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ISSUE 885 DECEMBER 08 2008

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University's draft Race Equality Policy is "inadequate" >>page 4


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FEATURES GETTING SERVED: could bars feel the hangover of serving drunks?

Dentistry undergraduates to help crack down on binge drinking students and the problem bars that serve them Emma Barlow News Editor Binge drinking students who end up in hospital may find themselves facing fellow Cardiff undergraduates who will ask them where they had their last drink. The gathered information, which is part of a research project for fifth year dentistry undergraduates, will be passed on to police and the council to help crack down on problem areas of alcohol misuse in the city. The study began last week at the University Hospital of Wales (UHW),

in the country’s largest accident and emergency centre. Study coordinator John Shepherd, Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Cardiff, said: “The students are not working to get bars prosecuted by the police; instead, the information will be used to highlight problem areas of alcohol misuse and disruption.” “Hopefully the study will remind bar staff to be shrewd when determining if a customer is intoxicated or not,” he added. Although the police cannot use the results of the study as hard evidence, establishments could find themselves gaining a reputation for supplying al-

INSIDE:

cohol to intoxicated customers, which is against the law and can result in individual members of bar staff being heavily fined. The study is not solely aimed at students but all patients admitted to hospital for intoxication and Professor Shepherd predicted the research might show that students make up a minority of such patients. He said: “When it comes to alcohol, students are unfairly represented by outsiders, those within the student body and even among students themselves.” Students' reactions to the plans have so far been mixed. One third

year Psychology student, who prefers to remain anonymous, felt the study wasn’t that relevant to students. She was taken to hospital after a night out at the Students’ Union. She said: “If they had asked me where my last drink was I would have said the SU but that wouldn’t have been very fair as I had done all of my drinking at home.” She continued: “It was completely my own fault, I hardly had anything inside the Union,” >> continued on page four

Silent night: Christmas on the streets of Cardiff >>page 17

OPINION

Emma Davies doesn't want to be told where to live >>page 9


02 NEWS Cardiff hosts charity fundraiser to raise awareness for AIDS

DECEMBER.08.2008 NEWS@gairrhydd.COM

gr

Eleanor Joslin News Editor

NEWS.............. 1 EDITORIAL & OPINION.......... 9 POLITICS......... 13 LETTERS......... 15 FEATURES....... 17 TAF-OD............ 20 SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT.21 JOBS & MONEY............ 23 TED HANDSOME..... 25 XPRESS.......... 26 FIVE MINUTE FUN................ 27 LISTINGS......... 28 SPORT............. 31 gair rhydd has been Cardiff University's editorially independent student newspaper since 1972. gair rhydd endeavours to report all stories to the best of our knowledge. We acknowledge that our coverage of last week's front page story did not accurately portray an important element of the story. For the benefit of our readers, a clarification relating to last week's front page story Kicked Out of Cathays has been printed on page nine.

RAID TAKES CENTRE STAGE: Hundreds attended a benefit gig in Solus last week hosted by People and Planet. Cardiff Stop Aids and SHAG to collect donations and raise awareness about HIV and AIDS

People and Planet, Cardiff Stop AIDS and SHAG hosted an evening of entertainment last Tuesday December 2, to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS. The event, which took place in Solus, consisted of a line up of local indie bands including The Muscle Club and Me and The Major, DJ Tommy B as well as performances from the Windband and the Jazz Society. All the money raised will go to AIDS charities. Emma West, RAID coordinator said: "RAID is back – and it's better than ever. With a headline set from Radio 1 DJ and all-round Welsh legend Huw Stephens. “Your money will make a real difference to the 33 million people living with AIDS worldwide. Just one ticket buys two-months worth of anti-retroviral drugs. “This event offers students a chance to have a great night out and raise money for a good cause at the same time," Emma added. RAID has won Best Event at the Societies Awards two years in a row.

ERASMUS students "neglected" by University BACCUP wins innovation Sarah Powell need to be informed well in advance get long-term occupants. News Editor Rebecca Rees, Societies, Post- that short-term accommodation is challenge graduate and International Officer for scarce in Cardiff.” Members of the Students' Union sabbatical team are putting together a campaign to raise awareness of the difficulties that ERASMUS students have in finding housing in Cardiff. It has emerged that many ERASMUS students, who normally study at Cardiff University for one term, are encountering problems when it comes to finding housing, with some students unable to find appropriate accommodation for up to a month after their arrival. This problem arose after students were denied accommodation provided by the University because rooms in halls of residence need to be filled for the entire year, and ERASMUS students were deemed unsuitable occupants. Combined with this are the added problems with private accommodation: many landlords deny ERASMUS students short-term contracts until they are certain that they cannot

the Students' Union, said that this normally leaves only the poorest housing available to ERASMUS students, meaning that many students find themselves living in substandard accommodation, with disreputable landlords or agencies, facing long walks of up to 45 minutes to University. She also said, “Even ERASMUS students that are here for the duration of the year (of which there are 214) appear to be at the bottom of the residence's priorities list and have experienced difficulties, with some students receiving their last choice of residence.” Catherine Kiernan, a Student Advisor at the Student's Union said, “Many ERASMUS students are not aware that short-term accommodation is so difficult to find and as a result, find their arrival in Cardiff quite distressing. Also, many ERASMUS students do not understand why the University will not provide residences.” She added: “ERASMUS students

In the current system, ERASMUS students coming to study in the first term have been advised to arrive slightly later than most international students in order to avoid being homeless for a long period of time. However, Rebecca Rees has pointed out that this means the students miss the welcome events and orientation programmes, making it harder for them to settle into a new city. Andy Button-Stephens, President of the Students' Union, will be taking the case to University Council on Monday December 15, to help solve the problems faced by ERASMUS students. Rebecca Rees told gair rhydd, “This situation has gone unnoticed for far too long. International Students generally get looked after very well by the University Residences, however, ERASMUS students are a minority group that are being neglected. It is high time that this issue is addressed.”

Eleanor Joslin News Editor

BACCUP (Belarussian Aid for Children Cardiff Undergraduate Programme) have won this year's Cardiff Enterprise npower Innovation Challenge. The challenge was to generate 'value' from mini windmills, which could be demonstrated either financially by creating revenue, creatively by developing an artistic idea, could be community-related, or environmentally friendly. BACCUP came up with the idea of a teeth-cleaning timer. The windmill plays music for the duration of your teeth-clean and stops when the recommended time has been reached. It can be recharged using wind power. The winners received £1000 for their society. The runner-up was StopAIDS with their idea of 'Happy Windmills.'

Away on a placement? Heading abroad? In bed with a hangover?

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


NEWS 03

DECEMBER.08.2008 NEWS@gairrhydd.COM

Cardiff cold shoulders commission-based companies Christofer Lloyd Investigations Editor Businesses advertising commission-only jobs on campus at Cardiff University will no longer be supported by the Careers Service, a University spokesperson said. Enterprises like The Southwestern Company that recruit Cardiff students may be restricted by new rules aimed at preventing external bodies from advertising any work opportunities paid solely by commission. Concerns have been raised at universities including Cardiff University over the recruitment tactics of companies who sign up students for direct sales work in Britain and America. Megan Robson, who signed up to work with Southwestern last year, complained to Cardiff University after claiming that she felt pressured into paying $750 in fees. Southwestern said that this pays for the time-consuming visa application process, necessary to work legally in

America. However, Megan said that the company’s advertising was “misleading” and that the Sales School training is “cult-like, with intense, long hours.” Megan complained that her pay was not sufficient at $6/hr and that she had to travel home late and live in substandard accommodation. After experiencing these problems Southwestern offered her another job, which she rejected, describing the whole experience as “really frustrating.” Southwestern Vice President, Dave Causer, said: “I am not sure a person who did not complete the training week would be the best judge of how it works.” He added: “[Megan] has been trying to blame Southwestern for problems she had with that employer, even though they are a completely different company and have nothing to do with Southwestern.” “I can only assure you that we do everything possible to prepare them properly. It is our goal to help all of

the students have a successful summer.” Amy Davies, who also worked with the company, said: “It’s really brainwashing. They try to make you feel included, but it’s quite false.” However, other students have described positive experiences with Southwestern. Alistair McAloon, a student at

Cardiff University, said:: “The Sales School was great, motivating and empowering. It really prepares you for the summer.” A University spokesperson said that the University takes complaints "very seriously" and that grievances against Southwestern are “under active consideration.”

The results from the latest Positive Working Environment Staff Attitude Survey have produced some surprising results from Cardiff University staff. The survey, completed by 43% of University staff members, seeks to 'improve working life' for all staff, considering such aspects as positive working relationships, health and wellbeing and working environments.

Overall 79% of the 2,357 respondents said they were satisfied with working for the University. Those who hold religious beliefs were consistently more satisfied than atheists and the oldest and youngest members of staff were more satisfied than those in between and men were generally less satisfied than women. Disappointingly for the University, less than half of those questioned said they felt valued and just 47% were happy with the University’s performance and leadership. Just 53% of staff felt fairly reward-

KICKED OFF CAMPUS? Companies like Southwestern may lose out

ed for their performance and responsibilities but 44% claimed they received the support they needed to work effectively. Only 36% said that the University has a “can-do” attitude to achieving tasks, while a mere 10% felt that the University deals effectively with poor performance. Perhaps most surprisingly, 4% said that they experience personal harassment at work. More positively, 75% have had an appraisal or probation review meeting in the last year.

Half of these claimed this had helped them work more efficiently; 74% said they were satisfied with their immediate manager and 81% said the University promotes equality and diversity. However, issues were raised regarding poor communication in and across departments, with a need to improve internal communication and introduce consistent standards across the University on what to expect from managers.

Plans for new Bute Park bridge opposed Eleanor Joslin News Editor

Act One smash Eggheads Emma Barlow News Editor Act One, Cardiff University's drama society, beat a top panel of quiz brains on BBC's popular game show Eggheads. The group made it through all four rounds, losing only one team member

for the final round. The team won the £8,000 which was up for grabs after the previous seven teams were unable to beat the formidable eggheads. The winning team, from left to right was Rhys Davies, Frances Watkinson, Pete Cottell, Kim Brown, and Peter Jones.

Breast cancer drug could be harmful Sarah Powell News Editor

Staff Survey reveals surprising results Christofer Lloyd Investigations Editor

News in brief:

Proposals to build a new access gate and bridge to Bute Park will be opposed at a public debate hosted by Cardiff University's Professor Kevin Morgan. The access bridge, opposite Corbett Road, is to be 9 metres wide to enable articulated lorries to pass each other and a new, wide road will then continue over the feeder canal and down into the park. A promotional brochure created by the Council mentions 'paths… widened to 4m to accommodate larger vehicles,' but with no kerbed pavement there are concerns that lorries would pass uncomfortably close to pedestrians. This width ensures that damage to tree roots is avoided but cyclists and wheelchairs would potentially have to divert from these paths onto grassed slopes.

The Planning Committee report accepted that the 'degree of public opposition to the scheme could not be ignored’ and has appealed to the Council to make sure alternative methods of managing access to the park are noted. However, this only covers access to the park and not the controversy surrounding the proposed roadways and the opening of the park to large lorries. The plans have been criticised as ill-conceived but despite this, the Committee's report states that 'there no longer remains any overt technical or professional objection to the proposal.' Professor Morgan, from the City and Regional Planning School, will host the Future of Bute Park debate on Friday 12 December with keynote speakers from Cardiff Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund, in Committee Room 1 of the Glamorgan Building, King Edward VII Avenue.

A team of researchers from the Welsh School of Pharmacy have discovered that Tamoxifen, a drug used to treat breast cancer, may produce more harm than good to some patients. The study has been co-ordinated by Dr Stephen Hiscox and investigates the effect of tamoxifen on human breast cancer cells. Research has found that in patients who show reduced expression of the protein E-cadherin (used in anti-oestrogen drugs such as tamoxifen) may promote more harmful cancer cell growth. Dr Hiscox said: “Anti-oestrogens, such as tamoxifen, have been the mainstay of therapy in patients with oestrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer and have provided significant improvements in survival. Our experimental studies suggest that, in a certain group of patients, it may be much less effective. However, as it appears to promote an aggressive cell behaviour”. This research could have a major impact on breast cancer treatment for a small subset of patients with the reduced protein E-cadherin.

University to help unlock the power of hydrogen Emma Barlow News Editor Cardiff is currently the only Welsh university playing a part in a major new UK initiative working towards the production of clean, low cost, sustainable hydrogen energy. Professor Neil McKeown, a Professorial Research Fellow in the School of Chemistry, is linking up with scientists from 12 other universities across Scotland and England to form the Delivery of Sustainable Hydrogen (H-Delivery) consortium. The group has recently been awarded an initial £5M grant under the SUPERGEN initiative created by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to encourage the development of sustainable power generation and supply. Professor McKeown said: “This is an exciting field to be working in at the moment as the UK needs serious improvements in the generation and supply of sustainable energy.


04 NEWS

DECEMBER.08.2008 NEWS@gairrhydd.COM

Students expose problem pubs >> continued from front page Third year Language and Communication student Nicole Briggs went to hospital in an ambulance after slipping over in Thursday’s busy night Bounce at Walkabout. She supported the study, saying that she felt it was the early happy hours and drinks promotions that were to blame: “You can get drinks so cheaply at some places that by the time you are at your club of choice you are already well on your way, so it’s good that the places offering the cheap deals could be held to account.” Nicole agreed that the police and council would probably not gain much from the answers students gave: “I don’t think students tend to buy many drinks out. Most of us tend to buy the majority of our drinks from a local shop and drink it in the comfort of our own homes,” Nicole added. The study will run for a two months to include the run up to Christmas which, Professor Shepherd claimed is always a time of increased alcohol misuse.

Nathan Allen asks Cardiff students for their views

Amy

Lori

Rob

Scott

Third year English

First year Medicine

First year Biology

First year Chemistry

“In theory it’s an okay idea, but it takes advantage of drunk people. I think it’s a bit unethical.”

“I think it’s a good idea, but drunk people and their mates may not actually remember where they’ve been drinking.”

“Students at halls tend to drink before they go out so the last place they drink isn’t necessarily the place they get drunk.”

“It’s a bit pointless. A lot of places where students drink are common knowledge, it depends on the day of the week – they could figure it out for themselves!”

Sheffield BNP student resigns from council A BNP member from Sheffield's Student Union council has given in to pressures from the University to resign Emma Barlow News Editor A member of Sheffield Students' Union student council, who was exposed as a member of the BNP ,has resigned after increasing pressure from the Union. The discovery of the student's ties to the BNP, which rocked Sheffield SU last week, lead to the Women's Officer Fiona Edwards starting a campaign to vote the student out of council. The campaign amassed a lot of support, from the student body and a number of societies whose members felt threatened by the BNP, including the Black Students' Committee and Islamic circle. Launching the campaign last week, Fiona said: "We want to hold this individual accountable for his membership of a fascist organisation." An overwhelming number of stu-

What a disg-race Race equality forum finds students dissatisfied with University's draft race equality policy Eleanor Joslin News Editor

dents attended last week's council meeting to vote for a recall referendum to be held. However, the council member decided to resign his position rather than defend his mandate in a referendum. Fiona said of the result: "The individual's decision to resign, rather than face a democratic vote of no-confidence, shows once again that students overwhelmingly oppose the BNP – an organisation which calls for an 'allwhite Britain' and has many members with close links to violence." Yusuf Ghumra, Chair of the Students' Union Black Students' Committee, and a member of Students' Union Council said: "I am thrilled that this union no longer has fascists in positions of influence and authority, and it is a proud moment for our union when different groups can unite to achieve a higher common goal." Race equality officer Ade Haastrup

Students broadly criticised the University's draft race equality policy at a forum last Thursday, complaining that it was "too academic" and showed that not enough was being done to promote integration between international and British students. The consultation enabled students to voice their opinions about race equality and whether or not the draft policy addressed the needs of ethnic minorities. Asaf Mallek, a third-year Law student, wanted to know if the scheme could be trusted on the concept of good faith or if it would be constrained by the legal framework. He said: “The University should be promoted as a brotherhood, as an equality of scholars, with a tradition of kinship that doesn’t include politics. Concentrating on politics and legalities can neuter these traditions.”

Ade Haastrup, the Students' Union’s Race Equality Officer, said the scheme was still "too academic" and did not provide students with what they really wanted, such as providing halaal and kosher food in the University cafés. Other issues raised included British drinking culture, especially within University societies, which many international students at the forum felt alienated them and did not respect their cultures or religions. Many students present at the forum also said that University residences did not sufficiently integrate international students with British students and even placed students from the same foreign countries together, with no visible attempt at promoting integration. The forum reviewed the University’s duty stipulated by The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, which ‘places a duty on public authorities to work towards the elimination of discrimination and to promote racial equality.’


NEWS 05

DECEMBER.08.2008 NEWS@gairrhydd.COM

Graduates warned that they are not guaranteed to earn more Katherine Chidwick Reporter The Vice-Chancellor of London South Bank University has warned students not to be sucked in by government claims that higher education guarantees a higher income. Professor Hopkin, also Co-Chairman of the Higher Education Engagement Board at the Department for Children, Schools and Families, spoke at a debate on a report about graduate employment and earnings. He said the report estimated that the lifetime earnings premium for graduates was now £100,000, as opposed to £400,000 in 2004.

Hopkin advocated that the government should seek to highlight the advantages of higher education, such as how it improves the mind, rather than potential automatic lower financial benefits. Based on graduates from researchintensive universities, the report showed that more than one third of science or technology students and almost one fifth of arts and social science students earned a salary of more than £30,000. However, these statistics fell to less than 14% and 10% respectively, when based on graduates who attended other institutions. Just 3.4% of science and technology graduates from research-intensive institutions earned under £15,000,

whereas four times as many science and technology graduates from other universities fell into this category. Steve Smith, Chairman for the group that made the report, pointed out that the rate of return for doing a degree in Britain was the fourthhighest among countries which are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. He said: “There are differences in return between which university and which subject but the rate of return shows it matters more that you actually go to university than which one you go to.”

Oxbridge looking Mural brings colour to Butetown for students with diplomas Oxford and Cambridge are planning to accept applicants with engineering diplomas Steve Wright Reporter Oxford and Cambridge are considering allowing entry to applicants possessing diplomas. Oxbridge will take applications from students with a diploma in engineering from September 2009, although they still won’t accept applicants with other diplomas such as Hair and Beauty, IT and Hospitality. The advanced diploma is worth 3.5 A-Levels, and candidates applying for engineering at Oxford or Cambridge must also take Physics and Maths as part of the diplom a

first the two have agreed

course. This marks the time that universities to accept stu-

dents from a vocational rather than a purely academic background. with tThe move is already being welcomed by Government, which says that it would boost Oxbridge’s renown. J i m Knight, Schools Minister, said: “Over the next decade I have no doubt that Diplomas will help Oxford and Cambridge cement their reputation as genuinely world-class universities.” This move would mark a significant turn in fortunes for those possessing Diplomas, with academics from Oxford and London universities only last year condemning diplomas in the Nuffield Review as second-rate, calling them “the latest in a long line of broad vocational qualifications occupying the ground between academic qualifications and apprenticeship,” and further stating that they would “suffer in

Siobhan O'Hanlon Reporter One of the largest murals in the country has recently been unveiled in Cardiff. The artwork in Butetown's Loudoun Square measures 524ft and features images of the Butetown's history, such as the race riots in 1919 and the collapse of the coal trade. Local artists Anthony Britto and Kyle Legall, involved with Community Help Itself (CHI), an organisation that helps young people through

art and media projects, began the vibrant makeover in April to improve the area. Kyle, a graffiti artist for 17 years, now hopes that a book will be published detailing the mural's development and the history it represents, which focuses on Tiger Bay and Cardiff as well as Butetown. Anthony said that residents in the area have been very supportive of the project, in particular the elderly: “They've been watching our progress daily and they admire what it's done to benefit the area.”


06 NEWS

DECEMBER.08.2008 NEWS@gairrhydd.COM

UNION WATCH

Emma Barlow rounds up the week in student media

Secret Santa causes controversy in Cambridge

Teaching 'Oscars' for for Edinburgh lecturers EDINBURGH STUDENT

Teaching ‘Oscars’ will be launched this week at the University of Edinburgh as an incentive after a poor performance in this year’s National Student Survey (NSS). The very first teaching awards come after the results of the NSS, which surveys 220,000 final-year students and revealed that general satisfaction with teaching at Edinburgh dropped from 82 per cent in 2007 to 71.1 per cent this year. There will be nominations online where students can vote for lecturers, tutors and supervisors, in such areas as ‘outstanding communicator’ and ‘best user of innovative teaching methods.’ Robert Jenkin, the Students' Association Teaching and Learning Convener, said: “One reason for the University’s poor performance is that the systems put in place by the University and the government have failed to give great teachers the recognition they deserve.” The University, which has recently received criticism for viewing teaching as a less important activity than research, has said that its aim is once again to focus on undergraduate teaching.

CAMBRIDGE VARSITY The mysterious appearance of Santa hats on various buildings around Cambridge's colleges has not been received with Christmas cheer. One hat, crowning the highest spire of the Gate of Humility, caused problems when College authorities deemed that the hat was a health and safety risk to passers-by and emergency services were called out. Three fire engines were used to remove the hat, resulting in the upheaval of traffic. One Caius senior tutor apparently described the prank as ‘disturbing’ and made it clear that anyone found to be partaking in such activities would face serious repercus-

sions. Another hat perches on top of Clare Chapel, although authorities there are taking a more relaxed attitude towards its removal, reportedly saying that the favoured course of action was to “wait with bated breath to see if Father Christmas does turn up!” As the prankster remains anonymous, speculation is rife as to how the hats are being placed so high up, with theories ranging from the use of a long stick to spiderman-like climbing. One suggestion is that the person used the famous book The Night Climbers of Cambridge, originally published in 1937, which offers a guide to get onto the roofs of the city's ancient buildings. The story was picked up by many of the Nationals last week and continues to cause a stir both in and out of

Cambridge. The prank continues last year’s tradition where the red and white furry hats could be spotted on various statues throughout the city.

