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gair rhydd Monday February 20 2012 | freeword – Est. 1972 | Issue 970

The Ball’s in your court Union asks for students’ ideas for new £27,000 end of year event

Matt Jones News Editor

made from drink sales on the night, giving an estimated £27,000 total budget. Although the event has been labelled as ‘less extravagant’, students were appreciative of the Union’s practical approach. George Jackson tweeted: “sensible budgeting from the SU team. Realistic approach to end of year ball.” The end of year event will be held at Cardiff Students’ Union and will see a three tier ticketing system which will give students access to a range of services dependent on the priority of their ticket.

Cardiff University is currently planning the purchase of a reported £675,000 house for new vice-chancellor Colin Riordan. The property, whose exact location has not yet been revealed by the University, is said to be within walking distance of the Cathays campus, and will be owned by Cardiff University. It is planned that the residence will be used for hosting meetings with important visitors. However, the purchase of a house of this expense is likely to cause some opposition, especially in the context of widespread cuts in higher education. When gair rhydd asked how the university justified spending such a large sum of money, a university spokesperson said: “At a time of intense competition among UK universities to develop their education and research, Cardiff needs strong relationships with national and international partners in the academic, business, professional and policy-making sectors. “In building these relationships, the University requires a variety of venues for formal and informal events with existing and potential partners.

Continued on page 4

Continued on page 7

Sheri Hall News Editor Plans to hold the end of year event at Cardiff Students’ Union were finally revealed at last week’s AGM, with a mostly positive reception although some students have their doubts. The Union have decided to cut their losses and invest a ring-fenced budget of £27,000 into this year’s event, encouraging students to have maximum input. Last year the Summer Ball made a loss of £30,000, an improvement upon the previous year’s £60,000 loss, but the Union have decided they can no longer afford to waste money which could be spent else-

Uni buying £675k house for new VC

where. Finance and Commercial officer, Nick Matthews said: “Discussions were had amongst the Board of Trustees and we decided that times are tough and the organisation cannot afford to lose that kind of money again. The amounts lost in previous years, at times, have been equivalent to the whole of the society’s budget - which is too much money to lose.” Nick Matthews took to the stage at the AGM and disclosed the controversial changes, which were at first met with negativity, but eventually saw an optimistic response

from students once questions were answered. Before Christmas, the Union sold a total of 1,100 deposits at a one-day ticket sale for the end of year event to gauge a minimum level of interest, which would give a budget of £21,000. Elected Officers decided it was not feasible to try and double their sales to break even at last year’s budget of £45.000, so have opted to change the event entirely. Plans are in place to increase the budget further by holding more ticket sales, ring-fencing profit from an end of exam Lash and money



Monday February 20 2012• #gairrhydd •

Uni watch.

EDITOR Oliver Smith CO-ORDINATOR Elaine Morgan ONLINE EDITOR Chris Williams NEWS Sheri Hall Henry McMorrow Matt Jones Laura Evans OPINION Izzy Voss Libby van den Bosch COLUMNIST Lydia Davies POLITICS Luke Slade Sophie Gidley FEATURES Ellen Atkinson Ali Ishaq Jenny Kendall SCIENCE Jenny Lambourne Natalie Healey

Swansea students look flushed Attenborough across the pond Paul Wilkinson News Reporter News that Swansea University has introduced instructions on how to use their toilets went viral last week. Posters were introduced for students, coming from Asia, who are not accustomed to how western toilets should be used. In parts of Asia, people crouch down over the toilet rather than using a seat. This has apparently led to some confusion.

The posters have been the subject of widespread mockery from Swansea students and from people across the country. Opinion from Swansea has, however, been mixed, with some students seeing the instructions as a good idea. The incident has led people from outside the University to playfully doubt the intelligence of Swansea students. Although seemingly a bizarre move, it is reported that, the posters have improved hygiene in Swansea’s toilets.

SOCIETIES Isabelle Roberts LISTINGS Gareth Johnston TAF-OD Caio Iwan Osian Gruffydd SPORT Jamie Evans Zac Cole Jonathan Frank CONTRIBUTORS Olivia Moss Harry Hunt Paul Wilkinson Laura Gwilliams Alice Budden Liam McNeilly Max Eshraghi Thom Hollick Helen Cox Trisha Chowdhury Sophie Pellatt Catherine Lenain Kat Bowles Angharah Tye-Reeve Alexey Underwood Matt Bradley Katie Brown Catherine Allen Mared Gwenllian Griffiths Lowri Elen Sam Kimish George Dugdale Nick Evans Sam Tegeltija Jacob Emery Chris Campbell



The twittersphere reacts to Cardiff Union's Annual General Meeting. @DemocracyCSU

Laura Gwilliams News Reporter Last weekend, to mark 60 years presenting natural history programmes, the legend that is Sir David Attenborough, was just across the water at Bristol University, filming an upcoming series. Attenborough spent most of his time in the School of Biological Sciences labs, providing a demonstration of the Miller-Urey experiment; one which seeks to recreate the atmospheric conditions that

could have been present in the origin of life. This visit coincides with ongoing plans to develop the Bristol School of Biological Sciences. A modest £50 million has been put aside for this project, highlighting the University's belief that biology will be the propelling force of scientific discovery. And who better to christen such a development than a man with six decades of a unique insight into the world's history.



Gair Rhydd is one of a kind, try 'Less extravagant' still means and find a weekly paper like it £27k spent on event. in any other Union. Still pretty extravagant A true jewel in Cardiffs crown.



Sensibile budgeting from the Cardiff's 600+ AGM done in 1 SU team. Realistic approach to 1/2 hours. Smooth. end of year ball Great chairing from Sarah Smith!


For the answer and more puzzles, head over to page 34.



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Opinion explore the campus class divide

Science find out why a team of Russian scientists are drilling into Antarctic Lake Vostok




Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd •

End of year event continued...

Continued from page 1 Students who purchased tickets at the one-day ticket sale in December will automatically be upgraded to the Luminary tier at no extra charge, with students who have not yet bought tickets paying up to £8 entrance to the event. Nick Matthews said: “The aim of the event is to reward those who did buy a ticket early. For the value of £5 what you get is very good and if people look at what we are offering we hope they will come.” Students who bought tickets early seemed happy about the privileg-

es as Jack tweeted: “And looks like one day sale ticket chaps (like me) might get Cool Stuff #winning.” When the change of event was announced a whisper of discontent echoed throughout the crowd, but the stir was soon settled when students heard how the Union would spend five times the Drink The Bar Dry budget on a range of activities. Expected services at the end of year event include a Radio 1 DJ, themed rooms, a barbeque garden area, circus acts and access to the new Lounge area. Societies Officer, Harry Newman,

said: “It comes as a disappointment that a more large scale event is not financially viable, however I have every faith and I am particularly excited about how The Lounge space will be utilised.” The Union are encouraging students to get involved in deciding how the money is spent. Nick Matthews said: “We want student feedback. The purpose of announcing plans for the event is to let students know where we’re at and why we’re at this point. We want people to email us and shape our plans.” Cardiff Student Union Presi-

dent, Marcus Coates-Walker, said: “Although we have some great ideas so far, we intend to have a meeting for students to discuss what they really want from this event.” Nick Matthews said the event would be ‘wicked’ as the budget is far higher than any other event that has been held at the Union and the money will not be wasted on trivial costs such as ‘portaloos, fencing and security’. Views were mixed as students present at the AGM raised questions about the line-up and similarity with other Union events. Sunil Chandiramani tweeted: “Upper scale Drink the Bar Dry by the sounds of it?!” while Lowri Williams tweeted: “wicked isn't exactly

the word id use ;P but they're winning me over.” Nick Matthews defended the plans: “It is a risk but not as big a risk as losing such a large amount of money - let’s not make it a glorified Drink the Bar Dry by providing a substantial investment. “How we spend this money is up to students. Do we spend the money on artists like Feeder who cost £60k or on other facilities that could give students a great night?” Students also expressed concern about the clash with Beach Break Live, which takes place on the same weekend. The Elected Officers were confident about the end of year event saying: “We are going to compete with it; we don’t care.”

Proposed ticketing tiers Tier 3

Tier 2

Tier 1 Tickets from £5 on the door

Tickets from £8 in advance

Event T-shirt or other clothing item

In addition to the standard package, guests will be entitled to the following...

Access to the full 2nd floor of Solus, the Kitchen, buffers and the Taf. Drink the bar dry pricing. All areas will be broken down into pocket themes, creating different areas to explore; with 4 times the budget spent on this decoration previously. Radio 1 DJ in solus and live bands in the kitchen. Photo booths, giant games, oxygen bars and wandering artists e.g magicians, caricature acts etc.

Event T-shirt or other novelty event item

Tickets are only available to those who purchased a £5 deposit ticket. No further top up will be required. In addition to the standard package, guests will be entitled to the following...

Club Wristband

Sole access to the 3rd floor areas all day, and the Garden area before 7pm.

Free breakfast buffet in the morning.

Free breakfast late morning with table service.

Unlimited free entry to Solus/Taf until 9pm.

Free drinks at breakfast.

Access to the Garden Area after 7pm where live bands will be performing

Free glass of bubbly in 3rd Floor Luminary VIP Lounge after breakfast. VIP access to Casino room, Shisha bar, head massages, and much more.

AGM completed in record time with all motions passed Sheri Hall News Editor Hundreds of students gathered at the Annual General Meeting last week which proved to be more lively than previous years with a mixture of light-hearted banter, contentious debate and comedy moments. Chaired by Sarah Smith, the AGM, which is infamous for its tedious length and mundane subject matter, finished in record time of 90 minutes and made slick transitions from speeches to power point to video. President, Marcus Coates-Walker, said: “Obviously there are elements you have to get through for legal reasons, but the stuff we had on the agenda was interesting and the audience was engaged so it worked.” There was a roar of disappointment as students were informed that the register would be taken at the end of the meeting putting them under pressure to maintain quora-

cy, which was never under question with an attendance of 620. The President structured the meeting around Cardiff Student Union’s direction, outlined as “Aspiring to have a positive impact on all students lives and help them to enjoy their time at Cardiff.” In an allusion to Cardiff Student Elections, Welfare and Communications officer, Chris Davies, reminded students to “Get involved, lead your union and love Cardiff ” before the meeting moved on to the motions. Academic and University Affairs officer, Sam Reid, proposed the student charter, which has been made compulsory by Higher Education and Funding Council for Wales to clearly lay out the mutual roles and responsibilities of the university, student unions and their students. Sam Reid said: “The Student Charter is a useful resource for students inasmuch as it clarifies what they should expect from their experience at Cardiff.”

The motion was swiftly passed moving the meeting onto the more contentious introduction of Student Trustees for the Student’s Union. At present the Board of Trustees is made up of Elected Officers and external professionals who are responsible for legal compliance, financial accountability and the strategic direction of the organisation. Proposed by the President, the motion will see current students added to the Board to increase Student Union transparency and improve student representation. Questions were raised about the capability of full-time students to take on these roles and the controversial proposal to appoint student trustees rather than elect them. The President said: “We are taking legal advice and we would give the trustees training. They would be obligated to attend a monthly meeting and keep on top of student issues - if they don’t have time they will not apply for it. “Electing student trustees is pos-

sible but this is the way the charity commission have said we should do it following best practice. The Student Council will decide to make sure the right people go on to become trustees.” The motion was passed with a clear majority and looks set to come into force in the next academic year. The final proposal was of changes to the structure and roles of Elected Officers which would refine their job descriptions and, in some cases, drastically alter their positions. Key changes include a change in title for the Health Care Integration Officer to Heath Park Campus Officer to better represent the role, the AU President to represent IMG sports, and the creation of a new role under Union Development and Internal Affairs Officer. The new position will take on the roles of the Finance and Commercial Officer and be responsible for the development of the Union in

line with the new strategic plan. Students passed the motion with a clear majority and the proceedings turned towards the long-awaited plans for the end of year event, revealed by Finance and Commercial Officer, Nick Matthews. The President said: “Full marks to Nick for dealing with such a difficult issue. Things could have been covered up but he gave students all the information they needed.” AGM history was made when a student stood up and asked the Chair to be his date to the end of year event. Sarah Smith blushed when George Davis made the romantic gesture but she shot him down in flames saying that she already had a date. Despite the controversial issues and broken hearts that are associated with such meetings, Sam Reid said: “This year’s AGM was engaging and allowed students to have in depth debates on issues they care about.”

News 1-7

Opinion Politics Feature Science Societies Listings 28 - 29 22 - 24 26 - 27 9 - 12 15 - 17 18 - 20

Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd •

Sport 37 - 40


Welsh Varsity goes off with a bang Laura Evans News Editor Last week, Cardiff Students’ Union welcomed Welsh rugby players Rhys Williams and Mike Hall, and England women’s rugby player, Catherine Spencer, for the Ambassadors Launch for the Welsh Varsity 2012. All three are set to take on roles as ambassadors for the sporting event between Cardiff and Swansea University, which was established years ago. Excitement surrounds the preparation for the event, which will be held on Wednesday 2 May at the Millennium Stadium. In issue 955, gair rhydd reported that the stadium has been declared as Varsity’s home venue for the next two years, after almost 15,000 students turned up to support their university last year. In an interview with CUTV’s Beckie Saunders and Rhys Williams, former Welsh rugby union player and previous captain for Cardiff Blues commented: "I was there last year and it was a great at-

mosphere. It was electric." Mike Hall, also a former Welsh captain, who made his first international debut for Wales in his final year of University, said: ‘‘I never played at the Millennium Stadium and I envy those boys. It’s a magnificent venue. They need to cherish those memories; they may never get it again. It’s all about team spirit and working together." When asked for advice they would give to the players, Williams stated: ‘‘keep focused. Know what you’re doing as a team. Don’t let the atmosphere overrule.” Catherine Spencer, ex-Cardiff student and captain of England in the 2010 World Cup final, was at the very first Welsh Varsity in 1997. She said: “the rivalry between Cardiff and Swansea was as much then as it is now” and advises the players to “go out and thrive on it.” When asked about her role as ambassador, Catherine expressed: “I’m pleased to be asked. University was a big part of my life and even after 10 years since leaving Cardiff, it’s good to still be a part of it.” Also to be interviewed was Car-

Kate Bennet recounts her experience using taxis as a wheelchair user A lot of things became difficult when I had to start using a wheelchair, but I never expected to receive the prejudice I did recently, when my partner tried to order a taxi for us. It took 50 minutes for the company Dragon to send a taxi because none of the drivers of the five disabled accessible taxis they have were willing to pick up a person in a wheelchair. The company didn't even bother to ring us back to say they weren't sending a taxi, they just left us waiting in Splott, and only told us the truth after we rang them another two times. We were thankful for the driver who finally relented and came to pick us up but it seems ridiculous that anyone would drive a wheelchair accessible taxi when they're not willing to pick up customers who use wheelchairs. I was with other people, so it was embarrassing for me to be the reason we were stuck waiting in the cold and an hour late for our meeting. It happens a lot that there are mysterious reasons why taxi drivers never want to take you but this was the first time anyone had been honest with us about it. I wanted to take the opportunity to expose this attitude and prejudice. Drivers are also supposed to secure your wheelchair to the taxi but often drivers don't bother, putting my safety at risk; thankfully the driver who came from Dragon did. Currently there is no legislation to make sure this doesn't happen to disabled people, which I was shocked to find out. Getting buses and trains are a nightmare but I thought I could always rely on taxis, now that's not even a safe option. It makes getting around the city without your own car impossible when you can't rely on any form of transport to get you from A to B. It's frustrating and upsetting that I could still face this kind of prejudice because I have to use a wheelchair when disabled people are supposed to be seen as equal.

diff University’s Head of Rugby, Martin Fowler, along with Jake Cooper-Woolley of the Cardiff rugby team who will captain the Varsity match. Martin told CUTV: “We have our 25-man squad ready now. It’s about keeping things low-key, managing expectations and managing nerves. Jake our captain is driven. It’s about honing what we’re good at and improving on what we’re not.” Jake also expressed how he was feeling about the anticipation leading up to the big event. He said: “We’re feeling pretty positive at the moment; all is looking good. We’re in the quarter final of the BUCS championship and looking forward to making more progress and having a win. We’re in a much better place this year than we were last. We’ve jumped up a league. I feel very privileged to have been chosen to be captain. It’s going to be electric playing in front of such a lively crowd of over 15,000 students.” Tickets for the match are on sale from Cardiff Union Box Office. See interviews with the ambassadors online at

Ollie Devon, AU President, cradled by Varsity ambassadors

Representatives discuss plans for this year's Varsity over refreshments in the Lounge

Last week, gair rhydd was contacted by a wheelchair-using student who experienced prejudice whilst attempting to take a taxi. Matt Jones News Editor The student’s partner explained to us how, after waiting for thirty minutes for a taxi, he was told by the operator that despite speaking to five taxi drivers, he hadn’t found anyone willing to pick them up. Shortly afterwards, a driver did come to collect them. Kate tells her full story on the left. After doing some research, it was discovered that private-hire drivers are permitted by law to refuse to take fares. However, there are clearly moral objections to the concept of refusing a fare based on the client being in a wheelchair. We contacted the taxi company involved, Dragon Taxis, to ask them to account for what had happened. Their response is printed on the right. It was also felt that this was a matter that resonated further than one specific incident, in terms of a more general prejudice towards the disabled. This is ratified in Kate’s column when she describes how she has often had problems with safety when in taxis, and difficulties when using public transport. Vaughan Gething, Welsh Assembly Member for the area in which the taxi was ordered, expressed a desire to take the matter up with the council. Chris Davies, Welfare Officer at the Union, described the event as "completely unacceptable." gair rhydd will continue to follow this issue closely.

Dragon Taxis' response: The incident to which your email referred happened on the afternoon of the February 7 2012, where a student made a booking asking for a vehicle with wheelchair access[...] At the time of the booking being taken there were wheelchair vehicles close by to that particular area, but unfortunately they were already booked and on the move[…] The very nature of a booking requiring a specialist vehicle, makes it a little more difficult to cover, simply because [...] there are far more vehicles capable of doing a straight forward [...] booking. Unfortunately, it can become common place for a customer who has made a booking requiring a vehicle with wheelchair access to experience a longer wait, [and] this particular booking was taken at 16.40, [which puts it] in the middle of rush hour traffic. The operator who dealt with this particular booking [had] over 25 years experience within the taxi trade. The customer is incorrect as to the information given by this member of staff, the booking had indeed become difficult to cover, as all of our wheelchair access vehicles were on the wrong side of the city centre, it was not as your email suggests driver's refusing to cover this booking. If this was the case we would never take any wheelchair bookings, as we would never be able to cover them, and that is simply not the case. And as your email points out, the driver who covered this booking came all the way from Llandaff to do so. There is no prejudice to be found here with this particular booking or with any other booking where the customer requires a disabled access vehicle. […] Dragon Taxis has never refused to pick up a wheelchair user, it is simply down to availability.


Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd • Email the newsdesk:

What Willott be Jenny?

