfully in this way." However, Holy Runt, who is also a first year English student, thinks the plans are a good idea. "I think it might create a more ap-

This year’s Students’ Union elections are just around the corner and nominations open in just one week, on February 22. Whether as a candidate or as a voter, the yearly elections provide an

opportunity for all students to initiate change and shape the way in which the Union is run. During a frantic week of campaigning, candidates will be able to put forward their manifesto and prove why they should be elected as a representative of the Cardiff University student body. The elections also provide an opportunity for all students to voice their

Dr. David Grant, Cardiff University’s Vice-Chancellor, received a £10,000 pay rise last year, University accounts show. His salary increased from £234,000 to £241,000, and £34,000 went towards his pension, compared to £31,000 in 2007/8. In total, this is a 3.6 percent rise, taking his overall payment to £275,000. The accounts, which cover the academic year 2008/09, also reveal that 217 members of staff received more than £100,000 in salary and pension contributions. The previous year this figure was 189. Fee income from non-EU students increased and was over a third of the University’s total fee income, although this represented a slightly smaller proportion than in 2007/8. In total, the University had a surplus of £14 million, slightly up from the 2007/8 figure. The financial statements are available at http://www.cf.ac.uk/fince/otherservices/index.html.

Essay feedback branded a 'disgrace'

Individual offices could become a thing of the past proachable atmosphere. It would be easier going into a room with lots of people who are relatively relaxed and happy to help than interrupting one person in their own private office." Academic and University Affairs

Officer, Michaela Neild, said that the University had not made her aware of this issue, but advised anyone wishing to voice their opinion to search for the Facebook group or email EncapChanges@cardiff.ac.uk

Election time: your Union needs you! Gareth Ludkin News Editor

University releases financial statement

opinions about how the Union could improve and develop its operations. Covering all University issues; from the Athletic Union to finance, from societies to academic and welfare affairs, the sabbatical officers have the power to shape the Union for the better in what must be one of the most rewarding graduate opportunities around. As long as you have ideas, passion

and enthusiasm for the organisation of Cardiff’s Students’ Union, anyone can run for the eight full-time and seven part-time positions. Positions available include Head of Student Media, Finance and Commercial Officer, Academic and University Affairs Officer and President of the Union. All sabbatical officers elected are expected to lead Cardiff Students’ Union on a day-to-day basis and implement the policy set by Student Council and at the Annual General Meeting. If you think you’ve got what it takes to help run and organise a £7,000,000 organisation, why not apply and nominate yourself for one of the sabbatical positions? For more information on how to nominate yourself, and to find out about working as a sabbatical officer, visit the third floor of the Students’ Union to talk to some of the current sabbs; or visit www.cardiffstudents. com for further information on the election process and important election details.

A feedback clinic held during Refreshers Week has revealed that students think that essay feedback system is a "disgrace". Respondents also said that their work would benefit significantly from more one-to-one contact with lecturers and tutors. Numerous students felt that lecturers produce feedback in order to “tick the boxes” rather than to help improve the standard of the work submitted. Students were invited to write their opinion on feedback from lecturers on cards and to film short clips for CUTV on the matter. Many complained that comments were too vague and generic. One person described the comments received as “basic, undetailed, brief and slow”. The amount of time that feedback takes was also a common complaint. A Biosciences student seemed especially disgruntled by the school’s slowness, claiming that “there is almost no such thing as feedback”. Several respondents noted that their markers’ writing is often illegible – making any feedback given “pointless”. The campaign was organised by the Academic and University Affairs Officer, Michaela Neild, who said: “The National Student Survey showed yet again this year that feedback is a weak point in Russell Group universities, and it only asks the views of third years. "This campaign included students from all years so that the University can have a realistic view of what feedback is really like.” The cards were given to senior academics and University decision makers who are now expected to review the current feedback system in academic schools.


04 NEWS

gairrhydd | NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

Drugs Nutt to speak at Cardiff Jack Parker Reporter Professor David Nutt, the sacked government drugs advisor who received intense media attention last October, is set to speak on drugs and government policy this week at Cardiff University. Last October, Prof. Nutt publicly criticised the decision to reclassify cannabis to Class B from Class C, accusing the government of politicising the subject and misrepresenting the evidence. Prof. Nutt claimed that all he was trying to do was give good advice. However, home secretary Alan Johnson dismissed him, saying in a letter that he could not have public confusion between scientific advice and policy. Prof. Nutt has since started his own drugs advisory group to rival the governments own Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD).

Prof. Nutt's new group, the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs (ISCD) aims to provide the scientific truth about drugs, unaffected by political influence. Nutt has pointed out that many of the best scientists in the field are now members of the ISCD, many of whom resigned from the ACMD follwing Prof. Nutt’s dismissal. His highly anticipated guest lecture is due to take place on Thursday February 18 at 7pm in the Large Chemistry Lecture Theatre, Main Building. It has been titled ‘Government Vs Science’. As well as discussing his experiences within the world of drugs research, including his controversial claim that taking ecstasy is no more dangerous than riding a horse, he will be tackling the relationship between government policy and science. The lecture is not going to be technical and will not require prior knowledge of the subject. All are welcome to come along. For more information, join the Facebook group ‘Professor David Nutt comes to Cardiff’.

Anti-terror police on uni campuses Lucy Trevallion Reporter

NUTT: All smiles

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Some universities will have counter-terrorism officers stationed on campus as a result of the increased threat level, Universities Minister David Lammy has said. Lammy assured the BBC: "We have identified universities for whom the risk of terrorism is greater, and they have to work closely with Special Branch. So I think it is a partnership between [the] leadership at university and the police." At universities considered to be most at risk of being targeted by extremists, counter-terrorism officers are being stationed on campus. This follows speculation that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the alleged ‘underpants bomber’, was radicalised at University College London. On Christmas Day, Abdulmutallab

allegedly attempted to detonate a powdery substance on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit with 280 people on board. He then became the focus of a major terrorism investigation on both sides of the Atlantic. The president of UCL, Malcolm Grant, said last week: "we must of course ensure that universities are not converted into hotbeds of radicalisation." Vice-Chancellors announced last month they were establishing a panel to consider how universities can both take action against violent extremism and protect freedom of speech. Lammy refused to name the institutions in question, stating that it would not be ‘helpful’. Since Abdulmutallab is a former president of the Islamic Society of UCL, there have been discussions about future monitoring of Islamic societies. Lammy refused to comment on this.

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gairrhydd | NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

International students pay more but get less

NUS threatens MPs over student votes Jamie Thunder News Editor The National Union of Students (NUS) has launched a campaign urging students not to vote for MPs who refuse to support their campaign against top-up fees. It has identified 20 “battlegrounds” — not including Cardiff — where it believes the student vote could make a significant difference to the result in the general election, widely expected

Hannah Pendleton Reporter Fees for international students have increased by 5% in the past year, but provisions for them have stayed the same. According to the UK Council for International Student Affairs, £4 billion in fees comes from overseas students at UK universities every year. Most science-based PhD programmes at Cardiff are now £12,300, and arts PhDs are £9,600. A 5-year programme in medicine or dentistry is £12,300 for the first two years and up to £22,500 for the final three years. Surprisingly a small number of universities have lowered their fees. Hertfordshire University, Kings College and Leeds Metropolitan decreased fees for arts-based courses by up to £500. In the current economic climate the increases may not seem startling but it needs to be considered whether or not overseas students are getting their money’s worth. Overseas students at Cardiff University who spoke to gair rhydd did not feel that they were not benefiting

from extras that you would expect to come with growing fees. Hitesh, a student from India says he feels that the services are ‘ineffective’ because the University doesn’t provide any internships or placements for his course. Kris, a law student from the Bahamas, said: “I don’t feel that affected by the increase in fees’ but he believes ‘the living arrangements can use a little tweaking to ensure international students and native students alike will be more comfortable.” Cardiff University offers international students numerous free services, including English language support, inductions, coach collection, support before arriving and in-country advice from the University’s educational advisors. Some say the prices being paid do not demonstrate the amount of support given and more services should be considered to compensate for the high prices overseas students pay. It is often argued that universities are increasingly dependent on money from international students and that if their fees become too expensive, institutions risk pushing away an important source of funding.

Disabled students still waiting Bethan Evans Reporter Re-organisation of the funding system for loans and grants has left disabled students still waiting for financial support four months into the academic year. Where local authorities used to have the responsibility of distributing the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA), as of this year it became the duty of the Student Loans Company (SLC). Statistics released under the Freedom of Information Act show that two thirds of students with a disability or special needs have yet to receive any money. This has led to over 12,000 students having to start their academic year without funding. This funding is needed to pay for vital equipment and assistance such as

specialised computer software, Braille paper and interpreters required for disabled students to have an equal learning environment to that of their peers. The SLC says that to process a DSA application takes “longer than applications for other types of student finance,” and that they are “still awaiting information from assessment centres for over 4,000 students”. This, however, fails to account for the other 8,000 who are still waiting to receive any money at all. Shadow Universities and Skills Secretary, David Willetts, complained that the “figures are truly shocking” and “two months after the government said the problems would be fixed, thousands of disabled students are still waiting for the vital funding they need.” Lack of support has led to disabled students being unable to complete end of term exams and coursework.

to be held on May 6. A website, voteforstudents.co.uk, has been set up, and allows MPs and Prospective Parliamentary Candidates to sign the NUS's pledge. The pledge states: “I pledge to vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament and to pressure the government to introduce a fairer alternative.” The BBC reported that around 200 MPs and candidates have signed the pledge so far. High-ranking Labour and Conservative MPs have declined to sign it, saying that they will wait for

the outcome of Lord Browne's review into the future of university funding. Wes Streeting, NUS President, said: “Through this campaign we hope to remind students of the power they hold and remind candidates of the danger of not taking our votes seriously. Our message to candidates is simple, vote for us or pay the price.” “Our list of key student seats should make the point particularly clearly. Elections have been won and lost by the votes of students before and it will happen again,” he added.


06 NEWS

gairrhydd | NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

Second Talybont infestation victim requests compensation

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A second student from Block 23 in Talybont South has requested compensation because of the cockroaches in her flat and bedroom. English Language student, Jenny Kendall, is asking to be reimbursed for 25 percent of the £3,000-a-year fee. The flat’s residents, who were not featured in gair rhydd’s story on the block two weeks ago, said that they

had seen the insects from the day they moved in. “You just didn’t want to be here. You expect to be having fun when you start but it was just a hassle,” said Maths student Leanne Brown. Another student in the flat, Claire Taylor, had bedbugs in her room and moved out for a week. Two rounds of treatment solved the problem, but a storage cabinet removed for treatment has not yet been returned. Claire has now bought a replacement cabinet herself. The situation has improved since September, when the students were

seeing the insects every day in drawers, cupboards, and even in their beds. But they said the University’s efforts to stop the infestation over Christmas did not seem to have worked. Tom Cheal, an Engineering student, said: “Over Christmas they said they’d have a really good go, but when we came back it was worse than before.” In Issue 913, gair rhydd revealed the infestation in the block and that at least one student had moved in without being told of the problems.We also publicised a resident’s rejected claim for reimbursement.

Last week the University said that it had undertaken an “intensive treatment regime”, and stressed that the infestation was unlikely to be down to poor hygiene or bad housekeeping. A spokesperson added this week that the University’s Campus Services Division’s customer care policy was available at www.cf.ac.uk/ residences, and that it was “happy to liaise with students regarding any issues or concerns they may have”.

CARDIFF'S STUDENT

WEEKLY

Inside this week:

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Marina & the Diamonds

ISSUE 913 FEBRUARY

01 2010

ENGIN Rugby: Those food poisoning sources revealed inside!

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PHOTO: JAMIE THUNDER

Jamie Thunder News Editor

INFESTED

Cockroaches and bedb Jamie Thunder News Editor A block in Talybont South has been hit by an infestation of cockroaches and bedbugs, but University is not telling Cardiff students before they move in to replace those who have left. Last semester one student moved out of her room in Block 23, two others have been unable while to sleep in their rooms while they are treated. Students in several flats in the block have told gair rhydd that they have had cockroaches in their cupboards, bedrooms, and even fridges. The insects were reported to the University in September and are still there, de-

ugs found in Talybont

halls of residence

spite traps being laid and pest visits, although the number control least one room in a different flat has and regu- also been affected. of his £3,000-a-year residence larity of sightings have fl fees. sated for the disruption uctuated. This was rejected caused and Since then, an exchange One student reported seeing student because immediatein early December given the option to move a cock- has moved into if they wish action had been until roach crawl across their the problem is resolved. pillow, while to cockroaches. the room vacated due taken. This action, however, did not another said that one fell “Furthermore, the idea on their head the problems She was only told of solve the problem. that new as they opened their bedroom by her new flatmates students are being placed door. Richella also said that students once she moved in. in flats that Those who complained who have been previously initially had looked round Another student were still in the block should vacated were offered alternative be the comsame room but of an infestation that hasn't because accommoda- decided yet been not to move in after learning pensated. “We’re paying three thou- resolved tion by the University but only borders on gross negligence sand pounds a year for took it up, moving to Talybont one about the insects from the residents. this – no-one on the part of the halls' managers.” else has cockroaches, but Court. Richella Dennehy, who The others didn’t because we’re paymoved ing the same,” He added that students of the dis- out of Talybont she said. with any ruption of moving. South because of the housing-relate d issue should contact Welfare, Campaigns and cockroaches, said that In one flat at least two of Com- the Union’s it was unfair the have had bedbugs. One student rooms for another student to move in without munications Officer Ed Dolding ex- tion Centre. Advice and Representapressed concern about the moved knowing about back home to Newport allegations, them. A University spokesperson after and said he had contacted “I think it’s quite mean,” said: bedbugs and dead cockroachesfinding the resishe “Unfortunatel said, dences department about y, since September there in her “I feel sorry for bed despite her room them. her.” have been instances of having been “If what has been reported infestation of First-year treated. She is expecting to return to James Tucker psychology student this is of course completely is true, German Cockroaches at Talybont her room this weekend, wrote to the residences unaccept- South which having lived manager has lead to an intensive at Talybont South last term able. My personal opinion is that any treatment out of it on and off since October. At asking for regime.” student who is living in halls with reimbursement of some such infestations should be compen- continued on page 2

Cardiff under-represents ethnic minorities Benjamin Price Reporter Cardiff University remains one of several Russell Group Universities falling below the national average in its representation of black and ethnic minority students. A report published in January of last year by Race for Opportunity, part of Business in the Community, revealed that several of the United Kingdom’s top universities represent less than 16% (the national average) of students of black or minority ethnic backgrounds (BME). Cardiff University’s proportion of BME students was 8.8% in the academic year of 2007-08. Both the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge also recorded BME representation under the national average. At the bottom of the list of Russell Group Universities was The Queen’s

University of Belfast with its black and ethnic representation at 1.5%. As a result of this, the report also found that BME graduates are failing to find jobs as easily as their white counterparts. Just over half of ethnic minority graduates found work within a year, compared to two thirds of white graduates. However, it did reveal that all four of the London based Russell Group Universities were above the national average. London’s School of Economics and Political Science topped the list with 41.1% of its students being of a black or minority ethnic background. The University of Birmingham and the University of Manchester were the other universities outside of London with a proportion exceeding 16%. In addition, the amount of students of a BME background at a UK university has almost doubled since 1995-96. Sandra Kerr, National Director of the Race for Opportunity campaign,

said it was “encouraging” that BME students are better represented in universities. But she added: “Symbolic appointments, such as a black editor of a national newspaper, an Asian FTSE100 Chief Executive, or Prime Minister, will depend in large part on ethnic minorities graduating from elite universities.” In response to Cardiff University’s under-representation of BME students, a University spokesperson said: “Cardiff University is a diverse, international and multicultural organisation that welcomes as part of its core values the opportunity to promote equality of opportunity and access for Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) students. Information from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) shows that Cardiff University had a higher proportion of BME students than the Welsh average in 2007/8.” FALLING BEHIND: Russell Groups under-represent minorities

Home secretary launches crackdown on student visas Emma McFarnon News Editor

CRACKDOWN: Student visa rules tightened

Home secretary Alan Johnson has announced a crackdown on student visas, to make it harder for people to enter the UK. Under new rules, those seeking to study in the country will have to speak passable English, while students enrolling on short courses are banned from bringing dependants. Prospective students will have to speak English to a level just below GCSE standard, treating English as a foreign language, rather than the beginner level. To protect jobs for British youngsters, students taking “below degree-level” courses will only be permitted to work for ten hours a week, instead of the current 20.

Those on courses lasting less than six months will not be allowed to bring dependants, while the dependants of students on below degreelevel courses will not be allowed to work. Student visas for below degreelevel courses with a work placement will also only be granted for institutions that are on a new register, the highly trusted sponsors list. The changes, which do not require legislation and come into effect immediately, follow criticism of the government's point-based system that was introduced last year. The number of student visas could be cut by tens of thousands under the new rules. Mr. Johnson said: “We remain open to those foreign students who want to come to the UK for legitimate study they remain welcome. But those who are not seriously interested in coming

here to study but come primarily to work, they should be in no doubt that we will come down hard on those that flout the rules. I make no apologies for strengthening an already robust system.” There are currently 3,000 students from outside the EU at Cardiff University. A University spokesman said: “A small number of programmes may be impacted, but English language entry levels for degree courses and pre-sessional programmes at Cardiff University are above GCSE foreign language levels and should not therefore be affected. “The Government however has not yet released full details of these new measures. There may be more impact in how the UK is perceived overseas as a welcoming study destination.”


NEWS 07

gairrhydd | NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

You'll never guess what...

Foxxxy robot

Crack-ing

Zoe Bridger Reporter

A man has been arrested in Michigan after he tried to buy crack cocaine with a credit card. The man, who cannot be named, was also suspected of stealing a car, after he called police to say that his car had been stolen when he was robbed at gunpoint while trying to buy the crack in Flint, Michigan. Police checks revealed that the car, a 2003 Chevy Malibu, had in fact been reported stolen from Lapeer, Michigan, about 20 miles away, and the man was in fact the suspect of its theft.

The world's first life-size ‘robotic girlfriend’ has been unveiled in the United States. Unveiled at the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas, ‘Roxxxy’ is much more than a sex doll. According to the manufacturers, she comes complete with artificial intelligence and fleshlike synthetic skin. Weighing in at 5st 5lbs, the world's latest laboratory-born lover has an articulated skeleton with all limbs in proportion. Although she cannot move, she can speak. Douglas Hines, president of manufacturer ‘TrueCompanion’, said of the £4,000, 5ft 7in rubber doll: “She can't vacuum, she can't cook but she can do almost anything else if you know what I mean.”

But far from being just “a full C cup and ready for action”, Roxxxy's mechanical heart is said to be enough to win any man over. “Sex only goes so far, then you want to be able to talk to the person,” Mr Hines assured. “She's a companion. She has a personality. She hears you. She listens to you... She goes to sleep.” With plug-in capability for laptops, Roxxxy can be hooked up to the internet and re-programmed in accordance with her new partner's wishes. “She knows exactly what you want”, Mr Hines added. “If you like Porsches, she likes Porsches, if you like soccer, she likes soccer.” ‘TrueCompanion’ had been developing Roxxy for nearly two decades, according to the company’s website. In 1993, Douglas Hines designed ‘Trudy’, his first sex robot, which the inventor admits was not as “userfriendly” as the current model.

OZ man swallows, not spits... swords

Pint a day keeps the doctor away

Ellen Sutherland-Wootton Reporter

Researchers have discovered that a pint a day may be good for you, because beer is good for the bones. Tests carried out on 100 beers revealed that, in some ales, the high levels of the nutrient silicon can help prevent bone diseases like osteoporosis. Charles Bamforth, from the University of California, said: “Beers containing high levels of malted barley and hops are richest in silicon states”. However, medical experts believe that the potential health benefits can only be found when drinking in moderation.

