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ISSUE 908 NOVEMBER 09 2009 PHOTO: NATALIA POPOVA

CARDIFF'S STUDENT WEEKLY

free inside this week’s

interviews speak to Bombay Bicycle Club music review Swn Festival Fashion goes on the cheap

Having a ball! Union executive decide this year’s Summer Ball will go ahead, despite the financial implications Gareth Ludkin News Editor The future of the Summer Ball seemed uncertain last week after concerns were raised about the financial viability of such a largescale, annual event. But the debate was taken to Student Council, where it emerged that the majority of students wanted some form of Summer Ball to go ahead. The Board of Directors for the Students’ Union - which is composed largely of sabbatical officers - tabled the discussion at Student Council to help assess whether the demand for a

Summer Ball was high enough for the Union to continue investing in such a financially risky event. On monetary grounds alone, it was proposed that the Summer Ball was ‘not a sensible and appropriate project to undertake.’ The Ball, which costs between £250,000 and £300,000, is one of the biggest in the country and subsequently carries huge risks. “If we were a commercial business we wouldn’t do it,” said Rich Pearce, Finance and Commercial Officer at the Students’ Union. “The Ball is a huge risk but we put it on for the students - we think that the students value it that much.”

The Summer Ball saw a loss of £20,000 last year, and over the past eight years, the greatest loss has been £30,000. The Ball is so expensive to put on that it has never made a profit, but this is something that the Union executive has come to accept, and they continue to put on a Ball year after year, despite this fact. In 2008, the Ball had its most successful year, incurring just a £1,000 loss. A huge number of people – roughly 7,000 – turned up to see acts such as Pendulum, Zane Lowe and Scouting for Girls. But in 2009, and in the midst of a recession, the Ball struggled to achieve such a return, with a turnout of less than 5,000 stu-

dents. Holding the same Summer Ball again this year carries huge risks, but the Union executive have decided to go ahead with it because of the demand from students. Traditionally held at Coopers Field, behind Cardiff Castle, the Summer Ball carries a number of variables that can significantly affect the success of the event. The weather, ticket sales, the cost and popularity of acts, bar staff, facilities and fun fair are just some of the factors that are crucial to the success of the event. continued on page 2

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02 NEWS

EDITOR Emma Jones DEPUTY EDITOR Simon Lucey CO-ORDINATOR Elaine Morgan SUB EDITOR Sarah Powell NEWS Ceri Isfryn Gareth Ludkin Emma McFarnon Jamie Thunder FEATURES Daniella Graham Robin Morgan OPINION Oli Franklin Paul Stollery Damian Fantato COLUMNISTS Tim Hart Oli Franklin LISTINGS Steve Beynon Ed Bovingdon TAF-OD Nia Gwawr Williams Branwen Mathias Cadi Mai SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Amy Hall Priya Raj JOBS & MONEY Katie Greenway SPORT Jon Evans James Hinks Adam Horne Lucy Morgan Robbie Wells CONTRIBUTORS Morgan Applegarth Miranda Atty Becky Bartlett Caitlin Bawn Alex Evans Amy Hall Rachel Henson Richard Herlihy Ayushman Jamwal Abby Johnson Cadi Mai Sarah McCann Rob Prior Priya Raj Aysar Al-Rawl Omar Shamayleh Alastair Smith Oliver Smith Sophie Spence John Steele James Stonebridge Rupert Taylor Sarah Vaughan Freddie Williams Jack Zorab

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07908 551922 NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM gair rhydd has been Cardiff University's independent student newspaper since 1972

Barclays Bank: making a killing

Protesters fight against University's investments in one of world's biggest arms trade subsidisers Aysar Al-Rawi Reporter People & Planet, Cardiff Students Against War and The Young Greens last week held a protest outside the Main Building against the University’s £2 million investment in Barclays Bank’s - one of the world’s biggest arms trade investors. Protesters brought banners in a bid to shame the university into stop investing, and to shame the bank into re-considering its investments in coal power and the arms trade. Activists handed out leaflets detailing Barclay’s investment in global oppression and in arms-related companies such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Thales. They also criticised Barclays’ funding of the Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe. In the past, £30 million has been given to help sustain land reforms, which saw Mugabe seize white-owned farmland and drive more than 100,000 black workers from their homes. With £7.3 billion worth of shares in arms manufacturing companies, Barclays bank are one the larg-

est arms-trade investors in the world. In March 2009, the NGO Global Witness accused Barclays of violating international anti-money laundering laws. Alice Hemming, one of the protesters present, stressed that “Barclays are unethical and we should not be supporting them.” When asked how she intends to raise awareness, Alice replied, “I want to tell students what they are signing up for if they work with Barclays by making them aware of what’s really going on.” The students intend to raise the issue at the next Student Council meeting which is to be held on November

10. Campaigners will attempt to pass a motion that sees Cardiff University “voting for a green, ethical future.” This motion will require the President and Student Council to lobby the Vice-Chancellor, Dr. David Grant, until he withdraws the University’s money from Barclays Bank and reinvests it with an ethical investment company, such as The Cooperative Bank or Triodos. It is not the first time Cardiff students have protested against the university’s association with the arms trade. As reported in issue 890 of gair rhydd, an occupation of the Shandon lecture theatre in the main building by

Cardiff Student Against War led to the university divesting all direct investments in arms manufacturers. The complaints came after gair rhydd revealed in issue 882 that the university had £225, 000 invested in arms trade manufacturers, including BAE systems. A spokesperson from Barclays told The Guardian; "Barclays Group provides financial services to the defence sector within a specific policy framework.” “Barclays had supplied money to Textron, which makes cluster bombs, but the US firm is a broad-based weapons manufacturer.”

PHOTO: KELDA REMINGTON

grgr

gairrhydd | NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

Questions raised over sustainability of Ball continued from front page Many tickets are usually sold on the day, and if the weather is bad or acts cancel at the last minute, the whole event could be ruined, meaning a huge financial cost for the Union. At Student Council it was proposed that a £50,000 contingency fund be introduced in order to cover the potential losses of the event. Rich assured, though, that this contingency plan would not dramatically affect Union finances. “Cuts across the board aren’t that detrimental,” he said, adding that the contingency fund is only to be used if the Ball struggles to break even. The Ball will be “just as big and just as good as ever,” Rich added. The Summer Ball is the biggest and most celebrated Union event in many student calendars; however, with its inherent risks, it is difficult to make a guaranteed success. Ed Carey, Students Union President, was keen to stress how important it is for students to back the event.

“It’s a great event but it’s up to students to demonstrate that they want the ball by attending,” he said. “The Ball will always go ahead if people back it - students need to take ownership of the event and more people need to attend,” he added. Ed also pointed out that many students think the Ball makes a large profit, but this is not the case. The Union has spent a considerable amount of time gauging whether an annual Ball is sustainable and considering whether it is appropriate to install a £50,000 contingency fund. Ed further stressed that the success of the Ball was a “question of commitment” for both the Union and the students. When asked to vote on the proposals at Student Council, no real majority arose. However, Ed stated that the executive left Student Council with a “positive attitude”. According to him, 40 per cent were in favour of a Ball with no changes, while another 40 per cent

believed the Ball was good but not worth the potential money loss. 15 to 20 per cent thought that the Ball was not worth it. This meant that 80 per cent in total were in favour of a Ball in some shape or form. The Union’s Board of Directors have decided that this year’s Ball will

go ahead. The future of the Ball, however, is in no way certain. This year’s Ball could well be the last unless students get behind it. But Rich is confident that this year’s Ball will be a massive success. “We’re 100 per cent confident we can make it the best it’s ever been,” he said.

What do you think about the Summer Ball? Get in touch via the gair rhydd forum and let us know your thoughts

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NEWS 1 EDITORIAL & OPINION 8 COLUMNIST 11 FEATURES 12 POLITICS 16 LETTERS 19 SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT 21 JOBS & MONEY 22 LISTINGS 24 FIVE MINUTE FUN 27 SPORT 28


NEWS 03

gairrhydd | NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

Labour's Higher Education plans revealed Lord Mandelson outlines his vision for the future of the sector Jamie Thunder News Editor The government’s 10 to 15-year framework for higher education in the United Kingdom was unveiled last Tuesday, advocating stronger ties between universities and businesses. The blueprint, Higher Ambitions: The Future of Universities in a Knowledge Economy, was presented by Lord Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. It states that universities should be expected to teach all students skills such as business awareness, as well as to prepare a statement outlining how they promote student employability. It also argues for businesses to have a role in the funding and design of programmes at universities, as they are the ‘key definers of the skills needs of our economy and the key beneficiaries of the skilled workers produced by higher education’. Research assessment under the framework will for the first time con-

sider the impact of past research on the economy and society, and universities that produce research with this sort of impact will be ‘rewarded’. Applicants for grants from the Research Councils already have to describe the potential impact of their proposed work. Funding for research, particularly for the sciences, technology, engineering, and maths (the STEM subjects), will be concentrated on the top research centres, the framework says. It suggests that inter-university and inter-disciplinary research should be encouraged so that researchers can cooperate rather than compete with each other for limited funding. Students will also be able to access more information about individual courses at different universities before they apply, including the number of contact hours they can expect. Dropout rates, employment prospects, and greater detail on course content and facilities will also be provided. Universities will also be asked to improve efforts at widening access, but the government will not interfere with universities’ admissions process-

MPs' treatment of universities is 'like an Inquisition' Alex Evans Reporter MPs were attacked last week by a higher education watchdog over their handling of plans for higher education reform. In a speech made by Peter Williams, head of the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), the government’s treatment of universities under planned reform proposals was likened to “some latter-day Spanish Inquisition”. Business secretary Peter Mandelson last week outlined plans to raise higher education standards by introducing a ‘student’s charter’, guaranteeing students a minimum number of ‘contact hours’ they can expect with lecturers, as well as a proposal to raise teaching standards. Mr. Williams’ speech at the London University’s Institute of Education did little to assuage fears among vice-chancellors that the government is attempting to reduce the freedoms of higher education institutions to self-govern their teaching standards. MPs have already called upon the QAA to be given more power to strip ailing universities of their eligibility

to award degrees. There is also a concern that a push to raise standards is a ploy by the government to justify a further increase in top-up fees, currently £3,225 per year, before the current fee system review is launched later this month. A previous report by the Commons Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Select Committee plans accused vice-chancellors of a “defensive complacency” over higher education teaching standards. Lord Mandelson has since admitted that the committee was overly critical of universities, but went on to outline measures to further increase the quality of higher education and widen enrolment from disadvantaged areas. Mr. Williams responded by attacking the Business secretary’s proposals, claiming that new measures to increase government control over university standards “would be seriously damaging to both quality and standards”. Phil Willis, chairman of the select committee, added that current degree standard checks are “out of date, inconsistent and should be replaced”.

es. Instead Sir Martin Harris, Director at the Office for Fair Access, has been asked to prepare a report on how institutions can widen participation and ensure that students from underprivileged backgrounds are fully supported. The framework reiterates the government’s aim for 50% of young people to enter higher education. Parttime and distance learning will be encouraged to try to increase student numbers. It includes no suggestions for the system of top-up fees as a review of their impact since introduction in 2004 is due to start this year. Announcing the plan, Lord Mandelson said: “In the decade ahead we will expect more from our universities than ever before. They will need to use their resources more effectively, reach out to a wider range of potential students and devise new sources of income, at the same time as they maintain teaching and research excellence.” Dr. Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group of Universi-

ties, of which Cardiff University is a member, said the Group supported the commitments to STEM subjects and protecting the top research centres, but was wary about giving businesses more say. “Higher education must always be more than just training for a job,” she said, adding that “a Russell Group degree is for life – not just for that first graduate job”. She also welcomed giving students more information about courses, but cautioned against a simplistic ‘foodlabelling’ system. Other university groups, including the 1994 Group, the Million+ Group, and the University Alliance, said they supported aspects of the framework. However, Professor Paul Wellings, Chair of the 1994 Group, said that investment in science should not be at the expense of other subjects. “Addressing current national priorities and future global challenges relies on the successful interplay of all subjects. We must protect our entire research base,” he said. This view was echoed by Professor

Steve Smith, President of Universities UK, which represents the higher education sector. The University and College Union (UCU) welcomed the measures to widen access to higher education, but criticised what it called the ‘marketisation’ of universities. “Of course students should receive information about their course so they can make an informed choice before applying to university. However, an obsession with creating league tables and stripping everything down to statistics is not the way to recognise the merits or suitability of different degree courses,” said UCU general secretary Sally Hunt. She added that universities should not just be about satisfying a consumer, and warned that over-reliance on student evaluation would lead to ‘rampant’ grade inflation to secure positive feedback.

The full report is at www.bis.gov. uk. Turn to page 8 of gair rhydd for a student’s view of the plans

What will the framework mean? A student's charter will set out what information universities should provide to prospective applicants

Businesses will have more input into courses

Universities will be encouraged to widen access for students from disadvantaged backgrounds

Science, technology, engineering, and maths research funding will be more concentrated on the top centres

Universities' research assessments will depend upon past economic and social impact of research


04 NEWS

gairrhydd | NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

Cardiff holds its first Sustainability Week Alastair Smith Reporter Cardiff University is staging its first ever Sustainability Week from the 16-20th November. The week kicks off with a visit from the eminent writer, broadcaster and environmentalist Jonathan Porritt, who will be delivering this year’s Hadyn Ellis Distinguished Lecture. A series of events and on and offline initiatives will follow, designed to encourage and inspire the whole community to live and work in a more sustainable way, with the ultimate aim of working together to create a more sustainable University. Among the week's activities, will be opportunities to Post a Pledge, take an online interactive quiz, put unsustainable items and ideas in the Detox Box, meet some of the University’s Eco-Champions, and find out how two rather special men are trying to fix the world. The Students’ Union has given it's full backing to the Sustainability Week which is working in partnership with the University to stage some of the events and initiatives. More information about Sustainability Week can be found at www. cardiff.ac.uk/sustainabilty.

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

A Student Enterprise Lecture Your Uni Fruit and Veg Co-op Meet two social entrepreneurs who have been instrumental in combining a business approach with their concerns for human, social and environmental factors in providing potential solutions to the energy crisis. Council Chamber, Main Building, 7pm – 8.30pm

Eat Fairtrade Day

Fifty pence from every purchase made at the university Fruit and Veg Co-Op goes to generate a sustainable income source for the Riverside Community Food Co-op, where volunteers aim to bring the same service to the deprived community of Riverside. Order your bags of fruit and veg online at:http://sife-cardiff.co.uk/products. aspx

Tuck into all the Fairtrade products VJ Gallery, Main Building, 10-4pm which are available in both University buildings and the Students’ Union ca- The Sustainability Week Defes and shops. Cardiff University and bate: Eating our way to susthe Union gained Fairtrade status in tainability 2007. Join local politicians, academics, students and business leaders in what Be the first to take part in Cardiff Uni- promises to be a lively debate about versity’s Bicycle User Group bike bus how to eat our way to sustainability. The event will be chaired by Professor Kevalong the Taff Trail. It’s zero emission in Morgan and has been organised with commuting, so you save 0.3 tonnes of greenhouse emissions per annum, for Cardiff University’s Debating Society. a 2½ mile commute and that's just one School of Optometry and Vision Sciway! ences, 6:30pm start. Drinks reception after the debate.To book your place at Email CUBUG@cardiff.ac.uk or visit this free event, email publicity@cardiff. the www.cardiff.ac.uk/osheu/environ- ac.uk with the name of the event in the ment/greentransport/cycling/bikebus subject box. for a timetable.

Taff Trail Cycle Bus Pilot

THURSDAY

'What has culture got to do with sustainability?': A Poetry Reading by Rob Minhinnick and other speakers Do culture and the arts have a role to play in sustainable development? Should issues around sustainability be left to the scientists, engineers, environmentalists and policy makers? Come and join in a lively discussion about the role culture has to play in the sustainability agenda both here in Wales and globally. Rob Minhinnick, environmental campaigner and celebrated essayist and poet for a reading of a selection of his poems. Signed copies of Rob’s latest books, ‘King Driftwood’ and ‘Sea Holly’ will be available to buy during the evening. The event is sponsored by Academi. Council Chamber, Main Building 6pm (a drinks reception will follow the poetry reading) To book your place at this free event, email publicity@cardiff.ac.uk with the name of the event in the subject box.

FRIDAY Film Screening: The Yes Men Fix The World Described by author Naomi Klein as “hilarious, therapeutic, inspiring, ‘The Yes Men Fix The World’ is a screwball true story about two gonzo political activists who, posing as top executives of giant corporations, lie their way into big business conferences and pull off the world's most outrageous pranks. Brüno-meetsMichael Moore in this gut-busting wake-up call that proves a little imagination can go a long way towards vanquishing the cult of greed. Who knew fixing the world could be so much fun? The Kitchen, Cardiff University Students’ Union, 6-8pm (Entry is free and no tickets are required).


NEWS 05

gairrhydd | NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

Students assist Queen in Gloucester

Radio 4 comes to Cardiff

BBC Radio 4 to record a series of shows in Solus Emma McFarnon News Editor

QUEEN: Visits Gloucester

Becky Bartlett Reporter Two Cardiff University students were recently given the opportunity to play a major role in the Queen’s visit to the city of Gloucester. The two third year students are part of the University of Wales Royal Naval Unit, based in Penarth, who were given the responsibility to transport the Queen down the Gloucester Canal, into the historic docks and the city itself. Aboard their ship, HMS Express, they were able to demonstrate ceremonial duties like parading their dress uniform on the flying deck and hoisting the Queen’s Pennant, as well as securing the boat once they reached the docks. All of the duties were conducted in front of the Queen and the

thousands of spectators who lined the banks of the canal. Senior Midshipman, Aaron Corp, said: “It was an absolute thrill to have Her Majesty on Board HMS Express," while Divisional Midshipman, Andrew Barley, commented: “Being able to say that the Queen was aboard and to be part of that was a fantastic opportunity for me. I think we were all feeling very proud that we’d been chosen to do this”. Neither knew until a few weeks before that they would be a part of this great experience. The University of Wales Royal Naval Unit is made up of 60 dedicated students from a variety of universities across South Wales, who are carefully selected and frequently spend weekends training around the South West. Students are often deployed around Europe for several weeks during the Easter and summer holidays.

