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ggair rhydd


freeword - EST. 1972


IInside this week: n

F ISSUE 913 FEBRUARY 01 2010

ENGIN Rugby: Those food poisoning sources revealed inside!


Marina & the Diamonds >> page 3 M


Cockroaches and bedbugs found in Talybont halls of residence Jamie Thunder News Editor

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

spite traps being laid and pest control visits, although the number and regularity of sightings have fluctuated. One student reported seeing a cockroach crawl across their pillow, while another said that one fell on their head as they opened their bedroom door. Those who complained initially were offered alternative accommodation by the University but only one took it up, moving to Talybont Court. The others didn’t because of the disruption of moving. In one flat at least two of the rooms have had bedbugs. One student moved back home to Newport after finding bedbugs and dead cockroaches in her bed despite her room having been treated. She is expecting to return to her room this weekend, having lived out of it on and off since October. At

least one room in a different flat has also been affected. Since then, an exchange student has moved into the room vacated due to cockroaches. She was only told of the problems by her new flatmates once she moved in. Another student had looked round the same room but decided not to move in after learning about the insects from the residents. Richella Dennehy, who moved out of Talybont South because of the cockroaches, said that it was unfair for another student to move in without knowing about them. “I think it’s quite mean,” she said, “I feel sorry for her.” First-year psychology student James Tucker wrote to the residences manager at Talybont South last term asking for reimbursement of some

of his £3,000-a-year residence fees. This was rejected in early December because immediate action had been taken. This action, however, did not solve the problem. Richella also said that students who were still in the block should be compensated. “We’re paying three thousand pounds a year for this – no-one else has cockroaches, but we’re paying the same,” she said. Welfare, Campaigns and Communications Officer Ed Dolding expressed concern about the allegations, and said he had contacted the residences department about them. “If what has been reported is true, this is of course completely unacceptable. My personal opinion is that any student who is living in halls with such infestations should be compen-

sated for the disruption caused and given the option to move if they wish until the problem is resolved. “Furthermore, the idea that new students are being placed in flats that have been previously vacated because of an infestation that hasn't yet been resolved borders on gross negligence on the part of the halls' managers.” He added that students with any housing-related issue should contact the Union’s Advice and Representation Centre. A University spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, since September there have been instances of infestation of German Cockroaches at Talybont South which has lead to an intensive treatment regime.” continued on page 2


g! ! ! ! ! ! ! " #$ % & ' ( ! " # $ % & EDITOR ! "# $ % &' # ( ) # CO-ORDINATOR ! ! gan SUB EDITOR ! " # " $ F% & ' % ( ( F NEWS Ceri Isfryn Gareth Ludkin Emma McFarnon ! " # $ % & Thunder FEATURES ! ! Robin Mor! " # OPINION Paul POLITICS Damian Fantato COLUMNISTS Tim Hart Oli Franklin LISTINGS Steve Beynon Ed Bovingdon TAF-OD Nia Gwawr Williams Branwen Mathias Cadi Mai SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Amy Hall Priya Raj JOBS & MONEY Katie Greenway SPORT Jon Evans James Hinks Adam Horne Lucy Morgan Robbie Wells CONTRIBUTORS Elizabeth Blockley Anne Bochow Lauren Cowie Alex Evans Katie Greenway Lowri Grove Rachel Henson Ellie Jackson Ayushman Jamwal Sohaib Khan Camille Lavoix Cynan Llwyd Christina Mackie Jack Parker Matthew Parr Benjamin Price David Rogers Sarah Vaughan

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A REFRESHING WEEK: Students enjoy Refreshers Week at the farmers' market (L) and with a cooking masterclass with Peter Gorton (R)

Cockroaches and bedbugs in Talybont South continued fr! ! " # # ! " " " " " " " They added that treatments including regular spraying, gel bait, monitor pads, and night visits had been carried out by Aliard, the University’s supplier of Pest Control Services, and that feedback from tenants was positive. The spokesperson added: “We have been advised that cockroaches can enter a building in luggage and food parcels received through delivery/postal systems. We also received a number of reports of bed bugs at Talybont South which were resolved by Aliard with one targeted treatment. Only 4 cases required additional treatment. “Bed bugs are most frequently found in dwellings with a high rate of occupant turnover, such as student

residences. In most cases this is not as a result of poor hygiene or bad housekeeping but that the previous occupant has come into contact with them at some stage. International travel and commerce is thought to facilitate the spread in luggage, clothing, bedding and furniture.” Students in two of the flats also independently told ! " ! " # hydd that the flats did not appear to have been properly cleaned before they moved in at the start of last semester, and that further cleaning was needed for the kitchens after they moved in. A University spokesperson said that it had ongoing cleaning programmes for

had nd major iits rresidences, t es aand sha m i de key points year ccleans aat ke l poi et iin tthea nye he y ns ssuch aas tthe uc sstart he s aandt eend ofandtthe h nd her academic year. The University’s response did not include an explanation of why it was not telling new residents of the problems before they moved in.

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HEFCE grant for 2010/11 announced ! ! 8 million drop in funding next year, but still second-highest settlement ever for universities Jamie Thunder News Editor Universities in England will receive £518 million less in government funding in 2010/11 than they did this year, the latest grant letter from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills shows. ! " # Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) will have £7.291 billion to allocate, compared to £7.809 billion this year. The grant for teaching will be down £51 million to £5.027 billion, but resources for research will increase by £109 million to £1.618 billion. Firstyear undergraduate numbers will be ! ! " # $ # % ! " # $ ! " # $ % $ & # ' # % & ( will face fines of up to £3,700 for over-recruiting students. Capital grants (for building work, or buying land and equipment) will be £592 million lower, of which £58

million is a drop in capital spending for science. The Higher Education Innovation Fund, which ‘support[s] and develop[s] a broad range of knowledge exchange activities which result !! ! and social benefit to the UK’, will increase by £14 million. £135 million of new cuts, including the drop in teaching grant and £84 million in capital spending, were set out in the letter, sent on December 22. UCU general secretary Sally Hunt called the news “a real Christmas kick in the teeth for staff and students”. “We will see teachers on the dole, students in larger classes and a higher education sector unable to contribute as much to the economy or society,” she warned. Professor Steve Smith, President of Universities UK, which represents university vice-chancellors, welcomed the protection of the research budget but said any reduction in public fund-

ing per student could damage universities’ ability to offer a high-quality student experience. He also called for clarification as to whether the cuts form part of the £600 million reductions to higher education funding by 2012/13 set out in December’s Pre-Budget Report. A government spokesperson has since confirmed to ! " # $ % $ & ' ( ( that they do not. Despite the drop, the Council’s budget next year is its second-highest ever. The grant for 2009/10 included an extra £250 million moved forward from 2010/11 to help universities with capital spending (such as building work or buying land) in the recession. £20 million of this was for capital spending on science. If this £250 million had been in next year’s budget rather than this year’s the total difference would have been only £18 million, and the science capital spending budget would have

only been around £18 million less than this year. Separately from HEFCE’s budget, English universities will receive £62 million from the government under the voluntary matched giving scheme, up from £23 million last year. In 2011/12 this could increase to £115 million under the three-year £200 million plan, which sees the government give £1 for every £1, £2, or £3 (depending on the university) raised up to a limit by a university through private donations. Cardiff University’s funding is determined by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), which has not yet received its annual remit letter for 2010/11 from the Welsh Assembly Government. However, in recent written submission to the Assembly Finance Committee HEFCW said that it has ‘advised the sector to plan for reductions in core funding from AY [academic year] 10/11’.


Initiation did cause food poisoning Emma McFarnon News Editor Cardiff Council’s investigation into the food poisoning incident involving the ENGIN rugby team has concluded that food poisoning did occur as a direct result of the boys’ antics. The incident, which took place in November last year, involved members of the team eating gherkins that had been held between their buttocks and licking milk off a muddy floor. The boys were rumoured to have contracted food poisoning as a result, and the incident was investigated by the Council’s Communicable Diseases team over Christmas. The team alleged that the food poisoning had been a result of eating undercooked chicken at the Trevithick cafÊ, but the Council concluded that the cafÊ played no part in the outbreak. A Cardiff Council spokesperson confirmed that the food poisoning had been a direct result of the boys’

initiation antics, which involved them eating partially cooked liver, raw heart and gherkins that had been inserted into their bottoms. gair rhydd’s coverage of the incident sparked controversy last year as members of the ENGIN rugby team tried to defend themselves on the comments page of the gair rhydd website. One team member pointed out that: “No Engin fresher was ever asked to insert a gherkin up their anus, but to simply hold it between their cheeks.� A spokesperson for the University said: “Cardiff Council’s Communicable Disease Team has completed its investigation and found that food poisoning had occurred. "The University will be working with the Council to ensure the dangers of eating raw/undercooked meats or contaminated foods are communicated to the students involved, and to students in all years of study.� They later added: "The investigation ascertained

food poisoning was a result of consuming partially cooked and raw offal, namely liver (prepared by the students) and raw heart and consuming contaminated foods (gherkins contaminated by the students).� A member of the ENGIN RFC team said: "Neither the team nor the individuals involved have been made aware of any decisions taken by the Council."

that the outbreak of food poisoning was a direct result of the activities in which the students engaged, and as a result of eating raw/ undercooked

gair rhydd






word - EST. 1972

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Emma McFarnon

News Editor tom, and another revealing his penis to the camera. Photos team members inserting toilet paper An investigation is underway into their members of the engineering after backsides and then setting fire to it by team supposedly caught rug- (right) can also be seen. food None of the team members poisoning after they ate were gherkins available for comment when contactthat had been inserted into anuses during an initiation. their ed by ! " ! hydd. Olly Birrell, Athletic Union The Council's Communicable Dis- dent, said: “The ease team is looking into the Engineering rugby incident, is not recognised by the Univerwhich took place on November 11. sity or the Athletic Union as The initiation, which began an associat ated club and we have Roath Rec and finished at not been made The Lash, aware of the incident.� involved ENGIN rugby team memCardiff County Council’s bers taking part in what the MarketFacebook ing and Communications event page described as Officer, "gruelling Elaine Cripps, challenges" that tested "Strength said: “I can confirm of ! " # $ % & ' ( ) * + $ % , , Stamina�, & ' ) ( - . *# / )+ # - + # of Character" and ! # - , - 0# )' 1 # + !)2 - !)' 2 !" # )+ + & # "Strength of Stomach". 3 - , & ' - . *# !% 4 0% 1 )5 # - ' 6 7& 0 The team members were !" # 0 5 # !- )*+ encour- & ' ! ) * ! " # ) ' 1 # + ! )2 - !)% ' " - + . # # ' ( % ' aged to lick milk up off a muddy and eat gherkins that had been floor ( * & 5 # 5 8 inserted 9 " # : # ' ! % ' !% + - 6 !" - ! ! into fellow team member’s " # )' 1 # + bottoms. ! ) 2 - ! ) % ' ) + % ' 2 % )' 2 - ' 5 !" - ! , % 0# )' The players involved are rumoured have developed food poisoning to 7 % 0 , - ! ) % ' , ) 2 " ! . # - 1 - ) * - . * # - ! - * - ! # 0 as a 5 - ! # result of the antics. The Facebook initiation event page urged members to "check out photos of the last two years", which depict a player inserting an egg into his bot-

for violating health and

safety rules

Maindy plans submitted Gareth Ludkin News Editor permission has been submitted by Cardiff University to develop a brand new research-led campus on Maindy Road as part of Cardiff University s new Campus Horizons project. T ! ! ! " " " " # " " $ % ! $ % & ' ( $ % ) o' * % & % ' + & % * ) ' , ( ' - . ' $ / % % $ ' 0 % & + 1 2 2 ' % & % 3 1 $ % % $ o' 4 / * % $ $ ' 4 / - o/ ) 5 ' % ) + ' * % & % ' o, - $ 1 $ $ % + ' o3 / & $ $ . ' - % 2 / & % ' 0 3 & 1 o$ $ % o' $ / ' 0 % & + 1 2 2 ' 0 / , ) % 1 $ (' 6 $ ' 1 o' 3 / ( % + ' $ 3 % $ ' % ' 7 , + 8 % $ % ) $ ' * 1$$' - % ' $ % + % ' * 1$3 1) ' $3 % ' ) % 9 $' 2% * ' $ / ) $ 3 o( 6 2 ' $ 3 % ' 0 / , ) % 1 $ ' 8 & % ) $ o' ( $ % ) ) 1 ) 8 ' ( % & ' $ 1 oo1 / ) 5 ' 1 $ ' 1 o' % 9 ( % % $ % + ' $ 3 % $ ' $ 3 % ' % , & ' & % ) $ $ . ' + 1 o, o% + ' ' (' ' % % & % ' 1 ) + , o$ & 1 % $ ' o1 $ % ' / ) ' 6 % 1) + . ' : / % + 5' * 1$$' - % ' + % $ % $/ ( % + ' 1 ) $ / ' % ' o% & 1 % o' / 2 ' - , 1 $ + 1 ) 8 o' % / $ % & 1 ) 8 ' ' ' 5 ' ' ' ' o. , % & % ' $ % $ & % o' / 2 ' o( % % % (' ; 3 % ' % % $ ( , o' + % $ % $ / ( $ % ) $ ' 3 % o' - % % ) ' ( & / $ 1 ' o1 / ) % $ $ . ' ) % $ % + ' < 6 % 1 ) + . ' 4 % & = > ' % ) + ' 1 $ ' 1 o' $ 1 = % $ . ' $ 3 % $ ' 1 $ ' * / , $ + ' - % ' - , 1 $ $ ' / $ % & ' $ 3 % ' ) % 9 $ ' ? # ' ' ' ' . % % & o( 6 % 1 ) + . ' 4 % & = ' 3 % o' - % % ) ' + % o1 8 ) % + ' $ 3 & / , 8 3 ' % / ) o, $ $ % $ 1 / ) ' * 1 $ 3 ' $ / % % $ ' & % o1 ' + % ) $ o' $ / ' 1 ) % / & ( / & % $ % ' % ' ( $ % % o% ) $ ' 8 & % % ) ' ( % & = $ % ) + ' setting, with maximum use of ventilation and light across the campus. The University has focused upon the environmental impact and sustainability of the buildings in the plans for the vibrant and exciting new development. The University has stated that the buildings will "be built to the highest â&#x20AC;&#x153;excellentâ&#x20AC;? standard under the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM)â&#x20AC;? It is hoped that the open spaces and a welcoming 'parkland' feel will encourage public involvement in the campus. Public discussion and debate

Cardiff students are being encouraged to complete the National Student Survey (NSS). Final-year students have until the end of April to take part in the survey, available at Students at all institutions in the UK can take the survey, and the results are used to publish information on individual universities and the sector as a whole.

AGM: Feb 111 Gherkin' off A This yyears' s' Annual ear General Meet-

Rugby team investigated

meats or contaminated foods. Trevithick CafĂŠ was not associated with this outbreak. The


The National Student Survey is back

University Stuing for Cardiff Univ sity S dentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Union is to take place on 11 at 6 6.30pm Thursday February 1 1 in the Great Hall. The closing deadline for the submission of m motions Februm i iis 4pm s s onotF s All rm motionsy sshould aary 4. A l beot houl lssubmittted to e d tf .a The AGM allows students to ratify decisions have beenc or rreject de e s jtthat ha eha cbe made throughout the year by Student Council. Students will also be asked to ratify the Studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Unionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Annual Report and the Union Constitution. All University students are invited to attend, and are asked to bring with them their student ID.

Library PINs

VISION: The plan for Maindy Park drawn by Powell Dobson on University research will also be encouraged. It is hoped that the campus will provide the space for new teams and research projects to develop. Worldrenowned research projects will hopefully be attracted to Cardiffâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s worldclass research facilities. The site, which is situated just north of the Universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Optometry building, is already owned by Cardiff University, and will be built on with ! nancial ! " ! " ! ! ! " # $ Welsh ! " # # UK Governments. The total cost of the Maindy Park campus is not yet known due to the time-span of the development, however, the Gateway Building which is to be the first building constructed is estimated at a cost of ÂŁ30m. In response to the financial implications of the project, a University Spokesperson supported the Universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ability to sustain the levels of investment required over the 20 year period. A University Spokesperson said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;The University's financial situation is sound. Last year saw a surplus of ÂŁ14.4m and the Gateway Building, if approved, is one of the projects which will benefit from thisâ&#x20AC;?.

The â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Gatewayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; building will include a centre to help researchers develop their skills in brand new, state of the art laboratories, conference spaces, meeting rooms, incubator areas, and post graduate research provisions. The building will create a â&#x20AC;&#x153;front doorâ&#x20AC;? for the entire campus and would be the centrepiece of the Universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s development plans. In a statement from Professor Malcolm Jones, Pro Vice-Chancellor Estates, and Professor Teresa Rees, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research, the prestige of the â&#x20AC;&#x153;sustainable and architecturally impressive buildingâ&#x20AC;? was stressed: â&#x20AC;&#x153;It will enable new and exciting research projects. It will encourage new ways of working. Above all, it will be an open door, allowing the public to learn more about us and to engage with our work.â&#x20AC;? Maindy Park will be the centre piece of the Universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s campus horizons project, and represents the Universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ambition to become one of the â&#x20AC;&#x153;21st centuryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading international universities.â&#x20AC;? Professor Jones and Professor Rees continued in their statement: â&#x20AC;&#x153;The proposed building is part of the ambitious Campus Horizons investment strategy

to transform the working environment throughout the University estate. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Other developments include the planned new Medical Education Centre on the Heath Park Campus and substantial investment in Information and Communications Technology through the Modern Working Environment initiative.â&#x20AC;? The current Campus Horizons plans omit any mention of future sports facilities. However, a University spokesman emphasised the fact that sports are included in the Universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s plans to develop University facilities. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Maindy Park forms part of the University's overall Campus Horizons programme. This is an ambitious drive to enhance every part of the built and virtual environment, including sporting facilities. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Maindy Park itself is designed as an academic development with facilities for research, post-graduate training and for public engagement in the University's research.â&#x20AC;? Within the Campus Horizons Programme, an extension to the bioscience building has already been approved and the University hopes that it will be open later in the year.

