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gair rhydd

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CARDIFF'S STUDENT WEEKLY

freeword - EST. 1972

ISSUE 926 MAY 31 2010

Unpaid fees cost Cardiff

Comment Synthetic life just became scientific fact - but what does it mean for us all? >> page 8

Politics

How do you solve a problem like Korea? Politics takes a look. >> page 11

Features

Features spends a night in the life of a Cardiff Nightline volunteer >> pages 12-13

News CARDIFF UNIVERSI

TY

WRITTEN-OFF TUIT

ION FEES

2004/5: £94K 2005/6: £124K 2006/7: £203K 2007/8: £261K 2008/9: £268K TOTAL: £950K

Jamie Thunder News Editor Almost £1 million has been written off in unpaid tuition fees by Cardiff University since 2004, gair rhydd has learnt. In total, the University has accepted that £950,000 of outstanding tuition fee debts will not be recov-

ered – the equivalent of 300 undergraduates’ tuition fees for one year. In 2004/5, only £93,000 of tuition fees were written off. But last academic year that figure was up to £268,000, having increased in each of the last five years. The University did not break the figures down into fees owed by overseas and home students, but home undergraduate students are un-

likely to have been included because their top-up fees are not written off until 25 years after the end of their degree. A Cardiff University spokesperson said: "Most fees are written off because the University's collection agency has been unable to trace a student owing outstanding tuition fees." They added: "Data is not readily

available on a case-by-case basis and the release of such information would impinge data protection regulations." A Welsh Assembly Government spokesperson said that as higher education institutions have responsibility for their own administrative affairs, the Assembly had no powers to intervene in this sort of matter.

Looks at the impact that latest cuts will have on university places in 2010/11 >> page 4

Sport Previews of Wales v South Africa and Blackpool's rise to the Premiership >> pages 26-27

Opinion Liz Blockley laments the death of chivalry in her rant about truelad.com >> page 9


02 NEWS

gr gr EDITOR Emma Jones

DEPUTY EDITOR Simon Lucey CO-ORDINATOR Elaine Morgan SUB EDITOR Sarah Powell NEWS Ceri Isfryn Gareth Ludkin Emma McFarnon Jamie Thunder FEATURES Daniella Graham Robin Morgan OPINION Paul Stollery Oli Franklin POLITICS Damian Fantato COLUMNISTS Tim Hart Oli Franklin LISTINGS Sarah Powell 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

gairrhydd | NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY MAY 31 2010

Always check Vice-Chancellors under fire over pay your cheques Pippa Lewis Reporter

Ceri Isfryn News Editor South Wales Police are warning Cardiff students to be wary after Scottish students have become embroiled in a massive fraud investigation. Students from the University of Edinburgh and Napier University have been arrested after aiding criminal groups by depositing fake cheques into their accounts before withdrawing cash shortly after. "Many of the students are foreign nationals, and, if found guilty in a court of fraud, will have a criminal record,” said Detective Sergeant Colin Aitken from the The Lothian and Borders Police Specialist Fraud Unit. A 20-year-old male student in Musselburgh, Midlothian, was recently arrested and charged in connection with forgery and fraudulent activities after attempting to deposit a £16,000 cheque. Staff at the bank contacted the authorities after realising the cheque was a fake. It is believed crime groups are targeting students through social networking sites like Facebook and Bebo and offering them a proportion of the money — allegedly no more than a few hundred pounds. DS Aitken explained that students accept the offers as they are convinced by crime groups that they will not be punished, despite knowing that the ac-

tivity is criminal. An estimated £45,000 has been stolen in the last seven months, but DS Aitken said this could just be "the tip of the iceberg." The National Union of Students (NUS) President in Scotland, Liam Burns, said: "The student support system is clearly not working for students in Scotland." He believes that a decline in parttime employment and less parental support could be possible reasons for students to turn to what they see as a harmless offence, but insisted that "this kind of thing is a very serious crime indeed." Police say that students who are caught will face expulsion from university, and could be deported if applicable. They also believe that the gangs are targeting students across the UK and that there is no specific focus on East Lothian. Cardiff University’s Student Liason Officer, PC Tim Davies warned: "Cardiff is the same as any other university city; we have a large student population who could be seen as an easy target by organised criminals due to the fact that they know they will only have limited funds while at university and may not be fully aware of how these fraudsters operate." If any students are approached with this type of offer, police advise them to refuse to get involved and contact police straight away by ringing nonemergency number, 101.

Vice-Chancellor Dr. David Grant

Excellent cancer research recognised

CONTRIBUTORS Elizabeth Blockley Alex Bywater Tomos Clarke Carys Cross Alina Dan James Dunn Rachel Henson Richard Herlihy Pippa Lewis Jenny Pearce Ben Price Katie Murdoch Roli Rant Oliver Smith Dominic Stone Paul Stollery Jake Yorath

Katie Murdoch Reporter

Got a story? Contact us

NEWSDESK 02920 781436 NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM

University Vice-Chancellors have come under fire over pay levels as universities face cuts in the wake of wider public spending reductions. Vince Cable, in his new role as the Business Secretary, has said that Britain’s senior academics lack a sense of the "realism and self-sacrifice" needed to make serious savings in the recession. Cardiff University's Vice-Chancellor received a salary of £241,000 and pension contributions of £34,000 - a total of £275,000 - in 2009, compared with £265,000 in 2008. The number of staff receiving salaries of over £100,000 has risen from 189 in 2008 to 217 in 2009; the maximum salary received reaching up to £279,999. Research showed that, on average, university heads were paid £219,000 last year, as salaries rose by almost 11% - making Cardiff salaries well above the average. Cable has attacked the scale of pay rises last year, claiming that they bore "no relation to the underlying economics of the country" and called on the Vice-Chancellors to set an example. Universities have defended such pay rises claiming that they are in keeping with those of the private sector. Nicola Dandridge, the chief executive of Universities UK, which represents Vice-Chancellors, said packages "are agreed by independent committees and reflect what it takes to attract,

retain and reward individuals of sufficient calibre." She also claimed that the average rise in 2009-10 was just 0.5%. Cable is due to write to leaders of colleges and universities encouraging them to do "more with less", including recruitment freezes and cuts in hospitality and travel allowances. Dr Wendy Piatt, the director-general of the Russell Group, said: "Russell Group universities fully recognise the financial challenges they and the country face and have been implementing robust cost-cutting measures to achieve greater efficiency and higher levels of productivity in order to get the very best value for money on the public and private investment they receive."