Amorous intruder Student returns to halls to find novel and rose placed on her bed YORK NOUSE Student safety and security at York University has been called into question after a student returned to her locked room to find an intruder had entered in her absence. The intruder had gained access to the locked room and left a white rose and a novel by Jodie Picoult on the pillow. The student, Jess Moore, had been out with friends, and returned to college at around ten o’ clock to find that an unauthorised person had accessed her room while she had been out. Moore told Nouse that she had locked her room before leaving it and that it was still locked when she arrived home. This raises fears about the intruder gaining access using a duplicate key. It has also called into question the actions of the porter in charge of the students’ halls who apparently advised Moore to wait until the following morning for the issue to be dealt with. Moore said: “The porter could have called maintenance and had the locks changed then and there, but he

didn’t.” This case follows a similar security issue that took place earlier this term, when an undergraduate student found

that a note had been left on her desk. The message, including a telephone number, was written and deposited by a workman who had entered her room while she had been out. Keith Lilley, Director of Facilities Management, said that the University “takes the issue very seriously,” and that “security officers will be following this up with the student in question.” The lock on Moore’s door has now been changed, and Lilley states that the University hopes to “ascertain if there is any information that can be followed up to progress this matter.” He notes: “Once the investigation has concluded, any action that can be taken dependent upon the findings will be followed through.”


WORLD NEWS 07 in the Japanese robots take to the stage Also news... DECEMBER.08.2008 NEWS@gairrhydd.COM

Lucy Morgan Reporter

A new breed of acting robots is set to take centre stage in an innovative Japanese production. The play is called Hataraku Watashi (I, Worker) and it recently premiered in Japan at Osaka University, featuring the interaction of both human and robotic actors. The robots have been manufactured by Mitsubishi and the University has spent the last two months developing the software, training the machines to speak lines with the human actors and to move around

them on stage. Hataraku Watashi is the brainchild of playwright Oriza Hirata who hopes to bring to light the many uncertainties of future relationships between humanity and technology. In the play the robots are forced to take up boring and demeaning jobs which leads to a discussion with the humans over the role technology has in their lives. At present the play is only 20 minutes long but it aims to become a full length production by 2010. If this new breed of actor proves to be successful they could pose a threat for human actors in Hollywood, and

perhaps one day a generation of celebrity robots will be gracing the big screen. The robots are 1 metre (3 feet) tall humanoids and are most commonly

trained for the role of a mechanical secretary and house-sitter. It is predicted that they will soon be signing autographs if their performance is a success.

Germany faces Ele-texting Santa crisis Charlotte Laken Reporter Job agencies, which are currently conducting a desperate last-minute recruitment drive in the run-up to Christmas, have reported a distinct lack of employable Santas. The requirements for the right Santa are more than just a convincing 'ho ho ho' and clear criminal record checks. Among the tough criteria are a suitably low voice, child-friendliness, good German, not too youthful, and a full repertoire of Christmas poems and songs. "It takes a lot to be a good Santa. About 10% don't make it through the casting process," said Tarik Kilinc of the Heinzelmaennchen agency in Berlin. "Just handing out presents isn't enough. Our Santa's have to sing songs with the families and talk to

the parents about their children," he added. The shortage has been heightened by a record number of bookings, as families try to capture the Christmas spirit amid economic gloom. In Berlin alone, job agencies are 150 short of the 500 Father Christmases required for up to 5,000 private parties, school and shopping mall events. Jens Wittenberger, in charge of Santa recruitment at the Jobcafe in Munich, said: "Not many people have what it takes to be a good Father Christmas." Recruits must learn to deal with difficult situations such as answering tricky questions from children, including "why does your beard look fake?" If hopeful applicants do succeed, they can make up to €60 (£50) an hour: "That's not bad, is it?" added Wittenberger.

Sarah Powell News Editor

Christianity rocks

The image of Jesus Christ has been found by workers in a music shop in Michigan. Employees at Instrumental Music and Sound have reportedly seen the image in the wood grain of one of the guitars in the shop. Employee Jeff Hoyer said: “When you look at it from this angle (from the neck down) the face disappears, which is proof that it cannot have been faked, that it is actually in the grain, because if it were somehow faked, no matter what angle you looked at it, it would still be there.”

Festive felony

Rachel Suttcliffe Reporter Kenyan Elephants have been warning local rangers that they are nearing the crops of neighbouring villages through the use of text messages. Elephants of the OI Pejeta conservancy have been fitted with SIM cards on their necks which, when they reach the perimeter of local villages, automatically sends the rangers text messages. A virtual fence was implemented after an almost extinct breed, the Bull Elephant, raided crops during harvest, costing the locals as much as six months work and pay. This resulted in the Kenyan Wildlife Service reluctantly having to shoot five particularly persistent animals. The use of a global positioning system, which mirrors the boundaries of the conservatory, will hopefully enable the rangers to intercept the animals before they arrive at the crops so less elephants will be put down. Kimani is an example of a Bull Elephant who has been fitted with a SIM card. Kimani was once a nightly raider of the fields but now, having been intercepted 15 times since the project

began, has not approached a farmer’s field in four months. The idea was drawn up by the Save the Elephants group and has provided relief to smaller farmers who rely heavily on the crops for food and school fees. It is not just the crops that have been at risk from the elephants as Basila Mwasu, a 31-year-old mother, recalls a scary incident with one of the elephants. Living on the boundary of the conservancy fence, an elephant managed to stick its truck through the window of the room in which her baby daughter was sleeping, forcing Basila to beat it back with a burning stick. On another occasion, one of the elephants killed a neighbour who was defending his crop. “We had to go into town to tell the game [wardens] to chase the elephants away or we’re going to kill them all,” said Basila. Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder of the Save the Elephants project, commented that the system is not without its problems as it is still in its infancy. However, so far it has been a success, with villagers expressing a greater feeling of safety.

A man in Florida has been arrested on a felony assault charge after using a Christmas tree to attack his father. The 37-year-old man was arrested after throwing a 3 foot Christmas tree at his father. Fortunately, the tree missed its target, but the man then resorted to using the steel base used to secure the tree as a weapon. His parents were able to grasp his arms to prevent the attack but the man was arrested and charged with felony assault.

Bitter pill

The wife of an 82-year-old Italian man called the police after her husband took a Viagra pill. The woman was so frightened that her husband, Giovanni di Stefano, would have a heart attack that she quickly called the police. A family friend said: “The police didn’t do anything but their presence had the desired effect. He lost interest in his love life pretty quickly.” Giovanni’s 69-year-old wife, Carla, told police: “He is 82-yearsold and so I thought so much love could have lethal consequences.”


02 SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT

NOVEMBER.03.2008 INTERVIEWS@gairrhydd.COM


OPINION 09

DECEMBER.08.2008 OPINION@gairrhydd.COM

freewords Est. 1972

Too many students?

Corrections & Clarifications: Should students be spread more evenly across Kicked Out of Cathays

Last week’s story Kicked Out of Cathays was written in a manner that implied that the council would be attempting to remove students from Cathays and Roath. gair rhydd has since acknowledged that this was an inaccurate portrayal of the motion that was passed in the full council meeting on November 20. It is not strictly accurate to say that the council voted to reduce the number of students in Cathays and Roath, or that they will attempt to prevent more students moving into Cathays and Roath. The council voted in favour of a motion that will draft a policy that outlines their views on student housing. However, one of the motivations behind this motion, which the motion itself acknowledges, is that a high concentration of student housing brings particular problems to a community. Council expressed an interest in spreading students more evenly across the city to alleviate these problems. Proposing the motion, Councillor Ed Bridges, a postgraduate student at Cardiff University, said: “We need to prevent ourselves from sleepwalking into an over-concentration of HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) in particular areas.” Later, commenting on the changes that such a policy should bring, Councillor Bridges said: “We need halls to be situated so that they can be spread more evenly across the city, to avoid over-concentration but still promote sustainability.” In an interview with gair rhydd, Councillor Bridges was quoted as saying: “This proposal is about trying to encourage students into properties in, say, Adamsdown and Whitchurch to redress the balance.” Councillor Bridges has since contacted gair rhydd to say that he disputes saying this, and wishes to make it clear that this is not his view. In the interests of clarity, gair rhydd would like to make it clear that the council did not indicate that they will be evicting students from Cathays and Roath. They have proposed, however, that students should be spread more evenly across the city. Editor Ben Bryant Deputy Editor Hazel Plush Co-ordinator Elaine Morgan News Emma Barlow Emma Jones Sarah Powell Sian Symons Eleanor Joslin Editorial and Opinion Jamie Thunder Emma Davies Columnist

Cardiff? No, says Emma Davies

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tudent ghetto. Even the term is offensive, carrying a multitude of negative connotations. What do you think of when you think of a ghetto? A shanty town? Probably not Cathays, that’s for sure. Unless you’re part of the Cardiff Council, that is. As reported on the front cover of last week’s gair rhydd, the local council unanimously voted recently in favour of a proposal for a draft policy that would aim to spread the student population 'more evenly' across the city, in order to reduce the heavy student concentration in the areas immediately surrounding the University.

Supply and demand has dictated that Cathays is a popular area Not only is this ridiculous on several levels, it also relies upon false assumptions. It almost reduces students to the level of second-class citizens. We need, the motion seems to assume, to be re-integrated with society at large. As it is right now, we’re apparently a different species altogether. We’re noisy, we take up all of the parking spaces and we don’t put our rubbish out on time. Yes, it does stand to reason that people are far more likely to act in a rowdy fashion after a few drinks, but not everyone who drinks is a student, and not every student drinks. Hell, some of us can even go out for a few beverages and come home in an orderly fashion, without bellowing out a shonky, off-kilter rendition of The Time of My Life. Anybody can make noise; it’s not a student-specific pursuit. You could luck out and wind up living next door to a professional couple who have disgustingly loud and disruptive rows on a regular basis. Actually, the family who live opposite me at home do that. The police have even been out - and that’s in suburban Devon, not a

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which would be destroyed. What’s more, the Union building isn’t magically going to vapourise into thin air, even if the students aren’t so highly concentrated in the surrounding area. It will doubtless continue to be a thriving hub of student activity and nightlife, so the 2am stagger home would simply be replaced by the 2am scramble for a taxi.

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students, was passe by Full Cardiff d unani by Lib Council after prevent Council will mously (coun Dem counc being proposed He said: into Cathamore stude attempt to onded cillor for Gabal illor Ed nts "In it has ys and of the Roath moving (coun by his collea fa ward) Bridges came changed forthe last few problems cal resid beca the worse years along to gue Simon and seccillor ents. they cause use Comm The motio . If you Pickard Argum for Cathays). Move for lounities the PACT (Polic n also housing Cathays Together) car-parkingents over spreadings will be e and for studen proposes impro noise, made out the people you would see meetings Coun litter and for drivin spaces have ts. across ved towards have." the anger in accep cillor Picka the city student popul "I want lived in g away peopl been blame Councillor passed table that rd said: that after ation d a their house at with the to see the e who student "It's not Ed Bridg almos Cardiff Thursday the Full Couna motion was Coun have s for Universities Council postgradua es, who is Union cil Coun houses are t ten percent Nove gair rhydd that the cillors voted decades. regard of ing s to come The motio mber 20. meeting on and Studework te studen also tion.'"cil as 'unfi he did up with posal to t for huma ed by the policy in parts ratio of studen unanimous n, which t, told student not a wide- nts' sound ly of ts n inhab the spread to plan for anti-s intend his prorang"The He said: across housing shoul proposes that Catha the city is now to residents itaof halls the future so the can be "We're tudent. negligent Council needs too high. resent and studen 63, lives ys resident that areas with city to reducd be spread done very studen to prose landlords proud on a street Richard Brydo powers t areas The numbin a more mana t houses e tensio havin an 'overof to repand introdcute has where n, studeng a very high of the city concentratio n in and20 houses are er of ged way." lords to target occupied eight out welco ts does concentratio but ed responsible the very worst uce 2001.risen from 24,00students in Cardi n' of by studen create houses for the student mes any plans land"This In 0 n proble of proposal population. student some streets to 30,000 sinceff of the city."in the most most negle ms. to dilute ts, encou of Catha popul run-down ct- the the say, rage studen is about ys, available ation occup Coun parts Adamsdown ts into propetrying to ies 75% the clude cillor Bridges, One counc housing. redress of whose the balan and Whitc rties in, addeds the Talyb anti-social illor sugge ward inont halls hurch ce." sted that to city, : "Cardiff behav should more is a greatof residence, and be given iour orders make (ASB unive planning its students out to students Os) deserve rsity their too much on housi noise or who rubbish ng issues better fail to out on . time. put continued on page 3

student ‘ghetto’. It makes for amazing entertainment if you happen to be sat in the lounge at the time, I must say. The complaint about rubbish I will let stand, however. It’s not rare to walk along streets in Cathays and see rubbish everywhere. It’s not nice and if I were a permanent resident here, I’d be annoyed about it, too. However, spreading the student population further out isn’t going to remedy this situation; it’s quite probable that the problem will continue, and students will be further demonised for creating blight upon ‘good’ neighbourhoods. Perhaps a good idea here would be to raise awareness of rubbish collection days, and to implement penalties for failing to place waste out for disposal on allocated days.

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The 2am stagger home will be replaced by a 2am scramble for a taxi I’m actually not against the proposed idea of anti-social behaviour orders for persistent neglect of this, as long as the same measures were to be implemented against non-students. I’m all for being treated the same as the rest of the community; what I’m not keen on is the idea of being treated Graeme Porteous Proof Readers Laurel Burn Huw Roberts Aisling Tempany Helen Porter Eleanor Joslin Contributors Christofer Lloyd, Nathan Allen, Katherine Chidwick, Steve Wright, Siobhan O'Hanlon, Lucy Morgan, Charlotte Laken, Rachel Suttcliffe, Coey

as someone who’s bound to make life a misery for neighbours simply because I happen to be an undergraduate.

This proposal almost reduces students to the level of secondclass citizens Proposals to spread students out into other areas of Cardiff will also make travel to university more difficult for students. One of the reasons that Cardiff University appealed so much to me was its proximity to the city centre. I didn’t want to go to a campus university, simply because I didn’t want to study miles from where I was living. I didn’t want to have to catch buses everywhere. I like being able to walk to lectures, and living in the heart of the city. Cathays is close to University buildings, and close to the Students’ Union building, so of course it’s a popular area. Supply and demand has dictated that Cathays has a large student population. Diluting this is also likely to have a devastating effect upon local businesses which cater mainly for the student market. There is a definite sense of community within the area

Shefman, Bradley Jagger, Laura Harman, Rachel Simons, Simon John, Jenny Sleeman, Vicki Litherland, Berwyn Jones, Aled Roberts, Emma Mc Farnon, Emma Bennett, Alex Bywater, Tom Victor, Matthew Fahy, Oliver Franklin, Charlotte Dyer, Rachel Kellas, James Hinks, Penny Challans, Matthew Hetherington,

Liberal Democrat councillor Simon Pickard has also raised the issue that nearly ten percent of student houses in the area are considered unfit for human inhabitation. Ouch. He’s probably onto something there. But is it the fault of the student population that their houses are decrepit? Of course not. It’s the fault of the landlords. Unfortunately, there will be unscrupulous landlords anywhere there’s money to be made by letting older houses to largely uncomplaining students for low rates. Welcome to capitalist society, eh? It all comes back to my earlier point about supply and demand. The problem will simply move along with the students.

There is a definite sense of community which would be destroyed

Worryingly, the proposal was put forward by a Cardiff University postgraduate student. Though councillor Bridges has said that his proposal was meant in no way to be anti-student, it’s very hard indeed to see what the student body stands to gain here. This is apparently in the best interest of the local community, but which community?

Angharad Haf Address University Union, Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3QN Web www.gairrhydd.com Email info@gairrhydd.com Advertising 02920 781 474 Location 4th Floor Cardiff University Students’ Union

Park Place Cardiff CF10 3QN News Desk 07908 551922


10 OPINION Canuck in Cardiff

Corey Shefman wants the BNP off campuses

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et’s not beat around the bush, as they say. This argument that people vote for the BNP because they feel “ignored” or “not valued” by the major parties is the biggest load of bullshit I’ve ever heard. People vote for the BNP because they’re ignorant. People join the BNP because they’re misguided, naive and amoral. Don’t make excuses for them: they’re bigots. By the way, the oft-circulated rumour that only white people can join the BNP isn’t quite true. I’m white and I’m not eligible for membership. In fact, only “Indigenous Caucasians” can join the party (for a fuller definition of what that means feel free to consult Section 2 of the BNP Constitution). Last week, a lovely fellow commented on the gair rhydd website about a Sheffield Students’ Union council member whose position was in jeopardy due to his membership in the BNP. Pete exclaims that the “Labour” students who are “persecuting” this poor soul are no better than “Hitler’s brownshirts’ victimisation of Jews”. As a Jew myself, I actually feel quite comfortable saying that the efforts of human rights activists to remove a racist neo-fascist from a position of authority is in fact quite a bit better than the actions of the Brownshirts (also known as the SA, an organization which was ironically well known for the rampant homosexuality that they so hypocritically claimed to be deviant). Some people argue that the BNP has the right to spout their nonsense regardless of how offensive it may be to a rational mind. I say screw it. It’s not like the BNP is on the political fringe – that would be the Greens. The BNP is out of this political solar system. They, like such lovely men as Jean-Marie Le Pen and Adolf Hitler, should not be given a platform from which to spout their hate speech. I’m sorry if this column is beginning to sound like a rant, but any political party which limits his membership to one ethnic group – regardless of whether that group is white, Muslims or people allergic to nuts, simply do not have the right to pollute young minds with an agenda that is grossly offensive by any possible definition of the word. A university is a place of learning. It is a place where everyone must feel comfortable and where everyone must be able to participate in activities both academic and extracurricular without the fear of intimidation or physical harm from their peers. As a Jewish person myself, I would not feel comfortable sitting on a committee, attending a social, or even being in the same room as a member of the British National Party. Nazism was defeated in 1945; let’s make sure we keep it that way.

DECEMBER.08.2008 INTERVIEWS@gairrhydd.COM

A bloody disgrace

Ceri Isfryn wonders if crass generalisations are preventing people from donating healthy blood

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t's nice to feel wanted, isn't it? The Blood Service wants me, and they don't half let me know about it. A letter plopping onto the doormat every few months invites me to offer myself up to the NHS Draculas (minus the scary castle and red eyes. I hope). But when I think about it, I'm one of the lucky ones. I can freely be plugged in, robbed of a pint of blood, and enjoy the free biscuits and hearty cuppa. Men who practice gay sex, however, are subjected to a lifetime ban on blood donation, regardless as to whether it was a quick fumble behind the bike sheds back in the sixties or a ten-year rampage of promiscuity. However, before I get on my soapbox, let's talk facts. Between 2002 and 2006 there has been a 117% increase in syphilis infections in men who partake in gay sex. The Blood Service states that "completely removing the current exclusion on blood donation from men who have sex with men would result in a 500% increase in the risk of HIV-infected blood entering the blood supply. While changing deferral to one year from the last sexual contact would have a lesser effect, it would still increase this risk by 60%" (sexual contact is regarded as anything from a quick handful to full on intercourse). These figures are startling. They're startling because it makes me wonder

why the hell does 40% of HIV infected blood slip through the testing systems? Whereas the American Blood Service clearly details the nine different tests each donation is subjected to, the British Blood Service website rather conveniently skims over these 'minor' details. I'd like to think that if I ever had a blood transfusion, I could lie in my hospital bed safe in the knowledge that the

Blood Service will have rigorously tested it. It makes you question what else slips through the testers' rubber gloved hands. Imagine this. A group of straight men go on a lairy lads weekend to New York (where there is a big AIDS problem) and all sleep with large numberes of svelte American 'chicks'. A man living in the Shetlands is ho-

mosexual, and his only sexual experience consists of a mutual fumble after a school disco back in the day. The first group, despite being highly exposed to disease, can give blood every 12 weeks 'til the day they die. The latter, because of one disease-free fumble, can never give a drop. If sexually active gay men were allowed to donate, I'm almost certain that t h e y

would, simply because they've got the right. Prostitutes, implicitly by nature of their work, place themselves at high risk of all kinds of infections. If I were a gay man I would be hugely offended by being categorized on a par with people who knowingly place themselves in a vulnerable position disease-wise. By working on sweeping generalisations of what it means to be

a gay man, the Blood Service are losing out on invaluable donations. On the subject of HIV, The Blood Service states that they "start from the premise that any transmission is one too many." No one can argue with that. "There is, therefore, no exclusion of gay men who have never had sex with a man nor of women who have sex with women, they add. "But if a girl sleeps with a boy who likes boys, then why should she be able to give blood when gay men cannot? She has exposed herself to exactly the same risk as any gay man, so should be treated by the Blood Service accordingly. Its restrictions are, to say the least, a bit confused. Likewise, on the one hand, if you're a hooker you also get a big thumbs down. However, if you ever 'get lost' on your way to Woody Fish Bar and find yourself on your back in Twice as Nice, you can still give blood 12 months later. I was taught in sex ed. at the age of eleven that once is enough, regardless of whether you're gay or straight. Maybe someone should sit the Blood Service chiefs down and give them the facts of life. They need to stop pussy-footing and make their minds up: either invest in more blood testing facilities so that everyone can give, or tighten up the bans so that seriously ill patients aren't exposed to such alarmingly high rates of contaminated blood.