Henry McMorrow interviews the MP for Cardiff Central in light of her recent promotion


ardiff Central’s Liberal Democrat MP, Jenny Willott has been promoted to assistant chief party whip, a role she previously held when the Liberal democrats were in opposition. Jenny’s political career, to date, still elementary in its progress, has been varied. Having previously worked for a number of charities after receiving her Masters in Developmental Studies from the London School of Economics, she has performed in a number of positions as the Liberal Democrats have moved from a party of the opposition to a party with considerable governmental power as the lesser half of the current Coalition. Initially, chief researcher to the infamous Lembit Opik before moving onto a number of differing roles both within the Welsh Asssembly and parliament. In 2005, she was elected as MP for Cardiff Central and between 2006 and 2008 she performed as whip and deputy chief whip before being elevated to the position of shadow Minister for Justice in 2008. Later, she progressed to become Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. After the 2010 general election, which led to the accession of the Liberal Democrats into government through a coalition agreement, Jenny was Chris Huhne’s chief aide until her opposition to the tuition fees hike forced her to step down. Jenny has seen her role within the Liberal Democrats alter once again, as she has been promoted to Assistant Chief Party Whip, as Chris Huhne contests the court decision that he perverted the course of justice by off loading his driving penalty points to his estranged wife, Vicky Price’s licence. Gair rhydd caught up with Jenny, between an extensive itinerary of meetings and governmental commitments, to see how her new role in Westminster may impact upon her role within Cardiff as local MP and to gauge how she feels the current Coalitional regimen has performed to date. We began our conversation by seeing how she felt in light of her recent career progression. I compared her current role to the one she held when the Liberal Democrats were in opposition but she refuted this claim: “I think it’s a very different job in Government, and particularly in a Coalition Government, from the role I played in the last Parliament in Opposition. We have the chance

to make a real difference, so the stakes are much higher, but often the decisions are much tougher. “I’m really looking forward to the new role. Whips are often seen as the ones who enforce discipline, but it’s actually a lot more about working with MPs, to make sure that they are happy with legislation and that they feel their concerns have been taken into account. There’s also a communication role and a pastoral role, to ensure that everyone knows what is going on across Parliament and that they have the opportunity to flag up problems and issues.” I progressed to tentatively ask whether her new role in Westminster would diminish her ability to fully perform in her role as Cardiff central MP, a notion which she was quick to eschew: “I’ve always been very involved in what is going on in Parliament – it’s a critical part of being an MP. My job is to represent the interests of my constituents whilst in Westminster, and to do this properly I have to know what the issues are and the concerns of people in Cardiff. That means talking to people and making sure I know what’s going on here, so I can accurately reflect the views of Cardiff ’s residents in London and identify recurrent problems that need to be tackled.” Furthering the conversation I wanted to discuss her decision to abort her role as Chris H u h n e ’s aide as the tuition fee hike was announced. I pressed her to tell me if the decision was as a result of the prevalent student demographic make-up of her constituency, she replied: “Well, I had a lot of discussions with people on all sides of the debate, including academics, university administrators, Ministers, parents and of course students. In the end, my decision was based on representing what I thought was in the best interests of my constituents. I don’t want to criticise those who made a different decision because I know that all Lib Dem MPs thought long and hard about how they would vote.”

We broached the subject in greater depth, discussing whether her decision had affected her relationship with other members of the party: “[It] was a very difficult issue for a lot of people in my Party and because of that, MPs who decided to vote different ways have still managed to respect each other. Although, as you know, I couldn’t support the tuition fees proposals, I do appreciate the hard work done by Lib Dem ministers to ensure that graduates will pay significantly less each month under the new system and that large amounts of money will be available through bursaries… they… respected my decision to stand by my pledge at the election." For the penultimate section of the interview, we moved from discussion of Jenny’s role to a broader discussion of the position of the Liberal Democrats within the coalition and the extent to which the first half of the administration has been a success. I was mindful of receiving typical ‘politician answers’ of which Jenny seemed to surpass. Of the coalition she said: “I don’t think anyone really knew exactly what to expect. We were all very aware going into a Coalition that we would need to make some very difficult decisions, particularly given the disastrous financial circumstances the country is in. Despite what they say, Labour knows that if they’d won the election they would be making the same difficult choices about spending cuts as we are having to make, because they were so reckless with the economy over the last 13 years. “Clearly the Lib Dems and the Tories come to each decision from a different political perspective, but personally I think compromise is a good thing and there is evidence that coalitions tend to lead to better decision-making. In a coalition you have to negotiate decisions so that everyone can agree and I think that leads to more balanced and sensible legislation. It means sometimes supporting something you’re not hugely keen on in order for the other party to support

We were all aware going into a coalition that we would need to make some very difficult decisions.

you on something you desperately want. Given that for every one Lib Dem MP there are five Tory MPs, we really can’t expect to win every argument, but I think we have been able to make a huge difference by being in Government. “Obviously the most important thing we have to do, is help the economy recover and create jobs. We’ve already got some really good programmes beginning to take shape, such as the Youth Contract, which will spend £1 billion, ensuring young people are in work or getting training and I hope these will soon start to make a difference. I also think we need to help those households who have been really squeezed by the economic crisis, for example, by raising the income tax threshold, so no-one pays tax on the first £10,000 they earn. This will lift millions out of paying income tax altogether and give others up to £700 more to spend. It particularly helps those on lower incomes and makes life just a little bit easier for those really struggling at the moment.” Finally we discussed what she thinks the future holds for Cardiff and what its most salient issues are: “I’m really keen to make sure we continue to improve student properties. Cardiff Council, which is run by the Lib Dems, has already made strides forward in licensing

and regulating landlords in Cathays, and they are looking at rolling this out to other parts of the city. This appears to be starting to work, by ensuring properties are kept in a better condition, both in terms of health and safety but also in terms of the standard of fittings and the cleanliness of the site. The poor standard of student housing has been a problem for decades so if we can turn this around, that would be great news for both students and long term residents of the city! “I’ve also been working with ministers on trying to ensure we get our fair share of national investment in Cardiff. For example, we will now see the train line from London electrified as far as Cardiff, which will make train journeys quicker and cleaner, and just recently, the Government announced plans to install super-fast broadband across Cardiff, which will help to generate investment and jobs in the city. Overall, we live in a fabulous city, but we need to ensure that there are jobs in the future and that we build a thriving local economy.”

Contact Jenny: with any suggestions or queries.

News 1-7

Opinion Politics Feature Science Societies Listings 28 - 29 22 - 24 26 - 27 9 - 12 15 - 17 18 - 20

Sport 37 - 40


Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd •

Bikes on campus left at owners risk Sheri Hall News Editor

Police are encouraging students to this activity and on these two octo continue using bicycles casions prevented bikes beto get around the city ing stolen.” but recommend A 19-year-old man Cycling students should lock up investment in 'Dtheir bicycles after a series of at- from Gabalfa has locks', which can cautioned tempted thefts around the univer- been Thankfully secube purchased and a 35-yearsity. rity staff are alert at discounted Two men were arrested on sepa- old man from to this activity and prices from the rate occasions, earlier this month, Adamsdown is on these two ocSecurity Centre after security staff were alerted to due to appear at in Park Place. suspicious behaviour on Park Place Cardiff Magiscasions prevented staff trates Court during daylight hours. bikes being stolen. andSecurity police also later this Cardiff Universiencourage students month. ty security staff to have their bicycles Depimmediately 280 staff and stusecurity-marked so uty Head called police dent cycles have their property can be idenof Security when CCTV Services, Tony Lew- tified as stolen, making it less apshowed the been property is, said that bicycle pealing to thieves. men dismarked with more Tony Lewis told gair rhydd: “So theft is their ‘greatcreetly using marking sessions est crime problem’ far this academic year 280 staff and bolt cutters but puts their sucin an attempt student cycles have been property planned. cesses down to invest- marked with more marking sesto steal bikes. ment in CCTV: “Over Student lisions planned.” the past twelve months, aison officer, The next free security-marking through the use of CCTV, PC Tim Davies said: event takes place on Thursday, Febuniversity security staff have ruary 23rd between 11am and 3pm “Obviously it is concerning that there are thieves out there been instrumental in detaining at the Trevithick Building, Richduring the day targeting cycles over thirty persons either commit- mond Road. around the university area but ting or suspected of committing crime throughout the university.” thankfully security staff are alert

"If this expenditure comes at the expense of an investment that directly benefits the student experience then it is wrong and the university should rethink its priorities"

Above: An example of a £675,000 house acvailable in cardiff

Above: Colin Riordan, who will become Cardiff University Vice-Chancellor in September 2012

continued from page 1... "The intended new property, which will be used by the new Vice-Chancellor as a residence, will also host social events with key University partners.” It was also pointed out that the university had previously had a residence which had fulfilled a similar purpose, but this had been sold due to untenable maintenance costs. The new house will be in a more convenient situation, after it was suggested that the last property had not been used as much as it could have been for its purpose of meetings because of its “challenging” location. Despite the fact that the University will retain ownership of the house, it has been conceded that Colin Riordan, who is currently vicechancellor of Essex University and will be joining Cardiff in September, will have some say in the choice

of house. But the University maintains that “key considerations have also been how the property meets the identified needs for a suitable entertaining and meeting space, together with future maintenance costs and value for money”. Gair rhydd enquired about the ways in which students would benefit from this investment of University finances: “The University is in a highly competitive environment for the development of learning and teaching. Development of educational resources can often only be achieved by building relationships with external partners. “The University believes this asset will help secure productive partnerships for the benefit of the entire Cardiff community, including students.” Asked about the Student Union’s position on the matter, Union Presi-

dent Marcus Coates-Walker showed some reticence, saying “We understand that this is best practice across the sector in Russell Group universities to get top quality Vicechancellors. “However if this expenditure comes at the expense of an investment that directly benefits the student experience then it is wrong and the university should rethink its priorities.” Much emphasis seems has been placed by the University on presenting the purchase as a necessary investment to keep up with competing UK universities. In this vein the University spokesperson continued saying “Cardiff University believes this asset will be a justified investment, helping support development and growth over the coing years”

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Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd •

Sport 37 - 40


Should women's place in the boardroom be legally enforced?

Olivia Moss Opinion Writer Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus? Well actually no, we’re all from Earth and professionally, we should all be considered equal. On this basis, there should absolutely be legally enforced quotas to ensure women are equally represented in the board room. Although the Davies Report (proposing female quotas at boardroom level by 2015) mustered a slight increase in the levels of female executives in UK companies, the numbers are still alarmingly low. Enter Cameron. Speaking from Stockholm last week, the Prime Minister showed his support for the proposal of these quotas, although it was admittedly somewhat lacklustre. The support for professional gender equality is high on the agenda in our society today. Ruth Sealy, senior research fellow and deputy director at the International Centre for Women Leaders states that: "what is clear, is that British women don't lack ambition, they don't lack experience and they don't lack skills or qualifications." So how long are we supposed to wait for women to become equals in the boardroom? Sexism is not a new phenomenon and even though many businesses will claim that their employment is not based on gender, it’s clear that subliminally, it often is. In fact, only one in eight of directors in British firms are women. Companies see women as a limited investment, a ticking ‘maternity leave’ time bomb. Put simply, we’re made for making babies and when I’m pushing an 8lb human out of

my vagina, it stands to reason that I might not be able to make that afternoon conference call. So OK, maybe women will take a few extra days off around the birth of their child, but why penalise a group that brings so much to the table? Karren Brady, vice- chairman of West Ham United (and television broadcaster, newspaper columnist, author, novelist and Sir Alan’s latest advisor, to name a few…) is, for one, an excellent example of the modern working woman. Whilst many men fall victim to the sad and tragic truths of ‘man-flu’ through the winter months, Karren was back on her feet and working just four weeks after neurosurgery for a cerebral aneurysm. That determination and commitment will surely match the prowess of any male executive. Even our very own Cameron has acknowledged the evidence of a positive link between women in leadership and business performance, so what are we waiting for? Social psychology suggests that although these companies may have positive intentions, the likelihood of progress being made on their own with regards to increasing employment of women in higher positions, is miniscule. Indeed if the trends continue as they have, it could be decades until gender equality is seen in the board room. It’s been shown that men take far greater risks that women naturally would, and with the country desperately trying to dig itself out of a recession, personally I think a few more women in charge is what we really need, and instigating these quotas are the way to get there.

Harry Hunt Opinion Writer Legally enforced gender quotas have very good intentions behind them, but are fundamentally flawed. They do not empower, but patronise women with the implication that they are being hired because their employers feel compelled to, rather than because they are deserving of the role, that they are being offered a helping hand in the form of a quota, without which they would never be able to advance into the higher echelons of the workplace. Furthermore, the hypothetical law enforcing such quotas would likely contradict existing EU equality legislation, which dictates that a post must be open to all candidates, by then restricting the employer’s right to decide who could and couldn’t be hired. Interviews and assessments are designed to allow employers to identify the strongest candidates, whereas quotas would mean that these employers would be forced to rule out a handful of applicants based solely on their sex. There is also no guarantee that quotas would benefit women at all. For women who are offered a position, surely they will endlessly question whether they are there simply because they lack a Y-chromosome. Regardless of sex, anyone would invariably experience a certain level of doubt and lack of ability. Did they manage to smash through that glass ceiling or were they lifted through it by arbitrary rules? People want to feel valued and know that they are fulfilling their role competently, not that their employment was the result of a new company policy.

The concept has been trialled before in other areas with little success. Labour tried to impose all-women shortlists on many constituencies whose incumbent was retiring. In the 2005 General Election, the Blaenau Gwent seat was won by a former Labour party member who ran as an independent, disgusted at the imposition of such measures. In one election the seat went from being one of Labour’s safest seats to a majority of nearly 10,000 for the candidate, as voters felt denied of their right to a choice based on merit, not gender. Perhaps it would be better to end this preoccupation with ensuring there are equal numbers of men and women, and instead focus on encouraging companies to see beyond gender altogether. Candidates for interview ought to be chosen without their gender being disclosed, and interviewers ought to be at liberty to pick the people who are most able, qualified and deserving on the day. After all, a law which coerces employers into choosing exactly 50% of each gender, also requires them to compromise their integrity with regards to who the best candidates were; it is unlikely that every time an employer interviews for vacancies, the best applicants will be exactly half male and half female. Ultimately, the key to tackling inequality in the workplace lies in addressing misconceptions about women being somehow inferior, or overlooked because employers are reluctant to permit maternity leave or offer flexible working hours for mothers. However, short-cutting these issues by enforcing quotas to quantitatively dictate how many women there must be is not only unnecessary, unfair and contradictory, but also patronising.


10 The campus class divide is still felt by many Alice Budden Opinion Writer

September 2010, I arrived at Exeter University to study English Literature with high expectations. Coming from a reasonably well-performing comprehensive school, I had gained a place over many people all around the country who were rejected, and considered myself very lucky. Unfortunately my time there was characterised by bitter disappointment. When I arrived, my new flatmate immediately asked me where I was from. I replied "Dorset" and, looking puzzled, she said she meant my school. I didn’t really understand this, and explained to her that noone would have heard of my school unless they lived in the area. When my next flatmate arrived I asked where she was from, to which she replied "Cheltenham Ladies College." I discovered I was the only person in my flat of eight from a state school, and moreover the only one in the entire block of flats. Our education system is still blighted by class divisions. Oxford recently admitted they favour applicants from independent schools, considering these types as more suited to their university. Similarly, UCAS admitted that state school pupils are frequently overlooked due to the nature of the application process, which makes it easier for independent schools, who know more about the procedure. Myself and ten others from

my school who applied to Oxbridge were rejected without even the opportunity for interview, although we achieved the same, or in many cases better grades than students from private schools. I can’t help thinking that my state school label was the stumbling block. I had heard rumours that Exeter was snobby, and full of ‘rahs’ - I didn’t even know what a ‘rah’ was and was certainly unprepared for how true this statement turned out to be. Class divisions should have been entirely unnecessary, as everyone had achieved a place at the same university. Like Cardiff, the requirements for many courses at Exeter are AAA, therefore we had all gained a place at Exeter with similar grades (in fact mine were better than those of the Etonians and girls from Cheltenham Ladies’), so what gave people the right to look down on me? I have heard similar tales from friends at Bristol and Durham for example, who say that class divisions are alive and well at their universities. Class divisions were also clear between the students and the locals in Exeter. Although the relationship between the two in Cardiff is fairly ambivalent, in Exeter, the locals see the students as ‘posh twats,’ as I was labelled when walking home one night with a boy wearing an Abercrombie hoody. The essential problem is, that the lifestyle of Exeter is completely different to the one I’m used to, and quite frankly out of touch with reality. It’s unlikely that

Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd •

in the workplace I would encounter such a high concentration of old Etonians in one place, or girls casually sporting £800 Mulberry bags. One boy even told me that he chose the cheapest accommodation at Exeter, because he wanted to familiarise himself with "common,

working class people." I am not prejudiced against people from public schools, but unfortunately none of the boys from Eton have given me a positive impression. They spent most of the time boasting about the amazing facilities and opportunities their privileged school had to offer

in comparison to mine, (although I hasten to add that they were also rejected from Oxbridge). The marked difference in background makes it hard to fit in because everything becomes a competition over money. Most people at Exeter had no student loan; everything was paid for by their parents, and as somebody struggling with money, I inevitably found it difficult to relate to people who have never seen money as an issue. Despite everyone telling me that whichever university I end up at, I’ll have a fantastic time, and meet likeminded people, it is my strong belief that class divisions at certain universities can taint your experience. Luckily, the situation couldn’t be more different at Cardiff. Since transferring to Cardiff this year, the problem of class divisions which were so patent at Exeter have completely passed me by. Nobody asked me what school I was from or what my parents do and this difference was really refreshing. Safe to say the class divisions were sufficient to ruin my experience at Exeter, but I am thrilled that I arrived at Cardiff to find myself back in the real world. If I have met people here from private schools, or state schools for that matter, I wouldn’t know. And that is the key difference. Despite being labelled as ‘posh’ until I went to Exeter, and then being made to feel socially inadequate once I got there, I have finally found a place where I am not defined by my ‘class’ at all.

M.I.A has controversy at her fingertips Liam McNeilly Opinion Writer M.I.A’s middle digit has been the most talked about finger in the world over the past week or so, and her latest video for new single Bad Girls has caused a bit of stir to say the least. Controversy for publicity’s sake some might say, but M.I.A is far more calculated than that. The display of her middle finger at Superbowl XLVI could be seen as provocative and unnecessary, but should we really get worked up about something so trivial? M.I.A’s twitter feed has remained relatively quiet since the event, but a retweeted message seemed to offer comment on the media frenzy sparked by her gesture. "It’s sad to see our media in a state of unfounded gossipy nonsense when there are real problems in the world." It’s real problems that M.I.A attempts to address, through her music, videos and activism. M.I.A is no stranger to controversy. Her debut album triggered the U.S government to limit her access to the country, rejecting a visa application, whilst her support of the Sri Lankan Tamil people

has seen Sri Lankan government figures criticise her and threaten to prosecute Sri Lankans who post her music online. Whether you agree with her or not, her political voice is a strong one. Her music video for Born Free,

released in 2010, makes her latest release look particularly tame. The nine minute video shows, amongst other images, redheaded men taken by a SWAT team, before being shot and blown up in a minefield. It is undoubtedly one of the most con-

troversial and political releases of all time - so much so that YouTube banned the video shortly after its release. Commenting on ethnic cleansing, military brutality and the horrors of genocide, M.I.A stops at nothing to get her message across through her music and videos. This brings me to the recent Bad Girls video, which has caused further controversy, with some groups criticising it for casting a negative and stereotypical depiction of Arabic lifestyles. Others celebrate its exposure of gender inequalities, with particular reference to its satirical criticism of the Saudi laws which forbid women to drive. Personally I am part of the latter group. For those who haven’t seen the video, it features clichéd perceptions of Arab life, with Arabian horses in the desert and men travelling on the roof of a Jeep. However, the inversion of these stereotypes to show women baring guns and drifting in their cars is a satirical, yet extremely powerful social comment on a society where women are very much second-class citizens. Whilst I can appreciate the potentially harmful impact of ac-

cepting Western stereotypes of the ‘Arab World’ could have on viewers, that shouldn’t be used as an excuse to not challenge the negative aspects of a society, especially when they’re issues that the mainstream media so rarely addresses. This brings me back to my earlier point, "It’s sad to see our media in a state of unfounded gossipy nonsense when there are real problems in the world." Whilst you could say her Superbowl gesture was merely controversy for publicity’s sake, what it has proven is that media outlets all over the world are more interested in her middle finger than the political commentary that continues to be the underlying theme of her career. M.I.A’s music videos are an art form as opposed to a publicity or promotion tool; they magnify the important messages of her music. She undoubtedly pushes boundaries, but without doing so her messages would be lacking the impact they currently have. To suggest that her music videos are offensive or ‘a step too far’ would miss the point. For anyone of that opinion, I can only suggested delving a little deeper to discover the true meaning.