LYMPHOMA: Cardiff is UK's first Centre of Excellence

Cardiff University has been named by the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research charity as its first Centre of Excellence in the UK. The move is part of the charity’s plans to further invest in leading UK research institutions to encourage the improvement of treatment and diagnosis of adult Leukaemia. Cardiff focuses its research on the most common forms of adult Leukaemia - acute myeloid Leukaemia (AML) and chronic lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL). Over 5,000 adults a year are diagnosed with these forms of blood cancer. Currently CLL is incurable, but can be controlled by drugs. Less than 50% of AML patients survive for longer than five years. Professor of haematology at Cardiff University, Alan Burnett, said: "It

encourages scientists who work here greatly. This is a great day for new investment in the Leukaemia programme." His colleagues are undertaking two new studies to understand Leukaemia cells, which could be beneficial to patients in two ways. He says: "One, it can allow us to predict who is going to respond well to currently available treatment. Two, it might produce targets which particular drugs might be able to hit." The Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research charity currently has six projects in Cardiff devoted to improving research into the two types of blood cancer. Cathy Gillman, chief executive of the charity, attended the unveiling of the Centre and said: "Cardiff University truly is a Centre of Excellence in research into adult Leukaemia. Our scientists here are consistently helping to improve treatment and diagnosis for patients in Cardiff and across the UK."

NEWS 1 EDITORIAL & OPINION 8 POLITICS 10 FEATURES 12 COLUMNIST 17 LETTERS 19 TAF-OD 20 SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT 21 LISTINGS 23 FIVE MINUTE FUN 25 SPORT 26


NEWS 03

gairrhydd | NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY MAY 31 2010

Rise in bogus crimes, say police Gareth Ludkin News Editor Students who falsely report the theft of property are partly to blame for skewing crime figures in South Wales, according to police. Detective Superintendent Liane James, from South Wales Police, has warned that individuals making false claims about the theft of property will

no longer be tolerated. She promises to catch those who make fake claims through more intrusive police investigation into reports of stolen property. Det. Supt. James, who is the new deputy divisional commander for Cardiff, told the South Wales Echo that false reports of stolen property are skewing crime figures and knocking public confidence in the police. Reported thefts of mobile phones

and laptops have become a common occurrence, and affect the historically low crime figures for the South Wales area. Individuals have made false claims of stolen mobiles in order to claim a newer phone. Det. Supt. James also pointed to cases of students faking the theft of their laptop. "Some people report phones stolen from their handbags. It’s often the case

that they are reporting their phone stolen in order to get a new phone," she said. "Also, computers tend to go missing from student houses in Cathays when their dissertations are due. "Those who make the reports don’t realise what impact a ‘spike’ in burglaries can have on public perception." She added: "If they haven’t been a victim of crime and they say it’s a

crime we have to record it and that affects perception. But the message I will be putting out there is that it won’t be tolerated." Det. Supt. James warned that people found to have made a false report could face a fine or a verbal reprimand. "If it hasn’t happened yet then we will be dealing with it at some point," she said.

Titivate closes its doors for last time PHOTO: GARETH LUDKIN

Emma McFarnon News Editor Titivate - the fancy dress store in the Students' Union Mall - will close on May 31. The store, which opened in the summer of 2009 and began trading in September, has been forced to close due to the owners’ illness. The business is owned by Cardiff University Business Management graduate, Ami Spencer. Ami graduated with a 2:1 last year, and the shop, which sold a diverse mix of fancy dress items, successfully broke even. A new business is considering using the unit space, so it is likely to be occupied by the next academic year. Ami said: "Titivate has been a great first venture for me and the experience I’ve gained has been invaluable. "I will be very sad to see it go, and

CLOSED: Titivate fancy dress store will be missed

would like to thank everyone for their help and support over this past year. "I've learnt an enormous amount from running my own business. I plan to work in Bristol for a few years and then, who knows, hopefully I'll set up another business in the future!" A Union spokesperson said: "Titivate is a sad loss for the Union. However, the business was tried and tested, and we would like to wish Ami all the best for the future. "More importantly, the closing of Titivate is one of a personal nature and fortunately the financial investment from the Students' Union has been zero. All rents and utility cost have been paid in full. "We already have companies keen to occupy the unit and I hope you will agree that the introduction of new businesses this year has added a much needed buzz to the Union Mall."

Pippa Lewis Reporter A survey has been conducted to establish the levels of external promoting within halls of residence. Finance and Commercial Officer, Rich Pearce, conducted a survey of over 80 random residents from Talybont North and Talybont South, in an attempt to measure the level of external promotions on University property and residents’ perceived levels of intrusion. The survey follows allegations of questionable behaviour from promotional staff during Freshers’ Week. Cardiff University does not permit promoters for any nightclub events to operate inside its residential buildings. However, companies employ first-year students as hall reps, specifically to get around the University’s restrictions. Results show that more than half of

the students questioned have received flyers through flat doors every day, with approximately 40% receiving them once or twice a week. Over half of those students who were questioned had cold callers or promoters entering residences or knocking on their doors in an attempt to promote their events. The most prominent employer of cold callers is Rough Hill, followed by Climax. When asked about the extent to which students found the cold callers 'irritating' or 'intrusive', most students rated the experience as an eight on a scale of one to ten - ten being the maximum level of intrusion felt. The survey raises questions about the continued presence of external promotional staff in University residences. Students appear to be happier to receive cold calls from the Union, and feel that external promoters are both intrusive and irritating.

Survey conductor, Rich, said: "This is clearly becoming an issue that students are becoming more and more frustrated with as the levels of student focused promotion reaches a point of near saturation. "This also represents a security and welfare issue for students whose private residences are being invaded on an alarmingly regular basis. However, following the findings of this survey, both the Union and University have been working co-operatively and progressively towards a suitable outcome." A Cardiff University spokesperson said: "Campus Services Division has discussed the details of the survey with Rich. We do not permit promotional activities, such as leafleting, on residences sites and are working closely with Rich and other colleagues from the Students' Union to consider further measures that can be taken to prevent such activities, as much as possible."