Uni scientist supports 'dark matter' theory Richard Herlihy Reporter A Cardiff University scientist has co-led an international team which has published data supporting the “dark matter” theory – the belief that only 5% of the mass of the universe is visible. A new study was published in The Astrophysical Journal this month by researchers on the team, dubbed the QUaD telescope project, showing detailed maps of the universe at just 400,000 years old. The team includes Professor Walter Gear, Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy at Cardiff University, as well as academics and scientists from institutions in the USA, the Unted Kingdom, and Ireland. The group analyses data from a telescope near the South Pole which detects the ‘cosmic microwave back-

ground', a radiation footprint of the structures of the early universe. They analyse the temperature and polarisation of the radiation, which has allowed them to create a detailed picture of the structure of the early universe. The Standard Model of the cosmos is currently supported by most scientists. It states that 95% of the Universe is made up of dark energy and matter, which are effectively invisible because they do not emit any type of observable radiation like light. Scientists have found more and more evidence for the idea, based on the gravitational effect which dark matter has on other objects in the universe. Professor Gear says that the scientists on the project at first “thought [they] might be able to find something wrong with the theory”, but instead the data they have found fits the theory “beautifully”.

BBC Radio 4 is visiting Cardiff University next week to record and broadcast several shows. On Thursday November 12 staff and students will have the opportunity to attend recordings of BBC Radio 4’s first-ever autumn tour, which features a variety of live recordings and student workshops. Cardiff is one of only three universities chosen to take part in featured programmes, which will be hosted in the Students’ Union.

Programmes include Material World, Radio 4’s weekly look at the science in and behind the news, The 3rd Degree, and a new quiz show which will see Cardiff academics and undergraduates pit their wits against each other. Comedians Holly Walsh, Andy Parsons and Jeremy Hardy will also join host Sandi Toksvig at the Union for a recording of humorous panel show, The News Quiz. On Friday November 13, the Julian Hodge Building will be home to

topical discussion show, Any Questions, chaired by Jonathan Dimbleby, and performance poetry show, Bespon Word. Workshops held over the two days will give students the chance to meet production staff and presenters. Topics covered include how to translate a visual series like Torchwood into radio, how to get across the excitement of science to a lay audience, feature programming, and performance poetry. Free tickets to all shows are exclusively available to Cardiff students and staff.


06 NEWS

gairrhydd | NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

Hain: 'Devolution is the way forward for Welsh governance' Ayushman Jamwal Reporter

Rt. Hon Peter Hain MP and Secretary of State for Wales gave a speech on the benefits of devolution at Cardiff’s School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies last week. Mr. Hain sought to highlight how Wales is benefiting from devolution, after the 2006 Government of Wales Act ushered in political change initiating a faster incremental devolution of law making powers from Westminster to the Welsh Assembly Government. Powers are now being devolved to the Assembly through Legislative Competence Orders (LCO). Schedule 5 of the act contains ‘Fields’ which include ‘Matters’ on which the Assembly can pass legislative measures. Each passed LCO adds new ‘matter’, allowing the Assembly to pass legislation across Wales, much like the way an act of Parliament operates across the UK. Mr. Hain stated that since the inception of the new system, legislative powers over fields as diverse as health, education, local government and transport have been passed to the Assembly, allowing Welsh ministers to effectively exercise democratic law-making.

Measures such as the NHS Redress Measure, which attempts to provide patients with fairer access to compensation when health services fail. Alongside this, the Learning and Skills Measure, which attempts to alter the curriculum to provide a wider choice of academic and vocational study for 14 to 19 year olds, have been passed to improve the quality of life in Wales. “This is excellent progress after barely two years of operating the new system”, said Peter Hain. He further stressed the importance of devolution within a UK framework, creating a balance between empowering the Assembly and aiming for strategic interests at a UK level. Mr Hain was critical of a referendum on full law making powers - a desire of many Welsh politicians suggesting that it was totally impractical. He believes that the Assembly must channel new powers into good law making for many more years in order to be confident of a successful referendum. However, un-devolved sectors such as energy are not able to enjoy the benefits of quick local governance. When questioned about the matter after the speech, Mr. Hain replied that those concerned must be patient. He emphasised that the detractors must realize that unlike a previous system of struggling legislations at

Welsh Secretary, Peter Hain, advocating devolution Westminster, the new system is gradually providing the Assembly with powers to “help build a more demo-

cratic, prosperous, stronger and fairer Wales”. This, of course, is the aim of Welsh officials across the political

Pseudo 'students' sneak in Immigration officers see rise in non-students forging university documents to enter the UK Rachel Henson Reporter The UK student visa system has been criticised by Heathrow Airport immigration officers who have revealed that distinguishing counterfeit visas from legitimate ones has become incredibly difficult. One officer, who wished to remain anonymous, has also claimed that staff at the airport “can’t cope” with queues at the border, which at certain times hold up to 1,000 people. The officer’s colleagues, who believe some institutions are issuing fake qualifications to enable nonstudents who have had their visa applications rejected in the past to fulfil entry requirements, have also raised concerns. Students coming to the United

Kingdom from countries outside the European Economic Area must request a visa letter from the academic institution and obtain their student visa before entering the UK. Applications are individually considered on a points-based system which covers areas such as the student’s ability, age, financial situation and experience. Applications may only be made to pre-approved academic institutions. In order to qualify as a ‘Tier 4’ approved institution, the education provider must undergo a public review and an inspection by an appropriate body, such as Wales’ ‘Estyn’. Over 2,000 institutions are currently able to provide courses to international students. Jeremy Oppenheim, responsible for managing the

points-based system, has responded to allegations that the system is heavily flawed by insisting that “only those colleges and schools who take responsibility for their students will be licensed to bring in foreign students.”

The UK Border Agency has stated that it remains confident that immigration officers are able to check that visas meet immigration rules on arrival to the UK.

Fraudulent visas are becoming almost impossible to spot

spectrum.

Cardiff named Wales' first 'healthy' city Emma McFarnon News Editor Cardiff has become the first Welsh city to be given the World Health Organization (WHO) Healthy Cities status, joining only seven other cities in the United Kingdom. Achievement of the status provides an opportunity for a range of agencies in the city to improve the health and well being of local people. It is also considered to be an important step in ensuring that Cardiff continues to develop as one of the best places to live in the country. The Council and NHS have recognised that good health is a vital priority, and together they identified the Healthy Cities approach as the ideal way to create a healthier Cardiff. Cardiff Council Executive Member for Health, Social Care and Well Being, Councillor John Dixon, said: “Joining the Healthy Cities Network isn't recognition that everyone in Cardiff is now healthy - it's a promise that physical, mental and emotional health is a priority for all of us."


NEWS 07

gairrhydd | NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

You'll never guess what... Bolt's a cheet The world’s fastest man has recently adopted the world’s fastest four-legged animal- a cheetah. Despite only being the size of a household cat, the feline, now suitably named Lightening Bolt was chosen by Ussain Bolt as he toured an animal sanctuary in Nairobi, Kenya. Whilst in the homeland of longdistance running, Ussain plans to help launch a campaign called the Long Run, which aims to promote ecologically sound practices.

Man does bird, requests cat Sarah Vaughan Reporter A prison inmate in Germany has made a bizzare request to gainvisitation rights to see his cat, because he claims it is his dead mother. Peter Keonig, 46, jailed for armed robberies, has gone to court demanding permission for his cat, Gisela, to visit him during the five year period in which he will serve in prison in Werl, Germany. Being a practicing Buddhist, Keonig firmly believes in life after death through reincarnation, whether it is in human or animal form. Keonig maintained that his cat was truly the reincarnate of his dead mother, and

claimed she “looks after me just the way she did”. He also added that just as inmates are allowed to see family and friends, so he should be allowed to see his cat, or mum. Despite Keonig’s pleas and repeated requests before the court they unfortunately turned him down. They maintained the ruling, “While we respect the religious freedom of individuals, the accused has not been able to furnish proof that his deceased mother has been reborn in a cat. Therefore, the request for visiting rights for the feline is rejected.” Although not received well by the distressed inmate, the court however tried to consolidate him by making an alternate suggestion that he could still write to his cat.

From rags to bitches

Emma McFarnon News Editor

It's a ring thing

Shark bitten

A trick-or-treater in Cincinnati, USA may have got more of a treat than they anticipated when they found a diamond ring in their goodie bag. The city resident, Elizabeth Olson, told local TV that she had lost her wedding ring whilst tossing sweets into a trick-or-treaters bag on Halloween. She claims to have had the ring enlarged and believes that this may have caused it to slip off.

KITTY LOVE: Inmate requests visits from his cat

Terror-vision Coyote attack A nineteen-year-old girl has died as a result of a vicious attack by two coyotes in Nova Scotia, Canada. The attack happened whilst Taylor Mitchell, a promising Canadian folk singer, was out walking alone in Cape Breton Highland National Park. “Coyotes are normally afraid of humans. This is an irregular occurrence,” a spokeswoman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police told one news agency. The rangers managed to shoot one coyote but are still searching for the other. Despite being airlifted to a nearby hospital, the singer-songwriter had died of her injuries the following morning.

Emma McFarnon News Editor Cab drivers in South Korea can continue to have televisions on their dashboards, despite the risk of crashing, a court has ruled. The ruling comes after a taxi driver challenged a $507 (£311) fine imposed by the local authorities in the capital, Seoul. The city's tortuous congestion led taxi drivers to install new mobile TV systems in an attempt to beat boredom. In 2005 South Korea launched a new broadcasting system called Digital Media Broadcasting (DMB), which beams television to mobile screens. Over 17.8 million people now use the system, government figures show,

although not all of those will be on car dashboards. Last year, the city authorities passed a regulation banning their use in the front seats of taxis. But when the law was challenged in court, judges ruled the regulations were illegal because they were based on a 1961 law that had been superseded. Laws already exist to combat careless driving, but the city authorities had hoped to stamp out TV watching by taxi drivers by forcing them to remove their screens altogether Watching TV while driving was a factor in 200 accidents last year, police say. Three people were killed and 351 were injured in those accidents, news agency Agence France Presse reported.

Stray dogs in Taiwan are being treated to stays in luxury canine hotels to try and decrease the number of dogs roaming the streets. The hotels, situated in Taipei, Taiwan, offer an alternative to pet owners who lack the time or space to look after dogs. The blissful pads, complete with VIP suites, playrooms, salons, and pools, aim to discourage people from dumping unwanted pets on the streets. Two proprietors have opened giant hotels, which charge a room rate of $14 (£8.50) a day plus food, which is more expensive than home care but affordable to the average Taipei family. "It's just like day care for children," said Kevin Lin, a former Wall Street employee who now owns the luxury Pet's Dream Park hotel. "A major reason I opened this business is to ease the stray dog problem."

Stray dogs are a common sight in poor, less-developed countries, but the more affluent cities of Taiwan are also swarming with them. Official figures show there are about 180,000 living on the island of 23 million people. In the 1980s, when Taiwan experienced an economic boom, people bought puppies then abandoned the adult animals. Rescue shelters in Taipei also offer basic pet boarding services, but Pet's Dream Park and its suburban competitor, Little Treasure Pet Lodging and Comfort School, offer a deluxe alternative. "I've seen small dogs kept in cages and wondered why if people can live in such nice surroundings, dogs can't also," said Yao Pen-thun, owner of the Little Treasure hotel. At Pet's Dream Park, dogs spend hours paddling in an indoor pool or getting groomed at a beauty parlour. Nervous pets get their own VIP rooms at no extra charge. Little Treasure takes its dogs for nature walks, and makes them listen to stories to help their mood, its website says.


08 OPINION

gairrhydd | OPINION@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

It's business... it's business time Mandelson's plans to students to be treated like consumers should be given a chance Daniella Graham Opinion writer Peter Mandelson has last week announced new plans to overhaul the university application system, with a new food-labelling style system to give students more information when they apply for their degree. Every university will be expected to publish graduate employment rates, the number of drop-outs and the amount of teaching time students get with the expectation that this will enable students to take a more consumer-led approach to their education. He has recently said that students should be more “picky, choosy and demanding.” But is this really what we want from our education system? Should a degree be simply another product we purchase? Initially when I first read about his ideas of ‘consumer-led’ higher education, I was horrified. Choosing a degree shouldn’t be like the decision to buy a car; it is not simply a product we will use for a few years before selling and buying something else. A degree dictates the manner in which we live at least three years, and in most cases also shapes the career path we will follow after graduation. Subjects should not be chosen

purely because of how ‘good’ they have been deemed within certain criteria. Obviously an engineering, law or medicine degree is more likely to lead to graduate employment, but does that mean we should all be applying for these courses? By judging a particular course on limited criteria we fail to acknowledge the wider value of a degree for the individual. Just because law might have better employment prospects than a history degree, we cannot say that applying for a history degree is a stupid decision. I chose to study history and politics because that was where my interests were, and I would rather spend three years studying something I enjoyed as opposed to something just because I felt I should. By turning university education into just another commodity we take away from the intrinsic value of learning for its own sake. Just as at school the nature of the exams system

meant we learnt what was required for the exam, now the majority of us study enough to do reasonably well in the coursework and then pass the exam; it’s about getting the degree rather than learning and understanding the subject. Finally, the introduction of top-up fees has led to a sense of entitlement. Because we spend so much on our university education, we expect results. If we get a poor result in an exam or a piece of coursework, the temptation exists to blame our tutors rather than our lack of effort. This consumer attitude has led to the view that because we’re paying thousands of pounds for our education, we’re entitled come out with a good degree, regardless of how much actual work we put in. This cannot be good for anyone. Yet I am torn. Perhaps not the best thing to say an opinion piece, but nevertheless I cannot say I either agree with the business secretary on this issue or completely

oppose him. Whilst I think that a consumer mentality among students is not healthy, I do believe that when we are spending thousands of pounds on a degree we should know what we are letting ourselves in for.

Surely greater transparency can only be a good thing? When top-up fees were first introduced, they were designed to be variable. With £3,000 the limit (for English students anyway) this was meant to be a fee for the top universities to charge. In reality this did not happen, and nearly all universities charge the same for their degrees, regardless of the nature of the course or the reputation of the institution. With Mandelson’s plans widely accepted to be a first step towards raising the tuition fee cap, greater transparency can only be a good thing. If universities are forced to reveal exactly what a course entails in terms of contact time and graduate prospects, then perhaps students can make a more well-informed decision about where to invest their time and money. This is particularly pertinent when you consider the new equivalent or

lower qualifications rules (ELQs) which affect students taking second undergraduate or master’s degrees in England. If, after completing your degree, you decide that it has not led to the career you wanted and want to go back to university, you will be financially penalised for choosing to undertake a second degree. A course that would have cost between £3,000 and £5,000 can now cost between £9,000 and £13,000, forcing many people to forgo the option of a second degree. This means that the initial choice of what to study at university is all the more important. Students need to be able to take everything into consideration when choosing their degree and university, so they can make an informed and balanced decision. If they want to study a subject for the sole reason that they enjoy it then great, but students should be able to take all factors into account when making this decision. I think that it is important that we don’t reject Peter Mandelson’s ideas through fear of a university marketplace; a new system which lets students know exactly what they are getting will be beneficial for all potential students. We just have to make sure that university degrees don’t become just another commodity which we value for their end result and nothing else.


OPINION 09

gairrhydd | OPINION@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

Pot. Kettle. Non-indigenous invaders. Paul Stollery Opinion Editor Nick Griffin. The name alone is enough to send a room full of otherwise pleasant people into a fit of rage, unless of course you're like me and know a Nick Griffin from high school who converted to Islam, in which case you sort of snort at the irony. However, if you are a normal person, or don't know my Nick, chances are the name will raise your blood pressure ever so slightly. We all know Nick Griffin; leader of the BNP, racist idiot and general stain on society. However it appears we can now add another accolade to his long list of titles; hypocrite. The MEP recently accused Tauriq Khalid of racially abusive threaten-

ing behaviour, claiming that Khalid shouted "white bastard" before raising his hand in the shape of a gun, and pointed it towards Griffin's head. The reason Dick Griffin, er, I mean Nick Griffin (humour courtesy of Question Time, political satire all over your face) claimed that Khalid's actions were threatening was because Griffin believed that this was a death threat. The poor little bigot even had to retreat to his car for half an hour, as he was fearful for his life. Ah, bless. Khalid rejected the claims, however did admit that, with a well-deserved sense of smugness, he shouted "Nick Griffin, you fucking wanker" and "Get the fuck out of Burnley, you're not welcome here", giving him two fingers in the process. Before we carry on, I think we can all say kudos to Tauriq. After a three day trial, the jury

found Khalid not guilty, saying that although he was verbally abusive, it was neither racist nor threatening.