Poetry in Motion?

Is the position of Poet Laureate still relevant in 2008? Bradley Jagger waxes lyrical

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ext year is set to mark the stepping down of a certain individual from one of the most prestigious offices in the world, to be replaced by a fresh, intelligent new candidate. For all those who are currently thinking of Barack Obama, lose ten points. No, 2009 will in fact see another nail-biting, edge of your seat race for office. Of course, I’m talking about the appointment of the new Poet Laureate. What do you mean you don’t know who the current one is? Andrew Motion was elected to the post of Britain’s national poet a decade ago. He became part of a centuries-old tradition of poets that has included such literary goliaths as William Wordsworth and Alfred, Lord Tennyson (probably the only historical figure ever to have silly punctuation in his name). The Poet Laureate would have once had a vast readership; he also had the esteemed task of composing poems

for the State and for the Royal Family. Which is all well and good, except these days the Royal Family are the only people that actually read them.

The idea of public voting for the Poet Laureate is sad Next year, the vaguely-titled Department for Culture, Media and Sport will be entreating us to join the raging debate to find Motion’s successor. Will we, the Great British Public, with our rich history of literary tradition, make our mark on poetic history with our appointment of a new Laureate? No. We won’t. The quirky addition of the ‘popular vote’ alongside the learned opinions of academics and literary societies is simply not going to make poetry exciting. Aside from the fact that voting will probably involve Ant and Dec hastily telling you that “calls will cost a pound a minute (mobiles may vary)

and any calls made after the closing time won’t be counted but may still be charged”, the general public just don’t seem to care as much anymore. But far from bemoaning the death of poetry, I suggest that perhaps this attitude is justified. The tradition is nearly one thousand years old, so there’s a strong argument for it being somewhat outdated. What’s more, whereas reading poetry was a major leisure activity in Wordsworth’s day (for rich and poor alike), today we are bombarded with so many fast, colourful, exhilarating alternatives that poetry falls by the wayside. The very idea of public voting for the Poet Laureate seems a sad gimmick to make an old fashioned art form seem cool. Like a granddad trying to breakdance, you know something’s got to break. The value of poetry has simply changed over time. In a shameless attempt at intellectualism, I draw attention to Wordsworth’s own words: “poetry is passion: it is the history or science of feelings”. But does

anyone really have time for this anymore? Even as an English Lit student, I’ll probably never get through the thirteen books of his lengthy and inappropriately named Prelude.

Do we just pay for someone just to amuse the Queen? As it is, I think that poetry can be a fantastic expression of emotion and an intense exploration of the human condition through the nuances of language. But that’s not for everyone. With the current Laureate reduced to nothing more than trivia at the local pub quiz, maybe it’s time to give it a rest. Let’s face it, if we ever need a poignant tribute to the Royal Family in verse, we can always just wheel out Elton John for another tear-jerking rerelease of Candle in the Wind. Visit gairrhydd.com/comment for another view on this issue


OPINION 11

DECEMBER.08.2008 OPINION@gairrhydd.COM

Smoothing things over

Young offenders are being given ironing as community service. Laura Harman weighs up the pros and cons

“I

’m not ironing. That’s women’s work” – apparently this was the main response from young offenders to the news that, as part of their community service, they would be collecting clothes from charity shops and ironing them to be ready for sale. The young offenders would then deliver the completed items to the shops. The scheme has been declared successful as a result of the compliance of the offenders and the fact that it has cost just under £100, which Wrexham Youth Justice Service have used to buy irons, baskets and ironing boards.

There is work in the community that could have a longer positive impact So far, so good. It seems as though the youth justice system, which is often branded a ‘failure’ due to its high percentage of repeat offenders and its large costs, has finally hit upon a form of community service which can be called successful.

However, there seems to have been some suggestion that this is an unacceptable punishment for prisoners. One of these arguments is that youth offenders are being asked to do too much, that ironing is too difficult. I’m pretty much going to ignore this view: it is, to be completely honest, just an entirely ridiculous argument. We all know that fines aren’t deterring criminals, ASBOs are a total joke and youth crime is on the increase. But the idea that ironing is not harsh enough? This view immediately makes me think about the sort of people who think that no punishment is enough, even for minor offences. Unless, of course, we bring back capital punishment. And don’t forget the cane. I really think that these people – the caricature in my head is of an old man with a moustache and a pipe – have a point in this case, though. But that’s not to say that what they are doing is not useful. The Salvation Army is the charity which Wrexham Youth Justice Service has decided to help with this scheme. They are definitely benefiting when we think about how much time and effort it must take for just a few volunteers to wash and iron enough clothing to stock a store.

It also means that the offenders, who have to go into the shops and communicate with the workers, are learning to be patient, hard-working and respectful. In theory this is all fantastic:- these are attributes we want to encourage in all the inhabitants of our country, surely?

How will someone's attitudes change after doing some ironing? When we think about everything else that the youth offenders could be doing, though, it almost seems like a ridiculous punishment. There is work in the community which is much harder to complete, which takes longer, and could have a longer lasting positive impact. For example, there are many initiatives around to paint, or to garden, children’s playgrounds. This encourages children to become involved and helps people to feel as though they are part of a community. What I see as the best way of ‘punishing’ young offenders, though, is

getting them in direct contact with those who are harmed by their actions. Or, the punishment should simply fit the crime. Why will someone change their attitudes towards damaging someone’s car if they have been sentenced to do some ironing? What good will be done by cleaning graffiti off of walls, if that young offender has been arrested for drinking underage? Instead, they should be assigned to schemes based upon their actions. And these schemes should work hand-in-hand with the charities who help victims. At the risk of sounding all sugary-sweet, they should work together to change attitudes. Not that this would be without its problems. Obviously, there would be issues with money – people always

complain if too much money is being spent on criminals. These are usually the same people who complain if the level of repeat offenders is too high.

Offenders should be assigned to schemes based upon their actions

But, while I don’t see it as the ultimate solution, at least this ironing malarkey has satisfied most of the public as something both financially viable, possible for the long-term, and beneficial to offenders and the community. Oh, and just one more thing – ironing is women’s work? I haven’t done a scrap since I’ve been here.

IRONING: turning out smooth criminals

Catholic truth? Following issue 883’s article on the Catholic Church, a Christian Scientist has his say

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he Catholic Church is an institution that seems to court controversy, regularly coming under attack from a coalition of bodies seemingly hostile to some aspect or other of what it has to offer the world. Recently, this led George Carpenter to reflect on the Church's response to sex abuse scandals, and this led him to ponder the role of the Church in the world, with particular criticism aimed at its attitude to science. If one reads the writings of Catholic thinkers, one finds the claim that the Church is centred on truth – primarily the truth of the existence of God, and on the truth of our need for God. Ultimately, truth cannot contradict truth, and therefore any other intellectual pursuit that seeks to learn truth, including science, cannot contradict God's divine truth. If there is a perceived conceptual clash, then there must be a misunderstanding either in our chosen path of learning, or in our knowledge of God. Therefore Catholicism involves,

ings to make it "fit in better" with today's culture. The teaching of the Church is rooted in a culture that no longer exists, people argue, and therefore must change with the times.

The Church is maturing with age

and even encourages thinking, and is not irrational or opposed to intellect. Specifically, since science is a quest for the truth of how nature (or God's creation) works, the Church cannot be said to be anti-science. Many people suggest that the Church should change its moral teach-

What many people don't realise, or forget, is that what the Church has to say about faith and morals is rooted in what it has received from the Apostles and from Jesus Christ himself. What has been handed down to us cannot change, because it is considered to be truth, which by definition cannot change. What is true for one time cannot be false for another time in earth history. The Church is therefore protected from error by the Holy Spirit when it formally defines a matter of faith or morals on that truth. While the Church may not be able to change what it teaches, it can change in other ways. The Catholic Church can be compared to a human,

developing and maturing with age. As humans do things wrong, learn and, mature as a result of that mistake, and learn more about themselves and their personality as they grow older, so does the Church. The Church matures to better understand what has been handed down to it and its role in the world. Thus from its mistakes the church can emerge stronger. For example, one might say from its misguided attacks on science in the past that the Church emerges with a clearer idea that its role is not to do science but instead to speak out when science is done unethically. In other words, the Church increasingly sees its role as not ruling countries or doing science, but instead reminding us of higher truths and providing us with a sense of moral direction and spiritual purpose. The Church is often told to get its own house in order before speaking out on moral issues of the day. It is true that the Catholic Church has made mistakes because it consists of sinful humans, but I would defy any-

one to name a human institution that has never got anything wrong. We have it handed down to us, however, as truth that the Church is prayed for by the saints and the Virgin Mary, guided by the Holy Spirit and nourished by the Body of Christ. It is thus is strengthened to lead people to God, the inevitable sins of it's own members notwithstanding.

Catholicism involves and encourages thinking

Whether people choose to listen to what the Church has to say is a matter for their own conscience; the Church today forces no one to follow against their will. The Church will continue to speak out, though, not to take away our freedom or to hold power over us, but simply because it believes that without the truth of God, humanity is ultimately doomed.


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Helen Northmore

Top Tips: • Only boil as much water as you actually need – but always be careful to fully cover the metal element at the base of the kettle. This simple measure could reduce your carbon footprint by around 26kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) a year. • Wash your clothes at 30 degrees instead of higher temperatures. If everyone in the household switches to washing at 30 degrees, you could cut around 43kg of CO2 off your carbon footprint every year. • Consider having one shared TV or games console in your house rather than one in each room. A house of four students who each have a TV in their own room could save around £48 in running costs by all sharing just one of their TV’s - and cut the carbon footprint of the whole house by around 160kg of CO2 a year. • Turn electrical appliances off standby when they are not in use. A household of students could save around £28 a year and 100kg of CO2 just by turning appliances off properly. • Turn the lights off whenever

you leave a room. Leaving them on when you are out adds 20kg of CO2 to the atmosphere every year, that’s enough to fill five telephone boxes! • Walk or cycle to lectures instead of driving and benefit from the extra exercise while reducing your carbon footprint at the same time. As official sponsors of Go Green Week (8-14 December), the Energy Saving Trust will be on hand to offer more advice on energy saving. The week comprises of events, activities, workshops and educational facilities to learn about environmental issues. Students can visit the Energy Saving Trust stall for more advice in the foyer outside the Great Hall on Thursday the 11th of December. To find out more about ways to save energy and money, call the Energy Saving Trust advice line on 0800 512 012 or visit www.energysavingtrust.org.uk. Why not sign up online to the Energy Saving Trust newsletter that provides monthly updates on how to save energy.


COLUMNIST 13

DECEMBER.08.2008 OPINION@gairrhydd.COM

A right for the Right Y

ou know, I think the BNP might have a point. Oh, leave off with your pitchforks and blazing torches. I’m not racist. I’m not I’m not I’m not. If the publication of the BNP members’ list a few weeks ago proved anything, it was the power of the tendency towards knee-jerk reactions, even among those claiming to be tolerant, enlightened agents of freedom. All over the country, local activists scoured the document online, desperately searching for someone they knew so they can, as Nicholas Blincoe on The Guardian website put it, “stage displays of disapproval.” You have to wonder how Nicholas would take someone staging a display of disapproval against his own political views. But this sort of double standard against the BNP (and other groups) is not limited to Blincoe by any means; it’s rife, and not least within the NUS. I’m well aware that I’m not the first student journalist to use the might of the pen to discuss the BNP and free speech. Heck, I’m not even the first gair rhydd writer to do so; columnists Rasputin and Edification have, in the past two years, made similar points. But despite the lack of BNP presence in Cardiff and Cardiff University, it’s an issue that’s still relevant to Cardiff University and any member of the NUS as a whole (that’s you, that is). And here’s why.

We're supposed to just pretend the BNP doesn't exist Since the 1990s, the NUS has had a ‘No Platform’ policy for organisations deemed to be racist or fascist by their steering committee. Similar policies also been adopted by many Students’ Unions, including Cardiff. Not a lot of people know that, as the issue of gair rhydd that reported Cardiff’s Student Council motion never made it to print due to technical reasons. The computers broke. But it’s not just the general student body who are unaware; stunningly, not even the President of Cardiff Students’ Union knew that the policy existed until a few days ago. Cardiff’s policy, passed in 2005, states that no individual known to hold racist or fascist views is allowed to enter Union premises, speak at Union events, distribute material supporting their views or to share a platform with any elected Union officer. This naturally leads to the debate over how to define a racist or a fascist view. Cardiff has nimbly dodged

automatically make you a threat. A ban on all members of the BNP is a case of guilty until proven innocent, and it’s particularly hard to prove yourself innocent if you’re denied a voice. Even without the lack of consensus on who or what is racist or fascist, there’s another principle here. To quote Professor Mick Temple of Staffordshire University, “if you believe in free speech, it has to be for everyone”. He’s right. UEA’s rejection of ‘no platform’ was hailed by some as a chance to engage the BNP, and to discredit their arguments in the cold, harsh light of over-excited lefty students. But really this isn’t about having the opportunity to cut the BNP, etc. down with words of reason – that’s too biased. It’s about discrimination.

There's no clear definition of what is 'racist' or 'fascist'

SILENCED: members of the BNP are banned by the NUS this minefield by not actually having a definition, but the groups stifled by the policy (as far as I'm aware, Cardiff follows the NUS on this) include Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, and – topically! – the British National Party. I guess it’s just common sense, right? Although many Students’ Unions have their own individual ‘No Platform’ policies, not all support the NUS’ stance. Students at the University of East Anglia voted down a proposal to implement something similar in their Union, as did, more narrowly, University of Warwick students, although Warwick’s delegates decided to completely ignore this and vote however the hell they wanted at the NUS conference earlier this year. But whatever individual members of the NUS decide, they’re still bound by the NUS’ policy. Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the policy is that regardless of the individual University’s stance, any Union Officer found ‘sharing a platform’ with a ‘racist’ can be kicked out of the NUS. So that’s no debate allowed. I presume we’re just supposed to pretend the BNP doesn’t exist. Yeah, that’s worked well so far. The NUS’ line is that it wants to

protect its members from oppressive groups, while the Student Council notes for Cardiff’s ‘no platform’ motion state that it will ‘safeguard its members from being subjected to listen to the lies, bigotry and hatred of racists and fascists’, presumably because they don’t trust us to make up our own minds. All very noble, except they haven’t defined what ‘oppressive groups’ or ‘racists and fascists’ mean, which lets them attach the label to whatever they want. I’ve no doubt that people find the BNP intimidating and offensive, but it, along with MPAC and Hizb ut-Tahrir, is a legal organisation, and both the NUS and Cardiff Students’ Union seem to think that they know better than the law.

The NUS seems to think that it knows better than the law No student should feel intimidated by any group or individual. And there are some students who would be intimidated by the presence of, say, the BNP. But the answer isn’t a blanket ban. Individuals who actively intimidate others should be dealt with, but being a member of the BNP does not

This isn’t a ‘no platform’ policy; it’s a ‘no voice’ policy. It’s a threat to freedom of speech. And here, to finally return to that first sentence, is where the BNP have a point when they say they’re silenced. They are silenced. They are silenced by the media, they are silenced by the NUS, and they are silenced by the majority of Students’ Unions, including Cardiff. They are censored for expressing lawful opinions, and however much you may dislike them, that is wrong. The NUS and Cardiff Students’ Union clearly detest the BNP. But the irony is that every time this happens to the BNP, or someone simply discounts their opinion because they’re ‘racist’ (and therefore wrong about everything), or, to quote an anonymous source from gair rhydd towers, claims they’re ‘not a real political party’, it actually strengthens them. It reinforces their claims that there is a conspiracy against them (because that is exactly what it looks like), which in turn gives their other views validation. After all, if they’re right about the media conspiracy, what else could they be right about, eh? Nudge nudge, wink wink, heil heil. As long as the BNP remain within the law, which they do, they can say what they want, even if it’s considered highly offensive. That’s freedom of speech. Neither the NUS nor Cardiff Students’ Union are some sort of filter of ‘acceptable’ views with the right to censor what people say. ‘No platform’, although well-meaning, is misguided, dangerous, and has absolutely no place in either the NUS or our Students’ Union.

Is it

?

just me...

...or should some songs just not be danced to?

H

ere's an idea, Wombats, let's not dance to Joy Division. Alright? Let's not. Not only is the superficial Scousers' song wrong (Ian Curtis was famous for his dancing, so it's not all that ironic), but it's also entirely inappropriate. Love Will Tear Us Apart is not a song for dancing to. Joy Division were a band whose lead singer hanged himself. 'Love will tear us apart' was inscribed on his tombstone. Ha ha hee hee LET'S ALL GET PISSED AND FLAIL AROUND TO SOMEONE'S EPITAPH!

Clubs should stick to anodyne filth It really is an abysmal state of affairs when a song as sober as that is used as prime material for a good night out (and is referenced in a chirpy, meaningless, throwaway song). The same thing happens with Richey Edwards' vicious, arrogant loathing in Faster when it comes on, as it often does, in Clwb Ifor Bach. How can you dance to the line 'selfdisgust is self-obsession'? The obvious answer is that you don't. You're dancing to the fact that there is some music somewhere. If you recognise it then all the better, but it doesn't really matter what comes on. You just put your hands in the air like you just don't care. Which you don't.

You're dancing to someone's epitaph So why carry on playing these entirely inappropriate songs? Whether masterful (Faster) or mediocre (Love Will Tear Us Apart), they're about as fitting as playing Live Forever at an old people's home, or What A Wonderful World in Primark on a Saturday. Just stick to anodyne filth like the Ting Tings. Incidentally, their biggest hit is also ironic, because no-one actually knows her name (although, through process of elimination, we can probably have a decent guess). Maybe she should stop whining about what a nonentity she is and do something about it. Just a thought.


14 POLITICS

DECEMBER.08.2008 POLITICS@gairrhydd.COM

Misgivings in Westminster

Damian Green's recent arrest has sparked much debate, but who if anyone is in the wrong? Rachel Simons investigates

O

n the 27th November, shadow immigration minister Damian Green was detained by police for nine hours, DNA and fingerprint samples were taken, his parliamentary computer was seized and his home and were office searched by 20 counter-terrorism police. The incident has sparked furious rows on both sides of the floor, with accusations of misconduct being levelled against Jacqui Smith, the Police and Speaker Michael Martin. Green was arrested on a charge of “aiding and abetting, counselling or procuring misconduct in a public office" after he was accused of not just opening an envelope that arrived at his desk, but of having ‘groomed’ a young civil servant into illegally procuring Home Office secrets. The charge is serious, with the maximum consequence being life imprisonment. Misconduct in a public office is seen as an abuse of trust, yet Green would be able to make ‘acting in the public’s interest’ his defence. The four documents were a series of Home Office memos ranging from November 2007 to the present. The information released included the large number of immigrants cleared to work in the UK, which Smith was advised to keep from the public; an email to another Home Office minister that showed knowledge of an illegal immigrant allowed to work in parliament under a fake ID and a letter from Smith to Brown warning rather self-evidently that a recession would mean more crime and a list of Labour rebels expected to vote against the 42

day terrorist detainment bill. There is no indication that money was involved, yet Tories are incensed at the implication that Green offered inducements to leak the official documents. The Home Office claimed that they were unaware of the police’s plans, and the Metropolitan Police say it was done without ministerial knowledge or approval.

There are big constitutional issues at stake Acting Metropolitan Police Chief Sir Paul Stephenson, tipped as Ian Blair’s successor, presumably sanctioned the arrest. However, after the barrage of criticism following Green’s arrest he is understood to be reconsidering his application. Irrespective of Green’s party affiliation, Labour MPs and members of the cabinet have opposed the raid on the basis that toughened anti-terror laws have eroded civil liberties and the argument of ‘parliamentary sanctity’. There has also been a cross-party attack led by Blunkett, the former Home Secretary against the ‘over-kill’ tactics used. Likewise, Harriet Harman has said that she is ‘very concerned’ and that there are ‘big’ constitutional issues at stake. It is felt that after the last accusations of police heavy-handedness when Labour members were arrested over the Cash-for-Honours inquiry the police were under pressure to be equally heavy handed when dealing

with the Conservatives. Within the Tory party there seems to be undivided support for Green. David Cameron has announced that obtaining information by any means necessary for the public is part of the opposition’s duty to effectively scrutinize the ruling party. This counters the argument that Green’s actions were underhanded and aimed to embarrass the Labour party. Cameron has also said that the position Green has held since 2005 has not been jeopardised. Furthermore, the Conservatives have paid for a lawyer who accompanied Green in his police interviews. Jacqui Smith has been accused of having prior knowledge of the raid. Despite this, the Home Secretary has

defended herself on the grounds that it would have been worse to use political influence to intervene. Straw takes this position, saying, “there would have then been a huge furore about the fact that the home secretary was prejudging the actions and activities of the police without an investigation”. Indeed, if the Home Secretary’s knowledge is felt to be evidence of the police’s politicisation as a body that defends the government, then interfering to stop it should be seen as equally partisan. The government stopping an arrest instigated by an independent police would fuel complaints that MPs are given special privileges over the public, and that both parties are part of a class that defends itself.

Many sources, concerned by the possible use of the police system to silence critics of the government and prevent embarrassing disclosures, have questioned what this means for democracy. In particular, the heavyhanded police presence and the seizure of computers, which may contain information from his constituents that they believed were being given in total confidence, have drawn concerns. Former candidate for Tory leadership David Davis has compared the British Government, perhaps hyperbolically, to Robert Mugabe's government in Zimbabwe. There are serious concerns regard-

The Tories are incensed at the implication that Green offered inducements ing the neutrality of some members of the Civil Service and the belief that somehow MPs are above the law and shouldn’t be investigated. ‘Parliamentary sanctity’, particularly, gives MPs a level of protection from apolitical bodies like the police that the public do not have. If the police refuse to investigate genuine concerns about an illegal security breach, they fail their duty to act as they would with the general public.