All students will now require a PIN (Personal Identification Number) to renew and reserve library books. The PINs are being introduced to improve the security of personal data held on the Voyager library system and to prevent unauthorised use of lost library cards. Students must log onto their library accounts at and enter the default PIN visible on the screen. If students haven't set their own PIN by March 2 2010 they will have to contact the library to regain access to their account. If students forget their PIN they can have it reset by a member of staff at any Cardiff University library.

Fraud email Students have been warned not to be caught out by scam emails pretending to be from Student Finance England. The emails ask for account or security details, a scam known as â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;phishingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. Students should not disclose their details in response to any suspicious emails. Student Finance England also recommends that students do not follow any links in the email, and instead enter into the browser to make sure they go to the right address. Anyone who thinks they might have received one of these emails should contact



University sends Cardiff Professor receives knighthood Christmas gifts Benjamin Price Reporter

Sir Mansel Aylward CB, of the Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research, School of Medicine, received his honour for services to healthcare leads a number of Cardiff University colleagues to be honoured this year. During his career Professor Sir Mansel has held a number of highly !" # $ % " &'( )! ! ! !!!! ! ! !! "" " "" " "" " " " " ! "" " " " " " " "" "" " " ! " # $ Society of Medicineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Academic Sub Dean for Wales in 2001. Between 1996 and 2005 he was Chief Medical Adviser, and in June last year he became Chair of Public Health. His research investigates the factors which pose obstacles to recovery in Wales, public beliefs about illness and disability and the relations be!

tween work and health. On receiving the knighthood, Professor Sir Mansel said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;I feel very humbled to be recognised in this way. I know only too well how my work depends on the support of others â&#x20AC;&#x201C; my wife, Angela, and family; and staff at Cardiff University.â&#x20AC;? He also added that he felt privileged to have had the opportunity to try to make a difference to society. Other Cardiff University academics and associates to be honoured in this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s New Year Honours include Honorary Fellow Patrick Stewart OBE who is knighted for his services to drama. Menna Richards, also an Honorary Fellow and Vice-President of the University will become an OBE in recognition of her services to broadcasting. The Universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s long list of alumni receiving an honour include Hew Mathewson, President of the General Dental Council is appointed Commander of the British Empire (CBE) and former University Council mem-

ber, Robert Hutchings who becomes an OBE for services to the voluntary sector in Wales. The Universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Vice-Chancellor, Dr. David Grant, said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;These awards recognise the significant contributions made by each of the recipients and I am delighted to extend congratulations to them on behalf of the entire University.â&#x20AC;?

Professor Sir Mansel Aylward CB

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to Gambia Alex Evans Reporter

Cardiff University got into the Christmas spirit over the holidays, donating thousands of poundsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; worth of equipment to an African university. In December, Cardiff University shipped forty top-of-the-range computer systems to the University of the Gambia at no cost to the institution. Gambia is one of the smallest and poorest nations in Africa, with a GDP per capita â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the amount of money in a given country belonging to each person, on average - of a mere $496, compared to $43,785 in the UK. Gambia only very recently gained a higher education institution when the university opened in 2001. It is hoped that Cardiffâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s generous donation will help the university to develop further. Already, a number of highly qualified Gambian academics have returned

! " # $ % in order to help teach the 2,500 students currently enrolled there. Cardiff Universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s generosity comes in the wake of criticism over some of its financial policies. Last year, rhydd revealed that Cardiff was one of a number of higher education institutions investing in weapons companies with studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; money. The computer donation is one of many ways in which Cardiff University has helped the University of Gambia. In 2008, Cardiff staff helped to provide new books and equipment in collaboration with the Gambia University Appeal. In total, over 1,000 textbooks from the Science and Biomedical Science, Aberconway and Bute libraries were sent to Gambia in January 2009. Mr. Lamin Touray, Registrar of the University of Gambia, said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;The gift from Cardiff University will enable us to furnish a new computer suite, which will allow more students to access computers and the internet.â&#x20AC;?

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All the people read Rachel Henson Reporter Healthcare students from Heath Park have created a new magazine to join Cardiff University’s successful Student Media. Park Life will be printed every two months and will initially be available at the Heath Park campus. The magazine aims to bring a wide range of

content to healthcare students from all disciplines. Chief Editor, Thomas GuptaJessop, edited a monthly magazine for twenty-five medical applicants during his time in sixth form. In the summer holidays he conceived the idea of producing a similar publication for the 3,500 undergraduate students at Heath Park. Two thousand copies of Park Life are to be printed, with the intention

Late contracts cause 'chaos' Ceri Isfryn News Editor The University and College Union (UCU) claim that “most, if not all” of Cardiff University’s hourly paid staff taught throughout the last term without contracts, with some individuals receiving no pay whatsoever, causing “chaos” amongst staff. Disputes between the University and the Union have apparently delayed the production of new contracts for the staff in question, with both sides blaming the other for the wait. According to Dr. Todd Bailey, president of Cardiff UCU, hourlypaid staff were promised as far back as 2006 that they would be put on the same pay rates as other staff “as a matter of urgency”. Three years later, in April 2009, the University finally proposed a new set of rates and conditions. The UCU were presented with the revised version of the contracts, but were concerned with the “substantial differences” between the old and new versions, and so sought expert advice on the matter. The University claims that there was a “knock-on effect on the preparation for new contracts, directly caused by the UCU’s delay”. The UCU has defended its delay, claiming that “Cardiff University erroneously sent us the wrong comparison contracts by which to evaluate the changes it was proposing, and this led us to believe that they were proposing major revisions that needed to be examined closely. We were also preoccupied with fighting the 120 proposed redundancies at Lifelong Learning school (LEARN).” Dr. Bailey proceeds to call the University “a little more than contradictory” in its treatment of the Union during the LEARN redundancies and during the current contract dispute. “Cardiff University is two-faced when it blames UCU for not accepting those contracts for hourly-paid staff and at the same time it claims that UCU was not the recognized union at that time for hourly paid staff, so that

when hourly-paid staff were made redundant last summer and last autumn UCU were locked out of redundancy consultations.” “Staff are angry at the contrast they see between how slow the University is to get their contrasts sorted and the ruthless efficiency with which more than a 100-hourly paid staff were made redundant at LEARN.” Officials from the University dismissed the UCU’s claims, calling them “indefensible”. A spokesman for the University said, “New terms of engagement are delivering major benefits to Cardiff University’s part-time staff across a large number of its academic schools. More than 400 new contracts are being finalised with individual staff members.” “Interim payments, including temporary contracts, were put in place while these individual discussions continued. These arrangements were communicated widely within the University. Some members of staff made a personal choice to delay payment until they received their final contract.” Yet staff members who have been in contact with the UCU claim to be “angry and frustrated” at the lack of information and contact from the University regarding the matter, with several members of staff claiming to have no idea about the monthly claim system for wages. One of those affected, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the number of mistakes made by the University was “absolutely outrageous, ridiculous and unacceptable.” Another, who has received a contract but claims that it is neither clear nor responsible said that he was “not willing to keep working under such murky circumstances for much longer”. Despite the accusations, the University asserts that it is a "progressive and supportive employer of more 6,000 staff. It has at all times maintained open lines of communication with all trade unions represented on campus, of which UCU is but one, over these and all employment matters."

of increasing circulation with more funding. The magazine is supported by sponsorship from a venue popular with medics, Live Lounge, and financial help from healthcare schools. Topics covered include current events, ethical debates, sport and medical issues. The first edition discusses subjects such as health tourism, abortion and ‘A Day in the Life of a Dental Student’. The reputation for medical students

being a separate entity is fuelled by busy timetables and geographic isolation from other parts of the University, resulting in some students feeling disconnected from the rest of the student body. Part of the rationale behind Park Life is to encourage communication and develop a sense of involvement between the students at Heath Park, but non-medical students are also welcome to get involved.

Thomas Gupta-Jessop said: “The more the merrier!” The team at Park Life are now working hard to produce the second edition, available in March. “Doing this has really made me realise all the hard work and effort that the team at the gair rhydd and Quench put in.” The January edition of Park Life is out now.



! " # $ % & & ' ! " # $ % ! & ' Healthcare professors launch

programme to aid paralympics Jordis Lau Reporter

RELIGION CAFE: Participants enjoy the welcome of the Chaplaincy

Gareth Ludkin News Editor : C

C :,: : e e e e i h a rene ed sense of vibrancy and excitement. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! D7 is excited to begin his job as Catholic Chaplain as he looks to immerse himself fully into Cardiff’s Catholic and University community. Fr. Jones commented: “Having worked in a very successful Catholic Chaplaincy in the United States I readily accepted the invitation to come home to Wales.” Fr. Jones joins Trystan Hughes, the Protestant Chaplain, at the Chaplaincy. Trystan has been in the post since September but is keen to promote the services and friendly environment the Chaplaincy offers for both religious and non-religious students. Although relatively new to the University, tak-

Two professors of Healthcare Studies have developed a new programme that provides physiotherapists with the skills needed to support athletes participating in the 2012 Paralympics. Drs. Nicola Phillips and Tony Everett of Cardiff University School of Healthcare Studies designed the programme, which is intended to support the teams based in Wales training for 2012. The programme will also

provide long-term support after 2012 for all athletic abilities, and will assist paralympians in the 2012 games. The programme has been rewarded with the London 2012 Inspire Mark that is given to initiatives inspired by Olympic ideals. Jonathan Edwards, Deputy Chair of the London 2012 Nations and Regions Group and representative on LOCOW Board, congratulated Cardiff “on achiev! " # $ % & ' $ ! " # $ % & " ' ( ! ) $ * + ! , $ Award in Wales”. Over the next three years, physiotherapy volunteers will be trained on three levels of experience, ranging from basic assistance to individual

treatment. This means that final-year student physiotherapists, new physphysiotherapists will all be able to take part in the programme. Cardiff University School of Healthcare Studies has collaborated with the Federation of Disability Sport Wales, Sports Council for Wales High Performance Unit, and the Welsh Assembly Government to launch the programme. The initiative is free of charge and aims to enhance patient care, popularise disability sport and encourage healthy and active lifestyles in Wales.

ing up his post in September, Trystan Hughes has already established a very successful inter-faith discussion group, Religion Café, which has had great success and is supported by many of the student religious societies. The group allows Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Bah'ai, Jewish and Buddhist students to meet over refreshments and discuss their beliefs and lifestyle. Both Chaplains are keen to kick off a number of similar events this semester, by offering students the opportunity to explore philosophical, theological, and ethical issues, and help students make new friends and gain new perspectives on life. If you would like to know more about any of the Chaplaincy events, contact Trystan on hughest6@cardiff., or pop over to the drop-in cafe at 61 Park Place - free tea, coffee, & chocolate biscuits over an informal chat Monday and Friday 12-2pm. PARALYMPICS: Olympic success for Cardiff's physiotherapy

Blackboard breakdown causes coursework chaos

Students' work suffers as course material becomes inaccessible Ceri Isfryn News Editor Several students have contacted g claiming that troubles with Blackboard over Christmas had a big impact on their revision or essay writing. The problems arose during the Christmas closure, when INSRV staff were unavailable. The extensive system monitoring, which INSRV has in place during out of hours time, detected the problem. However, the special! " # expertise required to fix it was not available until after the closure. According to INSRV, the problem was solved within a few hours of specialist attention being available after the Christmas closure. But Grace Garrett-Sadler, who is a second year Law student, does not think that the University’s IT facilities match up to its reputation. “Blackboard failed on me when I was trying to look for some information on citation for a summative essay

which counts for 25% of one of my modules. The University boasts that students can access course materials online, yet Blackboard crashed all the time. I’d expect a University as prestigious as Cardiff to have fine-tuned its facilities by now.” Third year Medical Engineer, Ben Dunstan, also experienced problems with Blackboard that affected his revision progress. “I was relying on Blackboard to download some lecture notes that I’d lost. I couldn’t get onto it until the beginning of January – a few days before my exam actually took place!” A University spokesman said: “INSRV IT recognises the importance of Blackboard to the student learning environment and continues to examine, along with the University, ways in which the service can be improved. Students wishing to report problems with any of the INSRV IT services at Cardiff University are encouraged to contact insrvConnect via email ( or telephone (208)74487.”

BLACKBOARD: Were you tearing your hair out over Christmas?



Student Loan Company dir esign after ! " # $ % & ! ' " ' $ ( & ) ' * es revealed Jamie Thunder News Editor Two directors of the Student Loans Company (SLC) have resigned after an independent inquiry found ‘conspicuous failures’ in its handling of student loans and grants for students from England this year. Wallace Gray, the company’s IT director, and Martin Herbert, director of marketing and customer services, stepped down two weeks after the publication of Professor Sir Deian Hopkin’s report in December. The areas the two were responsible for were criticised by Sir Deian in his review of the problems that led to thousands of students starting university in September without money. He found that the SLC had intro-

duced untried scanning technology to try to manage applications, but that this had major faults that had forced staff to do a lot of the work by hand. In June the technology was abandoned altogether for a slower, manual system. The company was also criticised for ‘giving the impression of defensiveness’ when dealing with the media, and not explaining the situation clearly enough in its statements. It only revealed the scale of the problem after requests under the Freedom of Information Act. Its failure to tell students and universities what was happening, either directly or through the media, meant that it ‘lost the trust and confidence of important partners’, the report found. Although it had the ability to manage increased contact volumes after A-level results were confirmed in

Holocaust remembered

August, the company’s handling of this spike in demand was ‘inadequate’ and led to concerned students being unable to contact it about their applications. At some points, only 5% of attempted calls were being answered. When students did get through, the call-handlers were sometimes unable to answer queries or gave incorrect information. Sir Deian found that 96.5% of applications that had been completed on time had been fully or provisionally assessed by September 20th, the day before many universities’ terms started. However, a lack of publicity for the deadlines meant that almost 50% of total applications were submitted after the deadlines. Some forms and documentary evidence to support applications were lost by the company, forcing students to send further copies, and problems

were reported with the online application system. 4,000 students who had submitted applications in time had only received interim payments by the time their term started. The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills was also criticised, with the report noting that ‘at times the Department may have been too distanced from operational delivery’ to be able to oversee the company. This year was the first year that student finance applications for new students from England were centralised under the first phase of the Customer First programme. They had previously been dealt with by local authorities, but this had led to inconsistencies in service quality. The latest figures from the SLC published on December 13th showed that 3,000 eligible students were waiting for their loans, and that 18,000

First class

had only received the interim payment (the minimum loan). The company was waiting for confirmation of attendance from another 54,000 students, further information from 23,000, and said that 5,000 applications were currently being processed. It said that these 5,000 applications would have been submitted in recent weeks. A Cardiff University spokesperson said that over 200 students at Cardiff had been affected, and added that ‘the University delayed the payment of tuition and residences fees and the Student Support Centre has provided emergency loans, where possible’. The National Audit Office is due to publish a report into the problems and the overall performance of delivery of finance to first-year students in 2009 later this year.

Student satisfaction remains unchanged in Cardiff Emma McFarnon News Editor

MEMORIAL: Groups gather to pay respects

Daniella Graham Features Editor Last Wednesday members of Cardiff University’s Jewish Society joined forces with Friends of Médicins Sans Frontières to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day, marking 65 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau ! ! ! focal point of the evening was a talk by Dr Charlotte Jones from the Association of Jewish Refugees, who 1939 at the age of 11. She spoke about her experiences of living with anti-Semitic prejudice after Kristallnacht and during the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia. James Barnacle and Charlotte Morris from Friends of Médicins Sans Frontières spoke about genocide in the world today, and highlighted the current situation in Uganda. They emphasized the charity’s concept of témoignage ('witnessing') and

how this obligates them to speak up in the face of injustice. There was also a short presentation on the Rwandan genocide by Grace Bradley, one of the event’s organizers. In April 1994, over one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered in the 100-day genocide. 75% of Tutsis in Rwanda were killed and 250,000 women raped. 70% of women who survived are estimated to have HIV. Students’ Union President Ed Carey attended the event along with other members of the sabbatical team. He said of the event: "To fail to remember these atrocities is not only an injustice to those who suffered them but is also the first step to allowing such things to be repeated. A massive hats-off to JSoc and MSF; I found the talks insightful and very moving." Grace Bradley said: “Thank you very much to everyone who was willing to listen to the testimonies of those who survived, and came to support the legacy of hope.”