This is the man who denies the Holocaust, right? Now, at the risk of using a cliché, is this not a case of the pot calling the kettle black? Well, in fairness, this is probably closer to the pot calling the kettle a non-indigenous invader, and then going on to deny the holocaust, before denying all claims that he is racist. Not that I want to go over old ground, but this is the man who denies the Holocaust, claims that all Muslims seek to groom young girls for sex and refers to the Koran as "a monster

in our midst"? Or am I getting him confused with the Nick I knew from school? Nope, I'm pretty sure that this is indeed the Nick who leads the BNP and hopes one day to rid our country of those terrible darkies, as he so graciously puts it. Nice. This is the man who uses Winston Churchill on campaign flyers, after lamenting British efforts in WWII, claiming that we had no right to fight the Nazis - after all, they were only trying to defend their land against the non-indigenous invaders. Perhaps this is a change of direction from Mr Griffin. Perhaps having suffered 'racism' he will now change his ways. Perhaps he will begin to give back to the minority communities, join an inner-city community centre and really get stuck in. However perhaps he will simply continue to cower in his car.

Nick Griffin's thoughts... ...on the Holocaust "The 'extermination' tale is a mixture of Allied wartime propaganda, extremely profitable lie, and latter witch-hysteria" ...on the Koran "You give me twenty minutes or an hour, a special programme to dissect the Koran, and I will show you that we have a monster in our midst" ...on homosexuality "The TV footage of dozens of gay demonstrators showed just why so many ordinary people find these creatures so repulsive" ...on homosexuality (again) "Look, gay people just have to realise that people find the sight of two men kissing creepy"

A new meaning to breast stroke Adlington needs to learn to take a joke, the BBC need to get some perspective Robin Morgan Features Editor Back in the good old days of August 2007, everything was alright. No problems had ever occurred in the world, and everyone was getting along fine. Then two months later, ‘Sachsgate’ occurred, and it all went bloody tits up, didn’t it. Flash forward 12 months, and here we are. The sequel to Sachsgate may about to be in full swing. Rebecca Adlington plays the role of Andrew Sachs, and Frankie Boyle is the amalgamation of Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross. The BBC even reprises its role as the BBC. Heartwarming. For anyone that didn’t hear the offending comments (and would subsequently like to complain postcontroversy to fit in), Boyle said that Adlington looked like “someone who's looking at themselves in the back of a spoon”. Not too offensive. Not too funny either, quite a generic observation. He went on to say: “Did you see her boyfriend? He was really attractive.... So from that I have deduced that Rebecca Adlington is very dirty – I mean if you just take into account how long she can hold her breath…” Personally, I find that pretty funny. Apparently the rest of Britain didn’t, because a staggering 75 people complained afterwards. I’m not mathematician, but that’s definitely a majority of the population. The BBC Trust then became self-righteous and decided to save itself from another Daily Maillambasting, saying the remarks “risked offending the audience.” Phwoar. The risk of offending someone. God forbid. Mock the Week gets average ratings of around the 3 million mark – 75 people complaining is (and I’ve warned you I’m no good at maths

so this may be incorrect...) 0.0025% of those watching. Therefore, I’ve deduced that their risk assessment is shit. 2,999,925 people were not offended by Boyle’s comments – he should be rewarded. But this is all in the past. Adlington’s agent has come out this week saying that the BBC Trust were too easy on Boyle, and a "slap on the wrist’" would not deter any similar future comments. They must have been furious when they heard the comments on Mock the Week, for them to be that passionate about a case that has already gone through too many bodies and complaint-systems. Actually, no. Apparently Adlington

Boyle can take a joke; he has said that he looks like a paedophile was unaware of the comments until the media published them after the event had taken place onced the fuss kicked up. Hence my very intelligent link to Sachsgate. Thanks for noticing. My real beef, however, is less with Adlington and her representatives. Although, they do need to pipe down, and just accept that the comments were taken from a comedy show. It is the same comedy programme that deemed another Boyle joke – claiming the Queen’s “pussy is haunted” – to be acceptable and not breaching any decency boundaries. Again, personally, I found that funny. I accept that other people would not. But lighten up. There are honestly more important things going on in the world than an Olympic swimmer being the butt of a joke. And that, in slightly more eloquent terms, is also

ABOVE: dirty spoon face BELOW: A possible Scottish paedophile

Frankie Boyle’s position on the situation. He blamed the producers of Mock the Week for the selection of pre-show content. “We’re fighting two wars, there’s swine flu and the global economy is going down the toilet. People expect you to talk about this - and what do the production team send us? A picture of Rebecca Adlington” The BBC Trust claimed that Mock the Week “failed to have an editorial reason” for including the comments. Let’s take a step back. I would suggest that since it’s a comedy programme, ‘humour’ might be a fair reason to for comments. Maybe I’m crazy. But I’m not. I’ve had the tests, I’m completely sane and what’s more, my funny-bone is definitely not broken. Sachsgate and Spoongate (it might catch on) are two examples of playground-bitching-journalism. ‘He said she said’ comments are seemingly ruining comedy, and the people who believe they should be offended jump on any bandwagon that might be going towards Moron-shire or Cretin-don. Personal appearances have played a pivotal part in most comedy since Jesus called Judas an ugly prick. True story. See any stand-up, and there will be comparisons about Boris Johnson, Gordon Brown, Katie Price... anyone. So what makes Adlington exempt from comedy? Nothing. Boyle has likened himself to looking like a paedophile. He can take a joke. But he’s a comedian – he should have learnt to. Maybe when Rebecca Adlington hangs up her tired swimming shoes and her tired swimming face (I’m waiting for her agent to contact me about that comment), and becomes a stand-up – she'll get it. Somehow I doubt it. “What does a fish say when it swims into a wall? Dam.” Hilarity.


10 OPINION

gairrhydd | OPINION@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

A choice of life or death

A mandatory choice on whether to donate your organs is necessary to stop needless deaths Rachel Henson Opinion Writer The washing up: I’ll get around to it. Write up my notes? I’ll get around to it. Join the organ donor register? I’ll get around to it. I’m still likely to forget, despite the reminders: an unwashed mug, a page of illegible scribbles and, in the latter’s case, a newspaper headline informing me that it could soon be compulsory to make a choice about organ donation. Mandatory choice is a scary prospect to those of us that have difficulty in deciding whether we fancy tea or coffee in the morning, but maybe the general trend in avoiding decisions is part of the reason that, in the UK, three people die every day waiting for a transplant. It’s a statistic that’s more depressing than it needs to be. A recent survey showed that 96 per cent of people in the UK would be happy to receive a transplant if they needed one, yet just over a quarter of us are on the register. The idea to make the decision compulsory may or may not go ahead. It faces opposition from groups such as the Organ Donation Taskforce, who favour a combination of the current ‘opt-in’ situation and better donation education and promotion. I’m not entirely convinced that the main problem is a lack of understanding. None of the major religions represented in the UK oppose organ donation, in fact many promote it, and I don’t know how many people believe there’s a spiritual or physical use for our actual body parts after death. Instead the biggest problem seems to be the effort involved in making the decision, which this new mandatory choice idea solves quite

well. The Royal College of Physicians has even suggested that, in addition to the usual ‘yes’ and ‘no’ options, there should be an ‘ask my relatives’ choice to help out the indecisive, successfully passing the buck to the people closest to us. Whilst pondering whether or not I’d want to make my family make ‘the choice’ at what would probably be a quite a stressful time, I shamefacedly realised that my name was still not on the register. And the only possible reason I could think of was that I’d not got my act together and done it.

In the UK, three people die every day waiting for an organ transplant It took just over three minutes to find the website and fill in the necessary details, a further couple of minutes to send a nicely worded email home to inform the next of kin of my decision, and that was it. Another name on the list, another selection of organs that could come in handy once I’m done with them; I’m a big fan of recycling. It took far less time than the washing up or the note-writing, which still remain on the to-do list after procrastinating on the organ donation website for a further half an hour. Did you know that the oldest person to donate tissue was 104? If it comes up in a pub quiz, you’ll thank me. Having to choose whether or not to donate organs has already been tried in two American states. Admittedly it failed in both, but the trials were missing the magic ‘ask the audience’ get-out clause. In Texas, 80 per cent of the population chose against do-

Signing up to be an organ donor takes minutes and could save lives nating their organs, but perhaps some were merely confused as to why it was made a compulsory part of their driving licence application process. Maybe it would be a question best posed when people register to vote on the electoral role. It would be a doddle in comparison to the rest of the paperwork the average eighteen year old faces.

In the current situation of transplant organ shortage there’s no reason not to give mandated choice a try. There would be no pressure on those who don’t want to donate, but it would effortlessly involve the staggering 45 per cent of the population who’ve expressed an interest in donating but never quite signed up. Organ donation saved 977 lives in

the UK last year. I am kicking myself for not signing up sooner when I consider the possibility that someone I care about may one day desperately need an organ to save their life. I know that at that time, it won’t matter how the donor’s decision came about.

Comedy about disability isn't as wrong as you think Morgan Applegarth Opinion Writer

Two months after shelving their slowly sinking ship that is Big Brother, Channel 4 are tackling reality TV in a new way. According to the Channel 4 website, Cast Offs is a new “dark comic drama” about the lives of six disabled people who are marooned on a remote island for a fictitious reality TV programme. The writers of the show explain “the stories will be brutally honest, sometimes poignant and often darkly comic, offering a fresh insight into the lives of disabled people living in the UK today”. The big talking point is the decision made by Channel 4 to make a comedy drama solely about people with a range of impairments. Comedy? About disabled people? That’s a bit dodgy isn’t it? Well, not really. The solitary use of disabled charac-

ters is a bold move by Channel 4, who set out to “make people see that disabled people are no more and no less f***** up than anyone else” claims one of the writers, Joe Wilson. Not only is this to stand out as a progression in the representation of minorities in British fictional media, it will provide a voice for people in the disabled community that says they’re just the same as those of us who aren’t.

It's about time we showed that people with disabilities are the same as us It’s about time we saw something like this appear on our screens. Sure TV soaps and the like have covered their backs with the occasional character representative of a minority, but Cast Offs seems to bring something different. Recognised by writers of the show,

the programme hopes to encourage people outside of the disabled community to be more accepting, to see past disability as being taboo. We all have unique characteristics, some more obvious than others, but why should those who have theirs medically recognised (so to speak) be separated from those who don’t? The six characters within the programme are all played by disabled people. This highlights my point about wanting to see past the disability as being something awkward– as those diagnosed are encouraging the removal of the taboo. Surely this will encourage people to forget about the physical or mental health of others and just accept them as being, well, them? One qualm I do have however is that Channel 4 may be subjecting the minority and may encourage the casual viewer to exhibit discrimination towards the actors in the programme. Understandably this is a slight contradiction to my previous point, but

I think that although consented to by those involved, there will be some people who shall sit there making offthe-cuff remarks about the characters or laughing at rather than with.

Surely we should challenge mainstream TV to be more inclusive of people with disabilities? Furthermore, if the goal of the writers is to encourage the acceptance of disabled people in society, perhaps people who aren’t classed as being disabled should be more included. As without them, disabled people are still being singled out by being the focal point. In the UK, over 10 million people are classed as disabled so I feel to really deal with the issue, maybe we should challenge more mainstream,

well-known programmes to be more widely inclusive of people with such disabilities and not just have the odd ‘token’ (excuse my bluntness). A study by cerebral palsy charity ‘Scope’ in 2008, found that 47% of disabled people had been victim of abuse, or had witnessed the physical abuse of a disabled friend. With this horrific statistic, is it not about time new mediums were explored to show that people with disabilities are the same as the rest of us and shouldn’t be singled out, suffering such abuse? This is not something that’s really been seen before on British TV and may just end up being a flop. I, however, am willing to embrace it and give it a chance.

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


COLUMNIST 11

gairrhydd | OPINION@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

The 21st Century Tim Well Cold War Spent It may be over 3,800 miles away and not at the forefront of your mind, but the border between India and China will soon become the centre of everyone’s attention. In the misty, snow covered Himalayan Mountains there is a growing rivalry on the roof of the World. The Indian and Chinese armies watch a boundary whose line the two countries don’t agree on. These two nations have never been close; they even had a brief war in 1962. Did anyone know that? I didn’t until last week. Both sides mistrust each other so much that when the relations between them are bearable all you find on the mountain paths is some rubbish. If, and when, the relations become more tense, what you find is described in all official documentation as “aggressive border-controlling”. Since January these cases of aggressive border-controlling have increased and it coincides with the deteriorating levels of diplomacy between the nations. In September, India signalled its approval of the Dalai Lama’s visit to the border town of Tawang. Beijing deemed this as provocation and responded by objecting to the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh as they see it as part of Tibet which belongs to China. Now the last time I checked Arunachal Pradesh was le- g a l l y recognised as Indian Territory. India then retaliated by objecting to a new power plant t h a t China is building in

Pakistani controlled Kashmir, as they claim the land is theirs. I mean, really, it sounds more like two school children arguing over some top trump cards rather than two of the World’s biggest powers. China really is pulling the Bengal tiger’s tail as it is trying to see how far India can be pushed. It has all the makings of being the 21st Century Cold War. The U.S. influence will become far more marginalised over the next few decades as the inevitable shift of power to India and China takes place. They almost have a combined population of 2.5 billion people; they should be the dominant global powers. However, the volatile relationship between India and China which will intensify as the two nations grow will be a cause of great concern. It is important to make clear here that nobody expects these petulant scraps to escalate into military action. There is, though, one crucial difference between this stand-off and the one between the United States and the Soviet Union. India and China share a border that is 2,175 miles long and, as already mentioned, there are several disputed territories on either side of it. The hostility and hatred is real and their

MANMOHAN SINGH: Obama's best friend

close proximity to one another will mean there will be plenty more cases of “aggressive border control”. Despite this, the battles between China and India are no longer about any particular territory. Both sides have co-existed relatively peacefully for the last 15 years; the new battle ground is the fight for influence and global status. China is a fiscal powerhouse with an economy twice the size of India’s, but it has grown increasingly wary of its neighbour’s burgeoning relationship with the United States. Last year the U.S. signed a civilian nuclear agreement with India and China fears its growing clout. Just like Communist Russia and Capitalist America this is a competition between two systems. One is a chaotic, under governed India, the other is an orderly over governed China. Chalk and cheese, unable to understand each other but united in the aim for world supremacy. The U.S. is in the middle of this trying to maintain a balancing act that would perplex any trapeze artist. It will be the biggest geopolitical challenge of the century. The 20th Century, undoubtedly, belonged to America and they will strive to claim the 21st Century as their own also. However, the geopolitical climate has changed since the U.S. rose to prominence. China is now intimately interconnected with the U.S. economy and holds $797 billion in Treasury securities. President Obama has even bowed to Chinese pressure by agreeing not to meet the Dalai Lama. At the same time, the U.S. is forging closer military ties with India. In particular the engines in India’s 300 Jaguar fighter jets, which are aging, will be replaced. This $5 billion contract has been in the offing for years but the recent tensions with China have sped up the lengthy process. Both sides will continue to sit round the negotiation table to cool things down and keep a certain level of diplomacy. Meanwhile soldiers patrol the Himalayas and we watch from a distance. For the first time in centuries the West are the spectators as the East takes the leading role in this drama we call life.

ills me: k t a h t e c n e t n e s e h T time It's a bit before your

Ever since starting at University three years ago I have always seen myself as mature and have always felt older than I actually am. Even if that does sound rather narcissistic. Events in the last week, however, have shattered that erroneous belief and have made me feel like a spotty 12year-old all over again. It started last Saturday when I was on my way back home to Devon for the weekend. I had managed to get a lift from a friend all the way there. Extremely lucky you would think, however, with the benefit of hindsight this was the grave error that started the downward spiral.

Just like that our working relationship went from one of colleagues to one where he was the teacher and I was the student I arrived into Exeter, unscathed, and headed to work where my music crazy editor, kept playing music I had never heard of and all he could say was “it’s a bit before your time”. Bang. Just like that our working relationship went from one of colleagues to one where he was the teacher and I was the student. I was the baby of the group even though I wasn’t the youngest. That afternoon was one condescending remark after the other with me the butt of all the jokes. It was pretty savage; I mean have you ever heard of The Thompson Twins? It’s probably a bit before your time. I definitely know it’s before mine. Sunday rolled round very quickly and it was time to head back across the bridge. My friend who had dropped me off was able to pick me up on the way and, like I said, this was the grave error. About 50 miles

away from Bristol, we were innocently listening to the radio and enjoying the journey, and then Nation Radio came across the waves. Tune after tune I just didn’t know but my chauffeur was bopping along to every single one. I remained quiet still soaring from the day before hoping she would not notice. Such a futile hope. I was already reliving Saturday and then it came, “it’s a bit before your time, love”. My blood boiling, wanting to shout at the top of my voice in rage, but I stayed calm. My patience was tested to the limit, however, when that was followed by a pat on the arm. Suddenly the four year age gap between us felt like a chasm. I wanted to get out of the car but the 100 mile walk was putting me off. In my head I was two foot tall, sitting in my booster chair looking up at this woman who might as well have been my mum, telling me about her favourite music. Maybe it’s my lack of musical knowledge, I don’t know, but I’m not a simpleton because I haven’t heard of a few songs from the eighties. “Do you wish you were born in 1983?” Nope, can’t say I do. I love the fact I’m a nineties child and just because you are a few years older doesn’t make you any better or smarter. Perhaps that’s not what you meant by it and I have a few issues to work through but it did strike a nerve. I could even look into the possibility of finding younger friends and that way I wouldn’t have this problem That’s better. Sorry, I just had to get this off my chest. Three years of amassing a sense of austere maturity ripped to shreds in a matter of hours. It’s painful stuff. I wanted to write about how grumpy is being good for you. A new report shows grumpy people have better memories and are more reliable. Reading back through this I sound pretty grumpy, so I will remember this ego bruising journey for a long time to come. I suppose in these times all you can do is smile. Oh the irony.


gairrhydd | FEATURES@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

12 FEATURES

Volunteers, gap years and Inside the student bubble, it's pretty hard to imagine doing much Miranda Atty Features Writer Throughout my time at school, taking a gap year was always, always the plan. I was definitely planning on visiting places like Morocco, Japan, and Asia, on seeing Machu Picchu and skydiving in New Zealand. Therefore, when I somehow found myself, at just eighteen, here at Cardiff University I was somewhat surprised (still not too sure how exactly it happened though it’s definitely not something I regret) though I soon settled into loving university life. It wasn’t until the approach of Christmas, when my three best friends from home finally booked their four month travel bonanza that I even remembered how much I wanted to travel myself. I think the preceding months had been spent in such a haze of alcohol that it had somehow slipped my mind. By a lucky coincidence, around this time my flatmate decided to persuade me to come to a talk with her at the university held by an organisation known as ISV, or International Student Volunteers. I chose to go with ISV because I was attracted by their concept of voluntourism, a combination of volunteering, either in terms of conservation or community development, and adventure travel around the destination country. The organisation sends volunteers to host countries to work on a variety of projects, in places that include

Australia, New Zealand, Dominican Republic, Thailand and Ecuador. The country that most attracted however, me was Costa Rica. It is a hugely bio diverse country, with roughly 24 ecosystems. Because there are mountain ranges right in the middle of the country, there are distinctly different climates on the Pacific and the Caribbean coasts, allowing for much diversity of species. The idea that one country could have such varied eco systems within it, could change from sunshine to thunder and lightning in a few seconds, and could be home to such a range of wildlife, really swayed my decision.