Brain dead

IS THAT A BATTERY IN YOUR POCKET?: Roxxxy satisfies

An Australian man has broken the Guinness World Record for sword swallowing after successfully swallowing eighteen 72cm long swords in one go. 31-year-old Chayne Hultgren, from Byron Bay in Australia, previously held the record with seventeen swords in 2008. The street performer has been preparing for this feat since the age of sixteen. “I don’t just straight away grab eighteen blades and shove them down my throat, you’ve got to practice a lot and build up to it. So I stretch my throat with hoses and use a few different techniques to basically enable me to do what, until now, has been impossible”, he said.

Despite the risks associated with the art of sword swallowing, deaths are extremely rare. The practice originated in India before the year 2000BC and was believed to be a demonstration of divine power. However, as it spread throughout the world it gradually developed from a divine to theatrical art. He has previously broadcast his skills on Australia’s Got Talent in 2009 in which he swallowed a sword attached to two heavy weights and swallowed a live 2000 volt neon tube. He currently holds six world records, including the longest distance pulling 400kg using fish hooks in his eye sockets. He also holds several ‘world firsts’, including the first double sword swallow and the first sword swallow underwater.

Texas hair saw massacre Rachel Henson Reporter

A family in America are suing the undertakers who sent them their grandmother’s brain in a bag of her personal belongings after the woman’s death. The discovery was only made after one family member noticed a ‘foul odour’ coming from the truck where the the bag had been left overnight. When they opened the bag they found a separate bag labelled ‘brain’. However, the funeral home they used insists that they were not to blame, pointing the finger at another funeral home in the neighbouring state of Utah.

HARD TO SWALLOW: Australian beats World Record

A school in Balch Springs, Texas, has suspended a four-year-old pupil for having his hair ‘too long’. Pre-kindergartner, Taylor Pugh, has for some time been growing his hair to eventually donate it to a charity that makes wigs for cancer patients. Irrespective of this, school officials have argued that his hair must be cut because it violates the dress code in his suburban Dallas school district. According to the district dress code, boys must not have hair so long that it is in their eyes or extends below the earlobes. The school argued that “students who groom themselves neatly, and in an acceptable manner, are more likely to become a constructive mem-

ber of the society in which we live.” They added that that the four-year-old boy has cause to purposely disrupt a classroom and jeopardise his future with the length of his hair. Taylor is now facing in-school suspension, meaning that instead of playing and being taught in a classroom with his friends, he is instead receiving his education in an isolated environment by a school assistant. His parents, Delton and Elizabeth Pugh, have backed their son’s decision to keep his hair long. Mr. Pugh said: “The school district appears more concerned about his hair than his education. I don't think it's right to hold a child down and force him to do something when it's not hurting him or affecting his education. They shouldn't punish him for being an individual.”

HAIRY SITUATION: Four-year-old Taylor suspended


08 OPINION

gairrhydd | OPINION@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

The BAEstards got off free

Fines are no punishment for corruption: someone must be held to account Rachel Henson Opinion Writer

One of Britain’s largest manufacturers, BAE Systems, has been at the centre of an investigation into corruption and bribery spanning 20 years. Both the Serious Fraud Office in the UK and the Department of Justice in Washington fined the company £280 million after an investigation into illegal activities, including alleged government bribery. However, no individuals have actually been held accountable, leading to outrage and protests from anti-arms activists around the country. The only prosecution of an individual has been dropped and a firm line has been drawn under the whole fiasco. BAE says it ‘regrets the lack of rigor in the past’. There should be a few more things on that list. Either the head honchos have a regrettable lack of integrity, or their incredible naivety has led to repeated oversights, resulting in despicable misconduct. It’s not really the conduct expected from the leading defence and aerospace company partly responsible for the deadly Eurofighter Typhoon. The admissions include false ac-

counting and making misleading statements, including holding their hands up to having written an ‘untrue letter’ to the US authorities in 2000.

I'm not surprised politicians took large amounts of money to sweeten the deal Maybe I’m being unfair; after all there are always alternative explanations for things. There could, for example, be a band of executives at BAE who have forgotten the fundamentals of numeracy and literacy. In this case the company could do with investing some of its extra cash – usually reserved for encouraging arms deals with reluctant investors – in some adult education. Once they’ve remembered how to add up correctly they can go back to work. Unfortunately it seems more likely that if you’re in big business you can lie and cheat all you like, as long as you’ve got enough cash to pay your way out of it. Corruption should not exist in international trade, whether it be trade in fighter jets, weapons systems or donuts. It undermines the relation-

ships necessary for maintaining national and international security. And yet, the investigation into allegations concerning BAE has come to a close now that they’ve thrown some more money in the right direction. There still remain concerns about the company’s dealings with the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and South Africa. In 2006, Tony Blair accepted responsibility for closing an enquiry into mysterious payments surrounding the sales of al-Yamamah fighter planes to Saudi Arabia after pressure from BAE Systems and from Saudi Arabian officials who, it’s reported, threatened to rethink security agreements with Britain. This didn’t do much good for the company’s reputation. In 2001, the then Secretary for International Development Clare Short objected to BAE’s divisive sale of an extortionately priced radar system to Tanzania. She said it ‘stank of corruption’. The World Bank deemed the purchase to be overpriced. The Civil Aviation Authority felt it unnecessary. Cabinet ministers made attempts to stop the purchase but were overruled by the Prime Minister. The Serious Fraud Office then found that over £9 million were diverted into offshore bank accounts accessed by Tanzanian politicians and officials.

None of this alone serves as evidence of corruption, but anyone with a bit of knowledge about the country would have had alarm bells ringing at a deafening pitch: Tanzania didn’t have a military air force. I’m not surprised then, that a poverty stricken country with no military aircraft, didn’t really want an expensive, out of date, military air traffic control unit when a run-of-the-mill civilian one would do for half the price. I’m also not surprised that, when offered, the politicians took such large amounts of money to sweeten the deal. The only admission made by BAE was a breach of the 1985 Companies Act, after they failed to record payments made to a marketing advisor, although

I fail to be convinced that this is their only wrong-doing in the fiasco. Whether BAE admit to corruption or not, the resignation of Tanzanian politician Andrew Chenge, after the discovery of £500,000 appearing in his Jersey bank account at the time of the deal, leaves me just a little sceptical of the company’s conduct. The Serious Fraud Office is convinced of matters going beyond the admission of failing to keep “reasonably accurate accounting records”. In fact, they are handing over a large portion of the UK fine for investment in programmes to benefit the people of Tanzania. One can only hope it ends up where they say it will, but if the suppliers of our defence systems and the Serious Fraud Office can’t be trusted, who can?

CLARE SHORT: Stood up against BAE's activities


OPINION 09

gairrhydd | OPINION@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

Work experience: hardly working Making tea and serving biscuits isn't going to enhance my career Elizabeth Blockley Opinion Writer As graduation looms and becomes a reality, as opposed to a vague notion far off in the distant future, I am forced to contemplate the world of work experience. My parents feel (somewhat irrationally, in my opinion) that after a three-year degree course at their expense, I should be finding a job, a flat and establishing my future. How wrong they are. There is a slimmer chance of me finding a job within the next 12 months than there is of Amy Winehouse kicking crack. I shall follow the well-trodden path of countless middle-class peers and take a gap year, funded by a job in a pub or shop with the odd bit of work experience thrown in to convince my parents that I am attempting to put my arts degree to good use. In light of this revelation regarding post-university life, I spent many hours this week writing grovelling letters to every newspaper and magazine I could think of, begging them to please let me work long hours, for free, at my own expense. Such is the modern world of employment, where working for no money doing menial tasks is an accepted aspect of life. The abuse of young people desperate to make a good impression is worryingly widespread. At sixteen, having just completed my GCSEs at a school desperate to keep everyone out of the way and the fire alarm silent, my year was ‘lucky’ enough to undergo compulsory work experience. Those fortunate enough to

Graduate factfile

2.4m

21,800 undergraduates currently in Cardiff University

higher education enrolements in 2008/09, an increase of 4%

7,840 postgraduates currently in Cardiff University

76.1% of 2004/05 graduates are currently in full-time work

1,290 lifelong learning students currently in Cardiff University

44%

of full-time enrolments in 2008/2009 were in science subjects

81%

of students born in Wales study in a Welsh university

57%

of first degree students are female

have parents in interesting jobs or to have useful contacts were able to organise their own. I didn’t fall into this category, as my father informed me that the RAF did not want me larking about on their planes for two weeks. I suppose I must count myself privileged that I didn’t end up literally flipping burgers in a fast food joint, but it wasn’t a great deal better. I was sent to a beauty salon where I spent two weeks cleaning, making coffee and fetching confectionary for my lardy boss. It was of no value whatsoever, aside from confirming to me a fact that I was already certain of: the beauty industry is not for me. This type of ‘work experience’ is exploitative and immoral. It went utterly ignored by the school that taught us to aim high and sends the great majority of students to Russell Group universities, yet sent us to perform thankless jobs which by the start of sixth form most of us had attained anyway, on a paid basis. My most recent work experience placement was with an extremely prestigious publishing company in central London. Needless to say I was thrilled at the opportunity. Never mind that the placement was unpaid with the exception of £10 per day expenses (my travel costs were considerably more) and would actually cost me money. I went in with what I considered reasonable expectations: that there would be a certain amount of fetching tea and coffee but that I would hopefully learn a great deal and assess if this was a career path I wanted to pursue. It therefore came as a bit of a shock when I arrived and was immediately told that ‘last week’s work experi-

ence didn’t turn up so you have a lot of catching up to do’. I put a smile on my face and got on with my work, the overwhelming majority of it being in the post room stuffing envelopes. I frequently spent five or six hours a day on this task, learning virtually nothing about the company in the process. I did become great friends with the couriers though, so it’s not all bad.

Certain work experience is of no help at all. It is, in fact, exploitative and immoral

I’m sure that work experience can be valuable, and you have to be grateful to a company that makes the effort to give up their time in order to provide someone with a positive placement. However, work experience is increasingly a veil for slave labour, particularly in journalism and the media where experience can go on for months without any prospect of the minimum wage. Companies need to stop abusing young people eager to attain a successful career and offering placements which consist of menial tasks. They need to start offering wages to their skivvies. In this way, the current exploitation of young people would come to an end and work experience would become a viable option for more people. Or young people could collectively come to an agreement to ‘just say no’? Yeah, I don’t see it happening either.

Football's wind-up merchants With three clubs facing winding-up orders, it's time for a change from the top

Robin Morgan Opinion Writer As I'm writing this, three clubs from the first three tiers of English football are due in court to contest winding-up orders because of their finances. The amount of money involved in the modern game is, to many onlookers, a simply repulsive aspect of a game that has gone hand-in-hand with the obsession with celebrities (and, by extension, celebrity footballers) that the media has possessed over recent years. If there was ever proof to show that football clubs are businesses first and foremost, this is it. Last Wednesday was the culmination of Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) recent crackdown on clubs with less-than-attractive finances. Portsmouth, Cardiff City and Southend United were the three in question that day: the latter

two being given 28 days to produce the money they owe, the former just seven.

Last week, Crystal Palace was desperately put up for sale in the Financial Times Last week, another Championship club stricken with financial woe was in the papers. The ownership of Crystal Palace, one of the most established clubs in the English game, was advertised as for sale in the Financial Times, in a desperate attempt to find a bidder. In short, a winding-up order means that the company (in these cases, football clubs) will be liquidated if they cannot pay their creditors. But I am not writing to discuss the ins-and-outs of the football economy, mainly because

half of that phrase is exceedingly dull. This is more about the impact that the past year or so has made on the public consciousness, regarding the beautiful game. The influx of foreign investors (this isn't a Nick Griffin sentiment, don't you worry) into the Premier League has forced other clubs to increase their spending in order to compete. This has lead to new ownership arriving at several top-flight clubs, including Manchester United. Last year, the reigning champions had debts of £700 million pounds – a frankly disgusting amount of money when put into the context of, y'know, the world and that. The top 20 football clubs collectively owe £3.1 billion pounds, as of last week. Everyone's favourite TV lion, Lord Alan Sugar, commented on the current state of football clubs, being the former chairman of Tottenham Hotspur. He hit out at the "irresponsible manner" in which the clubs are run, claim-

ing that "90% of their income is spent on players… they're spending far too much money." He added: "Cristiano Ronaldo was sold (for £80 million, by Manchester United to Real Madrid). God forbid he got run over by the number 36 bus in Madrid — that's how vulnerable football is.'' For once, his brand of 'bloody common sense' is very appropriate.

It is not viable for some clubs to take sensible options when others are spending so much However, it is simply not viable for clubs to take safer financial initiatives, when their footballing rivals decide not to. At the end of the day, clubs are vying for footballing success, with financial success as a side-product. Some

of the better run clubs have more sensible chairmen behind them, even though this usually results in them being slightly less ambitious. However, and this is the most important point; it is all well and good to say how disgusted you are with the situation, and then read The Guardian and have some lentils. That won’t do much. The action needs to come from the highest authority; not the Premier League, not UEFA, but FIFA itself. They and the national governments need to work together to cap spending and emphasise the point of ‘bloody common sense’. Some may argue that games might suffer in the short term, players may leave to play in Dubai and Qatar, but I for one won't feel sick to my stomach when I see Cristiano Ronaldo playing seven minutes of a game, having earned his weekly £125,000 in the process. Of course, that is because he looks like an absolute numpty.


10 OPINION

gairrhydd | OPINION@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

Euthanasia: the right to decide If people with terminal diseases decide they want to die, they have the right to do so Jack Parker Opinion Writer Esteemed author Terry Pratchett recently gave a televised lecture on his support for euthanasia. Pratchett, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, wants the power to end his own life once the symptoms of his condition develop beyond what he can bear. It needs to be accepted that the legal and systemic issues surrounding euthanasia are difficult to solve. A major opposition is that a lack of regulation would lead to constant abuse of the law, with doctors persuading elderly patients to sign the necessary forms against their will, or with patients feeling obliged to take the euthanasia route for fear of becoming a burden on their families. Despite how serious these problems sound, I do not consider them to be good enough to justify disregarding euthanasia altogether. Systemic issues are inconvenient, but strong regulations, such as requiring the permission of two doctors and the repeated request of the patient over a period of several weeks, could deal with the issue of abuse. Effort to overcome systemic obstacles is necessary if doing so will provide people with the choices that they deserve. Given the choice, I find myself siding with Mr. Pratchett due to more substantial moral arguments, in particular that of individual choice. People have a right to control their own lives and have as much freedom as possible, so long as their actions do not have a negative effect on the rest of society. When an individual knows that death is nearing, it can bring great comfort to have the power of deciding when and how it should be done. The ability to choose a time of death means that relatives know when to be present, but more importantly it gives patients power over their physical condition. This is even more important for people suffering from diseases such as Alzheimer’s, due to the way in which the body deteriorates prior to death. The feared alternative is to pass away as a

sam smith & robin morgan

Politicool

weakened, drugged-up body in hospital or, even worse, a remnant of your former self, with the memories that formed your personality damaged and replaced with delusions. However difficult and harsh these scenarios may seem, it is the reality that individuals wishing to pursue euthanasia try to avoid. It is the task of the rest of us to understand their wishes as best as possible. I believe, however, that the arguments in favour of euthanasia go far beyond the rights of the patients involved. As mentioned earlier, death is a difficult subject to bring up in everyday conversation. Many people, especially the young, feel restricted in their ability to talk about it. I believe that in legalising euthanasia, the topic of death would be more widely discussed in the public arena. The extra power given to us over our own death would provide us with options that need to be discussed. The ability to discuss these choices is perhaps a small consolation when compared with the overwhelming depression that a death can cause, but I believe that the small benefits are enough to add extra justification to legalising euthanasia. Even beyond wider issues in society, there is another factor that I consider to be of vital importance in this debate: euthanasia is what the people want. A British Social Attitudes Survey conducted in 2007 shows that 80% of the British public support the view that it should be legal for a doctor to end the life, at the patient’s request, of an individual suffering from a terminal illness. With moral arguments pointing generally in the direction of legalisation and constant support from the public, it is about time that people put aside their fears of discussing the unknown and tackled the debate head on. With many significant systemic issues to overcome and such a complex network of arguments that I cannot hope to fit into this discussion, I am not expecting a U-turn in government policy any time soon, but for the benefit and rights of those involved, surely it is time to deal with the inconveniences and work towards change.

Is genetic screening unethical? We're not creating 'designer babies', we're simply ensuring children are healthy Amy Hopkins Opinion Writer Genetic screening is an issue saturated in ethical grey areas: many criticise the procedure for its eugenic undertones, where others praise its moral and economic benefits. The revelation that later this month a genetic test will be available for British couples to detect, and prevent, the risk of having a child with a hereditary disease has intensified such ethical considerations. The debate surrounding genetic screening is not new. The procedure, otherwise known as preimplantation genetic diagnosis, has been available for some time on the NHS to high-risk individuals who have a family history of hereditary disease. However, the controversial nature of genetic screen-

ing has increased due to the launch of a universal test, which will be available to the general public. Potential parents who opt for IVF can have their fertilised embryos screened to see if they carry the mutant gene. Doctors can then select the embryos that carry this gene and only implant healthy embryos into the womb. Many critics have expressed ethical concerns specifically with reference to embryo screening, which they claim marks an uncomfortable step towards ‘designer babies’. Oppositionists argue that the test’s identification of a broad range of genetic disorders (109 in total) may lead to the eventual genetic screening against debilitating, yet in many cases milder, illnesses such as asthma. Some go even further to claim that the test signifies a concurrence with ‘eugenic standards of perfection’, as any defect that is not considered desir-

able according to this standard may be eliminated. Many extend this to standards of aesthetics and express worry about the greater freedom of genetic testing which may cause parents to determine their child’s hair colour and IQ level.