PHOTO: MORGAN APPLEGARTH

External promotions 'irritating' and 'intrusive', say Talybont residents

INTRUSION: Students feel irritated by external promotors


04 NEWS

gairrhydd | NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY MAY 31 2010

Cardiff given the green light University places to be dramatically cut Ben Price Reporter

CARBON TRUST: Cardiff University have been recognised for their green credentials

ing greenhouse gas emissions by 1.3 bon Trust Higher Education Carbon Management Programme. Schemes percent. Cardiff University's Vice Chancel- have included the introduction of a lor, Dr. David Grant, said that the cer- new system which powers down comCardiff University has become the tification was a “huge testament to the puters 15 minutes after they are logged first higher education institution hard work so many people across the out. This saves an estimated ÂŁ100,000 in Wales to achieve the Carbon University have put in to improving per year in energy costs and around 700 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Trust Standard in recognition of our sustainability.â€? Awareness has been raised further With a yearly energy bill of more its efforts to reduce its carbon than ÂŁ8 million and annual emissions through the introduction of the annual emissions. The Carbon Trust Standard is the of more than 40,000 tonnes of carbon Sustainability Week, aimed at encourworld’s first mark of excellence that to its name, Cardiff University joined aging staff and students to help create accredits organisations for their per- forces with the Carbon Trust to identi- a sustainable future and reduce the formance in measuring, managing fy ways of reducing carbon emissions impact on the planet. Last year, Cardiff University leaped and reducing their carbon footprint. over a five-year period. For the past three years, the Uni- from 84th to 17th place in the annual The University has been awarded the  



       versity has invested ÂŁ1.7 million in People and Planet Green League table Standard after taking action on climate change by measuring and reduc- energy-saving plans through the Car- published in Times Higher Education.

Carys Cross Reporter

University places are to be severely reduced this autumn as the government announces its deep cuts in public spending. The new coalition government proposes to cut 10,000 university places in the new academic year. This is half the amount of places promised under the previous Labour government. This decision is part of the new LibCon government’s long list of measures introduced to help reduce the ÂŁ150 billion public sector deficit. Reports have suggested that the higher education budget will face a loss of ÂŁ200 million in government investment. However, it has been promised that spending on research, innovation, business and enterprise will be protected. The University and College Union general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: “Students and their families must wonder what they have done to be treated so badly by this coalition government. First the Lib Dems renege on their flagship policy to fight against fees, and now the opportunity of a university education is being restricted.â€?

         

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Despite the forthcoming cuts, the number of university applicants continues to rise. The academic year 2010-2011 has seen an increase of 16.5% in prospective students, according to the UCAS admissions service. Even though this is a larger number of applicants than in 2009, the cuts will mean a lower level of acceptance than there was last year. In order to reach its target of cutting ÂŁ6.243 billion, the government has highlighted the university modernisation fund as the area which will face the greatest reduction in spending. The modernisation fund was set-up in March in the last budget under the previous Labour government. It was created to focus mainly on places offered for scientific, technological and engineering subjects. Professor Steve Smith, President of Universities UK, highlighted the struggle facing universities as they continue to deal with the impact of over ÂŁ1 billion cuts from the government. He said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;A further ÂŁ200 million of in-year cuts will make the task of meeting student demand this summer â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and not compromising on the quality of the student experience â&#x20AC;&#x201C; even harder.â&#x20AC;?


NEWS 05

gairrhydd | NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY MAY 31 2010

Welsh Education English universities should be Minister attacks HE 'paid' to take poor students Emma McFarnon News Editor

STING: Minister criticises Welsh HE

Emma McFarnon News Editor The Education Minister for Wales has criticised Welsh universities, claiming they have a "very limited" impact on the nation’s economy and reputation. In his first public address on higher education since funding allocations were announced in March, Leighton Andrews said Welsh HE institutions lacked leadership, and are failing to lift the nation up the UK prosperity table. He told delegates at Cardiff University: "We are not having a high enough impact in terms of the quality and quantity of our research. "For too many in Wales, higher education remains a distant and irrelevant activity, clouded in mystery." Mr Andrews, AM for Rhondda Cynon Taff, was speaking at a public lecture at the School of City and Regional Planning in Cardiff’s Cathays Park. "I have begun to wonder whether the higher education sector in Wales actually wants the Assembly Government to have a higher education strategy, or whether it even believes that there is such a thing as a Welsh higher education sector. I am not alone in this view," he said.

"We have had more higher education institutions per head in Wales than any other part of the UK but have failed to break free from the bottom end of the UK growth and prosperity table." He also claimed Welsh universities had become the last bastion of the nation’s old ruling class. Welsh Lib Dem Shadow Education Minister, Jenny Randerson, yesterday criticised Mr Andrews’ "bizarre" criticism of universities. "This attack is clearly motivated by the fact he is finding it difficult to get universities to sign up to his centralising, controlling agenda," she said. "We shouldn’t forget that Welsh universities are forced to work against the backdrop of a massive funding gap with England. "Welsh universities need help to defend themselves from the eerie, centralising agenda that the Minister set out and we’ll do our best to help protect them.” A Cardiff University spokesperson welcomed the Minister’s recognition of the need to raise standards and spread opportunity. "The economic value of Cardiff University’s own activities across education, research and innovation is greater than £1bn per annum. Our students alone bring an estimated £150200m annually to the local economy."

Number of Dangoor Scholarships increased Alina Dan Reporter

Students wishing to study science or maths-based subjects at Cardiff University will now have a greater chance of receiving a Dangoor Scholarship. Cardiff University has received confirmation that its number of Dangoor Scholarships has been increased from 30 to 50. The scholarship provides financial assistance to students from lowincome backgrounds that embark on science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) courses. Providing more opportunity for talented first-year undergraduates to access higher education regardless of background, it will also help Wales succeed in building capacity in vital science, engineering and technology

fields. The scholarships, which provide students from lower income backgrounds with £1,000 assistance, are headed by Dr Naim Dangoor, who has donated £3 million over three years. To be eligible, students need to fulfil the UK residency criteria (England and Wales), and must have indicated Cardiff as a firm choice. Following this, the shortlisting process will be based on the academic merit indicated on the application form. Professor Jonathan Osmond, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students, said: "These latest scholarships are offering the chance for students to fulfil their dreams of studying for a degree at one of the country’s leading academic institutions, which otherwise may have been out of their reach." Details of scholarships for students starting in 2011 will be published on the University website in September.