Walking for five minutes isn't so enjoyable at 90% humidity I was assigned to a conservation project with nine other volunteers at Golfo Dulce, southern Costa Rica, in

the Osa Peninsula. Our task was to monitor poison dart frogs in the jungle and dolphins in the gulf as they are both excellent bio indicators about the

health of the ecosystem. We split our time about 60/40 rainforest and boat (actually a good split for me as I get pretty seasick). Being in the rainforest was definitely an experience. Typically we would leave our accommodation at about 8am and walk for 15 or 20 minutes to

POISON DART FROGS: Kermit's illegitimate child

the area which led to the beginning of the rainforest. Because the humidity is 90%, walking even five minutes gave you a nice sheen of sweat. We were encouraged to wear long sleeved trousers and shirts to avoid being eaten alive by mosquitoes. Our aim when walking the trails in the rainforest sounded simple. Look for poison dart frogs, catch them, and record data, such as

their measurements and whether they were male or female, and take a picture. It was not. First off, it was near impossible to spy tiny little frogs whilst in the middle of the jungle; you had to hope the males started singing and locate them by sound. Catching them was even more difficult; they could leap vast distances very quickly. I ended up falling over basically every day I entered the rainforest, which was actually pretty weird as only one other person in my whole group fell over the whole time we were there. It might seem strange that day after day we would walk the same trails and probably end up catching the same frogs, but the distance the frogs travel and whether they stick around day by day tells us a lot about how healthy the biosphere is. We would record all this data every day so that at the end of our volunteer project our project leader had an accurate reading of how successfully the biosphere was functioning. During the rainforest trail walking, we were lucky enough to catch glimpses of amazing animals, including mother and baby capuchin monkeys, swinging through the trees. We also spied bright, fabulous birds through the leaves, such as quetzals

and macaws.

The dolphins we saw weren't bothered by our presence In Costa Rica, 80% of the land is protected compared with only 2% of the coast. The area I was in, the Golfo Dulce, contained a tidal front during the rainy season which led to an extremely high biomass of fish for dolphins to feed on. Our job was therefore to monitor the presence of groups of dolphins in the gulf, 1) because they were good bio indicators of the health of the area and 2) in order to ascertain whether this area could become a Marine Protected Area (an area specifically protected for the dolphins to feed in). Dolphins are a top predator in marine life and because they keep the prey balance in check, their presence is a good bio indicator of a healthy area. Actually glimpsing the dolphins was breathtaking, they were fairly unconcerned by our presence and continued to socialise and play right beside us. Their games included a huge variety of tricks, leaping out of the water and doing flips high in the air. The captain of our boat actually owned a hydrophone, so we were even able to hear them communicating with each other through their unique language of clicks and whistles. Definitely not something you experience every day! Conservation volunteering was fantastic in a place like Costa Rica. Because the land is so naturally beautiful, and the animals are thriving in their natural habitat, it made the research I took part in to help preserve the health of the ecosystem seem even more important. The idea of volunteering often does not appeal to many people. Granted, it can be pretty hard work but the rewards are definitely worth it. Not only do you get to experience some of the most beautiful landscapes or places in the world, see some of the most amazing creatures in their natural habitats, make friends that you will definitely keep, but you get to do all that and then get congratulated for being so selfless in your efforts to help others!


FEATURES 13

gairrhydd | FEATURES@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

Christmas in Costa Rica else with your time. Some students don't find it so tricky... Caitlin Bawn Features Writer My name is Caitlin. I’m 19, from a sleepy town in Devon. Although less traditional, my gap year was no less valuable or life changing than anyone else’s. I just did it the wrong way round – I travelled, then worked. Both parts were brilliant, both altered my life path but in completely different ways. I was awarded a place on a wonderful scheme called the Prime Minister’s Global Fellowship, which meant I could be sent to China, India or Brazil for a 6 week trip of a lifetime. I applied with a head full of year 13 stresses and did not expect to get an interview, let alone go to India! Miraculously, they saw something in my application. After a gruelling interview process and a torturous few weeks of waiting, I found out I was off to India.

My trip completely changed my views and destroyed so many stereotypes We had a preparation weekend for our experience and I was also selected as one of 12 media leaders, I was given training at Bebo headquarters (yes, we were all upset that it wasn’t Facebook). In no time at all, we were packed, unpacked, repacked and finally ready to fly… My 6 week trip was to India completely changed my views and destroyed so many stereotypes. I had always thought India was a beautiful country which is full of culture, but (due to the influence of the media) I also believed it was a poverty-stricken, devastating country full of negativity.

Over the 6 weeks I met some of the most incredible, inspiring and positive people I have ever and probably will ever meet. We did so much in the time we were there I honestly can’t put it any other way than a list. The first two weeks were one of cultural immersion, so lots of curry eating, a visit to the Taj Mahal, an unplanned and terrifying trip to a Sufi Muslim Mosque for the evening prayer. We were taken in and allowed to take photographs and see a male prayer in action, 'tuc tuc' rides around the city, lectures on politics/ education/science/family values/ dance and music demonstrations… Basically, everything you could think of to help ease us into the Indian way of life. We then carried on this cultural immersion in Kolkata (Calcutta) where we learnt about the history, the colonial buildings, the differences in food, took a trip to the Ganges, had a go at ‘traditional pottery’; again, everything to help us feel at home. Then, for the middle two weeks, we lived with a host family and carried out a research project. Mine was looking into gender bias, and whether religion impacted the beliefs of modern Indian children/teenagers. My results were fascinating, and basically showed that a lot of the Indian girls I interviewed still felt restricted by gender and still hold religious beliefs on gender as a key ruling factor in determining their life path. The final two weeks were spent in Mumbai (Bombay) where we worked with Tata – a huge international company that has a monopoly on everything in India from water to cars to stationary. On one weekend we visited 6th century BC Hindu caves on Elephanta Island, saw the lotus temple and various other temples, took a trip to a rural village where we spent the morning in a volunteer-run school playing with the children on the newly donated slide from Tata, and the afternoon assisting women in a traditional textiles

SMILE: like you mean it

workshop. We then visited Buddhist hanging gardens and took a cultural walk around the colonial buildings (one called Big Ben much to our amusement…) I have never been so exhausted, and honestly cannot thank everyone involved with our trip enough. It was mind-blowing. The turning point of my trip was at a train station in a tiny rural village. A group of children saw my camera and crowded round shouting. I immediately assumed they wanted money or food, but no – they just wanted to see a picture of themselves. They were laughing and smiling when I took the pictures, shrieking with delight. They weren’t hating life, or feeling sorry for themselves. On coming home, I found that more difficult to handle than anything - they were living on a train station with no food, but acted like Christmas had come early at the sight of a camera, yet people I know with lovely families, living in nice houses with three meals a day complain and think life has handed them ‘bad luck’!

A group of children shrieked in delight when they saw my camera It was this evening led to me deferring my University place and consequently ‘Epiphany’ – the charity I am in the process of founding. Epiphany aims to make changes in the areas of countries less-positively affected by government schemes or other international aid, after researching and working out what is really needed. The ‘equality-across-countries’ backbone of Epiphany seems to really have importance in our globally-advancing world. How are countries meant to form harmonious bonds when cities miles apart from each other feel like different worlds?! I aim to start in India, with school -orphanage complexes being built in more rural areas. Children living in these areas have a completely different lifestyle to those who live half an hour drive away, purely because they live outside city limits. These complexes will give the children a basic education which will enable them to go into government schools and have the same education as other children from their city. I hope to employ local builders and train local people to run the complexes (once they have been built!) so the community feels the benefit, not just the children. Once the complexes are in full swing, my aim is to encourage the children to think about tomorrow and

JOKE: someone's cracking up plan for their futures. Five-year-olds should not have worries about illness, finances, starvation or their family’s welfare. They should be laughing, painting, exploring, playing games, and learning (both in terms of education as well as life/ social skills). Even if only a few children are given this chance because of Epiphany, it will have been worth it. I’m not going to pretend it has been easy, because it has been anything but. I am a student with deadlines and lectures (and socialising!). It is difficult to put the physical time and hours in that I know Epiphany deserves. However, I want to put across that it doesn’t take much to make a huge impact on so many lives. Travelling to exotic places and meeting these wonderful people and being so inspired just gives you the kick you need, and trust me – once you’ve seen a disabled, badly burnt baby being cared

for by a 5 year old with no clothes and no home, living under a bin at a train station there is nothing you won’t do to help them.

A lot of Indian girls still feel restricted by gender

I want to spread the passion and messages from my trip not for me or the children and communities who I aim to help but for the person I was before and all those out there who are like I used to be, who need to be woken up - for those who need their own ‘Epiphany’.

PLAYTIME: slacking off


14 FEATURES

gairrhydd | FEATURES@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

Bloody marvellous

The thought of giving blood is enough to make most of us feel queasy, but there's more to blood donation than big needles... Sarah Powell Sub Editor

The Welsh Blood Service is visiting our Students’ Union this month, and I’m pretty sure that you can guess what they’re after. Now, before the more squeamish of you out there turn to the next page, I thought I would try and dispel a few myths about donating blood, in the hope that a few more students will give a little more to help make a difference. Despite popular belief that donating blood is painful, I found from my own personal experience that this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Last year I gave blood for the first time, and it wasn’t the difficult, painful and inconvenient experience that I had expected. In fact, if anything, I had built the whole thing up so much in my own mind, that when it came down to it, the needle part was one of the least memorable bits. Over in minutes, my own blood donation was rather uneventful, but the memory of it, and that feel-good knowledge that I was doing something amazing has stayed with me to this day. People give blood for all sorts of reasons; some have had personal experiences which make them want to ‘give something back’, others have been in the state where they need a transfusion and now understand the importance of donating, and others are simply wonderful, philanthropic people who do it simply because they want to.

Looking around the hospital bed, I realised that none of my family had donated blood My own inspiration to give blood came after my cousin became ill last year. As part of her treatment, she required extensive blood transfusions during which she would be given bag after bag of the red stuff for hours at a time. I remember sitting by her hospital bed with my family, and after getting over my initial nausea at the sight of a bag o’ blood next to me, I was struck by a rather sobering thought; where does all this stuff come from? Okay, so the answer itself is pretty obvious. But it got me thinking about blood donation. Who were these people who offered a little more than the

And that was the reason why, a couple of months later, I was sitting in the Great Hall with shaking fingers trying to fill in a health form- desperately trying to determine whether Jersey was a country with a high Malaria risk, or whether I could have an infectious disease and not know it. My friend, who I had dragged along for support but at the last minute decided his ‘cold’ was too much of a risk to donate, tried to ease my nerves with jokes about the situation. And then my name was called. After passing the ‘health form test’, I was sent to see a friendly old man who told me that he wanted to test my haemoglobin levels. The ‘finger prick test’ indicates how much iron is in your blood, and lets you know whether or not you are safe to

stop my donation. On the plus side, they sent a man over to fan me as I lay there in a cold sweat and afterwards I was helped over to another bed and given orange juice and biscuits. See, not all bad. I was also given some stickers which told everyone that ‘I did something amazing today, I gave blood’. I took a handful and stuck them everywhere, just to drive the message home to my friends. For the rest of the day I got to tell everyone how ‘amazing’ I was, and recounted my experience to anyone who would listen. A few weeks later I was able to relive the feeling of ‘amazing-ness’ when my donor card from The Welsh Blood Service arrived. As well as thanking me for saving lives, it informed me of my blood group- which was perhaps even

- Bet we e n 7 - 10 T h e bloody t rut h: % - T h e blood g ro of a pe rs on's we ig ht is blood. u a ls o cl a ss if ied a p s a re: O, A, B a n d A B. Ea ch s e it h e r R h e su s g po sitive. D n eg ative or R rou p is h e su s D - 44% of pe op le in A g rou p blood. T th e U K h a ve O g rou p blood; 4 2 h A B (4%). 85% of e lea st co m m on g rou p s a re B % h a ve (10%) a n d th e pop u lation a R h D n eg ative. re R h D po sitive a n d 15% - A m in im u m in sh ou ld be o b se rv te rva l of 12 we e k s bet we e n d on ation s ed - Ju st u n d e r a p . int of blood is co d on ation lle ct ed wit h ea ch

rest of us? What were their reasons cousin, and for us, should we become for donating? And how many people ill ourselves. I felt shocked knowing my own must it have taken to fill all the bags apathy, and that of my family, could that my cousin needed? It filled me with an immense feel- potentially deny others the privilege ing of gratitude towards the wonder- that the people on that ward had. So I had to redress the balance. I ful people who took a little bit of time out of their day to donate blood, sim- vowed to myself that the next time The ply out of a desire to help people in Welsh Blood Service came to Cardiff, my cousin’s situation. And not just I would do something amazdonate. It’s entirely my cousin, but the other patients on ing. painless, and just requires a drop the hospital ward that of blood from your finger which is day who were then put into a copper sulphate soundergoing lution. If the drop sinks, your haethe exact same moglobin levels are high enough process. Not to to donate, and you are sent to the mention people d a y donation beds for the final part of ri F , around the world h t 12 rs u h m: T journey. who at that moa n d 2p m- 5p y 26t h a n d Fri d a y yourThe m p 0 3 . 12 actual ‘giving blood’ part ment needed a m a d 10a rs u h ,T rd 3 2 y wasn’t nearly as bad as I exblood transfusion a d n o r 13t h, M after surgery, dur7t h N o ve m be : Tu e sd a y 24 t h, pected. A lovely woman chat2 ted to me the whole time as she ing labour, or after pm n d 2p m- 4. 30 a fixed the needle and gave me a a bad accident. m p 0 3 . 12 10a m rubber ball to play with to enLooking around N o ve m be r : m d 2p m- 5p n a courage blood flow. My friend the hospital bed at m p 0 3 . 12 10a mheld my other hand and helped my family, I realised r e h N o ve m b t 19 to take my mind of the situathat none of us had y a d rs u h T tion (until I caught sight of the ever donated blood. tin o p bag of blood belonging to the It was always one of p a . r o n o d a il m e r o girl donating on the next bed, those things that other 3 t. n 19 e 2 2 m anyway.) people did, something R in g 01443 6 n h s. u k t o boo k a n a ppoint s. le a Despite my good intenw we never thought s. b w m e nt s@ tions however, I soon began about; and yet we sat to feel faint and the lovely there expecting there woman had to take the needle out and to be enough to help my

nt h at t h e St u o m is h t d o lo Give b U n io n! n R oo mA n e u ri n Be va

G reat H a ll-

d e nt s'

more exciting than the actual giving blood part. After my initial disappointment that I don’t have a rare blood group (in fact, my blood was as common as, well, blood), I realised that the good feeling I got from donating had stayed with me- the stickers, the card, and the day of everyone treating you like a princess, were just the perks. It was this feeling of ‘I did something amazing’ which made the nerves (and the faintness) all worthwhile. I’m not going to get all didactic on you and say that you have to give blood. But when you think of how easy and painless it is, compared to the difference that it makes, I don’t see why we all can’t give a little more. So, why don’t you warm someone’s heart this winter and do something amazing- give blood. For more information, visit the Welsh Blood Service website at; www.welsh-blood.org.uk


FEATURES 15


gairrhydd | POLITICS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

16 POLITICS

Class A cock-up is inadvisable

James Stonebridge discusses the government's attitude to its expert advisors following the recent row over its drugs policy nother week in Westminster, and yet another crisis for Gordon Brown and his cabinet. The sacking of Professor David Nutt, the chief drugs advisor to the government, has led to some class A criticism of what is perceived to be a confused stance on drugs from Labour. Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, asked Professor Nutt to leave his position as head of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) last week. In a lecture at King’s College London, Nutt had argued that the separation of cannabis from legal ‘drugs’ such as tobacco and alcohol was ‘artificial’, in that there is very little difference between the three in terms of potential damage to the user.