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Opinion11 Doing my bit for the needy (but mainly for the cash) Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd •

Opinion takes a look at a day in the life of an 'Street Fundraiser' . Our source has chosen to remain anonymous.* After the humiliation of having my card rejected in Waitrose while trying to buy houmous, I decided to abandon the notion that jobs were something boring, ugly people did and get one for myself. I was instantly drawn to the idea of being a street fundraiser, as not only does this mean no getting up early, but helping the needy has always been something close to my heart. During my gap year in Thailand I helped paint an invaluable mural for a local orphanage - although unfortunately this foray into charity work was brought to an end when I was hospitalised with alcohol poisoning. However, my generous spirit continued upon starting uni, where, unasked, I would often buy Slimfast for the fat girl I lived with in halls. Despite these stellar credentials, they seemed hesitant about my lack of experience and asked me if it would be possible to develop dreadlocks, facial piercings and/or a vague interest in the healing power of crystals before I started. Luckily, they saw the desperation in my eyes and conceded that it would probably be fine if I just neglected my personal hygiene for a few days... 11.19: Quite late for my first shift but swiftly stop feeling guilty after seeing the hideous fluorescent yellow tabard they expect me to wear. My team-leader is called Adrian and he shows us how to approach punters with a smile and the offer of a ‘free hug’. Unwisely, the man he chooses to demonstrate this on is 6’5” and from Newport. 11.23: Adrian’s nose has finally stopped bleeding but he seems reluctant to continue our training and we are left to fend for ourselves.

becomes apparent. Bit awkward.

14.42: Spot a man on his fag-break and approach him. For a moment I see him consider ducking back into the shop, but fortunately his overwhelming nicotine addiction acts in my favour. At first he looks unconvinced but then I break down and tell him that unless he signs up I’ll be doomed to scouting the reduced section of Tesco, or perhaps even shopping in Lidl. He finally promises to give me his bank details if I stop beating my fists against the floor and making ‘that noise’. Success.

14.59: I’ve been here so long that I can no longer feel my face and I’m starting to believe the things that the Evangelical man with the megaphone is saying. Although all things considered, ‘burning in the eternal fires of hell’ at least sounds as though it might be warm.

11.24: It’s pretty busy on Queen Street and with £20 commission for every mug I can convince to sign up, I know it won’t be long before I can ditch it and get back to what I do best: being sick outside Revs, stalking people I don’t know on Facebook and eating overpriced chickpea-based dips. 12.01: It’s amazing how many people suddenly get phone-calls as they approach me. Even the Big Issue seller is giving me sympathetic looks. 12.15: I have discovered that the most effective method is to avoid anyone with facial tattoos or more than one Poundland bag and instead to target the weak and the vulnera-

ble-looking. I’m a lot like the killer whale on Frozen Planet – albeit one that cares deeply for those in need.

gag when he says he goes to UWIC. Think this charity work has made me a better person.

12.24: Finally manage to corner a slow-moving old lady. I tell her about the plight suffered by many African children and even manage to make my eyes fill with tears (top tip: think about the possibility of them not making any more Made in Chelsea) as I speak to her. She initially seems moved but then notices my clip-board and walks off, pointing out that the charity I am working for is the RSPCA. Some people are so random?

13.26: My housemate arrives to fortify me with Starbucks. UWIC tries to keep talking to me and I pretend he’s got me confused with someone else. Cringe.

13.25: Chat to another fundraiser and don’t

street even

14.22: I flag down a passer-by with a dog and appeal to him, as an animal-lover, to donate. Become quite irate as he fails to respond to the photos of the starving, flearidden cats I show him. In fact he doesn’t even bother to take off his sunglasses. It’s only when I notice his dog is wearing a very similar hi-vis jacket to me that my mistake

15.21: Have a depressing moment of realisation that I’ve spent more in Pret A Manger than I’ve actually earned today. Find Adrian and inform him that not only do I find the job utterly demeaning, but also that I consider most animals to be both terrifying and dirty. He suggests that I don’t return tomorrow.

20.01: All is not lost; with my new skills of persuasion and previously undiscovered talent to cry on demand, I make my most convincing plea for charity yet. Thanks, Dad.

* Opinion editor Libby van den Bosch

The Night of the Hunter sends shivers down spines Max Eshraghi Opinion Writer

Davis Grubb's novel The Night of the Hunter is a distinctly mature, dark and adult tale of menace and Act One must be commended for pulling off this sinister story with so much style and emotional punch. In it, we witness the attempts of a psychotic preacher, preying on a pair of children who are reluctant to tell him where their late criminal father hid $10,000 that he'd stolen in a robbery. Charming his way into the life of their vulnerable mother, he torments the children, who seem utterly alone in their fight against this maniacal 'man of God'. Thomas Greene as the villainous Preacher Harry Powell layered charismatic charm over a furious, psychotic interior to produce a convincingly sinister performance. His slight frame unfortunately robbed him of a degree of physical intimidation, but this was effectively

countered by his sudden bursts of fury, which kept him an unsettling and ominous stage presence. Whilst not quite holding a candle to the iconic Robert Mitchum performance of the classic 1955 film (an almost impossible feat) he still managed to chill the spines of most audience members. Holding their own against this excellently villainous performance, Georgia Bradley and James Sidwell were standouts in their roles of the tortured, fragile mother and her determined young son. Bradley in particular shone in a heart-wrenching monologue that was arguably the play's emotional highlight. Elsewhere, the cast varied. Amy Gilbrook in the challenging role of young Pearl Harper often overplayed the childishness, seemingly leaning on drama school clichés. Others, like Todd Elliot and Bruno

Chavez were also slightly unconvincing as more elderly Southern gentlemen, with performances that might have been more inkeeping with a Monty Python sketch. The play's West Virginia setting also posed an accent challenge for its young cast: the Southern drawls were generally solid across the board, but some sounded more West Devon than West Virginia, particularly amongst the smaller roles. However, dubious accents aside, this was a talented ensemble, added to by a strong secondhalf performance from Sophie Brown, who played the protective Rachel Cooper with much gusto. All of the action takes place against a back drop of an ominous looking forest. A nice metaphor perhaps for isolation that many of the characters find themselves in - although you have to wonder the

thought process behind placing hay on the stage when most of the story takes place in a domestic setting. The odd first night hiccups aside, the performance was involving, emotive and punctuated occasionally by shockingly violent moments. It is a shame that the first act drags, with a lull in the middle upsetting the nicely drawn-out tension that pervaded the first hour. A shorter second act gives the story the shot in the arm it desperately needed, but it had quite a bit to make up for after pre-interval lull. Yet whilst not quite as nailbiting as it could have been, it was a well-crafted, compelling and a solid adaptation nonetheless. Next: Catch Act One's Monstrous Regiment, Feb 22 - 25 at the The Gate, Keppoch St.

Columnist Silver Linings


Dear All, I’ve taken up swimming. Actually, I started at the beginning of Christmas term. It was mid-September, and I never did achieve the bikini body Cosmopolitan told me I should be working on over the summer. If anyone actually has done so, please let me know. I’ll give you a chocolate bar and a pat on the back, and then send you on your perfectly toned way. I bought a swimming costume from Asda’s summer sale (classy) and bounced home, my purse a whole £6 lighter. I felt incredibly virtuous. The part that still hadn’t become real to me, in all its chlorine-soaked, self-esteem destroying glory, was that I would actually have to wear the thing in public. The truth is, readers, some bodies seem made for showing off. Scarlett Johansson, Megan Fox, the entire cast of Glee. Other bodies are made for elasticated pyjama bottoms, to be shrouded in charity shop jumpers and granny cardigans. The last time I bought something from the British Heart Foundation, the wizened sweetie at the till complimented me on my fine choice and asked where I got my shoes from. “Wouldn’t mind a pair of those for myself.” There you have it, readers; I have similar tastes to a very sweet octogenarian with a blue rinse. If that doesn’t get pulses racing, I don’t know what will. Nevertheless, I pressed bravely onward, trembling all the way to Maindy Pool. I did some kind of trapeze act into my costume and waddled out of the changing rooms, avoiding the confused eyes of my fellow swimmers, who were no doubt wondering why I was bent double (it was to cover up as much of my body as possible). At the time I interpreted the parting of the crowds as a safety measure, considering how big I felt. I now realise it was probably because I was freaking them all out by miming Quasimodo, the hunchbacked bell-ringer. I couldn’t help it, though. I hadn’t been this naked since I came out of the womb, and even then someone had the decency to provide me with a towel to cover my shame. After sliding gracefully (crashing) into the shallows, I quickly worked out a plan of action. The trick, Maindy Pool-goers, is to pick out the slowest swimmer and stick close to them. That way, your desperate flailing (front crawl) will be

Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd

By Lydia Davies interpreted as pure, chivalrous athleticism, waiting patiently for the plebeian swimmer to get there first. I couldn’t tell you how far I swam on that first shudder-inducing trip to the pool. It was not the time for simple mathematics. The exhausted shaking in my arms and legs meant all energy had to be focused on remaining upright. I kept it up, somehow. Turns out Maindy is fantastic for making friends. My closest companion thus far is a man called Thomas. He likes bluebells and dark chocolate and talks incessantly about his wife, Winnie. She is, I understand, a bit of a minx. But it isn’t just the company that cheers me up, but the swimming itself: I’ve become a little bit addicted. I don’t mean I’m going to start taking steroids and collecting swimming caps in a variety of flattering shades, I just mean that I love the way it makes me feel afterwards. It’s something I do rarely: be nice to myself. And I know I’m not alone there! Until recently it never occurred to me that the saying, “Treat others as you would like them to treat you,” can also mean “Be a little kinder to yourself. You wouldn’t treat anybody else like this.” Anyone who knows me has come to accept the daily punches I give my self-esteem, disguised as light-hearted jokes. Going swimming one, twice, then three times a week was different. What began as a desperate attempt to change my body is instead slowly changing the way I see it. I’m starting to cut myself some slack. Did you know that a foetus acquires fingerprints at around three months? That your nose can remember 50,000 different scents? For every step you take, 200 muscles in your body are helping you do it, and your heart beats around 100,000 times a day. Whether you believe you’re the product of intelligent design or an accidental collision of stardust and sarcasm is irrelevant. Your body is performing a million little miracles everyday just to get you from place to place, and in return, you buy Glamour and hate yourself for not being Jessica Alba (we’ve all been there). There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with magazines and makeup and celebrity dieting tips. But somehow twenty-first century Western culture spends more time berating the human body than celebrating it. And we’re missing out.

Lent begins this Wednesday the 22nd, and it usually only grabs my attention because 1: It is preceded by Pancake Day, a glorious celebration of the glutton in all of us and 2: My mother will inevitably text me to ask if we are giving up chocolate again this year. She always does extremely well, and I always emerge on Easter Sunday looking a little pale, a little maniacal, and proceed to consume all chocolate in sight. So, I’m not giving up chocolate this year. It is painful, immoral, and I will only substitute it with gummy bears. Instead of giving something up, I’m going to take up a challenge. From now until Easter I’ll try a new activity every week, and report back on my progress here. Maybe you don’t celebrate Lent. After failing all New Year’s resolu-

tions and tripping over Valentine’s Day, a lot of people tend to be feeling pretty bad about themselves already. Lent is usually the Guilt Cherry on top of the cake of SelfLoathing (don’t order this in restaurants; very bitter). So why punish yourself further with making whole food groups off-limits? Take care of yourself ! If you want to switch chocolate for celery, do it to help your body, not punish it. Get a gym membership – although, personally, the idea of exercising next to some sweating Schwarzenegger in Lycra brings up a whole load of social anxieties we haven’t the time to get into here. Find a sport you actually enjoy doing – salsa, football, yoga. Try interpretive dance, for all I care! Just don’t sit at home finding reasons to hate your body instead

of celebrating all that it is capable of doing. It doesn’t even have to be that athletic. I, myself, have always had a sneaking suspicion that I would make a rather capable croquet-player. It wasn’t my overwhelmingly unattractive figure that earned me those raised eyebrows on my first trip to Maindy. It was my awkwardness, the idea that I was so much more unattractive than everyone else, which made me unapproachable. Surely in 2012, the year the Olympics come to London, we should start to see our bodies as having more purpose than just to be aesthetically pleasing. I may not have Cosmo’s bikini body, but I feel a whole lot better. Lydia x

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the gair rhydd 2012 housing survey: holding letting agencies to account

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Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd •


Political scramble over NHS reforms

Politics Reporter Thom Hollick outlines the political life of the NHS reform bill and whether Andrew Landsley's career is in need of a Doctor


fter the creation of the ConservativeLiberal Democrat Coalition in May 2010, each of the new cabinet ministers were put in control of one key flagship policy with the responsibility to guide it through parliament and in the statute book as quickly and as pain-free as possible. This would enable the new government to point to the changes it was making as evidence of a proactive approach to governance. A good number of these have been controversial, and have provoked media flurries of varying proportions: Michael Gove’s free schools, Theresa May’s attempt to put a cap on immigration and Iain Duncan Smith’s pension reforms to name but three. But so far none of these have resulted in a resignation or a

sacking, nor created much division within the coalition partners.

The bill was to address an aging population to deliver more with less public investment

This has not been the case, however, for Andrew Lansley’s flagship health policy: his Health and Social Care Bill, which is by common agreement the biggest shake-up of the NHS’s structure in its 64 years. He was responsible for drafting a bill to address the problems of an aging population and the need to deliver more services with less public investment. It is not at all clear whether the bill he introduced in January 2011 would successfully

What will happen with the NHS bill in 5 tweets, according to Dr Ben Goldacre.

address these concerns, but enough people and organisations have had doubts to slow the process up considerably. Mr Lansley had hoped to have his policy in the statute books by the summer of 2011, but it is still now being debated in the House of Lords. If it is not passed by the end of this parliamentary session in April, it could fall through completely. The first signs of trouble came early on in 2011, when opposition came not just from Labour, but also from several Liberal Democrats, and even the British Medical Association. Eventually, Lansley was forced to bow to pressure from the medical community, and with the support of the PM initiated a so-called ‘listening exercise’ or a ‘pause’ in the legislative procedure. Between April and June 2011, the government declared that they were listening to people’s concerns about the bill as it stood, and would amend it to make it better. Much of the media was cynical about this action, seeing it as an attempt to distract as much as anything else. Sure enough when the bill was reintroduced in June it had only very minor amendments.

until private providers presented a real alternative to state-funded mainstream care? As was mentioned, much of the initial language concerning ‘competition’ has been watered down or removed in committee stages, but that is not to say that there are not still very real concerns about the bill becoming law. But even if this was not the case, the political damage to Mr Lansley, the Coalition, and the Prime Minister for giving it his full backing, has already been done. A Health Secretary who refuses to take on board the criticisms of the Royal College of Nurses, Midwives, General Practitioners, and the British Medical Association (amongst others) when drafting legislation is not going to be the most successful, or popular. Perhaps most unexpectedly, Mr

Detractors believe this is clearly a prelude to creeping privatisation within the health service


It wasn’t really until October 2011 and the bill was passed to the Lords that we began to see any real amendments. A small group of rebel Lords led by Lib Dem, Shirley Williams, and crossbencher, David Owen, successfully managed to remove some of the most controversial clauses; namely ensuring the continuation of the Health Secretary’s legal duty to provide national healthcare, and significantly watering down provisions to allow “any willing provider” to provide certain services. This is the most controversial point, as detractors believe this is clearly a prelude to creeping privatisation within the health service. The debate about what the true principles behind this bill are still raging. The NHS is a very emotive subject for so many in Britain, and it is not just the left of public opinion that is so afraid of privatisation, particularly when patient satisfaction levels are comparatively high. Andrew Lansley and his supporters insist that that is not the intention of the bill, but nonetheless it cannot be denied that it could be a very real side-effect. Consider it this way: if the government did want to privatise the NHS, wouldn’t this be the first step? That is introducing competition into small areas at a time

Lansley has even been turned upon by members of his own party. A small core of Conservative peers have expressed concerns over the

bill in committee stage, quite different concerns to those of the Lib Dems and Labour, but nonetheless it is opposition he could do without. In addition, the influential Tory Website ‘ConservativeHome’ has come out in opposition to the bill over worries that the controversy surrounding it could do permanent damage to their reputation, even if it was successful. It seems that Lansley is running out of both time and friends. An anonymous Downing Street

Mr Lansley has even been turned upon by members of his own party

insider apparently leaked to The Times that Andrew Lansley “should be taken out and shot” for failing on the communication and substance of this bill. Yet, still the PM offers him his full support. If he does ultimately fail to pass his Bill through Parliament and is forced into a humiliating resignation (which is still a possibility) then David Cameron has inextricably linked himself to it. Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, has suggested this could be Cameron’s equivalent of the Poll Tax or Iraq. If it goes through and proves to be a disaster, he will get the blame for failing to stop it when he still had a chance. Comment? Email:

Editor's Comment The government's contentious NHS bill is now entitled for a new debate in parliament after a campaigner's e-petition gathered support on Tuesday. Now the e-petition has crossed the 100,000 threshold, an MP must take it to the Backbench Business Committee before it is decided if the issue will be debated in the Commons. "I wanted people to get a simple message. This bill is about privatisation. Do you want to drop it?" said Dr Kailash Chand OBE, who set up the petition and described the surge in support as a "Valentine present to someone who loves the NHS." Peter Bailey, whose practice sits in Lansley's constituency, writes in the British Medical Journal that GPs are "being set up" as they are asked to take over jobs previously done at Primary Care Trusts without sufficient skills or time to do so, while simultaneously trying to save £20bn. He said, "I told the prime min-

ister and Andrew Lansley that the scheme would not work. They noted my concern as they say." It is quite astonishing that David Cameron is sticking by this bill in the face of evidence that it is not an appropriate measure. When health professionals are acting so forcefully against the bill it means that there needs to be more than a few alterations. The Institute of Healthcare Management, which represents NHS managers, also published results of its survey showing 87% of members say the bill is "fundamentally flawed." The institute joins the Royal College of GPs, the Royal College of Nurses, Chartered Society of Physiotherapists and other bodies in calling for the bill – currently before the Lords – to be scrapped. It appears the people have spoken, all the government need do now is listen. Luke Slade Political Editor



Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd •

Ministry of Defence's mounting deficit

Politics Reporter Helen Cox addresses recent controversy surrounding the gross overexpenditure of the MoD's defence programme despite reform and budget cuts


hilst budget cuts are being felt by everyone in the UK, it seems that the Ministry of Defence feels that it should be immune to this. The MoD underwent a series of reforms in 2010 (including the strategic defence and security review and two further cost-saving exercises) that were supposed to lead to reduced spending; however it has emerged that the ministry will overspend by £6 billion due to underestimations of the amount that big defence projects would cost. This would bring combined total spending to about £60bn. When a department goes over budget, it is the taxpayers that have to pick up the further costs. It is reasons like this that the economy is in such a dire state.