Universities in England should be "rewarded" with extra cash for taking students from poorer families, a charity has said. The recommendations come from the Sutton Trust, which campaigns to increase access to higher education for low-income groups. The Trust has also suggested that the Government should consider giving poorer students a free first year at university. The suggestions form the Sutton Trust’s second submission to the review on university funding, headed by Lord Browne. The results of the review, which looks at how England pays for its universities and what de-

gree students contribute to the system, are due to be published in the autumn. In its second submission to the review, the Sutton Trust calls for the creation of a bounty fund of "tens of millions of pounds a year" to reward universities "that make special efforts to recruit students from poorer homes". The Trust argues that the money should be top-sliced from the teaching grant awarded by HEFCE, the body which distributes funds to England's universities. It suggests its idea of a "free first year" should be piloted. "The free first year would alleviate some of the risk and uncertainty that deter non-privileged students from applying to certain courses and institu-

tions," says its report. Universities in England are currently set targets, known as benchmarks, for the proportion of undergraduates they take from less well-off homes. A report on Wednesday from the agency in charge of widening access to higher education said that youngsters from wealthy homes were seven times more likely to go to England's top universities than those from disadvantaged backgrounds. The agency, the Office for Fair Access (Offa), said there had been no significant change since the mid-1990s. When the public sessions of the Browne review re-open in Bristol on Thursday, a panel will hear opinions from Universities UK, the National Union of Students (NUS) and the Institute of Fiscal Studies.


06 NEWS You'll never guess what...

Feline clean

A Persian kitten shocked her owners when she emerged from the washing machine after surviving a full cycle. Four-month-old Kimba, a white, fluffy kitten, climbed into the frontloader machine when the door was open, and curled up on the dirty clothes. Her unaware owners turned the machine on for a cycle, which included a cold wash and a high level spin. Kimba was taken to the vet, where she was put on an intravenous drip and treated for shock and hypothermia.

gairrhydd | NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY MAY 31 2010

Kick ass criminal Emma McFarnon News Editor A Croatian donkey has been found not guilty of assault after a trial lasting eight years. Dino the donkey was accused in 2002 of biting an eight-year-old girl in the northern village of Blazevdol. The child’s parents attempted to sue Dino’s owner, Ljubomir Smrndic, demanding damages to be paid to the

girl until she reached the age of 18. It was unclear what injuries the girl sustained from the donkey bite. But Smrndic successfully argued that donkeys have no free will, and that Dino had been provoked by the girl, who had thrown stones at him, Judges this week ruled that Dino was not guilty and that Smrndic should not pay damages. Sadly, Dino the donkey will be unaware of the victory, as she died two years ago.

HOOKED: Toddler can't cope without cigarettes

Emma McFarnon News Editor

Sausage suction

A cleaner from Massachusetts was sucked into a sausage seasoning machine, after it activated while he was working on it. The unnamed man from Danvers was cleaning the vacuum-type machine, which is used to season the meat at DiLuigi Sausage Co, when his head and shoulders became stuck. According to police, he was freed from the machine and showed no obvious sign of trauma.

Trouser snake

A middle-aged teacher in Italy who dropped his trousers to show students that low-slung jeans aren’t ‘cool’ has been disciplined. The teacher, who cannot be named, stunned pupils at Fogazzaro middle school in Como when he undid his belt and let his trousers drop. "A teacher mustn’t lower himself to the pupils’ level," said headmaster Luigi Zecca. "If I see kids coming into school dressed inappropriately, I say something but I certainly don't drop my trousers," he added.

Biggie smokes some ciggies

NOT GUILTY: Donkey cleared of assault

A two-year-old Indonesian boy has become addicted to cigarettes. Ardi Rizal, who lives in the fishing village of Musi Banyuasin in Sumatra, Indonesia, was given his first cigarette by his father when he was just 18 months old. His father, Mohammad Rizal, said: “I'm not worried about his health, he looks healthy. He cries and throws tantrums when we don't let him smoke. He's addicted.” Ardi will now smoke only one brand of cigarette and his habit costs his parents £3.78 a day - in a province where the minimum wage is around £69 a month. The two-year-old now weighs four

stone, and trundles round on a toy truck, blowing smoke rings, as he is too unfit to run with the other children. His 26-year-old mother, Diana, who has been trying to get him to quit but with little success, said: "He's totally addicted. If he doesn't get cigarettes, he gets angry and screams and batters his head against the wall. He tells me he feels dizzy and sick." Officials have offered to buy the family a car if he quits. Data from the Central Statistics Agency showed that 25% of Indonesian children aged three to 15 have tried cigarettes, with 3.2% of those active smokers. The percentage of five to nine-year-olds lighting up increased from 0.4% in 2001 to 2.8% in 2004, figures from the agency showed.

What a pain in the arse Ben Price Reporter A woman has died as a result of having a toilet brush handle stuck up her bum for the past five years. Following a drunken night out with friends in 2005, Cindy Corton, fell onto the brush handle which became stuck in her buttock. The 35-year-old suffered a great deal of pain after her fall and was forced to go to the hospital on the night of the accident. However, she was sent home with painkillers as doctors failed to notice the six-inch piece of plastic wedged in her backside. Mrs. Corton spent the next two years trying to convince medics that there was 15 centimetres of toilet brush handle implanted in her rear. Many x-rays later, there was no sign of the troublesome piece of plastic. In 2007, an MRI scan revealed that

the brush handle had embedded itself in Mrs. Corton’s pelvis. However, two operations to remove the handle proved unsuccessful. Tragedy struck during a much riskier operation in Nottingham in June last year, when Mrs. Corton suffered severe blood loss and died as a result. A coroner at Grantham Magistrates Court said it was a "serious failure" that the hospital failed to spot the brush handle earlier. Husband Peter Corton has taken civil action against the medical trust. He said: "Cindy got a very bad service from the NHS." Mr. Corton believes that his wife would still be alive had the correct diagnosis been made sooner. "I’m sure she would have got better treatment in foreign countries," he added. An NHS Trust spokesperson stated that this was a most "unusual" case, and that not all the facts were given on Mrs. Corton’s visits to accident and emergency departments.

BUTT PLUG: Handle inside woman for five years


gairrhydd | NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY OCTOBER 26 2009

NEWS 05


08 OPINION

gairrhydd | OPINION@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY MAY 31 2010

Scientists successfully synthetically reproduced Mycoplasma Mycoides

Synthetic life? Oh my science! The creation of synthetic life should not be marred with fears of playing God Tomos Clarke Opinion Writer Last week, scientists at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Maryland, USA, announced the most amazing development: they had synthetically created life. Awesome. Real science fiction stuff. Man took another baby step forward in our never-ending quest to master our universe. To bend it to our will for the good of all, or at least to make some profit out of it, and all that jazz. Now the team didn't create artificial life, it was synthetic life – the seemingly slight difference is significant. The team took the genome of a simple bacterium, synthesized the gene sequences it needed and put them together. This synthetic genome was then put into another, empty bacterial cell and left to its own devices. Unsurprisingly, it flourished, and, lo and behold, man had replicated life. No 'spiritual force' was needed; there was no need for divine intervention to get the tiny cell going. Despite the fact that it’s synthetic rather than artificial life that has been

created, the processes at work, and the concept of it, has been proven: that the creation of life is not an impossibility.