A

The government is trying to re-affirm a tough stance n drugs regardless of scientific fact The sentiments expressed by Nutt can be contrasted with the government’s supposed tough stance on drug use, which is evidenced through the current classification of cannabis as a class B drug. Alan Johnson argued that Nutt’s comments can be seen as ‘crossing a line’ into politics, adding that, "you cannot have a chief drugs advisor at the same time stepping into the political field and campaigning against government decisions." In his response, Professor Nutt is-

sued a scathing rebuke to Johnson, stating that his sacking amounted to a "serious challenge to the value of science in relation to the government." Furthermore, he claimed that the government only looked to expert advice in order to "rubber stamp a pre-determined position’, with previous decisions regarding drugs policies having been taken up ‘on the whim of the Prime Minister'." Nutt also predicted that the remaining members of the ACMD would question whether they could remain in their positions. This prediction became prophecy in the following days as two more leading members of the ACMD, namely Dr Les King and Marion Walker, resigned in protest to Nutt’s sacking. The ACMD went on to write an open letter to the government asking whether they would be able to talk publicly about their research findings in the future without the threat of being reprimanded by the government. If the answer to this is negative, then it is likely that Gordon Brown can expect even more members of the ACMD to walk, thus exacerbating a situation where experts across all fields must be questioning the value of their contributions to the government in policy formulation. So what can we make of all this? What are the implications for the government in terms of their drugs policy? Alan Johnson’s decision to sack Professor Nutt allows us to make certain assumptions about this government’s stance on drugs. Nutt’s recent

comments were seemingly designed to trigger a debate about why we differentiate tobacco and alcohol use from drugs such as cannabis, when scien-

The government must start acting on the advice of its experts tific research tells us that the effects of all three can be equally damaging. For the government, this is not a debate that you want to occur when you have re-affirmed a tough stance towards cannabis use within the last year, having bumped it up to class B status under the previous Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith. The reasons for that move related to the apparent uncertainty regarding the effects of cannabis use on mental health. In light of Professor Nutt’s sacking, we can perhaps gather from his retaliatory comments that the government has been consistently told that the class B status of the drug is out of line with the actual effects of the drug, especially when compared with other legal drugs. This can be seen with Nutt’s assurance in his lecture at King’s College that cannabis posed only a ‘relatively small risk’ of psychotic illness. It could be argued therefore that Labour’s drugs policy is not necessarily confused, but is certainly an issue that has been politicised in a negative way. Many may now see the policy on cannabis as having

been formulated in order for people to see Labour as a government that is tough on drugs, rather than one that has acted upon the good advice of its experts. Regardless of whether Nutt was right or wrong to act as he did as the government’s chief drugs advisor, it is now relatively clear that in this field of expertise the government has been making decisions that run contrary to expert advice. The scientific and perhaps even societal consensus that cannabis should not be a class B drug has been overridden. Professor Nutt's frustration can be understood. Why should he, a leading expert in his

field, be asked to approve pre-determined policies regardless of whether they fit scientific truth? While the power to formulate policy on issues such as drugs should always be in the hands of an elected and accountable body, the government should maybe start acting more upon the advice of its experts. Otherwise, why have them? To what extent the government's actions amount to censorship of an inconvenient scientific opinion remains to be seen, but unless the government changes its course, it risks alienating itself from the whole scientific community.

CANNABIS: legalise it?

What a bunch of bankers!

As the government plans to sell on the banks it owns, Oliver Smith considers if this is just another bum deal for the taxpayer ollowing the spending spree by the Labour government in October last year, the British taxpayer became the proud owner of a large stake in three of the UK’s largest high street banks. Now its time to sell up. EU competition legislation, which bans governments from owning banks, will soon force the government to sell off its banking assets. But what effect will this have on the British banking system? And will the taxpayer be getting their money back? In their current state the banks are undesirable to perspective buyers, so the first move by the government will be to split the banks up into profitable, desirable banks which will be sold, and ‘bad banks’, which the government will retain for the time being. There is speculation that prospective

F

buyers could include Tesco, Virgin and other new entrants into the banking market. The government hope that this will boost "competition and choice".

In their current state the banks are undesirable to prospective buyers The proposed ‘good banks’ for sale include pieces of RBS, of which the government owns 70%, such as its Churchill and Direct Line insurance services, its Natwest branches in Scotland and its RBS-branded branches in England and Wales. Lloyds will suffer a similar fate with its good assets including its Cheltenham & Gloucester branches and its Lloyds branches in

Scotland. The Chancellor has called this move “a better deal for the taxpayer” and has said that the sale will only take place "when the time is right". At the same time he has admitted that Gordon Brown was wrong by predicting that the UK would lead the world out of recession, though maintaing that we would be out of recession by the end of the year. But as the UK is still in recession (unlike France, Germany and the US), is this really the best time to be breaking apart banking groups? Banking experts have described the move as a “big distraction”, during a time where banks should be working to support the economy and bring us out of recession. More criticism has been levelled at the foreign investors who look keen to buy up the ‘good banks’; names such as Santander and

Zurich have been thrown around. In the high street this would represent another blow to the UK owned banking system as foreign investors continue to buy up UK banks.

The timing of the decision to sell has caused a lot of criticism In fact a lot of criticism has been aimed at the timing of the sale. Treasury spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, Vince Cable, thinks that there should be no urgency and that time should be taken to ensure that the best parts of the banks do not go to private investors and that taxpayers are stuck with the 'scraps'. Peter McNamara, Managing Director of Alliance and

Leicester, claims that selling off the banks now could be counter-productive: "Half the banks in the UK are going to be reorganised when you could argue their day job is to support industry and consumers during the recession. Without that support, we are more likely to have a steeper rise in unemployment." So in the end it seems that the taxpayer will be left holding the toxic ‘bad banks’ while foreign investors could walk away with the prime cuts of the British banking system during a recession in a government plan that could even increase unemployment. Sounds like another raw deal for the taxpayer to me.


POLITICS 17

gairrhydd | POLITICS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

And the winner is...the only candidate

In the wake of Afghanistan's election run-off, Omar Shamayleh debates whether the result is good for the future of the country

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ritish Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called the Afghan President-elect Hamid Karzai to offer his congratulations to him for winning an election mired in allegations of fraud and corruption. Karzai’s only remaining opponent, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, pulled out of the race on Sunday claiming it was impossible for free and fair elections to be held under the current circumstances. Dr. Abdullah had previously made a list of demands, making their fulfillment a condition of his participation in the election. These demands included sacking the head of Afghanistan’s Independent Election Committee (IEC) and the dismissal

of three ministers whom he accused of actively supporting Karzai, breaching the impartiality expected of them. Azizullah Ludin, head of the IEC, is an appointee of Hamid Karzai. The August election has been described by observers as chaotic, with some polling stations having virtually zero voter turnout but still managing to turn in full ballot boxes. Lack of security confined voting to the few regions of Afghanistan where voters felt safe enough to venture out to the polling stations. Drug traffickers, including incumbent President Hamid Karzai’s Vice-Presidential candidate, Marshal Muhammad Qasim Fahim, were said to have been involved in the election either as candidates or active support-

ers of candidates. Warlords bypassed election regulations which barred “illegal armed groups” from participating by registering themselves as private security companies.

Some of the polling stations had virtually zero voter turnout The final tally for the August 20 elections showed Karzai obtaining 49.67% of the vote to Abdullah’s 30.9%. The Western powers found it difficult to accept this result in the face of numerous reports of ballot stuffing, voter card selling, coercion,

“ghost ballots” and other irregularities. U.S. Senator John Kerry, head of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations said: "Unfortunately, the election of Afghanistan was defamed. Any result that we were getting out of it was not able to bring legitimacy” Western leaders have become increasingly restless on the Afghan issue. The fight with the Taliban has recently taken a turn for the worse, with casualties mounting. Obama, Brown and Co. now face the uncomfortable choice of digging in deeper and buckling down for a long fight with the Taliban, or withdrawing their forces, which in the eyes of the world would appear as a defeat. In light of this, the

West seems less interested in the legitimacy of the Afghan president and more so in the building of a powerful Afghan army which can continue to fight the Taliban so that their troops can leave, but will this tactic serve them well in the longterm?

HAMID KARZAI: winner or loser?

Transition tensions make vote count Ayushman Jamwal reflects on the recent violence in Iraq

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raq, since 2003, has been caught in the crossfire of regime change and violence surrounding the ousting of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. But with the advent of the NouriAl Maliki government in May 2006, which roped in the Sunni, Kurdish and Turk minorities of the Iraqi nation into the government machinery and which came to power on the promise of peace and security, things were beginning to look up with improved domestic security and a fall in sectarian tensions. The government also entered into a security pact with the United States on

January 1 2009. The US agreed to better equip and train the Iraqi police and army. Iraq’s improving state meant the newly elected Obama administration could draw out a timetable for troop withdrawals according to which the 120,000 US troops in Iraq are to be reduced to 50,000 by August 2010 and, by the end of 2011, all US troops are to be withdrawn. However, since February this year more than 600 Iraqis have lost their lives through a series of suicide bombings. The bombings have served as a wakeup call, raising serious doubts about the state of security and the US

plans for troop withdrawal. The rampant string of attacks since the beginning of 2009 has displayed major security lapses in Iraq. The public is angered at the failure of the Al-Maliki government to deliver on its promises while he and his cabinet sit comfortably in the heavily fortified green zone of Baghdad. With the national elections scheduled for next January, the current government in power is facing major difficulties in its strategy for re-election. Meanwhile, in the United States, the Obama administration, fearing altering its troop withdrawal timetable,

has stepped up its efforts to help Iraqi authorities curb the violence by providing them military, intelligence and forensic help. Iraqi civilians fear more sectarian violence before the national elections. The Al-Maliki government’s democratic pioneering and successful diffusion of sectarian tensions in the aftermath of the war make it an appropriate governing body to direct Iraq’s transition to a sovereign power in the Middle East. However, it must reassure the Iraqi public of its firm control over the nation and increase its security precautions in order to

regain public support for a successful re-election. It must break the deadlock with other political parties in the city of Kirkuk, which comprises Turkish, Kurdish and Arab minorities, over the demand of different voting methods, giving the electoral commission sufficient time to prepare for the January elections, and not further angering the public by postponing it. Finally, the current authorities must ensure the smooth working of the government machinery to complement the American withdrawal timetable and be closer to regaining sovereign status and global recognition.

EU confusion

'im-he-grates me

W

R

Damian Fantato looks at Sophie Spence ponders over who is to blame for the recent rise of the BNP the Tories' EU policy ell. That's it. It's all over. The Lisbon Treaty, that bone of contention that divides the people of the EU in twain has been appoved by every member state. On Tuesday last week, the Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, finally decided to sign the Treaty. The Czech Republic was the last country to ratify it, following a row between the strongly Euro-sceptic President and the Czech constitutional court. The President claimed that signing the Treaty would mean that the Czech Republic would "cease to be a sovereign state". The Czech constitutional court disagreed and ruled the Treaty constitutional. This has had very serious implications for one David Cameron. He had pledged that when he comes to power there will be a referendum in this country on the Lisbon Treaty. The

fact that the Treaty has now been completely ratified (and could well be in force by the end of the year) has left him lost and bereft of policy. He had previously claimed that the UK could still have a refererendum on a Treaty that it has already ratified and was in force. This is not an option so he has had to think again. In the meantime he has vowed that "never again" would powers be transferred from the UK to Brussels without a referendum.

CAMERON: now what?

ecent polls have revealed that immigration is the single most important issue to voters come election day. It came out top over crime, health and education and despite the current economic climate; personal tax trails behind in second place. Perhaps this is due to Labour simply not doing enough about immigration. Labour has recently introduced a new Australian-style points based system to ensure only those migrants who have the skills our economy needs can come to work in the UK. By 2010 it also plans to introduce electronic border controls which will be counting people in and out of the country. But is this enough? Does this outweigh all the mistakes Labour has made, such as losing 40,000 plus illegal immigrants and asylum seekers in

the system since 2003? Does further reform of the current system need to take place before any real effect can be seen? Perhaps the Conservatives are offering a better alternative, proposing an annual limit on the number of migrants admitted to the UK. Unfortunately they have given no figures as to what this limit will be. Conservatives and Labour really need to up their game on their respective immigration policies for the upcoming general election in May 2010. Voters have become so exasperated with the current shambolic immigration system that they are turning to other parties such as the UK Independence Party and the British Nationalist Party (BNP). Make no mistake, the BNP are an extremist far right party. Although they offer zero tolerance on immigration, their other policies need to be

publicised to show voters what the BNP really stands for and the implications this could have on our country, such as the reintroduction of capital punishment, withdrawal from the EU, and the removal of foreign aid to name but a few. It is questionable whether anyone would be inclined to vote BNP if immigration was not an issue. Hopefully the biggest success the BNP will have come election time is exerting the necessary pressure on the Labour and Conservative parties to revise their immigration policies in order to compete for the British electorate’s votes. Britain undoubtedly needs a tougher stance on immigration but time will tell if the BNP, due to its recent publicity, will be able to hold on to its popularity once people understand the full intentions of this controversial party.


18 LETTERS

gairrhydd | LETTERS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY OCTOBER 05 2009


LETTERS 19

gairrhydd | LETTERS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

the Comments from the week’s news, opinion, features and sport at www.gairrhydd.com

Carnage pub crawl slammed Tom Walker To be fair to Carnage UK, they do put an awful lot of planning in to their events. Yes, they have had a small number of incidents, but having conducted some research on the net, they do seem to welcome over 250,000 students – 1/4 of a million students – each year. I have been to a few different Carnage nights in other cities and I must say, the level of supervision is far greater than on ANY OTHER NIGHT – and that includes ANY Union night. I think that they are an example to how events should be operated for students. Office In Joke Surely the problem is that they encourage shocking drinking at like 10 venues? Worse still they always end up at Oceana. They could at least encourage people good taste along with their alcohol induced torpor.

Culture clash? Tessa This is a lovely passage. I’m delighted to see you are enjoying

your time here in Cardiff. Although I would like to point out that there are some things I will never understandand about Welsh student/ British culture. A few examples that really do annoy me are: Wednesday night at the union (what a mess…), Friday night on St. Mary’s (some scary sights), why ladies wear next to nothing (and then complain about the cold), the necessity to conform (where are the experimental styles gone?) and the taboo and awkwardness associated to ‘inapproriate’ issues…. (BE OPEN. EDUCATE. LOVE YOURSELF.) Am I alone in these assumptions…?

Animal rights and wrongs Alistair Currie In the original posted version of the article Animal Rights and Wrongs (Issue 906) statements were made associating the animal rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) with violent or threatening campaigns. gair rhydd recognises that PETA is an entirely peaceful organisation and apologises for any offence or misunderstanding caused. You can find out more about PETA by visiting www. peta.org.uk.

It's not a hate crime, you fat prick... Lord Laptop The writer of this piece is bang on with his view that fat people do have a choice. Hiding behind some law that in itself persecutes those that find fatness offensive is an absurdity. Can we campaign for a law that says ‘fat people seeking protection against ridicule, by evoking legislation that offers them a shelter from ridicule, should be prosecuted for a hate crime against their detractors – especially where they are of an acceptable physique.’ Of course it’s a daft proposal, but just as daft as those seeking protection from the judiciary for being obese. How would the Police at a football match enforce the proposed law, when the whole crowd breaks into a chorus of ’ who ate all the pies, who ate all the pies, you fat bastard, you fat bastard, you ate all the pies’ – usually triggered by the appearance of an overweight player (normally a goalkeeper), match official or physio (who should know better). I’ve even heard the all too familiar chorus aimed at a stretcher bearer. It’s called banter as is most comment made about people whose BMI rating is closer to an England 20/20 innings total than the safe limit of 25. I sympathise with people who find weight control difficult, but for them I

forum

have one message. Buy low-fat milk, eat more fruit & veg, get yer fat arses down to the gym, the swimming pool, the local park, join an aerobics class, step class, pilates class or even a yoga group. If you don’t have the spare cash, call up your local football, running, athletics or rugby club and tell them you want an exercise program or want to join a training session, and in exchange will help out with organisation or trade whatever skills you have to get your body weight under control. The upside is you will feel better, think better, reduce your carbon footprint, and guess what (unless you fall under a bus or something equally fatal) actually live longer. Go on fat people, look forward to the day when you can wear a teeshirt that says ‘My old tee-shirts are XXXXL’. PS – Make sure you get a check-up from your GP before you hit the exercise trail. :-) Lianne Wilson “Most people who are obese could quite easily make lifestyle changes to slim down, but cannot be bothered or do not hate themselves enough to do so.” I don’t think hate is a particularly healthy way to fuel self-improvement. Hell, try getting a boob job because you hate yourself and we’ll see how many surgeons recommend you a psychiatrist rather than the knife. The rise in obesity is not so much a symptom of the move to office

work or junk food in itself but more a problem of living in a more affluent society as a whole. Human beings are poorly equipped for it. We’re genetically designed to crave sugars and salts and instinctually still have a drive to eat more than we need, simply because our species stems from the days when survival was tough and layers of fat were necessary but woefully temporary. Unfortunately, evolution is a slow process whereas society is not. “If you have the willpower to overcome several million years of evolution, cool. More for the rest of us.” On that note, I suggest watching Penn & Teller’s Bullshit series 5 episode 1 on Obesity (where the quote I just used is from). It brings up some points that I’d like to mention: namely that weight is not indicative of health (which is by far more important) and that dieting can lead to health problems for many. Look the episode up (actually the whole series is awesome, you’d like lots of it, Adam). Anyway, I’d just like to (re-?) reiterate that I’m not saying most people can’t change their weight, what I’m saying is it is misleading and dangerous to blanket everyone in this way. A significant number of people cannot do this so easily. Strudel Interesting, but will such a law get passed? Fat chance!