The Ministry will overspend by £6bn due to underestimations

The alarming figures were unearthed by the Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC). It also discovered that these projects will be completed around 27 years late. The committee believes that the MoD is consistently underestimating the risks involved in developing complex weapons systems which is

leading to over expenditure.It also said: “it is unacceptable that the department still cannot identify the extent of the current gap between resources and expenditure.” A look into the recent activities of the MoD however, may provide some insight. One area in which

t h e money has been wasted, is the now scrapped Nimrod aircraft programme. "The aircraft were more than eight years late, almost £800m over budget, and the unit cost of each aircraft had soared by 200%, with no guarantee they would ever be fit to fly,’’ said Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond. This project was dropped, meaning that the taxpayer forked out millions of pounds for something that is now useless –they have nothing to show for their money, which could have been spent on other departments. The decision to abandon the project is now under investigation by the National Audit Office. The committee also called for investigation of the delays related to the nuclearpowered Astute submarine fleet, which has incurred an extra £1.9bn in costs, and of the expenditure on two large aircraft carriers, the cost of which has so far risen by £2.8bn

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond

past the £3.5bn estimated when first approved four years ago,

a n d some experts believe they could end up costing as much as £12bn. In defence of the ministry and the government, Mr Hammond said the government was "close to eliminating the black hole in the MoD's finances" and would soon be able to set out an "affordable, deliverable programme.” This will see the government invest more than £150 billion in the right equipment for the armed forces whilst “achieving value for money for UK taxpayers." He blamed the financial situation on the Labour-led government stating: "The overall increase this year was seven times lower than Labour's last year in office, which saw a cost increase of over £3.3bn.” “Scrapping the ill-fated Nimrod MRA4 was one of many tough but

necessary decisions we had to take to deal with an equipment p r o gramme t h a t was out of control” he added. Despite t h e increase, the committee says the MoD's performance has actually improved, and that more recent projects have not increased in price to the same extent and have had fewer technical problems than previous developments. Recently the MoD has made the decision to reduce the number of Puma helicopters by four and Chinook helicopters by ten - it is also buying three fewer European A400M transport aircraft although this has reportedly contributed to a 46% increase in the cost of each A400M plane as cutting numbers after contracts have been signed generally leads to unit cost increases. Cost increases on the major defence programmes had been £500 million in the last year although this contrasted with £3 billion a year under the previous government. Margaret Hodge MP, the Labour

chair of the PAC, said: "Decisions to delay or cut programmes to save money in the short term continue to lead to increased costs in the longer term and do not represent good value for money, though we welcome the fact that there are signs of improvement. Projects approved since 2002 have shown significantly lower cost increases." The committee is still concerned however, that the MoD is unable to openly set out the magnitude of the gap between its expenditure and funding. The PAC say that with the economy in its current state, it would be unrealistic for the MoD to plan spending assuming it will get the 1% increase in its equipment budget after 2015 that had been demanded by defence chiefs. Ultimately, it is very easy for

Puma Helicopters are being reduced by four and Chinook Helicopters by ten

MPs to urge spending cuts for the MoD, but when projects of the scale needed are undertaken, mistakes or unexpected setbacks, no matter how small, can prove very expensive. Although the MoD should make every effort to reduce its spending, especially in this economic climate, one must appreciate that it is generally easier said than done.

Editor's Comment Reform proposals for the MoD seem to have created more problems rather than solving them. Attempts to save money in the short-term have in fact only added greater pressure and caused significant long-term problems for the MoD programme. With last year’s deficit reaching the £42bn mark, and reports of further overspending this year, the estimated cost of the defence project has been grossly underestimated at a time when such errors are most critical. At a time when our forces are greatly stretched across several continents, front line troops are increasingly starved of the correct equipment, and our defence systems are being drastically reduced, it is of paramount importance that further financial resolutions are not rashly enforced. The MoD has made multiple

errors in its expenditure. Take the billions spent on two aircraft carriers – the Prince Charles and the Queen Elizabeth – that before they were finished were deemed surplus to current requirements and had their completion delayed for almost a decade. The MoD have not learned from their mistakes, as seen in the current scrapping of the Nimrod aircraft programme. The MoD Committee can argue that substantial inroads have been made into the deficit all it likes, but ultimately there is still a phenomenal gap between its planning assumptions and its spending settlement. It is clear from the government that the defence review was not fit for purpose. Cuts will be worthless if the committee does not correctly estimate and curb future expenditure and the taxpayers will soon tire of clearing

up after the government’s financial chaos. Government targets need to be realistic and achievable rather than meaning that cuts made now will only lead to higher expenses further down the line. With the 30th anniversay of the Faulkands War approaching and with tension mounting between Argentina and Britain, it is a stark reminder that Britain, needs a strengthened defence system, not one so stretched and reduced that it means Britain is no longer able to adequeteley defend its own waters and territory. Rather than making cuts and reforms to the front line troops, perhaps more attention needs to be paid to those higher up in the ranks of the MoD who make such wholly inaccurate decisions. Sophie Gidley

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Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd •


Brussels approves new Greek austerity vote Trisha Chowdhury Politics Reporter There seems to be no relief for the members of the Eurozone as the Euro crisis reaches its second phase. Greece’s economy is in a tumult and further austerity measures have to be implemented in order for it to claim its second bailout package. However, Greece’s actions in the past have made it subject to intense criticism and whether or not it will receive its second bailout package is yet to be decided. The likelihood of Greece receiving its second bailout package was uncertain as the other members of the Eurozone were convinced that the nation would not meet the terms of the bailout received in the first bailout package. Despite having adopted several austerity measures, Athens has been accused of overspending huge amounts, especially in the public sector, which has irked many member nations of the Eurozone. Greece presented its austerity plans to the Eurozone ministers at Brussels. The plan was a four pointed one, including 15,000 public-sector job cuts, liberalisation of labour laws, lowering the minimum wage by 20% from 751 euros a month to 600 euros and negotiating a debt write-off with banks. However, the ministers at Brussels have demanded a further 325m Euros in savings for this year, since the Greek coalition could not agree to restructure

its pension plan. The Greek Prime Minister, Lucas Papademos, has agreed to go to any lengths in order to receive the 130bn Euros bailout package. “We cannot allow Greece to go bankrupt. Our priority is to do whatever it takes to approve the new economic programme and proceed with the new loan agreement. It goes without saying that whoever disagrees and does not vote for the new programme cannot remain in the government.” Greece has been spending more than its capabilities from before it joined the Eurozone. Once the nation adopted the Euro as its currency, public spending and public sector wages soared sky high and the figures were almost double of that in previous years. On the other hand, Greece’s national income was been hit by widespread tax evasion, thus making the situation worse for the nation. As a result of this, once the global economy meltdown occurred, Greek economy was unable to bear the brunt and the situation worsened. In May 2010, a bailout loan of 110bn Euros was sanctioned and a second instalment was to follow in July 2011, of approximately another 109bn Euros. However, this amount didn’t prove to be sufficient and in October 2011, the nations in the Eurozone persuaded banks to consider the situation and allow a 50% "haircut" on their Greek holdings despite having increased the

Greek Prime Minister Luca Papademos second instalment of the bailout package to 130bn Euro. But all the efforts have seemed to have gone in vain as the economic situation in Greece has depreciated all the more and banks would have to consent to an even bigger debt write-off than what had previously been agreed. The Eurozone ministers at Brussels have expressed their concern of Greece’s capabilities of implementing further austerity measures, including cuts. Their attitude towards spending has come under the line of fire. Government spending equalling to approximately 1.5% of GDP have been asked to implement cuts in pensions and thousands more civil service job cuts. This will add on

to the employment figures, which is on an all-time high, escalating at up to 20%. Conditions have also been laid to make the Greek economy more competitive, by cutting down the cost of doing business in the nation. The government had said that it is imperative to make the labour markets more flexible, radically cut down the minimum wage and scrap the paying of the "holiday bonus", which equals to one or two months' extra wage. Banks were asked to be re-capitalised whilst safeguarding the managerial independence. Of all the Eurozone nations, Germany has been particularly critical of Greece, since a large sum of the bailout package is being paid by

Germany. The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, said that Greece must have a chance to cut debt to 120pc of GDP and that there "can't and won't be" changes to the Greek plan. German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, said "You can't solve a debt crisis by constantly incurring new debts. Growth doesn't come from debt but from competitiveness. It isn't enough [for Greece] to adopt reform programmes. Instead, the reforms have to be implemented without delay." Germany’s big brother attitude regarding the Eurozone, especially so in the case of Greece, has led to a wide level protest in Greece, with many protests being Anti-Germanic in nature. Greece’s present situation is tumultuous. While on one side it manages to convince the Eurozone nations to grant the second bailout loan, internally it faces widespread riots, union strikes and even ministers resigning from their posts. Any unsuccessful attempt to revive the economy can lead it to bankruptcy. While many consider that Greece should quit the Eurozone and give up the Euro, it is not realized that any course of action would eventually affect the other member nations of the Eurozone, and some non-members like the UK, for whom the Eurozone is the chief trading partner. As the events unfold, all eyes still remain on Greece and only time can tell what the possible consequences may be.

Healthcare concern for babies in Wales Sophia Pellatt Politics Reporter A Welsh Assembly inquiry raised concerns this week about the standards of care being received in neonatal hospital wards throughout Wales. In Wales alone, around 4,000 children are born every year requiring neonatal care but pressures to reduce public spending are threatening the NHS system, including the level of service these units can provide. A shortage of nursing staff has been blamed for the decline in the quality of treatment according to special baby care charity Bliss, who first highlighted the issue in a report back in 2010. This argument has been furthered by the Royal College of Nursing, who insist nurses are not receiving the training they need to cope with demand. The RCN told the inquiry: “Part of the difficulty is that nursing staff are simply not being released for education and training in neonatal care by the local health boards. This, combined

with natural retirement, is sharply reducing the available pool of neonatal nurses across Wales.” A report conducted by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health Wales, contributed to the debate, identifying North Wales as the most vulnerable region with a nurse deficit of 24.2% in comparison to just 11.8% in South Central Wales. However, South West and South East Wales hardly fared better, with nurse deficits of 20.8% and 23.2% respectively, making Wales one of the least safe locations in Britain for those with birth complications. When Jennie and Chris Walton of Pembrokeshire, South West Wales, gave birth to daughter Maya nine weeks prematurely, she faced the reality of Wales dwindling re-

sources. Ms Walton was told that her nearest neonatal hospital in Swansea, already a 60 mile journey, could not facilitate her and that she faced a potential 200 mile journey to Birmingham. Fortunately for the Walton’s, space became available at Newport Gwent Hospital - still a 100 mile journey from home, a dangerous distance to travel in such circumstances. The Bliss report notes “that despite the best efforts of staff currently involved in the care of babies in North Wales, there are serious safety implications that the health board must address without delay… the safety of these babies is paramount.” Notable concerns exist for babies in intensive care at Ysbyty Glan Clywd, Bodelwyddan, Denbig-

shire and Wrexham Maelor Hospital, commenting that “neither [of these] these units are even approaching compliance with the All Wales Neonatal Standards on medical staffing of a unit providing this level of care.” The All Wales Neonatal Network was established in 2010, the same year as the original report by Bliss, with the aim of reviewing the current system and working alongside local health boards to help develop and fund specialised services, again blaming the shortage of staff for problems within Wales neonatal service. However, the inquiry took place during the same week MPs were desperate to pass NHS reforms bills, which will see a dramatic reduction in funding for the health

service. The bill has already been rejected by the House of Lords on numerous occasions and ministers in Wales are expressing frustration at the coalition’s attempt shake up the system health service. Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, Alun Michael, said the UK government should outright abandon the Health and Social Care Bill, whilst Welsh Health Minister, Lesley Griffiths, called the plans “a complete and utter shambles,” yet Prime Minister, David Cameron, is adamant his government’s proposals will not have harm the welfare of patients. At the end of Thursday’s meeting, the committee determined further consultation was needed to address how best to improve neonatal services in Wales. As the Health and Social Care Bill faces yet more amendments, its seems almost certain that health care in the UK faces deep and severe cuts, supposedly to improve efficiency and eradicate bureaucracy but experts, including the RCN, fear this will have a negative effect on care, alarming both parents and campaigners.



Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd •

Dying to be Thin

This week, Features writer, Catherine Lenain asks whether we can help improve the support available for those who suffer with eating disorders.


ating disorders, like most mental health illnesses, are a commonly avoided topic of conversation. Secretive, manipulative and selfish by nature, the illness does all it can to keep the sufferer in its grip and recovery at bay and sadly, a lot of the time the world responds accordingly: the problem either goes unnoticed, excused as a ‘phase’ that will pass, or it is accepted that it is the individual’s choice of lifestyle and nothing can be done. But even if you acknowledge that you cannot force someone to get better, it is still very important to ensure that the resources are there for them when they are ready for it.

It is a similar feeling to your conscience yelling ‘don’t do it!’ when someone suggests a very tempting night out the evening before a 9am exam. However, your conscience is sensible and looking out for your best interests and unfortunately for our degrees, it may often be a lot easier to disobey. However, if the people surrounding the sufferer are not aware of the ‘little voice’ this person is victim to, it will often appear to them that the sufferer is simply being difficult or selfish. Responses of confusion, irritation, frustration or annoyance only serve to reinforce the sufferer’s self-blame, and so the vicious circle continues. They may become either quiet and reclusive, avoiding any situations where their differences may be noticed, or defensive and proud, in an attempt to mask their shame. It can be difficult for the public to see that the reality of eating disorders lies right between two extremes seen in the media. One promoting every kind of healthyeating-fitness regime under the sun and the other running shocking stories about models dying on the catwalk and featuring images of skeletal celebrities to showcase the physical symptoms of eating disorders.

Selfish by nature, the illness does all it can to keep the sufferer in its grip and recovery at bay.

We don’t walk around for weeks at a time with a broken leg for the greater part of our lives, but the moment an accident occurs, there is a hospital room waiting (admittedly at the end of a rather long queue), but there is a tried and tested treatment ready to be administered. Similarly with any ailments, visible or not, it is unusual for one to find there is not some readily available medical help or advice. So what makes eating disorders so different? Why is it that despite concerning statistics, treatment resources and general public awareness still remain critically inadequate? • It is estimated that around 1 in 38 teens have suffered, or are currently suffering, with the symptoms of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or binge-eating disorder, as classified by the DSM-IV. • However, according to one recent study, less than 27.5% sufferers actually sought professional help with their eating problems. • This means that many figures compiled from hospital admissions or doctors’ diagnoses may significantly underestimate eating disorder prevalence rates. • Anorexia nervosa carries the highest premature fatality rate of any other illness, and a mortality rate for young females which is twelve times higher than that of ALL other causes of death. • The 2005 figures for the US National Institute of Health funding, show that an estimated: − $350,000,000 is spent on schizo-

There is often an internal battle with the feeling that one should be able to 'just get over it'.

phrenia, which had a prevalence estimate of 2.2 million cases. − $647,000,000 on Alzheimer’s with a prevalence of 4.5 million. − Yet only $12,000,000 was spent on anorexia nervosa, in spite of eating disorders having the highest prevalence at 10 million. Of course eating disorders are a very tricky business to deal with, but unhelpful media messages and common public misunderstandings of the illness can make the recovery process even more of an obsta-

cle course. The most difficult thing about diagnosis and treatment is that there is often only a small part of the individual, brave enough to accept that there truly is a problem, outside of their own control, which is impairing their life enough to justify seeking help. There is often an internal battle with the feeling that one should be able to ‘just get over it’. But it is not simply a case of waking up one morning and deciding to eat normally again. The illness is a mental

one, much like OCD or other addictions: once these obsessions, preoccupations and unusual behaviours around food and body weight have become ingrained, it is as if the individual is not making their own decisions any more. Many recovered sufferers will talk of the illness as a ‘little voice’ in their mind, that would tell them what to do, and the paralyzing fear that came with even the idea of disobeying that voice, which kept them imprisoned in these rituals.

Eating disorders become either a pop-culture or a freak condition, when in fact they are neither of these. In reality they are a serious mental illness, where the majority of the suffering takes place in the individual’s mind, and there can often be no glaringly obvious physical symptoms. B-eat’s 2011 statistics, show that 80% of eating disorder sufferers never become underweight. As many as 4 out of 10 people you meet will have come into contact with the disorder, either themselves or through someone they know. B-eat proposes that yet thousands more cases go unnoticed for years. You would assume that trained medical professionals would be aware of these difficulties and make sure they were wise to any tell-tale signs. But sadly this is often not the case – GPs can be just as ignorant as the rest of society when it comes to EDs. I know a number of individuals who have had appalling experiences. One girl’s GP told her that she would ‘have to grow out of this

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Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd •


across the UK, run by volunteers trained for their roles by Nicola and Hannah themselves. The Cardiff SRSH group, launched in October 2011, now runs fortnightly on a Thursday evening in the Globe Room of the SU. In addition to providing self-help groups however, SRSH also aims to provide a network of support resources for sufferers seeking help. Their website gives details about the project itself, when and where groups are run, links to external information sources as well as details about their current campaigns, which aim to improve support for sufferers and recoverers. Their ‘How To Save A Life’ project is geared at providing information for friends, family and carers of those with eating disorders, on how to best assist them. The project acknowledges that it is by no means just the individual in question who suffers; often watching a loved one deteriorate, with no idea how to help them, can be an equally distressing experience.

soon, as there are people out there with real illnesses’. Another’s continued to prescribe her laxatives for Irritable Bowel Syndrome for two whole years, despite it being visibly clear she was maintaining an unhealthily low weight. Even when diagnosis is finally reached, the NHS system of referrals for treatment is not a great deal more encouraging. Inpatient care is often necessary to train patients away from self-destructive behaviours and provide any psychological treatment needed. Yet waiting lists for the NHS to fund this service can be over 2 years, only avoid-

able if the patient is anorexic at a BMI of below 13.5 (which is frighteningly low!) Even then, the NHS have admitted that many patients with anorexia still leave hospital or treatment significantly underweight and before long revert back to old behaviours. High-quality private residential treatment, which has been shown to have successful recovery rates, can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. With all of these numerous obstacles, it is not surprising that so many cases go untreated and so many individuals continue to suffer for years, or even a lifetime. En-

couraging an anorexic or bulimic to seek professional help can be extremely difficult at the best of times; but with the prospect of such a tedious process ahead many give up and continue to live with the ‘devil they know’, rather than pursue the alternatives. However, over the last decade or so, the idea of ‘self-help’ groups for eating disorders have started to show some startlingly positive results. Essential catalysts for the maintenance of eating disorders are isolation and despair: sufferers keep their thoughts to themselves in shame. The fear of letting go means that they are bound by this monotonous cycle for such long periods of time. But meeting with other individuals who have the same thoughts and feelings, similar fears and apprehensions, and ultimately this condition in common, in an informal group setting, seems to be exceptionally helpful. Meeting others who are further along the path of recovery or have fully recovered from a previous eating disorder can provide great hope and inspiration to an individual who is truly questioning if there will ever be a way out. Student Run Self-Help, or SRSH, is a project to provide informal support groups for students with eating disorders, founded by Nicola Byrom in 2009. Nicola has herself recovered from an eating disorder, as has her co-worker Hannah Tickle who now works alongside her running the Oxford-based project. As a result of their personal experiences they both felt motivated to try and improve the resources available to students suffering with eating disorders. Since launching the project they have helped establish self-help groups at 16 different Universities

Watching a loved one deteriorate with no idea how to help them can be an equally distressing experience.