Clinton to be new secretary of state

Hillary Clinton's appointment as the new secretary of state is a great idea, suggests Rachel Simons

T

he promotion of Hillary Clinton is, in my opinion, a masterstroke in the assemblage of his Barack Obama’s new team. Obama has described Clinton as a woman of "tremendous stature" who has his "complete confidence". Clinton herself seems happy in the role, pledging to give ‘her all’. Cynics have said that using some of Bill Clinton’s old staff, including his Chief of Staff and senior advisors is a U-turn on his promise of change, however this may demonstrate short sightedness in their consideration of his Cabinet of big names, big intellects and big egos. Obama does not shrink from this analysis, defending his team of ‘strong willed senior of-

ficials [who] are ready to argue forcefully for different points of view’ and criticising ‘group-think’. The potentially explosive team also proves his strengths in that he has the intellectual fortitude to not need to be pandered to by ‘yes-men’. Surely a reassuring thought when thinking of big business, oil and arms companies, and potentially hostile foreign governments. It also demonstrates another quality he was eager to stress while campaigning, that he is open, fair and willing to compromise. Hillary is not the most conservative member of the team. Far from it. The team in fact encompasses Republicans. This exemplifies his commitment to diversity and experience over ideology. Obama summarised this in

the statement that; "Hillary's appointment is a sign to friend and foe of the seriousness of my commitment to renew American diplomacy and restore our alliances." Hopefully this will be received as a symbol of possible conciliation around the world, something which Obama has further hinted at with an expressed wish to talk with Cuban and Iranian leaders. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be expected to uphold Obama’s aim for problems to be solved before military action is taken. As she initially supported the war, this has raised some eyebrows, however withdrawal was part of her manifesto too. More recently, she has supported Georgia against heavy-handed Russian militarism.

This appointment is also a canny decision in other respects. If he fears her interference and criticism at home, Secretary of State is a good position for her. The Secretary of State is often abroad, which will ensure that

Obama has described Clinton as a woman of "tremendous stature" she and possibly also her husband Bill are less able to exert pressure on him. Obama is also possibly using her celebrity status to command respect in any Capital. The near deification of

Obama may also mean that her fame is used to balm the disappointment of countries wanting to welcome him to their shores, rather than someone only known to Americans. Promisingly, a Chinese Newspaper printed that "Hillary has visited China twice, and should have a better understanding of China than Albright [or] Rice." It should be noted, too, that his other appointments are not above criticism such as Summers, who left Harvard over controversy as a result of his suggestion that women were not as good as science. Or Geithner, who worked with the IMF whose budget restrictions are criticised for undercutting developing countries’ governments leading to breakdowns in public services as in Argentina in 2001.


POLITICS 15

DECEMBER.08.2008 POLITICS@gairrhydd.COM

Thailand spiraling out of control

As Prime Minister Wongsawat resigns, politics editor Gareth Ludkin considers whether or not Thailand are on the brink of Civil war

T

hailand has been unstable for some years now, and in a nation which has endured 17 coups since WW2, the latest court ruling has reinvigorated a state of violence and insecurity. The ruling effectively ordered Prime Minister Somachi Wongsawat to resign, and now with no direction and bitter divisions between supporters, change in Thailand’s political system increasingly seems a distant prospect. In the past week, Thailand’s economy and tourism has been severely damaged after anti-Government protestors besieged themselves in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International airport, grounding all flights in and out of the airport and stranding thousands of tourists in the country. After a week, flights have begun again to fly from Bangkok but the effect of the protest was felt across the country, hitting tourism particularly bad. Split between pro and anti-Thaksin Shinawatra supporters Thailand in recent days and weeks has returned to familiar scenes of violent riots. These sporadic and violent protests have erupted for years across the country and reflect a deeply unsettled political climate. Ever since Prime Minister Thaksin was ousted by a military coup in 2006 due to accusations of corruption, mass demonstrations have been scene across the country. With such a strong and passionately

Thailand has endured 17 coups since WW2 political population, gang warfare has become much more evident in recent years as protesters have increasingly turned to violence. In the past week grenades and weapons have injured and killed many citizens and journalists across Bangkok.

ty of a nation. A unified country now needs to be created, and an end to the divisions between red (Government) and yellow (anti-Government) supporters needs to be found. Dialogue needs to be created between the elitist PAD with their sympathy for the military and the vulnerable and angry countryside population Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej seems now to be the only uniting

Thailand could well be on the brink of civil war

The source of Thailand’s latest crisis is last weeks court ruling against the governing coalition of three parties due to accusations of electoral fraud and that Prime Minister Somachi was literally buying votes in last years December election. The court ruling bans Somachi from politics for 5 years, a decision pro-Government supporters have condemned as a ‘judicial coup’. The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) were visibly angry as protests were held outside Governmental buildings, vehemently expressing their support for the government who were voted just one year ago. A divided country with no direction is a clear threat to national security, and with a country split down the centre dramatic changes need to be brought for Thailand to regain its feet. If nothing is resolved, civil war could

become a real possibility. The proGovernment UDD are in direct and impassioned debate with the Peoples Alliance for Democracy (PAD) who are anti-Government and pro Thaksin. The movement supports the idea of an appointed government as they believe democracy leads to corruption, a belief which has seemingly been justified in the past few weeks. The Government who garner much of their support among the poor, particularly from the countryside, will be concerned over the backlash the latest rulings will create in the countryside and in the cities. Support for the PAD, however, comes from the influential military and business elites based mainly in the towns and cities. While the PAD is happy with the latest court rulings, the UDD are incensed. But what next for Thailand? Thaksin Shinawatra could be planning a comeback, having made his millions

from the first mobile telephone network in Thailand, Thaksin has been estimated at being worth £1.3bn. In 1999 Thaksin promised cheap healthcare, village rejuvenation projects and a debt moratorium for farmers, boosting him to a hero’s status in the country. Winning the first absolute majority in Thai political history he looked unstoppable, however in September 2006 Thaksin was overthrown by a military coup while away on state business. Having lived in exile in Surrey and now residing mainly in the Middle East, Thaksin hardly has the cleanest political record, but with such widespread support a return to politics could be on the cards. As the victim of the 17th coupthe possibility of an 18th could in fact benefit Thaksin. This too-ing and fro-ing between political figures in power has created this dangerous climate of instability and mistrust which threatens the safe-

force between protesters, and intervention by him may be the only way to begin the healing process. Revered by both sides and a respected figure in the country, King Bhumibol has the power to spark change in a country deeply in need of strong leadership and direction. Compromise is essential in this battle for supremacy. The PAD’s frequent mass protests, such as that demonstrated at the airport last week, are powerful but need to end for the stalemate to similarly end. Violence needs to be controlled and stamped out, but without a sense of direction all this seems a little too ambitious. Reuters claims that if a fresh stalemate is created by either side, then Bangkok’s elite believe that the judiciary would suspend the constitution and appoint an interim council mainly consisted of judges. Thailand could be on the brink of a civil war and they must be careful not to allow it to become one. With such passionate supporters on either side willing to die for their cause, it is vital that a solution is found to help heal the wounds felt by millions across the country who feel betrayed by their Government.

Iran's anger at Miliband comments Simon John analyses what David Miliband really said

W

hat’s this? Iran has the potential for creating weapons of mass destruction? Here we go again. This week, we are left with the image of Britain’s ambassador to Iran being called to answer questions posed by the Iranian government, like a parent called to a school to answer for its child’s misbehavior. This news comes after Foreign Secretary David Miliband made a speech during his trip to the United Arab Emirates damning Iran’s nuclear ambitions, flagging several cogent arguments including the imposing

threat Iran would become to the world if indeed it does use its nuclear research to fashion hideously dangerous weaponry. Miliband posed many questions during his speech, stating that ‘For too long the countries of the region have been kept at one, if not several, removes from the peace process,’ also motioning that ‘there is much that the Arab countries could do to counter Tehran's claims that their quest for greater influence and their nuclear programme enjoys tacit support throughout the region.’ Iran’s response to this involves

accusations that Miliband’s speech is nothing more than a sophisticated form of playground provocation, pitting the countries surrounding Iran against its nuclear programme. It’s no great secret that Britain and the USA are massively opposed to Iran’s nuclear research for fears that they will create destructive weaponry, but the question that must be asked is how much of this opposition stems from mistrust of the Middle East and how much is the West’s natural ability to be hypocritical? Everyone’s favourite marching tune seems to be comparing foreign diplomacy problems in

Iran with the war on Iraq, but when it comes to the west’s hypocritical ways, Iraq is only the icing on a cake baked out of unstable policy and various other viable decisions. In reality, Iran’s nuclear program began in the 1950s with hefty support by the United States as part of the then ‘Atoms for Peace’ plan which helped out less economically developed countries by providing them with scientific knowhow. Since then, the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, has issued a Fatwa (religious opinion) expressly forbidding the creation and stock-

piling of nuclear weaponry in Iran, which in turn has been assumed into Iranian law. So does this mean that Britain regrets supporting Iran with its nuclear developments? Or does Britain simply not have enough trust in Iran’s nuclear policies? What is clear through Britain’s admonishing behavior is that even though they damn the possibility of Iran becoming one in a growing list of Nuclear powers, the UK and the USA have no intention of giving up their own.


16 LETTERS

DECEMBER.08.2008 LETTERS@gairrhydd.COM

letters@gairrhydd.com In The Ghetto After a rude awakening by a neighbour's booming music, I headed to a lecture and was disgusted to read the front page story of Gair Rhydd (Issue 884 Kicked Out of Cathays). The Council has completely misdiagnosed the problem at hand. To brand all students as anti-social and a 'problem', just continues the age old problem of associating negative behaviour with particular social groups. Yes, some students do get a God Complex and run riot, but that doesn't mean that all anti-social behaviour is caused by students or that all students are anti-social. The aforementioned neighbours are not students but have managed to attract the attention of the police many a time, and we can always hear the old man next door's TV boom through the wall. Would the Council be able to demonise other social groups in the same way as they are trying here? I think not.

the

If this went ahead, significant problems would occur. Student budgets would be stretched by transport costs and the inevitable higher rents that landlords could demand. Students' access to university facilities would be severely affected, leading more to bring cars which would create parking and sustainability issues. Also, sending students to areas like Adamsdown which already have their own social problems, shows how little the Council has actually thought about this. The student-focused businesses of Cathays and Roath would also be greatly affected by a loss of concentrated demand. A recent Gair Rhydd article mentioned students in Exeter who were given Noise Abatement Notices. Using legal procedures like ASBOs is the way forward for behavioural control, not judging a whole social group. Aside from the ethical dilemma of this issue, how on earth does the Council think this would actually work? And is it actually legal?

Scapegoat of Cathays gair rhydd responds: The council is currently in the process of putting together a draft policy that will formulate their stance on student housing. The clarification published in this week's editorial on page nine addresses some of your questions.

Catholic Outreach I write in response to last week's article entitled "Catholic Guilt". I felt that this article is indicative of a wider trend in Western European Society to be suspicious, hostile, and fearful of what the Catholic Church (and organised religion in general) is and stands for. This suspicion, hostility and fear is, I would suggest, based on a lack of understanding. The causes of this lack of under-

standing are many. Certainly the Catholic Church could make a better job of explaining itself by trying to better understand the world it finds itself in. However we must also take responsibility. We are less prepared to talk to, listen to, and learn about the Catholic Church. I believe that this is dangerous. History shows that atrocities and violence perpetrated against peoples, religions or groups in various parts of the world are fed by suspicion, hostility, and fear that arises out of a lack of understanding that in turn arises from not talking to, not listening to, and not learning about the other. Perhaps we should make an effort to better understand what the Catholic Church is, why it operates in the way it does, and why it says the things it does. If we are not prepared to learn about the Catholic Church today by talking and listening to it; then mutual understanding will be impossible; and the consequences of that will be fear, hostility and suspi-

Comments from the week’s news, opinion, features and sport at www.gairrhydd.com Taf-od Keeps On Going Alex Winter ------There seems absolutely no reason for there to be a Welshlanguage page as there is no-one who can speak only Welsh and one doubts if the issues raised on that page haven't been discussed already. If there is to be such a page for nostalgic purposes, then the question of whether it should be translated is a novel one. There is enough material in the paper: read that and let the nostalgia be. Aisling ------The issue is hardly about people only speaking Welsh. Is Welsh about nostalgia? I took a Welsh class in this university last summer. I'm not Welsh, I didn't do it out of nostalgia, nor do I get the impression those who speak it do it out of nostalgia. Lois ------It has been mentioned before that it is the capital of Wales, and Welsh should be expected to be seen around the city, and the University. But for monoglot English speakers the absence of the Welsh language at the Union and in its newspaper probably passes

you by unnoticed. The Taf-Od is the only representation of Welsh speakers and Welsh events that the Union has had to offer since I've been a student here. And now you ask us if there is any point to a Welsh page? In a Students' Union newspaper that is dominated by the English language, all we ask for is one page. Do not accuse us of being racist, and excluding non-Welsh speakers, when you have a whole newspaper and magazine that without Taf-Od might as well be a newspaper from any university in England. Elliw ------I honestly believe that this debate has gone beyond all reason. Taf-Od is simply a way for the Welsh speaking student body to express our views on matters that are important to us. I find it hard to comprehend that Welshlanguage affairs are of much importance to anyone except Welsh speakers. As has been afore mentioned, I urge anyone with genuine interest to attend the numerous Welsh classes that are held around Cardiff. I find it highly amusing that we as Welsh speaking students have not felt the need to complain about the lack of Welsh in the rest of Gair Rhydd, yet one little page of Welsh-language journalism has resulted in cries of prejudice and racism. Get a grip.

Gareth ------Welsh is a way of life, not an unnecessary annoyance. Sure, many of your European friends may speak fantastic English, but if you went to university in Berlin, would it be too much to accept a page in German in the student newspaper? 'But everyone speaks English now' – what a deluded, ignorant argument. Mark ------Actually the Welsh Language Act doesn't apply to businesses and the Union, despite being tied to the University that is bound by the Act, is still technically a business (or charity, in either case the same applies). So since Gair Rhydd is published by an organisation that is not bound by the Act then compromise is indeed an option. In fact it's so much of an option that only a few pages are Welsh, presumably only because to reproduce the whole paper bilingually just to appease the few Welsh nationalists who have an inferiority complex would be detrimentally costly and somewhat annoying. If a Welsh speaker thought language was such an important factor in determining their choice of university then they made a very poor one

cion. Learning about and understanding each other is a difficult two-way dialogue. It is vital if we are to enrich each other and the world in which we live. Anon

Canuck Corrected In last week's paper the column "Canuck in Cardiff" stated that it would be compulsory for international students applying to carry an ID card. However, a small amount of research shows that "Foreign nationals will not be required to carry their identity card at all times". This information comes from the home office document on the introduction of ID cards to foreign nationals and would be worth reading for anyone who needs to know more about the scheme. Anon

forum

coming to a university that is situated in a city which is effectively English due to decades of Anglicisation and where more people speak Punjabi than Welsh, which is probably more useful in a multicultural city anyway. If you wanted to go to a University where all your linguistical peeves could be accommodated for then you should have gone to Aber. Huw ------So Cardiff University is just a place for English monoglots? We're not campaigning about turning the whole University Welsh orientated... we only want a little bit of respect. Of course the Welsh language was a factor when choosing a University – that's why most of us chose the Welsh flats at Senghennydd Court as our first option so that we could socialise in the language that we're most comfortable speaking. Aber is not entirely Welsh either but at least the Union there has some respect towards the Welsh language. You should only open your eyes to the feast of culture that we as Welsh speakers take part in this city. Why not celebrate that you live in a multicultured city and show some respect towards other cultures rather than being so narrow minded? That's asking too much I suppose. I cannot see how this is a question of nationalism. The comments

above reflect a feeling of patriotism and a natural defence of what is close to people's hearts. An example of nationalism would be to publish Gair Rhydd entirely in Welsh as a means of forcing Welsh upon others. People should perhaps read up on the differences between the two words. In response to Mark noting that Punjabi would be of more use, it is a rather silly example. I have not been forced into a situation where my skills in that language were needed here in Wales, however skills in Welsh does seem defficient when needed otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation! Rachelle ------Even though I can't (yet!!!) read Taf-Od by myself I'm really relieved so many proper Welsh speakers are defending it because I think sometimes the dominant majority need to be told 'it's not all about you' and 'you can't be automatically involved with everything'. They're way too used to being the majority. I'm a gay woman and sometimes my straight mates just don't get why gay magazines exist and ask me questions like 'don't they have straight people in them?' and 'are they anti-heterosexual?' – I think it's a very similar thing.


FEATURES 17

DECEMBER.08.2008 FEATURES@gairrhydd.COM

Baby, it's cold outside

Ever wondered what Christmas is like for the homeless in Cardiff? Jenny Sleeman and Vicki Litherland find out

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et’s be honest, how many times have you seen a Big Issue seller, avoided eye contact and walked straight on? Most people see the sellers as an annoying nuisance; whether it is because their pitches block the pavements or because of the five-second guilt trip you’re put on when they offer you their magazine. But as their red coats proudly announce, the sellers are in fact “earning respect”, not only from the public, but for themselves. I wasn’t too sure what to expect when we arrived at the Big Issue office in Cardiff town centre. But I was surprised at the friendly welcome we received from the people who receive abuse and get ignored on a daily basis by most people out on the streets.

People sometimes just tell you to 'get a f**ing real job!' One of the Big Issue sellers who preferred not to be named - we shall call him Dave - agreed to talk to us about homelessness; a shocking and poorly represented social issue which is forgotten by most. Dave was tense and cagey to begin with, obviously not sure of our motives and intentions in writing the article. But as the interview went on, he became admirably honest. When asked how he first became homeless, Dave said he had lived in a children’s home until he was 15, “then I was thrown out for taking drugs, and have been homeless ever since.” Shockingly, Dave is 38 years old, although he looks at least 10 years older; a graphic example of the harm longterm heroin abuse can do. So what is Christmas day like out on the streets? “It’s quite boring really, nothing happens and everywhere is closed,” Dave says, going on to add that even the Big Issue office closes its doors on Christmas day. It is clear that the office is an important part of the sellers’ lives; it is one of the few places people like Dave can go to get out of the cold, and have a cup of tea or a sandwich.

"When I'm selling The Big Issue, 80-85% of people ignore you completely The office seems to also be a key meeting point for many sellers. When we arrive for the interview Dave is sitting round a table talking with some other men. The importance of this

A LONELY CHRISTMAS: spare a thought for the homeless this festive season social hub cannot be underestimated, for people who are homeless are statistically more likely to have few or no close relatives. When asked about his usual December 25th routine, Dave told us that there was one option for a Christmas meal out of the cold,“if you’re lucky, you can get a place at a hostel and they provide you with a Christmas meal.” Apart from this however, it seems that Christmas on the streets is much like any other day out on the streets for the homeless. When asked if people are more generous at Christmas time, Dave thinks for a while, then agrees that they are. “But the thing no one gets,” he goes on to explain, “is that homelessness is a 365 day a year thing.,it’s not just for Christmas.” He added: "when out on the streets selling The Big Issue, 80-85% of people ignore you completely. It would be nice if they can just acknowledge you, even if it is with a 'no'." He did say that people are generally more generous at Christmas, but worries that this may not be the case this year because of the current economic crisis. "I am anxious about Christmas this year. Usually it is the time where I make the most money, but I think this

Christmas will be a poor one for me and every other homeless person." When asked about whether students buy The Big Issue, he replied that he could only ever remember two students buying it, as they often say that "they are poor and on a budget so can't afford to buy a copy." According to the seller, married couples aged 40-50 are those who tend to buy the magazine, but he has also often received donations from people, particularly elderly ladies who give him £1 "to buy a cup of tea".

The seller is 38 years old, yet he looks at least ten years older Dave explained that he usually sleeps on the steps of the Crown Court but also has been known to sleep outside Marks and Spencer. He has breakfast at 7.30am at the Wallace Clifford homeless shelter in Canton before selling The Big Issue every day, from 9am to 6pm. On the days where sales are particularly poor, he admits resorting

to begging for "an hour or two". He then returns to the homeless shelter for a hot meal before returning to the Crown Court steps for the night. Dave praises the churches around Cardiff for being of great help to Cardiff's homeless population, saying that they often allow 10 or 11 people to sleep in the church for the night, as well as providing food. The seller was particularly keen for us to emphasise that every day is the same, 365 days a year. He bemoans the lack of awareness ordinary people have about homeless people and how they often treat them "like dirt". "If I was Prime Minister, I'd make everyone homeless for a year so they can experience how hard it is and see what it is like to be treated really badly by others 365 days a year'." But do people really care? Many people are highly critical of the homeless, and have little time or sympathy for them. Dave describes the kind of abuse he gets on a daily basis: “people either completely ignore you, or look annoyed or disgusted. Then there are the ones that really kick off, it’s all, ‘get a f***ing real job!’ Well I have a real job, I’m self employed. I’m doing okay.”

It is hard to disagree with him. Big Issue sellers get a pitch from the local government. They then buy copies of the magazine at 75p each, before selling them for £1.50. All sales profit goes directly to the seller, and any unsold copies get returned to the office and are reimbursed.