GRADUATES: 14% obtaining a first

Camille Lavoix Reporter A record number of first class degrees were obtained during the last academic year according to figures released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency. 14% of students achieved firsts last during 2008-2009 – double the proportion of students who achieved the same class ten years earlier. The figures come at a time when university marking practices are undergoing a dramatic overhaul. In 2009, a group of MPs sitting on the Commons Select Committee, which monitors higher education, claimed that a “grade-inflation” has occurred. The group claim that the system for checking university standards was “out of date, inconsistent and should be replaced” and accused Vice Chancellors of “defensive complacency” about the issues. A subse-

quent review of the system confirmed that it was no longer “fit for purpose” and as a result a shake-up of degree marking systems has been introduced. A new certificate is currently being trialed at some UK universities alongside the standard degree qualifications, and it is hoped that it will reflect a wider range of students’ achievements whilst at university. In the past, university insiders have claimed that external examiners are being “leaned on” to boost grades. The figures also reveal that two-thirds of students gained a 2:1, whilst one in every five of those gaining a degree were from outside the UK. It is believed that fears about unemployment are the reason behind the 7.7% increase in students enrolling on university courses. For the first time, the number of people graduating fell from 334,890 to 333,720.

The Times Higher Education student satisfaction survey has ranked Cardiff University 17 for the second year running. The annual survey brings together the views of more than 11,000 fulltime undergraduates. The questionnaire was based on agree/disagree answers to the question: “Based on your experience, how strongly do you agree that your university offers the following?” “Highquality staff/lectures”, “Helpful interested staff”, “Well-structured courses” and a “Good social life.” Cardiff scored an overall satisfaction of 79.4, just beaten by Warwick University with 79.5. Between September 2008 and June 2009, market-research agency Opinionpanel asked students to rate their university on 21 different attributes that are key to a positive student experience. The survey put Loughborough University at the top of the table once again. The table was constructed through hundreds of identical questionnaires, which were circulated across Britain All respondents were members of Opinionpanel's Student Panel, a group recruited through an email invitation sent via the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.


You'll never guess what... Swanning off Bird experts have been surprised to see swans in Slimbridge ‘divorce’ and find new mates. Swans usually mate for life so experts assumed that the female swan, Saruni, had died when her previous partner returned to Slimbridge with a new mate. However, soon afterwards Saruni also returned to the wildfowl sanctuary with a new partner. ! ! " # $ ! " # $ % & $ ' " ( & % g# ) % * $ + % * ( $ ! % ‘failure to breed’ as a possible reason for the swan’s ‘divorce’. The swans have not acknowledged each other since the separation even though they are living on the same lake.

A giant tweet A classy prank for mankind Sarah Vaughan Reporter The term ‘cyber-space’ truly lived up to its name on January 22 when the first tweet from space was posted on the social networking site, Twitter. After many attempts to post a direct message from the space station, NASA flight engineer TJ Creamer finally wrote, “Hello Twitterverse! We r now LIVE tweeting from the International Space Station - the 1st live tweet from space! :) More soon, send your ?” Previously the crew have had to send their emails or ‘tweets’ to ground control before being posted on the astronauts’ accounts by NASA’s administrative team. But now, due to a new, high-powered web connection called the Crew Support LAN, the crew can browse the internet as an additional

form of communication whist on missions. Commander Williams also expressed his thanks and pride in NASA’s success in his own first space tweet, reading, “It’s good to be online! Appreciate the great job of the team who made it work!” As well as being beneficial in enhancing the crew’s personal lives during long missions, NASA has expressed that this new wave of communication from the space station to the general public will offer a greater insight into the lives and purpose of the crew and missions, inviting young people to become more aware of NASA and their expanding research. Over 20,000 Twitter users now follow TJ Creamer, and with the numbers growing daily only time will tell if this new 21st Century approach, of linking science with social networking proves to be out of this world. DUNCE: That'll teach 'em

' ! AHI2EI:A2

Anne Bochow & Camille Lavoix Reporters

A mother from Atlanta has been jailed after forcing her son to kill his pet hamster with a hammer. The woman used the hamster killing as an unusual technique to punish her son for his bad grades at school. Her 12-year-old son revealed the act to his teacher who then contacted the police. The 38-year-old woman now faces charges of animal cruelty, child cruelty and battery. SPACE RACE: Beat that, Stephen Fry

Three Texas students have been fined after a prank during a class photo. Every year in Three Cypress Ridge High School five students get the honour of wearing each letter of the word “class” on their t-shirt. This year, however, the C and L felt the urge to disappear from the picture, leaving poor A, S and S alone. The photographer apparently missed the consequences of the stunt, but the

school did not - the students' parents had to pay a fine. But the school decided to retaliate only against the students who stayed into the frame, leaving the C and L runners with complete impunity. Before letting you decide who made an ass of themselves, the head of the school, the photographer or the students, a final thought from a senior student directly affected by the drama: "I heard C and L ran off. That’s not ass’s fault. That’s C and L’s fault, said senior Austin Knight. "It was funny and they shouldn’t have been punished."

Bye bye blobfish? Dungeons and bad 'uns A man serving a life sentence in Wisconsin has been banned from playing the fantasy game Dungeons and Dragons. The ruling states that the game ‘promotes fantasy role playing, competitive hostility, violence, addictive escape behaviours, and possible gambling'. Kevin Singer, 33, was sentenced to life in prison in 2002 for murdering his sister’s boyfriend with a sledgehammer. Singer, who has reportedly been playing the game since childhood, has said that the ruling violates his freedom of speech.

Strange-looking fish under threat of extinction Jamie Thunder News Editor One of the world's most unique creatures could be in danger of extinction, according to scientists. ! " # $ % & g% ' $ ( " ) $ g* $ olutes ! ! ! ! ! , lives at the bottom of the sea around Australia and Tasmania. But deep-sea trawling for lobsters is threatening the inedible thing, which ! oats just above seabed waiting for food to come its way. Professor Callum Roberts from the University of York told the ! " # $ % & Mail: "Blobfish are very vulnerable to being dragged up in these nets and from what we know ! " # v$ fish is only restricted to these waters.

"The Australian and New Zealand deep-trawling fishing fleets are some of the most active in the world so if you are a blobfish then it is not a good place to be. "A very large amount of the deep sea is under threat from bottom trawling, which is one of the most destructive forms of fishing. "There are some deep-water protected areas around sea mounts in the Southern Ocean but that is only really ! " # $ % " ! " & ! # & " % ' ' # ' ( ) # ( " ! # ! * " # + ' " + , sh. "If you add together all the area of the deep sea that has actually been looked at, then it is an area about the size of Paris - [the rest] is a really unexplored area, but we could be destroying it." Prof. Roberts called for restrictions on such trawling to protect sealife.

BLOBFISH: Inedible. Obviously.



Change you better believe in President Obama's sweeping banking reforms are a sign of things to come Oli Franklin Opinion Editor So, the announcement came last week that the UK has finally moved out of recession, demonstrating a miniscule increment of growth in the last quarter. news came after turbulent Barack Obama rocked the fi nancial world with his potentially devastating announcement about the future of banking. Just days after the Democrats lost the Massachusetts election, Obama announced his intentions - nicknamed the ‘Volcker rule’ after one of his economic advisers – to break up the commercial and investment arms of banks in America. The financial world has been left in shock since the announcements, with many on Wall Street and in the City simply dumbfounded by the totally unforeseen move by Obama merely days after completing his first year in office. The announcement included a package of measures aimed at downsizing big banks and de-risking the financial industry, in order to prevent another economic crisis in the future. The main measure would separate the commercial arm of banks – that which takes deposits and holds savings accounts and similar activities – from the investment side of the industry.

There would also be a ban on proprietary trading, where banks bet on financial markets with their own capital. This is seen as high risk, as it is these activities which put banks at risk financially, resulting in the huge government bailouts in the US and UK. The measure would also come down on the riskier aspects of banking, such as hedge funds and private equity trading – which essentially entails the buying and selling of companies. The measures are similar in scope to the archaic Glass-Steagal act imposed by the US government in the 1930s during the Great Depression.

Taxpayers won't stand for bailing out banks, only for them to post nearrecord profits The comparatively minor fall in the stock markets after the announcement signals just how shocking the announcement was for many in the City. Some economists have waived away the announcement as too unrealistic – many believing that it will be impossible for Obama to pass any serious legislation on the matter. Many more have speculated that the announcement was a reactionary mea-

sure to losing ‘the Kennedy seat’ – the Massachusetts election – and to boost flagging popular support. This is short sighted. Obama was more than clear about his steadfastness on the matter, stating: “If these folks want a fight, it’s a fight I’m ready to have.” Back home, Shadow Chancellor George Osborne was immediate in declaring his support for the measures. Further than that, he revealed that should the Conservatives win the general election this year, they intend take an ‘identical’ approach. The Liberal Democrats were similarly vocal in their support for such a measure, and Governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King has argued for the downsizing of the big banks for some time. It’s clear that finally, politicians are starting to take the action that voters have been clamoring for. Obama’s move, although clearly called for, seems strange in some aspects. The biggest banks clearly need to be downsized. However, activities such as hedge funds are widely acknowledged by economists as fairly blameless in the financial crisis – hedge funds indeed being one of the few sectors that have remained profitable and incomplicit in the toxic asset trading that was so damaging to banks across the globe. Some journalist’s response that the move heralds the doom of western fi-

nance markets is however misguided. It was only just over a decade ago that the Clinton government deregulated the banks, freeing up legislation that allowed to the rampant unmitigated growth of the ‘noughties’ that now lies in ruins around our metaphorical ankles.

Bankers and politicians alike are still trying to work out how it all went so wrong What is clear though, is that last week was finally the beginning of clear change in the way that the financial world will operate in future. From Washington to Whitehall, there is finally recognition that the public is sick of the mindless, immoral cocoons that the City and Wall Street have become. Taxpayers no longer will stand for bailing out banks, only for them to be posting near record profits and still paying bonuses a year later. In all this, the person that has perhaps most truly damaged is Alastair Darling. The moves by Obama’s government have demonstrated the futility and sheer emptiness of Darling’s ‘bonus tax’. This week a plethora of big banks have announced profits and

bonuses pretty much as usual, showing an utter disdain for Darling’s infantile and utterly populist approach to governing. Experts have estimated that the tax has done little to curb the biggest bonuses, and done even less to provide the government much needed income to repay the economic stimuli of the past year. Increasingly, Darling’s credibility is held in disregard, whilst eyes and column inches focus more closely on the (at least for now) Shadow Chancellor Osborne. Many questions remain up in the air. This is merely the beginning of a long process and it is unlikely, given the sheer political heft of financial lobbyists, that Obama will pass the full extent of his proposals. And over here, it is similarly unclear as to what will happen over the next year. Economists, bankers and politicians alike are all scrambling about looking for answers to that big question. How did everything go so wrong? The very core of western capitalism as we have known it in recent decades has been shaken at its core, and one thing is clear. The public has had enough. This decade, change has to happen. Obama, for all his detractors, knows this. Reform is coming, and finally, Obama’s presidency might start living up to his campaign. For the banks, this is change they better believe in.



! o ban or not to ban? After a recent French enquiry found the burka to be 'un-French' and resulted in a partial ban, the question must be raised again Paul Stollery Opinion Editor I am currently reading 1984. The book is one that I’ve been meaning to read for quite while. It has been described by many people as one of the most important books of the last century; “indispensable for understanding modern history” claims one quote on the back. I’d give a quick run through synopsis of the novel, but I feel I’d be insulting the readership of this wonderful paper. For those of you who don’t know the book, go look it up. In fact, go read it. Now. For those of you still with me, you’ve probably realised why I’ve mentioned the George Orwell book in an article about burkas. I’m sure !! t be the first opinion writer to use the term Orwellian to refer to the proposed ban on wearing the burka in public places and I probably won’t be the last. But nevertheless, that’s the term I’m using (and there’s nothing you can do about it). Upon first reading about the French plans to ban the burka, I have to admit, I was a little shocked. I was not shocked that the plans were proposed, you hear proposals such as these on a regular basis. Public disapproval towards the burka did not surprise me either. What did however surprise me was that a civilised western country was genuinely consider-

ing a ban on an item of clothing. That’s essentially what it comes down to. You can talk about how oppressive burkas are. You can talk of how they are sexist. You can even go as far to say that they do not have a place in a modern society. In fact, to say such things to me would be preaching to the choir, for it is my opinion that they are an item that represents a system of values that we should have left behind long ago.

Nevertheless, that does not mean they should be banned. Why is it that any government has the right to dictate what its citizens wear? More importantly, what next? In a country where the British National Party have been elected to two seats in the European Parliament, banning certain religious items of clothing is a dangerous prec-

edent to set.

If we're getting wet, might as well go swimming. Let's ban all forms of expression Could we, in 20 years, see a ban on the yarmulke? After all, expression of religion may lead to prejudice against that person. We don't want that. Or how about we move away from certain religious matters, should we ban the use of offensive words on tshirts? What about FCUK? That looks an awful lot like FUCK. We should ban that. I was watching South Park the other day, they insulted the Queen. We should probably do away with that too. In fact, from here on out, we should ban all clothing that isn’t beige. We are only allowed non-offensive words shorter than four letters (in case anybody has difficulty reading) and should all brush our hair so we look like Nick Clegg. If we’re getting wet, we might as well go swimming. If we’re going to ban the burka, we might as well ban ban everything else. I'm all in favour on of ending sexism and oppression, but dictating what items of clothing people can wear is simply not the way to do it.

Government: brought to you by... ! ! !! ! Lauren Cowie Opinion Writer

be b ec limi , after previous restrictions were deemed to breach the First Amendment - the constitutional right to free speech. The result was a close call; 5-4 to the more conservative justices. And President Barack Obama has vowed to fight back saying the court had "given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics". "It’s a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans". Damn right it is. It’s like some twisted plot out of a sci-fi novel. I hate to be alarmist but when I heard

w legal for corporations to sponsor politicians this story, the alarms bells started to go off in my head. This effectively means that corporations with enough money can buy themselves a political candidate! I love Barack and everything he stands for but how on earth did he let this one get through without an almighty fuss? It begs the question: “What next?” What will be the consequences of this decision? Maybe ‘The Exxon Factor’, the prize being a million billboards worth of advertising for the contestant who loves oil the most.

Ef ! ! " # " ! " $ % & & & & & & & & & ! ' ( ) ' ( ! " #' * + &! ! * & * ' , & " ! - ! " " y buy themselves a political candidate The judgement does not allow money to be given directly to candidates but spent on their behalf. As long as advertising has a little ‘sponsored

by...’ in the corner, anything goes. So watch out for ‘Sarah Palin: sponsored by the National Rifle Association’ in the upcoming midterm elections. Of course inevitably it won’t stop at the shameless promotion of one brand’s political puppet. It will now be possible for endless amounts of money to be poured into slating adversaries, so any upstanding citizen who refuses to take the bribe will have their name relentlessly dragged through the mud. Who will dare to stand up for abortion, same sex marriage or even evolution knowing that the full funds of the church can now be thrown against them? Which car manufacturer will support a green candidate? And name a pharmaceutical company that wants their profits to be cut by providing free health care? Liberal CNBC news anchor Keith Olbermann has released a now infamous commentary (available on YouTube) in which he finally seems to lose his tether, comparing the future position of American political leaders

to prostitutes.

rounds can the US preach about democracy when their system ! " # " $ # % & wed? Justice John Paul Stevens said: "The court's ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions around the nation." The US is often held up as a pillar of democracy around the world. I wonder, on what moral authority the US can possibly still preach to countries such as Afghanistan about free and fair elections, when their own system is now so fundamentally flawed. I’m suddenly very glad to be British. Though I do wonder who would sponsor whom if we had this system. David Cameron... sponsored by Pretentious Wankers R’ Us?


! " # $ % DITORIAL

Est. 1972

Welcome to 2010

Happy New Year and welcome to the first gair rhydd of the new decade. We’ve lots of stuff in this issue for you – we’ve been containing it for the past six weeks! First of all, I have to mention, once again, the ‘Gherkin’ off’ front page from the last edition (sorry). It caused quite a bit of upset to quite a few people, but I can’t believe the backlash it caused on the website – 93 comments and counting – the most we’ve had for as long as I can remember. I would like to thank everybody for getting so involved – it’s great to see people using the website to engage in healthy, heated, intellectual (mostly) debate. Turn to the letters page to read just a small selection of the comments. Some of the comments on the website alleged that the food poisoning that some boys contracted after the initiation had come from a dodgy meal they had eaten at the Trevithick refectory, since the gherkins that they had enjoyed during initiation had not been “up their anus, but simply [held] between their cheeks.” So that’s all right then. No, seriously, ! " # $ $ rhydd had confirmation from the Council’s Communicable Disease team this week that the food poisoning had come from partially cooked liver, raw heart and the things the boys had been putting between their cheeks – not what you would expect to see on the dinner menu at Trevithick. Read page three for a full summary of events. Now, moving on. This week it emerged that one particular house in Talybont South had been experiencing problems with cockroaches and bed bugs. One person moved out, but the University moved a new tenant into the affected room without telling them about the problem! Did you know that bed bugs live solely by feeding on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded animals? Eurgh. Just food for thought... See front page for the full story. On a more positive note (and about time too!), last week saw the first ever Refreshers Week take place at the Union. Monday, my personal favourite, saw a hugely successful student Ready Steady Cook event take place with Celebrity Masterchef Peter Gorton; Wednesday was Freshers’ Fayre recreated, giving students the chance to sign up to sports teams and societies they might have bypassed in Freshers’ Week and kick start those New Year’s resolutions; on Friday there was a bouncy castle in Solus all day, and why not? Just because we can. On Saturday it all culminated in the Fun Run and a huge dodgeball tournament. What a way to get us through the January blues eh? It was suggested that, if Refreshers Week were a success, it would become a permanent fixture in the student calendar. I think it’s safe to say we’ll be seeing it rearing its lovely head again this time next year.