It has been proven that the creation of life is not an impossibility This opens up a myriad of possibilities. The team is already talking of bacteria that eat CO2 and spit out bio fuel; bacteria that synthesize vaccines and medicine. The possibilities are endless – I’m personally hoping for a symbiotic strain that can increase my FIFA playing ability, but that may be slightly optimistic (see article on opposite page). But the point is that this is an amazing set of possibilities tackling diverse problems, from climate change, energy security, health, and everything in between. In short, the solution to all our problems. But rather than the universal awe and respect this breakthrough deserved, a slightly different response emerged: cue hysterical screams of 'Playing God!' and 'Frankenstein!' There have been calls for a ban on the

research by some, tougher regulation by others. Now this really angers me. Banning the research is a ridiculous position to take. The possible benefits are too great to ignore. Personally, I would never ban scientific research into anything; humans are nearly unique in their ability to research and catalogue new ideas. This is what has made us so successful and special. Scientific discoveries by mavericks like Galileo, Darwin and Alkindus have given us the world we know. Without them, we’d still be in the dark ages. And why would you ban research? Why would you want to? I mean, I can only assume that the people who propose these bans are luddites of the highest order and are diametrically opposed to change. Since rational debate never seems to work with these people, we obviously need a muscular, slightly less bigoted version of Richard Dawkins to beat it into them that change is inevitable. The fear that an artificial bacterium could infect and wipe out humanity is also baseless. New diseases evolve naturally all the time - well, outside the regulatory framework. There is a far higher risk of them doing dam-

age than an artificial life-form, as they could be designed with fail safes and genetic controls. Arguments about the ethics of creating new life are equally as baseless. We have tinkered and engineered livestock for countless generations through selective breeding. Tailoring engineering microbes to perform specific tasks is a simple extension of that.

All we've done is created a sort of IKEA flat-pack version of life Besides, the creation of 'synthetic life' has been going on for billions of years: its called 'life'. All we’ve done this time is a sort of IKEA flat-pack version. We’ve used natures tools and done it ourselves. Nothing scary, no monsters ready to destroy/take over the world. The trick will be doing it with new life forms, designed from the bottom up, rather than simple copy/pasting that Venter has done. Venter is certainly a maverick and definitely one for promoting change.

Here is the man who kicked the Human Genome Project up the arse by forming a private company to race the publicly-funded body to the prize. He lost that battle, but pushed the public body hard and, in the process, accelerated the timetable. In 2007, he became the first individual to have his genome fully analyzed and published. He can be a capitalistic twat (he wanted to commercialise the human genome project and patent it), but thankfully his efforts were thwarted and should be thwarted if he tries to do something similar again. But he is a genius of the highest order, and stifling his creativity with overbearing bureaucracy and regulation isn't the way to get the best out of him. Science and ethics. Ethics and science. You cant seem to have one without worries for the other. Ever since men have pushed the boundaries of knowledge, others have worried about the ethical implications, sometimes for the best, but often pointlessly. I’ll concede some regulation is necessary to prevent accidents and mistakes, but with luck it will be minimal. And who knows, my dream of a genetically engineered FIFA symbiote may, one day, become a reality and hope will return.


OPINION 09

gairrhydd | OPINION@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY MAY 31 2010

It's just not banter The rise of truelad.com isn't funny - it's just pathetic Liz Blockley Opinion Writer ‘LAD’, ‘Waaaaaah!’ and ‘Banter’. Three words that strike fear into the hearts of women across the nation and are now synonymous with misogyny, drinking and football. The emergence of the website truelad.com is proof of what most women have already known for years – that men are against us. The founder of truelad defines a 'lad' as a ‘beer chugging, football-loving, womanising man’ and the website has, worryingly, seemingly been adopted as a Bible by the majority of Englishspeaking men under the age of thirty. A quick scroll through the website is an exercise in completely obliterating what little faith one had in men and humanity in general. It’s not that I’m completely devoid of a sense of humour and appreciation for the cheeky antics of men desperate to re-emasculate themselves in a world where subservient females are increasingly hard to find. I can see the funny side of ‘My best mate faked a story about how he’d love a winter wedding just to avoid getting married anywhere near the World Cup… He’s getting married this December. LAD’. It’s quite naïve really – as if this man’s fiancée didn’t see right through his act and let him win this one in order to ensure she gets her way in every other aspect of their union. But it’s easier to let them think they are getting one up on us and let them have their fun. More worrying are the rare and dis-

missive references to the ‘missus’ or the ‘slag I brought home last night’. If you met a man last week on your night out and gave him your number because he seemed cute and endearing, he probably got home to put something on truelad about your tits and give you a physical rating out of ten. That sweet boy I met in sixth form who told me he loved me after only a few dates? He no longer exists. He has mutated into a lad, who last week paid a girl in cigarettes and cider to ‘get off’ with him, egged on by his fellow lads. Standard. When asked if he liked this girl, he responded that she was ‘dumb and fat’, either to placate me or because she was unwittingly the butt of a hilarious lad joke. I really wasn’t sure who to feel more upset for.

I never expect to be bought flowers again: there's no opportunity to yell 'Waaah! Banter!' Male self-esteem now seems to be based on out-drinking everyone in the vicinity, sacking off work to watch whatever sporting event is on TV and humiliating women left, right and centre. It’s a scary process to watch, not least because, as long as the truelad phenomenon continues, I have little faith in any man as a prospective partner. Ironically, it’s just like a game of football. Say there’s a boy you like. He’s the

"I was totally wearing a lashmina" Lad? More like twat... goal. Unfortunately, you don’t have a chance in hell of getting to speak to the goal, or going for a drink with the goal, because all of his mates are circling around the goal, defending it to the death. To embark on a relationship would be ‘anti-lad’ behaviour. To show affection or vulnerability: anti-lad. I never expect to be bought flowers again because there’s nothing about the process that provides an opportunity to yell ‘WAAAH, BANTER!’ or to perform some kind of ritual celebratory dance. I pray it’s just a phase that twenty-something males have been going through since the dawn of time and that truelad is only serving to force

the issue into the public realm. The website provides some gems of comedy and an insight into the minds of men with severely low IQs, but it also scares me. Because I struggle to think of a male friend that, nowadays, does not subscribe to the lad phenomenon, and I don’t want to become just another joke for the guys to laugh about over a few pints, or a number out of ten on a website. The days when a man’s male friends had something positive to say about his girlfriend, instead of merely viewing her as an obstacle to casual sex, drinking and FIFA cannot return soon enough.