"I only ever remember two students buying a Big Issue; most claim they're too poor No one can dispute that this is an honest job. If a big retailer made a 50% profit on a dress, come Christmas, the boss's bonus would certainly pay for a few boxes of mince pies. So it's about time we commended Big Issue sellers as they try to make a living. As we splurge the last few coppers of our student loans in the shops before Christmas, spare a few pennies for those who'll be spending the festive season out on the streets.


18 FEATURES

DECEMBER.08.2008 FEATURES@gairrhydd.COM

Beating the blues Ever felt like you've got the Winter blues? Jamie Thunder explains why there may be more to it than meets the eye

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o you ever feel, on these sunless afternoons, that you can’t find yourself? If so, you could be part of the 12 million people in Northern Europe who are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known by as SAD. There's some debate as to whether SAD is a genuine condition, so let’s get one thing straight before we start.

This is not some form of ‘misery creep’, the idea that in an ever-more hysterical society everyday unhappiness is rebranded as depression, or at least some sort of abnormality. There are no definitive statistics, but up to two million people in Britain are believed to be affected by SAD (popular beat combo Glasvegas even wrote a song about it), and at its worst it can leave people completely unable to

function. As for the question of how valid it is, the NHS, Mind and several other health and mental health groups recognise it. So there.

Being able to tell people how you feel is a good start Right, that's that bit out of

the way. For the majority of people with SAD, the problems occur in the winter. Not just one winter, but every winter. In winter, fairly obviously, there is less sunlight. This leads to a lack of serotonin, a chemical that is widely thought to affect mood and deficiencies in which have been linked to depression. So it’s no coincidence that the further from the equator you go, the more common SAD seems to be. It’s estimated that 80-90% of people in Britain experience some of the effects of this decrease in serotonin levels during the winter months. Ever noticed you feel more tired in winter? That you eat more (yes, alright, apart from Christmas dinner)? That you’re less sociable and have trouble sleeping? If so, you’re probably experiencing mild effects of winter’s lack of sunlight. However, for some people, it goes beyond just the ‘winter blues’. It can be a debilitating condition to have, and can make any sort of interaction difficult. For these people, SAD is not just inconvenient; it completely takes over and drives them to despair. And like most forms of depression, it can be self-perpetuating; you feel bad, but don't know why so feel guilty for it, or, you feel bad, overeat, and feel worse. To paraphrase Fat Bastard from Austin Powers (well, put it into the second person), you eat because you're unhappy and you're unhappy because you eat.

SAD is not just inconvenient; it takes over and drives sufferers to despair

WINTER BLUES: a problem which needs to stop being dismissed as a myth

Sufferers of advanced SAD can be hard to understand if you’re not aware of the condition. Their moods can fluctuate drastically from day to day, and they can just seem bloody difficult and lazy. And with a lack of knowledge about it, many sufferers themselves don’t even realise that they have it, so it makes it a bit hard to tell anyone else. It can be confused with simply being moody or even depressed, but it’s important to realise when this is in fact a different condition altogether, and to be understanding with them. Students with SAD can be especially vulnerable. If you’re at Uni for the first time, it can be daunting to even admit to your flatmates that you’re not feeling right, and if your flatmates still don’t know you all that well, they might not realise anything is particularly different with you. There’s also always the fear of reactions from

people if you mention that you think you might have SAD – will they think you’re some kind of headcase, or just think you’re making it up? Being able to tell people how you feel is a good first step. But if you can’t (and even if you can, actually), it’s important to go to your doctor. Self-diagnosis, although tempting, is not as reliable as a professional’s opinion. Websites such as mind.co.uk and sad.org.uk have lists of symptoms you can check, but nothing beats a doctor’s opinion.

Will people think you're some kind of headcase? One reason many people fear telling their doctor about mental health issues (which is what SAD is), is the worry that they’ll be slapped on some pills for the rest of their life. It’s not a very accurate depiction, but it’s especially wrong in the case of SAD. The main form of treatment is light therapy, which aims to increase the levels of that pesky serotonin by, um, shining lights. Shiny! Unfortunately there is very limited help available on the NHS for SAD sufferers, and light boxes – which are used in light therapy – generally cost upwards of £100. So what else can you do if you’re feeling a bit down (or worse) this winter? Well, on the rare winter days when it’s sunny, getting outside can help. Even if it’s really hard to actually get outside at first. Physical exercise also naturally helps to alleviate the depressive symptoms, and it’ll even help you get in shape. So you win two ways. Although ‘classic’ SAD is a winter phenomenon, in some cases it can occur in summer. This ‘reverse’ SAD is far less common than its wintry counterpart, but can be just as distressing. It’s even less likely that people will know about it and be able to seek the help they need, because it’s so rarely publicised.

Students with SAD are especially vulnerable The summer form of SAD generally has similar symptoms to winter SAD, but is due to excessive heat rather than a lack of light. It tends to make you more irritable and lethargic. So this winter, if you or someone you know is seeming a bit out-of-sorts, don’t just put it down to the stress of essays and exams. If it’s something that’s happened regularly, it could be something very different: SAD.


FEATURES 19

DECEMBER.08.2008 FEATURES@gairrhydd.COM

Ho, ho...huh?

Not even Christmas can escape the minefield that is political correctness, as Aimee Steen discovers.

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hopping. Presents. Snow. Fairy lights. Fat man with a beard in a red suit. Chocolate (preferably coin shaped and wrapped in foil). All images synonymous with Christmas, but hold on- where was the mention of religion? You know- birth of Christ, and all that? We all know the story. Jesus born in a manger, shepherds and kings appear, etc. Along comes Christmas day. As has been the case for many, many years. In these days of political correctness, though, you could be the one in the wrong if you dare suggest that Christmas is solely a Christian holiday. Oxford council this year have taken the decision to remove the word ‘Christmas’ from their festive celebrations in an attempt to make the holiday more ‘inclusive’. The deputy leader of the council, Ed Turner, claimed that this does not mean that there won’t be decorations, “there’s going to be a Christmas tree, and even if the lights are called something else, to me they will be Christmas lights.” Well, that’s alright then. Religious leaders from the area were less than impressed, however. Spokespersons from both the Muslim and Jewish communities outlined their distaste at the decision, citing the importance of Christmas as an integral part of British culture. You have to question the thinking behind

Obese Santas are bad role models for children such decisions to make the holiday ‘inclusive’ if it offends precisely those it intended to placate. It’s not just religious groups that note the ridiculousness of these steps. A poll of 10,000 over 50s found that 85% were against the proposal to rename ‘Christmas’ lights as ‘Winter’ lights. Then there’s the trend over the past few years to dilute Christmas in schools; a number have banned nativity plays, and some have even gone so far as to ban all decorations and the sending of cards between children. In the aforementioned poll, 84% and 80% respectively opposed these practices. We’re certainly talking a majority against, then. So why bother? Despite being unreligious myself, I saw no problem with my little sister taking part in a nativity play. In fact, it was rather nice - even those who do not believe it actually happened can surely appreciate it as a good story (and there are plenty of roles for the children to play, since everybody comes in threes- that’s got to

Christmas tree, or 'holiday tree'? save a few tears). After all, who wants to see a performance of Oliver two weeks before Christmas? And let’s not forget that it could be seen as rather hypocritical of schools to ban signs of one specific holiday. The schools I’ve attended have always celebrated - or at least recognised- a whole variety of holidays. Imagine the response if a school suggested banning any reference to Chinese New Year in case they offended anybody who was not Chinese, or refused to acknowledge Hanukkah because there were nonJewish people in the class. Signs of the true meaning of Christ-

"Ho, ho, ho!" could be too scary mas are also disappearing from the high street. A Daily Mail survey found that just 1% of cards sold in popular stores such as WH Smith, Clinton Cards and Hallmark made any allusion to the nativity. ‘Seasons Greetings’ as an alternative to ‘Merry Christmas’ isn’t a new development, but wishing

somebody a ‘Happy December’ might be pushing it just a little. It doesn’t end at avoiding religious terminology- hundreds of cards now avoid any links to traditional Christmas images such as trees, baubles and Santa. Apparently politically acceptable images include a pan of Brussels sprouts and a line of meerkats - just the thing to get you in the festive spirit. Aside from the trends that have swept over Britain in the wake of political correctness, a number of more isolated assaults on Christmas have occurred worldwide in recent years. Santa has been targeted on a number of fronts, both in the UK and elsewhere. According to a survey of Santas in shopping centres in Scotland, found that Santas in Edinburgh had an average waist circumference of 51 inches, the overweight image is a bad role model for children. Blaming a once-yearly figure for an obesity epidemic might be using the scapegoat card rather too much. Flying off to Australia (in a sleigh, of course), if Santa’s not too fat, then he certainly

is too scary. Reportedly, those in festive red suits working one shopping mall have been instructed not to use the traditional “ho, ho, ho!” as it might frighten small children. A soft chuckle was suggested as an alternative. Seems the poor bloke just can’t get it right. Perhaps the most ludicrous example is when a town in Colorado attempted to do away with the red and green

85% oppose renaming Christmas lights 'Winter lights' colour scheme of the festive period, claiming that it could be interpreted as too religious. Now I cannot claim to have read the whole Bible from front to back - or any other religious text for that matter - but I’m fairly sure that the colour scheme was not constructed by Jesus. The otherwise inoffensive Christmas tree became the subject of the Mayor

of Nashville’s political correctness drive, when it was announced several years ago that they were henceforth to be referred to only as ‘holiday trees’. Unsurprisingly, the residents were not happy with the declaration, and the name was quickly overturned. Tales of schools banning religious carols span far and wide, and some schools have even allegedly had ‘December parties’ rather than Christmas parties. Somewhat extreme. At the end of the day, Christmas is Christmas. Those going out of their way to not offend people are almost certainly offending more people by doing so. Attempts at political correctness backfire in most circumstances surrounding the festive season, and it’s just one more example of the whole business going too far. So gather your Christmas tree and Christmas cards, acknowledge the religious aspect if you want to, and go have a chat with Santa (without the worry that him being overweight might make you want to be overweight). Just don’t offend anybody.


20 TAF-OD

DECEMBER.08.2008 TAF-OD@gairrhydd.COM

Edrych ymlaen wrth edrych yn ôl

Dyma adolygiad Berwyn Jones ac Aled Roberts o gemau rhyngwladol yr Hydref

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yda gemau’r Hydref wedi dod i ben, a’r Nadolig yn prysur agosau fe gymrwn ennyd fechan i edrych yn ôl ar berfformiadau tîm rygbi Cymru. Lwcus iawn oeddem yn y diwedd gyda Cymru yn brwydro’n galed drwy gydol y gyfres Invesco Perpetual, dim ond i drechu un o dimau hemisffer y de. Dangosodd y tîm cenedlaethol berfformiadau grymus yn hanner cyntaf bob un gêm, dim ond i adael i'r safon lithro wedi’r egwyl. Gosododd De Affrica y safon yn uchel yn y gêm gyntaf gan adael Caerdydd yn fuddugol o 20 pwynt I 15 mewn gêm a oedd, yn anffodus, braidd yn siomedig ar ran y Cymry. Er hynny, fe ddangosom dipyn o gryfder wedi cais cynnar Adrian Jacobs i wthio blaenwyr enfawr De Affrica ar y droed ôl, gan gadw meddiant ar y bêl am y rhan fwyaf o’r hanner cyntaf. Dim ond deg munud i fewn i’r ail hanner, newidiodd Warren Gatland Stephen Jones am James Hook, penderfyniad digon teg wedi methiant Stephen Jones i reoli’r gêm, ond penderfyniad a ddaeth yn ôl i’w frathu. Pan laniodd y bas hir gan Hook yn nwylo canolwr De Affrica Jean de Villiers iddo sgorio, ymddangosai fel pe bae ar ben ar Gymru. Wedi dweud hynny fe giciodd Hook bedair cic gosb lwyddiannus, a oedd yn ddigon i godi calon y Cymry. Tro y Sbringboks oedd hi wedyn i gau Cymru allan, ac yn dilyn eu hail gais roedd y gêm wedi ei hennill, gyda Warren Gatland yn cicio’i sodlau am fethu curo De Affrica. Yn dilyn y siomiant hwnnw daeth miloedd i Stadiwm y Mileniwm i wylio Cymru’n chwarae Canada, y rhan fwyaf yn gobeithio cael gweld yr unig fuddugoliaeth o’r gyfres. Buddugoliaeth a gawsant hefyd, ond mewn modd diflas iawn gyda Chymru yn chwarae gêm rwystredig gan roi’r cyfle i Ganada arwain ar bwyntiau ddwy waith. Er mai tim eilradd oedd gan Gymru ar y cae gyda tri ar ddeg

newid ers gêm y penwythnos cynt, roedd disgwyl i’r tîm yma ddatgymalu chwaraewyr rhan amser Canada. Yn y pen draw fe ddaeth y fuddugoliaeth, ond buddugoliaeth ddigon gwanllyd oedd hi yn y diwedd, y capten Ryan Jones yn methu ysbrydoli ei dîm i berfformio’n safonol. Efallai mai ei gosb oedd cael ei eilyddio am Andy Powell yn gynnar yn yr ail hanner, ond yn sicr mae’r cyn fyfyriwr o UWIC wedi bod yn tan gyflawni yn ddiweddar, rhywbeth sy’n siwr o gostio swydd y capten iddo. Gyda cheisiau gwych gan Leigh Halfpenny a Morgan Stoddart, cawsom gipolwg o allu sgorio Cymru, gyda’r ddwy gais arall yn geisiau cosb; arwydd o wendid Canada yn y sgrym. Y penwythnos wedyn gwelsom Gymru’n creu hanes o ryw fath drwy ymateb i’r Haka gyda sialens ei hu-

nain; cystadleuaeth syllu! Ceisiodd y dyfarnwr Jonathan Kaplan hybu’r timau llonydd i’w hanneri eu hun, a hynny’n ofer gyda Richie McCaw yn y diwedd yn galw ar y Crysau Duon i gilio. Roedd y dorf yn wyllt wrth weld y fath olygfa. Ysbrydolodd y cynnwrf yma Gymru i gario’r hyder yma yn syth i mewn i’r gêm gan ymosod yn ddi-drugaredd; yn y pen draw yn sicirhau cic gosb i Stephen Jones 35 metr o’r pyst. Pedair cic lwyddianus yn ddiweddarach, un ohonynt i faswr Seland Newydd Dan Carter, ac fe aeth Cymru i’r stafelloedd newid yn arwain o chwe pwynt. Gan ystyried y sgôr a’r perfformiad yn yr hanner cyntaf, roedd pethau’n edrych yn dda i Gymru, ond fe brofwyd hynnu yn seithyg. Rhawiodd Seland Newydd y pwyntiau ar Gymru yn yr ail hanner, gyda Ma’a Nonu a Jerome Kaino

yn chwalu drwy linell wen y Cymry. Wedi mawr obeithion yr hanner cyntaf gorffenodd y gêm fel buddugoliaeth braf i’r Crysau Duon; y Ciwis wedi cadw eu record perffaith am y gyfres, sef cadw eu llinell gais yn gyflawn. 9-29 oedd y sgôr derfynnol, gyda Chymru wedi methu sgorio pwynt wedi’r toriad. Awstralia oedd y tim olaf i herio Cymru eleni. Gyda’r tim olaf o gystadleuaeth y tair gwlad yn gwisgo aur yn hytrach na melyn, dyma meddai rhai oedd y gêm fwyaf tebygol i ddarpau y fuddigoliaeth hollbwysig yn erbyn un o anfarwolion y byd rygbi. Ni fuodd disgwylidau y Cymry mor uchel ers dechrau’r gyfres, a gyda siopau betio yn gwegian dan bwysau Cymry gobeithiol roedd gan dîm Warren Gatland rywbeth i’w brofi. O fewn munudau cynta’r gêm fe groesawodd y canolwr,

Jamie Roberts gapten y Wallabies, Stirling Mortlcock i faes y gâd wrth i’r ddau daro’n erbyn ei gilydd wrth geisio dal y un bêl gan Gareth Cooper. Tynnwyd Mortlock i ffwrdd yn syth, tra chwareodd Jamie Roberts ymlaen am ddeg munud nes cael ei eilyddio am Andrew Bishop. Yn syndod, darganfyddwyd wedyn fod Jamie Roberts wedi hollti yr asgwrn uwchben ei lygaid, tra bo Stirling Mortlock yn lwcus mond i gael ergydwst (concussion) o’r wrthdrawiad epig. Unwaith eto fe gafwyd hanner cyntaf tanllyd, gyda Chymru’n sgorio’n syth wedi damwain y ddau ganolwr, mewn symudiad gafodd ei ddechrau a’i goroni gan chwaraewr y flwyddyn, Shane Williams. Daeth Awstralia yn ôl yn gryf yn yr ail hanner, gan reoli meddiant, ond wedi cais gan Lee Byrne methodd Awstralia a sgorio digon i gipio’r gêm. Gan ystyried perfformiadau’r tim ac unigolion y garfan drwy gydol y gyfres dim ond mymryn o wir botensial y tîm weddol ifanc yma mae Gatland wedi magu dros y flwyddyn a welsom. Gyda Chymru yn sefyll fel yr unig dîm i drechu un o fawrion Hemisffer y de, mae pethau yn argoeli’n dda i’r bencampwriaeth fydd wrth gwrs yn amddiffyn ein teitl fel pencampwyr Ewrop; y 6 GWLAD! Gan fod Lloegr wedi disgyn yn ddarnau mân yn erbyn y cewri dros yr Hydref a Ffrainc yn methu a thanio yn erbyn yr un ohonynt, Cymru bellach yw’r wlad gryfaf yn hemisffer y gogledd, ac os wnaiff hynnu barhau drwy gydol pencampwriaeth y chwe gwlad bydd disgwylion mawr iawn gan y bobol a’r Byd Rygbi yn gyffredinol! Ond y cwestiwn ydi, a wnaiff Cymru wneud yr amhosib, a chyflawni dwy gamp lawn gefn wrth gefn? Can mlynedd yn ôl i’r flwyddyn, enillodd Cymru ei hail gamp lawn mewn dilyniant, y tîm cyntaf i wneud felly yn hanes y gystadleuaeth, un yn 1908 a’r ail yn 1909. A yw ailadrodd y gamp arbennig honno yn ormod i ofyn? Amser a ddengys.

Noson Garioci Aelwyd y Waun Ddyfal

Angharad Haf sy'n edrych yn ôl ar noson gymdeithasol fwyaf yr Aelwyd. Caewch y drysau, twymwch eich lleisiau, archebwch beint neu ddau a byddwch yn barod am noson llawn sbort a sbri…..ydi wir, mae’n bryd dechrau’r carioci! Yn dilyn ymarferion hir iawn dros yr wythnosau diwethaf yn paratoi at glyweliad cystadleuaeth Côr Cymru, roedd hi’n hen bryd trefnu noson gymdeithasol er mwyn i bawb gael

ymlacio wedi’r holl waith caled. Nos Fawrth Tachwedd 25ain, heidiodd dros hanner cant o gantorion Aelwyd y Waun Ddyfal i’r Model Inn. Araf oedd ambell un ar ddechrau’r noson i fentro i’r llwyfan ond wedi i‘r gwin lifo ychydig…..doedd dim stop ar y perfformio! Amrywia’r caneuon o’r clasuron arferol i ambell sioe gerdd, o “5,6,7,8” Steps i “9 til 5”, o “Mam-

ma Mia” i’r “Green Green Grass of Home.” Roedd rhai hyd yn oed yn mentro gydag ychydig o ddawnsio! Ar ddiwedd y carioci, roedd hi’n hollbwysig i wobrwyo’r act orau. Am ei berfformiad gwych o “What a Wonderful World”, daeth Owain Jones o’r drydedd flwyddyn i’r brig! Mwynha dy siampên! Wel, doedd dim awydd ar neb i fynd

adre ‘to felly ‘mlaen â ni i Dempsey’s am fwy o ddiod a llawer mwy o ganu. Wedi i ni flino’n lleisiau’n llwyr ar ganeuon megis Calon Lân, Wicked a Hen Wlad fy Nhadau, roedd hi’n bryd i’r lle gau ac yn bryd i’r “gyngerdd” orffen, ond ymlaen â ni i Buffalos i gloi’r noson mewn steil. Bu’n amlwg yn noson dda a llwyddiannus unwaith eto eleni ac yn gyfle gwych i ddod i

adnabod pawb yn well, yn enwedig yr aelodau newydd. Os hoffech chi wybod mwy am yr aelwyd, syrffiwch draw i’r wefan am y newyddion diweddarafwww.waunddyfal.co.uk


DECEMBER.08.2008 SCIENCE@gairrhydd.COM

SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT 21

Playing it safe

Priya Raj discusses the world of date-rape-drugs and how to avoid being a victim

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t’s that time of year again: the festive season is upon us and the holidays are in sight. Let the partying begin! However, just as this is an exciting time, many young women fall prey to the seedy underground world of date rape drugging. Date rape drugs or predatory drugs are typically those that are used to incapacitate someone for the purposes of committing a crime, often sexual assault. Date rape drugs cause sedation and amnesia to the extent that their victims cannot resist or may not be aware of a sexual assault. There are 18 known date rape drugs that have been used in the UK, with the main drug offenders a triad composed of GHB, Rohypnol and Ketamine. GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) is typically an odourless, colourless liquid, with a slightly salty taste. It is classified as a sedative commonly used as a general anaesthetic in Europe. This drug has been banned in America due to several cases of its being used as a date rape drug. It can easily be slipped into a victim's drink, causing dizziness, confusion, drowsiness and sometimes loss of consciousness. When GHB is combined with alcohol, it is especially dangerous because the combination of two depressants can lead to overdose.