Jeremy Kyle hits the States I know what you're doing next summer - verbally raping poor people Robin Morgan Opinion Writer

mental problems have been subjected to abuse both on the show and as a result of them being on air.

Summer holidays are ace, aren’t they? Boy, I do love them. Imagine if you went to America this summer too! Gosh, you lucky sod! Think of the amazing time you’d have, right? Wrong. Jeremy Kyle is following you there. ! " #$! , of course. But the hugely successful, working-classabusing Jeremy Kyle Show takes to US screens this summer, with a view to launch a nationwide show in 2011. So there’s a little time for the Yanks to prepare themselves. You’ve all seen Jeremy in action, kneeling down on the stage to get down to ‘their’ level, offering them some sensitive advice before bam! “This is MY show, you’re scum, why don’t you get a job or get off my stage!?” Usually there are some cheeky little reaction shots to see the ‘guest’ looking shocked/angry/upset/confused. That’s generally because the show has been found to be utterly shit (for lack of a better word) to the needs of those who make the show so entertaining. Guests with known

Our special relationship with the States could turn into a break-up In 2007, Judge Alan Berg described the show as “human bear-bating”. He’s quite right. There were rumours that the programme was going to be axed this year – these seemed to have been quashed in recent months. And with the renewal and exportation of our pride-and-joy to America, Kyle looks like he’s going to be a goddamn, rich motherhubbard (it’s what they say in the US). I’m not denying the show is not entertaining, of course. I can sit for hours (and by ‘can’, I mean ‘do’) watching countless double-bills and repeat episodes, slowly feeling better about my own life because I’m not on there. Yet. Maybe one day an episode will consist of guests who don’t get a job because they’re watching The Jeremy Kyle Show, day-in-day-out,

and Mr. Kyle will become overly confused, and the universe will explode with the irony. Maybe. More likely, however, is that it won’t. The universe will continue being all universal, and we’ll all continue to watch this tripe, me included. But there are serious concerns involved with this decision. What of the international implications? We’ve now given our Atlantic cousins Simon Cowell, Supernanny and every Hollywood villain to ever don a poor-British accent. They must think we’re all bastards! And now Jezza’s going over there to

not-so-subtly mock the America public. I think the ‘Special Relationship’ might be slowly turning into a breakup. What is not certain, of course, is whether the show will be a success overseas. Personally, I believe this is down to one man. If Kyle takes Graham Stanier (his in-show psychotherapist, and a Kyleprofessed ‘legend’) on his summer vacation with him, I think one of two things will happen. Firstly, they’ll both get tans, start going running together on an LA beach, and will ! wed in the final episode of Jeremy Kyle: After Dark. Secondly, and more probably, is that the US public will realise that our Graham looks a lot like Gary

Glitter, and will chase him out of the country with rifles and that. You’ve heard it here first. I’m wondering whether Kyle has simply run out of people to humiliate on national television in this country. It would be a quite a feat. Here are two facts you may not have known: the US is certainly larger, and has a larger population than Britain. Both are true! So perhaps he’s going to widen his gaze, put his overly-judgemental glasses on, and give them all the devil-stare. Take that, Obama. “I am particularly looking forward to meeting ordinary American people and hearing about their extraordinary lives”, Kyle said, in a very personal press release. Extraordinary lives he may find, ordinary people he will ignore, confused simpletons he will humiliate. But I, for one, will admit to searching for this on YouTube as soon as the first episode airs. I just hope it's entitled ‘I Was Deported To Host A Cheaper Version Of My Show But With No Security Or Audience’. We’d all watch it. It’d be more popular than wrestling. But a whole lot more real.

Why exactly is Obama so unpopular? Americans like the idea of free health-care, but not if it raises taxes Elizabeth Blockley Opinion Writer

A recent programme broadcast by the BBC entitled ‘Obama and Me’ detailed the President’s first year in office, his achievements and failures, but most of all displayed the overwhelming difficulty of overcoming America’s abhorrence of socialism. As the documentary explored the American attitude towards Obama one year on, I was shocked at how deeply entrenched the fear of any socialist leaning is. One woman, a black single mother and US postal worker, should have been a prime candidate for support of Obama’s healthcare reforms, which aim to provide insurance for everyone. Instead, she was enraged by what she perceived as state interference in her personal life and disappointed by President Obama’s policies. Consequently, she joined the Tea Party movement in protests against big government and President Obama in particular, despite having voted for him in the general election. Unfortunately this seems to be fairly widely representative of the problematic attitudes Obama is up against. Firstly, how could President Obama’s first year in power ever have lived up to the circumstances in which he was

elected? That night in November will go down in history as a time when America was united by optimism, hope and a thrilling sense of better things to come – how could anyone watching that night fail to be caught up in the momentum? As the first black president, Barack Obama symbolised a huge milestone in the social development of America and a sign that race tensions are beginning to ease. As a young, dynamic and progressive leader he offered exciting possibilities for a nation disillusioned with Bush’s Republicans. Short of achieving world peace, it is difficult to imagine what Obama could have accomplished in order to satisfy the massive weight of expectation under which he was elected. In addition to this, Obama faces opposition from many who actually voted him in, seemingly blinded by his skin colour as opposed to his policies. The aforementioned postal worker, Karen Cooper, laments, “I got caught up. I’m not anymore. He ain’t that good-looking.” One is hardly surprised that if she voted on the basis of good-looks alone his political ideals have come as a bit of a shock. Of course Barack Obama’s race was a positive attribute for many voters in the election. However, it should not have been their only consideration, as many of his previous supporters now feel disillusioned by reforms which,

for them, smack worryingly of socialism. “I was all for universal healthcare. That was because I was ignorant”, explains Cooper. When did she turn against the healthcare reforms? Upon the realisation that taxes would have to increase to provide them. Never mind that she would no longer have to pay for health insurance herself.

The slogan of many Americans constitutes 'looking after number one' The slogan of many American people constitutes ‘looking after number one’; taxation and social responsibility have the potential to infringe on individual liberties. And it is individual liberties that are paramount in America’s national psyche. An online article produced at the time of the election paints Obama as about as left-wing as Stalin and is just as suspicious of him. “Those who care less about looking politically correct than preserving the free market individualism that’s made this country great have to start calling things by their proper name to avert long-term disaster” argues the jour-

nalist in question. According to him the ‘proper name’ presumably refers to the dreaded c-word…communism. American anathema of communism is impossible to underestimate. It’s not only related to their foundation of liberal freedom (ie. the freedom to not be taxed for the benefit of others) but also the Cold War and subsequent McCarthyism. Governor McCarthy’s trials for anyone associated with leftwing politics in the 1950s have left deep wounds in the American psyche, which Obama’s policies are opening once more. My favourite gem from ‘Obama and Me’ was a man with a pronounced Southern drawl declaring that “If I’d say the antichrist could come from this nation I’d almost say he was it.” This was the cause of much hilarity in my household. However, it is indicative of just what Obama is up against; so strong is the fear of socialist leanings, even amongst those who would benefit from it most. How strange then that America has had such a special relationship with Britain, which has been under the rule of a supposedly socialist party since Tony Blair came to power with New Labour in 1997. Clause IV of the United Kingdom Labour Party Constitution was revised in 1995 and, despite aiming to position the party more centrally, opens with the line “The Labour Party is a

democratic socialist party”. If more American citizens were aware of this clause, would there be open revolt next time Barack visits Gordon? Somehow Britain has avoided the belief that a Welfare state is merely the beginning of a slippery slope ending in five-year plans and Gulag labour camps. Yet this is the argument of those in the Tea Party movement, many of whom at the protest shown in the documentary waved placards with the sentiment ‘We are the USA not the USSR’. Obama needs to be given more time to prove his worth as President. In American politics few policies are carried through quickly and the man being touted as the new JFK cannot be effectively judged until the end of his first term. Whilst Kennedy has essentially been canonised by the US public for policies remarkably similar to Obama’s, the current President hasn’t had the benefit of being assassinated before actually carrying out any reforms. Barack Obama’s biggest challenge now is to dissuade the USA from its crippling fear of social responsibility before he can achieve an effective welfare state. Given the views expressed by his alleged supporters in ‘Obama and Me’, it will be a long struggle.




e b o T . . . . K N A R F !



li ! Frank



This sh*t just got serious I

hope you had a good Christmas. I hope that your exams and coursework went well. But most of all, I hope you enjoyed last term, because – excuse my coarseness – this shit’s about to get serious. ! ! " ! ! clarify that for a moment. I, like many of you, am a third year student; and unless you do a non-humanities degree (read: anything actually valuable to society) that tends to mean the big one. Final year. The end of an era. Insert cliché here. I don’t mean to sound like some old man, but for those of you lucky ! to still be in first or second year, enjoy it while you can. I know how vacuous that sounds, and I sincerely apologise, but I have rarely written anything more heartfelt or honest in my meagre time writing this column. Third year does not just mean dissertations and actually having to take exams seriously to redeem yourself for lackadaisical performance in earlier years. This term is spent frantically typing up CVs and scouring the internet for graduate jobs, or breaking down into floods of tears in the Careers Service, clawing at their feet and sobbing ‘Why, why did I do Cultural Criticism?’ I do English Literature. I’ve genuinely written essays analyzing Harry Potter. I know. I’m sorry. And luckily for ‘the class of 2010’ we happen to be graduating in perhaps the worst economic climate for decades. Jobs, even for experienced, proper adults, are few and far between; let alone those for a fresh faced Cardiff graduate whose real, quantifiable skills can only be demonstrated in a pub. Perhaps this is why, over the last couple of years, the phenomenon that I shall describe as ‘extended youth’ (for lack of a wittier label) has become so prominent. More and more students are shying away from the real world and getting a real job, in favour of taking gap years or staying on into postgraduate courses. And who can blame them? After all, in a world crowded with graduates but sparse in job vacancies, it is becoming more and more difficult for people of our age to differentiate themselves and get the job they deserve. Degrees are now utterly ubiquitious. What once would have made you stand out,

Graduation took a strange turn when the hats didn't come back down again is now just a box the HR people tick so that your CV isn’t chucked in the bin at first glance. Did you know that one in seven students now graduates with a 1st, and 48% with a 2:1 (Higher Education Statistics Agency)? Combined that is 62% of graduates. Get less than that, and I hate to say it, but university for you was probably just a massive waste of time and money. After all, 1.14 million students started at university in the academic year 2008-09 (dear employer: note use of statistics). Securing a job after university has descended into some huge parody of Where’s Wally – the big question then, is where is your red and white stripy jumper? See that? Metaphor. I can’t say I’m any better. Like I said, I study Literature – and I’m about as good at that as I am at writing these overly self-deprecating columns. To employers, I stand out as much as a twat on the Tory front bench. Like that? Politics. Not just an average face. The sad reality is that although we may have just limped out of recession, the downturn is likely to continue for some time to come. To break out an-

other journalistic cliché, we’re not out of the woods yet. Indeed, as I’m writing this another load of job cuts has been announced by Toyota.

To employers, I stand out as much as a twat on the Tory front bench It seems like there are a few limited choices. Firstly, we can give in, and embrace the cocoon of drinking and debt that is university life by staying on for a postgraduate course. Postgraduate schemes are becoming more popular during the downturn due to the stagnant jobs market and the sheer unwillingness of students to grow up. Too many of us are still denying the existence of the real world – even now, I talk to students in my year who still have no idea what they are going to do after university. No wonder there has been a huge increase in the number of people in their mid twenties still living with their parents. There are some large flaws with this option. For one, the huge, crippling cost of many postgraduate

schemes, mounted on top of close to £25,000 of undergraduate debt, means that many postgrads leave university with debt close to £40,000 and still no guarantee of a job. Whilst that is terrifying for an individual, I can’t help but think that there is no wonder we are in such an economic crisis when young people are starting their adult lives with such little appreciation for the true value of money. God knows what the national deficit will be like when our generation runs the country. The other approach is the ‘year out’. This usually entails getting a mundane, part-time job in order to fund frivolous travel around (if you’re going with the stereotype) Southeast Asia, or perhaps Australasia (hey employer, still with me? Look, geography!). Now, as much as I would love to travel those countries, and have the ability to take a ‘year out’ (although, a ‘year out’ surely entails you should be doing something after?) but I lack the financial stability to pursue such an undertaking. And I don’t mean to be harsh, but since when is travel, culture, ‘finding yourself’, an individual right? Why is the pursuit of once only the super-rich, now seen as the done

thing? It is symptomatic of today’s culture in which the twenties are the new teenage years. “Relationships, jobs, marriage? I’ll do that in my thirties.” When did this become acceptable, even normal? The last choice, the most serious, solemn and perhaps the most unusual, is to actually bite the bullet. To knuckle down, send off CVs and canvass for real employment. To actually start thinking about a career path, of setting goals, of paying taxes and all that adult stuff too boring to be shown on E4. It may seem soul-sapping to some, but in reality, is it that bad? Surely, this depressing time of year should be filled with excitement and optimism? Finally, we are shaking off the shackles of education that have hampered us since toddler age to take our first real steps out into the big wild world. Now is finally our chance to become who we are meant to be. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve absolutely loved university. My three short years at Cardiff have been, by far, the best in my young life and have given me memories to treasure forever. But the time has come. It’s time for us to grow up.





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New Year ’s resIt's everyone’s favourite r see it through ve olution, although most ne we're determined past February. This year regime a little bit to stick to the new fitness -March. Why the longer - at least until mid renewed determination? a hit us when the A cheeky bit of karm . when the stairs t.. lights went out in the lif . were two minutes away ing Up: February Estimated Date of Giv 2nd

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Wrong. We had a Simple enough, right? for inspiration. Choose e bl Bi e th at ok lo ky ee ch any one of the following: y/girlfriend - stop cheating on your bo ate's food - don't steal your housem a little bit - don't murder. Not even n - call home every so ofte r words, keep to the ea sw e en sc ob g in us d oi - av golden oldies stard - generally don't be a ba uary 14th

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ter - around Easter la es m co at th e, lif on Not years on graduation. exam times, or for third nasty vices, drinking Instead, give up those already written about excluded because we've ah, that one. that down there. See? Ye ey on clothes, smokon m g tin as w s it' er th he W drugs, when you think ing, or (sshh, don't tell) ly give you very little about it, addictions actual te of time. Time that and are essentially a was her delightful suggesot e es th ith w d le fil be n ca tions. g Up: February 18th Estimated Date of Givin

Try new things

! our girlfriend/boyfriend will definitely appreciate it (giggedy). Sexual innuendo (in endo! Waahey!...sorry) aside, a new year is the perfect time to try new things. If you missed Refresher's Week, not to worry - it's never to late to get involved with a new sport, society, or heck, perchance even student media. Estimated Date of Giving Up: Whichever date you sustain an injury

Spend more time in the library work hard, Here at gair rhydd we’re big fans of the that's a bit of a play hard mentality. Well actually, e come back lie. Still, after Christmas most of us hav library all term with optimistic ideas of living in the and being all intellectual. tty dull, but The fact remains that the library is pre xt time you're it can be brightened up slightly. Ne r laptop. Put in the library, listen to music on you them in. Enjoy your headphones on – but don't plug k all confused the angry looks from others, then loo in. when someone comes over to compla ry 7th

Estimated Date of Giving Up: Februa

Cut down on your drinking Fed up of waking up feeling horrendous after a big night out? Want to minimise the damage to your body? Start cutting down on your alcohol intake! Try and have a few nights where you drink only soft drinks. On nights when you are drinking, make sure you eat well during the day, and alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks. Oh, who are we kidding? For your first trip to the Union, start with some lemonade… then get just as smashed as you normally do. Some New Year’s resolutions were never going to happen. Estimated Date of Giving Up: Yesterday



! ! ! ! Y! " # , new love? ear and decade are upon us - is it time to bag yourself a soulmate? Features sum up relationships on one little page... Robin Morgan Features Editor Relationships. Just about everyone’s at them these days. Russell Brand’s even getting married! Clearly they’re very fashionable. I’ve therefore decided to embark on the journey of a lifetime. They’ll probably make a film about this. I’m going to get a girlfriend. I’ve already got one. It’s all new and exciting and blah blah blah. But this isn’t about me being irresistible to women (that’s next week’s feature); this is all about new relationships, and the follies and failures that are involved with them.

! ! ! onset of a new relationship? A first proper one, a rebound, a bet-gonewrong – they’re all different types of the most complicated form of human interaction. Except working out how to win on Goldenballs. You never know what those bastards are going to do. How do we go from being single entities completely independent of anyone, and then boom, and you’re tied down forever. There must be certain platforms and familiar surroundings for these atrocities to happen. And there are. Take ITV1’s brilliantly-horrible Take Me Out. Paddy ‘fan of Greggs’ McGuiness steps into Cilla Black’s shoes to help out the single folk

of Blighty get a date. Of course, it should really be called ITV1’s Slags and Twats. An assortment of ‘Slags’ decide whether to put out on a first date with a ‘Twat’ each week. Family viewing. But that’s not the typical formation of a student relationship. If only it was. I’m sure more of the student body would be in a relationship, or at least getting on another student body. Geddit? Yeah? Wordplay. Being in a relationship is not all holding hands and fun super-couple names like Brangelina and... Jedward. It’s bloody hard at times. Mostly before it’s all got off the ground. You would not believe the stress that is involved because of one, tiny decision.