Madness? This is Student Council! Dominic Stone Student Council Member I’ve got a sneaky suspicion that the proverbial shit is going to hit the fan following the anti-English Defence League protest in Cardiff on Saturday June 5. This morning, while I should have been revising, I instead watched a documentary on BBC iPlayer which followed the EDL around various demonstrations across the UK. It was compelling viewing and clearly, rightly or wrongly, painted the movement in a negative light. However, I’m not writing this piece to tell you whether the English Defence League is racist or not. They say that they are not, but accept that, unfortunately, some football hooligan types come along to their protests and turn the atmosphere sour through the use of racial slurs and violence. What concerns me is that the Student Council of this Students' Union has mandated the Union to help co-ordinate a protest against the proposed EDL

demonstration. Due to ill-health, I was unable to attend the Student Council meeting where this decision was taken, but had I been there, I would have strongly argued against it. While I accept that the anti-EDL demonstration is being organised in co-ordination with South Wales Police and other community action groups, I cannot help but feel that, if the events on Saturday June 5 do turn violent - as almost all EDL demonstrations do when confronted with protestors of opposing views - that the Union’s reputation will be tarnished, and it will be seen as responsible for leading some of its students into getting beaten up. I truly hope that this does not happen. And this leads me on to a more general point. I’m a member of the Union Executive Team and, thus, have a seat on Student Council, which I feel very privileged for. However, I often find myself questioning the motives of councillors and the motions they pass. Perhaps I have totally misread the situation, but I cannot help but feel that, on issues such as the one I

have outlined above, Student Council passes motions because it feels like it should be seen to be doing the right thing, rather than actually considering everything in full. I’ll give you two examples from this academic year alone. Firstly, do you remember talk of gender neutral toilets? I acknowledge and sympathise that a few students might find the current situation of having male and female toilets a difficult scenario, but the overwhelming feeling on the among students was that this was a bad idea. Throughout this year, not a single issue enraged students enough for them to come and speak to me as much as this one did. Nothing else even came close. Secondly, the idea of ethical investment and banking. Recently, it was proposed that it be investigated by the team at the Union to see if there was a more ethically responsible bank for them to use then the one they currently do. Fortunately, Mark Anderson, next year’s elected LGBT+ Association President, had the intelligence to

stand up and question what was meant by ethically responsible. This was an argument also supported by University Vice-Chancellor, Dr. David Grant. He openly accepted that there were questionable aspects to the banks used by the University, but held strong that they were potentially the best of a bad bunch. It is not plausible to find one bank whose ethical responsibility pleases everyone, be they environmentalists or anti-war supporters et al. The last Student Council meeting of this academic session has been held, and I’d like to thank everyone who has sat on Council and made some sensible decisions this year. But to those who are considering sitting on it next year, I urge you to consider other aspects of students’ lives, not solely the PR appearance of the Students' Union. I’ve had a great three years in Cardiff, but my time to move on has come. I’m hoping to move somewhere that does not have a ban on Nestle products - another decision taken by Student Council - because I bloody love Kit Kats.

freewords EDITORIAL

Est. 1972

The end is nearly here! So, the end is in sight – well, it’s already here for some of you, you lucky buggers. And the sun is shining (at least, it is as I write this. By the time you read it, it will probably be raining, knowing Cardiff). Cynicism aside, I love Cardiff at this time of year; barbeques and sun bathing in beautiful Bute Park and everyone in high spirits at the outset of a four-month summer holiday. As a full-time working type, I’m not actually included in this demographic, although I still feel as though I am. That’s the beauty of working in a Students’ Union – you are a paid member of staff, but still pretty much a student. Win-win. As of July 31 this year, though, that’ll be it; a sabbatical officer I will be no more. My 13 months in the job over. Finito. But what a 13 months it has been. I can’t quite believe how fast it has gone either. It does not seem to have been a whole year since I finished my undergraduate degree (on May 15, no less… slacker) and started my job as Head of Student Media, not really knowing what at all to expect. I have learnt so much in the past year; this job has given me the best, most thorough training I could possibly ask for as a budding journalist – there’s nothing quite like it. If you’re reading this and you’re not about to finish at Cardiff, I would urge you to get involved with some aspect of student media next year. The experience you will gain is invaluable, employers love it, and above all, it’s just bloody good fun. I’m actually going back to school next year, if you cared. I’m going back home to JOMEC, where I did my undergraduate degree, to do a postgraduate diploma in broadcast journalism. (Yes I know, still clinging on to the student life – I can’t get enough of it. Plus I love Cardiff, so it’s a good excuse to not leave). For those of you that are moving on, I wish you the best of luck. It’s not easy going into a world of fulltime work, putting in more hours in one day than you’re used to doing in a week (medics, etc – I apologise that this does not apply to you. I’m referring to those students from my ilk of undergraduate degree). It’s not all doom-and-gloom leaving the cosy bubble that is Cathays, though. It’ll be nice to actually have some money for once, to be able to buy yourself nice, new clothes, and – for those of you who have had it really bad – food. Plus you can start paying off that pesky student loan, which will be in the tens of thousands before you know it. We’ll be back with a final, stunning issue next week, so this isn’t quite goodbye!

Corrections and clarifications The article entitled “JOMEC students unhappy with module cancellation” in issue 924 was written by Jenny Pearce, not Hannah Pendleton.


10 POLITICS

gairrhydd | POLITICS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY MAY 31 2010

Conservatives get the knife out

This world, Katie Murdoch looks at the first cuts from Osbourne, this week

and wonders what the Lib Dems think of it all...