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gairrhydd | TAFOD@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

20 TAF-OD

Yr amser i gwestiynu Cadi Mai

Golygydd Taf-od

Fel cyw newyddiadurwr, mae’r rhaglen Question Time wedi bod yn rhan annatod o f’amserlen deledu ers sawl blwyddyn. Pan gyhoeddodd y BBC eu bod am wahodd arweinydd plaid y BNP i fod yn westai ar y rhaglen, buan iawn y daeth mwy o bobol i wybod am ethos y rhaglen ac i gymryd rhan yn y drafodaeth ynghylch gwleidyddiaeth. Mae’r ffaith iddyn nhw dderbyn 54% o wylwyr yr wythnos ddiwethaf o’i gymharu â llai na 35% ar gyfartaledd ar draws yr

holl sianeli digidol yn adrodd cyfrolau. A bod yn gwbl onest, nid oedd gennyf unrhyw wrthwynebiad i Nick Griffin ymddangos ar y rhaglen. Mae sawl arweinydd plaid wedi bod ar y rhaglen yn y gorffennol ac yn unol â pholisi’r BBC i drin pawb yn gyfartal ac i beidio dangos tuedd, yr oedd elfen o reidrwydd yn eu penderfyniad i ganiatau’r darllediad. Daeth y BBC dan y lach sawl gwaith yn arwain at y nos Iau hwnnw a

chafwyd sawl protest tu allan i’r Ganolfan Ddarlledu yn Llandaf heb sôn am y niferus rai oedd wedi datgan eu hanfodlonrwydd mewn papurau newydd ac ar raglenni radio. A phan ddaeth yr amser i’r rhaglen gychwyn, yr oedd rhywun yn teimlo rhyw gyffro; yr oedd y llwyfan wedi ei osod ar gyfer rhaglen danbaid, llawn dadlau a ffraeo, ac mae pob darn llwyddiannus o newyddiaduraeth yn arddangos elfennau dramatig. Dyma eistedd felly i fwynhau’r arlwy. Yn ei ddull di-hafal ei hun, cyflwynodd David Dimbleby ei westeion am y noson – carfan amrywiol a’r tensiwn yn amlwg o’r dechrau’n deg. Wrth wylio’r rhaglen, daeth hi’n amlwg fod ffocws nifer o gwestiynau a chyhuddiadau Dimbleby wedi eu selio ar ‘gelwydd’. Celwydd Griffin wrth iddo yntau geisio achub ei bechodau drwy ddweud ‘I’ve been misquoted’ wn i ddim faint o weithiau. Ond taro’n ôl yn gelfydd wnaeth Dimbleby – taro nôl drwy ddweud fod tystiolaethau, a nifer o’r rheini ar wefan gymdeithasol ‘YouTube’. A dyna ddadl arall sy’n prysur ennill ei phlwyf – dylanwad gwefannau cymdeithasol ar ddatblygiad newyddiaduraeth a materion cyfoes. Mae nifer wedi cwestiynu ai arf

oedd Griffin i’r BBC neu beidio – arf i ddenu mwy o wylwyr, arf i hybu cyhoeddusrwydd y rhaglen, arf i danio awydd ymysg ‘pobl gyffredin’ ynghylch gwleidyddiaeth. Os felly, fe lwyddodd y BBC, a hynny ar sawl lefel. Wrth syrffio drwy borthiant newyddion Facebook ac ar ddiweddariadau sawl un ar Twitter yn ystod ac ar ddiwedd y rhaglen, daeth hi’n amlwg fod nifer o bobl ifainc wedi eu dal yn y dadleuon. Roedd statws sawl un yn mynegi pryder, ambell un arall yn gwbl ddi-flewyn ar dafod yn eu hymateb i sylwadau arweinydd y BNP. Ambell un arall yn cefnogi gwesteion eraill y rhaglen – y Gweinidog Cyfiawnder, Jack Straw yn un ohonyn nhw. Ffactor arall ddaeth i’r amlwg oedd y cecru a ddigwyddai ar lefel bersonol rhwng Straw a Griffin ynghylch yr Ail Ryfel Byd. Ffeithiau Griffin yn gwbl anghywir a’i syniadaeth ynghylch mewnfudwyr yn cyffwrdd yr asgwrn ar sawl achlysur. Onid yw yntau’n Sais rhonc yn byw yng nghanolbarth Cymru? Ond ai rhan o Loegr ydi Cymru ac mae hynny’n sicrhau fod ei ddadl yn dal dwr? Os nad ydi hyn yn ddigon i’ch cythruddo, gwyliwch y rhaglen-mae dadrithiad ei resymeg fel gwleidydd yn gwbl syfrdanol. Ar y llaw arall, mae nifer wedi

cythruddo’r BBC am ddelio â’r mater. Un o’r rheini ydi’r newyddiadurwraig Sue MacGregor sydd wedi tynnu ein sylw at sawl ffigwr diddorol. Cafodd y Gorfforaeth Ddarlledu 243 o gwynion yn mynegi fod y ddadl yn unochrog yn erbyn Griffin tra bod llai na hanner hynny wedi cwyno ei fod ar y rhaglen o gwbl. Mae holiadur yr ICM hefyd yn dangos fod 23% o’r cyhoedd yn teimlo fod ymddangosiad Griffin ar y rhaglen am fagu mwy o hyder a chefnogaeth i’r BNP. Mae’r ystadegau hefyd yn dangos fod 10% yn credu fod polisiau’r blaid dde eithafol ynghylch mewnlifiad yn sicrach na’r prif bleidiau gwleidyddol eraill. Felly, ai darlun cwbl unochrog yn erbyn Griffin a gafwyd neu wrth ddadansoddi, a ydi’r ystadegau hyn yn profi fod y rhaglen wedi creu argraff ar ffracsiwn o’r cyhoedd i fod o blaid polisiau’r BNP? Pa bynnag effaith gafodd y darllediad ar eich daliadau personol, rhaid canmol y rhaglen am roi llwyfan i’r fath drafodaeth. Oleiaf mae sawl polisi BNP-aidd yn gliriach i nifer ohonom. Diddorol fydd dilyn y daith at Etholiad Cyffredinol 2010 ac mae’n gwbl bwysig ein bod ni fel pobl ifainc yn chwarae ein rhan. Gyda chwta chwe mis i fynd, mae’r amser yn brin i gwestiynu.


SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT 21

gairrhydd | SCIENCE@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

Myalgic encephalopathy Amy Hall and Priya Raj discuss the nature of ME a largely unrecognised and condition Myalgic Encephalopathy (ME) also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) affects an estimated 250,000 people in the UK. It’s thought that 60-70% of sufferers are female, and are normally aged between their early 20s and 40s. Characteristic symptoms of ME include an intense physical and mental exhaustion which can be brought on from the simplest tasks such as using a computer or conversation. Other symptoms include muscle pain or twitching, intolerance to exercise, cognitive dysfunction such as clumsiness, and sensitivity to light. ME can weaken the immune system meaning that sufferers are left prone to infections. As a result, swollen glands and headaches are common. Due to the long term nature of the condition individuals are often subject to depression, frustration and mood swings. Despite the chronic exhaustion, ME sufferers commonly find falling asleep a huge task- despite being in serious need for it. Even when they do manage to rest, individuals are left lethargic and inadequately energised. While some sufferers only experience mild symptoms, in the majority of cases they are so severe that sufferers' lives are totally disrupted.

on the outside but you’re actually feeling awful on the inside, so it’s hard for others to realise you’re not well." Predictable and unpredictable relapses are common which can mean that students find it difficult to juggle deadlines especially as relapses can often be triggered by stress. A small amount of people with the condition manage to return to completely normal health, but this can take a long time to achieve. Most people with ME are affected at fluctuating levels with good and bad periods. Some are severely debilitated long term and can be bed ridden for years needing a lot of support. Continued deterioration is unusual but does happen. In these cases it is important to rule out any other illnesses that ME could be confused with. Younger

particular symptoms for someone else may not do the same for another - indeed it could even make the situation much worse. On the other hand, a treatment which someone else found to be of little use could be useful to another sufferer. There is no cure for ME, so treatment focuses on the symptoms. The effectiveness of treatments depends on how ME affects you. Early diagnosis, balancing rest with activity, medication to control certain symptoms and self-help measures can all help. Simply diagnosing ME and giving specialist advice about how to deal with it can help. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) aims to change the way one may think, behave and feel. By talking to a professional, it is possible to identify the thoughts and feelings

Exercise Therapy (GET) which involves a structured activity management programme that aims for a gradual increase in aerobic exercise, such as swimming or walking. Patients tailor their exercise programme adapted to their own physical capacity. GET should only be carried out by a trained specialist with experience in ME. Patients are advised not to exceed the exercise duration or intensity they have been given. Randomised controlled trials evaluating GET found it had an overall beneficial effect on fatigue. However, studies have shown higher drop-out rates than for CBT. Many people claim complementary and alternative therapies to be the way forward in the treatment of ME. The evidence however is lacking, and thus their use is not advised, even

Red squirrel advventure Two red squirrels have found their way onto the mainland from the island of Anglesey. The squirrels were found in Gwynedd, north Wales in an area that is currently home to only grey squirrels. Grey squirrels dominate the British countryside as they have a wider diet and carry a pox virus that affects only the reds, but red squirrels still exist in some places, including parts of midWales and the Anglesey population of 300 squirrels. The squirrels are suspected to have crossed one of the Menai Strait bridges, possibly having followed the railway line onto the mainland.

Curry spice and cancer cells A chemical found in curry spice has been found to be able to kill oesophageal cancer cells. Oesophageal cancer causes five percent of cancer deaths in the UK. Curcumin is an extract from turmeric, a common flavouring in curry dishes. Lab tests at the Cork Cancer Research Centre found that applying curcumin to cancer cells resulted in the cells beginning to die after just 24 hours. The chemical initiates the death of cells by sending out lethal signals that cause the cells to self-digest. Further research into the use of curcumin in treatments of other diseases, such as dementia and arthritis, is underway.

Go veggie to go green A climate change expert, Lord Nicholas Stern, is urging people to shift to vegetarian diets. Eating less meat or switching to a completely vegetarian diet reduces the amount of greenhouse gases emitted in meat production. Methane is produced by livestock, in particular cows and pigs, and accounts for a fifth of the predicted global warming impact. Although less abundant than carbon dioxide, another leading greenhouse gas, it is far stronger and is estimated to be 23 times more powerful in terms of global warming. World leaders will meet in December to discuss the problems associated with global warming at the Copenhagen Climate Summit.

ME sufferers find falling asleep a huge task despite being in serious need of it The effects of these symptoms can be devastating, forcing sufferers to give up work and social activities completely and leaving them housebound for months or even years in some cases. It doesn't help that it is still not known exactly what causes the condition, although many factors have been linked to triggering it. These include a poor diet with a heavy reliance on processed foods, prolonged stress, hypersensitivity to vaccinations, artificial food additives, smoking, alcohol, viral infections and repeat courses of antibiotics. How debilitated people are from ME can change from person to person and from day to day. Many students around the UK are affected by ME and find leading a typical student life very difficult. As well as having to be careful about overloading themselves with work and their social lives, ME sufferers find the lack of general knowledge of the condition intensely frustrating. Emma has ME and graduated last year. "One of the difficulties of having M.E. is that often you look okay

Newsbites

ME is a widely misunderstood condition people, especially children, seem to recover better than older people. The diagnosis of ME can pose a problem as ME symptoms are similar to those present in a number of other medical conditions. In addition, there are no research findings which can confirm the diagnosis. As a result the diagnosis of the condition is normally made via a process of elimination (the exclusion of other conditions). The illness has an individual element – an individual’s particular version is unlikely to be the same as anyone else's. As a result, one may find that a treatment which relieves

that are causing certain behaviours. CBT helps to manage the emotional impact of the symptoms. For some people, it is one of the most effective treatments for ME. Antidepressants are occasionally prescribed and can be useful for people who are suffering with depression together with ME. Over-the-counter painkillers can help to ease muscle and joint pain and headaches. Stronger painkillers can also be prescribed by the GP, although they should only be for short-term use. Another option is that of Graded

though some people, who use these therapies for symptom control, claim that they are helpful. ME is a hugely debilitating condition. Through greater awareness of the disorder, sufferers and non-sufferers alike may be able to understand the nature and consequences of suffering with the condition. If you are concerned, or would like further information then contact your GP. Support is available from Action for ME (www. afme.org.uk).

Career choices: Which way to go? Information from 40,000 death certificates has been studied at Southampton University to reveal links between certain careers and causes of death. Statistically, doctors, dentists and vets are more likely than most to commit suicide. Death by murder was found to be most common amongst bar staff and male construction workers, teachers and lecturers were among the least likely to die from heart disease and lung cancer and male hairdressers were the group with the most deaths by AIDS, closely followed by tailors, nurses and journalists. The researchers were keen to point out that these figures are merely statistics and don’t show a causal link between occupation and cause of death.


22 JOBS & MONEY

gairrhydd | JOBS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

Graduate despair inspires new entrepreneur Freddie Williams Reporter As a graduate of 2008, the economic climate did not appear to be one of doom and gloom, the economy was in apparent good health. With a solid 2.1 BA Hons in Politics from the University of Nottingham, I thought that perhaps employers might be phoning me up. It was this that inspired many in my situation to look forward to a year out before the inevitable lifetime of hard work in an office began. I managed to find work in a local pub and was to work full time up until December when my flight would leave for Canada, where I was going to do a ski season. December came, the ski season had arrived and we had an amazing time. So it was after having spent every penny I had (well that the bank would lend me) that I returned to England in the middle of May. Not having been too interested by the economic doom and gloom whilst away, I now found myself returning to England amongst the most depressed

job markets that had ever been seen in the UK. So three months later, having seemingly applied to every job in the country and having not so much as received an interview, I started to get a little concerned. I decided to take matters into my own hands. This is when StudentToys.co.uk was created. I wanted to start my own business, and the market I knew more than any other was the student market. What I wanted to do was to create a single student shop that sells all the things that students buy. As a big kid myself I wanted to start off in the market of fun products: fancy dress, big boys toys and posters. A budget of zero and a maxed out overdraft would have been enough to put most people off the idea of setting up a business on their own, but again as an optimist I just saw it as a challenge, and a challenge it was. I snapped up the domain name of StudentToys.co.uk. The fact that I knew diddly squat about website design or about setting up a business from scratch were again not enough of a deterrent to stop me from giving it a go. Google knows all, I thought. I finally found what I was looking for and used an online free web template

to create my store. So having found a web store I thought that it might be a good idea to find something to sell. Then I would have to buy stock. An issue with this was of course the buying aspect, buying seems to be rather difficult without any money to do it with. Not a problem: I would increase my hours working in pubs I thought, and so I managed to start.

There it was, StudentToys.co.uk was a reality, (well after setting up a business account, payment methods and a load of other stuff), it was n o w my job to do the hard part... sell things, a chapter that is now being written. And so here I am telling you

BIG KID: Freddie with some of his toys

about StudentToys.co.uk, partly to inspire you from the doom and gloom of the global recession and depressed job markets, and partly because you might decide that after all what you have really been missing from your life is a giant elephant fancy d r e s s costume at a bargain price...


gairrhydd | JOBS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY SEPTEMBER 14 2009

23 JOBS & MONEY


24 LISTINGS

Listen to Listings How good is cereal? Seriously. The best thing is, none of the stuff you see on this page clash with breakfast (depending on your arising time). In a survey of 5 hard working, intelligent, good looking members of the gair rhydd and Quench team (bar one), here's what they had to offer to this column: Our Favourite Cereals; brought to you by Quench - the fun milky face of student media! Phil, 21, Cardiff: CRUNCHY NUT. "Because its wholesome and delicious, and now so am I." Steve, 20, Cardiff: NOUGAT PILLOWS. 'Get your choco crunch on! (Although I have to add a health warning with this brand)" Tom, 20, Cardiff: RAISIN BRAN. "I have no shame, it's dirt cheap and helps keep you regular, what more could you want?"

gairrhydd | LISTINGS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

YOUR INDEPENDENT LISTINGS GUIDE Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

WWE SMACKDOWN, CIA For the child inside all of us. Well, not me really... I could do with venting some frustration at the lack of things to do this Monday, however.

DECIMALS, Cardiff Arts Institute, FREE If you didn't catch them at Swn, or even if you did, who cares - this gig is free. Warning - those within 30 metres of the stage will be covered in Decimal sweat.

ANDY PARSONS, Glee Club The joke's on you - this gig is sold out. But I just thought you'd like to see his smug face on this page.

FUN FACTORY, Solus, FREE You cannot fault FF. Free entry, stupidly cheap drinks and now, special guest DJs this week being Rob Da Bank!

JUST DANCE, Clwb, £3 Just Dance is still a great place to be on Tuesdays. With its no nonsense music policy that consists of anything you can dance to, it is full of dancing and colour.

VODKA ISLAND, Tiger Tiger, £3.50/4 Rough Hill: "The only way to start your week!" You have been told! BOGOF drinks before 10.30, and free entry before 10.30 for one week only! Your mileage may vary.

BLAS*, St David's Hall Pontypridd based band Blas* make it to the blinding lights of the big city. Why not go and congratulate them?

9th November

10th November

CHIC BEAT, Revolution, £3.50/4 The brightest night of your life is looming, its Chic Beat. Cheap cocktails, good music and flavoured shots - what else do you need?!