Date rape drugs cause sedation and amnesia GHB is generally taken in a liquid form, though it is sometimes found in powder, tablet, or capsules. Since in its liquid form the strength of GHB

Rohypnol is generally taken in pill form (it is rarely crushed and snorted). It is extremely powerful (about 5 times as powerful as Valium), and often considered to be the date rapist’s

A person who has been date-rape -drugged may appear to be drunk

varies, and people's reactions to it differ, it is very easy to take a dangerous dose of this drug. The effects of the drug begin 10 to 20 minutes after taking it, and last up to 4 hours. The drug is known to produce feelings of relaxation and euphoria. People who use GHB also report feeling increased energy, feeling affectionate and sociable, mild disinhibition and enhanced sexual experience. The second commonly used date rape drug is Rohypnol (flunitrazepam), often referred to as ‘roofies’. The drug may cause users to feel intoxicated; they may have slurred speech, impaired judgment, and difficulty walking. Thus, a person who is

drugged may appear to be drunk. The effects are often felt within 10 minutes and can last up to 8 hours. Rohypnol can cause deep sedation, respiratory distress, and blackouts that last up to 24 hours. Colourless and odourless, it has been linked to numerous incidents of sexual assault because it is a fast-acting sleeping pill that can be slipped into a drink and leave the victim with little or no memory of the incident. However, Hoffman-Roche, the company that manufactures the drug, revised the formula in January 1998 to make it easier to detect. It now contains a blue dye that will appear when it is added to any drink, and it is slower to dissolve.

drug of choice. The final drug in this triad is Ketamine. This is an injectable anaesthetic that is intended for veterinary use. It is also known as 'Special K', 'K', 'Vitamin K' or 'Cat Valiums'. At high doses, ketamine can cause delirium, amnesia, impaired motor function, high blood pressure, depression, and potentially fatal respiratory problems. Low-dose intoxication from ketamine results in impaired attention, learning ability, and memory. It is either sold as a dry white powder or a clear liquid (in its original pharmaceutical packaging). The powder is made by drying the liquid. The residue from this drying process is then crushed and snorted in small doses (called bumps). In rare cases ketamine is injected intramuscularly or smoked with tobacco or marijuana. Whether smoked or snorted, the effects begin in a few minutes and lasts less than an hour. It is known to have stimulant, sedative, anaesthetic and hallucinogenic properties. Users describe feeling like they are drunk, stoned, and tripping all at once. On a physiological level, ketamine blocks the neurotransmitter glutamate at one of its receptors, causing a user

to feel distanced from his/her environment. It can also put users in a state called a 'k-hole' where they become unable to move or communicate and feel very far away from their body. Due to its ability to render the user unable to move, ketamine has been used as a date rape drug. With such drugs out there, it is of uttermost importance that women keep their guards up when out and about. Avoid being a victim by not accepting open drinks at parties, especially from strangers- this includes soft drinks too. Always try to open cans/bottles yourself. As far as possible, never leave your drink unattended. If necessary, make sure you leave it with someone you trust. Don't drink anything that has an unusual taste, or appearance (salty taste, has excessive foam, or residue). Help friends get home safely after a night out, or check they're OK before they leave with anyone. Your friends are a key aspect in protecting you. They will be first to notice any change. If you do find yourself in such a situation, always tell somebody you trust. Try to seek medical attention as soon as possible. It may also be worth collecting a urine sample in a clean container during the first 24 hours after the assault. (This may be your only evidence linking the drug to the crime- as the drug will show up in your urine). You should also report the incident to the police. Above all believe in yourself. No one invites or deserves to be sexually assaulted. So wherever you are, keep yourself and your friends safe by staying alert and following these simple tips: after all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Going nuclear

Gareth Ludkin on the newly innovated mini nuclear reactor

F

rom the laboratories of the atomic bomb, scientists have developed the first mini nuclear plant. No larger than a garden shed the mini reactor has the potential to power 20,000 homes and could be on the market within 5 years. The mini power plants would cost £13 million and would need to be refuelled every 7-10 years. The US government laboratory has licensed to technology to Hyperion, a New Mexico based company who promise to take the reactor into production in five years after the first firm orders were made by a Czech company who

ordered 6 units. The first one is to be installed in Romania and the company commented that they have a 6 year waiting list. Our perception of nuclear power is of huge reactors and glowing green rocks but this mini reactor would need little more space than that of a garden shed. The unit would be entirely safe as they would be factory sealed, buried under ground, encased in concrete and with no weapons grade material. The technology is certainly theft proof despite it being only a few meters wide. The design of the reactor is 50 years old and has been proved safe for stu-

dents to use, few countries are expected to oppose the plants being used on their territory and a plan to build the plans will be submitted to the nuclear regulatory commission next year. The chief executive of Hyperion, John Deal, claims to have over 100 orders and boasted that it was ‘leapfrog technology’, targeted at developing countries and isolated communities the idea seems revolutionary and fantastic for a world struggling to find a solution for climate change. The labour government have put nuclear power at the fore front of their plans for renewable energy although many eco protestors have shown their aver-

sion to the use of such technology. The idea that you could have a nuclear reactor in your back garden is a scary thought, powering 20,000 homes from one small unit is a great achievement for science but should they not be looking to develop renewable energies that are not harmful to our environment. At the end of the day it will remain that there is highly dangerous material buried underground and burying it will not disguise the fact will we get to a situation where we forget where they are all and they become so cheap we’re all getting one? Perhaps not but nuclear energy is still a dangerous science and left in the

wrong hands could be catastrophic. Deal reiterated the safe credentials of the technology claiming that ‘there are no moving parts and you would need a nation-state resource in order to enrich our uranium’ this may dispel the fears of safety and at the relatively cheap price, $25 million, which works out at around $2,500 a home it may be an exciting prospect for many governments, especially in their attempts to power extremely isolated parts of the world.


JOBS & MONEY 23

DECEMBER.08.2008 JOBS@gairrhydd.COM

Worth it? Maybe not

As Woolworths enters administration, Emma McFarnon reminisces about the many wonders of a once-proud high-street chain

I

t’s been a tough year for Woolies. As with many others like it, the chain has been hit by the economic slowdown and its curb of consumer spending, leading to a dramatic fall in sales. As the recession set in, the value of its shares fell by a whopping 83%, and by September, the company had announced a record first-half pre-tax loss of £90.8 million. As Woolies grapples with falling sales and mounting debt, talks have been under way to sell its 815 stores for as little as £1 to a company named Hilco. But on Wednesday 26th November, Woolies lenders GMAC & Burndale proceeded to pull the plug, and potential deals with Hilco fell through as the chain buckled under its £385m debt. It seems now that Woolies has run out of time. The company, unable to sort its financial problems, has been forced into administration. What this means is that Woolworths stores will remain open until Christmas and be allowed to operate under supervision, effectively to try to trade out of difficulty. However, 30,000 jobs are at risk, and the future of Woolworths remains unclear. Administrators have launched a search for a suitable buyer, with Dragons' Den entrepreneur Theo Paphitis among the several potential bidders. Woolworths also owns Entertainment UK, a substantial wholesaler of books, music and DVDs which sup-

plies to supermarket groups, and has a joint venture with BBC Worldwide, 2 Entertain. The hope was that both would continue to trade as usual, but it was announced last week that Entertainment UK has also gone into administration despite its £1bn turnover. Woolworths has been on our high streets now for nearly a century. They first opened in 1909, and by the 1920s a new store was emerging every 17 days. For the first time you could buy everything you needed under one roof at an affordable price, and the company’s success soon boomed. Woolies

became renowned for its pick'n'mix sweets, and its charm lay in its topsyturvy mix of anything from cutlery to garden furniture. But over recent years the retailer has been struggling: why? Retail analysists point to the fact that nowadays Woolies has so many competitors. It used to be the only place where you could buy homeware, toys and electrical goods in the same store. Nowadays, however, supermarkets such as Tesco and Asda offer a similar, more affordable selection of goods that you can pick up while doing your weekly food shop. As a

result, the chain has lost its unique selling point: there are no items to associate with Woolworths. Greg Hodge of Planet Retail says: “As a shopping composition, it's not clear what it is. You could say it has an identity crisis”. In addition, like all music retailers, Woolworths has been hugely undermined by websites like Amazon who offer CDs for a fraction of their selling price. Moreover, the mixed-up, incoherent layout that used to make Woolworths so charming now just looks outdated…it’s like a war zone meets a jumble sale. Hodge points

out “the British consumer has got used to a higher and higher standard every year and Woolworths was left behind”. So does this combination of jaded consumer confidence and fierce competition mean the end for our beloved Woolies? And would people be sad to see it go? Well, for David Randall writing for the Independent last week “the news that Woolworths is in talks to sell its stores is not just another bit of recessioniana….its likely demise is like the passing of an old friend” It’s been on our high street for nearly a hundred years, and it seems now that we might possibly have been the last generation to enjoy it in its prime: cast your mind back to your childhood and I’m sure you can all remember investing your pocket money in a bag of pick‘n’mix, or flicking frantically through the poster carousel. A trip to Woolies was exciting! Digging your fists deep into the Quality Street, or pawing desperately over the goodie bags: Mum’s treat after being dragged round Debenhams for hours on end! Woolies resonates with almost everyone. Admittedly it’s at a bit of a loss in today’s market, and we can’t deny it’s been on its last legs for a while….but I for one would be sad to see it go. As it stands, the future of Woolies remains unclear. However, we can be sure that as the impact of this recession continues to grow, Woolies unfortunately will not be the last casualty.

Looking for temporary work over the Christmas holidays? If you are in Cardiff and looking for work over the Christmas vacation period, please let us know on 02920 781535 (or pop in and see us on the ground floor of the Students' Union).


PROBLEM PAGE 25

DECEMBER.08.2008 TEDHANDSOME@ gairrhydd .

Ted Handsome He's a ruddy good lad

A letter about not being gay Dear Ted WAAAAAAY!!!! Lads on tour!!!! I was wondering if you could offer me some advice. What with IMG sports now being on hold, me and the rest of the boys in Bigcocks FC have spent most of our time going on well mental socials!!! Last night me and Donkey was in Koko Gorillaz and it was well mental because we were all dressed in togas and then Shitwich pulled off his toga and it was well funny because him and Bumlord pretended to be gay with each other which was well mental. However, this all stirred up some very confusing emotions deep within me, and I was wondering if you could help me deal with them? It's certainly not the first time I have felt this way about members of my team. I remember the first time I saw Wilko take his shirt off on our initiation and seeing him spill

Snakebite down his glistening torso, I felt a tingling downstairs, and I came over all dizzy. I'm not gay or anything, because as any

Dear Ted, Nobody has more work than me at the moment. I mean, really. There is not a single person on this dirty little circle that we call Planet Earth that can possibly comprehend the insurmountable mountain of revision, note-taking and essay writing that I have to carry as my burden. Empires will rise and fall, the very continents themselves will degrade into infinitesimal pieces before I will ever be able to finish this legacy of work that Cardiff University have laid at my doorstep. I have sunken into a near Dickensian levels of depression and woe at the thought of the work and toil that I will have to endure. Woe is me, oh unforgiving God, why hath thou forsaken me in this time of need? What am I supposed to do in order to overcome such unfair and ridiculous odds?

Yours Humphrey Proctology

...this all stirred up some very confusing emotions deep within me... other Nuts reading, beer drinking sportsman knows; gays are rubbish. That said, however, I do sometimes have these feelings which confuse me deeply. Can you please help me? Yours Rory Catheter PS WAAAAAY!!!11! LADS ON TOUR!!!!!!! Dear Rory, Unfortunately, you are actually so

closeted, I'm surprised that your arse isn't approaching Narnia. IMG sport is a hive of confused sexuality, and the levels of sweat and testosterone mixed with communal showering and stupid levels of piss-weak beer intake leads inevitably to some naïve frissons between team-mates under the catch all banner of 'banter.' Have you ever considered why so many of your socials and team-bonding exercises all seem to concern nudity, genitalia and slurs against your supposed heterosexuality? It's because it's the most textbook case of projection that you are ever likely to see. Just face facts, you guys love hanging out with burly sweaty men, you love stripping off in front of other men and your 'banter' revolves around your sexuality. Just get it on, and get on with it. Same to you Netball. You know what I mean. Meow. Yours, Ted

A letter about essays Dear Humph, I get this ludicrous level of selfflagellation and teeth-gnashing every year. Students, hear my cry; you have a cushy existence. Oh does diddums

turn down your fucking collar on your Jack Wills rugby shirt/Ralph Lauren polo shirt

have a few essays to complete? Well, why don't you go and get a fucking job, if it's so hard? Oh, and while you are at it, turn down your fucking collar on your Jack Wills rugby shirt/Ralph Lauren polo shirt. Just who exactly are you trying to impress, you useless waste of Carbon? Cut your hair, you

shaggy-highlighted glob of wank. I don't give a flying jazz fuck that you spent your summer in Newquay with the rest of your buddies, you're not on holiday now, so why do you feel the need to be wearing flip-flops and surfboarding shorts, and stop wearing those sunglass while you are at it, you worthless twat. Seriously, why do people like you exist, you awful, awful pleb? Your inane talk of banter and chat makes blood seep from my nose. Your stupid home counties accent makes me feel as if my ears have been kicked in the gonads Still, it's nearly Christmas isn't it? Yours Ted

Handsome's Week

T

his week, I have mainly been avoiding television. Now that we've entered the season of Winter Festival Celebratory Gifting, the whole bloody thing has gone mad. Sprinkling delicate white flakes over everything like a sneezing fit in a Soho toilet stall, people have been duped into actually giving a shit about humanity because some Jewish zombie was born some fucking time in the past. I will be spending Christmas

Day like I do most days: coming down from a monumental drug binge, and ending up so paranoid I barricade myself in my drawing room with my 12 bore, firing wildly at any movement I sense. Oh, I'm a grinch am I? Simply because I don't buy into this whole ridiculous affair? I can't bloody wait for Easter, when all of the Christmaniacs are still willing to celebrate Their Lord Jesus Christ being nailed up on some wood for a bit. The inevitable battle

for Easter number 1, The turning on of the Easter lights and the Easter TV specials. It's a magical time of year. Oh what, you don't celebrate all the Christian festivals equally? Wouldn't that make you some kind of massive fraud and a bit of a liar? Oh okay, never mind. Twats.

Ted on... ...lovely Karen Matthews

W

ell, the least surprising verdict in the history of the British judicial system since good ol’ Guy Fawkes was burnt at the stake, has finally come. Living cadaver Karen Matthews has been convicted of kidnapping Shannon in order to claim the £50,000 reward for her return. It takes a certain breed of pillock to not only come up with such a brainless scheme, but to also completely fuck it up to such an extent that even the Sun readers started to smell a rat. Although despite the Matthews’ stunning ineptitude, one cannot really blame them for trying to scam some money from the British public & media. Missing kids is a very lucrative industry, these days, what with Our Lady The Sainted McCann dominating the gutter press for the majority of the arse end of 2007. It’s actually pretty rich for the press in the UK to be in uproar over an, admittedly cackhanded, attempt to rip off the British public, seeing as they have managed to trick a docile and barely coherent citizenry into buying their cynical attempt at stringing out these stories for as long as possible. If Dacre and his posse of wankers can sell papers on the back of pretending to care about whichever useless sprog has gone missing, then why shouldn’t an idiotic clan try and make their own wad off the back of it. The most impressive scam that Matthews managed to perpetrate was to trick some worthless bag of toss to mount her for long enough to lob some stringy ropes of idiocy u p her,

without vomiting uncontrollably and passing out due to her inutterably repulsive nature. Why anybody, bar a Manchester United supporting trogolodyte, would ever want to enter that hateful snatch is completely beyond a rational human being like yours truly. I would rather be seen openly commiting the foul act of bestiality before lowering myself to her dirty, unwashed standards. Unless, however, that knuckledragging shitflinger is a nearly subhuman, weak-chinned twat with a predilection for child pornography. Craig Meehan, who has in his possession a visage which resembles a montage of every paedophile mugshot ever created, is such a colossal moron that the whole proceedings have the feel of a low-rent farce. If they were to ever make Carry On Kidnap, then this whole affair would be a fantastic starting point. The main thing that I have issue with was how low-rent the whole campaign was. From the tackily printed ‘Find Shannon’ t-shirts, to the completely misjudged vulgar displays of sorrow, it was very much an ITV affair, rather than BBC4. Where were the dignified cries of the mother, the tasteful candlelit vigils, the discrete yellow ribbons? Exactly. The whole affair shrieked of such frightful low class, that it left me visibly aghast. I very nearly cut my kobe beef steak with a fish knife, such was my incredulity at the whole procession that unfurled below me. I guess my central concern is that the serfs will see this as an archetype as to how to present tragedy to the nation. It's so awfully ill-thought out and tacky, I'm surprised that it wasn't sponsored by Lidl. Why can't the children of lovely middle class families go missing? They always know how to put up a dignified front. I mean look at thos marvellous McCanns? With the silent majestic front they've put on, you'd never imagine that they'd kill and hide the corpse of their daughter for publicity. And that's how childnapping should be done, the British way.


26 XPRESS

DECEMBER.08.2008 XPRESS@gairrhydd.COM

Cardiff Student Radio Available online 24/7 Mainstream show of the week:

Specialist show of the week:

Becky and Mikey take over on Tuesday afternoons between 3.00-4.30pm, playing the best chart pop songs for you to sing along to! Join in on the ‘I’m A Student Get Me Out Of Here!’ themed weekly quiz, with bush tucker trial forfeits and tonnes of banter. Also, get in contact with your guilty pleasures for an up-and -oming feature that will be complimented by cheesy tunes and plenty of laughs. With a hugely entertaining show, plus the possibility of celebrity guests, it’s sure to keep you up-beat as you write those end of term essays!

Brighten up your Tuesday evenings by tuning into CUTV on the Radio every week from 9pm–10pm. With not just one or two, but four different presenters each specialising in their own genre of music (European DJs/ American folk rock/ alternative emo/ indie), you can never go wrong. Whether you need to relax and unwind, or want something to dance to whilst getting ready for a night out, this show’s unique split halfway through will cater for both moods.

B.A.M

CUTV On The Radio

Tuesday: 3pm till 4:30pm

Monday 9am-10:30am Alice and Mel Breakfast Show 10:30am-12:30pm Loud Noises 12:30pm-2pm Show and Tell with Amy 4:30pm-6pm Lee Macaulay on Xpress

Tuesday 9am-11am Three Girls & A Gay 11am-12:30pm Hilary and Heather Show 1pm-3pm Madame Audrey's Lunar Cake Shop & Delicatessen 3pm-4:30pm B.A.M 4:30pm-6pm Rich & Britt Afternoon Show

Wednesday 9am-11am 3 Man Bundle 11am-1pm Gossip Girls with Seetal & Lily 3pm-4pm Louisa & Beth's Afternoon Show 4pm-6pm Luke & Ed Show

Thursday 9am-11am Filing the Gap with Emma & Alexis 11am-12:30pm Kat & Ash Show 1pm-2pm The Stark and Moo Show 2pm-4pm Sporties 4pm-6pm Sam & Greg Show

Friday 9am-11am Milo's Morning Mash-up

Mainstream

Live Outside Broadcast

11am-1pm Al & Steve Show 1pm-2.30pm 2 Girls, 1 Mic with Sally & Susie 2.30pm-4:30pm TNT 4:30pm-6pm Student Media Show

Saturday 11am-12pm Wake Up with Henry & Oscar 12pm-2pm Jack and Tom Delusion

Sunday 11:30am-1pm Ollie and Stefano show 1pm-2:20pm Laura, Dora & Lucy Show

Sports

Mon 2.30pm-4.30pm Sports Show Thu 2.30pm-4pm Sporties

Speech Mon 2pm-2.30pm The Xpress Test Tue 12.30pm-1pm Xpress Debate Wed 1pm-3pm The Weekly Summit Thu 12.30pm-1pm Trawlermans sweethearts Sat 10am-11am The Hair of the Dog Sun 11am-11.30am The Beautiful Hesitation Sun 2.20pm-2.30pm Across the Corridor Sun 2.30pm-3pm Xposure Sun 9pm-10pm Are you sitting comfortably?

Classical

Tuesday: 9pm till 10pm

Sun 6pm-7:30pm Sunday Classics

Hip-Hop/RnB

Fri 10pm-12pm Flo Jam Sessions Fri 12pm-1am $traight Cash

House/Electro/ Dance

Fri 6-7 International Superhits Fri 8pm-9pm The Argument

World Music Tue 6pm-7pm Global Grooves Tue 8pm-9pm Methu Dawnsio

Pop

Wed 8pm-9pm Housemasters Wed 9pm -10pm The take over Fri 7pm-8pm Hype Machine

Sat 2pm-3pm PushPop Sun 3pm-5pm The Student Radio Chart Show

Indie

Pick & Mix

Mon 8pm-9pm Gig 'n' mix Mon 9pm-10pm Holly and Bo's radio show Mon 10pm-11pm Sam & Will Show Mon 6pm-7pm Xhibition Tue 9pm-10pm CUTV on the Radio Wed 10pm-11pm Hot Pap Sun 5pm-6pm Toni and Zoe Show

Mon 7pm-8pm Transmission Mon 11pm-12am Anything Alternative Tue 7pm-8pm Bill & Tom's Most Excellent Adventure Wed 11pm-12am Pigeon Hole Thu 7pm-8pm Curly Joe and Ginger’s Countdown Conundrum Thu 8pm-9pm Xposed Thu 11pm-12pm Dan and Petch’s 80s Hour of Power Fri 9pm-10pm The Essential Gig Guide Sat 4pm-5pm 3 Man Bundle Xtra Sun 9pm-10pm Are you sitting comfortably?