C

hancellor George Osborne has sketched out plans to make £6.2 billion worth of immediate cuts in government spending. The cuts will target I.T spending, higher education spending and local authorities, among other areas. The savings are designed to help reduce the budget deficit quickly and to restore growth. Though the Conservative Party had drawn up plans to make large cuts in public spending months before the General Election, the Liberal Democrat Party had planned to wait until next year before introducing large cuts in order to allow the country to fully recover from the recession. The concession by the Lib Dems has angered former Chancellor Alistair Darling, who said the cuts are 'concerning' due to the possible loss of thousands of jobs in the affected areas. Ed Balls, Shadow Education Secretary, echoes these concerns, arguing that it is the “first big mistake by this government on the economy”. The Departments of Business and Transport are set to face the largest cuts: Business will see £836 million decreases in spending, and Transport £683 million. More detail on cuts in

spending is likely to be provided in an emergency Budget on June 22. Education will see massive cuts of £670 million, and plans to abolish the Child Trust Funds which was created by Gordon Brown were outlined. The Fund provides newborn babies with a saving account of at least £250 at birth. Child Trust Funds were introduced to encourage families, especially those from poorer backgrounds, to start saving for their child at a young age in order to provide them with a stronger start when they grew up. Anne Longfield, Chief Executive of the children’s charity 4Children, described the decision as "disappointing". She also highlighted that more wealthy families will have the financial ability to support their children, whereas poorer families will be at a strong disadvantage. Huw Lewis, Deputy Children’s Minister in the Welsh Assembly said: "I know tough decisions have to be made, but taking money away from disadvantaged children is not tough, it is evil." Chief Secretary to the Treasury, David Laws, defended the plans b y

arguing that stopping the payments from the end of the year will save £520 million in spending, and some of the savings will pay for respite care for families with disabled children. All quangos (quasiautonomous non-governmental organisa-

tions) will have their budgets cut by ten per cent, with one - a school I.T group, Becta - being completely scrapped. Investments in student places at university and also in science facilities are set to be cut. The coalition government made the decision to reverse Labour’s promises of 20,000 extra university places and will reduce funding in higher education by £200 million, on top of the £1 billion already announced over the last year. Sally Hunt, General Secretary of the University and College Union, said: "Students and their families must wonder what they have done to be treated so badly by this coalition government. First the Lib Dems renege on their flagship policy to fight against fees and now the opportunity of a university education is being restricted."

OSBOURNE: Eyes up some more cuts

With the Euro tanking, James Dunn looks at why no one wants to be left standing on this sinking ship

D

ber states that a redraft of the Lisbon treaty is needed to prevent another Greek-style economic meltdown. The German Parliament narrowly approved their own portion of the €750 billion part of the rescue package for the ailing country. Cameron and Merkel epitomise the two sides of the argument in the unfolding European crisis. Cameron is in a slightly unique position in that he is the leader of one of the two member states who are not legally obliged to

AN UNSINKABLE SHIP? The Euro tanks

T

he European Union (EU) has suggested that a network of national funds be introduced to ensure that the cost of failures in the banking system will not be met by the taxpayer. The EU Internal Market Commissioner, Michel Barnier, has claimed that these funds would form part of a broader system of banking regulation. Failures, he then claimed, would be managed in "an orderly way". Banks would have to pay a levy, and the money would not be used to bail out failed banks. "It is not acceptable that taxpayers bear the cost of rescuing banks", Mr. Barnier added.

Reggae beats

We're not going down with the ship avid Cameron has signalled this week that he would never be willing for a transfer of power from Westminster to Brussels that would potentially shore-up the troubled Euro. But during his visit to Berlin, the new Prime Minister declared that it was in the British national interest for “a strong and stable Eurozone”. His comments come on the back of the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, attempting to persuade the 27 mem-

Funny money

convert to the Euro (Denmark being the other exception). Yet he speaks for the majority of Europe in not wanting to change the way the current financial system is regulated. At least, he is not one who subscribes to the view that Brussels should be strengthened at the cost of national powers in order to improve the chances of the Euro.

The Euro is meant to be the unifying element of the EU, but is now its most volatile Merkel, on the other hand, is advocating a potentially dividing idea. Having already faced threats from French President, Nicholas Sarkozy, that they would withdraw from the Euro without the continued support of the Germans, she then came up against criticism from European markets for banning short-selling of Euro bonds. This move, still legal outside of Germany, could have profound impacts upon their economy. However, Merkel is arguing for a more centralised European Union. Many suspect that her reasoning behind this is solely to prevent her country being such a

large contributor to future bail-outs. That is the price she has had to pay as the leader of the strongest economy in the Eurozone. Cameron’s refusal to divert more power to Brussels raises an interesting point. Any sort of transfer would have to be unanimously agreed by all 27 member states of the Union. While this would almost solely be in an attempt to save the ailing Euro, Britain would still have a veto. The Euro seems almost doomed to fail. Gordon Brown received a phenomenal - largely unfounded - level of criticism during his time as Chancellor in refusing to join the Euro in 1999. But his successful attempts at refusing Euro-enthusiast, Tony Blair, saved the British economy. The Euro is a boom-time product. With the European Central Bank fixing interest rates across a huge number of economies, all facing their own problems on differing scales, countries such as Greece were able to live well beyond their means for too long. With Britain able to dictate its own finances, Brown made a wise move. But the Euro, designed to be the unifying element in the European Union, is now the most volatile element of the group. Countries economic well-being will suffer greatly, simply by supporting it.

A

shoot-out between police and gunmen has turned the Jamaican capital of Kingston into a war zone. Last week, soldiers stormed the stronghold of Christopher "Dudus" Coke, an alleged drug baron who is wanted in the United States. At least 60 people have been killed. The Jamaican government are trying to extradite Mr. Coke, but he is currently protected by heavily armed men. A clash outside the Kingston Public Hospital forced staff to close the medical centre. Jamaican Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, has vowed to restore order.

Desert queen

E

lton John will be appearing at a festival in Morocco this week despite calls for him to be banned. Many Islamists are trying to prevent him from turning up, claiming that the openly gay singer would offend public morals. The organisers of the Mawazine Festival defend his appearance on the basis of "cultural tolerance". Nonetheless, huge crowds are expected to turn out to see Elton perform. The festival usually draws around 40,000 people. This year they are expecting 60,000 people to turn up.


POLITICS 11

gairrhydd | POLITICS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY MAY 31 2010

Is football coming home in South Africa?