You all know what I’m talking about: Facebook - that perpetual waste of time. Calling someone your ‘girlfriend’ is now only really acceptable if you are ‘In a Relationship’ on a social networking site. If you’re not ‘’Facebook official’’... my God. What is wrong with you? What a dysfunctional couple you are! You must really hate each other. Is he sleeping around? Is it Complicated? Then that’s what ‘In a Complicated Relationship’ is for, you fool. Of course, this might just be a stressful experience for me. I’m quite an awkward person. Personally, I prefer being in a relationship. Mainly because there’s no pressure attributed to you on nights out.

Calling someone your girlfriend isn't acceptable until you're "Facebook official" Wasn’t it all simpler in Year 4, when the furthest things went was holding hands on a bench? If you kissed a girl you were pretty much a king amongst men. Or gay. I can never remember when that shift between liking girls meant you were gay or a lad. I hope I’ve got it right now. But anyway, how do you deal with

Daniella Graham Features Editor It’s that difficult time of year again - the post-Christmas, preValentine’s Day break-up season. If you are in a long distance relationship, the long awaited Christmas reunion might have proved a disappointment - that awful Christmas gift was the final straw - or the distance during the Christmas break might have proved too much for your university relationship. Whatever the reason for your break up, whether you were going out for three weeks, three months, or three years, the initial period after a relationship ends can feel like the worst time in the world. You become a walking cliché - crying at sad songs on the radio, glaring at couples that are actually happy and sobbing in to your Ben and Jerry’s whilst poring over photos of you and your ex. There are many ways people deal with the break up of a relationship. Most of these involve embarrassing yourself, exasperating your friends

It’s a rare occasion that I would pull in clubs anyway, since I look like I’m constantly out on geek fancy dress, but the fact that there is no need to jump on another drunk person on a night out certainly puts things in perspective. Like just how noisy those places are. Mid-life crisis, here I come. I’m generally better in a relationship also. My girlfriend would probably disagree. But ignore her, she’s a liar. See, it’s that kind of affection and care that makes me a great boyfriend. God she's a lucky girl. Of course there are always potholes you’ve got to look out for whilst in a new relationship. They can usually be attributed to ‘First Girlfriend Syndrome’, a horrible disorder that sees you disregard all your friends and spend every waking moment with your new bit of fluff in the perpetual fear that they will realise how shit you are if you ever leave. See also: clinginess. Another is the relationship starting just before any holiday or birthday. Do you buy them Christmas presents? How many? A big one then lots of little ones? A mix-tape? Just a card? What if they don’t get you anything? It’s enough stress to warrant being single forever. But maybe that’s just me. See also: overanalyses. I jest, of course. If you’ve already impressed and irritated someone enough to make them your better half: kudos. If not, give that Paddy McGuiness a call, he’s a real Cupid.

phone conversation mainly consists of you incoherently babbling about how much you miss them, and begging them to take you back. If this doesn’t work, sometimes practical measures are necessary - a friend of mine once chased her ex down the road shouting ‘I love you’ after him. Astonishingly, it did not work. and ultimately doing nothing to aid the healing process, but they seem like a good idea at the time so we all do them anyway. For both males and females, when a break up is announced, friends of the newly-single person gather together to show their support. They then offer an array of morale-boosting comments such as, “I never really liked him”, “I always thought she was a bit of a slag to be honest”, “you can do so much better” and the perennial favourite, “there’s plenty more fish in the sea.” It is then obligatory to get drunk, and this is where problems arise. After a few drinks and repetition of such rousing mantras as “who needs menthey’re all shit” (girls/gay men only) and “sod it - now you can pull whoever you want” (universal), the newly-

single one and their companions leave the house. After a few more drinks, the fun and games begin. In a bid to prove how great being single is, it is obligatory to pounce on the next guy/girl who shows any interest. Often, to further prove that they are most definitely better off without their ex, the newly-single one may call said ex to inform them of how they are moving on with someone who is much more attractive in Tiger Tiger. These drunken hook-ups normally end in a mixture of embarrassment, humiliation and regret. More so when you wake up to the realisation that the anonymous one night stand is actually in all of your lectures, and so you end up spending the rest of the year going to lectures late to minimise eye con-

tact potential. Another key part of post-break up drinking is realising that surprisingly, after five double vodkas, you’re not over your ex yet. This leads to drunken reminiscing about the ‘good times’ whilst sobbing uncontrollably. You remember all the amazing things you did together and how brilliant they were, conveniently forgetting that time she systematically insulted all of your best friends at that party, or that time he didn’t even give you a card on your birthday because he ‘didn’t think you were bothered by such trivial things.' Suddenly you have no idea why you broke up, and feel the need to talk to your ex about it. Because you have consumed copious amounts of alcohol, it’s difficult to frame your argument clearly, so the

To prove how great being single is, it's obligatory to pounce on the nearest person So what to do to resolve this heartbreak? If this was a women's magazine I'd say be positive, allow yourself time to mourn your relationship and use your newly-free diary to do something productive. But this is a student newspaper so no one really cares about that shit. So just cry a bit then go get drunk – just make sure someone confiscates your phone first.



A year in the life of Barack Obama As Barack Obama celebrates a year as the most powerful man on Earth, Sohaib Khan ponders whether it's really been a success


n the recent election in Massachusetts the Democrats lost a Senate seat they had held for more than half a century. This was by no means a welcome present on the first anniversary of the Obama Administration. Republican Scott Brown defeated Democratic candidate Martha Coakley by a five percent margin to win a seat previously occupied by the late Ted Kennedy. Mr Brown’s victory serves as an alarm bell for both Democrats and President Obama, with mid-term elections approaching. Mr Brown’s election has also deprived the Democrats of their filibuster-proof supermajority in the senate, sending the Healthcare Reform Bill into peril. To convert the healthcare reform bill into a law, Democrats need 60 votes. They now have 59. Republicans, vehemently opposed to the legislation, can employ delaying tactics and send to ruins one of Obama’s key campaign promises. The Republican win screams out the ever declining support for Democrats since Obama took office. From an approval rating of 70% in February last year to a little over 50% at the moment, Obama is clearly struggling in the polls. But the anger of Massachusetts’s voters and frustration of American in general was not totally unexpected. Thanks to the Bush Administration’s hopeless two terms and the “hopeful” promises of Obama, his presidential campaign skyrocketed American’s expectations. Certainly 12 months is not enough to

“right the wrongs” of the previous eight years. Even more so when the current White House inherited the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, two wars and extra-ordinary foreign policy challenges in the Middle East.

Americans doubt Obama's effect on their day-to-day lives Whilst Obama has done most of what he promised on Economic Recovery and Health Care, he has yet to accomplish anything on foreign policy. When Obama took office, half a million Americans had lost jobs, home foreclosures across the United States were on the rise and the future of the banking system was in doubt. The Obama administration, with its initial $787 billion dollar stimulus package, rescued failing mortgage lenders and pumped money into financial institutions for economic stabilization. Experts say that the Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has saved hundreds of businesses from bankruptcy, saved millions of jobs and slowed down home foreclosures. But Republicans have criticized the Administration for its massive spending. The United States Federal deficit is projected at $1.35 trillion this year and this has alarmed voters. Although the Economic Recovery programs did save the US

economy from free fall, this has yet to translate into jobs for ordinary Americans. Current unemployment rates hover at 10% and voters are worried that the stimulus package rescued Wall Street but not created jobs for those out of w ork. Republicans are capitalizing on the huge pile of public

OBAMA: A good year?

debt and the unemployment rate to steer voters against the White House. Successive US presidents have tried to reform the health sector in the US. In the US there is no universal health coverage. Barack Obama made healthcare reform one of his top policy priorities and if the law is passed it could provide health insurance to more than 30 million Americans. However, the program does have its critics, who say reform is expensive and increases the role of big government. Charming on the surface, Obama’s approach to foreign policy has been pragmatic but he has yet to deliver any meaningful results. Although Obama ordered the closure of Guantanamo Bay two days after taking office, there remain a couple of hundred prisoners at Camp Delta. In June 2009, Obama delivered a much-anticipated speech in Cairo in an attempt to improve the United States’ standing in the Muslim world. He reaffirmed his belief in the “unbreakable” alliance between the US and Israel but at the same time called for a halt to

further Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The intensified bilateral talks between George Mitchell (US Special Envoy to the Middle East) and the Israeli authorities put pressure on the Israeli Prime Minister as he announced a 10-month freeze on settlements. In December last year, Obama announced he was sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan to intensify the war against Al-Qaida and the Taliban. At the same time, he indicated an exit strategy for US troops by 2011 when Afghan forces would be able to take control and maintain security. If Obama’s policies in Afghanistan result in a political settlement and American troops are pulled out he could secure significant number of votes in the next elections.

The Republicans are on the rebound and Obama faces many challenges After a year in office Obama is under a mountain of challenges. Republicans are on the rebound as Scott Brown’s victory has shown. Meanwhile, the White House is struggling with health care reform, job creation and problems in the Af-Pak region. 12 months might be a pre mature time to judge Obama but his policies, domestic and foreign, have shown more of the realist Obama than the idealist presidential candidate he once was.

Afghanistan? That's so 2009...

Yemen has been forced onto the agenda by a man with a bomb in his pants. David Rogers tells us why we should pay attention


ecently featured in the press for its alleged terrorist training camps, Yemen is also a strategically vital country for other western interests in the Middle East. to its position in the Gulf of Aden and its border with Saudi Arabia, the impoverished Islamic state is ideally situated to control access to the Red Sea, and therefore the Suez canal to the north, much like nearby war-torn Somalia. As reports continue to focus on terrorism in the region, America may be in a position to manufacture the consent it needs to step up its involvement there. Yemen has so far mostly been reported only in the context of Islamic student Umar Farouk Mutallab’s attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner and his radicalisation there during a visit to the country in 2004. However, recent evidence has surfaced that shows that the US has been

fighting a covert war inside Yemen for at least the last year. US sources at the time indicate a withholding of information, including a governmentfunded Congressional Service Report in July 2009 which claimed there was a ‘lack of interest in Yemen with in the broader foreign policy community’. But the then-classified US involvement before and after the claim was made contradicts this assertion. American operations also intensified, becoming public, albeit underreported, knowledge immediately before the bombings took place. On December 18, a week before the bombing, Nobel Peace Prize-winner President Obama ordered cruise missile strikes in Yemen following a week of attacks, according to ABC News. This happened a day before the US State Department issued a strenuous denial of strikes reported to be carried out by American fighter jets that killed 120 people, claiming ‘We do not have

a military role in this conflict’. The conflict to which the State Department representative J. P. Crowley was referring to in was the Saudi campaign against Yemeni-based Houthi rebels, which had also increased in violence that week. Saudi Arabia, as a client state to the US, is also usefully placed to act as a proxy for Americanfunded operations in the area. The

SANA'A: Capital city of Yemen

reported objectives of the operations are the stamping out of terrorism, but the strikes can also be interpreted as attempting to protect the important oil trading routes through the Red Sea, which is a joint concern of both nations as well as the Saudis. Over the last few weeks there has been speculation as to whether Yemen might become ‘The next Afghani-

stan’, although considering how overstretched the US Armed Forces are, analysts argue that it is unlikely that the US has the resources for a conventional, full scale deployment. Despite this, the American government has now earmarked 50 million dollars in aid to Yemen during 2010, as well as Pentagon spending of 70 million on strategic operations, according to The Australian. The attempted airline attacks during Christmas might be enough for the US government to justify spending yet more taxpayer dollars in the Middle East, on a country which most Americans, thanks to their underfunded education system, are unlikely to even be able to find on a map. Considering America’s beleaguered economy, 120 million dollars of government spending on Yemen indicates that the US has a serious interest in escalating its operations in the Persian Gulf.


Politics fails in Northern Ireland

STORMONT: Seat of the Northern Ireland Assembly


ast week Gordon Brown was forced to admit defeat in the latest round of talks in the political history of Northern Ireland. The talks, which centre on the transfer of policing and justice away from Westminster to the Northern Ireland Assembly in Belfast, had been teetering on the brink of failure for some time. This is why Brown, with his Irish counterpart, Brian Cowen, made an unexpected visit. Both know

that failure on such a contentious issue is not an option and that they should step in to avoid collapse. The devolution of policing and justice is a highly divisive topic. Sinn Fein, the Republican party that seeks to establish a united Ireland, has been waiting three years for policing and justice to be devolved and considers it to be of symbolic importance - they could then claim that Britain is gradually pulling out of Ireland. The Democratic Unionist Party

(DUP), meanwhile, has been stalling. They want Northern Ireland to remain a part of Britain, and have been refusing to agree, claiming that there is not enough community confidence to support the proposals. The talks failed on Thursday last week: Brown and Cowen were forced to admit defeat and return to their respective capitals. The leaders of the Northern Irish parties were left trading insults over who was to blame. Brown claims that all is not lost,

and that he will continue to work for a solution from afar, but, given the acrimonious way in which the talks broke up, it is unlikely that a solution will be reached soon as both sides have since reiterated their stances and seem unlikely to change their minds. This is a shame, because the failure of these talks could have a devastating impact on the future of Northern Ireland. If no deal is reached the powersharing deal could collapse and the prospect of direct rule would loom

ever larger. This could have serious consequences for Northern Ireland. The last time direct rule was imposed Northern Ireland became a battleground for violent extremists. The failure of these talks has proved that the politicians of Northern Ireland are putting themselves and their petty differences before the welfare of the people of Northern Ireland. They have demonstrated that they do not deserve the political power that they seek. This is politics at its worst.

! " # $ % # $ & ' ( ) & * % ) + & , + - . % / ! " # Ali

! " # Jamwal explains ! " ! ! # # y who Ali is and why his death is important to the U tates of America Ht t a -Ma x, he ae nal cousin of Saddam Hussein who held many important posts in the Ba ath party, was executed on January 25. ! he was known, was found guilty of crimes against humanity for the 1988 chemical weapons siege on the Kurdish town of Halabja in northern Iraq. Iraqi jets sprayed the town with a lethal cocktail of mustard gas and nerve agents, leaving 5000 people dead. The sentence was the fourth death sentence passed against Majid by the tribunal formed in 2004 ! try officials of the Saddam Hussein regime. In June 2007, Majid was given a death sentence for ordering the Anfal campaign in 1988 when he was the governor of northern Iraq. Under the pretence of a counter-insurgency operation to eradicate Kurdish rebels, the campaign entailed the extermination of the Kurdish population of northern Iraq and led to the destruction of 2000 villages and the death of

180,000 civilians. In December 2008, he was found guilty of brutally crushing the 1991 revolt in the south and Kurdish revolt in the north which began after the Iraqi army was ousted from Kuwait by the US led international military coalition at the end of the Gulf War. The revolt began when the rebels took control of 14 of Iraq’s 18 provinces, taking advantage of the Iraqi army’s demoralized state after their defeat but the lack of organization and leadership in the rebel initiative gave the army time to recuperate. As the nation’s Defence Minister, Majid mobilized soldiers, tanks and gunships to suppress the revolt through indiscriminate killings. The revolt was quickly defeated and the dead were buried in mass graves which were later discovered by American forces after the Iraq invasion in 2003. In March 2009, Majid was convicted with others of ordering the Iraqi military to open fire on Shiites in the Sadr city district of Baghdad and

the city of Najaf in 1999. The victims were protesting against the Ba’ath regime for its alleged hand in the assassination of prominent Shia cleric, Mohammed Sadeq al-Sadr. Over 100 protestors were killed. With three life sentences heaped against him, Majid’s death penalty was delayed as it was necessary to charge him with the Halabja chemical

Chemical Ali

attack. With a coalition government now operating through the slow transition from American control, Majid’s execution is seen as a move towards national reconciliation, delivering justice to both victimized communities after a prolonged delay. That said, the media and political rhetoric surrounding the brutalities overlook the nefarious role of the United States. In December 2005, Frans Van Anraat, a Dutch businessman, was found guilty of war crimes for brokering a deal for 1,100 tons of thiodiglycol between the Ba’ath regime and US based chemical company, Alcolac Inc. Thiodiglycol is a chemical compound crucial in the production of mustard gas which was used against the Iraqi Kurds in the Anfal campaign. While Van Anraat was given a 17-year prison sentence, Alcolac Inc. payed a fine after being found in breach of US export laws and denied any direct business relations in Iraq. There were no criminal convictions against any of its operating executives.