Claiming they are a 'fundamental right' and then charging £400 is questionable Yet this is speculation and such concerns are arguably far-fetched. Although the test does, for many, confirm fears about the progression of eugenics, the real diseases that the test actually sets out to prevent are significantly removed from baby aesthetics. Many doctors claim that genetic

screening is a ‘useful tool’ which has unparalleled long-term health and economic benefits. They argue that by eliminating the possibility for their child to develop a certain debilitating disease, parents reduce future emotional and physical stress. Furthermore, some medical professionals emphasise that genetic screening will avoid the more significant financial costs ensuing from the development of a preventable disease. One of the most pertinent ethical considerations of this debate involves the marketing of the test. Balaji Srinivasan, the chief technology officer of Counsyl (the company who offer the screening), claims that “Genetic testing is a human right, not a luxury… just as you know not to drink alcohol or smoke while pregnant, you should know you can screen against genetic disease.” Yet surely genetic screening

is misrepresented in this way. For many women it is an easy decision to quit smoking and drinking when they become pregnant, yet the weight of the decisions around genetic screening are far greater. Mr. Srinivasan’s claim that genetic screening is a ‘fundamental right’ is also questionable, especially since the test costs £400 per person. Should Counsyl’s plans to sell the genetic screening test over the internet come to fruition, concerns about insufficient advice and restrictions are clearly justified. However I do not think that this should necessarily provoke concern about ‘designer babies’. The more pressing concern resides in the thought that people who may wish to purchase the test are less informed about the implications of their decision, and may be persuaded to buy the test in the first place because it is presented as a ‘fundamental right’.


gairrhydd | NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY OCTOBER 26 2009

NEWS 05


18 LETTERS

gairrhydd | LETTERS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY OCTOBER 05 2009

The Libyan Society invites you to discover

THE LIBYAN SILENT TREASURE Great Hall, Students' Union 18/02/2010 11.30-5pm Tourism

Tradition

Food

I I y a D n e p O Libyan

re u t l u c n a y Lib


COLUMNIST 13

gairrhydd | OPINION@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

e b o T . . . . K N A R F iHave no life and neither do you id le Or the

n k li O li F r a f o s g in rant

n

B

efore we get into this, I have some admissions to make. And trust me, a lot of you aren’t going to like it, but it’s the truth, and I’m not ashamed. Okay, here goes. I have an iPod. Perhaps not a big thing, you might say. After all, according to Apple a quarter of a billion people do too. But there is more, much more. I am typing this on a Macbook. A Mac? You might be saying. What kind of pretentious artsy twat is this guy? For fuck’s sake, I’m a journalist. I take black and white photos, write a blog and spend my student loan going to jazz nights or Mr Smith’s. The phrase ‘pretentious twat’ was actually coined to describe me. But it's worse, much worse. You see, I also... own an iPhone. Okay, so now I imagine you are either scratching your head and thinking, “Hey, what’s the big fucking deal, slow news week?” Well, yes, but that is rather besides the point. The point is a whole load of people will now be seething with unjustified rage. Yes, I have an iPhone. To many people, perhaps yourself, that makes me a pretentious, mainstream, mindless, unoriginal, ignorant... well you get the picture. But if you are running out of ideas, feel free to break out the thesaurus. Me? I don’t need to: there’s an App for that. Incidentally, if you are going to call me anything insulting, I prefer ‘blaggard’: I’m bringing it back. The Apple naysaying has hit fever pitch after the recent announcement of the iPad: Steve Jobs’ new tablet computer that will undoubtedly be the final stage in his pursuit of total Skynet-esque global domination. There is little doubt that the device will be a huge commercial success and that in two or three years everybody will wonder how they survived without them. That to me doesn’t seem that big an issue, but then again why would it, I wanted one straight away – finally, my transformation into a social stereotype will finally be complete, as I sit in Starbucks Twittering on my iPad and working on my novel. But then, in the middle of all this fiasco, something hit me. Well actually it was an inebriated girl who I’d been lightheartedly mocking in a poorly veiled attempt at wooing, but that’s another matter entirely. No, what hit me was when said female and I were

Unfortunately for this man, no App will ever get you real friends. stood at the bar in a nightclub and she broke out her Blackberry. Texting, I thought. Harsh, considering I was standing there, but still, we all do it. But no. I glimpsed over her shoulder and noticed, to my horror, that she was actually checking Facebook. In a club. Whilst I was wooing. Needless to say, I was a bit taken aback, to say the least. That is, until in some mystical moment of karma inspired coincidence, I looked around and saw a guy doing exactly the same thing – on his iPhone. A wave of realisation hit me like an Asian tsunami (what, too soon?). We have all become a massive bunch of c*nts. Pardon the language. It got me thinking about our postmodern society: about the ubiquity of Facebook and Twitter and their importance in our modern lives. Be honest, how many times do you check Facebook a day? If you have an iPhone, or a Blackberry, or any of the increasing number of high-tech phones around these days, I’d bet you can’t even keep track. We check Facebook in clubs and bars. We check it in lectures, on the bus, on trains, planes and in automobiles. It’s often the first thing we check

in the morning and the last thing at night. It’s even become what we talk about when we aren’t even on it.

I was stood at a bar wooing a lady when she started checking Facebook Ridiculous, you say? Listen to this. An evening last week, a friend and I had frequented a few bars and clubs in a typical evening of debauchery before popping into the delightful eatery that is T&A at some ungodly hour of the morning for a cheeky bite to eat. Whilst we were sat there drunkenly smearing chicken over our faces, a pair of young ladies sat down at the table next to ours. In my beer-soaked, chicken-ridden state they seemed devilishly attractive and so warranted a subtle second glance (read: ten seconds of swaying, moronic stares). That was until I heard what they were talking about. They were conversing – very loudly – about another, absent, young lady. In laymens terms, they were bitching their slutty little hearts out. That

wouldn’t be much to talk about were it not for the particular details of how. One of them was obviously very upset with one of her friends’ activities…on Facebook. “Honestly Shaz, she’s such a slut. Every time he updates his status she’s commenting and liking all over it.” When I heard that I suddenly felt a little sick. Is this what we have come to? I remember a while back having a late night conversation with a friend about the increasing importance of Facebook in everyday life. He was in staunch opposition, whilst I played the devil’s advocate and sung its praises as a useful organisational tool and communication link. I’m starting to realise how wrong I was. Particularly with new changes that have taken place in the last few weeks, I hate it (and by extension, myself) more and more. Gone is the ability to just catch up on status updates. Now we are forced to be stalkers, as potentially invasive insights into other people’s private lives are forced up in front of our eyes. I don’t mean to be rude, but I don’t fucking care what he said to her just then about whatever,. Fuck off Mark Zuckerberg you creepy

twat. I have come to realise how empty, pointless and frankly disturbing this social networking craze has become. The days of ringing people up for a nice long catch up are over. Instead, it’s done through a series of public wall posts or private messages. And the worst thing is, Facebook is killing romance. In a loving relationship? Not if Facebook doesn’t say so! Now having a profile picture together is apparently a ‘big step’. Not in a relationship? Well there’s no chance for you! Now before you have a few dates to get to know someone they have already stalked you extensively. Tastes and interests? They know it. Previous girlfriends? Stalked, profiled and assessed. Friends, and behaviour? Checked. And they’ve almost definitely seen the last few pages of tagged photos too. Scared? I don’t even need to write a conclusion. It speaks for itself. Think about it the next time you log on to your computer. You’ll probably find you don’t even realise you are doing it. It proves my point, doesn’t it? As for me, I’ve realised the error of my ways. Fuck it, I’m off to asphyxiate myself with my iPhone cable. I deserve it.


14 FEATURES

gairrhydd | FEATURES@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

The truth about S

Third year medic Bnar Talabani was forced to flee fro years old. She speaks to Features about the heartach Ceri Isfryn News Editor Had someone asked me before last week to sum up what I imagined a survivor of Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime would be like, I strongly doubt that I would have gone for ‘contagiously bubbly’. Yet this is precisely how I’d describe third year Cardiff medic, Bnar Talabani. Bnar, who is the current MedSoc President, was born into a Kurdish family in the Northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk. As her father was part of the Kurdish rebellion, he hid from Saddam’s regime in the Kurdish mountains for the first two years of Bnar’s life, seeing his young family every few months during secret meetings. “It was completely normal for me not to have my father around. The more we saw him, the more our lives were endangered,” Bnar recalls.

The Talabanis held Kurdish fugitives whose lives were at risk “I’m incredibly proud of what he achieved. Not only did he stand up for what he believed, but he also helped so many others through his actions.” The Talabanis often held Kurdish fugitives whose lives were at risk. When asked what their fate would have been if they had been discovered, Bnar responds with astounding candidness: “Well, we would have been shot.” “It was common for people to go missing without trace in those days. Even today there are some members of my family who we can only presume are dead because we haven’t heard from them in years.” At the onset of the Gulf War in 1990, the family heard rumours that the regime might be coming for them – imminently. Without time to gather food or basic necessities, Bnar fled with her mother and nine-month-old brother, Brrwa, to a mountainside cave, while her father stayed behind to fight. This proved to be a life-saving decision. “We had no food and no milk for Brrwa, so we had to go back. They’d clearly been for us – my home had been ransacked,” says Bnar. “I remember feeling very upset because all of my toys were ruined

SAFE: Bnar and her mother at a MSF camp in Iraq during the first Gulf War and our family photos were all destroyed.” Realising that their native city was no longer safe, Bnar’s parents bravely decided that the children and their mother should join other endangered families in attempting the notoriously difficult journey across the border into Iran. During the crossing, which was the equivalent of a two and a half hour drive, the families spent days trekking through the dangerous territory that was the Kurdish mountains. Bnar remembers one night in particular where they all narrowly escaped death after one of the regime’s planes dropped a bomb less than 300 feet in front of them. “The bomb blew us backwards and completely destroyed the crops. Miraculously, none of us were hurt, yet my mum could still hear ringing in her ears for years after.” Despite the lucky escape, only a handful of the families that set out from Kirkuk arrived in Iran complete. The Talabanis were among the

unlucky ones. Bnar’s baby brother developed severe diarrhoea as a result of poor basic sanitation and clean water, and tragically never recovered. Bnar’s mother buried her young son in Iran, where she stayed with her three year old daughter for a further two months.

"It was common for people to go missing without a trace in those days" On April 5 1991, Saddam Hussein extended a pardon to all Kurds who had rebelled against him. Hesitantly, Bnar and her mother returned to their home country using secret identities in order to visit family members living in northern Iraq, with no way of knowing whether their relatives were alive. With no home to return to in

Kirkuk, the pair had no option but to move to a camp which was run by Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF), a charity which Bnar is clearly a great admirer of. “MSF were the only charity who came to the north to help. Everyone else had abandoned us, simply because it was so dangerous for them to be there. “There was a doctor – the only doctor on the camp as far as I remember – who had volunteered with MSF to help innocent civilians like us who were caught in the conflict. I remember the source of comfort he and the team were to so many like us who had lost everything – our home, our relatives, everything – and this definitely influenced my decision to become a medic.” With no idea if their relatives were still alive, Bnar and her mother spent four months trying to find her father and grandfather. Eventually, they tracked the pair down and arranged a secret meeting. This is when Bnar’s father found

out about his son’s death. The US government established a no-fly zone in northern Iraq, enabling it to become the autonomous Kurdistan, so the family lived together for six years in Sulaimaniya, as their family home in Kirkuk had been destroyed and the city claimed by Saddam.

"Everyone else had abandoned us because it was so dangerous for them to be there" Despite northern Iraq being an apparently safe place for Kurds to live, the Talabanis took no risks; they often used secret identities and regularly moved homes to ensure their safety. On August 31 1996, the Iraqi military started its largest offensive on northern Iraq since 1991. Saddam ordered cruise missile attacks on Irbil


FEATURES 15

gairrhydd | FEATURES@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

Saddam's regime

om her native country, Iraq, when she was just eight he of living under Saddam Hussein's brutal regime which devastated the city. The US regarded the attacks as a clear violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 688 which forbade the repression of Iraq's ethnic minorities, and so it began launching missiles of its own.

The family were named refugees in 1998 and came to Britain to start afresh As the Talabanis were identified as direct targets of the regime at this time, the decision was taken overnight that Bnar, her new sister and their mother should leave Iraq for neighbouring Syria. “The Syrian government was then run by the same party as the Iraqi government, the Ba’ath party,” recalls Bnar. “Needless to say, the country’s officials didn’t treat us too warmly, but the UN knew we were there and so

they had no choice but to put me in one of their schools and provide us with a temporary home in the country’s capital, Damascus.” The family found themselves in no man’s land: they couldn’t return to Iraq, yet they had no idea whether the UN would grant them refugee status. Fortunately, they were officially named refugees in 1998, and so were able to come to Britain to try and start afresh. “When we arrived in the British airport I remember we were greeted by a lovely translator with a tray of tea and biscuits. It was such a simple gesture but it meant a lot. For the first time in our lives, we finally felt safe.” The family moved to live with an aunt in Birmingham, where Bnar began attending the Four Oaks Primary School. “The day that I stepped into a British primary school was the day I realised how quickly children in war-torn countries such as Iraq and Syria grow up. The walls were colourful, the teachers were friendly and children were allowed to be children.” Bnar became fluent in English and

GOOD TIMES: Bnar (pictured centre) and the Medsin committee at a conference in Nottingham managed to pass her 11+ exams to gain a place in the King Edward VI Handsworth secondary school. Despite her Iraqi upbringing, she claims to have never felt unwelcome or unwanted since arriving in Britain all those years ago. “I have always been honest about my past, and whatever the audience, my story has always been well received. Britain is my home – it’s where I grew up. Although Kurdistan has played a huge part in my life and I love going back to see my father and our old home, my true home is here in the UK.” When Bnar heard that the US was set to invade Iraq in 2003, she remembers having mixed feelings: whilst hopeful that Saddam could finally be removed, she was naturally also concerned about her family who still lived there.

"My family had always dreamed of the fall of Saddam"

HAPPY: Bnar (front, far right) on a medic trip to Newquay in 2009

“The fall of Saddam was something my family had always dreamed of, and having been through so much, the prospect of realising this dream made us so happy. “I can’t convey in words the gratitude that I feel towards each and every

soldier that has fought, or is currently fighting, in Iraq, especially those who have given their lives,” Bnar says.

Bnar hopes to help develop the Iraqi healthcare system when she has graduated While she speaks enthusiastically about the British soldiers, Bnar has clearly lost a lot of faith in the British press as a result of their coverage of events since the invasion. She remembers, with evident anger, their reporting of Saddam’s execution in 2006. “He was portrayed as a victim when, believe me, he was anything but a victim. His trial was probably the fairest Iraq has ever seen: during his regime, trials were unheard of, and those held were inevitably flawed. “The frightening thing is, living here in the UK and being subjected to such sympathetic media coverage, I think I’d be inclined to feel sorry for him if I hadn’t witnessed first-hand what he was capable of. He was portrayed as a martyr, which really disappointed me.” When she graduates, Bnar hopes to give something back to her birthcountry by setting up better links

between the UK and Iraqi healthcare systems. “Iraq has a good healthcare service already, but it just lacks technology and training. I’d like to set up a system whereby doctors from the UK can go to Iraq and give the doctors and nurses top-quality modern training.” Hearing about Bnar’s life during a time when I was busy telling anyone who was stupid enough to listen that my essay on Shakespeare was probably just as hard as climbing Everest really put things into perspective. Like the rest of us, she was suffering from the classic symptoms of exam fever, yet I’m willing to bet that her stark honesty and relentless optimism would be enough to humble even the biggest drama queen.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an independent humanitarian medical aid organisation. They are committed to providing medical aid where it is most needed, regardless of race, religion, politics or gender and also to raising awareness of the plight of the people they help. Visit www.msf.org.uk for more information


16 FEATURES

gairrhydd | FEATURES@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

Sleeping on the job Student life has many unique challenges, but for sufferers of the condition narcolepsy, there are additional complications... Kimberly Partridge Features Writer Dom Stone is like most other students. He lives with his best friends, enjoys the occasional pint in the Taf and can often be found in the library. However, there is one aspect of this third year Politics student's life that, whilst fascinating to others, is incredibly scary and inconvenient to him. Narcolepsy is a rare neurological disability, widely recognised by the public as the condition where 'people fall asleep a lot.' To be a bit more scientific it is a chronic neurological disorder caused by the brain's inability to regulate sleep-wake cycles normally.

One symptom was hallucinations... I thought a spider was running up and down the wall At various times throughout the day, people with narcolepsy experience irresistible bouts of sleep. If the urge becomes overwhelming, individuals will fall asleep for periods lasting from a few seconds to several minutes. In rare cases, sufferers may remain asleep for more than an hour. But there is lot more to the world of narcolepsy than unknowingly having a nap in inappropriate places, as Dom explains. “The very first symptom I ever had was what is known as hypnopompic hallucinations. When I woke up in the morning and opened my eyes, my brain would still be in sleep mode. This creates these incredibly realistic visions, which unfortunately for me are spiders — which I really hate!” When Dom first started having these hallucinations, he thought he actually had a spider in his room that would turn up every morning. “The spider would be running across the wall, on my pillow, and one time even on my ex-girlfriends face. It took me two weeks, several fist shaped holes in the wall and a couple of broken knuckles before I realised that what I was seeing wasn't real. Even though the spiders would run around really quickly, I knew I landed a couple of punches on it.” It took six months before Dom told anyone about this problem, which is understandable. Would you willingly tell people that you were seeing imaginary spiders? Throughout his time at university, these hallucinations have gone to even more extreme lengths

WIDE-EYED: Dom tries not to let his narcolepsy rule his life including waking up to see his room engulfed in flames and imagining a dead version of his older brother. “Whilst I have seen some horrible things, and even though the daily spiders do continue to scare me, I count myself lucky to only see something trivial. I'm in contact with a woman in Hull who sees a hooded figure walking out of her bedroom door with her kids under his arms. Now that would be scary.” As if regular morning visits from imaginary eight-legged freaks and 'sleep-attacks' weren't enough for one 22-year-old to deal with, there is more. “During stressful times, like exam period, all the symptoms get more severe. But one symptom in particular, which I didn't even have before I came to Cardiff, really does not like the stress of exams.” Cataplexy, defined in the dictionary as a 'sudden and transient episode of loss of muscle tone, often triggered by emotions' is a debilitating occurrence. For Dom, it always happens in his left quadricep, which causes him to fall over and become immobile for up to five minutes. Remembering his first experience of cataplexy, he says, “I was in the Julian Hodge building waiting to do my first exam of first year. I was on the top floor, pacing, then realised I had enough time to go to the toilet before

the exam started. I headed for the stairs but within three metres of the top step, I suddenly felt this awful pain in my leg. Before realising I couldn't put any weight on it, I was already half way to falling.”

I sit at the front of lectures so that the lecturer can give me a nudge if I doze off The cause of narcolepsy remains unclear. Research has identified several different factors which may play a part. Some people may be predisposed to the condition by their genetics; it is much more common among people with certain genetic profiles. There may be abnormal functioning of certain neurotransmitters (brain messenger chemicals). For example, research has identified that it may be caused by a shortage of the chemical brain messenger called hypocretin. Meanwhile other research suggests that narcolepsy may be the result of an autoimmune process, where the body attacks itself. Although it is not yet possible to cure narcolepsy, symptoms can be treated to enable someone to lead as normal a life as possible. However,

these do not tend to fit the typical mould of a student lifestyle! Sleep hygiene is important. This simply means taking steps to ensure plenty of good quality sleep, including an early bedtime (10:30pm for Dom, something which is regularly joked about among his housemates) and between sevenand-a-half to eight hours sleep every night. Frequent, brief naps may also help and should be spaced evenly through-

out the day. This can reduce excessive daytime sleepiness, but should not interfere with normal daytime activities. Alcohol should also be avoided – something Dom is pretty strict with, except for birthdays. Housemate Sam Paine explains that living with someone with narcolepsy is not that out of the ordinary: “He’s just like everyone else really. We know he takes naps in the afternoon so we just tend to leave him to it. If we do need him though, we tend to have to knock more than once – and loudly!” Despite all this, and the ritual of taking up to ten tablets a day, Dom is reasonably proud of the normal student experience he's had, identifying only two main issues. “I sit at the front of my lectures so that if I doze off a lecturer can give me a nudge – it's seemingly not cool to sit at the front so I struggled to make many friends on my course in first and second year. I once even heard myself described as 'the weird kid who sits at the front', but that’s changed this year and I've met some great people on my course. The more pressing issue is that I missed a lot of lectures because I was asleep somewhere and consequently haven't done as well in my exams as I'd like. But the Politics department staff have been brilliant, and Dr David Broughton in particular has been incredibly supportive. I would have left university a long time ago if it wasn't for him.” Dom is the Students' Union's Students with Disabilities Officer. If anybody has any questions or wants to get in touch for any other reason, they can confidentially contact him either on Facebook or by e-mailing him at stonedc1@ cardiff.ac.uk

NARCOLEPSY: FACTS AND STATS

- Narcolepsy affects approximately one in 2000 people - A 'sleep attack' can last a few seconds or more than 30 minutes - The main symptoms of narcolepsy are excessive daytime sleepiness and abnormal REM sleep - The treatment for narcolepsy includes a combination of counselling, medication and behavioural changes


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18 POLITICS

gairrhydd | POLITICS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

Liberal Democrats on the up?