This project will be running an informational workshop on Monday 19th March in Cardiff, for anyone who is interested in learning more about eating disorders and how one can support friends or family members who they may have concerns about. The workshop will run by from 5pm-7pm in CF10 by Nicola, the newly employed project manager, Elisabeth Reed and the

Cardiff SRSH team. The ‘Double-Edged Sword’ campaign looks at how calorie-branding and excessive health and fitness promotion in the media could be having a damaging effect on the way we see food and exercise in modern society. The ‘Supper Club’ posts daily recipe ideas on the website to help take the pressure off those in recovery, struggling with decisionmaking for meal-planning. ‘Body Gossip’ is a campaign challenging common perceptions of body image and promoting the recognition and acceptance of natural beauty. It is touring a number of universities in the UK this year, with presentations for students about these ideals. These are just a few of the inspired projects that Nicola and Hannah are coordinating this year (while both studying at Oxford University, may I add), and it is thought that there will be much more yet to come. Next week is Cardiff's EATING DISORDERS AWARENESS WEEK following this week's National EDAW, and I want to raise the awareness of everyone reading this to the prevalence of eating disorders in our society and the need for as much support as possible, for causes like those discussed above. These projects rely on the interest and involvement of volunteers to help them expand and develop. The future of recovery from eating disorders could be significantly brighter than it has been for thousands of sufferers in the past, if enough people are willing to listen and take part. It is thanks to people like Nicola and Hannah that many victims of this isolating and lifeimpairing illness no longer have to suffer alone and have a better chance at regaining their freedom and wellbeing. So make sure you look out for the SRSH stalls in the Union next week and if you have any comments or questions, please email



Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd •

Cardiff Nightline: A lifeline for students at University

This week, Features Editor, Jenny Kendall meets the team behind the telephone.


uring Freshers you may have seen a bear wandering around University and wondered what on earth that was all about? Or perhaps you’ve had a friend request on Facebook from the elusive cuddly teddy. If you’ve no idea what I’m on about, the bear in question’s name is Nigel and he is the mascot for Cardiff Nightline. Last week I met some of the volunteers for Cardiff Nightline and they gave me an insight into what they do, what Nightline is for and the amazing service they provide. Nightline is a confidential listening and information service that was originally started in Essex in 1970 after a series of student suicides. A Samaritan realised there was a crucial bit of support students weren’t being given and started Nightline. Very quickly Nightlines began setting up all over the UK, with Cardiff ’s Nightline being established only a few years later. There are now 35 nightlines operating in the UK and Ireland, supporting 124 colleges and Universities. Cardiff Nightline supports all four institutions in Cardiff, it is there for students of Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University (formerly UWIC), the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the University of Glamorgan too (including its Treforest campus);

Nightline is available when no one else is there and all your flatmates are in bed.

with students volunteering from all of these campuses. Nightline is open through the night, seven days a week, when many other services are closed. They will listen to any problem, which makes them different from many other helplines that are often specific to certain issues. Nightline receive a lot of different calls from wanting a taxi or pizza number, or being locked out of your flat and not knowing who to call. They will also give out other helpline numbers if

the caller has specifically requested it. Nightline also get a lot of personal problems, which they listen to. One volunteer said, “It is an honour to be told something about their life and trusted like that.” No matter what a caller's problem is, or how big or small they think it is, Nightline will treat every call the same. Nightline is not an advisory service; their policy is that the caller knows himself or herself best and

occasions, which is where the team come in. When the phone rings, all the volunteers rally together to help the person calling and support their teammates. If a volunteer is on the phone for a long time, they will really appreciate a cup of tea or an extra jumper on a cold night while they’re listening on the phone. Or if they’re looking for a particular telephone number, there are a lot to search through on the room’s noti-

talk through anything that has happened with other Nightline members but of course, what happens in Nightline stays in Nightline. Volunteers also have access to any of the University’s counselling services and also tend to write notes to each other between shifts to keep in touch with the other volunteers on different shifts. Each shift there is always one ‘oldie’, which is a volunteer that has done three shifts be-

what is right for one person may not be right for another. They explained, when someone calls Nightline, the volunteer just gets a snippet of the person and their situation, so it’s not Nightline’s position to advise. Their motto is ‘we’ll listen, not lecture’ and that’s exactly what they do. Nightline doesn’t mind if a caller says as much or as little as they want on the phone. Sometimes they receive silent callers, which is absolutely fine too, when someone just needs to know someone is there and hear “it’s okay, I’m here if you need me”. During calls like these, the volunteer will stay on the phone with them, until the caller puts the phone down. In fact they will never hang up on a genuine caller, unless they are being abusive, as Nightline puts its volunteers first. Many of the volunteers have been on the phone for hours at a time on

ceboard and search engines, so an extra pair of eyes to point it out is always appreciated. Cardiff Nightline is based in a house in Cardiff, with a room with a very loud telephone; I was told it’s as loud as a fire alarm. Each shift runs from 8pm until 8am and there are normally two or three volunteers in the house. Most of the volunteers bring their pyjamas and sleep until the phone rings, although some of the volunteers like to stay up quite late, it’s personal preference. Onesies are advised, as like all Cardiff houses, it gets a little chilly this time of the year - jokingly the group told me they would love custom made Nightline onesies, although I can’t quite see them getting the funding for those. Nightline has a strong support system for its volunteers. They each have a mentor and can always

fore and is confident enough to be in charge and there are usually one or two 'newies' too (although there are always committee members on call). The volunteers are trained over a weekend in listening skills and general techniques, but also regularly attend talks from guest speakers on relevant topics, such as depression, LGBT support, eating disorders and Women’s Aid. These talks help the volunteers to get a better understanding of some of the issues callers face, so they can help them as best as possible. Although some nights Nightline does not receive any calls, other nights they may receive seven or eight, with a record sixteen one Fresher’s week. They told me they have sometimes noticed a correlation with busy nights out in town but don’t mind at all. One volunteer

acknowledged “being drunk makes you honest”, explaining that sometimes a person may have needed to lose their inhibitions a little to get something off their chest. Nightline is available when no one else is there and all your flatmates are in bed. Drunken calls however, are only a small percentage of calls received and Nightline encourage students to call them whatever their problem or circumstance. Recently Nightline has received publicity from Stephen Fry, with his bid for support on Radio 4. He explains “for many callers, talking to another student from their own university is literally a lifeline”. Stephen, who has nephews and Godchildren at universities around the country, said the volunteers have helped over a million people and hear stories of eating disorders, depression and addiction. The charity trains 2000 students a year to work voluntarily and anonymously but is wanting to expand its services to online listening and text listening, with help from Radio 4 listeners. So far, the Radio 4 Appeal has received over £7000 for the charity. In 2010 Cardiff ’s Nightline won the Nightline of the year award, so clearly the team are doing an amazing job. In fact, applications for a new batch of Nightline volunteers closed last week and the team are

looking forward to welcoming over 20 ‘newies’ to the group and training them up soon. Cardiff Nightline’s website is currently being re-vamped too, so look out for that if you want to find out more. And if ever you need someone to listen, please don’t hesitate to call Nightline on 02920 870 555.

22Science Easing students into scientific academia

Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd •

Kat Bowles introduces Speaking for Science and how the student-run event can help research students gain invaluable experience in a relaxed environment It can be daunting to lead discussion and present your work to an audience, so an event organised for postgraduates, by postgraduates with support from the University Graduate College, aims to break students in to the world of academia. This year, the Speaking of Science event celebrates a full decade of postgraduate led discussions and presentations about cutting edge research carried out by fellow postgraduate students in Cardiff. All science-based schools are represented in this event, including the physical sciences and engineering, as well as the biomedical and life sciences, giving the opportunity for students to share their work with a broad, non-specialist scientific audience. Similar events are planned for other research disciplines, ‘Voice of Humanities’ will be held on 22 March and ‘Spotlight on Social Science’ on 30 March.

Many students may never have presented a poster before, and how to go about doing so for the first time is often a bit of a mystery

Postgraduate researchers from neighbouring institutions are also invited to SoS, further broadening the scope of research on display. Such diversity in students attending and presenting their work at the conference makes SoS a truly exciting event, that is unlike any other science event held by Cardiff

University. Previous students who have attended the event have called a “broad-ranging conference for a day of refreshing science explained in an easy-to-understand way.” Others have applauded the event for crossing boundaries between departments and for showcasing the achievements of the university. "It was great to see the range of research that goes on in the University. Also an opportunity to make links with different departments.” Attendance by a vast assortment of research backgrounds may well launch some intriguing interdisciplinary collaborations, or indeed sow the seeds for brand new ideas or experiments, influenced by entirely different branches of science. Having trouble modelling fluid dynamics from a pump? Perhaps speak to a medic researching the heart. Do you want to do some brain imaging but just can’t get your head around an MRI scanner? A physicist would be the perfect person to speak to! SoS is so beneficial to researchers as it provides the environment for these exciting relationships and collaborations to flourish. It is important for all students to occasionally have the opportunity to escape the bubble of the lab, and as a postgraduate student myself, I know that long hours in the lab and reading specialist papers can make even the most social student feel isolated. SoS is a great way to take a break from your everyday toil and strife, and see what everyone else is up to. It is also a comfortable space where you can discuss your experiences as a postgraduate with other students, and make some new social connections outside of your department, which may prove invaluable

A student presents her work at last year's SoS event in a relaxed environment with no research staff in attendance after spending six solid hours working in a dark basement with the same person every day. As no research staff attend SoS, the event provides a relaxed, nonthreatening environment in which students can develop their presentation skills and confidence in their ability to communicate their work in an accessible way, before moving on to larger conferences. Many students just starting their PhD may never have presented a poster before, and how to go about doing so for the first time is often a bit of a mystery. Speaking of Science prides itself not only on its postgraduate-led in-

terdisciplinary nature, but also on attracting quality keynote speakers who are keen to speak to and meet the next generation of researchers. Previous years have included talks by reptile specialist Dr. Rhys Jones (star of BBC series ‘Rhys to the Rescue’), and Dr. Kevin Fong, an expert in space medicine. This year, students will be treated to a talk from Professor Chris Budd, a mathematician from the University of Bath, who will be speaking about ‘Maths and the Making of the Modern World.’ As this is the 10th Speaking of Science conference, we are aiming to make it the biggest, widest rang-

ing and most successful event so far. All science PhD students are encouraged to submit an abstract to present either a poster or give a talk at this worthwhile and fascinating event. Lunch and refreshments are provided during the day, followed by a wine reception while cash prizes for the best posters and talks are presented. Further information about this event and previous years’ events can be found at Alternatively, join the Facebook group (search for ‘Speaking of Science’), or follow the event on Twitter (@speakingofsci). We hope to see you there!

Malaria death estimate twice as high as previously thought deaths occurred in children over five and adults than the WHO predicted. Dr Christopher Murray, leading the study, said "You learn in medi-

Angharad Tye-Reeve Science Writer

Researchers have found the number of worldwide malaria fatalities may be up to twice as high as previously estimated. A study, published in the British media journal, The Lancet, reveals that 1.24 million people died from the disease in 2010. Compare this to the 655,000 deaths estimated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2010 and the contrast in figures is worrying. However, both the new research and the WHO have confirmed that global numbers of malaria deaths are steadily falling by an average of 7% each year. This huge difference in statistics is due to a new approach in collecting data. The study, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, used new computer modelling to

“ build a historical database for malaria between 1980 and 2010. The study incorporated countries where mortality rates had not previously been recorded and cases where the cause of death had been misattributed. This focus alone created a 21% increase on previous estimates. The findings were, that deaths had risen

from 995,000 in 1980 to a peak of 1.82 million in 2004, before falling to 1.24 million in 2010. While the majority of malaria victims in Africa are young children, the study found that the number of deaths in older children and adults were higher than estimated. Approximately, 4330,000 more

The number of deaths in adults and older children was underestimated by 4330,000

cal school that people exposed to malaria as children develop immunity and rarely die from malaria as adults." "What we have found in hospital records, death records, surveys and other sources shows that this just is not the case."

The report concluded that the complete eradication of malaria would not be possible in the short term. Professor Rifat Atun, director of the Geneva based global fund, said: "Given the new burden that Christopher Murray has been able to show, we really need to ramp up investments in malaria and that really needs more funding. The mortality figures are much, much larger. We need to double our efforts to address the burden that we have." The Department for International Development said: "We are committed to helping halve malaria deaths in at least 10 of the worst affected countries. We will do this by increasing the number of bednets used by women and children; improving the diagnosis and treatment of malarial; and strengthening health information systems to better monitor progress and target interventions.

Societies Listings News Opinion Politics Feature 1-7 9 - 12 15 - 17 18 - 20 Science 26 - 27 28 - 29 22 - 24

Sport 37 - 40

Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd •


Mental madness: neuroscience in the news

Artificial brain estimates number of objects in image without counting

'Mind reading' one stage closer as scientists reconstruct words from patients' brain waves

Alexey Underwood

Laura Gwilliams Science Writer

Science Writer A new possible explanation behind the workings of the approximate number sense (ANS) has been discovered using a computer-based simulation of a group of neurones. The ANS is a rudimentary numerical skill, which allows us to rapidly estimate and compare quantities of objects without actually counting them.

The simulated model could be an accurate representation of visual systems in the real world

Until recently, it wasn’t known whether it developed as part of a specific set of mathematical abilities or simply as part of the general learning and maturation process. This question appears to have been answered by Marco Zorzi and Ivilin Stoianov of the University of Padua, who simulated networks of neurones and photoreceptors using a computer model. The model was designed to be able to deduce and learn a set of

rules by studying a sequence of images. As such, it was not submitted to any mathematical training; instead, it simply went through a simple visual learning process – much like that experienced by infants. The computer model acts as a digital neural network to which almost 52,000 images were 'shown' including rectangles of various sizes. The model then either weakened or strengthened its neuron connections depending on what it had previously experiences. Throughout the course of the experiment, the simulated brain was able to learn and understand the concept of “amount” and later responded to the quantities of presented shapes increasing or decreasing relative to each other, demonstrating an ANS. In their paper, published in Nature, the researchers likened the behaviour of the simulated neurones to that of parietal neurones of monkeys. Parietal region function is strongly linked to numeracy, suggesting that the simulated model could be an accurate representation of visual systems in the real world. In another study, also carried out by researchers of the University of Padua, mosquitofish were found to also have an ANS, suggesting that such a system is universal throughout the animal kingdom including fish which choose larger shoals for safety.

Neuroscientists recently made startling advances towards the ability to decode language from human brain waves, with the potential to enable paralysed patients to communicate. The technology uses electrodes to pick up electric impulses from the temporal lobe, the basis of the auditory system in the brain, reconstructing acoustic frequencies of the individual's 'imagined speech'. A previous study by Jack Gallant's group at University of California, Berkeley, have shown the ability to move a cursor on a screen from the representation of particular vowel sounds in the mind. Further study has shown promise in accessing information from the 'functional magnetic resonance imaging technique', which is hoped to identify words and ideas in the individual's mind from tracking blood flow in the brain. The approach which has allowed for the transposition of sounds into a recognisable form has built upon this research, undertaken by Brian Pasley and his colleagues at the same institution. They have been successful in advancing the technology by tapping into linguistic regions of the brain, and reconstructing acoustic frequencies which map

onto the cognitive representation in the individual's mind. One of the main difficulties faced in work of this kind is in identifying audio signals from the mass of electrical impulses. In order to pinpoint the relevant information, focus was placed on the 'superior temporal gyrus' area of the brain, which makes linguistic sense of sounds in our environment.

The technology uses electrodes to pick up electric impulses reconstructing acoustic frequencies of the individual's 'imagined speech'

The team enlisted participation from a number of epileptic patients waiting to receive brain surgery, who allowed the imposition of electrodes into the brain cortex. Activity in this region was then monitored when the patients heard different words and sentences, in order to create a computer model which details what parts of the brain fire at what rate in relation to the different sound frequencies being played.

This computer model then abled the reconstruction of the phonological perception of words the researchers played to the patients, on the basis of what acoustic frequency the computer model interpreted the brain waves to represent. Robert Knight, the co-author of the science group, suggests that due to the similar brain activation involved in hearing and thinking a word, this technology has the potential to extend into the production of internal verbalisations. He expresses such research as "a major step toward understanding what features of speech are represented in the human brain," as well as providing valuable information about the auditory process involved in typical speech production, and the potential to shed light over what level of speech is the most important in comprehension, be it at the phoneme, syllable or word level. Successful advances in this technology have obvious medical applications. One of the most prevalent of these being implications on the access of communication in individuals who are unable to produce speech, perhaps due to accident, disorder or disease. Given the importance humans place upon interaction, providing such individuals with the ability to produce language would have unquantifiable improvements to quality of life.

Nokia axes 4,000 jobs as previous mobile giant struggles to compete in current market Matt Bradley Science Writer Finnish mobile phone giant Nokia, has announced the axing of 4,000 jobs in Finland, Hungary and Mexico as it moves its assembly operations to Asia. The cuts, which amount to eight per cent of the companies’ workforce, come just months after Nokia closed its Romanian plant, which resulted in the loss of 2,200 jobs. The move brings the total number of jobs lost to 30,000 since former Microsoft executive, Stephen Elop, took over as CEO in September 2010. The cuts are part of a major restructuring of the business after

a massive fall in profit, which has continued despite Nokia’s attempts to claw back its market share with its new Windows phones. Quarterly earnings have fallen by 73 per cent, as Nokia has struggled to compete with its rivals in the smartphone market, especially Apple’s iPhone.

Finnish unions are demanding large redundancy packages for laidoff staff

It is hoped that the move will

speed up production by transferring assembly work to Nokia’s existing workforces in South Korea and China. But it has attracted criticism from the countries whose employment figures will suffer. The Hungarian government called the decision “regrettable”, while Finnish unions demanded large redundancy packages for laid-off staff. Nokia’s Finnish plant at Salo has been operating since 1979, and has long been the last major smartphone assembly plant in Western Europe – most of Nokia’s rivals have already shifted production to Asia. The plant is losing 1,000 staff in the cuts, while 2,300 jobs are to go in Hungary and 700 in Mexico.

24Science Russian scientists drill into Antarctic Lake Vostok which has been sealed off for milllenia Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd •

As scientists report breakthrough in reaching the lake, Trisha Chowdhury investigates how this discovery could reveal clues about evolution and unknown species


vast Antarctic ice sheet,” said John Priscu of Montana State University, an Antarctica specialist who has been in contact intermittently with the Russian team.

uried deep under the Antarctic ice is a liquid lake, untouched for almost 20 million years. Russian scientists have reported success in drilling their way through an Antarctic glacier and reaching the surface of the vast Lake Vostok. Russia's Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) in St Petersburg has been overseeing this particular project. Valery Lukin, from the AARI, said, “This fills my soul with joy. This will give us the possibility to biologically evaluate the evolution of living organisms [...] because those organisms spent a long time without contact with the atmosphere, without sunlight."

The findings of this research have excited scientists world-wide

This will give us the possibility to biologically evaluate the evolution of living organisms

There are more than 300 sub-glacial lakes. These lakes are predominantly huge bodies of water that have been kept liquid as a result of geothermal heat and pressure. They form an important aspect of Antarctic study, since they are a part of a vast and dynamic hydrological network that has been under ice for thousands or even millions of years. Some of the lakes are inter-connected, which enables them to exchange water with each other. However, some of them, such as Lake Vostok, are isolated and completely cut off from the exchange system. In such instances, the water of the lakes has been untouched for thousands of years. If the water was sampled, it might enable the detection of new organisms that have been unknown to the world of science. These organisms have been devoid of sunlight or any atmospheric contact due to the large sheets of ice. Lake Vostok is an enormous stretch of water, spreading across 15,000 square kilometres. The lake is also more than 800 metres deep.