11th November

THE LASH, Solus, £3 It's safety first at the Lash as record numbers of rugby players are banned. All other teams and societies, it's your turn to move in for the kill! CHEAPSKATES, Metros, £5 w/flyer Expensive to get in, but if you like your metal and cheap drinks, then it is worth the price. It is famous for being a grotty place, but it's sort of why you like it. POPTART, 10 Feet Tall, £3 With 2-4-1 POPtails and cheap POPshots this is a cheaky little night at 10 Feet Tall. Pick up a flyer and get in FREE!

LMS OPEN MIC NIGHT, Taf Bar, Free Providing a concert piano and microphone for your enjoyment.

Simon, 20, Cardiff: PORRIDGE. "I'm all over porridge right now. Sometimes the porridge is all over me..." Sam, 20 - and a half, Cardiff, SPECIAL K - CREAMY BERRY CRUNCH "You ever had this shit? Pure decadence. It's like sex in a bowl. Like morning sex but the only fluid exchange is the semiskimmed milk i douse this beautiful snack in." I repeat - Listen to Listings.

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 ◆ Tiger Tiger


LISTINGS 25

gairrhydd | LISTINGS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

Thursday

12th November WINTER WONDERLAND, Civic Centre Don your scarf and gloves, (or not, it's up to you I guess), for tonight is the launch of Cardiff's famous Winter Wonderland! Carve up the ice before warming yourself with some mulled wine. Sweet. TERRY ALDERTON, Glee Club, £9 He used to play in goal for Southend United. No, really, so before he's whisked away by Bournemouth Town, listen to the hilarious wisdom of the 1999 winner of the prestigous Perrier award. FIONN REGAN, Clwb Ifor Bach, £6 Dylan and Young influenced Irish boy Fionn Regan hops over to his Celtic neighbour to feed your ears with soulful melodic magic. CYNT, Clwb Ifor Bach, £3 Get your rave on, its Wednesday at Clwb!

Friday

Saturday

13th November

14th November

WALES v SAMOA, Mill. Stadium, £10 You've come to Wales for university so its obligitary to attend at least one international rugby match during your time here; you might as well go when its only a tenner!

THE HOLLOWAYS, Barfly, £10 Indie's happiest band finally make it to Cardiff, expect to leave with a smile and probably a fiddle solo ringing between your ears. The only reason not to go is if your idol in life is Eyore.

ISLET, Cardiff Arts Institute, £2/3 They're Huw Stephen's favourite new Welsh band, which is all you need to hear! Go! NOW! (Oh, it's where Incognitos used to be...)

FACE VALUE & KENNY DRISCOLL BAND, Live Lounge, Free We need to fill the Live Lounge before the standard rush at 2am, and their 11pm live sessions are always a treat.

HELL'S BENT, Clwb, £4 The legendary alternative gay night is back!!! Clwb hosts the most outrageous party this side of San Francisco. Come out and play!

6 CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF AN AUTHOR, New Theatre, from £12 Jack Shepherd in Cardiff? He must be lost... Catch him in Rupert Goold's exhillerating new stage production.

BOOM BOX, Solus, £3 It's unlucky to stay in on Friday 13th, so don't risk it, be sociable. It'll be alright on the night.

Sunday

15th November FALL OF TROY, Clwb Polyrhythms and instrumental mayhem galore. SUNDAY ROAST, Your House, £Free Yes, the time has come for some made up lisings. To be honest, I'm quite hungry, and its come to the end of the week, so cook the beef so its nice and juicy, would you? Lots of gravy. Cheers. QUIZ, Koko Gorillaz / Woodville Want to get your mind in gear for lectures tomorrow morning? No? Well a quiz could be fun anyway, just think of the prizes! Get your team together and conquer...

SEASICK STEVE, Wales Millennium Centre, £17.50 He is a bit of a legend, really. I'd love to be Seasick Steve. He's so immune from popular culture. He plays what he wants to play, and drifts in and out. Modern music happened, but he was happy with his guitar.

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


26 XPRESS

gairrhydd | XPRESS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

xpressfest 2009

mon

10.00 THE ALLY B SHOW / 12.00 SPORTS XPRESS / 14.00 THE WELL MEANERS /

15.30 TEATIME WITH 3 GIRLS AND A GAY /

18.00 XCHANGE WITH LEE MACAULAY / 20.00 SPECIALIST SURGERY / 21.30 BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME / 22.30 TEGAN AND FRANKIE / 23.30 SUNSHINE! HIT ME /

10.00 PICK N' MIX / 12.00 SHENANIGANS WITH DANIEL POTTS / 14.00 RUN WMC /

tue

15.30 TEATIME WITH SALLY AND SUSIE / 18.00 XCHANGE WITH CURLY JOE AND GINGER / 20.00 SAME FACE SAME MUSIC TASTE / 21.30 PUSH THE TEMPO / 22.30 GETTING FRUITY / 23.30 ALT NATION SOAPBOX /

wed

10.00 TWO PEARLS AND A SIDE OF CHIPS / 12.00 CLARE AND ALICIA / 13.30 KAT AND ASH /

15.30 TEATIME WITH LUKE AND ED / 18.00 XCHANGE WITH XPOSED / 20.00 RELAXATURE /

21.30 SUPERSTARS! / 22.30 OFF THE RECORD / 23.30 ANYTHING ALTERNATIVE /

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10.00 THE QUEENS OF HEARTS / 12.00 TAKEOVER / 14.00 SPORTS XPRESS /

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15.30 TEATIME WITH TOM AND ADRIAN /

18.00 XCHANGE WITH LIVEWIRE / 20.00 ALPHABETTI SPAGHETTI / 21.00 WHAT'S THE DIFF / 22.30 MR. MARVELS MAGIC HOUR / 23.30 JOHN MALCOVICH /

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09.30 WADES RISE N' SHINE / 11.00 ALL ABOARD DUNCAN AND ROB / 12.30 GARETH JONES /

14.00 THE RESTORATION / 16.00 ESCAPE FROM THE PIGEON HOLE 17.00 THE NORTH/SOUTH DIVIDE / 18.00 TEN YEARS TIME / 19.00 BUILT / 20.00 JOHN HOLLAND AND MATT MCCREEDIE / 21.00 THE GNAT HOUSE /

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17.00 UNDER THE RADAR / 18.30 DAVE AND JOE / 19.30 RIDICULE THE MULE / 20.30 HIPPO IN THE HAMMOCK / 21.30 ROADTRIPPIN' / 22.30 AMERICAN SPORTS SHOW /

www.xpressradio.co.uk


crossword. sudoku.

gairrhydd | FMF@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

FIVE MINUTE FUN 27 EASY

MEDIUM

Across

Down

8. Indian music (4) 9. Melancholy music (5) 10. Cards with just one symbol (4) 11. A design on the skin (6) 12. 3 wheeled vehicle (8) 13. A type of stew (8) 15. Antenna (6) 17. Dry coloring material (7) 19. In the shape of a coil (7) 22. Magnate (6) 24. Glove material (8) 26. Deceit (8) 28. Hair curler (6) 30. False god (4) 31. Not north (5) 32. Require (4)

1. Magma (4) 2. A metallic element with the symbol Ta (8) 3. Rectangular in shape (6) 4. The pursuit of animals for food (7) 5. Suck in (air) (8) 6. Attorney (6) 7. Congeal (4) 14. Bring together for a common purpose (5) 16. A South American bird (5) 18. Having no intelligible meaning (8) 20. Marked by casual disrespect (8) 21. Kittenish (7) 23. Supernatural (6) 25. Boggy (6) 27. Carnival attraction (4) 29. Biblical garden (4)

HARD

Heretics was started to celebrate, evangelize and remember cultural and artistic genius. WIN! Your very own t-shirt from The Heretics collection... Featured artisans include, Marx, Warhol, Hendrix, Byron and many others. Go to www.theheretics.co.uk and tell us which artist most inspires you and why? Or send your answers to editor@gairrhydd.com


gairrhydd | SPORT@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

28 SPORT- FEATURES

End of summer sails Sarah McCann Sports Writer

As Ratty from Wind in the Willows once said, “there is nothing, absolutely nothing, half so much worth doing than simply messing about in boats”. Wise words indeed, and he certainly knew what he was talking about when it came to aquatic pursuits, being, ironically, a water vole. His prophetic words have certainly been true of the Cardiff Uni Sailing Club; the first week of the new university year saw the team represent Wales in the historic Universities Four Nations event, held in Bristol. The rapidly assembled team did Wales proud in this legendary event and even though the wind may have been lacking, the team’s enthusiasm and commitment shined on the table football pitch. In the sailing department they exceeded all expectations and just missed out on bronze, finishing fourth. The first two Wednesday afternoon trips down to Cardiff Bay have both been great successes, despite the weather displaying its full spectrum, with one week experiencing the savage north wind combined with driving Welsh rain and seven days later enjoying global warming to the full extent with truly Mediterranean style conditions. Whatever the weather the enthusiasm and standard of sailing has been remarkable, especially amongst the beginners who took to the water like a duck to...water. No amount of

rain seemed to be able to, paradoxically, dampen the spirits of these fresh keen beans. Those who persevered were rewarded the next week when the sun shone, the wind blew and the rain ceased for a moment, resulting in a glorious October afternoon. The club made full use of this rare blessing and every boat available was launched for a full afternoon of spectacular sailing that TeamGB would be proud of. As summer ends and autumn rolls in it looks like these idyllic ‘Tales of the Riverbank’ days will be numbered, certainly at trials last Saturday, there wasn’t any mole-esque bumbling about, it was all hands on deck, full steam ahead, and other such nautical puns that suggest enthusiasm and dynamism.

The enthusiasm and standard of sailing has been remarkable A large turnout of over 40 sailors competed for limited places, the standard was high and the races were savagely contested. All the clubs competitive two man ‘Fireflies’ were on the water crewed by mixtures of fresher’s to PhD students. A full day of racing, roll tacking, rounding marks and, to avoid too much alliteration, luffing and gybeing ensued. The outcome suggested a promising year for the sailing team. Excitement almost boiled over on such a successful day with the arrival of a new powerboat and not one, but TWO new radios!!

Messing about in boats In other news, the sailing club yachting team made the final preparations for their trip to Marseille for the Yachting Worlds as representatives for Wales. Elsewhere the usual menagerie of socials and get-togethers has been seen round Cardiff in full force on Wednesday nights. The near future looks yet more exciting with team events all round the UK planned for the next few weeks, not to men-

tion Cardiff’s own sailing event; ‘The Welsh Dragon’, which is being held on the 28th and 29th of November. Courses for sailors new to the sport have also been planned for the 7th and 8th of November, not to mention powerboat and advanced courses in the offing, (nautical pun very much intended). Last month’s evidence suggests another hugely successful year ahead.

If you fancy coming sailing and experiencing the joys of the sun on your back, the wind ruffling your hair and the spray in your face, then you can still join the club on the AU section of the union website. It doesn’t matter if you’re a hardcore pro or have never even seen a boat, it’s no problem, all are welcome. Hope to see you there... yes, you.

Cardiff hammer through to win Mallet Cup

PHOTO: JOHN STEELE

take the ball on the bounce and race home. Shortly afterwards a length of the field move following a wild home pass allowed Deji Alji to run in unopposed. With superior fitness now telling, the University ran in three more tries before the break by Boreham and Alji who claimed his hat-trick for a 37-7 lead.

Victorious: Cardiff 2nds

John Steele Sports Writer Taffs Well 2nds 19 - 61 Cardiff University 2nds The second XV kept up the record of being the only unbeaten Cardiff University rugby team this season

with a resounding win at Maes Gwyn taking advantage of some slack home defending and tiredness. It was however the home side who made the brighter start with home open side Owain Jones pouncing for a try on six minutes following some untidy lineout play by the students on their own line. Tom Boreham re-

duced the deficit with two penalties shortly afterwards before enterprising interplay between backs and forwards from half way saw wing Deji Alji romp in under the posts with all the grace of a gazelle; Boreham landing the conversion. Some weak tackling by the home side in midfield soon allowed Adam Evans to follow up a kick through,

There is speed and finesse in the back line to frighten most opposition The second half had barely started before Adam Evans broke through unopposed to score. However the “Well” got their second try following a forward move which drove the students back through their twentytwo for home hooker Deri Vaughan to pounce. Within five minutes though the students had scored again through captain Rhys Jenkins. The home side appeared to enjoy the forward battle more and on occasions gave the students much to think about with their rolling mauls and work in the tight.

Indeed they got their third try following some enterprising but sloppy back play behind the students own goal line. Any thoughts they might have had about a comeback though were severely hit on 56 minutes with prop Tim Bressington being stretchered off following what looked like a serious ankle injury. Further tries including one for flanker Ben O’Neil gave the score a very satisfying 61-19 in favour of the university. Prop Richard Westmarcott was simply outstanding, breaking all rules about front row play by acting as an extra back row forward in the way he covered, tackled and broke through in the loose. Following the game captain Rhys Jenkins said he was extremely pleased with the way the lads worked collectively and hoped that they continue to play in this way. He is confident that if they do so, they could go far in this competition. The team need to tighten up when defending their own line and other teams might not be so generous in the loose. However, there is speed and finesse in the back line to frighten most opposition. All thoughts now turn to their next fixture with Swansea.


THE WORD ON - SPORT 29

gairrhydd | SPORT@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

Top Five Jack Zorab gives his word on one of rugby's key players season highlights - the autumn Internationals 1. The approaching autumn Internationals are one of the highlights of the rugby calendar and often provide the highest quality of rugby seen all season. It’s a fascinating clash of styles too; the SANZAR nations are fast and fluid whilst the home unions compensate for their lack of early-season unity, by tearing into their counter-parts with a bruising attitude. And they don’t mind who they illegally spear, clear or stamp on in order to do it. It all makes for a sensational four weeks of rugby; just expect yellow cards. The stress test a northern hemisphere team’s character is put through by these games is immense, so much so that even beating just one out of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa is considered a job very well done. No respective international coach will admit as much of course; but they should. Despite the often low number of victories that the northern hemisphere sides score against the south - last year it was 12 wins to five in favour of the southerners - the strength of the touring sides is what makes the series so captivating and worthwhile. For how can the Welsh dragon really start to breathe fire unless the opposition are forcing them to muster every last ounce of perspiration from their bodies to defend a five-metre scrum? Equally England cannot bravely claim to have defended fortress Twickenham if the threat to its impregnability has not been thoroughly tested by the Springbok back row. The going through hell doth make the victory sweeter. And what hellishly good sides the southern hemisphere has sent up over the years. From perhaps the best team to have ever taken to a rugby field in the shape of the 1984 Wallabies, who swept all before them amongst

Jonny: Back on form for England

DAN CARTER: Without Dan Carter, the All Blacks certainly struggle. His presence and pure class at number 10 make him an unstoppable force on the field.

2.

STRENGTH IN SOLIDARITY: Wales face down the Haka at the Millennium Stadium last year the home unions and the Barbarians, playing a style of rugby that was so perfectly constructed it would still have been ahead of its time 10 years later. Formidable too were the 2005 and 2006 All Blacks. The ‘Blackness’, as they were self-styled, enveloped all international sides up and down Europe and spat her victims back out afterwards begging for their international reputations. So to this year’s edition and to what firecracker games lie in wait. The plan for Wales must be to out-do any of their previous autumnal achievements and beat both Australia and New Zealand, even if it means to risk losing against Samoa and Argentina by resting players. They have never had a better chance to beat such illustrious opponents in the professional era and they must grasp it with both hands. With this in mind, it is surprising that Gatland opted to omit the enormous 21st frame of Efion LewisRoberts from the squad, instead going for the Osprey substitute prop, Paul James. His reasoning behind omitting him was that the Guniness Premiership has been at its ‘weakest’ this season since he had arrived in the UK to coach Wasps in 2002. But to exclude a man like Lewis-Roberts, who is currently playing the best rugby of his career in order to make a point about the league he plays in, is frankly quite childish. Every Wallaby front-rower will be breathing a sigh of relief at not having to face the North Wales farmer.

The back three for Wales is where things look really exciting even though Lee Byrne and Mark Jones are absent. James Hook or Leigh Halfpenny could take up the full-back role, whilst Tom James and Shane Williams will have to fight it out for the last spot on the wing, with each providing something very different for Gatland to consider.

The strength of the touring sides is what makes the series so captivating and worthwhile In England, the Wilkinson contribution is where most hopes lie for a successful autumn. With Wilkinson on the pitch, England will once again believe that all things can go their way and all oval balls will be put through the uprights. The belief will be infectious, and every England fan will feel it. However, England need to build a style of play that can engineer opportunities not just for penalties but for their rising running talents as well. Shane Geraghty will be charged with spear-heading this front. Probably the most talented player England have and livelier than a pack of biological washing powder, Geraghty’s relationship with his outside-centre will be fundamental to England crack-

ing open their opponents’ defence. Mathew Tait would get my vote, but Daniel Hipkiss offers the midfield punch Johnson might prefer. England’s pack will surely provide enough possession for them to create chances, what they must add to their game is discipline and much, much better support of any breaks the backs make in order to carry on attacks and go forward three, four phases in a row instead of just one or two. England should be aiming to beat all three of their opponents: Australia, Argentina and New Zealand. The fixture list is on their side too with the New Zealand game coming in late November, when they should be well up to speed. But more important than the victories is the need to bare their teeth and attack opponents, run with the ball and, above all, ban crossfield kicks. The Scots and the Irish, the French and the Italians all sadly get overlooked in Anglo-Welsh biased articles such as this. Scotland needs to desperately beat a big southern hemisphere side when it’s not raining and they could well have that chance against Australia on November 21. Ireland is the one place where South Africa invariably capitulates, and if the Irish Sea blows up a storm, this may continue. France will aim to turn the All Blacks over in Marseille and who knows what the Italians could produce at the San Siro? The autumn has commenced.