James Dunn has a look at the Liberal Democrats and finds a party that finally has its chance to make an impact on Wales

L

ast week, gair rhydd ran an election special that focused mainly upon the impact that Conservative and Labour proposals would have. As always seems to be the case, the Liberal Democrats were conspicuously absent. This seems to be a sad normality in national media. Frankly, this is wrong. While it is true that Nick Clegg looks like the dour love-child of David Cameron’s parents, his policies have often been ones that have the potential to rival his bigger opponents. This week saw the emergence of a stronger Liberal Democrat party, one with more fight, more recognition and one that can, in Wales at any rate, present a real challenge to the power of either the government or the main opposition. In a week where the government’s proposed cuts to university funding dominated every media outlet in the country, the Welsh Lib Dem Leader Kirsty Williams demonstrated how the government is excluding Welsh schoolchildren. It has been reported by the University and College Union (UCU) that up to 15,000 academic posts will be lost nationally in the next few years if Labour stay in power. But it appears that a crisis is already on the doorstep of Welsh education. On average, government investment in Welsh education is down £527 per child. For the Liberal

Democrats, this is the first real chance to highlight what they have planned for the economy should they come into power. Having opposed the government stance on education (Williams also did the same to the Welsh NHS, claiming that £50m of the Welsh budget is just lying useless), Nick Clegg turned his attention to taxation. His election manifesto promises to include a clause that will ensure no person gets taxed on the first £10,000 that they earn. Under Labour laws, we get taxed after £5657. According to his party’s research, that means that in Wales alone, 200,000 people will not pay income tax. 800,000 people will keep an extra £700 and the average pensioner will gain £100 per annum.

Clegg has been cunning enough to win Lib Dem votes in Wales It is somewhat surprising that Clegg has not chosen to reveal this sooner. It could just be that he was waiting for an ideal time to make this assertion. No time seems better than this, in all honesty. With the economy continuing its seemingly inexorable stutter, Brown pledging to spend an extra £31bn and Cameron doing noth-

ing other than criticising everyone he can, the Liberal Democrats seem to be the only party offering some hope of escaping the recession. This is a depressingly optimistic statement. Without actually announcing how they are going to cut the national deficit of £80bn – even harder with this relaxed tax level – Clegg and Williams have advocated their intention to invest £2.5bn in education, £75m of which will come to Wales.

The Lib Dems tend to be conspicuous by their absence In order to combat Labour’s education cuts, this looks favourable. But in order to rescue an economy that is only crawling out of recession, this might be naively ambitious. Also promising to reduce Welsh representation in Westminster from 40 MPs to just 28, Clegg is offering Wales something that Brown and Cameron are notoriously tight-lipped on; giving the Assembly independence to make their own decisions. In fact, Clegg might very well have been cunning enough to have managed to win votes in both Scotland and Wales. He has, during this week of insanely impressive improvisation, guaranteed a greater share of power and potential devolution to Holyrood

and Cardiff. On Tuesday, the Welsh Assembly passed a unanimous vote (53-0) for a referendum to decide whether or not the Assembly should have greater legislative powers. Not quite devolution, but close enough to the Scottish example last year that promised so much for their nationalist dreams. But the Liberal Democrats, in Wales, have suffered a blow this week in the midst of all this hope. A bit strong there, I know. It is not often that a political party can survive more than a week, in this day and age, without a scandal. Last week, Gordon Brown went up in the polls. And was then pressured into investigating three of his MPs who refused to pay back claims in the expenses scandal and were challenging their allegations of criminal activity. For the Liberal Democrats, it was something that affected Cardiff far more. Mick Bates AM was admitted to the University Hospital of Wales where, it is reported, he hit a paramedic and had suffered head injuries. He now claims not to be able to remember the incident. He has since been stripped, by Williams, of his chairmanship of the Sustainability Commission. This, I think, shows the potential – stupidly strong word there again, I apologise unreservedly – that the Lib Dems have for offering true reform to the country. Brown seems to have been

pressured into the retaliation against his MPs by a pre-released extract of David Cameron’s damning speech of him. Cameron had the same issue with taking considerable time to discipline party members when the scandal first broke out. Clegg himself summed this up when he said: “Labour hasn’t delivered fairness after 13 years. The Conservatives never will – they talk about fairness but then they only want to fiddle the tax system to benefit a small minority of people. Plaid [Cymru] can’t”`.

The only stand out minister for the economy is Vince Cable With such a short time left until the next election and the only standout minister for the economy being Liberal Democrat Vince Cable, the party has perhaps their best chance to seize power in recent times. It would be churlish of them to waste this opportunity.

What do you think? Want to respond? Have your say at www.gairrhydd.com


POLITICS 19

gairrhydd | POLITICS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

A chat with Sir George Young

Chris Tarquini talks to Sir George Young, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons about how the Tories will fix British politics

S

ir George Young is a Conservative MP and former Secretary of State for Transport. He recently stood for election as Speaker of the House, losing narrowly to John Bercow. Sir George first came to Westminster in 1974 and he explains his vast experience has taught him a lot about the workings of parliament. "I’ve learnt an enormous amount in 34 years", he says. "The first thing you learn is how Parliament works, how to use parliament, how to represent your constituents in parliament through all the various opportunities, debates, questions and, at times, legislation. The principle thing is the power of argument and persuasion, at the end of the day it’s a debating chamber and you have to make your own case to persuade people."

Fixing British politics "One of the answers is transparency, it’s about publishing online claims and receipts so we’re entirely open about how we use public money. I think that the changes over the last few months that promote transparency will do a lot to help restore confidence. However it’s about more than that, it’s about parliament being seen to do its job properly and I think parliament over the last few years has been emasculated by some of the changes the government has made, and we need to reverse those." When pressed on what changes in particular have ‘emasculated’ parliament, Sir George explains that there needs to be closer examination of the bills that pass through Parliament. "One of the changes is programming

every bill so we don’t have the chance to scrutinise legislation. People want to see parliament doing its job effectively and giving the Government a hard time, causing the Government to raise its game. If we win the next election, the House of Commons should have more time examining it."

Broken Britain The Conservatives are arguing that Britain is ‘broken’ under Labour, but how does Sir George believe they should fix it? "If I was to pick out one thing I’d say the ‘pupil premium’ - giving schools that have challenging children more resources so they can give the children the start in life they need. It’s one of the building blocks of addressing broken Britain, just one of a range of policies we will take." But is it really broken? Isn’t this just the Conservatives claiming Britain is in a worse state than it truly is to discredit Labour? "If you look at parts of the country, I think you do see that society in some parts is indeed broken where a large number of families find it difficult to cope. If you look at some of the statistics on, for example, drugs, I think there are challenges there. As a country I think we have more people in prison, a high percentage of teenage pregnancies." This sounds good, but are the statistics there to back it up? "Well if you look at other European countries and look at the number of people they put in prison, the percentage of our population that is in prison is higher than many European comparatives. If you’re looking for evidence of a

broken society, then I think there’s a number of indicators that I’ve touched upon that show Britain’s going in the wrong direction and I believe it needs a fresh approach and new government to put things right."

polls on who the British people want to be Prime Minister, David Cameron is way ahead. I think he comes over as a more empathetic personality and I think I'd just discount what Peter Mandelson says about David".

Class

In the polls

What does Sir George think of the class-based attacks Labour have been employing in recent months? "First of all I don’t think it’s effective, and shortly after Gordon Brown launched that attack, I think it was criticised by Peter Mandelson, who made it clear they want to reach out to ‘Middle Britain’. Indeed Gordon Brown, shortly afterwards, started moderating his language. "I just don’t think there’s any appetite in this country today for that old-fashioned class warfare of the kind that Gordon Brown was hinting at when he made that particular accusation. I’d be surprised if they develop it. They tried it in Crewe at the by-election and it imploded." But Mandelson himself compared David Cameron to Des O’Connor, describing him as a ‘TV personality’. "All the evidence is that people prefer David Cameron to Gordon Brown: if you look at all the

"I entirely agree there’s absolutely no grounds for complacency. We’ve got a lot of work to do between

now and whenever the election is. I think that means convincing people we have the right approach to dealing with the recession and getting the country back onto its feet, and convincing people we have the answers to this rather over-centralised, overregulated society that we have. "We want to devolve decision making down to local communities rather than it being centralised, knocking out the regional tier of government, pushing decision making down to the counties and districts."

Entering politics

The advice that Sir George gives to anyone wanting to enter politics is simply to "have a go". "We need enthusiastic young people to join a political party and get elected to the House of Commons to make sure that young people get represented. We also need talented people to run the country in the years that are ahead of us." So who were Sir George's political heroes? "One of the great debaters was Michael Foot and although I disagree with his politics, in terms of commanding performances in the House of Commons, he was very good indeed."

India won't give Pakistan sporting chance

Chaytanya Marpakwar explains how a cricket dispute managed to reignite a long-running conflict between India and Pakistan

C

ricket, they say, is a religion in India and cricketers are demigods. But it looks like the Indian Premier League (IPL) has taken its toll on the Gods. The much awaited IPL auction held in January left the cricket-loving subcontinent stunned after none of the Pakistani players were signed up for the lucrative IPL season III to be held later this year. With this year’s budget slashed from $2 million per team to just $750,000, only 11 of the 66 international players on offer were snapped up. None of the 11 Pakistani players up for sale, including Captain Shahid Afridi, considered one of the world’s most explosive players in the T20 format, were purchased.

The snub snowballed into a fullyfledged diplomatic row between India and Pakistan, both on and off the cricket field. This, after the already volatile Indo-Pak relations post the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, has only worsened matters. India has distanced itself from the issue terming the IPL a "private affair" having nothing to do with the government. Foreign Minister SM Krishna also advised Pakistan "to draw the line between cricket and politics". However, politicians in Pakistan and cricketers alike have decried the IPL auction and have hit out at India. Pulling emotional chords, Pakistan’s T20 captain Shahid Afridi said India and the IPL had 'made fun' of his country.

“The way I see it, the IPL and India have made fun of us and our country by treating us this way,” he told the media in Karachi. Pakistan’s Sports Minister Ejaz Jhakhrani alleged that this was a 'conspiracy' by India to keep out Pakistanis. Contending that Pakistani cricketers were the "best in the world", Jhakhrani claimed that Pakistan’s image was "hurt" and its cricketers "humiliated". Following him was Pakistan’s National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza who said that Pakistan would not send any parliamentary delegations to India to protest the "treatment meted out" to the country’s cricketers. On the other hand IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi rejected any "conspiracy"

in Pakistani players not being picked up for the world’s richest cricket tournament and denied pressure by the Indian government to side-line them. “It was a decision that was taken by the franchisees and nothing beyond”, he said. Bollywood superstar and owner of the Kolkata Knight Riders franchise, Shah Rukh Khan, came out in support of Pakistani players saying that they could have been treated in a "nice manner" - for which he came under severe attack from Hindu-Nationalist political parties. This also led to violent protests outside the star’s home in Mumbai and even threats to stall the release of his next film. Recently, India's Home Minister P. Chidambaram said in a statement: "Several million

cricket lovers would be happy in India if Pakistani players played for the IPL." This further fuelled the storm. So much for talking, but to even the most optimistic fan of the subcontinent’s favourite game, a turnaround in relations with Pakistan is unlikely. The road ahead for policy makers and negotiators thinking of reviving India-Pakistan dialogue is daunting: from muted public support to the almost-certain risk of fresh terror attacks being planned on targets in India. Cricket, after all, has no political boundaries, but to assume that it should be able to overlook them would be to give the sport a much greater leadership role in solving bilateral problems than it deserves, or indeed should aspire to.


20 POLITICS

gairrhydd | POLITICS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

Like a bull in a China shop...

Ayushman Jamwal has a bit of a look at the uneasy relationship between the United States of America, China and Taiwan

CHINA VS USA: what do you mean you don't love me anymore?

T

he nation of China at the beginning of the 20th century was referred to as the ‘sick man of Asia’, when its social, political and economic affairs were subjected to relentless foreign intervention from Europe and the United States. Since Communist Party rule was established in 1959 by Mao Zedong after the nationalist regime of Chang Kai Shek was exiled to Taiwan, unprecedented economic and military growth, as well as a strict control of the massive population, has propelled the nation to become a global superpower that is challenging contempo-

rary global American and European prominence by flexing its geopolitical muscle in international affairs. In the regional sphere, the communist regime has kept Tibet under its thumb, quashed dissident Uighur Muslim revolts in its western Xinjiang province, given the Indian government sleepless nights with troop buildup across the border and aimed to suppress the sovereignty of Taiwan by lobbying for a union territory system, claiming sovereignty over ethnically Chinese Taiwan, even though its cooperative president, Ma Ying-Jeou, has fostered trade and economic cooperation between the two nations.

In the international sphere, China is fuelling its powerful economy through an established industrial empire in Africa with a near monopoly over its vast untapped natural resources, which in turn has given it economic leverage over the United States by currently holding $800 billion dollars of the nation’s ballooning debt. Such leverage prompted Barack Obama to refrain from meeting the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, when he was in Washington last year and to turn a blind eye to Chinese human rights violations before his diplomatic mission last

November, aiming to seek the government’s cooperation in sanctions against Iran because of its ‘rogue’ nuclear program. Unfortunately for the US, the Chinese government has failed to cooperate on the Iran issue and recently, it has come under fresh international criticism for its cyber hacking operations, which prompted internet giant, Google, to pull out of the nation this year when it was discovered that email accounts of Chinese activists were being hacked. Further to this, the government was last month accused of the 2008 cyber heist of information on worldwide oil discoveries from three major US oil companies: Marathon Oil, ExxonMobil, and ConocoPhillips. In the light of this situation, Obama’s patience has grown thin. Along with creating a cyberspace conflict schedule in the new $762 billion defence budget that was pitched to Congress last month, the Obama administration has pledged $6.4 billion dollars worth of arms, consisting of patriot missiles, gunships, helicopters and military telecommunication technology, to Taiwan under its 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, to level the military playing field where China currently has more than 1,000 ballistic missiles aimed at the neighbouring island nation. Barack Obama is also set to meet the Dalai Lama, who is on a tour of the US starting this month. The Chinese government strongly reacted to the US’s moves, immediately announcing the suspension of military exchanges between the two nations, and has threatened sanctions against the arms corporations involved in the sale if the pledge is fulfilled. Through Obama’s move, SinoAmerican relations have entered dangerous waters. If the pledge is fulfilled, the military aid will escalate

tensions between China and Taiwan, with China reacting in all probability with its current trend of ‘whatever it takes’, to maintain its regional dominance. According to noted Chinese economist, Hu Angang, China can effectively use its economy to bring Taiwan to its knees through sanctions and by pulling out investments. In a military situation, even though Taiwan can inflict considerable damage on China with the military package in the short run, it cannot defend itself against the sheer numbers and range of capabilities of the Chinese army in the later stages of an engagement. At that stage, the US will think twice before engaging adversely with its prime benefactor beyond the diplomatic sphere. Within the US, according to American political scientist, Samuel Huntington, arms corporations have great influence over politics, directing government decisions towards soaring profits. If sanctions are placed against US arms manufacturers, the Obama administration can face considerable heat in circles of power to overturn the pledge. With this whole ordeal, one can’t help but see the possible repetition of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis where the US, by arming Taiwan against China, may play the role of the Soviet Union which armed Cuba against it when it was suffering from American encroachment at the height of the Cold War. Could this be the beginning of another Cold War, where again, two superpowers with differing political ideologies clash for the upper hand? So far, at the onset of this clash, Obama is gambling with the repercussions of souring relations with China, which currently holds the most powerful economic cards in the geopolitical game.

Bring me the head of Elliott Morley

Damian Fantato has a think about MP's expenses and worries about the consequences of the vendetta against our politicians

L

ast week it was revealed that three MPs and a Peer would face prosecution for their actions in relation to the expenses scandal. Elliott Morley, David Chaytor, Jim Devine and Lord Hanningfield will be charged with false accounting under the Theft Act. All four deny any wrong-doing and will defend their positions despite their dubious claims amounting to around £50,000. None the less, Morley has been suspended from the

Parliamentary Labour Party and Lord Hanningfield has had the Conservative whip taken away from him. The developments that the expenses scandal has taken, however, give reason to be concerned. Last year Anthony Steen claimed that the expenses scandal was borne out of jealousy. He went on to say that he had a very large house that looked like Balmoral. There's definitely no denying that Steen has a very nice house, and his claims about jealousy have some ele-

ments of truth. Of course we'd all like to have access to the priviledges that our MPs used to have access to. Who wouldn't? The fact that the story broke during a recession only compounded the feeling of envy. I'm not defending the actions of some of our MPs: they acted like money-grabbing lice. Having said that, this scandal was a particularly bourgeois one. The things that some of the MPs claimed for were laughable. Government deals in massive sums of money. Would the price of

that ruddy duck house really have funded a new hospital ward? In fact it's unlikely that the £50,000 that the above MPs claimed for would make a difference in the long run - Simon Cowell alone pays more than £21.7 million a year in tax. The problem is that MPs aren now genrally conceived to be bastards. This is not good for democracy. People will be less willing to confide in their MP, less people will turn out to vote. MPs must obviously take some of the blame for this scandal, how-

ever our priorities are seriously out of wack. This story needed to be broken, but didn't need to run for as long as it did. There are more worrying things in the world than an MP claiming for a duck house. There are countries with more corrupt politicians than ours: in the grand scheme of things, we're quite lucky. None of us can claim that we would not have acted similarly in their situation. This has gone on for long enough.


NEWS 05

gairrhydd | NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

International students pay more but get less

NUS threatens MPs over student votes Jamie Thunder News Editor The National Union of Students (NUS) has launched a campaign urging students not to vote for MPs who refuse to support their campaign against top-up fees. It has identified 20 “battlegrounds” — not including Cardiff — where it believes the student vote could make a significant difference to the result in the general election, widely expected

Hannah Pendleton Reporter Fees for international students have increased by 5% in the past year, but provisions for them have stayed the same. According to the UK Council for International Student Affairs, £4 billion in fees comes from overseas students at UK universities every year. Most science-based PhD programmes at Cardiff are now £12,300, and arts PhDs are £9,600. A 5-year programme in medicine or dentistry is £12,300 for the first two years and up to £22,500 for the final three years. Surprisingly a small number of universities have lowered their fees. Hertfordshire University, Kings College and Leeds Metropolitan decreased fees for arts-based courses by up to £500. In the current economic climate the increases may not seem startling but it needs to be considered whether or not overseas students are getting their money’s worth. Overseas students at Cardiff University who spoke to gair rhydd did not feel that they were not benefiting

from extras that you would expect to come with growing fees. Hitesh, a student from India says he feels that the services are ‘ineffective’ because the University doesn’t provide any internships or placements for his course. Kris, a law student from the Bahamas, said: “I don’t feel that affected by the increase in fees’ but he believes ‘the living arrangements can use a little tweaking to ensure international students and native students alike will be more comfortable.” Cardiff University offers international students numerous free services, including English language support, inductions, coach collection, support before arriving and in-country advice from the University’s educational advisors. Some say the prices being paid do not demonstrate the amount of support given and more services should be considered to compensate for the high prices overseas students pay. It is often argued that universities are increasingly dependent on money from international students and that if their fees become too expensive, institutions risk pushing away an important source of funding.