The size and the depth of the lake make it very similar to Lake Baikal in Siberia or Lake Ontario in North America. In the year 1956, the project of drilling into Lake Vostok was started by Russia and consequently, the Vostok Station was set up in Antarctica. It is 50 years since the study began, but the Russian scientists were unaware that it was even a lake they were about to uncover for the first 35 years. All they knew was that a vast expanse of liquid existed beneath the ice surface that was confirmed after reports of seismic soundings. It was not before the late 1990s that British scientists were able to determine the full size of the lake by using radar. This discovery went on to show the tremendous scope that the research had in store. The Russian team then went to Vostok after the research facilities were set up at the South Pole by the United States of America. The Vostok area was the one that

Editor's Comment ....................................................................................... The news that Lake Vostok has been reached is truly exciting. Russian scientists take the glory this time, as they beat the Americans in a project that has been compared to the moon race in terms of time, dedication and scientific achievement. After trying for more than two decades in hostile conditions, scientists have pierced Antartica’s frozen crust to reveal a huge, subglacial lake that has remained untouched for over 14 million years.

was coveted by the Russians since it is close to the geomagnetic South Pole, which is an important site for observing the Earth’s magnetic fields. To achieve this discovery, the Russian scientists used a thermal drill on the last 30 feet of ice. Next, they pierced the lake and drew water from it through the borehole. Russian scientists have also confirmed that they have successfully taken a 40 litre water sample from 'the last frontier’ on earth. It is hoped that the sample will reveal microbial life forms that existed before the Ice Age. The scientists will later remove a frozen sample for analysis in December when the next Antarctic summer emerges. The findings of this research have excited scientists world-wide and in many different fields. It may benefit those in the field of astrobiology to determine the probability of the existence of life outside this planet. Many planetary moons are

covered by a thick layer ice with water below in a liquid state. This liquid water is kept warm by the inner heat of the moon or by tidal forces. The findings would throw light on conditions prevailing in Jupiter’s moon Europa or Saturn’s moon Encedadus that have fascinated scientists for a long time. Climate change is also another area where the findings at Lake Vostok may prove useful. About 70 percent of the planet’s fresh water is found in Antarctica in the form of ice or sub-glacial liquid. The findings will help scientists to understand possible future rises in global sea levels, a phenomenon that climate change researchers predict will happen due to global warming. Many scientists around the world support this research and its possible findings. “If they were successful, their efforts will transform the way we do science in Antarctica and provide us with an entirely new view of what exists under the

It is believed that this is the only place on earth that has remained isolated for such a long time. Consequently, this discovery holds many possibilities for advancing our knowledge in several scientific fields. The water that has been sampled could contain organisms that have never been seen before. Creatures with incredible adaptations in order to be able to withstand the freezing temperature and the high oxygen levels in the water could be revealed. Primeval bacteria that could bring us closer to understanding the origin of life may be identified.

There are, however, some critics of this research. Some scientists express their doubt about whether life forms could exist in the harsh conditions as Lake Vostok presents (a temperature of minus eighty nine degrees at times of the year). Other criticisms have also surfaced. Mahlon “Chuck” Kennicutt, a professor of chemical oceanography at Texas A&M University, is an expert in polar dynamics. He warns that expectations for this project may be too high. “Physical and chemical measurements might establish whether the lake is fresh or salt water, whether it is normally or over pressured, and what other geochemistry may be apparent. The problem is that Lake Vostok is the size of Lake Ontario. You can imagine sampling Lake Ontario from a plane at a height of four kilometres with a straw that just brushes the top of the lake and then try to describe the lake from this incomplete picture.” Others contemplate the contamination threats that the act of drilling poses to the pristine lake. The lake has not had contact with the atmosphere and has not even felt the wind for more than 20 million years. It could be contaminated by kerosene, Freon and other materials used in the process of drilling. Vladimir Chuprov, from Greenpeace Russia, said, "There is a set of risks which can damage this relic lake and some of them are connected with polluting the lake with the drilling fluids, as well as other stuff that can get into this unique lake." The project holds a lot of expectations and the world looks on with bated breath. It will be some time before the official findings of the project are released Until then, Lake Vostok and what lies beneath will continue to be a mystery to all.

Lake Vostok is truly one of the world’s last unexplored frontiers and it is suspected that this discovery may reveal a glimpse of the planet before the ice age. If life is found in the sample, it may also bring scientists closer to answering whether life can exist on other planets such as Mars or the Jupiter's moon, Europa, where the conditions are similar to those found in the lake. This could be a true breakthrough for the scientific community and I look forward to hearing about the future findings of this incredible project - Natalie Healey



Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd •

Malaysian Society's Festival of Diversity: Pahlawan the Musical

Katie Brown Societies Writer If you’re like me, you probably know little about Malaysian culture. Well, the Festival of Diversity is the Malaysian Society’s annual chance to change that with a song and dance spectacular - this year, Pahlawan the Musical. For the first time ever the event is taking place at St David’s Hall, giving the society an opportunity to reach a much wider audience. I say Malaysian culture, but actually Malaysia is a multicultural country, composed primarily of Malays, Chinese and Indians, and all three are represented in the show, both in terms of the cast and the routines. It was a desire to raise awareness of this unique cultural mixture that inspired the first Festival of Diversity nine years ago, as André Lim, former President of Malaysian Society, told me. He explained that back then it was little more than a talent show, a sort of Malaysia’s Got Talent, but over the years it grew into a play and then into its current musical format. It is one of the three key events that Malaysian Society runs throughout the year. While Festival of Diversity focuses on culture, the Cardiff European Games bring together Malaysian students from across Europe for sporting competitions, and an annual Leadership Conference focuses more on business, politics and economics. Through these events, as well as day-to-day activities like mentoring new students, the Malaysian Society works to create a community of Malaysian students, not just within Cardiff, but all over Britain and beyond. The musical is a particular draw for Malaysian students from far and wide; law student Linnie Ooi explains that she came down from Aberystwyth for the show last year and this year has friends visiting from all over Britain for the event. The main event of the night, Pahlawan the Musical, reinvented the age old folk tale of Hang Tuah, a warrior from the 15th century Malaccan Sultanate, torn between love and loyalty. He has become a hero fighting pirates with his brother, but when the Sultan sends him on mission to procure the beautiful Princess Tun Teja’s hand in marriage, Tuah’s life is turned upside down. This story is told through both drama and song, but I was surprised to find that the songs were not traditional Malaysian pieces, or even new works in that style, but mainly adaptations of songs from popular West End musicals like Wicked and Miss Saigon, and pop hits from Michael Jackson to Coldplay (with two Malaysian pieces thrown in). Nonetheless, I am reliably informed that the incidental music was very typical Malaysian fare and the overwhelming feel of the show, from the brightly coloured traditional outfits to the martial arts fight scenes, was undeniably Malaysian. Moreover, the electrifying dance scenes, a highlight of the show, showed off the diverse styles of the different cultures that make up Malaysia.

On the whole, the cast gave very strong performances considering they are all amateurs. Vingesh Raja as Tuah gave a solid, heart-felt performance (although he did lose himself during the songs in a charmingly overblown way that reminded me of when I sing along to musicals in my bedroom when no-one is watching!). As his brother Jebat, Leon Lee put in a particularly strong performance while Elizabeth Wong as Tun Teja displayed a surprisingly good voice. Comedy relief came in bucket loads from Sivaram Prasad who hammed up the role of Sultan Mahmud, turning him into a perfect pantomime villain. Equally funny and charming was Amanda Chong as the vivacious lady’s maid Suria, whose rendition of I Can Hear the Bells was the best vocal performance of the musical. All in all, despite a tragic ending to the show, my overall impression of it was very cheesy but very fun, I think because the enthusiasm of the cast and their joy in performing was infectious. However, the musical was not all the Malaysian Society had on offer tonight, but rather sandwiched between two other exciting, energetic performances. The first was from special guests, Festival Drums all the way from the University of Liverpool. This was a perfect start to the show, impressively choreographed playing of traditional drums, and I was especially pleased to see that the drummers included a wide range of people, not just Malaysians, showing that the event really is trying to be inclusive. Then after the musical came the Dikir Barat, which seemed to be the moment everyone had been waiting for judging by the cheers when it was announced. This traditional seated dance, involving lots of clapping, and accompanying upbeat songs, was a real highlight. It was incredible to see about a hundred Malaysian Society members dancing as one and with so much energy, while the crowd sang, clapped and cheered along. By the end of the night, I have certainly learnt a lot more about Malaysian culture. I can now recognise traditional music, dress and dance styles, have learnt a key story from Malaysian folklore and even have a few recipes to try out from the programme. But more than that, I feel like I have really learnt something about the spirit of Malaysia. One of the aims of the show was to celebrate “a people, proud, diverse and united despite the apparent differences in creed and colour” and in this aim, Festival of Diversity most definitely succeeded. From not just the performers but the audience, the overwhelming passion for their homeland and strength of their community was obvious and inspiring. Directors Stephanie Wong and Aqil Ariffin, as well as the enormous team of performers and crew, deserve a huge congratulations for putting such a successful night together and bringing a little bit of Malaysia to Cardiff.

Mon 20 February Chess Society

5.00pm - 7.00pm, Rhona Griffiths Room, SU

Tue 21 February Fruit & Veg Co-Op

11.00am - 4.00pm, 3rd floor of SU

Wed 22 February Kenyan Society's 'Child Soldiers' Talk

7.00pm - 9.00pm, Aneurin Bevan Room, SU

Thu 23 February

Cardiff Experimental Theatre Society

5.00pm - 9.00pm, Workshop, Gareth Edwards Room, SU

Sat 25 February

Asian Society's 'Elements: The Ball' 6.00pm - 1.00am, National Museum Cardiff

Sat 25 February

Law Society Ball

7.00pm - 12.00am, City Hall Cardiff

Sun 26 February Expression's Go Global Performance

7.00pm - 11.00pm, Great Hall, SU

Sat 26 February

Capoeira Society's Go Global 1.00pm - 6.00pm, venue TBC

Follow @GairRhyddSoc for the latest news and info on future articles.

Listings News Opinion Politics Feature Science 22 - 24 Societies 28 - 29 1-7 9 - 12 15 - 17 18 - 20 26 - 27

Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd •

Innocent Until Proven Guilty? Isabelle Roberts Societies Editor Cardiff Law School invites all students and members of the public to their second annual Innocence Week. All week the students, staff and members of the public will be concentrating on educating and raising awareness of the problem of wrongful convictions. There will be a specific focus on the work done by the Law School Innocence Project, the progress they have made and the problems faced. Sophia Daw gives us the lowdown on the events running this week: “On Monday February 20 there will be a Law Netball v Law Football, Netball Match from 5.30pm in the Talybont Sport Centre. On Tuesday February 21, there will be an introductory presentation (for first year Law Students only) between 1.10pm and 2.00pm in room 0.22 of the Law Building. There will also be a “Justice for Appeals” talk with Sion Jenkins & Laurie Elks. Laurie Elks, former CCRC Commissioner, and Sion Jenkins, a high-profile miscarriage of justice victim, discuss their own experiences of the appeal system and their suggestions towards the “reform debate”. Members of the audience are invited to seek the views of our guest speakers on diverse issues. This will be between 6.30pm and 8.00pm in the same room. Thursday 23rd (at 6.30pm in room 1.30 of the Law Building), we have a “ Sex Offender? A Former Prisoner Outlines his 15-year Battle for Justice” talk. This evening’s speaker invites you to make up your own minds about this. Please note that parts of this presentation will describe, in explicit detail, allegations of sexual abuse. Some people may find this offensive. Come along to our events and find out about the Innocent Project.”

A new Pagan Society...? Isabelle Roberts Societies Editor Cardiff University Pagan Society folded in 2009 through a lack of members. In 2010, Katherine Willis started at Cardiff University and talks to gair rhydd about her efforts to start the society again. “As an active Pagan I was disappointed to learn that the University no longer had such a society. Efforts to get one off the ground were hampered because I was unable to find sufficient people to form the society. In 2011, I met a first year student who was very keen to get a society started. We had a long discussion in the pub, and in the process were approached by two more students who wished to join such a group. It was felt that by aiming for a purely Pagan group we were limiting potential members. Paganism is an inclusive religious path and there are people who do not consider themselves Pagan following similar principles and lifestyles to those who do. There is cross over between some Pagan aspects and those who use alternative therapies, practice divination (such as reading tarot cards) or who follow an earth based spirituality. I have friends who are Christian Druids and they would not be interested in a Pagan group, but they would be interested in an Earth Spirituality group which has a broader base. “If we manage to get a sufficient amount of people interested then we hope as a group to arrange regular socials so as to meet people with similar interests, talks covering a range of topics from aromatherapy to laylines to alternative religions, and arrange visits to places of interest such as Carreg Coetan Arthur. “It can be a struggle finding the minimum numbers, especially when people who follow non-conventional lifestyle routes fear being ridiculed if they make their interests known, so it

has been tricky to get the society started. However, the group (now numbering six) now feels optimistic that it is possible. “A facebook group called Cardiff University Earth Spirituality Circle has been formed. We do make it clear that we are not yet an affiliated society and that we would like to become one. We are meeting at on Feburary 21st at 7.00pm in the Taf and want anyone interested to come along. This is just a social meet up and hopefully the formation of a new society for those interested > in alternative beliefs, therapies or lifestyles. Come along and try us out! For more information contact”.

Celebrating 15 Years of Fun & Friendship Catherine Allen Societies Writer SSAGS (Student Scout and Guide Society) is one of the oldest societies in Cardiff University, and we’ll soon be celebrating our 15th Birthday. Although many in the society are new members this year, we also enjoy having postgraduates coming to join us with our weekly socials. To celebrate our birthday in style, everyone involved in the society (past and current members) is invited to a party being held on World Thinking Day and Founders Day (22nd February) - an important date for Scouts/Guides all around the world. Popular opinion might be that we’ll be celebrating 15 years of camping, hiking and the like - but we don’t just get muddy and make fires. Socials this year have included pub crawls, BBQs, bowling in the bay and bouldering, and the coming semester promises even more fun socials to suit everyone: such as Barry Island trip, night hike, Castell Coch, rifle shooting and a food hike (perfect for anyone who enjoys food!). We also meet every Wednesday lunchtime in the Kitchen, as we know not everyone can make the weekly socials. Having said we do a wide range of activities to suit everyone, we have been known to cater for those more inclined to the traditional Scout and Guide activities: before Christmas, a group of us set out in the cold and rain for a hike to enjoy the waterfalls in parts of the Black Mountains - a day that left not an inch of clothing dry, but one that will be remembered for a long time to come! It was also not in the distant past when many of us were braving the cold at Miskin campsite to celebrate the end of exams. Even though it was a relief for everyone to come home to temperatures higher than freezing point, everyone was in high spirits as we experienced laser shooting, archery, campfires, and a pub quiz. It’s also not long until the yearly SSAGO February Rally (open to members of the Student Scout and Guide Organisation from all over the UK) takes place, this year in Southampton. The theme is ‘Magical’, and dressing up for the traditional Barn Dance on the Saturday evening is a must! Many members of SSAGS will be attending, along with over 100 others from around Britain, for a weekend bursting with activities from skiing, hiking and a trip to the zoo, to a man’s day out, bowling and pub crawls. Another of SSAGO’s yearly events is a SSAGO Ball - after all, it’s not often in a society like ours that we get to see each other all dressed up! This year, we’ll be making a very exciting trip to Cambridge, where the hosts have arranged an amazing three course meal in one of the colleges, along with accommodation in the halls themselves. SSAGS will also be ‘bidding for Ball’ next year (2013), in the hope that we’ll be hosting a spectacular ‘Night at the Museum’-themed Ball here in our very own Cardiff. From the success of last year, when SSAGS organised the Legendary Rally, it would surely be a weekend to remember. It really is amazing to be part of a society jam-packed with weekly activities that everyone can enjoy. It’s only right that we celebrate 15 years of fun and friendship, and look forward to the next 15, already bursting with events that are sure to be remembered for a lifetime.

Sport 37 - 40


Cardiff University's Investment Society Isabelle Roberts Societies Editor

So what exactly is the Investment Society? Cardiff University Investment Society is undergoing a relaunch. They offer support to those that are interested in any job in the Financial Industry. The society operates in two ways: a Trading Focused Meeting and a Workshop session. The university has been entered into an international competition (where the university will compete against a wide range of universities from places as far afield as Poland and Brazil) with prizes. The company running the game visits every week, and provide insight and guidance on the markets as well help harness trading strategies and knowledge. Joe Trigg, from the society, talks to gair rhydd about it. “There will be opportunities to use and be taught professional charting equipment as well as harness expert tutorials on portfolio, risk and trade management.” He adds that “Weekly attendance gives the opportunity for a first class, hands on chance to study the market, in a near exact replica of the real world environment you may aspire to work in. Coupled with the tutelage on offer, the CV benefits of coming are fantastic! Please do not be put off if you are new to the markets - we have a variety of resources to help you and all of our meetings are run at a very-newbie-friendly rate - whilst winning is great, the emphasis of the trading game and these meetings is to learn. “Our meetings are for anybody who has any interest in a career in the financial markets or want to know more. These sessions come in a variety of forms from guest speakers - details to come, CV and Interview workshops, guides to aspects of the industry or tutorials on subjects that are an interest to our members. These sessions are driven by you! If there is a preference for certain things these meetings will be designed to meet that. Alongside these meetings, there is also the opportunity to access a mock Dealing Room - a suite of computers in the business school sponsored by OSTC and Eurex allowing the opportunity to learn how to use the latest professional charting and trading software. Attendance at both meetings is not required – it is all about using the society to help you with your career plans.” Cardiff University Investment Society are also having a Speaker Series. Joe Trigg explains: “We are pleased to announce that the Investment Society will be putting on a wide range of speakers this term. On Monday 27th February the Hedge Fund Principle & former leading Aviva Fund Manager, Gerry Holtham, shares his experience in how to build and manage a successful hedge fund. Thursday 29th February a Commodity Hedge Fund Manager reveals how he uses options and other derivatives to exploit short and longer term market trend. On Thursday 15th March an Investment/Pension Fund Portfolio Manager will come to discuss how he has built a multi-asset fund that outperforms market benchmarks. The talks will be suitable for those with all experiences and will avoid technical jargon as much as possible to include everyone. Every talk will end with a question and answer session, giving you the chance to talk to market professionals about career planning or any other topics. All meetings and talks will be in Room F46 of the Business School from 5pm - 7pm.”

Are you: Putting on a play? Playing in a concert? Hosting an event? Doing a workshop? Raising money for charity? Going on a trip? Then write about it! Email: If you would like to join a society, or see a full list of opportunities, visit:




Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd •

The Complete


Student Guide

What's On in Cardiff

Feb 20th- 26th 2012 Feb 13th- 19th 2012

Monday 20th Go Karting Fuzzy Logic

TeamSport Cardiff, Curran Road, 5:30pm, £25.00

Oceana, 9:30pm, £3.50

Now that most of the controversy surrounding the events at Oceana some weeks ago have faded, things can return to normal and there are few cheaper places to go for a night out on Mondays than at Oceana. The usual selection of rooms will be available with the Ice Bar, Monte Carlo, New York Disco and Sydney Harbourside.

It might not be Formula One but for £25.00 you can go for an unlimited night of go karting at the Teamsport Cardiff indoor arena. A 400m track with an incredible combination of tasking hairpins and sweeping wide bends with a couple of slippery corners, ensure that driver skills are at a premium. The price may seem a little steep but there are probably few better ways to get one over on your mates on a Monday night.

Tuesday 21st Avenue Q Caroline Harrison

New Theatre, 7:30pm, from £9.00

10 Feet Tall, 8:00pm, £3.00

Considered as one of the finest and most successful acts to grace both Broadway and the West End in recent years, Avenue Q is worth every penny to see. Described by many a critic as providing nothing but constant hilarity The show documents the irresistibly charming and wickedly funny musical about the lovably hopeless characters on a downtown New York street trying to make sense of life's burning issue. Full of talent, full of laughs and very, very popular, a must see.

Despite the dominance of Facebook in the social media market, MySpace still remains the place for up and coming artists to gain exposure and get themselves noticed. Caroline Harrison has built up quite the following on the website and has performed to critical acclaim around small venues in the country. Mixing elements of acoustic/ folk and soul music she is the perfect compliment to having a few quiet drinks with friends.