Jazz Sun 7:30pm-9pm Jazz Society Show

Rock/Metal/Punk Mon 10pm-11pm Superstar DJs here we go Tue 8pm-9pm Rock! Paper Scissors Tue 11pm-12pm The Dark Hour Thu 9pm-10pm Thursday Night Annihilation Appreciation Society Thu 10pm-11pm Subversion

www.xpressradio.co.uk

Xpress Sessions and Interviews As well as the regular radio shows Xpress gets bands in for acoustic sessions, all of which are available to listen to again. Get online and check out what we have to offer!

Specialist


FIVE MINUTE FUN 27

DECEMBER.08. 2008 FMF@gairrhydd.COM

found on facebook Housemate done something stupid? Send more oddities!

sudoku.

1. Log on to the book of face 2. Join the group ‘Found on Facebook’ 3. Upload embarrassing photos 4. Pick up gair rhydd on Monday and laugh

Quick Crossword Across

Down

1. Mistaken (3,4) 5. Bishops of Rome (5) 8. Stimulant (5) 9. Gives in (7) 10. New in concept, not derived or imitative (8) 11. Language spoken on the island of Phuket (4) 13. Funeral speech (6) 15. Vessel containing liquid for writing (6) 18. ___ Islands, group off the west coast of Ireland (4) 19. Stir out of sleep again (8) 22. Sucked at (liquid) (7) 23. Measures of five hundred paper sheets (5) 24. Whey-faced (5) 25. Exact copy (7)

1. Defeated in a competition (7) 2. Mushrooms, eg (5) 3. Designs achieved by corrosion (8) 4. Maid ___, Robin Hood's sweetheart (6) 5. Buddies (4) 6. Fist-fight (5-2) 7. Japanese fish dish (5) 12. White early-blooming flower (8) 14. Groups of sports teams who play each other (7) 16. Country bordering Libya (7) 17. Trough (6) 18. Author of The Tortoise and the Hare (5) 20. Word for a colour, derived from Persian for 'dust' (5) 21. Constance ___, rose variety (4)

1

2

3

EASY

6

5

4

8

HARD

7

9

12

13

14

G

HAVE

YOU

11

10

The - spot..

SPOTTED GLYN?

16

15 17 19

18

20

21 23

22

24

25

Upload your sightings of the screen god to the Gair Rhydd facebook group!


28 LISTINGS The Listings Top Five... ...ways to make you feel all Christmassy inside! The essays are driving you potty and exam revision hasn't even begun to register with your already over-worked minds! But there are only 18 days left to Xmas (yes, only 18) and we haven't even thought about a Cardiff Xmas before we depart! So here's 5 ideas to ponder to get you in the festive mood...fast! 1. Carol Singing Raise your Crimbo mood, as well as your student bank account (albeit minorly), by blessing your fortunate neighbours with a few Yuletide tunes. 2. Visit Winter Wonderland I understand that at £8.50 for an hour's ice-skating, Cardiff's commercial Xmas extravaganza isn't that student friendly! So...you can mosey on down and enjoy a £2 cup of mulled wine on the park bench with the resident hobos instead, while savouring the happy rich families skating to their heart's content. 3. Mince pies, mince pies! Two packs of pies for £1.60 at Tescos! A nativity homage if ever I saw one!

Monday 8th Dec

DECEMBER.08.2008 LISTINGS@gairrhydd.COM

Tuesday 9th Dec

LIFE@ GLAM If you want to find yourself a nice Jack Wills boyf then this is the place to go! 9pm-3am, £3.

GET LOST @ LIQUID Chavtastic tunes and cheap drinks - no better place to be! 9pm - 3am, £3.50.

VODKA ISLAND @ TIGER TIGER Mainstream student night. Free before 9pm, £3 after.

CHIC BEAT @ REVOLUTION Brought to you by the guys of Rough Hill, the beat that is chic is a student night not to be missed. 9pm - 3am, £4 - £5.

ROMEO MUST DIE @ CLWB IFOR BACH Star guests include A470, Burning Bridges, Chaeos and Tigger. Massive hardcore trash from the ashes of stompin' ground. 7.30pm, £30, contact venue for details. FUTUREHEADS @ SUB 29 The Sunderland base guitar-lead post punk band with the style of wire are going to be playing their great harmonies and rocking out with you tonight! 7.30pm, contact venue for prices. STEAM POWERED @ TABU Another student night with those forever famous resident Djs 8pm, contact venue for prices. STAN WEBBS CHICKEN SHACK @ THE GLOBE They shack up with chickens! 8.15pm, contact venue for prices. SAD SONGS FOR DIRTY LOVERS @ BUFFALO BAR Resident DJs and guest stars playing the music of the future. Popular with indie kids. Unofficial Quench spin-off, too. 8pm - 3am, £3.

REFLECTIONS @ ST JOHN BAPTIST CHURCH Kidney Wales Carol service with the Only Men Aloud choir singing from the BBC1 show Last Choir Standing. 6.30 - 8pm, contact venue for details. SHAPE FUNCTION XMAS PARTY @ CLWB IFOR BACH Presenting the hyper, over caffienated boy genius with his far out electronic beats. Sounds like a good place to be! £5, contact venue for details. YEAR OF THE PUG @ CLWB IFOR BACH Resident DJs pumping out tunes for you to get jiggy to. 10pm - 2am £3/£2. SYLOSIS @ BARFLY With special guests Forever Never, Sylosis are an Essex based band who use experimental elements to create 'Beautiful and brutal' tunes. 7.30pm £6/£5 with flyer.

Wednesday 10th Dec

SIN BIN @ SOLUS The bin of sin welcomes you once again for an even more action-packed night of chivalrous team drinking games and unadultered forms of debauchery. Plus FIT MEN!!! Free entry 7-9pm, £3 after. SHOTGUN RULES @ REVOLUTION We all know the rules of shotgun, why not put it to the test with a drinking game! 9pm - 2am, £2.50. BBC NATIONAL ORCHESTRA OF WALES @ ST DAVIDS HALL We've all seen them and heard them on the televsion so why not go along and apreciate a different kind of music for a change? Hummm... 7pm, £10. JUMP ON THE BANDWAGON @ OCEANA Popular student night - Do you want to dance, chill or feel like ice. Well Oceana has it all tonight. 9pm, £4/£2 NUS. DJ JAFFA @ 10 FEET TALL Want to be entertained by many different DJs? Well, here is your chance! 10 Feet Tall present to you DJ Jaffa, Andy Loveless, etc. playing lots of soul, old school disco hits and lots lots more. 9pm-3am, free. CHEAP SKATES @ METROS 8pm-3.30am, contact venue for details. SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE! @ TABU 9pm, contact venue for details.

4. Decorate your humble abode Ok, there is only a certain amount you can do with your student gaf, but with just one week left of term, make the most of the festive season by adding a sprig of holly to your kitchen fridge and draping a few reams of tinsel around the communal sofa. 5. Wear a santa hat Hypervalue's reigning Christmas purchase! Wear around your house for a spiritual bonding sesh with St. Nick himself!

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


LISTINGS 29

DECEMBER.08.2008 LISTINGS@gairrhydd.COM

Thursday 11th Dec

PHATLACE @ BAR REVOLUTION More of our favourite resident DJs. 9pm - 2am, £5. MISCHIEF @ TIGER TIGER Double vodka Redbull, double vodka Redbull, double vodka Redbull! Chain-drinking at its best! 9pm - 2am, £4 - £5. CLUB C-Y-N-T @ CLWB IFOR BACH Resident DJs and much more fun! Not tried it yet? Here is your chance. Try something new. .. 10.30pm- 4am, £3. P4 MUSIC @ CLWB IFOR BACH Electric 6 and The Autopiolets. They want to take you to the gay bar gay bar. Formerly know as Wild Bunch, the romantic to numetal bands take over the club. 8pm, £11. ON THE ROCKS @ 10 FEET TALL The mojo-inspired rock 'n' roll, scuzzy guitart licks and head-banger DJs will be playing live music all night. Just for you! How nice! 9pm-3am.

Friday

12th Dec DONT PANIC MAGAZINE LAUNCH @ CLWB IFOR BACH The night will include bands like Truckers Of Husk and Theo. I bet you have never seen a one man band like this in your life. 8pm, contact venue for details. CHRIS HELME @ BARFLY Formely with The Seahorses and The Yards he has now chilled out and created some acoustic music for you all to hear. 7.30pm, £6. FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND @ SU We all know who they are, so they need no introduction. But just in case you don't, the Welsh emo band produced by John Gibb will be rocking the Union tonight. John Gibb has also produced bands like Jane's Addiction. 7.30pm, £15. WHOLE LOTTY LED @ THE POINT The reproduction of legendary rock artist and their songs such as Led Zeppelin. 7.30pm, £12.

Saturday 13th Dec

Sunday 14th Dec

COME PLAY @ SOLUS Come and play amongst the Union's excetives. You have only a few more weeks to get that Saturday night play in. 9pm - 2am, £3.

10 FOOT CWTCH @ 10 FEET TALL Electric energetic beats and a unique style you are all going to love. And plenty of CWTCHES!!! 8.30pm - 3am, £3.

COOL HOUSE @ GLO BAR Presenting the high contrast house set with all money being donated to Mullany Fund. 9pm-4am, £3 before 11, £5 after.

ZENYTH @ BARFLY They have played the Union and now one of Cardiff's greatest unsigned bands will be giving great live preformances to you all from the stage of Barfly. The band is recognised by XFM, Coca-Cola (not sure if thats a good thing) and iTunes. 7.30pm, £5/£4 with a flyer.

CLWB CARIAD @ CLWB IFOR BACH We've all been to Clwb Ifor Bach enough times this year already so you all know what their student nights are like. Enough said. If you haven't been, why not give it a go? 8pm, contact venue for details. ME AND YOU CLUB @ 10 FEET TALL Resident DJs. kicking up a storm in their unruly rock and roll party including indie, rock and pop with new tunes and classic alternatives. 11pm- 4am, £5. BBC WALES FESTIVAL OF CAROLS @ ST DAVID'S HALL In aid of the BBC Children In Need Appeal. We all need to support those who arent as fortunate as we are, so head down and join in singing all those popular carols you know and love. 11am, £3.50. ONLY MEN ALOUD @ WALES MILLENIUM CENTRE They won the BBC 1 contest Last Choir Standing and now they're playing the Millenium Centre. Why not be supportive and see the welsh lads sing their hearts out on their home turf? 7.30pm, contact venue for details.

TORN @ BUFFALO BAR The resident DJs are back AGAIN!!! Kicking up a storm with thier mix of childhood classics, rubix cube beats and slinky basslines. 10pm-4am, free. ONLY MEN ALOUD @ WALES MILLENIUM CENTRE They won the BBC 1 contest Last Choir Standing and now they're playing the Millenium Centre. Why not be supportive and see the welsh lads sing their hearts out on their home turf. Deja vu? 7.30pm, contact venue for details. HOTROD DISCO @ BUFFALO BAR Relive the era that brought us Elvis, Marilyn and Audrey! Make your mum proud and boogie on down to Buffalo Bar where some of the greatest musical genres ever to mark the period will be showcased! 8pm-3am, free.

(The Welsh Club), 11 Womanby Street 02920 232199 www.clwb.net ◆ Barfly, Kingsway, Tickets: 08709070999 www.barflyclub.com/cardiff ◆ MetIncognito, Park Place 02920 412190 ◆ Liquid, St. Mary Street 02920645464 ◆ The Philharmonic, 76-77 St. Mary Street 02920 230678 ◆ Café The Hayes 02920 878444 www.stdavidshallcardiff.co.uk ◆ Chapter Arts Centre, Market Road, Canton 02920 304400 www.chapter.org ◆ Wales Sherman Theatre, Senghennydd Road 02920 646900 www.shermantheatre.co.uk ◆ The Glee Club, Mermaid Quay 0870 2415093 www.glee.co.uk ◆ Cardiff Bay, 02920 460873 www.thepointcardiffbay.com ◆ Tommy’s Bar, Howard Gardens (off Newport Road) 02920 416192 ◆


SPORT 31

DECEMBER.08.2008 SPORT@gairrhydd.COM

THE WORD ON... ...the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Chris Hoy: The People's Choice Alex Bywater Sports Writer GREAT BRITAIN'S successful Olympics in Beijing this year was encapsulated by the triple gold medal cyclist Chris Hoy. Five days of consecutive competition, 15 races, and 3 gold medals

speaks volumes of his ability and endurance and has led to him being touted as one of three favourites to win the prestigious title of Sports Personality of the Year. Although Lewis Hamilton seems like the popular choice, the successes of Hoy, in a less well known sport where Britain continually dominates, makes him a strong candidate. It is clear that Hoy’s successes have inspired more and more people to take up the sport. Victoria Pendleton, a gold medal cyclist herself, was asked who her sporting hero was, to which she replied, “Chris Hoy.”

Joe Calzaghe: The Holder His individual honours aside, Hoy has raised the profile of cycling as a sport. It is not often that non-mainstream sports are recognised at the highest level and Hoy’s achievements should be celebrated.

Lewis Hamilton: The Favourite Scott D'Arcy Sports Editor LEWIS HAMILTON deserves the prestigious BBC accolade simply because he is the fastest man on four wheels. After finishing runner-up last year in both the F1 World Championship and BBC Sports Personality of the Year, he has already proved this year that he is a thoroughbred winner by

just pipping Felipe Massa to the F1 crown. Ok, so maybe he dodges taxes and has about as much charisma as Schumacher. But let’s face it, this award is not about personality, in spite of the name. How else do you explain Johnny Wilkinson’s victory in 2003? Based on success then Hamilton’s achievements, even in this Olympic year, mark him out as the top British sportsman of 2008.

REBECCA ADLINGTON'S excellence saw her become a household name following her double gold success at the Beijing Games this summer. The 19-year-old Mansfield swimmer’s success in the 400m and 800m freestyle announced Adlington onto the world stage. She broke the 800m world record, the longest-standing record in the sport, a feat that belies her inexperi-

SOME MIGHT say he need only match his impressive achievements of 2007 to retain the honour. However with the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Rebecca Adlington excelling in their sports, more has been expected of Calzaghe for him even to be in major contention for the 2008 award. While the victories over Manfredo and Kessler were undoubtedly impressive, Calzaghe has been really put to the test this year. In April, he moved up to light-heavyweight and fought Bernard Hopkins in a greatly anticipated bout in Las Vegas, defeating the American on a split decision.

The best was yet to come though. In November Calzaghe came face-toface with the legendary Roy Jones Jr. After a slow start Calzaghe demolished his American opponent, winning on a unanimous decision to improve his career record to 46 wins and no defeats. After such a remarkable year it is difficult to think of anyone who deserves to be named 2008 Sports Personality of the Year more than Joe Calzaghe.

Ben Ainslie: The Dark Horse Alasdair Robertson Sports Editor

Rebecca Adlington: The Rookie Richard Williams Sports Editor

Tom Victor Sports Writer

ence and youth. Adlington also became the most successful female swimmer that Britain has ever seen, and her dominance in the sport looks set to continue into 2012. Adlington’s new-found celebrity status catapulted her to the front pages of the press and into the hearts of the nation. Her success in the pool has made Adlington one of 2008’s success stories, and a leading contender for Sports Personality of the Year.

BEN AINSLIE, Olympic champion. Fair enough, there are other Olympic champions in the Sports Personality field this year, even athletes with two or three golds, yet none have the pedigree of Ainslie. His dominance of the sport dates back to 1997 and he is a treble Olympic champion, winning in both the Finn and Laser classes. Moreover he is twice World Sailor of the year and four times British Yachtsman of the Year. Shirley Robertson this week claimed he is “Untouchable” and that “Everyone in the sailing world looks

up to him.” More praise comes from no other than International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge. Rogge believes Ainslie’s achievements to be equal to those of Usain Bolt and Chris Hoy, perhaps the most celebrated athletes of the Beijing Games. Not the fashionable choice but clearly the most deserving.


32 SPORT

DECEMBER.08.2008 SPORT@gairrhydd.COM

SPORT COMMENT

England wilt Josh Pettitt Sports Editor

MARTIN JOHNSON'S tenure as England head coach started off with a muted pop, rather than the much anticipated bang in the autumn internationals. Out of four games, England managed only one underwhelming win against an under-prepared and overestimated Pacific Islands side. Although Johnson’s England looked like an exciting prospect in the first half against

Australia, they suffered the fate of many English sides of recent years; all crackle and no pop. England failed to capitalise on their few chances against the weakest southern hemisphere opposition and looked desperately short of ideas against the impressive South Africa and the clinical New Zealand. After successive drubbings at the hands of their southern hemisphere counterparts, Johnson’s frown looks set to stay. The reasons for England’s failures have been on the lips of all rugby col-

umnists. Johnson’s selection of youth and inexperience has resulted in a lack of direction and almost non-existent game plan that has plagued England this autumn. This would seem extremely likely, considering that all the key decision making positions are all filled by players in the infancy of their international careers; Cipriani at fly-half, Armitage at full-back and Care at scrum-half. However, Johnson had few ready replacements to usher in to fill these positions when youthful enthusiasm proved, at times, inadequate. Toby Flood’s manful efforts against New Zealand proved why he has earned the tag of understudy to England’s in form fly-halves over recent years. Clive Woodward sensibly suggested that, player-for-player, England are simply inferior in their skill set. While this might be true, it is certainly not an excuse Johnson will consider contemplating when he comes to reviewing the performances of his fledgling England side this autumn. Stephen Jones has even gone so far as saying that: “The south are better because they want it more.” Although most proud and Englishmen will baulk at this sporting cliché, there may well be some truth in it. Not for a minute am I suggesting that England do not desire the win as much as the southern hemisphere. Instead I would argue that southern hemisphere teams believe they de-

serve it more. For an England fan, the most satisfying and enduring memories, the World Cup aside, is the period of dominance that England had over their southern rivals in the lead up to climax of 2003. England expected to win each and every game they played prior to the World Cup. I would never go so far as to bandy about the naïve cliché that one team has a greater desire on the pitch than the other, but there will always be a discrepancy in belief between two teams. It is this belief that tips the balance in sporting encounters. Johnson, needless to say, was not brought into the England set-up because of his background in successful coaching. Johnson was the embodiment of self-belief and an uncompromising attitude on the pitch, and it is this state of mind that the RFU and indeed English fans want Johnson to instil in the England camp. However, a small note of compromise has crept into Johnson’s postmatch interviews. Although this might seem like realism in the light of England’s performances, it could prove damaging for a side already short of experience and belief. England must expect and believe that they deserve a victory every time they take to the pitch. Let us hope that Johnson’s self-belief as a coach is the same as when he was a player.

World Cup lottery Alasdair Robertson Sports Editor THE HIGHLY anticipated draw for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand was announced last week. The draw revealed much about the home nations prospects for the tournament considering their performances in last month’s autumn internationals. By far the most promising of all the northern hemisphere sides was Wales. They have been drawn in perhaps the toughest group of all alongside the current world champions the Springboks, their 2007 nemesis Fiji, and almost certainly fellow South Sea islanders Samoa. If Wales’s recent win over Australia is anything to go by

then progression to the quarter finals should not be an issue as they appear far stronger than in 2007 when they crashed out to the islanders in France. If the development of players like Lee Byrne and Andy Powell continues, and Shane Williams retains his IRB World Player of the Year form then Wales could in fact challenge for first place in the group. This would provide them with a far easier draw in the knockout phase, most likely facing Ireland rather than Australia. Ireland’s poor ranking of eighth in the world means they battle Australia for the top of their pool. They also face stiff competition from the ever-improving Italians who almost claimed their biggest scalp to date in a narrow defeat to the Wallabies this autumn. Ireland should qualify as runners up but will need to be on their

guard and improve considerably from their current form. Much will rest on the development of the likes of Luke Fitzgerald and Rob Kearney to carry an ageing side. England and Scotland have been drawn in perhaps the easiest group of the tournament as they avoid all three of the Tri-Nations powerhouses. Being pitted against the weakest of the top sides, Argentina, is a definite stroke of luck. However England’s laboursome form suggests that they will struggle to beat the Pumas, far from its best against Ireland recently, and a resurgent Scotland. Mike Blair and company will fancy their chances against England after their valiant efforts against the Springboks at Mur-

rayfield this autumn. Finally, tournament favourites New Zealand will tackle stiff competition in the shape of the temperamental French, but will still believe that 2011 will be their year, especially on home soil in front of the ever-expectant Kiwi public. Tonga might prove to be the whipping boys of the group and New Zealand will feel confident of demolishing England, Scotland, or Argentina in the quarters. The All Blacks surely look on course to end their World Cup calamites.

TOP FIVE... TOP FIVE... Autumn stars

1 Lee Byrne cemented his place as one of the world's top fullbacks. His composure under the high ball and some incisive running lines make him the class act of the autumn.

2 If referees continue to allow Richie McCaw to be a law unto himself he will remain the most disruptive player in world rugby. What a player. What a cheat.

3 Ma'a Nonu has finally come of age this autumn. No longer merely a crash ball centre he has added subtlety to his already impressive arsenal.

4 Andy Powell was the find of the autumn tests. His savage dynamism and deceptive agility left many a defender reeling in his wake.

5 Euan Murray single-handedly took apart the more than proficient All Black scrum. His considerable bulk also made inroads into the Kiwis' swarming defence.