Disabled students still waiting Bethan Evans Reporter Re-organisation of the funding system for loans and grants has left disabled students still waiting for financial support four months into the academic year. Where local authorities used to have the responsibility of distributing the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA), as of this year it became the duty of the Student Loans Company (SLC). Statistics released under the Freedom of Information Act show that two thirds of students with a disability or special needs have yet to receive any money. This has led to over 12,000 students having to start their academic year without funding. This funding is needed to pay for vital equipment and assistance such as

specialised computer software, Braille paper and interpreters required for disabled students to have an equal learning environment to that of their peers. The SLC says that to process a DSA application takes “longer than applications for other types of student finance,” and that they are “still awaiting information from assessment centres for over 4,000 students”. This, however, fails to account for the other 8,000 who are still waiting to receive any money at all. Shadow Universities and Skills Secretary, David Willetts, complained that the “figures are truly shocking” and “two months after the government said the problems would be fixed, thousands of disabled students are still waiting for the vital funding they need.” Lack of support has led to disabled students being unable to complete end of term exams and coursework.

to be held on May 6. A website, voteforstudents.co.uk, has been set up, and allows MPs and Prospective Parliamentary Candidates to sign the NUS's pledge. The pledge states: “I pledge to vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament and to pressure the government to introduce a fairer alternative.” The BBC reported that around 200 MPs and candidates have signed the pledge so far. High-ranking Labour and Conservative MPs have declined to sign it, saying that they will wait for

the outcome of Lord Browne's review into the future of university funding. Wes Streeting, NUS President, said: “Through this campaign we hope to remind students of the power they hold and remind candidates of the danger of not taking our votes seriously. Our message to candidates is simple, vote for us or pay the price.” “Our list of key student seats should make the point particularly clearly. Elections have been won and lost by the votes of students before and it will happen again,” he added.


22 TAF-OD

gairrhydd | TAFOD@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

Ydy hi ar ben i’r Aeleg? Emyr Gruffydd

Taf-od Writer Fel myfyriwr sy’n astudio ieithoedd modern, rwy’n gallu meddwl am lwyth o bethau posib i wneud ar nos Iau. Mae dysgu rhestrau o eirfa, gorffen aseiniadau cyfieithu, adolygu strwythyrau gramadegol neu ddarllen ambell i bennod o nofel Sbaeneg swmpus yn rhai tasgau posib. Fodd bynnag, fel nifer o fyfyrwyr diog eraill, gwylio pennod ddiweddaraf Brothers and Sisters sydd fel arfer yn mynd a fy mryd. Ddydd Iau diwethaf, (ar ôl gwylio fy mhennod wythnosol, wrth gwrs) roeddwn yn pori trwy’r sianelau ac fe ddes i ar draws un hynod ddiddorol , sef BBC Alba. Gwasanaeth Gaeleg y BBC yw’r sianel hon sy’n darlledu tua 45 awr o deledu yn yr Aeleg bob wythnos, ac mae’n bosib derbyn y sianel ar deledu lloeren yn unhryw rhan o’r Deyrnas Unedig. Rhaglen am gerddoriaeth werin

oedd ymlaen ar y pryd, ac yn afraid dweud, fe wyliais i gyda chryn ddiddordeb tan y diwedd! Er y ddarpariaeth eang drwy gyfrwng yr iaith yn y cyfryngau, mae ei sefyllfa yn un tra argyfyngus. Yn hynod eironig, ac o ystyried y datblygiadau calonogol ym maes y cyfryngau Gaeleg yn y blynyddoedd diwethaf, dyfodiad teledu cyfrwng Saesneg yn y saithdegau i Ynysoedd y Gorllewin oedd yr hoelen olaf yn arch yr iaith, yn ôl nifer. Yn ôl y cyfrifiad diwethaf, tua 58,000 o bobl oedd yn siarad Gaeleg yn 2001, gostyngiad o tua 7,500 ar yr ystadegau ddeng mlynedd yn gynharach. Mae dros hanner y siaradwyr yn hwn na 40 mlwydd oed, ac mae’r iaith ar drai yn ynysoedd gorllewin yr Alban, lle bu hi gryfaf fel iaith gymunedol ers canrifoedd. Er mai iaith gynhenid y Gàidhealtachd, sef ucheldiroedd ac ynysoedd yr Alban yw’r Aeleg (ni fu erioed yn iaith i fwyafrif y deheudir) bach iawn o statws swyddogol sydd ganddi yn yr ardaloedd hynny, gyda dyfodiad am-

bell i arwydd dwyieithog yn ddatblygiad gymharol ddiweddar. Mae prinder athrawon sy’n gymwys i ddysgu yn yr iaith hefyd yn broblem sy’n atal datblygiad yr iaith yn y system addysg, sy’n golygu na fydd digon o siaradwyr ifainc yn cael eu meithrin yn y blynyddoedd canlynol. Digon hawdd fyddai digalonni fodd bynnag, a rhaid edrych ar ambell i ddatblygiad positif yn sefyllfa’r iaith. Mae dros 2,600 o blant yn cael eu haddysg drwy gyfrwng yr Aeleg bellach, gyda’r ffigurau yn tyfu’n gyflym, yn enwedig yn ardaloedd trefol Inverness, Stornoway a hyd yn oed Glasgow. Ceir tua 60 ysgol sy’n addysgu trwy gyfrwng yr iaith i ryw raddau drwy’r Alban, gan gynnwys ysgol gyfun Aeleg ei hiaith yn Glasgow. Ac yn ddiweddar, cafodd academyddion drwy’r Alban a Bòrd Na Gaidhlig (Bwrdd yr Iaith Aeleg) gymorthdal o £5.3 miliwn er mwyn cynnal ymchwil hanfodol bwysig ar sefyllfa’r iaith, gwaith a fydd yn cael ei gwblhau yng Ngholeg Sabhal Mòr Ostaig ar Ynys Skye; yr unig goleg cyfrwng-Aeleg yn

yr Alban. Fodd bynnag, nid oes modd gwadu fod y blynyddoedd nesaf yn mynd i fod yn rhai tyngedfennol yn hanes yr iaith. Yn Ôl Mike Russell, Ysgrifennydd Llywodraeth yr Alban ar Addysg, mae creu cenhedlaeth newydd o siaradwyr Gaeleg yn hollbwysig i’w pharhad fel iaith, a fydd yn diogelu cyfoeth bywyd diwyllianol ac amrywiaieth ieithyddol yr Alban am flynyddoedd i ddod. Ai creu mwy o ysgolion cyfrwngAeleg mewn ardaloedd trefol yw’r ateb felly, cynllun sydd wedi llwyddo gyda’r Gymraeg yng Ngymoedd y De? Neu a ddylid cryfhau’r ddarpariaeth yn ysgolion y Gàidhealtachd a’i ail-sefydlu fel iaith gymunedol gan roi statws arbennig i’r ardaloedd hynny fel y Gaeltachtaí yn Iwerddon? Dywed nifer mai rhyw gymysgedd o’r ddau sydd angen, yn ogystal â deddfwriaeth gryfach o lawer er mwyn diogelu hawliau siaradwyr yr iaith yn ei chadarnleoedd a chynyddu oriau darlledu BBC Alba a Radio Nan Gàidheal.

Fel Cymry Cymraeg, mae’n hawdd i ni gwyno o ddydd i ddydd nad ydym yn medru cyfathrebu gyda phawb a phob un trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg. Mae’n ddigon hawdd cwyno am safon isel rhaglenni S4C neu Radio Cymru, a chwyno nad yw gwleidyddion Cymraeg eu hiaith yn gwneud digon o ymdrech i ddefnyddio’r iaith yn gyhoeddus. Mae rhain yn bwyntiau dilys iawn, a chredaf bod dyletswydd arnom ni oll fel Cymry Cymraeg i wthio am statws gwbl gytradd i’r iaith. Fodd bynnag, rhaid i ni sylweddoli ein bod yn ffodus iawn ein bod yn gallu defnyddio’r iaith o ddydd i ddydd a bod gennym llawer mwy o hawliau ieithyddol na siaradwyr Gaeleg yr Alban. Amser a ddengys beth fydd dyfodol yr Aeleg, ond gallwn ni yma yng Nghymru ddangos ein bod yn barod i fod yn esiampl dda i Albanwyr drwy ddefnyddio ein hiaith ein hunain ym mhob sefyllfa posib.

BROADEN YOUR MIND. AND YOUR HORIZONS. AGORWCH EICH MEDDWL. A’CH GORWELION.

Just finishing your degree? Would you like to teach at primary or secondary level? Why not study for a PGCE and gain qualified teacher status? Train in Wales and you could earn whilst studying

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Tuesday, 2nd March 2010 The Swansea School of Education If you would like to attend, please register by contacting Laura Aston on 01792 481202/ 01792 482105 or email laura.aston@smu.ac.uk

For these subjects above you will receive a Training Grant of £9,000. A Teaching Grant can also be applied for, after successfully completing the induction year. For those teaching Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics a Teaching Grant of £5,000 is available. For those teaching ICT, Design & Technology and Welsh a Teaching Grant of £2,500 is available.

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Newydd ar gyfer mis Medi 2010 - Rhaglen TAR Cynradd Cyfrwng Cymraeg. Am fwy o wybodaeth, cysylltwch â Laura Aston ar 01792 481202/01792 482105 neu e-bost laura.aston@smu.ac.uk IT’S THE DESTINATION

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gairrhydd | SCIENCE@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT 23

Canada's dirty secret

Conventional oil sources are dwindling and Canada's tar sands may provide a solution. But at what cost?

Canada's tar sands are causing concern

Amy Hall Science Editor The tar sands cover an area of Canada over six times the size of Wales. The methods used in the extraction of their oil are incredibly energy intensive and polluting which is raising alarm among environmentalists and ecologists around the world as well as concern for the health of the indigenous communities living in the area. Doctors and residents have not only highlighted contaminated water and food supplies but increased levels of cancer as just some of the problems with the project. The tar sands, apart from making Canada an emerging energy super power mean that the US, where most of the oil is shipped to, can lessen their dependence on more politically unstable sources thanks to the massive reserves held mainly in the Alberta region. Oil deposits in the tar sands are found inside a mixture of bitumen, water, sand and clay. The extraction and refining process requires vast amounts of energy and water. Two to five litres of water, drawn from the Athabasca river, are needed to produce one litre of oil. This is three to four times more than conventional methods. Waste water is poured into 'tailing ponds' which sometimes leak and contain highly toxic pollutants and are so big that they can be seen from space. Acid rain and air pollution is also a problem as well as destruction of Boreal forest, half of which is found in Canada. This type of forest is one

of the world's largest carbon stores and its destruction is causing massive amounts of carbon to be released into the atmosphere. This contribution to climate change is compounded by the large amounts of greenhouse gas emitted by the oil extraction itself, the Athabasca tar sands operations are one of the biggest single emitters of carbon in the world. As well as the environmental impact, the health of people in the area is a big concern. Unusually high levels of cancers including those of the bile duct, colon and thyroid as well as leukaemia have been found in local communities, alongside high levels of respiratory disease.

Canadian Environment Minister says the sands give the country a bad reputation Moose, whose meat is one of the main components of the diet of local indigenous people, contains arsenic levels that have been measured by Alberta Health at 17 to 33 times acceptable levels. Some argue that development in the region can only be good economically for the people that live there but critics have said that the benefits are unequal. Most of the money goes to big companies from outside of Canada who also ship in cheap workers. Public services are said to have collapsed in the region as populations have grown rapidly and there is a chronic housing

shortage. Eriel Tchekwie Derange is a member of the Chipewyan First Nation and campaigns on tar sands for the Rainforest Action Network: "Fossil fuel extraction from the tar sands are killing our people with cancer, killing our culture by destroying our traditional lands, and killing our planet with CO2". The Beaver Lake Creek Nation, backed by The Co-Operative is challenging the Alberta government in court over alleged violation of their Treaty Rights as Aboriginal people in Canada. The Co-Operative, along with WWF, have also released a report titled "Unconventional Oil", which explores the environmental and social effects of projects like tar sands but also the potential investor risk of such an inefficient method of fuel production in an increasingly carbonconstrained economy. British companies are heavily involved financially in the tar sands, including BP who have recently announced the ‘Sunrise Project’ in which, along with its partner Husky Energy Inc, they will invest $2.5 billion. Three of the world’s biggest investors in the tar sands are UK banks, RBS, HSBC and Barclays. RBS has been the focus of various environmental campaigns for many years and previously branded itself the 'oil and gas bank'. Most of RBS in now owned by the treasury so its environmental record is being questioned more than ever. Simon Hughes is the Liberal Democrats shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and thinks that the UK government could use this involvement better. “As a

majority shareholder the Government should use its power to ensure destructive environmental investments are not made. “World leaders must work towards a treaty that will outlaw tar sands extraction, in the same way they came together to ban land mines, blood diamonds and cluster bombs.”

The sands are the biggest single emitters of carbon in the world Canada is now the largest supplier of oil to the USA but there are concerns that Canada's own independence in managing its energy supply could be as stake as it becomes more important to the stability of the economy; huge amounts of natural gas are used in the process and Canada's supplies are dwindling. Canada is also importing a significant amount of oil to meet its energy needs. Environmentalists hope that industry faith in the tar sands is beginning to weaken. Jim Prentice, Canada's Environment Minister, has recently said that he fears the oil sands are giving Canada a bad name. Campaigns are gaining momentum across the world and it has been reported that Shell, although still increasing their efforts in the region have scaled back their original plans due to pressure from shareholders. There is also the possibility that Congress will also enforce a law banning fuels which create more emissions than conventional sources which would include fuel from the tar sands and amount to its biggest blow yet.

News in brief Newsbites Vegetative people potentially communicate Scientists studying a new brain scanning technique have been able to communicate with patients who were previously thought to be in a vegetative state. In the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, patients and healthy volunteers were asked to imagine playing tennis while being scanned with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. This stimulated activity in the pre-motor cortex in some vegetative patients. One patient was able to communicate 'yes' and 'no' answers to a series of questions using just his thoughts. There are now concerns as to whether it should be lawful to allow patients in a vegetative state to die by removing treatment. Lesbian albatrosses become proud parents Two female albatrosses are raising a chick together after successfully incubating its egg. The father of the chick has disappeared and will play no part in the chick's upbringing. The two female Royal Albatrosses are from a New Zealand breeding colony at an Albatross Centre on the South Island's Otago Peninsula. The colony has recorded only two female couples in the past 70 years. These couples have not been as successful in raising their chicks as the most recent pair. UK Climate sceptics rise More British people are now sceptical about climate change according to a recent Populus poll for the BBC. 25% of respondents said they did not think that global warming was happening. That is a rise of 8% since a similar poll in November. Only 26% of respondents said they believed that climate change was happening and that it was man made, compared to 41% previously. Scientists and climate change experts have said they are concerned but that the facts still prove that man made climate change is happening. MMR autism study retracted The 1998 study that linked autism and the MMR vaccine has been retracted by the Lancet journal. The study provoked a wave of controversy and in the decade since the study was published, the vaccination rate fell, while cases of measles rose significantly across England and Wales. At the end of last month, the UK General Medial Council said that the selection of participants for the study could have been biased and that the lead author, Andrew Wakefield, committed ethical breaches. Wakefield still denies any wrongdoing but studies across the world have found no connection between MMR and autism.


24 JOBS & MONEY

gairrhydd | JOBS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

Get your priorities right Katie Greenway Jobs & Money Editor

heights might actually make us feel better when we actually manage to reach our goals. Just because we haven’t mastered them all or attained Before anyone can pursue a ca- the ultimate level of success, it does reer and gain the subsequent ex- not make our smaller achievements perience, advice and know-how, any less worthy or special. The chances of achieving all three they need to get their priorities in one synchronised career are small, straight. It is at this point in our lives that but don’t feel downhearted. Somewe have to decide the course of our times you can volunteer to fill the future. We need to make the right de- void, or you can progress through the cisions. If we are to invest further into categories depending on what’s going our development, apply for postgrad- on in your life. But don’t rush. Despite the conuate study or graduate schemes, and convince those interviewing us that ditioning that we have all undergone we are the right candidates for them, to be superhuman, the world is our oyster, so relax and let it happen. As we need to know that we are. There are three categories of peo- long as you have a vague idea of the ple, although these are certainly not direction you want to go in, hell even finite. These are: money grabbers, do- if you don’t, you are intelligent and gooders and the passionate. Is your ambitious, otherwise you wouldn’t priority money? Is it helping people? have gotten this far. We need to try to find the middle Or do you just absolutely love the one thing that you want to turn into a ca- ground between making our own luck through hard work and determination reer? If you are able to combine all three, and allowing our lives to unfold natuyou could become managing direc- rally. There is too much emphasis on tor of a Formula 1 charity that builds schools for the less fortunate in sub- being an achiever in the world; if we Saharan Africa – but that would have can prioritise the elements of our life 

       that mean the most to us we can poto be a miracle. Acknowledgment of the fact that tentially achieve happiness, and that is we are less than likely to reach these surely the ultimate goal, isn’t it?

       

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LETTERS 25

gairrhydd | LETTERS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

the Comments from the week’s news, opinion, features and sport at www.gairrhydd.com Out of the Conservative closet Emma M I have to admit that, whilst completely disagreeing with most of your points, this article gave me quite a chuckle. Since I am one of the people who, having “met [you] five minutes ago” assailed your political beliefs, I think it is appropriate for me to respond! Whilst you are entitled to defend your right to vote Conservative, you make a number of points which frustrated me. Firstly, you say you are outraged by the “lack of logic” employed by people who dislike the Conservatives, yet at no point did I note a rational explanation from you as to why you vote Conservative. Secondly, you imply that one of the reasons people vehemently oppose Cameron is because they suppose “he hates poor people”. This is largely untrue. The main reason I, personally, dislike the Conservatives when it comes to these sorts of issues, is that they seem to lack any real understanding of how the majority of people actually live. ... read more at gairrhydd.com. Emma M p.s I particularly enjoyed your assumption that everyone on unemployment benefits has refused employment. Very Cameron. Adam Troth Firstly, I should say that I’m not a Conservative supporter, and that I also find several of Cameron’s policies (the one on marriage is a perfect example) appear to have been drawn up on the back of a fag packet.

However, there is a chance I may well bite the bullet and vote Tory come May 6th. From time to time, a Conservative government is a dose of particularly unpleasant medicine which must nevertheless be forced down for the longterm good of the body politic. We are in the same position now as we were in 1997, where the same party has been in charge for so long that they have gone stale, lost the sparkle which made people vote for them in the first place, and are now just looking to cling on to power by any means necessary rather than putting forward sensible, intelligent plans for the future of the country. Brown has been found out to be completely out of his depth taking centrestage, and is clearly just nobly struggling on in the hope that eventually things will somehow miraculously improve. ... read more at gairrhydd.com. Jamie I think the knee-jerk responses you describe are found across politics – I can think of a fair few people who could hear the word ‘socialism’ across a crowded room and start frothing at the mouth! I dislike Cameron for several of the reasons Emma’s said above – does his attack on ‘broken Britain’ (itself a myth) for the Edlington murders mean Major was at fault for Jamie Bulger’s death? – although I don’t see the assumption she points out in her second post. And if the worst ‘verbal abuse’ you’ve had is people calling the Conservatives crap, I think you’re missing out =P

A Muslim perspective Faraz Ali Very very well-written!!! Please

forum

Excellent article… simple but an enjoyable read and articulated well!

doesn’t touch on the problems with the original statement. Joe - If you couldn’t write better yourself then perhaps University is not for you. You may also find my opposition to Feudal institutions chucklesome as well though.

Liam Lord

Christian Mission

A well written and eloquent article. However, some of the content is objectionable: “There has been a trend recently to consider religion and science as two distinct, separate and often opposing fields. Perhaps this is true in some cases, but not for a Muslim.“ ‘True for __’ is a classic sign of muddy terminology. Scientific truth is discovered through physical evidence and reasoned logic. Religious truth/ spiritual truth varies wildly between periods, cultures and individuals. Science and Religion are different. ... read more at gairrhydd.com.

week...

Mullaman

With a special lecture by Cardiff Uniersity Christian Union: ‘How to best love your neighbour whilst they burn in hell for all eternity’ Tea and Cakes provided.

Depression: a student

Jonathan

experience

I feel your pain gentlemen, however I don’t recognise your protraly of my friends in CU. Those Christian students who distrubute bottles of water and flip flops to Union club nigh goers, seem to be following the true non-judgement lead of Jesus.