Wednesday 22nd Act One Presents: Terry Pratchett's Monstrous Regiment

The Lash - Around the World Party Solus, 9:30pm, £3.00

The Gate, 7:30pm, £5.00 NUS, £7.00

So another week rolls on and with it comes another themed night at The Lash. Considering Cardiff has thousands of international students, there should be no shortage of customers who are looking to celebrate their patriotism while consuming far too much alcohol. Face paint, football shirts and berets are appropriate attire here, with drinks, as always, starting at a competitive £1.49.

Cardiff University's finest drama group this week will be performing an adaptation of Terry Pratchett's 2003 novel "Monstrous Regiment". A humorous story that centres around the journey of a young girl, named Polly, who is looking for her lost brother, Paul. To do this she decides to pose as a man in order to enlist in the army, and finds herself amongst a group of others who have had the same idea. Full of all the usual antics of the group and plenty of laughs throughout.


Listings Editor Gareth Johnston

@ GRlistings

Cardiff Student Media

News Opinion Politics Feature Science Societies 9 - 12 15 - 17 18 - 20 22 - 24 26 - 27 1-7

Listings 28 - 29

Sport 37 - 40

Listings 29

Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd •

Thursday 23rd Best in Live Comedy: Craig Hill and Junior Simspon

Cardiff University Postgraduate Open Evening: Science and Engineering

Glee Club, 7:15pm, £6.00

Main Building 4:30-6:30pm

The list of quality comedians to grace Cardiff's Glee Club is seemingly endless and this week is no exception in terms of the talent on offer. The star name here is Junior Simspson, who is a regular on the BBC's comedy panel shows. Craig Hill offers an act that is full of unadulterated camp comedy, with the somewhat comicallly named New Zealander, Jarred Christmas, completing the lineup.

We can't always advertise the best places to go and get drunk or what bands are in town, so maybe it's about time you started thinking about your future...maybe. The Main Building will be transformed into numerous stalls of information for those who are looking to further their knowledge in the schools of Health and Biomedical Sciences, Physical Sciences & Engineering. Heads of department will be on hand to answer any queries you may have regarding the various courses.

Friday 24th Lisa Lashes

Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra

Club X, 9:00pm, £12.00

St.David's Hall 9:00pm, £4.00

Cited by Paul Van Dyk and Armin Van Buuren as the finest female DJ on the global circuit, Lisa Lashes needs no introduction as a world-class act. Proceedings will start at 9pm sharp and continue long into the night (6am), with Lashes pumping out hours of her finest content from albums such as High Vision, Election Day and 52 Degrees. An opportunity not to be missed if you are looking to experience the work of a DJ that would normally cost you a fortune.

If you are looking for something a little bit different this weekend, then you can sample one of the finest musical ensembles that the country has to offer. For just £4.00 you can sit back and relax to some of the finest classical pieces ever written, being played to the point of absolute perfection. Any classical music fans, or those who are interested in expanding their knowledge of this genre would certainly find this to be an enjoyable night out.

Saturday 25th Comeplay Student Nights at Bunker

Solus, 9:30pm, £5.00

Bunker Bar, 9:00pm, £4.00

The one Union night that perhaps doesn't need any promoting, Comeplay is still the place to go for students looking to avoid town on a Saturday night. For those who didn't know, the event is run by an external company - Comeplay UK and has now been making a killing at Cardiff Students' Union for over a decade. Tickets have gone up slightly in price in recent weeks to £5.00, but drink prices remain relatively static, and as always, food will be on offer in the Taf throughout the night.

Bristol's hottest nightclub has recently found a place in Cardiff on St. Mary's Street. After a successful launch last week, it will likely soon be the place that students head to if they are looking to have a few drinks on a Saturday night. As the only student-specific night in the city centre, drinks will start at just £1.50, with tickets for early entry available online at A brand new club with competitive prices and a few less troublemakers, what's not to love?

Sunday 26th Norma Jean Ellen and the Escapades + We Were Evergreen Clwb Ifor Bach 7:30pm, £8.00

You really are spoiled for choice for music in Cardiff this week and Welsh Club is serving up a treat with three brilliant acts. The first, Ellen and the Escapades have been compared to a British version of Mumford and Sons, with elements of Fleetwood Mac. We Were Evergreen bring some lighter folk-rock to the table with support from alternative-country outfit King Charles.

For Tickets to All SU Events

Telephone: 029 2078 1400 Box office

Visit :

CF10, 7:00pm, £13.00

Unfortunately this has nothing to do with 50s pin up Marilyn Monroe, but it does give you the opportunity to see the Grammy award nominated band, who share the same name. A metalcore outfit, based in Atlanta, Georgia, Norma Jean have played with the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Dragonforce, Avenged Sevenfold, Black Label Society, Lacuna Coil and System of a Down. This impressive resume combined with substantial sales of their most recent album Meridonial have seen the band rise in acclaim and fortune, and are well known for their electric live performances.


Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd •

Y Sherman ar ei newydd wedd Mared Gwenllian Griffiths Taf-od Gan fod y drysau wedi bod ar gau ers Chwefror 2010 er mwyn cwblhau gwaith adnewyddu sylweddol, mae’n siwr bod y mwyafrif ohonoch yn adnabod Theatr y Sherman fel y safle adeiladau ar y ffordd i Senghennydd! Ond, ail agorwyd y drysau ar y 4ydd o Chwefror, ac mae yno ddwy theatr, cyntedd a chaffi newydd. Mae’r Sherman wedi derbyn £3.8m o arian Loteri er mwyn ariannu’r datblygiadau i’r ardaloedd cyhoeddus a thu ôl i’r llwyfan. Cafodd y cyfan ei ddylunio gan Jonathan Adams, o Capita Architecture (nhw wnaeth ddylunio Canolfan y Mileniwm). Felly beth all y Sherman ei gyn-

nig i chi? Mae’r calendr yn llawn o ddigwyddiadau amrywiol ar gyfer y tymor agoriadol, a gan fod prisiau gostyngedig ar gyfer myfyrwyr a rheini dan 25 (hanner pris ar gyfer rhai dan 25, felly gofynnwch am hyn yn hytrach nag am docyn myfyriwr), dylai pawb fentro draw yno i fanteisio ar y cynigion ac i brofi ychydig o ddiwylliant! O ran dramâu mae dewis eang yn y Sherman yn ystod ei chyfnod agoriadol. Sgint oedd y ddrama gyntaf i gael ei llwyfannu yn y Sherman yn dilyn yr ail-agoriad, darllenwch yr adolygiad os am wybod mwy! Bydd Sgint yn cael ei dilyn gan Lovesong a fydd yn cael ei llwyfannu rhwng y

Adeilad y Sherman cyn yr adnewyddu...

15fed a’r 18fed o Chwefror. Abi Morgan yw awdures y sioe sydd yn trin a thrafod y syniad o gariad am oes rhwng cariadon. Comedi dywyll yw drama gyntaf Tim Price, For Once, fydd yn cael ei llwyfannu rhwng y 23ain o Chwefror a’r 3ydd o Fawrth. Mae’r ddrama wedi ei selio ar dref farchnad fach ar ffin Cymru – mae’r ddrama yn ôl y Sherman yn mynd yn syth at galon teulu a chymuned sydd, yn sgil trasiedi, wedi eu troi wyneb i waered. Yna bydd A Provincial Life yn cael ei llwyfannu rhwng y 1af a’r 17eg o Fawrth gan Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru. Portread a gawn yma gan Peter Gill o fywyd taleithiol yn Rwsia yn ystod yr 1980au. Mae’r ddrama wedi'i selio ar stori fer ingol Chekhov, yn dilyn ymdrech un dyn ifanc i newid ei statws breintiedig am fywyd gweithiwr. Mae'r ddrama boenus, delynegol hon yn archwilio'r dyhead am gydraddoldeb mewn ffordd sydd yn canu cloch yn yr oes bresennol. Felly mae digonedd o ddewis o ran dramâu yn y Sherman. Yn ogystal â hyn, bydd Cerys Mathews yn perfformio yno ar nos Fercher yr 22ain o Chwefror. Mae tocynnau’r cyngerdd hwn wedi hen werthu allan yn anffodus, ond mae’n enghraifft o’r amrywiaeth a

fydd yn cael ei gynnig yno. Mae’r dyddiadur yn llawn digwyddiadau yn ystod tymor agoriadol y Sherman, ond yn ogystal â hyn mae’r cynllun “drama dudalen” er mwyn llenwi waliau’r theatr. Fel mae’r enw yn awgrymu, gall unrhyw un yrru drama i’r Sherman, cyn belled nad ydi hi’n hirach nag un dudalen A4. Yna bydd y gwaith yn cael ei arddangos ar waliau'r Sherman fel ffordd o’i bedyddio. Os hoffech weld eich gwaith ar waliau'r theatr, y dyddiad cau yw’r 4ydd o Fawrth. Ewch i wefan y Sherman os hoffech fwy o fanylion. Yn ogystal â hyn i gyd, un o’r prif ddatblygiadau yn y Sherman

yw’r caffi-bar newydd. Yma mae byrbrydau ysgafn yn ystod y dydd a phrydau yn ystod y nos. Felly ewch draw am ginio ryw ddiwrnod neu am swper cyn sioe! Gobeithio bod yr erthygl wedi eich ysgogi i ddefnyddio'r Sherman. O ystyried bod tocynnau ar gael am £7.50 i rai digwyddiadau, dylai pawb fanteisio ar hynny. Ewch yno ryw noson yn hytrach na mentro i Cineworld – mae’r Sherman lot agosach yn un peth! Am fwy o fanylion, ewch ar wefan Sherman Cymru: http://www.sher mancymru.

...a dyma'r Sherman ar ei newydd wedd (llun ychydig yn gamarweiniol o ran y coed a'r tywydd!)

"Cyflwyno 'gwirionedd'"? Lowri Elen aeth i weld y ddrama 'Sgint' yn theatr newydd Sherman Cymru... 'Cyflwyno gwirionedd'. Dyna eiriau Christine Pritchard, aelod o gast y ddrama newydd ‘Sgint’ gan Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru a Sherman Cymru. Drama gair am air, neu verbatim, yw ‘Sgint’; sy’n golygu bod pob gair sy’n cael ei ddweud ar y llwyfan wedi dod o enau person go-iawn. Dyma’r tro cyntaf i mi weld y math yma o theatr yn bersonol, a hyd y gwn i, dyma’r ddrama gair am air gyntaf yn y Gymraeg. Caiff pob ‘ym’ a brawddeg anorffenedig eu cynnwys ac roedd yr elfen hon yn cynnig newydd-deb a ffresni yn fy nhyb i, rhywbeth na ellir ei adlewyrchu yn y sgriptiau mwyaf naturiolaidd eu naws hyd yn oed. Roeddwn yn mwynhau clywed y ‘gwirionedd’ yma o ran ieithwedd, a does dim dwywaith bod y cyfweliadau a gynhaliodd yr awdures Bethan Marlow wedi sicrhau bod iaith y ‘Cofis dre’ yn llifo ac yn taro’r glust yn gwbl naturiol. Rhaid canmol Bethan Marlow ar ei gwaith o osod a threfnu'r cyfweliadau mewn modd clyfar a dramatig. Llwyddodd i osgoi sgript

ddogfennol, ffeithiol yn unig drwy gynnig cipolwg cignoeth ar fywydau trigolion tref Caernarfon. Symudai’r ddrama un act yn gyflym o olygfa neu fonolog i’r llall, gan gadw sylw’r gynulleidfa’n dda. Dydi hyn ddim i ddweud bod hi’n ddrama berffaith o bell ffordd. Yn ôl y sôn bu’r tîm cynhyrchu yn torri mân gymeriadau allan o’r ddrama hyd yr eiliad olaf, ac efallai byddai ychydig mwy o chwynnu a thocio yma ac acw wedi bod o fudd. Teimlais fod rhai o’r monologau maith gan y cymeriadau llai allweddol yn gallu bod yn hirwyntog, a gan nad oeddem yn dod i’w hadnabod yn ddigonol, datblygodd rhai ohonynt yn gymeriadau unochrog er gwaethaf elfen ‘real’ eu sgwrs. Hynny yw, aeth y dweud yn drwm ar adegau, a gellid fod wedi osgoi hynny’n hawdd drwy gadw rhai monologau, fel un y dyn busnes yn fyr a bachog. Hoffais y gwaith ensemble yn fawr, yn enwedig y symudiadau a’r eiliadau o ‘feddwl’ neu aros bob hyn a hyn. Byddai’n ddigon hawdd i’r darnau o ddawns neu gyd-sy-

mud ddatblygu’n ddibwrpas a chwerthinllyd, ond teimlais fod Arwel Gruffydd y cyfarwyddwr, Cai Thomas a Suzie Firth y coreograffydd wedi cyd-weithio i sicrhau bod pob symudiad yno am reswm. Roedd y cyd-symud yn rhoi cyfle i’r gynulleidfa gael eiliad i feddwl ac yn sicrhau nad oedd y ddrama yn statig ac undonog. Roedd pob cymeriad ar y llwyfan drwy gydol y perfformiad fwy neu lai ac ychwanegodd hyn i’r ymdeimlad clostofforbig wrth inni ddod i ddeall am sefyllfaoedd ariannol y cymeriadau. Cafwyd sawl perfformiad gonest a theimladwy gan yr actorion. Hoffais bortread Morfudd Hughes o’r fam oedd yn barod i roi ei cheiniogau olaf i’w dwy ferch er gwaethaf y ffaith bod ei bywyd hithau wedi ei chwalu dros nos gan bwysau ariannol annisgwyl wrth i’w gwr golli ei swydd. Cafwyd perfformiad cynnes, agos atoch ganddi a oedd yn gweddu i'r dim i ofynion y cymeriad. Arian, neu’n hytrach, ei ddiffyg yw canolbwynt a chalon y ddrama, a pherthynas y cymeriadau lu o

Gaernarfon gyda ‘phres’. Does dim dwywaith bod hon yn thema amserol a phwysig yn ein cymdeithas heddiw. Ceir trafodaethau aml yn ein cymdeithas am gyflwr ac argyfwng yr economi, ond llwydda ‘Sgint’ i dynnu ein sylw at gymeriadau a sefyllfaoedd sy’n cael eu hanwybyddu yn aml ym myd y theatr Gymraeg. Nid dramodydd yn ceisio creu llais mam sengl, dynes busnes neu wleidydd a geir gan Bethan Marlow; yn hytrach clywir lleisiau pobl go iawn ar y llwyfan, a phobl nad ydynt yn cael eu clywed fel arfer oedd nifer ohonynt. Teimlais fy hun yn cydymdeimlo, ac yn deall yn well efallai, eu sefyllfaoedd a phroblemau amrywiol. Rhaid i mi anghytuno â’r hyn a ddywedodd Gareth Miles ar raglen Dewi Llwyd fore Sul: ‘Does dim llinyn storïol yn y ddrama’. Er gwaethaf yr elfen un-dimensiwn o ambell gymeriad, teimlais fod yna ddatblygiad yn y cymeriadau, a bod stori Ellie, y fam ifanc sengl, yn sicr, yn llwyddiant. Roedd perfformiad cynnil a sensitif Manon Wilkinson yn cydio yn y gynulleid-

fa ac roedd yr olygfa yn y garafán ar ddiwedd y ddrama yn uchafbwynt amlwg a dirdynnol. Dyma, i mi, lle gweithiodd yr arddull verbatim orau. Roedd llif naturiol y sgwrs rhyngddynt yn beth newydd i lwyfannau Cymru, ac yn cyfleu rhyw ystyr ddwys a dirdynnol i’r dywediad ‘cymeriadau o gig a gwaed’. Teimlais yn hollol anghyfforddus ar adegau wrth gofio’n sydyn bod pob gair a phob sgwrs yn y ddrama wedi dod o enau pobl go iawn. Er enghraifft, mae teulu Ellie yn ei gadael ar ei phen ei hun i fyfyrio: “Bai fi ia. Mae o goro bod yn bai fi”. Er i mi gwestiynu’r arddull air am air wrth gerdded allan o’r theatr, ac ystyried beth fyddai ymateb y bobl i’r portread ohonynt (nad oedd yn ffafriol bob tro), roedd y teimlad anghysurus yma yn wefr o fath newydd. Llwyddwyd i greu eiliadau o ‘wirionedd’ yn y cynhyrchiad hynod yma, a rhaid diolch i Bethan Marlow, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru a Sherman Cymru am roi'r profiad theatrig hynny i mi.

News Opinion Politics Feature Science Societies Listings 9 - 12 15 - 17 18 - 20 22 - 24 26 - 27 1-7 28 - 29

Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd •

Digwyddiadur Taf-od 18fed Chwefror. Cwrs Hanes gyda John Davies. 1:30-4:30yh. Canolfan Chapter, Treganna. £8. 18fed Chwefror. Llwybr Llaethog, Mr Phormula & Gwesteion Arbennig. 8yh. Clwb Ifor Bach, Heol Womanby. £8. 22ain Chwefror. Cerys Matthews. 8yh. Theatr y Sherman. £25. 26ain Chwefror. Cwis y Mochyn Du. 8yh. Y Mochyn Du, Pontcanna. £1. 1af Mawrth. Nyth Gwyl Dewi - Meic Stevens, Gentle Good, Greta Isaac. 8yh Bunkhouse, Heol Santes Fair, Caerdydd. 10fed Mawrth. Meic Stevens, Twmffat, Jamie Bevan. 8yh. Clwb Ifor Bach, Heol Womanby. £8. 16eg Mawrth. Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog, Georgia Ruth Williams. 8yh. Clwb Ifor Bach, Heol Womanby. £8. 17eg Mawrth. Y Bandana, Swnami, Helyntion Jos y Ficar. 8yh. Clwb Ifor Bach, Heol Womanby. £3. 23-29ain Mehefin. Tafwyl. Lleoliadau amrywiol.

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Sport 37 - 40


Gigs Cymraeg Clwb Ifor Bach Osian Gruffydd Golygydd Taf-od Ers symud lawr i Gaerdydd yn 2009, ‘dwi wedi bod yn mynychu gigs Cymraeg Clwb Ifor Bach yn gyson, ac yn gyffredinol, mi fyddai’n meddwl yr un peth ymhob gig: ‘Iesu, faswn i’m yn licio bod y band sy’n agor y noson’. Achos oni bai ei bod hi’n achlysur arbennig (un o gigs ola’ Meic Stevens neu rywbeth felly), mae’r gynulleidfa yn gallu bod yn denau iawn. Mi wn fod ‘na lot o ddadlau am hyn wedi bod yn y gorffennol (cofio pan oedd yr SRG yn marw llynedd?) – rhai yn beio’r trefnwyr am gynnal gigs rhy gynnar, eraill yn beio myfyrwyr am fod yn ddiog a di-hid. ‘Dwi’m yn dymuno codi’r ddadl honno eto – yn wir, ella nad oes angen gwneud hynny o gwbl. Achos mae’n ddigon posib fod pethau wrthi’n newid. Yn 2012, mae ‘na ostyngiad wedi bod ym mhrisiau gigs Cymraeg yng Nghlwb Ifor Bach – y ddau ddiwethaf yn costio £3 (ond £5 ar ôl 10 o’r gloch). Ymgais amlwg i drio gwella cynulleidfaoedd y bandiau

cyntaf, ac hyd yma, mae’r ymgyrch i’w gweld yn llwyddiant. Yn gigs Jen Jeniro a Plant Duw, mi gafodd y bandiau cychwynnol – Y Candelas, Sen Segur, Blaidd a Dan Amor – y gynulleidfa’r oedden nhw’n haeddu, yn lle gorfod chwarae i ystafell wag. Rwan, dwi’n ymwybodol na fedrai ddod i ormod o gasgliadau ar sail dau gig yn unig, ond mae nhw’n arwyddion calonogol. Mae rhoi cymhelliant i bobl ddod i gigs yn gynt yn gwneud perffaith synnwyr, ac hyd yma beth bynnag, mae’n ymddangos ei fod yn gweithio. Dwi’m isio troi hwn yn un hysbyseb hir i Glwb Ifor Bach, ond fedrai neb wadu fod gan y lle rôl allweddol mewn cynnal rhyw fath o sin yn y brifddinas. Yn sicr, mi fyddai yna lawer iawn o gwyno tasan nhw’n dod i ben. Erbyn i chi ddarllen hwn, mi fydd dathliad pen-blwydd Llwybr Llaethog yn 25 oed wedi bod, ond dros yr wythnosau nesa’ mae Meic Stevens, Y Bandana, Georgia Ruth a Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog i gyd yn chwarae yno. Digon o amrywiaeth, felly. Os

ydach chi yn meddwl mynd i rai o’r gigs yma, ewch ryw awr yn gynt na’r arfar – mae’r bandiau ‘ma yn haeddu cynulleidfa. Dechreuwch yfad yn gynt (dwi’n gwybod fod hon yn ffactor sylweddol!), a dowch allan yn gynt – fydd dim rhaid i chi giwio yn un peth.