DECEMBER.08.2008 SPORT@gairrhydd.COM

IMG ROUNDUP

SPORT 33

Results They think it's all over... Netball 30.11.08 Law B 18-4 Socsci B Cardiff B 20-0 Gym Gym (Walkover) Earth Soc 9-18 Automotive Navy 12-9 Medics A

Football 30.11.08 Pharm AC 3-6 Real Ale Madrid Opsoccer 3-1 Numatics Philosophy 9-0 Gym Gym Magnificent 11-2 Earth Soc Psychology 2-6 AFC History Momed FC 7-0 SAWSA J-Soc 0-3 Samba Tigers Law B 3-5 Inter MeNan Euros FC 0-13 Locomotive J-Unit 4-4 Men Utd Law C 1-1 Jomec Ecomomics 1-4 Automotive Law A 4-0 Uni HallStars KLAW 3-2 Liability FC

Matthew Fahy IMG Reporter

KLAW FC 3-2 Liability FC THE PRE-MATCH BUILD up was surrounded in confusion and controversy with a delayed kick-off. However, this didn’t faze KLAW who started the game the brighter of the two sides. KLAW’s early dominance led to them creating an array of chances but struggling to hit the target with Alex Senn and John Hartson both going close. It looked as if the deadlock would be broken when Chris Denton found Hartson in space inside the penalty area and lifted the bouncing ball over Liability’s stand-in 'keeper from an acute angle, only for it to be cleared off the line. The breakthrough finally came when KLAW won a free-kick in a central position 25 yards out. KLAW’s set piece specialist Alex Senn stepped up, connecting well and the ball looked destined for the top right corner, only for the goal keeper to athletically tip the ball onto the crossbar where Matt Fahy was instinctively following up, to stroke the ball into the empty net with his left, rewarding

KLAW for their domination. Two minutes later KLAW’s lead was doubled. KLAW were camped out in Liability’s final third and the pressure paid off with a long throw resulting in a John Hartson chance, attempting to lob the keeper once again. Liability cleared, only this time the ball fell to speedy winger and man of the match Stu McGreggor. McGreggor cut inside onto his favoured right foot and drilled the ball home, rattling the net before the keeper could move. KLAW continued to dominate, a neat passage of play down the right hand side between Phillips, Senn and Fahy, linking up well. Senn grabbed the ball and placed it on the spot signifying his intent to take the spot kick after a debate with Hartson. Senn dispatched his unstoppable penalty with the ball nicking the left bottom corner on its way in. It looked as if KLAW would go on to get five or six as they seemed in complete control before a mix up occurred between centre back Danny Jack and goalkeeper John Burgess, failing to communicate effectively after Jack hesitated to clear his line. He and Burgess went for the same ball, leading to Jack’s clearance cannoning off a liability player and falling to a liability player who passed

the ball into the empty net from 18 yards. KLAW were shaken but regrouped and responded well, putting more pressure on their opposition, going in for half time 3-1 up. The match restarted as the first half had ended, with KLAW on the prowl near Liability’s penalty area. KLAW then became sloppy with Anthony Howard giving the ball away on the half way line. From then on it was all about Liability, a slick passing move down the right stretched the KLAW defence, the ball was cut inside to their striker who turned and riffled the ball into the back of the net. The highlight of the second half came from Danny Jack when he attempted a 40-yard volley that whistled past the top right corner. A much improved Liability finished well, putting KLAW under pressure and could have resulted in a miraculous come back if it wasn’t for Phillip's crucial interception five minutes from time preventing a certain goal. It ended 3-2 which wasn’t really a fair reflection on KLAW’s domination. On another day KLAW may have had twice as many, but on the day their inability to finish their chances almost cost them. This was a big result for KLAW who have recently hit form and will be pushing for a position in the top four.

Team
Talk: Engin Army What is your best achievement/ moment to date? Managing to get all 35 Engin lads on a night out up onto some poor girl's garden wall, which consequently collapsed... probably because Jonny Phillips was the 35th person. Who is your best player and why? Tom Stephenson, aka Stevo, as he has been playing for Engin since 1966... some say he is the Teddy

Sheringham of the team, others say he isn't that lucky with the girls.

If your team was an animal what would it be?

Is there any funny team banter? Tommy Harrys (our social secretary) aka Tetleys Tommy or Breeze Block, getting himself naked, wearing his boxers as a waistcoat and running from Oceana to Talybont: with various unprintable escapades occurring on the way... most of which are captured on video for all that wish to see!!

Eeyore - as we are all hung like a donkey, apart from Matt Leyton, poor guy. What song best describes your team? Kylie Minogue Locomotive"

-

"Do

The

Any team prima - donnas? Jonnie Bradbury. He likes to cry every time someone doesn't use 'propa Ingalish.' Who has the best nicknames? With a squad of 50 players there are so many nicknames to choose from, here are a pick of the bunch: Lammy aka IMG Stool aka Mr Right aka James Lambden Ju-shitson-u aka Chinese Adam aka Adam Claxton Celery aka Phil Martin Tommy Harrys aka Tetleys Tommy aka Breeze Block

This year who are your biggest rivals? Seeing as though J-Unit won't be making the Premiership this season, it will have to be Automotive Engin, our second team. Watch out for that crunch match this season! Any teams you are looking forward to playing and why? J-Unit, so we can beat them for the third time in a row and prove they are a one hit wonder... much like Aqua with Barbie Girl.

Group Positions after Week 6 IMG NETBALL

Group A

P

W

D

L

Diff

Pts

1

Law B

6

5

0

1

65

15

2

Cardiff A

5

4

1

0

45

13

3

Dentistry

6

3

0

3

20

9

4

Medics A

6

3

0

3

3

9

5

Pharmacy B

6

2

1

3

-30

7

6

Medics B

6

2

0

4

-12

6

7

Navy

6

3

0

3

-40

3

8

Socsi B

5

0

0

5

--41

0

P

W

IMG NETBALL

Group B D

L

Diff

Pts

1

Economics A

5

5

0

0

129

15

2

Socsi A

6

5

0

1

14

15

3

Psychology B

6

4

0

2

57

12

4

Sawsa

5

2

0

3

8

6

5

Cardiff IWC

5

1

0

4

-25

3

6

English B

5

1

0

4

-65

3

7

C-Plan

6

2

0

4

-47

0

8

J- Unit

6

2

0

4

--71

0

IMG NETBALL

Group C P

W

D

L

Diff

Pts

1

Law A

6

6

0

0

95

18

2

Christian Union

6

4

0

2

94

12

3

Psychology A

5

4

0

1

58

12

4

Cardiff B

5

4

0

1

38

12

5

Cardiff Jets B

5

1

0

4

-24

3

6

Jomec

6

1

0

5

-100

3

7

Optom

4

0

0

4

-92

0

8

Gym Gym

5

1

0

4

--70

-9

P

W

D

L

Diff

Pts

IMG NETBALL

Group D

1

Cardiff Jets A

5

5

0

0

55

15

2

Pharmacy A

5

5

0

0

41

15

3

Carbs A

3

3

0

0

43

9

4

Carbs B

4

3

0

1

9

9

5

Neumatics

5

3

0

2

-2

9

6

English A

4

3

0

2

18

6

7

Economics B

5

1

0

4

-32

3

8

Engin Auto

4

0

0

4

--37

0

9

Biology

6

1

0

5

-30

3

10

Earth Soc

5

0

0

5

-65

0

P

W

D

L

Diff

Pts

IMG FOOTBALL

Group A

1

Real Ale Madrid

3

3

0

0

16

9

2

Gym Gym

3

3

0

0

13

9

3

Earth Soc

3

2

0

1

1

6

4

Opsoccer

3

1

1

1

4

4

5

Magnificent XI

3

1

1

1

0

4

6

Pharm AC

3

1

0

2

2

3

7

Numatics

3

0

0

3

-16

0

8

Philosophy

3

0

0

3

--20

0

P

W

IMG FOOTBALL

Group B D

L

Diff

Pts

1

AFC History

3

3

0

0

18

9

2

Carbs

3

3

0

0

17

9

3

SAWSA

3

2

0

1

2

6

4

Socsi FC

3

2

0

1

1

6

5

Momed FC

3

1

0

2

-3

3

6

Psychology

3

1

0

2

-3

3

7

Crusaders

3

0

0

3

-16

0

8

AFC Cathays

3

0

0

3

--20

0

P

W

IMG FOOTBALL

Group C D

L

Diff

Pts

1

Locomotive

3

2

1

0

11

7

Which Premiership team is your team most like and why?

2

J-Unit

3

2

1

0

5

7

3

Samba Tigers FC

3

2

1

0

2

7

4

Law B

3

2

0

1

10

6

Manchester United, as everyone from all three squads hate Liverpool and to be fair United are going to finish top.

5

J-Soc

3

1

0

2

0

3

6

Euros FC

3

0

1

2

-15

1

7

Euros FC

3

0

0

3

-3

0

8

Men Utd FC

3

0

0

3

--10

0

P

W

Thanks Engin. If you would like to see your team in the spotlight, email us at sport@gairrhydd.com

IMG FOOTBALL

Group D D

L

Diff

Pts

1

Law A

3

3

0

0

17

9

2

Automotive

3

3

0

0

13

9

3

Uni HallStars

3

2

0

1

12

6

4

Economics

3

2

0

1

6

6

5

KLAW

3

1

0

2

-2

3

6

Liability FC

3

0

1

2

-6

1

7

LAW C

3

0

1

2

-19

1

8

Jomec FC

3

0

0

3

--21

0


34 SPORT

DECEMBER.08.2008 SPORT@gairrhydd.COM

Stroke of luck Matthew Hetherington Rowing Reporter

BASKETBALL: High and mighty

Cardiff retain top spot Oliver Franklin Basketball Reporter CARDIFF Men's 1sts...............81 SWANSEA Men's 1sts.............75 CARDIFF MAINTAINED their fearsome form this season with a thrilling win over Swansea seconds, cementing their place at the top of the league. After last week’s win over Swansea 1sts, some were hoping for an easy win, but the reality was an end-to-end thriller that had the crowd on its feet. Ultimately, though, Cardiff’s ferocious offense put the game beyond Swansea’s reach. Cardiff started strong, with a strong offensive display, with Chris Thompson hitting a sweet 3-pointer after

shaking off his defender to put Cardiff up 8-4 after only 2 minutes. However, the defensive performance was shaky, with too many unforced errors allowing Swansea to stay in the game. These problems continued in the second quarter, with Cardiff’s seeming lack of confidence on defense allowing Swansea to creep back into the game, with Cardiff maintaining a narrow 44-40 lead at half time. Going into the third quarter however, Cardiff began to show their quality once again, with Ben Hughes dominating in the paint on the defensive end, grabbing some important rebounds. Some questionable foul calls alongside some strong post play towards the end of the third meant Swansea again kept themselves in the game going into the fourth quarter.

Then Cardiff really came into their own, putting on an unstoppable attacking run lead by Matt Garton, taking advantage of a defensive mismatch and cutting inside to the basket. An assured performance by guards Will Marsh and Vesa Kahilampi allowed Cardiff to run riot in the fourth period, with Marsh in particular cutting open the Swansea defence with a pass to Garton, who knocked down the lay up despite being fouled, then duly sinking the ensuing free throw on an impressive 3 point play. Swansea tried to come back in the last few minutes, but the lead turned out to be an unassailable one, with the final whistle guaranteeing Cardiff’s place at the top of the league with an 81-75 win. With only one team left to beat in the league, Cardiff’s unbeaten season looks certain to continue.

Exeter fenced off

PHOTO: PENNY CHALLANS

THE ROWING CLUB began supporting the Stroke for Stroke Campaign this year, and alongside rowing at the steps of the union buildings, they also held a sponsored row. The men were joined in this by the AU President, Scott Pigott, who completed a 10km row with the men and also raised loads of money for the charity. Meanwhile, last weekend the club was set to go to Wallingford head, with a women’s squad coxed four, and several men’s squad boats. This turned to a disaster. While the women’s four travelled the night before, the men squad elected to go the same day. While checking the towing vehicle it was discovered that the tow hitch was not properly connected, and was not safe for use. This prevented the boats from travelling to Wallingford, a bitter blow for the men who were anticipating strong chances in their categories. For the women however, it was to get even worse. Determined to race, they went to the site of the Head, and were able to acquire a boat kindly leant by Wallingford Rowing club. The boat and blades were not geared up for the crew, and put them in a disadvantageous position. While marshalling at the start, luck again turned, as the seldom used, and over tightened rudder wire snapped on one side. Some quick work with pliers and tape rendered it race safe, but only just.

With 5 minutes to go, the other wire snapped. The crew struggled to the nearest riverbourne Marshall, who straightened the ineffectual rudder, and the Cox restored steering by wrapping the wires around his fingers. They made it back to their marshalling position just as the other crews began to move to the start, and were able to slot back in. Held up off the start, they immediately overtook a crew from Royal Holloway, who somehow contrived to steer into the Cardiff crew, only to be met with firm resistance, a clash of blades, and strong words from the cox. After that, Cardiff hunted down a further three crews, in the timed event, catching Magdalene collage, Twickenham, and finally Latymer upper school over the finish. The crew, composed of Vicky Williams, Amy Nihad at 3, Emmeline Mudford at 2, Laura Elizabeth Watkins at bow and Matthew Hetherington coxed, dragged Cardiff to a deserved second place finish in the Senior 4 category. Last week, Scott Pigott returned to the rowing club along with Andy Button-Stephens, James Wood and Richard Stubbs to have a go at rowing themselves. It proved an amusing afternoon for rowing President, Penny Challans and Novice Coach, Gareth Storey, who were impressed no one fell in despite changing positions halfway up the river as the water taxi went past. There are rumours that the four were so good they may even race at Henley next summer.

Charlotte Dyer Fencing Reporter CARDIFF Ladies' 1sts............125 EXETER Ladies' 1sts.............107

ROWING: Hats magic

CARDIFF LADIES' fencing team finished the season spectacularly with another home win against Exeter this week. The match began with foil, fenced by Jayne Huxtable, Natalie Brown, Charlie Dyer and Morwenna Perrott. Cardiff had a slow start, but the deficit was quickly made up by some impressive displays by Perrott, taking one bout 14-1, and Brown, taking another 8-5. Exeter then managed to regain the lead and, despite some skilled fencing by Cardiff, were in the lead going into the final bout. The scores stood at 36-40, with Exeter only

needing five to Cardiff’s nine to win. A skilled bout followed and went to time, with Exeter taking first blood 44-38. Next was sabre, Cardiff’s strongest weapon. Unbeaten all season, Jo Chen, Rose Gordon and Dyer were ready to take to the piste. Aware that Cardiff were 6 points down after the foil, Cardiff took an initial lead and dominated Exeter with three fights being won 5-0 by Cardiff and Exeter having little chance to catch up.

Some impressive fencing continued throughout the weapon and the final score saw Cardiff win 45-18. Finally came epeé fenced by Brown, Chen, Perrott and Bethan Amphlett. Exeter took the initial lead up to a score of 10-5. Then a 10-3 win by Perrot in her bout took Cardiff into the lead again. Exeter were then able to regain their lead and despite some strong performances from Cardiff, were able to win 45-41. Whilst Exeter had won both foil and epeé, the final cumulative score for Cardiff was 124 to Exeter’s 107, making Cardiff victorious thanks to some close scores and a win in sabre. Cardiff were therefore able to finish the main BUCS season on a fourth win, with only two close losses and have the BUCS individuals next week.

FENCING: Cardiff foil Exeter


SPORT 35

DECEMBER.08.2008 SPORT@gairrhydd.COM

Quickstep to success Rachel Kellas Dancing Reporter THE BATH Winter Competition is one which Cardiff have traditionally done very well in – and this years DanceSport team lived up to expectations, reaching five finals and thirteen semi finals. The day began well with newcomers performing at a consistently high standard throughout the ten rounds of Beginners ballroom, to reach the finals of both Waltz and Quickstep finishing third and fifth respectively. For their first competition this was a remarkable result for the couple and the results bode well for future competitions as they look to build upon their first competitive experience. Following on from the beginners was the novice ballroom event. Cardiff entered three couples each with varying degrees of previous competitive experience. The most successful result came from Neil Humphreys and Nicola Barker – one of the team's more experienced couples. After making the semi-finals at Warwick last weekend, they used their experience to their advantage with

following their second place finish at Novice level the previous weekend. Their performances were far from sub-standard, with strong performances in Waltz, Tango and Quickstep leading them to the final where they finished seventh. David Sunnucks and Helen McKensie also danced well to reach the semi-finals. However Sunnucks sustained an injury, which sadly prevented them from going on to compete in the Intermediate Latin event. In the afternoon Cardiff’s dancers competed in the Latin events, and the Beginner’s event again saw the freshers surpassing their own expectations to reach the semi finals with creditable performances in both Jive and Cha. It was the Novice Latin event, which saw one of the most commendable performances of the day from Stephen Griffiths and Emily Morris, who were delighted to reach their first final with superb performances in both Cha and Rumba where they finished in 7th place. With many notable achievements at Bath, the DanceSport team will be aiming for more of the same at Manchester next weekend. DANCESPORT: Hot to trot

excellent displays in both Waltz and Quickstep to reach the novice ballroom final and sixth place. Despite lacking the experience of Humphreys and Barker, one of Cardiff’s new partnerships Stephen Griffiths and Emily Morris reached the semi-final, and their performances were an illustration of their continued improvement since the start of the term. Chris Murrills and Amelia Reed set themselves a challenge by opting to dance at the higher Intermediate level

Cardiff smash UWE Gareth Ludkin Volleyball Reporter CARDIFF Ladies' 1sts..............25 UWE Ladies' 1sts....................23 AFTER RELEGATION from the championship last season, a new look Cardiff side travelled to the University of West England keen to regain promotion. With great quality in both depth and numbers Cardiff proved formidable in this opening day of BUCS competition. A second day of competition will sort out who goes through to challenge for promotion. Cardiff can expect to face the stiff opposition of a quality and attacking Bournemouth side. But without the loss of a single set Cardiff looked to have put down a strong platform from which to build. The girls, under the leadership of Nadine Knight, committed to absolutely every point and every game throughout the day, displaying some fine attacking and defensive play. After an easy first game against Aberystwyth, Cardiff went in with confidence to a challenging match against

Fuller Frills FRISBEE: Worth disc-ussing

James Hinks Frisbee Reporter

CARDIFF ’NO FRILLS' Frisbee team made yet another final last weekend in the national indoor tournament held in Southampton. Captain Tony Fuller inspired his team to the final with a stunning individual display. His spectacular catches in the end zone gained victory in key sudden-death points, notably against Cambridge in the quarter finals where an intense match, in which Frills grinded the opposition down, was ended when Frills seized the win with an audacious high and fast disc, from Chris Griggs-Trevarthen, to Fuller in the end zone. Cardiff played with dogged discipline, great tactical awareness and a hard defence to get to the final, where

they came up against a tough ‘Ro Sham Bo’ team from Edinburgh. Although the result of the final may have been disappointing: 6 – 4, the game Cardiff played was mightily impressive. The match was close throughout and Cardiff completely shook the experienced opposition with diving blocks on the disc, from the notorious Lee Taylor and Ian King. Huge diving catches made sure Frills kept scoring against a team that pride themselves on their defence. However, in the final minutes Edinburgh took the lead as fatigue set in for Cardiff. The captain highlighted the fact that Cardiff battled through the knock-out stages with fantastic team spirit: “We did not have the best individuals but we played as a team, worked hard and played intelligently; it eventually took a team with at least 3 GB players in it to beat us”.

a stiff but ultimately beatable Gloustershire 1sts side. Coming through in two sets, Cardiff continued to gel as a team with some fine setting from Emma Jones and a solid defence. Hardly any serves went into the net as Cardiff continued to make few mistakes. Gloustershire 2nds were next up and fell in two quick sets; 25-7 and 25-9, a tired Cardiff team completely out-playing the disorganised Gloustershire side but with their biggest game up next against a defensively strong UWE side, there was little time for respite. Often struggling to break down their defence, Cardiff battled hard to win the first set 25-19. The second set was much closer after Cardiff took the lead but let UWE back into the game with a few too many mistakes. The talented away side buckled down though and, against a gritty defence, Cardiff began to break them down with some great penetration at the net. Eventually beating UWE 25-23, the girls can look forward to a successful season as they prepare for their ultimate challenge against Bournemouth.

VOLLEYBALL: Net profit


Sport

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INSIDE: BUCS continues, IMG meltdown, the Word On BBC Sports Personality of the Year and Sport Comment

IMG R.I.P.? Indefinite closure of Trelai pitches deals yet another heavy blow to IMG football league Future looks uncertain as league moves to three fixtures per week in desperate attempts to catch up Alasdair Robertson Sports Editor THE CLOSURE OF THE Trelai pitches this week for at least a six-week period spells disaster for this years' IMG football tournament. With the tournament already lagging behind schedule after several cancelled fixtures, the latest setback seriously threatens the completion of

the tournament this year, much like the Netball competition. IMG organisers are proposing playing fixtures on Saturdays and Sundays as well as Wednesdays throughout the exam period of January. This has been met with much scepticism by IMG captains, who claimed at their meeting last week that it is hard to raise teams at weekends when players have other com-

mitments. In exam period it will inevitably be even harder to raise a side and the league will now penalise teams who cannot field a starting XI by stripping them of two points. This seems unfair on smaller squads who were only supposed to be playing Wednesday fixtures in term-time at the start of the season, especially when you consider that IMG exists as a less committal alter-

native to BUCS sport. On top of this, there are the travel costs of getting to Trelai for the larger squads that will greatly increase if they are playing two or three fixtures per week. This is all assuming that the games will be allowed to go ahead in the months of January, February and March, the wettest period of the year. Although the pitches are currently

being repaired, it is inevitable that they will quickly return to their current state with such fixture congestion and the notorious Welsh weather. With this in mind, the current plans seem ambitious at best and undermine the very concept of IMG. After yet another Wednesday with no competition in any sport, the future looks nothing short of bleak.

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gair rhydd - Issue 885  

gair rhydd - Issue 885