Adam Troth

write more :) Inaam-ul Haq

One of the best articles to ever be written for the gair rhydd! This fella should write more! Bless him. Very true and to the point. Yahya Merchant For Liam a simple answer. For a Muslim, Science is the work of God, religion is the Word of God. Joe Liam Lord. I find it ironic you’re an atheist with the name Lord! Couldn’t have wrote it better myself Liam Lord Yahya - Thanks for the reply, but that’s merely a soundbite that

Adam Troth Will the Christian Union be following its lead from when I was at Cardiff, when it lead a leaflet campaign outside the Union condemning 95% of us to burn for all eternity in Hell? I believe they also protested on the corner by the Law building, highlighting the moral corruption of women wearing miniskirts and drinking Bacardi Breezers. Liam Lord

Adam Troth Jonathan, the events and observations I describe are actual events which I witnessed while a student at Cardiff. These were carried out under the banner of

CUCU, and showed anything but the non-judgmental lead of Jesus (who I agree was a good role model). Maybe your friends at the Christian Union are not the sort of people who would behave in the manner I described above, but some of the Christian Union activities in the recent past have been anything but welcoming or tolerant. If there is a God, you would think he would have better things to preoccupy himself with than whether or not girls are wearing skirts above the knee. Liam Lord Jonathan, whilst I don’t doubt that many of your friends at CU are fine people, do you really not recognise the portrayal at all? No-one? My comment was meant to jokingly highlight the disparity between the friendly approach of the CU and the dire message inherent in the teachings. Though to be fair, whilst they’ve warned me of hell, they’ve never once offered me cakes. They must be moderates ;)

This is a really good article about a problem which is woefully provided for and criminally underfunded. With 1 in 4 students falling victim to depression or mental illness at some point during their university education, this is something which needs to be pushed up the priority list. How the Union can fund a Custard Wrestling and Harry Potter society while neglecting this vital part of student welfare is something which enrages me.

Away on a placement? Heading abroad?

Stay in touch with

www.gairrhydd.com NEWS, LIVE DEBATE, FEATURES, SPORT, QUENCH, EXCLUSIVE CONTENT AND MORE


26 LISTINGS

The Year of The Vulcan...

gairrhydd | LISTINGS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

YOUR INDEPENDENT LISTINGS GUIDE Monday

15th February FUN FACTORY, Solus, FREE Fun Factory is still producing entertainment for those already haemorrhaging cash. Free entry and super cheap drinks are a perfect way to enjoy yourself and keep your new purse strings in check. BUMBLEBEES, Buffalo, £5 Yep, they're a bit pop and a bit twee, but it's not all honey-coated — there's a sting in their tail. Full to the brim with party pop wonder, they share Bearsuit's knack for writing tunes that are at once comforting and familiar yet full of surprises - like a blanket filled with tiger cubs. You'll love them.

New places to go out are popping up all over town, with the most recent addition, the beautifully crafted VULCAN LOUNGE in Cathays. With a style that looks like a cross between the best bits of Buffalo and a trendy student pub, this place has all the character you could look for.

Tuesday

16th February BEACH HOUSE, CAI, SOLD OUT American boy-girl duo Beach House play dreamy pop. With hints of Vashti Bunyan, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, My Bloody Valentine, Mazzy Star and Yo La Tengo, Beach House's music is a fusion of sixties folk and modern electronica topped off by the gorgeous vocals of Victoria Legrand. BREAKING THE LAW, Submission, £3 Dubstep homies paradise is finally here. Local boys have come together to put on the latest dub, D'n'B, grime and electro in the little known bar, Submission (St Marys Street). Playing an elcletic mix of all things 'cool', this is a fortnightly event that any CYNTers should check out. JUST DANCE, Clwb Ifor Bach, £3 Clwb is good for your health, fact. Assuming Revs isn't your cup of tea and Comedy Club is inevitably sold out, then Clwb is easily your best option for a night out.

Wednesday 17th February

KELLY CLARKSON, CIA, £30 Texas-born Kelly Clarkson is no stranger to stardom, touring on a regular basis to thousands of adoring fans and having released two albums plus a multitude of other releases. Her success is made ever more apparent by the fact that she has broken away from her reputation as winner of American Idol 2002 and come into her own as a pop star. THE LASH, Solus, £3 AU societies on the 'Lash'. See how many pictures you can get of footballers' baubles and cheerleaders in nipple tinsel. NO SWEAT, CAI, FREE No Sweat is a new addition to the Cardiff Arts Institute family. Every Wednesday they'll be bringing you luscious local bands and a few magical treats from afar that will feed your imagination. As well as live music, you can expect to hear some lo-energy tunes from the likes of Pink Floyd, Zero 7, Arcade Fire, Explosions In The Sky and much more. It's free - all you have to do is come along and smile.

Replacing the infamously awful The End, right in the heart of Cathays, the vast improvement to the layout and decor is a tribute to this diverse city. With rustic sofas and mis-matched chairs combined with quirky gimmicks (like a table on the ceiling) and an Arcade games table, this is a new favourite haunt of Lisitngs. With a game plan of providing students with a quality night including table service and gourmet food, all for great prices, live music will be featured on a weekly basis and student nights are becoming the norm from next week. This will be the ideal location for pre-drinking in a bar that prides itself on quality.

Ed Bov Students’ Union, Park Place, 02920 387421 www.cardiffstudents.com ! IV Lounge, Neuadd Meirionydd, Heath Park 02920 744948 ! Clwb Ifor Bach ros, Bakers Row 02920 399939 www.clubmetropolitan.com ! Dempseys, Castle Street 02920 252024 ! Move, 7 Mill Lane 02920 225592 ! Jazz, 21 St. Mary Street 02920 387026 www.cafejazzcardiff.com ! The Riverbank Hotel, Despenser Street www.riverbankjazz.co.uk ! St. David’s Hall, Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay 0870 0402000 www.wmc.org.uk ! The New Theatre, Park Place 02920 878889 www.newtheatrecardiff.co.uk ! The Cardiff International Arena, Mary Ann Street 02920 224488 ! The Millennium Stadium Can’t miss it. www.millenniumstadium.com ! Tiger Tiger


LISTINGS 27

gairrhydd | LISTINGS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

Thursday

18th February THE HEAVY, Barfly, £6.50 The Heavy wreak of lo-fi samples, broken down beats, a disgusting but yet compelling delivery on all fronts and more stinky than anything that has ever come out of your back passage. KITTY BEVEN QUINTET, Cafe Jazz, £5 Kitty Bevan Quintet also perform as a trio, duo and quartet. The trio recently starred on BBC Wales' Shirley Bassey Day, and Kitty sang three songs which helped to make Shirley the star she is today. Kitty's Little Big Band, led by Kitty on sax and vocals, features a host of players from Cardiff and beyond. The Little Big Band can be booked for all types of events and comes as a 7-piece, which often extends to a 10 or 11-piece band. Performing swing, jazz and blues in big band style. CYNT, Clwb, £3 Vanguard are proof you can be Welsh and still make house music as good as the French. These local boys have been getting props all over Radio 1 from Kissy, Andy George & Jaymo and Nick Grimshaw. From their early test releases, they were constantly in the top most talked about tunes in the Hype Machine... Then they realised that they were more than just good! COLIN BLUNSTONE, Globe, £14 Former member of The Zombies and successful singer/songwriter in his own right.

Friday

Saturday

19th February

20th February

JLS, CIA, LIMITED London boyband JLS, made up of JB, Aston, Marvin and Oritsé, reached the final two of the X Factor 2008 final - the first group ever to get that far. Since then, both their debut single and album entered the UK charts at number one.

CYNT, MMH, £12 CYNT have gone from strength to strength in the last 3 years bringing some of the best dance acts to the capital. Featuring Crookers, Krafty Kuts, Jesse Rose and Crystal Fighters this is sure to be a massive night. Southern Comfort will be there to spread to joy with samples of their new drink! Freebies and extra entertainment will make this one not to be missed.

THANK LUCK IT'S FRIDAY, Barfly, £2 NUS Thank Luck its friday is the latest addition to the Barfly roster playing all the great music you want to hear. This week sees the pop rock band Metronomy behind the decks spinning the latest records. Making this a sure fire hit night in the best Barfly this side of London. Cheap and wicked. DIG!, CAI, £2 Carl Forecast & Huw Evans have been digging around in places that you wouldn’t want to in order to find musical excellence from all corners of the globe. Having shared stages with Gruff Rhys, David Holmes and Jarvis Cocker, the Dig! DJs play heavy fuzz and heavier drums, psychedelic soul and raucous rock n roll. Featuring musical nuggets you never knew you loved, mixed with colourful classics from days gone by. Dig! is music for cutting rugs to rather than stroking beards.

COME PLAY, Solus, £3.50 Come Play is still the student location on a Saturday. So.... yeh... do that. THE DUDES ABIDE, Clwb, £3.50 Saturday night at Clwb is probably the longest running DJ night in Cardiff, clocking up 27 years and it just keeps on getting better. Offering three floors of the best tracks from a variety of genres Clwb has cherry picked the best DJs currently gracing the decks in Cardiff and put them all on the same night.

Sunday

21st February 30 SECONDS TO MARS, CIA, £20 The Californian hardcore outfit, formed by brothers Jared and Shannon Leto, have won numerous awards and accolades, including an MTV Video Music Award, three MTV EMA's, an MTV Latin and Asia Award, a Fuse Award, and three Kerrang! Awards. Their second album, A Beautiful Lie, hit platinum status after almost two years of heavy touring and winning fans over, one by one. FULL FAT ANTI-SOCIAL, 10 Feet Tall The Full Fat Anti-Social presents an alternative night of quality drinks and music for party people on a Sunday and takes place across three bars: Mr Smith's, 10 Feet Tall and Buffalo Bar! COFFEE & TV, Vulcan Lounge, FREE Go for a sociable drink at the newly opened Vulcan Lounge in Cathays. With a great menu and student deals, fly over to the Vulcan.

PETE TONG, Liquid, £13.50 Radio One DJ and all-round dance deity who is the man behind London Records dance label FFRR which is possibly one of the best dance labels in the world.

(The Welsh Club), 11 Womanby Street 02920 232199 www.clwb.net ! Barfly, Kingsway, Tickets: 08709070999 www.barflyclub.com/cardiff ! MetIncognito, Park Place 02920 412190 ! Liquid, St. Mary Street 02920645464 ! The Philharmonic, 76-77 St. Mary Street 02920 230678 ! Café The Hayes 02920 878444 www.stdavidshallcardiff.co.uk ! Chapter Arts Centre, Market Road, Canton 02920 304400 www.chapter.org ! Wales Sherman Theatre, Senghennydd Road 02920 646900 www.shermantheatre.co.uk ! The Glee Club, Mermaid Quay 0870 2415093 www.glee.co.uk ! Greyfriar's Road 02920 391944 www.tigertiger.co.uk ! Tommy’s Bar, Howard Gardens (off Newport Road) 02920 416192 !


28 FIVE MINUTE FUN

gairrhydd | FMF@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 08 2010


FIVE MINUTE FUN 29

sudoku.

gairrhydd | FMF@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

EASY

MEDIUM

Mystic Smeg Aries, March 21 – April 20 "Wow, you look...amazing. Just incredible. Oh, no, not you. That's awkward. I meant your mate - is she single? Nice." Sound familiar? Get some ugly friends, girl!

quick crossword. Across

Down

1. Unorthodox (14) 10. Tall structure (5) 11. A person of no influence (9) 12. Helps (7) 13. Intoxicant (7) 14. Warning signal (5) 16. Heighten (9) 19. Educator (9) 20. Kick out (5) 22. Pee (7) 25. Fodder (7) 27. Handrail (9) 28. Base 8 (5) 29. Scouting (14)

2. It might sell The Times (9) 3. German iris (5) 4. Disappearing (9) 5. Martial arts expert (5) 6. Naiveté (9) 7. Whinny (5) 8. Feelings of allegiance (7) 9. Layers (6) 15. The movement of persons (9) 17. Synonym finder (9) 18. Foolish (9) 19. He fixes pipes (7) 21. Subject to legal action (6) 23. A dialect of Ancient Greek (5) 24. Superfluous (5) 26. Plant life (5)

Taurus, April 21 – May 21 Your microwave meal overcooks itself, and you drop the bottle of wine all over the floor. It's lucky you're eating alone, isn't it? Otherwise that'd be well embarrassing. In other news, you're lonely. Gemini, May 22 – June 21 Family problems will rock through your foundations this week. Not in a kind of Fritzl-esque fashion though, so I guess that's a minor positive. Cancer, June 22 – July 22 You've contracted First Girlfriend Syndrome, and all your friends have had enough of it. You can choose to ignore them, or stop being such a little bitch and man up. Leo, July 23 - August 23 Nothing to worry about this decade. Keep being awesome, everyone appreciates it. Virgo, August 24 – September 22 Work is not going too well. That bastard across from you keeps slyly kicking you under the desk. He'll deny it if you bring it up though, so be the bigger person. The kind of bigger person to burn that prick's house to the ground. Libra, September 23 – October 23 You'll get Lucky this weekend. Unfortunately it'll be the dog Lucky, from the 'More Than' adverts, and you'll probably be arrested for her kidnap, capping off an ultimately, and ironically, unlucky week. Scorpio, October 24 – November 22 Mercury is getting all on your tits this week. Which is rather unfortunate, considering exposure to it could lead to memory loss. Sagittarius, November 23 – December 21 Watch out for black holes and other crude sexual terms. They will get you fired. Capricorn, December 22 – January 20 Have a seat. It's gonna be a bad week. Sitting down, wise. You'll get piles! Aquarius, January 21 – February 18 Have you noticed Aquarius is very close to 'a queer us'? You and your Dan are gonna get close. Pisces, February 19 – March 20 Shit the bed! You'll shit the bed. Whose bed? That's the fun part.


22 TAF-OD

gairrhydd | TAFOD@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

Ydy hi ar ben i’r Aeleg? Emyr Gruffydd

Taf-od Writer Fel myfyriwr sy’n astudio ieithoedd modern, rwy’n gallu meddwl am lwyth o bethau posib i wneud ar nos Iau. Mae dysgu rhestrau o eirfa, gorffen aseiniadau cyfieithu, adolygu strwythyrau gramadegol neu ddarllen ambell i bennod o nofel Sbaeneg swmpus yn rhai tasgau posib. Fodd bynnag, fel nifer o fyfyrwyr diog eraill, gwylio pennod ddiweddaraf Brothers and Sisters sydd fel arfer yn mynd a fy mryd. Ddydd Iau diwethaf, (ar ôl gwylio fy mhennod wythnosol, wrth gwrs) roeddwn yn pori trwy’r sianelau ac fe ddes i ar draws un hynod ddiddorol , sef BBC Alba. Gwasanaeth Gaeleg y BBC yw’r sianel hon sy’n darlledu tua 45 awr o deledu yn yr Aeleg bob wythnos, ac mae’n bosib derbyn y sianel ar deledu lloeren yn unhryw rhan o’r Deyrnas Unedig. Rhaglen am gerddoriaeth werin

oedd ymlaen ar y pryd, ac yn afraid dweud, fe wyliais i gyda chryn ddiddordeb tan y diwedd! Er y ddarpariaeth eang drwy gyfrwng yr iaith yn y cyfryngau, mae ei sefyllfa yn un tra argyfyngus. Yn hynod eironig, ac o ystyried y datblygiadau calonogol ym maes y cyfryngau Gaeleg yn y blynyddoedd diwethaf, dyfodiad teledu cyfrwng Saesneg yn y saithdegau i Ynysoedd y Gorllewin oedd yr hoelen olaf yn arch yr iaith, yn ôl nifer. Yn ôl y cyfrifiad diwethaf, tua 58,000 o bobl oedd yn siarad Gaeleg yn 2001, gostyngiad o tua 7,500 ar yr ystadegau ddeng mlynedd yn gynharach. Mae dros hanner y siaradwyr yn hwn na 40 mlwydd oed, ac mae’r iaith ar drai yn ynysoedd gorllewin yr Alban, lle bu hi gryfaf fel iaith gymunedol ers canrifoedd. Er mai iaith gynhenid y Gàidhealtachd, sef ucheldiroedd ac ynysoedd yr Alban yw’r Aeleg (ni fu erioed yn iaith i fwyafrif y deheudir) bach iawn o statws swyddogol sydd ganddi yn yr ardaloedd hynny, gyda dyfodiad am-

bell i arwydd dwyieithog yn ddatblygiad gymharol ddiweddar. Mae prinder athrawon sy’n gymwys i ddysgu yn yr iaith hefyd yn broblem sy’n atal datblygiad yr iaith yn y system addysg, sy’n golygu na fydd digon o siaradwyr ifainc yn cael eu meithrin yn y blynyddoedd canlynol. Digon hawdd fyddai digalonni fodd bynnag, a rhaid edrych ar ambell i ddatblygiad positif yn sefyllfa’r iaith. Mae dros 2,600 o blant yn cael eu haddysg drwy gyfrwng yr Aeleg bellach, gyda’r ffigurau yn tyfu’n gyflym, yn enwedig yn ardaloedd trefol Inverness, Stornoway a hyd yn oed Glasgow. Ceir tua 60 ysgol sy’n addysgu trwy gyfrwng yr iaith i ryw raddau drwy’r Alban, gan gynnwys ysgol gyfun Aeleg ei hiaith yn Glasgow. Ac yn ddiweddar, cafodd academyddion drwy’r Alban a Bòrd Na Gaidhlig (Bwrdd yr Iaith Aeleg) gymorthdal o £5.3 miliwn er mwyn cynnal ymchwil hanfodol bwysig ar sefyllfa’r iaith, gwaith a fydd yn cael ei gwblhau yng Ngholeg Sabhal Mòr Ostaig ar Ynys Skye; yr unig goleg cyfrwng-Aeleg yn

yr Alban. Fodd bynnag, nid oes modd gwadu fod y blynyddoedd nesaf yn mynd i fod yn rhai tyngedfennol yn hanes yr iaith. Yn Ôl Mike Russell, Ysgrifennydd Llywodraeth yr Alban ar Addysg, mae creu cenhedlaeth newydd o siaradwyr Gaeleg yn hollbwysig i’w pharhad fel iaith, a fydd yn diogelu cyfoeth bywyd diwyllianol ac amrywiaieth ieithyddol yr Alban am flynyddoedd i ddod. Ai creu mwy o ysgolion cyfrwngAeleg mewn ardaloedd trefol yw’r ateb felly, cynllun sydd wedi llwyddo gyda’r Gymraeg yng Ngymoedd y De? Neu a ddylid cryfhau’r ddarpariaeth yn ysgolion y Gàidhealtachd a’i ail-sefydlu fel iaith gymunedol gan roi statws arbennig i’r ardaloedd hynny fel y Gaeltachtaí yn Iwerddon? Dywed nifer mai rhyw gymysgedd o’r ddau sydd angen, yn ogystal â deddfwriaeth gryfach o lawer er mwyn diogelu hawliau siaradwyr yr iaith yn ei chadarnleoedd a chynyddu oriau darlledu BBC Alba a Radio Nan Gàidheal.

Fel Cymry Cymraeg, mae’n hawdd i ni gwyno o ddydd i ddydd nad ydym yn medru cyfathrebu gyda phawb a phob un trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg. Mae’n ddigon hawdd cwyno am safon isel rhaglenni S4C neu Radio Cymru, a chwyno nad yw gwleidyddion Cymraeg eu hiaith yn gwneud digon o ymdrech i ddefnyddio’r iaith yn gyhoeddus. Mae rhain yn bwyntiau dilys iawn, a chredaf bod dyletswydd arnom ni oll fel Cymry Cymraeg i wthio am statws gwbl gytradd i’r iaith. Fodd bynnag, rhaid i ni sylweddoli ein bod yn ffodus iawn ein bod yn gallu defnyddio’r iaith o ddydd i ddydd a bod gennym llawer mwy o hawliau ieithyddol na siaradwyr Gaeleg yr Alban. Amser a ddengys beth fydd dyfodol yr Aeleg, ond gallwn ni yma yng Nghymru ddangos ein bod yn barod i fod yn esiampl dda i Albanwyr drwy ddefnyddio ein hiaith ein hunain ym mhob sefyllfa posib.