Before the 1991 Shia and Kurdish revolt, George Bush Sr. appealed to Iraqi citizens through a Voice of America radio announcement to overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime. The rebels subsequently began engaging in a revolt, hoping for American military support. But after the ceasefire at the end of February between the international coalition and the Iraqi army, the military support never came and the unorganized rebellion was brutally quashed. The trial and execution of Saddam’s former minister and cousin, and the rhetoric surrounding it, seems to serve a dual purpose for the United States. On one hand it paves the way for democratic harmony in Iraq, improving the conditions for peace and the eagerly awaited troop withdrawals. On the other hand it attempts to wipe clean the nation’s bloody interventionist past, turning it into a future beacon of justice and democracy. This really is political calculation at its best.




the Comments from the week’s news, opinion, features and sport at An appeal from UNISON Dear Reader, Local councils across the country are introducing a new system called ‘direct payments’, to give people cash to spend on the care they need. UNISON is worried that some councils are rushing these changes through, which could leave vulnerable elderly or disabled people struggling to cope. Staff providing care will also see big changes. We want to hear your stories about care you or someone you know receives, or if you provide care. We want to hear the good and the bad, whether you, or someone you know already receives a direct payment or not. For more details of the type of story we are looking for please see our website: localgov/cashforcare.asp .You can also email us at or write to us at Local Government, UNISON, Freepost WC5652, London, WC1H 9BR. Many thanks, Heather Wakefield UNISON Head of Local Government

Gherkin' off - just a few of the 93 comments... Charlie Woollcombe-Adams Yet another seemingly poor effort at bringing disrepute to IMG Rugby by the Gair Rhydd. Despite Olly Birrell clearly stating ENGIN RFC is not recognised by the University or the Athletic Union, you persisted in this pointless article and

as usual continue to bar IMG Rugby from ever becoming a part of Cardiff University again, and render all the players’ efforts superfluous. Jonathan Did we really need to see these pictures. You stop me eating my Sunday lunch. Jamie Charlie – could you point to any other attempts to bring IMG rugby into disrepute? Nowhere do we even mention IMG in the article. I know we’ve run a few stories on rugby this year, but to be honest if rugby players didn’t put things up their bums or be idiots in Solus they wouldn’t be in the paper. If any other team did things like this it’d be on the front page. Jonny Evans No fresher is ever forced to take part in activities that they do not wish to, with the vast majority thoroughly enjoying the night. I’m positive if you ask all of the freshers whether or not they wish initiation had occurred this year, they would all vote to have kept it. Just to point out, no Engin fresher was ever asked to insert a gherkin up their anus, but to simply hold it between their cheeks. It is simply speculation that these boys recieved food poisoning from the initiation. There were boys who didn't take part in initiation who also had the same food poisoning. I have been told that one thing that all of the boys did have in common was that they all ate in Trevithick. Funnily enough, theres no story about

that. Oli Franklin Charlie: I’m sorry, but can you point to one part of the story that ‘brings IMG into disrepute?’ The story clearly informs the reader that ENGIN is not IMG affliated. Indeed, the majority of writers at the gair rhydd have been supportive of IMG and have Sport have featured more than one comment supporting it this term. Gair Rhydd is Cardiff’s student newspaper. Our job is to inform the student body about what is happening in Cardiff. This story informs people of what is a pretty shocking incident performed by students. The article, as with all our content, conforms to the principles of journalistic construct (that by the way has us recognised as one of the best student media organisations in the country). If you wanted to write an article about IMG, we actively encourage writers. I openly invite you to submit an article : our email address is, and pieces should be no shorter than 500 words. Put your money where your mouth is, as I think the saying goes. Terrence Henry Jamie – well said. Charlie – you cannot avoid something like this. The Gair Rhydd is for the students, who have a right to be informed on everything in & around the University. Engin can’t do these things and expect them to go unnoticed. To be honest, since starting on at the uni, I’ve heard my fair share of horror stories about initiation and this is up there. Seriously, where is the fun in making people eat things which


have been stuck up someone’s arse? It’s pretty shocking banter. It seems clubs/teams like Engin who seem to have a somewhat noteworthy reputation for initiations seriously need to be challenged on these issues. They go way beyond the realm of fun, rather, they just abuse those involved and its just not funny. I myself am a member of a sports team and of course peer pressure encourages things that perhaps the person wouldn’t do normally, but there’s a line. Now of an IMG team made up of mates, it’s more enjoyable. As all in the same year, there’s no 2nd or 3rd year on their imagined throne to bully those they think are inferior to them, such as 1st years. Sticking things up arses etc is not funny, it’s humiliating. It’s pretty sad these people stoop to things so harmful and humiliating for laughs. Helen Jonny Evans - “Just to point out, no Engin fresher was ever asked to insert a gherkin up their anus, but to simply hold it between their cheeks.” Oh well if they only had to hold it between there arse cheeks and then eat it, that’s ok. Ram What I don’t understand is why you are all making such a big deal about this…? How does this effect your lives in any way? What happened at initiation only affects the ENGIN boys!! Jamie “It is simply speculation that

these boys recieved food poisoning from the initiation. There were boys who didn’t take part in initiation who also had the same food poisoning.” Speculation that is being investigated by Cardiff Council. “I have been told that one thing that all of the boys did have in common was that they all ate in Trevithick. Funnily enough, theres no story about that.” If anyone from the rugby team had actually agreed to talk to us rather than maintain an organised silence, maybe there would be a story about that. Jedward ENGIN ARMY!!! Sara I can’t help but feel that whilst this should probably have received some coverage, it certainly doesn’t deserve to be a front page story, particularly with those gratuitous pictures. Slow news week? Jonny Evans Jamie – its not the initiation that is being investigated by Cardiff Council, it is the food poisoning that is being investigated. This includes other sources that the boys had in common. Also, there was no ‘organised silence’ some of the senior members of the team recieved an email on the Wednesday and a reply was sent back to Emma by the Friday which appeared to be ignored... Go to to read the debate go on. NEWS, LIVE DEBATE, FEATURES, SPORT, QUENCH, EXCLUSIVE CONTENT AND MORE

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War! What is it good for? Cynan Llwyd

Taf-od Writer Dim owns o ddim yn fy marn i. Hen beth sydd wedi hir greithio hanes dynoliaeth yw rhyfel. Ymddengys ei bod hi'n amhosib i ni fyw mewn heddwch y dyddiau yma. Ond y cwestiwn mawr ydy 'a oes modd cyfiawnhau rhyfel'? Oes medd rhai, nac oes medd eraill. Ond sut? I rai, mae rhyfel yn fodd o anghyfiawnder mewn gwlad arall - trechu gormeswr megis Hitler. Weithiau mae'n fodd o gyfnewid crefydd gwlad gyda chrefydd arall, cymerwch y Croesgadau fel enghraifft o hyn. Weithiau mae'n fodd o ddiogelu eich gwlad rhag Arfau Dinistr Difrifol, dyma oedd cymhelliad Bush a Blair yn Irac. Ond fel yr ydym yn ei weld a'i ddarllen yn y wasg ar hyn o bryd, nid oedd Arfau Dinistr Difrifol ar gyfyl y lle. Rhyfel Cyfiawn oedd hi felly? Hmmmm, no way. Cyfiawnder sydd yn trechu anghyfiawnder. Yw rhyfel yn ffurf o gyfiawnder? Theori sydd yn perthyn i'r byd gorllewinol ydy Rhyfel Cyfiawn, a dyna ni wedi dod o hyd i achos pen-

naf rhyfeloedd, o bosib – crefydd. Datblygwyd y syniad yn bennaf gan y diwinyddion clasurol, dynion fel Awstin o Hippo (354-430) a Thomos Acwin (1225-1274). Dadleuant fod modd mynd i ryfel os oedd gennych reswm teilwng (Jus ad bellum), a bod yn rhaid rhyfela yn y dull cywir (Jus in bello). Diwinyddion a meddylwyr Cristnogol a wnaeth gyfraniad pwysig mewn meysydd eraill, ond fel Cristion o argyhoeddiad, ni allaf i gytuno a hwy ar y pwnc yma. Rwy'n derbyn y ffaith mai crefydd yw un o brif achosion rhyfeloedd ac yn digalonni wrth glywed Bush yn datgan ei fod yn ymladd dros ac yn enw Duw. Rwyf innau yn Gristion yn hytrach na chrefyddwr. I ddweud y gwir, mae’n gas gen i grefydd! Dilyn person penodol yr wyf innau yn ei wneud, a'r person hwnnw yw Iesu Grist o Nasareth. Efe yw canolbwynt y ffydd Gristnogol, ac efe sydd a'r awdurdod uchaf. Canolbwyntiaf innau ar eiriau Iesu yn hytrach na datganiadau enwadau neu arweinwyr crefyddol a gwleidyddol. Y ffeithiau uchod credaf sydd wedi arwain rhai o heddychwyr amlycaf ein cenedl megis y beirniad / bardd / awdur Bobi Jones i ddatgan mai 'llofnod Satan yw rhyfel'

- dyn o eithafion yw efe! Wrth bwyso a mesur geiriau Iesu ni chredaf fod modd cyfiawnhau rhyfel. Rwyf am eich cyfeirio at ddau ddyfyniad enwog a lefarwyd ganddo. Rheol Aur moeseg Gristnogol yw ; 'Dylech chi bob amser drin pobl eraill fel byddech chi’n hoffi iddyn nhw eich trin chi' (Mathew 7:12. beibl. net). Mae'r ddysgeidiaeth a'r synnwyr tu ôl i'r gosodiad yma'n hynod o syml. Rwy'n cymryd yn ganiataol nad oes neb yn dymuno cael ei ladd neu ei anafau neu colli anwyliaid, felly pam achosi'r fath brofedigaeth i eraill? Yr ail osodiad yw; 'Rwyt i garu dy gymydog fel rwyt ti’n dy garu dy hun. (Marc 12:31. Annog a chlodfori brawdgarwch sydd i'w weld fan yma, y math frawdgarwch sydd yn amlwg yng ngherddi'r Crynwr heddychlon, Waldo Williams Barn Gristnogol sydd yma yn amlwg. Gall rywun arall gyflwyno'r ddadl ddyneiddiol secwlar o blaid heddychiaeth. Wrth ystyried geiriau Iesu yn unig, credaf nad oes modd cyfiawnhau rhyfel o unrhyw fath. Barn ddigyfaddawd rwy'n ei gyflwyno yma, mi wyddwn hynny. Beth am i rywun arall felly ymateb wythnos nesaf?

Milwyr yn Iraq

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



! " # $ % & ' ( $ % )* " # )" + , y that no deal would have been better than the Copenhagen Accord Jack Parker Reporter !

December saw one of the biggest political meetings in recent history as thousands of people from world leaders to environmental activists descended upon Copenhagen to discuss climate change. The nations of the world are in general agreement that action is required. Scientific reports, such as those published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are becoming overwhelmingly convincing that mankind is to blame for the current warming and that the effects will be severe. Due to the failure of previous global agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol, which applied only to a small range of nations leading up to 2012, it was clear that lengthy negotiations would be required to create a more widely accepted and conclusive climate

agreement. This is where Copenhagen steps in. The meeting aimed to create a legally binding deal which would force countries to gradually reduce CO2 emissions. However, the prospect of success was dampened from the offset due to a diverse range of desired outcomes and an inability to compromise.

It did not come as any great shock that Copenhagen failed to meet its aims China has agreed to reduce its emissions only in relation to economic growth, which would justify increased emissions over the next few decades. On the other hand, small island nations threatened by rising sea

levels urged for a policy that ensured global temperatures remain no more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels as opposed to the higher 2°C limit that many of the more influential nations aim towards. It did not come as any great shock to hear that the Copenhagen meeting failed to meet its aims and instead settled for ‘The Copenhagen Accord’, which involved various states, but not all, acknowledging the 2°C limit and vaguely promising to give financial aid to developing nations for green development. With such diverse expectations and ambitions on such an important topic, there was inevitably a wide range in levels of disappointment as the meeting came to a close. However some environmental groups have admitted that no deal may be better than a weak deal. Sebastian Power, a member of the Cardiff University Green Party who went to Copenhagen, said that “the

outcome was obviously a failure and very disappointing. But it’s probably just as well we didn’t legally bind ourselves to policies which could lead to a 3°C temperature rise. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to deal with both the urgency of a near future climate catastrophe and the massive systemic obstacles which continue to impede any meaningful agreement or action.” Copenhagen is now being viewed on the international arena as a starting place for future talks. Countries are in agreement that climate change needs to be on the imminent agenda and plans are already underway for the next major climate meeting in Mexico at the end of 2010. Scientific consensus insists that our ability to mitigate the effects of climate change rest upon the decisions made this year and whether or not world leaders listen and compromise instead of just talking.

'Plant food' popular party drug Nearly half of clubbers have tried mephedrone but most are unaware of its long term effects Amy Hall Science Editor Mephedrone has come out as the fourth most popular drug of the last month in a survey by clubbing magazine Mixmag. Mephedrone ranked behind cocaine, ecstasy and cannabis in the survey but it has gained popularity very quickly but there have been calls for the tightening up of restrictions on the drug including a petition by a Yorkshire newspaper to get the drug banned completely. It is illegal to advertise mephedrone for human consumption but web sites get round that by advertising it as ‘plant food’ and there are concerns over its safety as little research has been done into the the stimulant's long term effects, also know as ‘Meow’, ‘MCAT’, ‘Drone’ and ‘meph’. The online poll, conducted in conjunction with the National Addiction Centre, has added fuel to the debate around ‘legal highs’ many of which contain chemicals that have not been used as drugs before. 92% of people who answered the Mixmag survey bought their legal highs online. Angela* is a 25-year-old clubber and has taken mephedrone on four different occasions. She says she first took it because it was cheaper than cocaine and easy to get hold of. “On one occasion I had a really bad panic attack and couldn't breathe properly for about half an hour. My friend

MEPHEDRONE: New club favourite called an ambulance because I was gasping for breath and at the hospital I was told that severe panic attacks are a common side-effect of the drug. The paranoia usually lasts around three days, longer than I've ever experienced with any other drug.” “Just like coke it makes you more awake, energetic, and confident. I generally have lot more fun when I take it. The next day though the come down is totally not worth it." Mephedrone is usually snorted but can be taken in a pill or mixed into drinks. It is a derivative of Cathinone which is related to amphetamines like ecstasy and taking it is said to feel like a cross between this and cocaine. Sam* is a 19-year-old student who has taken mephedrone a few times, “I lost all inhibitions and felt as though I

could open up to my friends, more so than if I were sober, and felt completely at ease with my surroundings”. The short time side effects of mephedrone are reported to include, increased sex drive, excessive sweating, headaches and palpitations. Other users say they have suffered paranoia and sleep deprivation. Angela* says she will never take it again, “I've heard so many horror stories about people freaking out and its so new that no one really knows the long term effects. I'm not willing to risk it”. Sam* says paranoia around strangers is a particular problem, “In an environment with lots of people you don't know, like a club or a big party, the effects can become too overwhelming and you start to worry what people are

thinking of you, whether you look a mess, whether you're being judged etc. It's also extremely 'more-ish'. After the first line has kicked in you want to feel more and more euphoric. Once the effects start to wear off however, you wish to be back in the euphoric state that you were a while ago, so you end up taking more, which has no other purpose than add to the hell ride you're about to experience. “The major and most prolonged bad effect would probably be the come down. All you want to do is sleep but because the drug is still in your system this is impossible". The government has cracking down on ‘legal highs’ over the last year, making popular drugs such as BZP and GBL Class C. A new interim chair, Professor Le Iversen, has been appointed to the government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs after Professor David Nutt was controversially sacked last year and is thought to be making mephedrone one of his first priorities.

It's extremely 'more-ish' Home Secretary Alan Balls said, "The council's work continues, including a forthcoming assessment on the harms of the so-called 'legal high' mephedrone, following on from our control of GBL, BZP and others late last year." *names have been changed.

News in brief Newsbites MS treatment success Researchers studying a new oral treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) believe they may have made progress in the condition's treatment. Oral doses of fingolimod improved relapse rates in the study and lowered the risk of disability progression. Results from the trial were published in the New England Journal of Medicine last month. Dr. Doug Brown is from the MS Society, “This is great news for people with MS and signifies a shifting tide in the treatment of the condition. “Availability of oral therapies will give people greater choice and being able to take a tablet instead of unpleasant injections will come as welcome relief." Further research now needs to be done into possible long-term risks. Brain size the key to gaming How good you are at computer games could be determined by your brain size according to researchers in the USA. The scientists measured the size of different parts of particpants' brains and found they could predict how well an amateur player may do at a game. Players with a bigger nucleus accumbens, the part of the brain which looks after things like rewards, pleasure and addictions, performed the best at first but the best performers overall had bigger caudate and putamen sections, areas which have been linked to learning new skills and adapting to new environments. It is hoped that the research will help scientists gain a better understanding of differences in learning rates. Exaggeration on glacier shrinkage UN climate scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have admitted that they exaggerated how quickly the Himalayan glaciers are melting. The scientists said that a report stating that they could vanish by 2035 was an overstatement and that they are not disappearing as fast as was originality predicted. The Himalayan glaciers are vitally important to water supplies in China and India and the seasonal flows of water from the thaw is used for crop irrigation. Welsh crawfish fears There is concern over fallen numbers of crawfish in Welsh waters. Diving clubs around the country are being asked to record any sightings of them during dives and check back through their records for how much they have been seen in the past. Crawfish are also known as crayfish, spiny or rock lobster and until the 1970s were a common sight around the Welsh coast. The Welsh Biodiversity Partnership says that they have a vital role to play in marine ecosystems as one of the bigger predators and that there is great concern over their falling numbers.