Meic Stevens, fydd yn chwarae yn fuan yn Clwb Ifor bach



Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd •



word wheel.

How many words of three or more letters, each including the letter at the centre of the wheel, can you make from this diagram? We've found 20, including a nine-letter word. Can you do better?



Steve has two long fuses. They burn for exactly one hour when they are lit at one end. However, the fuses do not burn at a constant speed, for example, the first half of the fuse could burn in ten minutes while the rest takes the other fifty minutes to burn completely. How can Steve measure exactly 45 minutes using the two fuses and a lighter.

Rhys's riddles.





A to B... As they arrived home 20 minutes early we know that each leg of the trip was shortened by 10 minutes. Since Andrius usually picks Steve up at 4pm, he will, on this day pick him up at 3:50pm. Since Steve started walking at 3pm, he will have been walking for 50 minutes.




Riddle answer.

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Sport 37 - 40


Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd •


7 - 5 thriller witnesses huge comeback

AFC Cathays v Economics..........0-3 Sam Kimish Sports Writer Law A v Port Fail.........................4-0 Your Mum's Athletic........................5 EUROS FC v Time Team.............1-1

COMSC FC.......................................7

AFC Histroy v Momed AFC........0-5

Real Ale Madrid v CHAOS...........1-0

University 6ths v Pharm AC.......4-3

Psycho v Myg Myg........................7-1

Gym Gym v CARBS......................2-1

JOMEC v Inter Menan.................2-0

Chemistry v Fenerbache FC.......7-2 Above: The fantastic fight back in action

An enthralling game between COMSC FC and Your Mum's Athletic (YMA) ended in a 7-5 victory for COMSC despite trailing 5-1 at half-time. The match started with YMA dominating the majority of the first half. Goals from captain, Kevin Goodwin, Chris Lord and Pete Chadwick, put YMA deservedly 3-0 ahead, before a goal from Ben Lourence reduced the deficit. YMA increased their lead just before the break thanks to another goal from Kevin Goodwin and an absolute peach from Alex Biddle, that left the keeper with no chance. COMSC came out of the half-time break an inspired side. A change in formation saw the team begin to dominate and then comfortably settle into their stride. Dan Cooke finished a great pass-

ing move before smashing his second into the top corner. A defencesplitting pass from co-captain, Sam Kimish, to fellow co-captain, Dan Evans, was finished easily into the bottom corner, before the goal of the game from Nick Horne. A screamer from 25 yards that was destined for the top corner from the minute it left his boot. COMSC had unbelievably brought it level to 5-5. Dan Cooke completed his stunning hat-trick, by meeting a brilliant through ball from Onty Bagwasi and calmly finishing, prompting all 21 COMSC FC players to bundle the goalscorer. Good pressure from YMA kept the game exciting and a dangerous free-kick was tipped over the bar by stand in keeper, Michael Blood. All nerves were calmed when Onty Bagwasi added to his impressive tally of assists with a good goal completing the game at 7-5. This extraordinary game saw COMSC stand victorious in the end despite a fantastic effort from YMA.

Academics aside.... Pete Dorey the 'aroma' of Bovril and meat pies! Rushing home from school on Mondays, because the local paper (Brighton Argus) had a detailed match report. Written by a guy called John Vinnicombe, called 'Vinnicombe's verdict'. I did sometimes wonder if he'd been to the same match as me, because I'd be thinking 'That's not how I saw the game.'

Name: Dr. Pete Dorey (above) School: EUROS Speciality: Politics His Team: Brighton and Hove Albion FC 1) What are some of your earliest memories of watching Brighton? Mid-1970s, standing (this was before all-seated stadiums, which I detest) on the North-West corner of the North Stand at the Goldstone Ground in Hove. Watching one of Brighton's best ever forwards, Peter Ward - and the crowd regularly chanting: "He shot, he scored, it must be Peter Ward...". The smell of cigarette smoke, and at half-time,

2) If you were to pick one match as your favourite, what would it be and why? Favourite match has to be the 1983 FA Cup Final against Manchester United, when we held them to a 2-2 draw. The atmosphere at the old Wembley Stadium was incredible, and when Brighton took the lead in the first 15 minutes, it was beyond belief; we were the underdogs. Then right at the end, Gordon Smith missed a sitter. I knew then that our luck had run out. I'd have to say, also, earlier this season (August), winning 3-1 at Cardiff ! Brighton played some extraordinarily attractive, fluid, passing football, which was a joy to watch; I didn't want the match to end.

3)....and your least favourite? I didn't actually go, but listening to the live commentary when, in September 2008, Brighton lost at home to 9-man Walsall, who were bottom of League One at the time. It was so depressing; we're at home to the team bottom of the table, they have two players sent off, then they score and thereafter defend that lead for the rest of the game. Dreadful. I didn't see how we could turn it around from that, although somehow we did. 4) Who is Gus Poyet's most important player? Craig Mackail-Smith. Signed for £2.5 million last summer on a fouryear deal Brighton's most expensive signing by a mile. He turned down interest from other clubs to sign for us; attracted by the 'Gus vision' and the fantastic new Amex Stadium! Gus has stated that he aims to develop the team around Craig. Last month, we signed Sam Vokes from Wolves to provide Craig with support up front, having previously signed Kazenga LuaLua from Newcastle.

5) What would be your all time Brighton XI? (Four of this starting XI are in the current team, which speaks volumes about how good I think it is).

Michel Kuipers

Mark Lawrenson

Steve Foster

Inigo Calderon

Liam Bridcutt

Brian Horton

Kazenga LuaLua

Bobby Zamora Peter Ward

Dean Wilkins

Craig MackailSmith



Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd •

Fairytale ending George Dugdale

rounds up the Africa Cup of Nations as Zambia go against all odds


here are some sporting moments that an ill-timed ITV commercial break cannot ruin. Despite the decision that an Australian alcohol promotion was more screen-worthy than eccentric manager Herve Renard carrying an injured player to join his team's celebrations, Zambia's Nations Cup victory restored faith in the game after a torrid period. All too often viewed outside Africa as an inconvenience due to its mid-season scheduling, the continent's premier football competition has won the affection of fans worldwide in the past month. That Zambia, 40-1 outsiders at the start of the competition, could emerge victorious is a story in itself. However, the symbolic significance is clear for all to see. In 1993, 18 members of the Chipolopolo team were killed as their plane crashed off the Gabonese coast ahead of a World Cup qualifier. Nineteen years later, with Gabon a co-host, the disaster was at the forefront of Zambian minds. However, the draw dictated that the only way Zambia could play a game in Gabon would be to reach the final. With a new manager, an injury to the important Jacob Mulenga and a group draw with Senegal, a fairytale seemed unlikely. Fielding a squad of African-

Above: Zambian players celebrate as they win the tournament on penalties based players, Zambia defeated to set up a clash with a Ghana side keeper, but has bravery in abunSenegal 2-1, before a 2-2 draw with who won the affections of so many dance. In the semi-final, he saved an Libya and a narrow 1-0 victory over in the World Cup. Asamoah Gyan penalty, before EmEquatorial-Guinea, saw them finish Every success story has heroes manuel Mayuka came off the bench top of their group. A 3-0 quarter- and this was to be no different. Ken- to win the game at the death. final victory over Sudan followed, nedy Mweene is not a textbook goalAs the Zambian squad moved to

Gabon for the final, they attended a beach ceremony at the nearest mainland spot to the crash site of 1993. Against all the odds, the reserve side fielded in the Nations Cup a year after the disaster, finished as runners-up. Renard's side was to go one step further. Didier Drogba, blazed a penalty over the bar, before a penalty shootout was required to crown a winner. Ivory Coast did not concede a goal in the tournament, yet were defeated in a high-quality spot-kick contest. During the shoot-out, the Zambians could have been forgiven for doubting what was considered to be their destiny. Mweene saw a save disallowed as he strayed a matter of inches from his line, before a potentially decisive penalty was sent over the bar as the Zambian players broke into song on the halfway line. However, after Gervinho's miss, Stoppila Sunzu kept calm to give Zambia the most poignant of victories. There were other stories in this tournament. Co-hosts Equatorial Guinea, knocked out Senegal, before Gabon removed Morocco. Zambia's story cannot be overshadowed, however, as they knocked out the three favourites on their way to victory. Nineteen years after the darkest day in Zambian football history, Renard's men have paid the ultimate tribute.

A celebration of rugby's first superstar Nick Evans Sports Writer Jonah Lomu was diagnosed with a rare kidney disorder called nephrotic syndrome in 1995. He received a replacement kidney in 2008, but has been told recently that that kidney is also failing and that even if they are able to find a replacement, there is a high chance of his body rejecting it. However, this is not about the tragic circumstances that Lomu is facing, it is a celebration of his career as one of international rugby’s most natural and jaw-dropping talents. It’s hard to summarise such natural athleticism and pure skill in words, but it’s fair to say that since the start of the Rugby World Cup in 1987, Jonah Lomu was international

rugby’s first major superstar. With his 6’5” frame and unfathomable speed, he was a perfect winger. Former England captain, Will Carling, called him a ‘freak of nature’. This ungracious description is not surprising, as Lomu was able to put four tries on Carling’s England during their 45-29 defeat by New Zealand. His style of play was fresh and beyond comparison, Lomu was a true innovator, frequently running straight through and into opposition while carrying the ball (a move that would come to be known as ‘the Tongan sidestep’). In the 2003 World Cup, Lomu went on to score eight tries and still remains the IRB Rugby World Cup’s top-try scoring player with 15. He faced speculation by rugby officials, ridicule from bitter oppos-

ing teams, but most of all he faced constant pressure and expectation from the public and he lived up to it every single time he needed to. What makes this athlete’s story even more remarkable and heroic, is that he did all this with chronic liver failure and would frequently spend days laid up in bed, recovering between international matches. However, when match day arrived, he would step onto that pitch, shed the illness and immortalise himself; a testament to the spirit of man. Regardless of what happens, Jonah Lomu he will always be remembered as the hulking New Zealand winger who could charge downfield, dragging four men with him. He has the thanks of the international rugby community for what he gave to the sport and I’m sure everyone wishes him all the best.

Above: Jonah Lomu in full flight brushes off a tackle

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Sport 37 - 40

Monday February 20 2012 • #gairrhydd •


Your Pitch: Sky Sports asserts its influence on Formula 1 broadcasts

Sam Tegeltija voices his dissapointment as the racing circuit falls into the hands of Sky Sports for the first time


ebruary has always been an exciting time for the Formula One fan. New, weird and wo n d e r f u l - l o o k i n g cars are unveiled, and all eyes turn to pre-season testing. There are many questions asked, the answers of which will determine the season ahead. Which cars adhere to the rule-changes most efficiently? Whose aerodynamic designs are slightly more brilliant than the rest? Which team has found that golden formula during the winter hibernation from the track? On paper, this is the most exciting pre-season in recent memory. If last year is anything to go by, Red Bull is the team to beat in 2012. The reigning Double World Champions boasted an Adrian Newey-designed rocket, as wonderfully seamless as their lead driver Sebastian Vettel. More of the same is expected this time around, but Red Bull is not believed to be invincible. The chasing pack is likely to be lead by McLaren and Ferrari; the big-budget heavyweights of seasons-gone-by, who want their supremacy back. Jenson Button,

was magnificent in 2011, and with a nightmare year forgotten, who would bet against a Lewis Hamilton title bid if McLaren provide a quick machine? Ferrari meanwhile, is promising an aggressive 2012 to rectify the disappointment of an average season. If the superb Fernando Alonso is given a quick car, he will win races – and many of them. I am an F1 fanatic. I watch every moment from First Practice to the chequered flag and beyond, each race weekend. Every pre-season, I search the time sheets with eagle eyes, trying to find a minor detail that half convinces me that my team might be quick. I know that very little can be taken from most pre-season testing (Brawn GP in 2009 aside) but it has almost become a ritual, an obsession in years gone by. So why then, in this year of all years, am I simply uninterested? The pre-season test in Jerez just passed would have enthralled me last year. What is Ferrari up to, announcing their dissatisfaction with their new car after day three, only to post the fastest time on the final day? I’m simply not intrigued by possible mind games regarding the teams’ concealing of their true

Above: Micheal Schumacher, who characterised the early years of Formula 1 with his dominance pace. I am not even infuriated by the aesthetically horrible look to the 2012 cars, with all but the McLaren looking like they have just been punched in the nose and are bearing a disfigurement for all to see.

Above: 2012 candidates including one of the sport's British icons Lewis Hamilton

There is one simple reason. This is the first Grand Prix season in my lifetime where a terrestrial TV channel will not broadcast the full season. Sky Sports have the rights to broadcast all races live, whilst the BBC has only half of the races live and in-full. For the 10 race weekends that the BBC does not have live TV rights, they are offering live radio coverage and extended TV highlights - a somewhat lame resolution for the fans. It is not the BBC’s fault, mind you. Formula One has been revolutionised in the UK in previous years. Since the explosion of Lewis Hamilton onto the scene in 2007, the sport has gained more and more fans. Hamilton became World Champion in 2008, Jenson Button followed suit in 2009, and now they are both at the front of the grid with McLaren. It is as though F1 now has a truly British team, one that UK fans can call their own. As the demand to watch F1 got bigger, the sport became a greater commodity for Bernie Ecclestone to sell. The BBC was financially blown out of the water by the commercial Sky Sports, which seized its chance to grab another sport with both hands without letting go. For me, there lies the problem. Formula One is not just another sport. You cannot go to the pub to watch F1 like you can with football. It just wouldn’t be the same. So, for those of us who can’t afford to buy Sky Sports, we are stuck with radio

coverage and extended highlights for half of the Grand Prix. I am in no doubt that the BBC’s coverage will be as brilliant as it has been these last few years, but without the ability to watch all races live, do I really want to follow the season at all? Remember Hakkinen’s incredible pass on Schumacher in 2000 at Spa, remember the Malaysian Grand Prix in 2009, abandoned because of monsoon-like conditions, and remember Button’s stunning comeback victory in Canada last year, to name but a few. They are truly great memories for the Formula One fan. But now, imagine that you could not see these events unfold live. Imagine that you had to wait until late on Sunday night to see the highlights – of which you already know the outcome. It just won’t be the same. So we have reached a time where we have the best F1 races and the best grid for many a decade. 2012 will have six World Champions on show, and each race has the potential to become historic. Gone are the days of the early 2000s, where Michael Schumacher only had to turn up to win each race by a country mile. But as I face the prospect of watching just half of this 2012 season, I am envious of my past self, watching Ferrari dominate monotonously. I would give anything for F1 to go back to those days. email us:


African Cup of Nations review << Inside

Swimmers continue dramatic rise Following promotion from division three last season the Cardiff BUCS swimming push for promotion again.

Rugby 2nds victorious in inter-university clash Jacob Emery Sports Writer

Above: The swimming team on location in Sheffield Chris Campbell Sports Writer Cardiff University Swimming Team’s 23-strong squad, descended on the freezing Steel City of Sheffield for the BUCS Long Course Swimming Championships 2012. The team arrived with great expectations following promotion from Division 3 last season and a record points score at the BUCS Short Course Championships 2011. Moreover, as a result of an impressive Division 2 campaign this season, the team is eyeing up back-to-back promotion. Star Swimmer, Libby Hetherington, stole the show, winning Cardiff University’s first individual medal at a BUCS competition for as long

as the BUCS records go back. She touched home in the 50m Freestyle in a time of 26.93 seconds to claim the bronze medal in front of some notable swimmers from top swimming universities such as Loughborough. Libby also finished the 100m Freestyle in sixth place, a very tightly fought race in which she only finished half a second behind a second podium place of the meet. Improving all the time, next season promises to be very exciting one for Libby. Other top performances came from the Men’s Captain, Chris Campbell, who was just beaten to a medal in the 50m Butterfly, finishing in fourth, 0.4 seconds outside the podium places. Alex Mackay, who will be attend-

ing the London 2012 Olympic Trials held next month at the Olympic Aquatics Centre, also put in some performances of true grit in the longer distance events.

Star Swimmer, Libby


stole the show

He came fifth in the Men’s 400m Individual Medley and seventh in the 200m Individual Medley. Alex’s gruelling training regime of 18-20 hours a week in the pool (including hitting the pool at 6am three/ four times a week) is really paying dividends and he’s sure to take the

Olympic Pool by storm. Most importantly, as a team, Cardiff finished a record 14th place out of over 50 universities. The team gave incredible support to each other throughout the long weekend and credit must go to some great supporting swims, which massively raised morale and team spirit as tiredness kicked in. Next for the team comes the BUCS Team Championships Division 2 Trophy Final, held in Sheffield on March 10 and the Team is in a great position for further success and promotion. All in all, Cardiff University Swimming is well and truly on the up.

A BUCs encounter saw Cardiff seconds edge out Cardiff thirds 24-12 in an inter-university league clash at Llanrumney playing fields. Having not played a fixture in six weeks, it was no surprise that Cardiff thirds were caught napping in the early stages, as Cardiff seconds took control from the first whistle. They capitalised on this early dominance with a try from fly-half, Rory Andrews, which came as a result of a quick ball from the break down and slick handling along the backline. Andrews was successful with the conversion. Cardiff thirds struggled to gain momentum early on and were again put under pressure. A midfield break from hooker, Mathew Wedlake, put Cardiff seconds in a strong attacking position. After a sequence of great offloads, try number two for Cardiff seconds came from Morgan Browne, Andrews again adding the extras. The pressure was relentless from Cardiff seconds, resulting in winger, Matt Evans, finishing off a wellcrafted set piece, beginning at the base of the scrum and ending with a try out wide. Cardiff seconds were to score again before the break, this time from centre, Iain Herriott, who sniped in down the blind side to make the score 24-0 at half time. The match was very much a game of two halves, with Cardiff thirds coming out the stronger side. Cardiff thirds began to play with greater self-belief, putting phases together and gaining better field position. This amounted to full back, James Hammond, splitting the defence in two, finishing off an exquisite set piece move from the scrum. Fly half, Ollie Mottram, added the conversion. In contrast to the first half, it was Cardiff seconds now struggling to gain any dominance in the game. The sin bin for fly half, Andrews, deemed costly, as Cardiff thirds capitalised on the one-man difference. James Brewin crossed the whitewash for Cardiff thirds second try. However, Cardiff thirds left it too late to amass a comeback and Cardiff seconds held out for a 24-12 victory.


gair rhydd - Issue 970  
gair rhydd - Issue 970  

gair rhydd - Issue 970