BROADEN YOUR MIND. AND YOUR HORIZONS. AGORWCH EICH MEDDWL. A’CH GORWELION.

Just finishing your degree? Would you like to teach at primary or secondary level? Why not study for a PGCE and gain qualified teacher status? Train in Wales and you could earn whilst studying

Chemistry | Cymraeg | Design & Technology | ICT | Mathematics | Physics

PGCE Secondary Information Morning

Art & Design | Business Studies | History

Tuesday, 2nd March 2010 The Swansea School of Education If you would like to attend, please register by contacting Laura Aston on 01792 481202/ 01792 482105 or email laura.aston@smu.ac.uk

For these subjects above you will receive a Training Grant of £9,000. A Teaching Grant can also be applied for, after successfully completing the induction year. For those teaching Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics a Teaching Grant of £5,000 is available. For those teaching ICT, Design & Technology and Welsh a Teaching Grant of £2,500 is available.

Biology | English | Geography | Modern Foreign Languages | Religious Education | Science 11-16 For these subjects above you will receive a Training Grant of £6,000 For these subjects above you will receive a Training Grant of £4,000

Primary | Primary – Welsh Medium For all Primary PGCE courses, you receive a Training Grant of £4,000

Newydd ar gyfer mis Medi 2010 - Rhaglen TAR Cynradd Cyfrwng Cymraeg. Am fwy o wybodaeth, cysylltwch â Laura Aston ar 01792 481202/01792 482105 neu e-bost laura.aston@smu.ac.uk IT’S THE DESTINATION

www.smu.ac.uk


THE WORD ON - SPORT 31

gairrhydd | SPORT@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

Thomas Bevan gives the word on love rat John Terry's England captaincy By now most of you will be familiar with the story. John Terry cheated on his wife, Toni Poole, with Vanessa Perroncel, the ex-girlfriend of former Chelsea and current England team-mate Wayne Bridge. The episode led to condemnation of Terry in the media and calls for him to be stripped of the England captaincy. ‘We cannot allow this sleaze-bag to lead England in South Africa this summer’ was the rhetoric echoed in most of the nations back pages. ‘How can the England team possibly trust Terry now?! We must award the captaincy to an admirable and decent leader.’ England manager Fabio Capello duly obliged, handing the captaincy to Rio Ferdinand. While Ferdinand is an England regular, and on his day a remarkable defender, his season thus far has been less than impressive. He has participated in six league games for Manchester United, missing 20 through injury or suspension. In the games he has played in, he’s produced a number of high profile errors - consider his individual blunders which resulted in Craig Bellamy and Fernando Torres’ goals for Manchester City and Liverpool respectively. In contrast, Terry has been in fine form during the current campaign, starting every game for Chelsea and leading the defence to twelve clean sheets. Surely England’s Captain is supposed to lead by example and inspire confidence in his peers. Terry is regarded as a motivator and an organiser, whereas Ferdinand is a less vocal, more passive character. Indeed, it is significant that Terry is Chelsea captain, and has been for six years, whereas Alex Fergurson views Ferdinand as third choice captain at Manchester United. The British media reply to this argument seems to be: “Ah, but what of Terry’s questionable ethics?!” In response to this, consider a few facts regarding Rio Ferdinand’s history as a professional footballer. In 1997 he was convicted of drink driving. In, 2003 Ferdinand was banned from football for eight months due to his failure to take a drugs test. Following this, speeding offences led to a fine, a further driving ban and a magistrate declaring that Ferdinand "should be a positive role model for young people in society and this does not give out the right message". In October 2006 whilst on Chris Moyle’s’ radio show Ferdinand ‘jokingly’ referred to Moyles as a ‘Faggot‘. In 2008 following United’s de-

Top Five adulterous SPORT STARS

1. TIGER WOODS: Tiger racked up the birdies last year leading to him putting his golf career on hold to concentrate on his private life.

2.

TERRY: Either mid-heart attack or moving in for a cheeky grope feat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Ferdinand kicked a female steward in the tunnel, injuring her in the process. So, just to clarify, Capello is removing Terry as captain due to allegations surrounding his private life, and giving the armband to a man convicted of drink-driving with a history of public homophobic slurs and violence towards women. However, there’s an argument that Bridges presence in the England setup distinguishes the two situations. It’s unfair on Bridge, as long as he remains in the squad, that the man who betrayed him remains chief player and the predicament risks dividing the dressing room. There seems little debate on this point, and rightly so. But how has Bridge’s unease with Terry been resolved? The two men will still have to play together. Terry will still retain the commanding, authoritarian nature that’s inherent in his game; he is the bedrock of

TERRY'S: Not so happy now

England’s defence, and anyone who plays alongside him must necessarily co-operate with the man. If there was to be tension with John Terry as captain, how has it been removed by denying him this role? My guess would be: not very. If England are to succeed at the World Cup this summer, Terry needs to be in the team.

"We cannot allow this sleaze-bag to lead England in South Africa this summer" What’s open to debate is whether Bridge even deserves a place in the squad. As a player he’s mediocre at best, and people seem to forget that his season has been full of personal error as part of Manchester City‘s notoriously weak defence: cast your minds back to November 7 - Bridge’s inadequacies were ruthlessly exposed by the attacking might of…Burnley. If Bridge cannot deal with Steven Fletcher, quite how he’d cope with the likes of Lionel Messi is beyond me. It’s not as if there aren’t alternatives to Bridge as reserve left-back; both Steven Warnock and Leighton Baines have been in great form over the season. Granting Bridge a sympathetic place in the squad would be lunacy.

It must be remembered that football and morality are not interlinked. Just because a player represents their country, it does not mean they are to act as saints in their private lives. To put it frankly: footballers tend to be undereducated, overpaid and devoid of great intellect. Terry may have a sketchy moral background, but so does Ferdinand, so does Gerrard, and so does Rooney. Make no mistake, Terry is suffering as a result of the revelations - his marriage is currently in the balance and he’s been subjected to widespread criticism. But it is not right to condemn his captaincy due to his public image being dented - the two are unrelated. Why not employ the novel idea of deciding whether to keep a player as captain by assessing his skill and his on-field presence. Terry is famous for his selfless defending and his conduct on the pitch. Following Chelsea’s Champions League exit at the hands of Barcelona last year, while the likes of Didier Drogba verbally abused the referee, Terry went to the dressing room, shook all of the opposing players’ hands and congratulated the team on reaching the final. He’s still the ideal candidate for England captain, and should not be dismissed due to his extra-marital activities, especially considering that the team-mate effected is of limited ability and the alternative is an off-form player with a private-life just as chequered as Terry’s.

GEORGE BEST: Lauded as one of the best footballers of all time, Best was a hit with the ladies, which got him in trouble on numerous occasions. He had two wives but apparently had two kids with other women.

3.

ASHLEY COLE: Cole famously cheated on the amazingly hot Cheryl with a hairdresser. Somehow his smokin' wife forgave him. Literally the luckiest man in the world.

4. KOBE BRYANT: Bryant was accused of sexual assault in 2003 with a hotel employee. He admitted the adultery charge but denied assault.

5. MARK RAMPRAKASH: After revelations in 2007 that he had cheated on his wife with single mother Sadia Saleem, Ramprakash failed to hold his marriage together.


32 SPORT- WARM UP Previews in James Hinks tells you everything you need to know brief about the 2010 Winter Olympics from Vancouver

gairrhydd | SPORT@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

Champions League AC Milan vs Man United From the moment these two giants were paired together the stories were always going to be about one man; David Beckham. Everyone's favourite 34-year-old footballer, who left United in 2003, will be making an emotinal return against his old side. Beckham, on loan from LA Galaxy, is in contention to start against United in the first Champions League knockout match. Leornardo's Milan side are struggling to keep up with league leaders Inter in Series A, but recently beat their Milan rivals with a 2-0 victory to make up some ground on them. United, on the other hand, have been enjoying a rich vein of form in the League of late with Wayne Rooney playing some of the best football we have seen from him. It's a busy period for Fergie's men with the Carling cup approaching and some tough Premiership ties ahead of them. Expect moments of magic as 22 of Europe's best players battle it out at the San Siro.

The 21st Winter Olympics has just kicked off. It’s being held in the largest city in history to hold a Winter Olympics, Vancouver. It has cost the city £6 billion and has been in operation since 2004. It promises to be one of the best Winter Olympics ever, but what do we care? Well maybe not. Our collective reaction to the heavy snowfall this winter may indicate that this country does not care for an Olympics in the white stuff. If anything, we are the country most antagonistic to the idea of an Olympics in snow. We are madly obsessed with complaining about it and become fascinated by the stories of its destruction and a cause of inconvenience. So why watch the Winter Olympics? Well actually the Winter Olympics is incredible. The thing is these athletes are use to snow and ice, more than us Brits. In fact the have got quite good at transporting themselves around on it. The immense speeds the athletes get around on our sworn enemy ice and snow is awe inspiring. Bobslays can go over 70mph, downhill skiers can get up to speeds of 80mph and those mad athletes on the dinner trays, known technically as luge go at an amazing 90 mph. I know what you’re thinking why didn’t we get that stuff over Christmas? The truth is the Winter Olympics is amazing. Everyone screams and shouts about the summer Olympics

The athlete's will be battling for gold in the Vancouver snow but who there goes down hill on their backs, inches off the ground at 90 mph? Now, to a more serious preview to the Winter Olympics. British skiers and snowboarders do not have the best preparation to the games as their funders the BSSF have gone bust. This means that in the build-up to the Winter Olympics, the British athletes have had to pay for their own hotels and ski passes. However, a cheeky

Magners League Leinster vs Scarlets There's no Six Nations this weekend but fear not, your fix of rugby is still available as Saturday evening Leinster play host to the Scarlets at the RDS Arena. Both sides will be missing their international players but Leinster are likely to be more affected with a large chunk of their squad unavailable for selection. Leinster, the current Heineken Cup champions, are odds-on favourites to take maximum points from the fixture as recent meetings between the two sides has ended up with the Irishmen as victors. The last time the sides met in December Leinster were comfortable winners and will be looking to do the same this weekend. The boys from Llanelli are desperate for a win if they are to qaulify for Europe but their away form is worrying as they sit at the wrong end of the table.

£30,000 loan, by the main British Winter Olympics governing body, has sorted out some problems. The 14 athletes that may not have been entered are at least out there and ready to compete. Vancouver has had troubles in preparation for the Olympics as well. It may be the largest city to hold the Winter Olympics but is is also the warmest, and with an abnormally warm month where the temperature is a record high of 7 degrees, the Olympics holders have had to transport snow to Cypress hill where the games will take place. There is good news though Northern Irish skater Jenna McCorkell is looking to compete for a medal position at this games. The 23-year-old is in top form currently and after recovering form an illness she is ready to give the performance of her lifetime. Even though Top Ten finishes have been her best results so far, the young British athlete is focused on achieving in the ultimate contest for her sport the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Britain have a history of doing well in the skeleton event. This is where athletes zoom down a track on their

fronts inches from the ground, getting up to 80 mph. Silver medalist from Turin 2006 Shelley Rudman will lead Britain's skeleton bobsleigh charge. She will be accompanied by Amy Williams, with Kristan Bromley and Adam Pengilly. This is said to be Britain's best skeleton team they have sent to an Olympics since 1992. So watch this space. The Winter Olympics will run for two weeks. Out of the 14 events the main ones to look out for are: Bobsled, made famous by the legendary film Cool Runnings, Snowboarding, which instantly makes you cool just by association, downhill skiing which is a huge test of nerve even for the viewer and, of course, the ultimate North American macho sport, Ice Hockey. The Winter Olympics may seem alien to us but with some British hopefuls and events we do not normally see, it's worth a watch. Quite frankly it will be two weeks of extreme entertainment. Extreme cold, extreme views, (of the mountains not politically), extreme events, extreme crashes and extreme lycra. Bring it on.

Vancouver Winter Olympics: Editor's Predictions Adam Horne: I’ll be brutally honest, I have no idea what’s involved in these Winter Olympics, but I assume, like all the others, that the United States are pretty much bound to win. Norway are up there at the moment, along with the apparently reformed Soviet Union…when did that happen by the way? I think United States are bound to power through and take the eventual spoils. They’re the richest and most powerful nation, and the richest and most powerful nations always win…always. Sorry Romania, I have a feeling you might miss out this time…just.

Robbie Wells: Germany may head in to this Winter Olympics as favourites, and I think it would be a brave move to bet against them, which is why I’m plumping for Canada. It’s a bit obvious going for the home nation, but when they’ve had such a rapid upturn in fortunes in recent Winter Olympics running up to this one, then the momentum points towards a big push from the Canadians at this tournament. They finished fifth in 2006 and home advantage may be the extra edge needed to pull off a glorious win.

Jon Evans: OK, so I can't claim to be an expert on winter sports. In fact my awareness doesn't really extend past four Jamaicans in a bobsleigh. But with the tiny knowledge I do have I'm going for team US. After coming second two years ago in Turin I feel this could be the year for the Americans. Since the creation of the games the US athletes have always done well. Lindsey Vonn is the first American woman to acheive back-toback world cup championships and I'm expecting a gold from her in Canada.

Lucy Morgan: I predict Norway to come out on top this year. They have more Olympic Winter Games medals (280) than any other nation – that’s 63 more than the Soviet Union Team. Their cross-country team are hugely talented and will be desperate to make up for the disappointment of the Turin Games where they were kept off the top for the first time since 1988. Norway, however, haven’t actually led the medal standings since 1994 but despite this, the Norwegians always look a very strong team and I’m predicting them to do extremely well in Vancouver.


FEATURES - SPORT 33

gairrhydd | SPORT@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

With the Six Nations well under way, Sport speaks to the Welsh squad about their Championship hopes Jon Evans and Lucy Morgan Sports Editors With the Six Nations well under way the tournament still looks pretty open and in spite of a rocky start Wales are still hopeful of claming the title for a third time in five years. Things may not have quite gone to plan for Wales on their opening weekend and the 30-17 loss to England at Twickenham was certainly a dissapointing start. Despite going into the break 13-3 down, Wales came back to within three points of victory and had the Welsh Nation on tenterhooks as the prospect of another victory over the old enemy looked to be within touching distance. However, frustratingly for Welsh supporters and players alike, the win never came. The dissappointment was clear as hooker Gareth Williams spoke after the match: "We prepared well and things didn’t go our way. We could have won the game and I believe we should have won it. Everyone was disappointed with it really." So what went wrong? "There was a lot of mistakes and we never really got our flow going." admitted the hooker. "To be fair England had a really good defence there as well. There were plenty of mistakes there on our part as well and it kind of played into them and also made them look better than they were." The overriding issue of that weekend, of

course, was that of Alun Wyn Jones’ sin-binning after tripping England hooker Dylan Hartley. The event was crucial in the overall outcome of the game with Wales conceding 17 points with Jones in the sin bin. The Welsh camp was reluctant to dwell on the issue but there was a clear feeling amongst the players that Wyn Jones should not be used as a scapegoat. Shane Williams was sympathetic on the issue. “Alun Wyn is one of the most committed players we’ve got in the squad, he always gives 100% and he’s more disappointed than anyone else.”

"If I know the guys, we're going to fight 'till the end" Gareth Williams was equally forgiving: “He knows he made a mistake. It’s unfortunate how things worked out. He made a mistake and obviously he’s got to put that to bed now and get on.” It’s fair to say that Wyn Jones was unfairly targeted – after all as wrong as it is, these things do happen in rugby and often players get away with it. “We’ve had other players in the past who have been sin-binned and we’ve come through it unscathed. On Saturday we didn’t and you know we conceded some points, but it’s one of those things. I think we learn from it and we move on” admitted Jenkins. There was talk after the match of Jones being dropped from the team as a punishment but it seemed that the Welsh management were willing to let bygones be bygones and he was named in the starting line-up to face Scotland over the weekend. After all

can you really drop one of your best players purely as a punishment? "Personally I want Alun Wyn on the field when I’m playing. He’s one of the most consistent players I’ve played alongside in Wales and has been for a long time. He’s one of these players who’s very self-critical and hopefully it’s going to make him a better player and he’ll bounce back and be involved [in future games]. You know, it’s out of my hands. As a player you want the likes of Alun Wyn by your side out there" admitted Shane. However, rugby players, particulalry at an interntional level, have an example to set and Shane was keen to stress just how seriously players took the issue of discipline: “We harp on about discipline and how important it is especially at international level where there’s the likes of Jonny Wilkinson who can kick penalties from anywhere. Obviously it’s paramount.” The game may have been overshadowed by trip-gate but there was plenty more for the Welsh team to take from the Twickenham clash. Gareth was up front in admitting the mistakes of the line-out: “There was one line-out which I didn’t throw straight. That’s why it’s disappointing really. You want that to go right and you need all those things to work. We’ve got a very good lineout. It just didn’t function.” Wales may have had a disappointing start to the tournament but there are still plenty of games to go and plenty of chances to prove their abilities. Both Gareth and Shane were upbeat about the rest of the Six Nations. The prospect of a Grand Slam or Triple Crown may be over but as Shane quipped: “It’s certainly not panic stations yet!” He went on to add: “We’re not out of it. There are a lot of tough games coming up and if I know the guys we’re going to fight until the end. It’s a poor start but I’m sure we can pick

TRIUMPHANT: Shane Williams ourselves up and start performing better than we what we showed on Saturday as we know we can and win the remainder of the games. You know, it’s not an impossible task and we’ve been there and done it before." Shane may have reason to worry though with the emergence of a new flying winger in the shape of Adam Jones. "He's on his second try now and he’s looking for more" joked Shane. By the time gair rhydd goes to print, Wales will have played their second game of the tournament against the Scots so who knows what the mood in camp will be. However, ahead of the match the feeling of the squad in the Welsh camp was one of cautious optimism. “Scotland were very physical. Their defence in general was pretty awesome. It’s going to be a very tough game for us” admitted Neil Jenkins.

Shane was as wary of the Scotish threat: “Scotland are a very good side— They’ve got a very good pack. They’ve got some very dangerous attacking backs as well that we’ve kept an eye on. I thought Lamont had a very good game. We hope that we can learn from the game on Saturday and be a far better side on the weekend because we’re going to have to be.” Wales will take solace in the fact that they could have won their opening match and that none of the six teams were particulalry eye-catching. Whatever the outcome of the weekend, it's fair to say that Wales were looking confident for the rest of their campaign. They may not be able to win the Grand Slam or the Triple Crown but the Championship is still a realistic target. Pob lwc boys!

This season's winning formula Jake Yorath shares his deepest of thoughts on the F1 season... Jake Yorath Sports Writer To be excited about an upcoming Formula One season in the past has been rather like getting excited about new Star Wars movies. It might look amazing and for a while it might seem like a good idea, but in the end the old stuff is still the best and you’re left wondering why two hours of your Sunday was spent watching Eddie Jordan/George Lucas’ ego slowly expand. I am a cynic many years beyond my age, and yet even I have felt a twinge of excitement for 2010.