Setting up shop Lowri Grove & Katie Greenway Jobs & Money

and information on costing, managing cashflow and dos and don'ts. For example, don't tie up too much of your money in stock and always research the market youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re hoping to sell to, This is the story of Lowri Grove, ask family and friends and send out a Cardiff graduate who opened an market research forms, and so on. independent store in partnership They continued to provide support with her mother. Her entrepre- throughout the whole setting up proneurial skills have proven fruitful cess and even called at the shop once as the store is up and running and we were open. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We agreed a loan to go towards receiving great feedback from the public in the middle of a recession. our start up costs. We also looked in to Read on and be inspired: proof of getting financial help from the Welsh how hard work, determination and Assembly Government, but unfortusometimes taking a chance can nately their grants for new businesses don't cover retail. really pay off. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The whole experience has been â&#x20AC;&#x153;I decided I'd like to open my own shop about a year ago. I had no plans a huge learning curve for me. It was to do it quickly â&#x20AC;&#x201C; it was more of a 'one hard work setting it all up, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s so day in the future' kind of idea,â&#x20AC;? says much to think about: finding a locaLooby Loo's Boutique is one of a kind tion, sourcing suppliers, advertising Lowri. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I graduated from Cardiff Univer- and promotion, sorting out the bills, extremely lucky, they'll need to learn a way that we feel pressured to jump in to graduate jobs or jobs that are sity with a BA in Journalism, Film and decorating the shop to just how you to do it all on a budget! â&#x20AC;&#x153;We've managed to achieve all deemed 'successful' as a way of provMedia but felt a bit lost after univer- like it, and the start up costs are pretty this in the face of a recession and the ing ourselves to society, our family sity and most of my experience was substantial. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But I've realised I can achieve opening of St David's 2. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like being and our friends. However, the sucin retail. I knew I didn't want to set up a shop on my own, the idea of do- more than I ever thought I could, and part of a community within the arcade cess stories that we hear about, and ing that seemed a bit daunting. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s I'm so lucky to have an amazing group too and I've been made to feel really the people that are truly successful are those who take a leap of faith in their where my mum came in, and we de- of family and friends around me welcome by the other traders. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The feedback we've been getting own ability, into something that will cided we'd do it together. She knew who've helped me so much. I couldn't from customers has been fantastic, enable their passion to drive them to much more than I did about the busi- have done it without them. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If someone were striving to do and I can't wait to see my shop be- success, rather than just being another ness side of things and I knew I could trust her 100%, so we started looking something similar to me I'd tell them come established as one of the best graduate on the production line of          not to go in to it lightly. They'll have independent shops to visit in Cardiff,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;successâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;.â&#x20AC;? in to things a bit more seriously. Consider the moral of this true sucâ&#x20AC;&#x153;We visited the Centre for Business to be committed and really passionate Lowri says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think we are brought up in such cess story and think about the things in Torfaen to get free, helpful advice about their vision. And unless they're

that you really want to do, regardless of whether it is conventional or not, because if it is something that you love, that you are willing to work hard at, the possibilities are endless and there are opportunities waiting for inspired people around every corner. Looby Loo's Boutique can be found at 16 High Street Arcade.


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It started with a kissy...



1st February ELEPHANTS + SUPPORT, CAI, £2/3 A tremendous four piece indie/pop band playing an exclusive set in the glorious Cardiff Arts Institute. Support from local heroes Cat Mouse Cat playing folky pop. The gig is completed by vibrant, youthful indie powerpop band, Farthing Wood. A wonderful mix of the finest moments of Idlewild, the Bluetones and early Strokes. TWENTY TWENTY, Clwb Ifor Bach, £6 Three guys based in Essex whose music tastes like an alcopop served on the rocks with a shot of vodka for that extra kick.

Kissy Sell Out was hyped up massively before his arrival at the Millennium Music Hall on Friday, and to be fair he and the night lived up to it. Though it cost some £12 a ticket, I’d certainly pay that again rather than take three separate trips to the likes of Tiger Tiger. You could purchase a drink without having your personal space invaded by another man's bearded blood sausage and there was… wait for it, actually room to bust some shapes. Kissy and co were technically sound, banging out all the tunes to keep the crowds bouncing until 4am. Whether it was solely down to the music or what appeared to be another attraction in the bogs is another story altogether. If you weren’t quite finished by four, after parties were a plenty and people were content to chat all through the night. If you want to do something a bit different with your nights out keep an eye out for events like this one because it definitely beats the same old week stuff week in, week out! Take a look at CYNT's listings for some quality acts coming to town Faithless, Crookers, Krafty Kuts, Jesse Rose, Crystal Fighters are just a few.

FUN FACTORY, Solus, FREE Fun Factory is still producing entertainment for those already haemorrhaging cash. Free entry and super cheap drinks are a perfect way to enjoy yourself and keep your new purse strings in check.


2nd February VIV ALBERTINE (The Slits), Barfly, £7 Viv Albertine used to be in the seminal punk band The Slits. Now fronting this brand new all-girl band the sexiness is now off the chain. CHIC BEAT @ Revolutions, £3.50/£4 The biggest night out on a Tuesday and with good reason: cheap drinks and the best in new and old club music means that if you want a night out on a Tuesday, its always worth considering. JUST DANCE, Clwb Ifor Bach, £3 Clwb is good for your health, fact. Assuming Revs isn't your cup of tea and Comedy Club is inevitably sold out, then Clwb is easily your best option for a night out.

Wednesday 3rd February

MARTIN TURNER, GLOBE, £12 Martin Turner, the definitive voice, creative force and founding member of British rock legends Wishbone Ash, returns with an exciting new band line up. THE LASH, Solus, £3 AU societies on their last Lash of the term. See how many pictures you can get of footballers' baubles and cheerleaders in nipple tinsel. ORANGE WEDNESDAYS BOGOF on films. There are loads of good films out at the moment: Avatar, Book of Eli, The Road - so go on, treat yourself. It's half price!

MASS-DEBATION, CF10, FREE The fact that they've made a wank joke in the title gives some idea to the quality of this event. If you like it, you probably shouldn't still be alive. If you don't like it, then ironically, this could be a night for you. Student rip-off of shows like Never Mind The Buzzcocks, but well worth a shout.

Max Barrett

Students’ Union, Park Place, 02920 387421 ◆ IV Lounge, Neuadd Meirionydd, Heath Park 02920 744948 ◆ Clwb Ifor Bach ros, Bakers Row 02920 399939 ◆ Dempseys, Castle Street 02920 252024 ◆ Move, 7 Mill Lane 02920 225592 ◆ Jazz, 21 St. Mary Street 02920 387026 ◆ The Riverbank Hotel, Despenser Street ◆ St. David’s Hall, Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay 0870 0402000 ◆ The New Theatre, Park Place 02920 878889 ◆ The Cardiff International Arena, Mary Ann Street 02920 224488 ◆ The Millennium Stadium Can’t miss it. ◆ Tiger Tiger




4th February CYNT, Clwb Ifor Bach, £3 A standard clubbers favorite, CYNT will hold you until the wee hours of the morning: dance and rave galore. ELLIE GOULDING, CAI, FREE If you haven't already heard, here's the new 2010. Ellie Goulding is in Cardiff. The public put their faith in the CAI to pull off a great FREE gig. Hope you wrote on the REVERB wall, as it is SOLD OUT. OCEANSIZE, Barfly, £10 Currently based in Manchester, they write songs about the mundane things (love, life, only having one arm) and their unique sound ranges from blissfull bare melancholy to fullon-near-ear-splitting sheer noise guitar terror. CAREERS FAYRE, Great Hall, FREE Career advice and work experience opportunities exhibition. For those with a CV more blank than Michael Jackson's setlist, this is a must. It'll be worth it.



5th February

6th February

APERTURE, Clwb Ifor Bach, £5 Drum and Bass experts hit up Welsh Club once again for yet another storming night. Bringing their residents back plus some special guests, this is a big night that only gets bigger.

WAX, CAI, £2/3 Wax is a communtiy of music lovers that enjoy deep, dubbed out electronic music. Forget fashion and fads, Wax is about expression, meeting people, sharing a good night and good old fashioned dancing.

POLKA PARTY + SUPPORT, CAI, £2/3 Polka Party provide the dance floor soundtrack to a ruddy good house party with their angular artrock rythms. Sturdy support from Black Russian and dancefloor-friendly XFM darling DJ Jon Kennedy.

JOHNNY FOREIGNER, Clwb, £6 Boy-girl yelpy vocals, busted up charity shop kids keyboards and Sonic Youth streamj-train guitars. Wielding Pavement esque spec-rock as artfully as they siphon Pixies' eyeball-splitting roar. They're simply sticking up two fists at the bore-rock masses.

BOOMBOX, Solus, £3 It's 50% of EVERYTHING! That means you can get some drinks for 99p! It'd be rude not to really...

VALVE, Great Hall, £17 The biggest soundsystem in Europe blasts into town for one night of extraordinary mayhem! Expect some the best acts and monumental lighting. COME PLAY, Solus, £3.50 Come Play is still the student location on a Saturday. So.... yeh... do that.


7th February WINE AND CHEESE, The Gate Arts Centre, £15 For beginners and enthusiastic wine drinkers alike, this will be a relaxed and informal oppourtunity to sample some different wines from around the world, accompanied by a variety of cheeses. The evening will be hosted by Glenwood Active in support of their Virgin London Marathon Bid 2010 raising funds for VICTA. VICTA is a registered charity that provides support for families with visually impaired children. FULL FAT ANTI-SOCIAL, 10 Feet Tall The Full Fat Anti-Social presents an alternative night of quality drinks and music for party people on a Sunday and takes place across three bars: Mr Smith's, 10 Feet Tall and Buffalo Bar! HAVE A HOUSE PARTY, Every Street in the UK Invite Listings, there is fuck all to do. Seriosuly... do it...

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






Mystic Smeg Aries, March 21 – April 20 Love is in the air. Or at least that new aftershave you got for Christmas is. Stop wearing it. You smell like a dick. Taurus, April 21 – May 21 I don’t really know how to tell you this. There’s no easy way... I’ll just come out and say it. You’re adopted.

quick crossword. Across


6. Put into a bank account (7) 7. Not behind (5) 9. Fit as a fiddle (4) 10. Carnival site (10) 11. An unmarried man (8) 13. On fire (6) 15. Not false (4) 17. Sticker (5) 18. Tins (4) 19. Omits (6) 20. Sidewalk (8) 23. The publication of a club or group (10) 26. Makes lace (4) 27. Delicacy (5) 28. Bring to a destination (7)

1. Temporarily incapable of speaking (10) 2. Beneficial (6) 3. Decorative case (4) 4. A problem with some fingers (8) 5. Protagonist (4) 6. A highly-emotional play (5) 8. Inhabitant (7) 12. Rundown (5) 14. Train engine (10) 16. Attire (7) 17. After-dinner treats (8) 21. In truth (archaic) (6) 22. Gunpowder ingredient (5) 24. Small storage structure (4) 25. The periodic rise and fall of the sea (4)

Gemini, May 22 – June 21 I wouldn’t go out like that. You wouldn’t want people calling you a whore, now would you? Cancer, June 22 – July 22 A new decade my friends. The planets haven’t changed at all. Neptune’s got a bit older. Crow’s feet and that. Make some generalisation from that to your life, alright? Leo, July 23 - August 23 Nothing to worry about this decade. Keep being awesome, everyone appreciates it. Virgo, August 24 – September 22 The relationship between you and your sister, Bethany, has been strained recently by the money in your Cayman Islands account. I’d call her on her work number on Friday, she’ll be in a good mood then and will probably decide to settle the disagreement amicably and without the presence of her lawyer, Dr. Stephenson. Libra, September 23 – October 23 Remember The Demon Headmaster? Man, that was awesome. You’ll remember how good it is, and probably even check out clips of it on YouTube, just to see the prefect girl with the massive mole on her face. She was bloody scary. Scorpio, October 24 – November 22 Your love life is taking a bit of a hit recently. No-one wants to be seen with you. Some people even taunt you. The lights seem to be going off every week, it’s pretty depressing. If all of this rings a bell, it’s because your name is Rian from Take Me Out. Sagittarius, November 23 – December 21 Pluto and all the other dwarf planets are chilling out. It’s quite a sight, look at them all, all small and cute. Bless them. You’re going to contract herpes, by the way. But gosh, what about those dwarves... Capricorn, December 22 – January 20 I spotted something mental through my telescope yesterday. That girl across the road was getting changed with her curtains open! Silly cow. If it was you, see you tomorrow. Aquarius, January 21 – February 18 Something pretty, pretty good will happen this week. I’m going to try and be coy about it though. What rhymes with blow-job? Pisces, February 19 – March 20 Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a living. Except if it’s 9pm to 5am, then you’re probably working as a lady-slag in a Prague whorehouse. There you go, work advice.



Christina Mackie Sports Writer First things first, as you can tell by the by-line, I'm a girl. I'm not a particularly 'girly' girl but one thing I do share with the majority of my fellow females is a complete lack of understanding of the point of watching motorsport. Up until recently if someone had asked me what I thought about motorsport, my response would probably have been unenthusiastic at best. I might even have said it was a waste of time. Formula 1 has never really appealed, like Premiership football there are too many overpaid numpties involved for my taste. Nascar I definitely didn't see the point in, and aside from the crashes I wasn't too impressed by rallying, either. Then, on a sunny May day at Llandow Circuit, I was introduced to Drifting. Drifting, for those of you who don't know, is a driving technique that uses intentional oversteer to direct a car into a controlled slide around corners at high speed. It takes a phenomenal


amount of car control, a lot of balls, and no small amount of lunacy. Competitive Drifting requires the drivers to complete a series of corners, spending as little time in a straight line as possible. Drivers must hit designated 'clipping points' at both the apex and exit of the corners, with marks being given for hitting these zones and achieving angle, speed and showmanship. The drivers have to keep three wheels on the track at all times, and if the car spins 360 degrees then the driver scores zero for that run. A typical round of competition at the British Drift Championships (BDC) starts out with practice runs, giving the drivers the chance to get used to the track and the line they're expected to follow. This is followed by qualifying, where each competitor has three attempts at the course to try and get the best score possible. Bigger angles, higher speeds and lots of tyre smoke are the aim of the game if drivers want to score well enough to make it through to the final. Amateur drivers are ranked just based on their scores for individual drifting, but in the Pro class the top 16 competitors go on to Twin Drift Battles. Two drivers take to the track, each attempting to drift faster, angle further and burn more rubber than the other. A score out of ten is given, split between the two drivers. Scores can range from an even split, to 10-0 if one driver spins out on a run. Going sideways isn't just for the boys, either. Pro drifter Jules Robinson has been showing the boys how its done, sideways style. Jules, who earnt her stripes driving stock cars in her youth, now drifts a Nissan R32 Skyline, coming in a respectable tenth


Welcome to the smokin' world of drift motorsport

Smokey Robinson and the Drifters together at last out of 32 in the 2009 series. Things are looking up for 2010, with women like Belinda Challis working their way up through the Amateur ranks to give the the boys a run for their money. As Belinda puts it, "It doesn't matter if you're male or female. All you need is balls!", the bigger and brassier the better. Of course, if a day of watching cars go sideways isn't your cup of tea, then there's always the drivers to admire. Shane Lynch, the one member of Boyzone you couldn't take home to meet your Mum, drives for Team Japspeed in both the BDC and Eu-

ropean Drift Championships (EDC). He and team mate Danny Eyles make great eye candy for when your fella is paying more attention to shiny engine parts than to you. Drifting is also one of the most accessible motorsports around at the moment. You don't have to be a millionaire to get involved, as most of the cars are rear wheel drive Japanese cars, cheap to buy second hand, with parts widely available and reasonably priced. This years’ championship winning car? A 15-year-old Datsun, held together with duct tape and cable ties, driven by Steve Biagioni of Team

Japspeed. You also don't have to be loaded to go and watch. 2010 will see the BDC returning to Llandow at the end of May, and a day pass and parking will set you back a tenner. It’s a great way to blow off some steam after the stress of essay deadlines and exams, and it won't break the bank. So get a group of you together, split petrol costs, take a picnic and make a day of it. You might be covered in bits of burnt rubber by the end of the day, but I guarantee you'll have a great laugh, and maybe even a tan, when you head back to Cardiff.

Forget rugby - the Cardiff Devils are pucking great Ellie Jackson Sports Writer When asked to name a high quality sport in Wales, most people will say rugby. However, down in Cardiff Bay, another sport is going from strength to strength: ice hockey. The Cardiff Devils have numerous recreational teams and also feature throughout the junior leagues. Additionally, they have two sides doing well in the English National League – the equivalent of football’s CocaCola League; and a team in fourth place in the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) – ice hockey’s Barclays Premier League. The past couple of months have also seen the Devils’ Elite Team become Challenge Cup Finalists with a nail-biting victory over the Belfast Giants. Two Elite Team Brits – Ben Davies and Jamie Hayes – recently played for Great Britain, winning their division of the U20 World Championships. The Devils’ junior programme has also seen national success, several of its players being finalists with U14 Team England in Ontario.

Team England was accompanied by coach Brent Pope, whose own ice hockey career started at 16 in the Ontario Hockey League. He later competed in both the East Coast and American Hockey Leagues, and was even signed as a free-agent by the National Hockey League’s Edmonton Oilers. Additionally he has represented Great Britain and played within numerous British leagues for several teams, including the Devils with whom he is still involved both on and off the ice. When coaching, particularly with the juniors, Pope sees himself “as a facilitator” whose duties include helping his pupils fulfil their potential and bestowing the knowledge that “[their dreams] are viable”. The Devils’ organisation provides many “inspirational” opportunities for its juniors teams, including playing in front of large crowds during EIHL matches. In addition, each child’s ticket entitles them to go skating upon the game’s conclusion. How many other sports let its spectators tread the ground of their heroes? Pope stresses that the Devils’ organisation also “impact[s] on…lives” both on match nights and through its charity, the Devils Community Foundation.