RICHIE McCAW: the New Zealand captain is yet another player whose presence on the field is vital for an All Black win. His on-field pairing with Dan Carter is hard to beat and his skill is second to none.

3.

JAMIE ROBERTS: After being named Lions' player of the series this summer, Roberts will be looking to build on his success this season and make his mark on the autumn internationals.

4. MORNE STEYN: Ending the Super 14 as the leading points scorer, Steyn has proved himself to be a player of enormous talent. Despite his relative inexperience at test level, he will be one to watch this autumn.

5.

JONNY WILKINSON: Injury free, back on from, relaxed and enjoying his game, Jonny Wilkinson is back and will be looking to make his mark once again in the England side.


30 SPORT - THE WARM UP

gairrhydd | SPORT@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

Previews in brief

James Hinks previews the fierce international friendly between the oldest of Celtic rivals Wales and Scotland

Pacquiao vs Cotto

Cardiff City’s new £50m stadium has been chosen to host the Wales vs Scotland friendly. The decision points to a permanent move away from Millennium stadium. The 28,000 seat stadium will hopefully be sold out on November 14th as British football’s oldest rivals battle it out once again. Cardiff City’s state-of-the-art stadium was picked over Swansea’s Liberty stadium. Both were considered as possible venues, but to Cardiff City fans' delight, their stadium was deemed a more suitable arena by the Welsh F.A. Wales will hope to re-enact their last encounter, where an Earnshaw hat trick helped Wales to a 4 – 0 drubbing of Scotland, and their first ever meeting in 1876, which had the same score-line. However, Scotland will desperately want to win against their Celtic rivals and boost their diminishing confidence.

Forget David and Goliath, or big mouth and the overgrown bear as I would prefer to call it, the real boxing will be coming from Las Vegas on the 14th, as Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto battle it out for the WBO welterweight championship belt. Pacquiao boasts one of the most impressive résumés in boxing, beating fighters such as De La Hoya, Barrera and Marquez plus the annihilation of Ricky Hatton this May.

He is not invincible though and his three career losses would highlight this. Cotto is a quality fighter with only one defeat in 35 fights. He boasts a slightly bigger frame and will have the strength advantage over Pacquiao. However, a lot of critics deem Pacquiao to be the best pound for pound fighter around and I believe his hand speed will be too much for Cotto to handle on the 14th. It promises to be a cracking title fight that's worth staying up into the early hours for.

Millwall vs AFC Wimbledon

The oldest football tournament in the world kicks off this weekend as the F.A. Cup enters its 129th year of competition. Monday night sees Millwall welcome AFC Wimbledon to The Den. Millwall are yet to lose at home this season and the supporters will be looking to recapture the spirit of the 2004 season which saw them reach the final. Since their 'creation' in 2002, AFC Wimbledon have been promoted four times, and after another solid start to this season, they will be looking for more success as the side tries to rekindle the glory days of the Crazy Gang. Millwall are clear favourites to go through as a gap of 51 teams separates the two sides. It would be a colossal achievement for AFC Wimbledon to hold Millwall to a draw, let alone get a win, but with the magic attached to the cup and strong travelling support AFC Wimbledon may just nab a result.

Cardiff City's state-of-the-art ground was picked over Swansea's Liberty stadium Neither side made it to this year’s World Cup but Burley and Toshack believe this is an opportunity to try out their teams and get prepared for the Euro 2012 qualifiers. International

Time ticks on Burley's reign

"Dont laugh Craig, i really don't know what to do" friendly matches are routinely criticised by club managers and in Scotland’s case even by the players who normally call in sick. However, the opportunity to fight it out with one of your closest nations can not be moaned about. This match will surely energise underperforming players and reignite fans who do not have the World Cup fever to look forward to. The importance of the match is shown by the fact that Burley believes he will have a full strength side for the game. Injuries and call-offs by Scottish players hampered Scotland’s World Cup campaign. Burley claims that now players need to show full commitment; otherwise they will not be picked for the national team. Burley has tried out new players in recent friendly matches which put pressure on normal squad players to start performing. Wales, who suffer from similar troubles and have also suffered in recent years from retirements of key players, will field a youthful team and hope to build for the future. Wales will be pleased to know that changes to FIFA’s legislation mean that Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross and St Mirren’s Andy Dorman are now eligible to play for Wales. The new guidelines mean that if a player has attend-

ed five years education in the country then they are able to play for that team. If this rule was implemented earlier, then Giggs could have played for England and Michael Owen would have been eligible for Wales. Sadly it is impossible for these changes to now be made. However Wales can look forward to the possibility of Jody Morris, the once Chelsea star, to play for them.

In this Celtic battle, form is not important, it's who wins on the day Both teams have been in bad form and struggled in their respective World Cup groups. Retirements of key players in recent years have affected both sides and it could be argued that each nation is going through the old cliché excuse: a transition period. Scotland have put in some dreadful performances and rely heavily on hard work to get them through international games. Their style is typified by their captain Darren Fletcher who is a fantastically useful midfielder; strong on the ball, good passing and tackling but hardly lights up the football world

with his fancy tricks and skill. Wales also lack star quality, Bellamy being the only genuine house hold name. However, young guns Bale and Ramsey do indicate a bright, exciting future for Wales. Both teams may have been knocked out of the World Cup and had a bad run of form but in this match, in this derby, in this Celtic battle, form is not important, it’s about who wins, who leaves the stadium with their heads held slightly higher, who can celebrate, and who has the upper hand for post match banter. The Welsh midfield may be weak and their team youthful, but their electric counter attacks and atmospheric support from their fans will surely threaten a Scottish side that really has nothing to offer. I predict that although Wales struggle for real star quality, with the home support they should win this grudge match. Score 2 - 0 Bellamy to score. both.

When to Watch: Date: Saturday November 14 Kick-off: 15:00 On: Sky Sports 1

Wales vs Scotland: Editors' predictions Lucy Morgan: This week I have to be patriotic so I am going for a Welsh victory at the weekend. Scotland may have beaten the Welsh 60 times in their 103 meetings, with Wales winning just 20, but with this being the first international at Cardiff City Stadium, Wales will certainly be motivated to come away with a victory. I get the feeling Aaron Ramsey is going to run the show and make an impact on his home city’s new stadium. It's bound to be a tight affair, but with the Welsh fans guaranteed to be loud Wales will win 1-0.

Jon Evans: With dwindling crowds at the Millenium Stadium the Welsh F.A. have made the right move by hosting this match at Cardiff City's pristine new ground. Both sides will be looking to restore at least some national pride after the recent disappointing qualifying campaigns. With the chance of something of an atmosphere for once at a Welsh football match I vouch for a home victory in a scrappy 1-0 affair. Expect moments of quality from the Welsh youngsters in what will otherwise be a dull match.

Adam Horne: If Sir Alan Sugar were here to see this, he'd most probably offer me a cushion, on account of my arse hurting from sitting on the fence. However, that's exactly where I see this contest leading. It's a friendly, and neither team will be going all out, especially as club fixtures will no doubt take precedent. Wales have shown a lot of promise in recent times as their young side have started to look the part, and Craig Bellamy has been in great form recently. Scotland have players like Darren Fletcher to rely upon, who has shot from 'bang av' status to first choice in the Man United side. Scotland appear stronger but Wales are at home. 1-1 draw.

Robbie Wells: For the sake of a good competition, I hope this is a friendly in name only. With Scotland a full 32 places ahead of Wales in World Ranking terms, the home team are going to need to raise their game in order to gain some much needed footballing pride. The midfield battle is going to be the most interesting, with the experience of Darren Fletcher up against the youthful talent of Aaran Ramsey typifying the game as a whole. The inexperience of Wales will eventually prove their undoing.


BUCS - SPORT 31

gairrhydd | SPORT@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 09 2009

Floodgates open across the Severn Abby Johnson Sports Writer Cardiff entered the game against Bristol with confidence to build on last week’s victory and with a good track record with home games. This showed as two minutes within kick-off Captain Claire Molloy dashed across the try line and went on to convert the try. A few minutes later, after good tackling by Leila Hughes and superior skills in the scrums, despite having a lighter pack, Molloy scored again. Cardiff went on to make it 22-0, in a relatively short space of time with Molloy and Hannah Brown both scoring, thanks to good handling through the back line and massive tackles being made by all the team, in particular Rosie Hutton. Another big scrum saw scrum-half Meg Tudor break free, good support by the rest of the team allowed Molloy to kick and chase the ball to the try line.

An excellent conversion by Molloy was followed quickly by Cardiff turning over Bristol’s ball, allowing Tina Lee to sprint and quickly pass to Sally Tuson, who went on to score. This left the half-time score at 34-0, with a number of substitutions, Cardiff entered the second half and not satisfied with the score went on to hammer home a spectacular victory. Rosie Hutton scored after a good break and Molloy converted, this was closely followed another try from Molloy right under the posts due to Cardiff continually turning over Bristol’s ball. Another try and conversion by Molloy left the score at 48-0. Despite the enormous lead Cardiff had maintained, the forwards kept the pressure up around the rucks enabling Tina Lee to score. The backs continued to out manoeuvre Bristol with flawless set pieces, allowing Captain Molloy to score again and convert off the post. Unfortunately the game was cut short due to injury on Bristol’s side, leaving the final score at 60-0.

CARDIFF: A Scrum-ptious victory

Cardiff fencers Bath-ing in glory Rob Prior Sports Writer Cardiff men’s fencing team continued their excellent start to the season with a victory away to Bath on Wednesday. The visitors led their division with victories against Exeter and Aberystwyth. However Bath represented the team’s toughest challenge yet as Cardiff looked to continue their promotion push. Cardiff received a boost this year with several Welsh internationals and Erasmus students from Europe joining the club, allowing them to field their strongest team in years. The match was split into the three different weapon disciplines. Foil was first to be fenced and Cardiff quickly found superiority with captain Miguel Pinto leading by example. After strong performances

BOND: Looks like he got the point

from James Thornycroft and Alex du Bois, Cardiff won the foil 45 points to 25. Next was sabre. New member Kevin Chong put in an inspired performance in the opening bouts with several well-timed counter attacks to his opponents wrist. The team’s more experienced sabreurs Tom Eden and Tom Powell capitalised on this to give Cardiff a 45-32 win. Cardiff led after two weapons and were left needing to score only 12 points in the final epee event to win the match. This was easier said than done however, as epee was by far Bath’s strongest weapon. Bath eventually proved too strong in the epee, but a solid defensive performance from the team of Rob Prior, James Thornycroft and Belgian international Pierre Bosser-Lamy scored the vital points needed and secured a third straight win for Cardiff, the final score being Cardiff 122- Bath 102.

Cardiff As break in new season with style Rob Prior Sports Writer Cardiff University Snooker Club’s “A” team (Uni A) started their 09/10 Premier League season strongly, sitting just 3 points off second place after the first round of fixtures. Uni A shocked last year’s runners up Trecenydd Snooker in their first match, dishing out an impressive 4-1 away win. The match looked to be going astray when former captain Ru-

pert Taylor was beaten in first frame, but from then on it was all about the University side. Ben Chung, David Blake and Layton Brooks all brought their A-game to the table and won three closely contested frames to put Uni A 3-1 ahead. Newly appointed captain Huw Carpenter then grabbed Uni A’s best start to a season in recent years with a superb final black ball winner against his former team. Uni A then went on to back up their first result with another impressive 3-2 away win against former champions Mackintosh Sports.

Brooks and Blake won two of the first four frames to set up a final frame decider. Carpenter held his nerve and played well throughout, sealing the frame and match with impressive potting on the final colours. The next two matches brought disappointing home losses, but Uni A got back on track with a 4-1 home win over the then table toppers; Penarth Road. Again the match looked to be slipping away as Blake couldn’t produce any form in the first frame, but Chung, Taylor and former Uni B player Kieran Baxter hit back to

give the university team a 3-1 lead, leaving Carpenter to wrap another 4-1 win. The penultimate match of the first round of fixtures saw Uni A take on last years champions Fairwater. The first two frames were shared as Carpenter was beaten but Baxter showed good form to level the match at 1-1. A few costly misses from Blake and Chung in the next two frames saw Fairwater pull into a 3-1 lead but Taylor was able to take the last frame to make it a respectable 3-2 loss. The final match was to be against

bottom of the table Penarth British Legion, a match which Uni A were eager to dominate in order to prove themselves as title contenders. Brooks took the first frame on the pink, Chung took the next on a tense respotted black and Carpenter took the next comfortably to give Uni A the all important three frames. Baxter was unable to keep the momentum going and Penarth BL took a frame but Blake rounded off the match beating the Penarth BL captain to make it 4-1 to Uni A.


gairrhydd

Sport Cardiff 1sts 7 - 5 Plymouth

No Frills, Cardiff University’s ultimate frisbee team, once again finished top of the pile at this years Western region frisbee tournament; qualifying for nationals in typical No Frills style. Not only did the first team dominate the tournament, but No Frills’ second team also performed out of their skin to qualify for division two nationals, finishing 6th and becoming one of only two second teams to have ever qualified for the national stages of the tournament. No Frills 3 also performed well, finishing a very respectable 17th out of 28 teams. No Frills, who have asserted themselves over a number of years as one of the top teams in the country, went into the tournament with high expectations and confidence. With a strong and experienced squad available, the first team were expected to perform well and after cruising through the group stages, No Frills proceeded with ease in to the semi-finals, facing Skunks (Southampton) on the second day. With clinical defence, penetrating offence and an important layout score by Neil Hargreaves at 2-1, No Frills dominated the game, wrapping it up conclusively at 7-2. This would lead them to face a much improved BLT (Bath) side in the final. But once again, No

Cardiff fris-breeze through to nationals

PHOTO: HAMISH THOMPSON

Gareth Ludkin Sports Writer

INSIDE: Cardiff 2nds win Mallet Cup, The Word On...The Autumn Internationals, and we preview Wales v Scotland

Cardiff's frisbee stars support the smoking ban Frills showed their class taking the game coolly and calmly. After some fantastic work on defence No Frills were quick to counter attack, scoring points in relatively quick concession. Winning the final 7-3, No Frills rounded off a fantastic tournament

with style, scoring 86 points and conceding only 8, proving exactly why they are a real threat for nationals. No Frills’ second team, however, were the surprise of the tournament, beating two 1st teams to snatch a final qualifying place for division 2 na-

tionals. Finishing second in the group stages No Frills 2 showed skills but also a number of weak areas. Their toughest game was yet to come against Picnic (Plymouth) in the battle for 6th and 7th position. The high tempo game some great

Oli Franklin Sports Writer Cardiff 79 - 61 Bristol Cardiff Tigers ended a run of unconvincing performances with an emphatic win at Bristol on Wednesday. After winning by only one point to Southhampton the week before in a slack performance, Cardiff were out to prove themselves this week away at Bristol, and they didn’t disappoint, with a comprehensive team effort against a strong team. Cardiff started well, running hard in the first quarter, the scoring lead by big man Ioan Nickson, whose six

point first quarter helped Cardiff open up an early eight point lead. Bristol stayed in the game and tried to hold Cardiff’s infamously fierce offence at bay, but strong inside work from Kestas Vaicekauskas and outside shooting from Joan Carles Guardiola Herrero meant Cardiff were up by 10 at the half. Cardiff have had a habit of going to pieces in the second half this season, but the team were determined to keep their heads in the game. Forward Georgi Lokmadzhiev stole the show in the third quarter with a fearsome presence in the paint, allowing Cardiff to maintain their cool and their lead. Captain Matt Garton hit a driving teardrop in the lane on the buzzer for an 8-point winning margin going into the fourth.

Determined to break their fourth quarter curse, Cardiff tore Bristol apart in the fourth quarter with the team shooting hitting six of eight three pointers. Vaicekauskas and star guard Konstantinos Kritikos hit two three pointers apiece to add insult to injury and secure a resounding 18 point victory. The final whistle blew with the scores at 79-61, a reassuring margin after their narrow win last week. The performance leaves them in fantastic form ahead of their big game against league leaders Exeter next week. After the game, coach and captain Garton said "We had to win this game and the shooters stepped up, hitting about 10 three pointers in a game is nice. It all comes down to next week though, we’ve got to take Exeter off the top spot".

PHOTO: OLI FRANKLIN

Tigers roar to win

plays from either side, yet a lack of structure let No Frills down on occasion, allowing Picnic, the more experienced team, to capitalise. Picnic went on to edge out No Frills 6-5 in a highly competitive match, which also saw no love lost between the two teams. Frustrated by defeat, No Frills were eager to come back strong. Beating Disco (UWE) in the 7th 8th play off, No Frills would have a second bite at the 6th place cherry, and it would prove to be a very exciting and tense finish to the weekend. No Frills 2 played some high risk, but exciting Frisbee, trading point for point with Picnic initially. Legs were soon tired as the points grew in length and the game only diminished in time. No Frills showed grit and determination in the game fighting hard against the equally determined picnic side. With great support from the sidelines, No Frills showed their athletic strength and their will to win. Keeping chilled on the disc and working the disc slowly up the pitch, No Frills forced a number of errors from Picnic, which allowed Cardiff to snatch a lead. At 7-5 the buzzer went to cheers from players and fans. Storming the pitch the joy for all No Frills players was evident to see. Team captain, Christopher GriggsTrevarthen, commented after the tournament: “This weekend was a massive success for the club as a whole, and showed our dominance in the western region. However, we cannot afford complacency as the level of competition at nationals will be much tougher.”

Cardiff slam the competition

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gair rhydd - Issue 908