Grandmaster chin has returned, bored of a life of pretending to be the face behind minor masked television stars and back to make Nico Rosberg look like a child with a Scalextric set for Mercedes (previously Brawn). Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso has somehow convinced Ferrari engineers to widen their chassis to fit his exorbitantly large neck and he will almost certainly batter half arsed crash fest Brazilian Felipe Massa into a small trash cube and dispense of his challenge by mid season. Sadly for those of you who really believed Button won the title by his own ability last season, the same will almost certainly happen at McLaren, where Lewis Hamilton will once

for very again prove Ron Dennis right for long. And signing him up at 14 and make so that Jack Wills wearing mincemeat will leave of his once World Champion the fight team mate. down to Red Bull might have a future champ in Vettel, but it also has an ageing Aussie a n d French enginesand of course, t h e y never go forward Brum's come a long when since I was a kid...

Mercedes, McLaren and Ferrari. Mercedes could do well, but I’d wager that their resources and the turmoil of change for the second year running will lose them ground. Between McLaren and Ferrari, it’s harder to call- it seems Ferrari have a slight edge at the moment, but you can bet your very last recession addled Euro that McLaren have got it in them to turn it round. Tight? It’s like a duck’s butt this season.


34 SPORT - IMG IMG NETBALL STANDINGS IMG NETBALL

PREMIERSHIP

P

W

D

L

Diff

Pts

1

LAW A

2

1

0

1

+7

3

2

ECONOMICS

1

1

0

0

+3

3

3

CARBS A

1

1

0

0

+2

3

4

CARBS B

1

1

0

0

+1

3

5

PHARMACY A

2

1

0

1

-6

3

6

CARDIFF A

1

0

1

0

0

1

7

PSYCHOLOGY A

3

0

1

2

-5

1

8

ENGIN LOCO

1

0

0

1

-2

0

IMG NETBALL

P

W

D

L

Diff

Pts

BIOSCIENCE

3

3

0

0

+48

9

2

DENISTRY

2

2

0

0

+33

6

3

ENGLISH A

2

1

1

0

+9

4

4

LAW B

1

1

0

0

+9

3

5

Cardiff B

3

0

1

2

-28

1

6

SAWSA

1

0

0

1

-13

0

7

SOCSI A

2

0

0

2

-16

0

8

JETS A

2

0

0

2

-42

0

IMG NETBALL

DIVISION 2 P

W

D

L

Diff

Pts

1

PYSCHOLOGY B

2

2

0

0

+41

6

2

GYM GYM

2

1

0

1

+8

3

3

SOCSI B

1

1

0

0

+3

3

4

EARTHSOC

2

1

0

1

+1

3

5

MEDICS A

1

1

0

0

+1

3

6

Pharmacy B

2

1

0

1

-19

3

7

MEDICS B

2

0

0

2

-9

0

8

English B

2

0

0

2

--26

0

IMG NETBALL

Spirited comeback gives MOMED important premiership advantage Adam Horne Sports Editor

DIVISION 1

1

DIVISION 3 P

W

D

L

Diff

Pts

1

ENGIN AUTO

1

1

0

0

+6

3

2

JOMEC

2

1

0

1

+5

3

3

Economics B

1

1

0

0

+1

3

4

Navy Netball

2

1

0

1

0

3

5

Politics

2

1

0

1

0

3

6

Christian Union

2

1

0

1

-2

3

7

History

2

0

0

2

-10

0

8

Cardiff Jets B

0

0

0

0

-0

0

UPCOMING FIXTURES

gairrhydd | SPORT@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

MOMED 2 - 1 Law A As IMG football’s phase two kicked off, two of the favourites to take the Premiership crown went head to head at Trelai. On Wednesday afternoon, current champions MOMED fielded a strong side against a Law A side full of confidence. Both sides came into the game having been undefeated all season, providing even more incentive and added intensity to the match. The first half started in a lively fashion, MOMED asserting dominance and pushing forward early, but failing to break down the solid Law defence. Failing to make the most of their chances, they were punished when Law went ahead after making the most of some sloppy MOMED defending. A throw in from the left was picked up by tall centre forward Oli Riley who smashed a wayward shot towards goal. Passing through a number of players in the box the ball was then niftily back-heeled into the MOMED net by one of Riley’s teammates.

MOMED refused to let their heads drop, however, and pushed on yet again when play resumed. They tested the Law keeper on a number of occasions, Mark Hatnean’s shot denied by a great acrobatic save. The equaliser appeared to be on its way, but MOMED suffered yet another scare late in the first half when an in-swinging free kick was aimed at their far post. Josh Mosley connected well with a header but was denied by a truly remarkable reflex save by MOMED keeper Adam Horne. A scuffle ensued as a MOMED attack saw right back Mike O’Brien go in for 50-50 challenge on the Law keeper. They briefly came to blows, as did the rest of the players in the pitch before the referee resolved matters and resumed play. Law A were perhaps lucky to be leading by half time, after only having two chances in the first half, but MOMED continued to chip away at the ever resilient Law defence. They finally found their breakthrough ten minutes into the second half through striker Hatnean. A rare mistake by the Law keeper saw him fumble the ball briefly, allowing Hatnean another chance to find the net, which he did, levelling the scores.

Further brawl’s occurred as a late tackle from MOMED striker Olly Jones on a Law player, raised some temperatures past boiling point, and saw played stopped once again while the argument was sorted out. Later on again an elbow from a Law player into the back of Hatnean’s head saw yet another brief confrontation between the two sides. Intensity and tension could not have been higher as both sides looked for that elusive win. MOMED striker Jones came close with a long range shot that flew just wide, whilst winger Jon Dovey was almost successful with a free kick attempt. MOMED finally showed exactly why they are champions five minutes from time when a perfect corner from Dovey was met by Olly Jones who nodded the ball into the back of the net. MOMED’s celebrations were almost cut short as Law striker Riley broke through on goal, only denied by an outstanding last minute tackle by substitute defender Alex Bywater. MOMED held on until the final whistle to cap what was an outstanding come back to give them the advantage in what is likely to be a very tight Premiership this season.

PREMIERSHIP ENGIN LOCO CARBS A CARDIFF A Psycho A

Dentistry

Socsi A

Bioscience

V V V V

Earthsoc GymGym English B

JOMEC

Economic B

Navy Netball

W

D

L

Diff

Pts

Samba Tigers

1

1

0

0

+7

3

2

Carbs

1

1

0

0

+1

3

3

EarthSoc

1

1

0

0

+1

3

4

MOMED

1

1

0

0

+1

3

5

GymGym

1

0

0

1

-1

0

P

6

Klaw FC

1

0

0

1

-1

0

7

Law A

1

0

0

1

-1

0

8

AFC Cathays

1

0

0

1

-7

0

IMG FOOTBALL

DIVISION 1 P

W

D

L

Diff

Pts

1

Psycho Ath.

1

1

0

0

+13

3

2

AFC History

1

1

0

0

+4

3

3

Economics

1

1

0

0

+1

3

4

Engin Auto

1

0

1

0

0

1

5

Engin FC

1

0

1

0

0

1

6

Socsi

1

0

0

1

-1

0

7

Inter-me-nan

1

0

0

1

-4

0

0

0

1

--13

0

8

Sporting Lesbian

IMG FOOTBALL

1

DIVISION 2 P

W

D

L

Diff

Pts

1

Chemistry

1

1

0

0

+3

3

2

J-Unit

1

1

0

0

+3

3

3

Law B

1

1

0

0

+1

3

4

EUROS FC

1

0

1

0

0

1

5

Real Ale Madrid

1

0

1

0

0

1

6

Sub-Standard

1

0

0

1

-1

0

7

Magnificent XI

1

0

0

1

-3

0

8

Pharm AC

1

0

0

1

-3

0

IMG FOOTBALL

DIVISION 3 P

W

D

L

Diff

Pts

1

Myg Myg

1

1

0

0

+6

3

2

Philosophy

1

1

0

0

+3

3

3

OpSoccer

1

1

0

0

+2

3

4

JOMEC

1

1

0

0

+1

3

5

Kay FC

1

0

0

1

-1

0

6

SAWSA

1

0

0

1

-2

0

7

AFC Time team

1

0

0

1

-3

0

8

Crusaders

1

0

0

1

-6

0

UPCOMING FIXTURES

Samba Tiger

Economics

CARBS

Carbs B

MOMED

Pharmacy A

Gym Gym

V V V V

Law A

V V V V

SOCSI

V V V V

Liege

V V V V

Crusaders

Earthsoc Klaw FC FC Cathays

DIVISION 1

V V V V

English A

Pyscho Ath.

SAWSA

Economics

Cardiff B

Sporting

Law B

V V V V

SOCSI B Psycho B

V V V V

MOMED: It took 85 minutes, but they finally broke the law

AFC History

Pharmacy get a taste of their own medicine

DIVISION 2

James Hinks Sports Editor

Medics A

J-Unit 3 - 0 Pharmacy

Medics B

J-Unit started the second phase of the IMG league in the perfect way with a 3-0 win over Pharmacy. The first half was close, with both teams struggling to break through resilient defences. Matt Humphreys and Richard North played sensationally down the wings trying to find a way through Pharmacy's defence but it was proving too strong. Pharmacy always looked a threat but their best chances game from set pieces. J-Unit eventually broke the dead lock after a quick throw in to James

DIVISION 3

JETS B

PREMIERSHIP

1

LAW A

DIVISION 2 Pharmacy B

IMG FOOTBALL

PREMIERSHIP

DIVISION 1

Jets A

IMG FOOTBALL STANDINGS

Christian. U HISTORY Engin Auto Politics

Hinks down the wing sent him clean through, a cheeky lob goal by the midfielder meant J-Unit went into half time one nil up. The second half was dominated by controversy. Pharmacy came out firedup and determined to get the equalising goal early. However, the first 10 minutes was dogged with fouls, arguments and confusion about refereeing decisions. The skill of the game rapidly plunged into a scrappy dog fight. After a period of intense football where both sides looked likely to score, J-Unit's lone striker Mark Spalton scored a scrappy goal from a corner, which all but ended Pharmacy's chances. Pharmacy kept pressing for a goal but man of the match Liam Whitelegg

and fellow centre-half James Chisholm barely let a shot through on newboy keeper Dean Lloyd, who had a storming debut. The third goal was a debatable penalty awarded for a hand ball in the box. Despite some banter to put him off J-Units top goal scorer Ian Maguire calmly stepped up and slotted home J-Unit's third goal, which sealed off their first win of phase two. After the hard fought match JUnit captain said that: “Every player excelled themselves and the team really came together, worked hard and played good football”. He also added that J-Unit needs to keep playing in the same vein if they want to keep winning.

Magnificent Pharm AC Real Ale Euros

InterMeNan Engin Auto Engin FC

Law B Chemistry J-Unit

DIVISION 3 KAY FC JOMEC Philosophy SAWSA

Time Team Opsoccer Myg Myg


BUCS - SPORT 35

gairrhydd | SPORT@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2010

Rupert Taylor Sports Writer Cardiff Firsts Championship Winners and Cardiff Seconds Trophy Winners Cardiff University Snooker Club’s first and second teams were both crowned team champions in the Championship and Trophy tiers at the Midlands Universities Snooker Championships last weekend in Coventry. Cardiff Seconds player Dan Peacey also took home Trophy individual gold with an outstanding run in the singles event. The team Championship was contested between eight universities split into two groups of four with the top two seeds, Warwick Firsts and Cardiff Firsts, in different groups. Cardiff Firsts proved dominant in their group beating Imperial Firsts 8-2, York Firsts 6-4 and Oxford Firsts 9-1 to see them top the group with 23 of a possible 30 points. Cardiff then faced group B runnersup LSE in the semi-final, and their dominance continued, quickly taking a 4-0 lead thanks to wins from Layton Brooks and Huw Carpenter (who took home the highest break prize for an excellent 64 compiled in this match). Fresher Rhys Carpenter then put Cardiff just a frame from the final before LSE pinched one to keep their hopes alive at 5-1. Their hopes were to be

short lived however, as Cardiff took the next frame to record an impressive 6-1 victory. At this stage Cardiff were preparing for a repeat of last year’s final with Warwick where they were agonisingly beaten in a final frame decider, but it was group A runners-up York Firsts that would face Cardiff in the final after beating Warwick 6-1 in the second semi-final. The final started well for Cardiff as they took a 2-0 lead thanks to match wins from captain David Blake and Huw Carpenter. However, with four matches being played simultaneously this score line didn’t last long. York’s captain comfortably won his match 2-0 followed by a close 2-1 win to York that levelled up the overall score at 2-2 with the final match already at 1-0 to York. The rest of the Cardiff team could only watch as their last man, Rhys Carpenter, dug deep and pulled out an emphatic comeback to take the second and third frames to win his match 2-1 and give Cardiff Firsts a 3-2 victory. Cardiff Seconds were to have an equally impressive weekend; they too were seeded second after finishing runners-up to Warwick Seconds last year, and so separated from them in the group stage. Cardiff won each of their three group matches (against Warwick Thirds, York Thirds and Nottingham Seconds) 8-2 to better Cardiff Firsts group stage performance with an impressive 24 out of 30 possible points. Cardiff were then surprised to face

PHOTO: RUPERT TAYLOR

Cardiff snooker on cue for double victory

SNOOKER LOOPY: Cue the celebrations Warwick Seconds (who have won the Trophy team event every year for the last six years) as group B runners-up in the semi final. Nevertheless, Cardiff remained unfazed and dispatched the champions with a 6-3 victory. In the other semi final York Seconds beat Nottingham Seconds to set up a second Cardiff versus York team final. The Trophy final proved to be just

as tense as the Championship final with each individual match going the distance. Cardiff Seconds captain Jon Hillard took the first match to lead 1-0 but York quickly responded to level at 1-1. Cardiff then took a 2-1 lead through a notable performance from Noah Reynolds. With the final two matches each level at 1-1 Cardiff needed just one frame from either

match to seal victory, and just like buses – two came along at once, as both Cardiff players potted match ball within seconds of each other to give Cardiff double team gold. Both Cardiff teams will now be looking to follow up these performances with victories in the team events at the BUCS Championships in Leeds next month.

Cardiff ladies power through Cardiff Ladies 20 - 5 Glamorgan Ladies Last week's home game against Glamorgan University resulted in another victory for the unbeaten Ladies rugby team, lead by ViceCaptain Emily Baird. Cardiff started well making quick progress into the opposition 22 and successfully stealing Glamorgan’s ball in early line-outs. There was quick passing between backs Tina Lee and Sally Tuson with some neat kicking and chasing from Leila Hughes. However Glamorgan’s tight defending resulted in a stalemate for a while despite all the play being in the Cardiff half. Glamorgan also proved quite rough with some debatably high tackles, which the referee did not penalise. One such high tackle saw loose-head prop Debbie Harper receive a blow to the head resulting in the substitution of Fran Manzai. Brilliant clearing out work by flanker Jen Hawkins and number eight Rosie Hutton saw Cardiff retain the ball despite the level of pressure from Glamorgan. A neat penalty move saw Sally Tuson across the line for Cardiff’s opening try, breaking the

deadlock in the process. Glamorgan responded quickly and despite excellent defence from Cardiff levelled the score 5-5. However, another beautifully played penalty move from Cardiff, involving Tina Lee catching the ball one-handed, saw Sally Tuson score her second try and, despite no conversion, took the score to 10-5 at half time. Kick-off in the second half saw Cardiff receive the ball and again worked towards their line with all the forwards powering through Glamorgan’s defence. A great break by PHOTO: ABIGAIL JOHNSON

Abigail Johnson Sports Writer

SCRUM: Down

Rosie Hutton resulted in scrum-half Meg Tudor forcing her way through a sea of Glamorgan bodies to score the try and make it 15-5. Glamorgan then gained possession of the ball and worked their way back up the pitch. Superb tackling by Cardiff, in particular from flanker Natasha Dickenson, and fraying Glamorgan tempers saw Cardiff steal the ball. A one-man drive from tight head prop Mary Poynter and a run and great hand-off from fullback Hazel Watchorn gained Cardiff ground, resulting in the last try of the match from Leila Hughes, with the final score a convincing 20-5.

ROWING: Sticking their oar in where it is wanted

Head of the Nene Helen Roberts Sports Writer On Saturday February 6, Cardiff University’s rowing crews made the four hour trek to Peterborough to compete in the annual ‘Head of the Nene’ event, comprising of entrants from clubs, school and universities. The 5km stretch, surrounded by desolate land provided very little distraction for the competitors from the task in hand, and the grim weather offered little in the way of inspiration. The most outstanding achievement of the day was had by the women’s coxed four consisting of Jess LloydJones, Margot Black, Helen Roberts, Jess Wood, coxed by Mathew Hetherington - who were on top form, com-

ing first place, despite having had only one practice as a crew in preparation. All of the crews gave excellent performances against some tough competition, with the two senior men’s crews finishing sixth and seventh in their respective divisions. The novice men came sixth in their race - impressive given this was their first ever competition. The women’s senior eight came fourth in their division. So along with pots to prove it - CURC and their achievements of the weekend made their long journey home with the knowledge that in just under a fortnight’s time they will have to do it all again when they return to Peterborough for the BUCS head race. They look to improve on their performances to take on the best that British universities have to offer – bring it on!


Sport gairrhydd

INSIDE: The IMG Round-Up, The Word On... John Terry's Captaincy and an Interview with the Welsh Rugby Team

PHOTO: Aimee Hassan

Cheer champs

Emma Jones Editor Cardiff Snakecharmers Southern Regional National Champtions The Cardiff Snakecharmers Cheerleaders Elite Squad emerged triumphant from their first competition of the year last Saturday at the Guildford Spectrum in Surrey. The girls beat squads Chew Valley

and Explosion Elite to take the title of Southern Regional Senior All Girl Level 4 Champions. The squad have been training for competition since the beginning of the academic year, and it was great to see that all their hard work had finally paid off. Their overall score for the routine, judged by a panel of experts, was 189 out of 216. The second-placed team were close behind with a total score of 185.

Squad captain, Aimee Hassan, said: “We have had to overcome injuries such as pulled muscles, sprained ankles and wrists, a broken wrist and a lot of knocks to the head!” “The girls have worked extremely hard to achieve this first place at Regionals, especially as it was the first competition for many of them”, she continued. “We have had to overcome a few minor injuries and cope with a large period of time without training over

Christmas and exams, but the girls have really pulled together as a squad over the past four weeks and shown their true potential.” Aimee added: “I couldn’t be prouder of the achievements made so far by all of the girls and I just hope we can continue this hard work and produce the same result at Nationals next month.” The weekend’s antics didn’t stop at competition; on Sunday, the girls headed to Walkabout for their annual

Superbowl performance. Both Elite and Intermediate teams wowed the crowds with their stunts, jumps, dances and tumbles. Now they need to continue training hard for their next competition, the British Open at Nottingham Arena on March 20-21, where they hope to reclaim the title of National Champions, last won by the Snakecharmers in 2008.

GAIR RHYDD AND QUENCH MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED BY UNIVERSITY UNION CARDIFF, PARK PLACE, CARDIFF CF10 3QN ! REGISTERED AS A NEWSPAPER AT THE POST OFFICE ! GAIR RHYDD RESERVES THE RIGHT TO EDIT ALL CONTRIBUTIONS !THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ARE NOT NECESSARILY THOSE OF THE PUBLISHERS !GAIR RHYDD IS WRITTEN, DESIGNED, TYPESET AND OUTPUT BY STUDENTS OF CARDIFF UNIVERSITY! !IT'S LIKE FROST/NIXON!JONES: I'VE ALREADY DONE A TAMPON COMPETITION! HE WANTS ATTENTION WITHOUT THE REDUCED RISK OF CANCER !"YOU'RE LIKE A CHILD, BUT LESS FUN"!I QUENCH, THEREFORE I AM !TELLING SWINDONERS ABOUT EXCITEMENT IS LIKE TELLING RELIGIOUS PEOPLE ABOUT NIETZCHE !LLOYD: YOU MUST HAVE MASSIVE BALLS EMMA ! INTERVIEWING ATTENBOROUGH BETTER THAN SEX

gair rhydd - Issue 915  

gair rhydd - Issue 915

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