The DCF has several schemes which introduce people of all ages to healthy living through ice and roller hockey, two sports which “enhance each other and generate interest in hockey in general”. This is set to increase if the Devils’ new rink gets the desired dual ice pad. However, Pope is temporarily leaving this as he heads to Vancouver to be the BBC’s lead commentator for the 2010 Winter Olympics’ ice hockey event. He relishes this, both because he enjoys enhancing what the audience can see with “what [he] can tell them about what they can’t see”, and also because it could be “the best Olympics ever… [even] the best ice hockey tournament ever.” This, he argues, is both because of the value that Canada attributes to the game and also the standard of the players involved. The infiltration of the less physical European style of playing within the North American leagues – making “a more attractive style of game” – has been mirrored by increasing numbers of European players signing to NHL teams. The result being that more of them are competing “at the top level in the world”, meaning that “[the] gap [between the Nations] is always closing”.

This time he has been aware that he might get called-up for the Olympics, unlike in 2006 when he had already bought spectator tickets for the Games before the BBC requested his assistance. He naturally accepted their offer, his experiences within “professional sport [having taught him] that… you [only] get one chance”; then his colleague suffered a stroke, leaving Pope to “sink or swim”. But, his commentary being “a reflection… [of his] own personality [and]… life’s work”, it’s

easy to see why he swam. However, British ice hockey – having failed in the Olympic qualifiers and with its leagues struggling financially – is now in the sink/swim position. Pope recognises that, as in any career, success requires “passion”; a good work ethic; self-belief, and an understanding that “you’re not always going to get… what you want right away”. With people like this involved in all aspects of the sport, things are, at least in Wales, looking very promising.

NEW REALITY SHOW: Hit by a bus... on ice

30 SPORT- WARM UP Previews in As the Six Nations gets under way, Lucy Morgan brief looks at what the Championship has in store


FA Cup 4th Round Replay Leeds vs Spurs Wednesday night promises to be a captivating affair as former footballing giants Leeds United welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Elland Road in the fourth round replay of the FA Cup. The 2-2 thriller at White Hart Lane saw the much sought after Jermaine Beckford increase his price tag with two well taken goals including a 96th minute equaliser. A win for Leeds would see them face another Premiership side in Bolton, but their recent league form may be of some concern to the fans of Simon Grayson's team. Several bad results has seen them slip from the top spot in League One after being comfortably positioned in first for the majority of the season. Harry Redknapp, who won the competition two years ago with Pompey, will be looking to avoid an upset as he tries to maintain Tottenham's impressive season. With news of Eider Gudjohnsen joining the Londoners, competition for places will be fierce as players will be keen to impress. After beating Manchester United in the previous round this is arguably Leeds' most important season in recent years. A win on Wednesday would rekindle memories of the success that Leeds enjoyed in past decades and the atmosphere will be of huge significance to the home side.

Super Bowl XLIV American Football Saints vs Colts The New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts will battle it out in one of sports most glamorous events, the Super Bowl, this Sunday. It is the first time the Saints have made the final after they beat the Vikings in overtime by three points. This is in stark contrast to the Colts who made the final after a comfortable 30-17 win over the New York Jets. This year's competition will be played at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami, the same arena where the Colts won the tournament just three years ago.. Viewers will be treated to a halftime performance from The Who and live coverage will be available from the BBC and Sky.

This weekend one of rugby’s most successful tournaments, the RBS Six Nations, gets under way with millions of viewers from more than 70 nations switching on to watch one of the highlights of the international rugby calendar. Last year saw Ireland lift the coveted trophy at the Millennium Stadium after winning their first Grand Slam in 61 years. The Emerald Isle dominated the rugby world last season as, along with their magnificent Six Nations campaign, their captain Paul O’Connell was picked to lead the Lions and Leinster won the Heineken Cup. The question is will they be able to keep the momentum up this season? Current evidence would suggest that they can with Irish clubs Leinster and Munster both making it through to the Heineken Cup quarter finals.

Ireland dominated the rugby world last season There is always the chance that the pressure of defending their title will prove too much, but captain Brian O’Driscoll believes this won’t be a problem: “There will be no change of emphasis. You don’t ever defend anything, you just role up your sleeves and try to win again.” Their first of three home games at Croke Park is against Italy – a game which looks to get them off to a confident start. England on the other hand are going into the tournament on the back of a miserable, injury-hit Autumn campaign with their performances last November being heavily criticised. Furthermore, only one of seven English clubs (Northampton) have reached the Heineken Cup quarter final stages. However, head coach Martin Johnson is insistent that his side should not be ruled out of the tournament purely on the basis of poor European performances. On a positive note, Delon Armitage, Riki Flutey and Toby Flood all return from injury and there is an influx of promising youngsters to the squad. Their opening game against Wales at the weekend is a crucial fixture and

Leading the Pack: Brian O'Driscoll hopes his side will come out in front once again this year with the home advantage, they will be determined to get off to a good start and prove their critics wrong. Scotland were very competitive last year and are constantly improving. With both Glasgow and Edinburgh riding high in the Magners League they will certainly be feeling confident for the Six Nations this year. Scotland have improved immensely since Andy Robinson was named head coach and, having introduced a new intense training regime, he is inspiring some brilliant performances from his side. This newly found confidence was highlighted in the courageous 9-8 victory over Australia in the Autumn. Robinson is hoping Scotland can recapture the magic of that day when they kick off their campaign against France this weekend and has urged his side to “inspire the nation” once again. After losing their first game of the tournament for the last few years they will need to ensure they get off to a good start and gain a strong foothold early on in the tournament to really make an impact. France are facing a triple injury blow with loose head prop Fabien Barcella, utility back Damien Traille and scrum half Dimitri Yachvilli all looking set to miss the majority of the championship. Les Bleus have a very good record

in the Six Nations winning the tournament four times in its ten year history. French clubs are also doing very well in Europe with Clermont Auvergne, Biarritz, Toulouse and Stade Français all making it through to the knockout stages of the Heineken Cup. Italy also face injury woes with inspirational captain Sergio Parisse out due to knee ligament surgery. Since joining the tournament in 2000, Italy have found it tough to compete - winning just six of the 50 games they have played.

Les Bleus have a very good record in the Six Nations However, when playing at the Stadio Flaminio Italy can prove to be very dangerous opponents with both Wales and Scotland succumbing there in the past. With rugby in Italy continuing to grow in popularity (their Autumn fixture against New Zealand drew in a record crowd of over 80,000) a fantastic atmosphere can be expected for any team visiting Rome this year. And, finally, we come to Wales. After finishing fourth last season and coming off the back of a very disappointing Autumn campaign, Wales will

be hoping to return to winning ways this year. Things are certainly looking up with fullback Lee Byrne back from injury and an all-British and Irish Lions Test front row of Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees and Adam Jones fit and ready for the weekend. A problem position for Wales is scrum half where they have some real worries with both Dwayne Peel and Mike Phillips omitted from the squad through injury. Despite these problems Warren Gatland last week spoke of a ‘feel good factor’ in the Welsh camp after an extremely positive weekend for the Welsh regions in Europe which saw the Ospreys reaching the quarter finals of the Heineken Cup and the Blues and the Scarlets booking a spot in the last eight of the Amlin Challenge Cup. This year Wales have the advantage of three home fixtures at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium but they must first make the trip to Twickenham to face the old enemy in a crucial encounter this weekend. If they can get off to a good start and remain injury free I believe Wales will prove to be strong contenders for the title. Whatever the outcome, the Six Nations looks once again to be a spectacle of fantastic rugby and a tournament that most definitely shouldn’t be missed!

The 2010 RBS Six Nations: The Editors' predictions James Hinks: It's a tough one but I think Wales will win this year's Grand Slam. Wales may have injuries to their scrum halves but they have proven in the last few years that they know how to win the Grand Slam. Ireland are key contenders as they look to retain the title. France can be world beaters but are terribly unpredictable. Wales have three home games which gives them a slight advantage. Some passionate performances at the Millenium Stadium may lead them to victory.

Robbie Wells: This tournament has got to be between only two teams: Ireland and France. Ireland dominated northern hemisphere rugby in 2009 and I see no reason why they won't continue their form in 2010. The French are a quality side with a team that should be able to beat all comers, but their form is often erratic, especially away from home, and with a home crowd that often turn on them. For this reason, I expect Ireland to triumph again, but there may be a few surprises this year, with a stronger England side, and a passionate Welsh team.

Jon Evans: We all know about the French rugby side. On their day they are unbeatable but they are also their own worst enemy. Ireland are the form team and Scotland have some promising players while their club sides are finally performing. Italy, as valiant as they are, are not quite ready for a major upset. Wales' recent performances from are worrying and with a few key players missing I feel this isn't their year. The French first division is rapidly becoming one of the most attractive leagues to play in. This, I feel, will only serve to improve the French players and I belive 2010 might just be their year.

Adam Horne: England to win it. We're by far the most passionate rugby playing nation in the world, and have the best player in the world in Jonny Wilkinson. Wales are inconsistent of late, and will continue their steady decline in the rugby world, leading to a pretty bang average tournament. France are exciting but play poorly away from home, whilst Italy are, as usual, destined to bring up the rear and Scotland will once again work hard but fail to impact. I'd say 1st - England, 2nd Ireland, 3rd - Wales, 4th - France, 5th - Scotland, 6th - Italy.



Matthew Parr gives his word on football's money woes and how it's hurting the game So the financial tightrope many top level English football teams have been struggling to balance on over the past few seasons has seemingly become ever more frayed as an increasing amount of clubs are falling into debt. Crystal Palace are the latest in the line to hear the thump of the administrator’s fist on their door after months of financial uncertainty in the form of delayed pay to players and two transfer embargos. Questions surely need to be asked as to why so many English clubs face increasing amounts of debt. The influx of foreign owners who are often not thoroughly interrogated regarding finances into football is surely accountable to some extent for this problem. The mysterious Munto Finance, the Middle-Eastern consortium who took over Notts County in the summer, attracted much media interest with the courting of Sol Campbell and Sven Goran-Eriksson. Despite being labelled ‘fit for purchase’ by the FA, the group sold the club for a fraction of its price in December after allegations arose about the consortium’s dodgy web of finances. Similarly, at the top level of the game, Manchester United recently became the latest victim of the greedy capitalists as the Glazers’ announced the country’s most successful club was in around £700m debt. This burgeoning debt brought on by the Glazers to the club was foreseen upon their takeover, with disgruntled fans starting a rival Manchester team, FC United, to give some degree of club ownership back to the fans. It seems incredulous though that a club that has dominated the Premier League since its incursion should be suffering financially, to the extent its owners may reportedly have to sell the

RIDSDALE: Stole Fergie's moves


1. LEEDS UNITED: Once a regular in European competitions, Leeds' fall from grace has been one of the most staggering in the history of the game.

2. SOUTHAMPTON: Like Leeds, the Saints were a staple part of the Premier League. But with their parent company going into administration they ended up starting this season ten points down. GLAZERS: United fans stick it to 'em club’s Carrington training ground and have only recuperated debt through a series of extremely high interest bonds. Another potential explanation for the financial instability of many top teams is the lucrative money made available by the Champions League and even the Premier League. Since Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Sports bravely inaugurated the League in 1992, money has poured into the English game faster than a young beaver strapped onto the back of Usain Bolt. Contracts with the League have rocketed to the extent where in 1993 a £161m deal with Sky was signed, as opposed to a recently made agreement of £1.8 billion from 2010 to 2013. This injection of cold hard pounds into the sport has meant teams are increasingly willing to gamble a club’s finances to get the Champions League pot of gold in one giant muddy-booted game of Russian roulette. Look no further than Leeds United for an example of this foolhardy gamble. The club reached the semi-final of the Champions League in 2001 after a series of seasons with decent Premiership positions, and with a quality team as well; the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Keane and Alan Smith once shook their tailfeathers in Yorkshire. The club gambled its finances on the lucrative purchases and wages of Robbie Fowler and Seth Johnson, meaning

when the club was unable to reach the Champions League in the following season they could not afford the debts on these big players, leading the club to a financial meltdown that has seen them fall to the third tier of the English football league.

Only clubs who spend within their means will be eligible to compete in Europe’s glitzy cup competition Portsmouth similarly felt this strain as they heavily invested in players a couple of seasons ago with the hope of expanding the club into one which could get into Europe in the UEFA Cup, while since missing out on the competition and numerous other financial factors the club was forced to sell some of its best assets in Jermaine Defoe and Niko Kranjcar. Liverpool too have recently felt the financial strain of missing out on Europe’s leading cup competition, with the club having to make do with the recently re-styled Europa League that offers far less money to the club and certainly doesn’t help Rafa’s woes as the club could also miss out on the

competition this year. In order to attempt to combat the number of clubs spending heavily beyond their means and thus spiralling into unfathomable amounts of debt, UEFA president Michel Platini has recently devised the Financial Fair Play initiative, an idea that may come into practice as soon as the 2013 Champions League. The initiative states that only clubs who spend within their means and thus have a stable financial structure will be eligible to compete in Europe’s glitzy cup competition. The aim of this initiative then is to encourage clubs to reduce reliance on unknown billionaire owners and instead put the emphasis on sensible and rational spending. Similarly the idea circumstantially suggests that players' wages, a factor responsible for a large chunk of a club's expenditure, may have to be thoroughly reduced to even out the books of some of the 350 clubs UEFA suggests run on a loss each year in Europe. The scheme certainly seems like an excellent idea from the sidelines; it will bring a sense of normality back to European football after the stratospheric spending and wage structure the top clubs have recently undertaken. Though domestically clubs will always find it difficult to balance a tighter, more regulated club structure against the massive financial lure offered by European football.

3. CRYSTAL PALACE: At the end of 2009, Palace failed to pay their players' wages and have now been placed into adminstration. With 10 points deducted, their future looks gloomy.


PORTSMOUTH: Recent financial decline has meant the club have failed to pay players on time for the third month in a row, despite the fact that they received record funds from the sales of Lassana Diarra and Sulley Muntari and Defoe.


NOTTS COUNTY: When Arab owners came in and Sven took the helm they were dubbed the richest club in England, but now they have 28 days to pay off creditors to avoid the situation from worsening.

Sport gairrhydd


INSIDE: Introduction to the World of Drifting, The Word On... Football's Finances and a Look Ahead to Six Nations 2010

Taff's Well beaten John Steele Sports Writer Cardiff 1sts 35 - 6 Taff's Well The University swept away high flying Division Four South-East Taff's Well with relative ease, making better use of the elements in the second half. At a bitterly cold Llanrumney it was the students who started the more promising, but a period of intense pressure resulted in two infringements in the opposition 22, which enabled Taff's Well to clear the danger on both occasions. After ten minutes the home side conceded a penalty which outside half Ben Evans accepted and he fol-

lowed this shortly afterwards with the second kick to put “The Well” 6-0 up. Both sides missed further kicks before Cameron Pimlow reduced the deficit for the home side. With the game seemingly heading for a battle of the kickers, the home side broke through on the left. Jack Beaman suddenly found himself in acres of space following a break through the opposition defence - who stood around like bored commuters waiting for a Cardiff bus - and fed the supporting Ross Wardle who romped in for a corner try. Having soaked up pressure thrown at them by the Well, the students found themselves 8-6 up at half time. Taff's Well appeared to go to sleep in the second half, probably more concerned with the situation at the top of their division than this cup tie and

were further behind on 50 minutes. A kick ahead from Pimlow resulted in wing Sam Hewitt outpacing the home defence to chase and cross in the corner. By now the students were in their ascendancy and could smell victory. Superb inter-passing between the forwards saw them break into the twenty-two only for a frustrating knock-on to deny a third try. Another identical opportunity was spurned when the forwards over-worked the ball with the try line at their mercy. Shortly afterwards though, Pimlow increased the lead with a short range penalty. Following a kick ahead by Joe Cassella, the opposition defence got into a panic. Eventually intense pressure resulted in Stef Morgan showing Scott Gibbs-like tendencies to barnstorm his way through to provide the pass to Chris Allen for a score out wide.

Shortly afterwards a lineout won inside the opposition twenty-two resulted in Ross Wardle streaking through under the sticks with the home defence spectating. Almost on time strong running centre Harry Morgan broke through and in a take off of the Chuckle Brothers “To me to you” fed his brother Stef who had too much pace and finesse for the opposition defence as he raced in for a corner try. Captain Mark Schropfer was very pleased with the victory and said he was prepared for the type of game any league side would throw at his team. He singled out Stef Morgan for special praise citing his enthusiasm and strong running in his first game on the wing. In the pack, second row Rhys James was particularly effective, often denying the opponents the ball on

their own throw in and with his grafting in the tight. Mark felt the backs had looked sharp all season and were providing good finishing touches to the hard work afforded them by the pack. He is looking forward to the next game in the cup but wants to take every match as it comes. There is an African flavour to this university team with forwards who collectively hunt like wild dogs and backs who run like cheetahs. They certainly were up for the kill today and could go far in this competition. If they can tighten up on the occasional last pass going to ground, they have the potential to trouble most sides left in the competition. As for Taff's Well, a disappointing performance by their standards, but they're probably more concerned with the tussle at the top of Division Four South-East.




gair rhydd - Issue 913  

gair rhydd - Issue 913

gair rhydd - Issue 913  

gair rhydd - Issue 913