With the FIFA World Cup fast approaching, Oliver Smith takes a look at the effects it could have on an unstable South Africa

S

ince FIFA allowed the new South African Football Association back into FIFA in 1992, following the collapse of apartheid, the day was bound to come when South Africa would host one of the greatest sporting events: the World Cup. For a country blighted by the AIDS pandemic, high levels of crime and unemployment rates of 25%, the World Cup could offer a new opportunity to resolve its economic and social problems. Indeed, the former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, has predicted that the event will be viewed as the moment that Africa “turned the tide on centuries of poverty and conflict”.

South Africa has long been blighted by AIDS, poverty, crime and lots of unemployment However, many are more sceptical: the economic success of a World Cup for the hosting nation is often only felt many years after the event, and the level of this economic success is often minimal when compared to the massive cost of hosting the Cup. These facts have led many to call the event an economic gamble, especially for poor nations who bank their future on

its success. South Africa alone has invested around £3.5 billion in the various developments necessary for the Cup, such as building the stadiums, roads and transport links in preparation. Politically, the World Cup will shine a bright light on South Africa’s post-apartheid system. Sporting events have often been the catalyst for highlighting continuing problems for the South African society; the 1995 Rugby World Cup, in particular, brought to light the racism which was still apparent in the sport. But the South African Government are hoping that this sporting occasion will be a show of solidarity rather than a revelation of any racial issues which might remain in South African society. Fears are rife, however, that extremists from both sides of the apartheid debate might use the World Cup in South Africa as a platform to distract the world’s attention from what should be a monumental celebration of African diversity. Last month, the white supremacist leader, Eugene Terreblanche, was murdered and a noticeable sense of panic emerged from government officials in light of the imminent World Cup. A similar incident now would most certainly mark the event with the negative stigma reminiscent of apartheid South Africa - something that the government would definitely be keen to avoid. The economic and political success of the South African World Cup

The Queen's Speech: Those crucial bills Academies Bill: will give more schools, including primaries, the ability to become academies, which means that they won't be under local authority control. Parents will be able to set up 'free schools'. Schools will have more control over the curriculum. Energy and Green Economy Bill: will promote energy efficiency, the introduction of smart meters and low-carbon energy production. European Union Bill: will mean that a referendum will have to be held to approve treaties that cede powers to Europe. Financial Reform Bill: responsibility for the regulation of the banking sector will be moved from the controversial Financial Services Authority to the Bank of England. Freedom (Great Repeal) Bill: will limit the amount of time that the DNA of innocent people can be held on the national database. Regulation on the use of CCTV will be tightened and limits on the right to peaceful protest will be removed. The Identity Documents Bill will scrap ID cards.

is not certain. Indeed, in the current economic climate, the success of the event seems even more in doubt. Africa’s problems are deep rooted; the fear is that the billions of pounds of investment will leave Africa with little to show after the intense 30-day win-

dow of opportunity has passed. For ordinary South Africans, the high levels of crime, the 25% unemployment and the AIDS pandemic will be around long after the World Cup has left, as will the social problems which have lingered since the 1990s.

Even if the Cup can’t turn “the tide on centuries of poverty and conflict”, it will at least unite the South African people around the one thing that has been with them all the way along their painful journey through apartheid and poverty: their love of sport.

POOR SOUTH AFRICANS: They don't think Capello should take Adam Johnson

Korea vs Korea: the second leg Jake Yorath Politics Writer

O

ccasionally, we hear of two countries that are ‘close to war’ or ‘on the brink of conflict’. As these two countries are rarely England and Wales, we often tend to flick on through the newspaper because it’s a long way away. North and South Korea, by the way, are on the brink of war for the first time since the Soviet-backed North invaded the US-backed South in 1950. Since that war, the two have eyed each other up over a much needed demilitarised zone (DMZ), with the

Office of Budget Responsibility Bill: provides a statutory underpinning for the creation of the new Office of Budget Responsibility, which will provide borrowing and economic growth forecasts for the Treasury. Parliamentary Reform Bill: introduces fixed-term parliaments that will last five years. Requires 55% of MPs to vote for the dissolution of Parliament in between elections. Gives constituents the right to recall corrupt MPs. A referendum on electoral reform will be voted upon later. KIM JONG-IL: Say hello to my friends

South a prosperous, flourishing, technological nation that has co-hosted a World Cup, and the North it’s slightly crazy, jealous brother. Like that crazy, jealous brother, the North - led by the interestingly egotistical Kim Jong-Il occasionally snaps and then pretends, in a manner not dissimilar to Bart Simpson, that they didn’t do it. Recently, a South Korean warship, the Cheonan, sank just off the coast of the DMZ. Though the North Koreans clearly didn’t have anything to do with it, the sinking did raise one or two pertinent questions and so an inquiry was set up. Curiously, it was noted that a torpedo had sunk the ship. Though the words ‘Made in North Korea’ weren’t found on any of the

wreckage (though lettering matching North Korean-designed weapons was found on debris on the sea floor), the message itself was clear: ‘We didn’t do it, but had we done it, we would’ve done it like this’. The conclusion drawn by an international report was that North Korea had sunk the vessel: "The evidence points overwhelmingly to the conclusion that the torpedo was fired by a North Korean submarine. There is no other plausible explanation." This was followed by promises of ‘stern action’ by South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak. The White House said the action ‘challenged peace’, while Beijing acknowledged the report and urged restraint to be shown. If the ship had been a British vessel, there would already be a NATO task force in the area doing bad things to the North. Is it fair for us to expect Korea to react any differently? Their army is well equipped and boosted by 26,000 US Army troops, with the North offering measly equipment and poor morale. It’s a tempting prospect for the South to finally take the country as their own and remove the restrictive Northern regime. It will take all the negotiating skills of the UN and the international community to defuse what could potentially be a catastrophic situation.


12 FEATURES

gairrhydd | FEATURES@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY MAY 31 2010

Nightline: the ser

When you're alone and need someone to talk to, Cardif help. This week, Features takes a look at the service, Daniella Graham Features Editor It’s late. You’re feeling anxious about your exam tomorrow, but your housemates are all in bed, and you don’t want to wake them up when they have exams too. Or you think that you’re depressed, but you feel unable to talk to your friends about it. Or you’re feeling peckish, but don’t know the pizza delivery number. What can you do? If it’s between 8pm and 8am, you can call Nightline. Nightline is a confidential listening and information service, open from 8pm until 8am during term time and staffed entirely by student volunteers. Cardiff Nightline doesn’t just serve Cardiff University; it also covers UWIC, the University of Glamorgan and the Royal College of Music and Drama, serving 72,000 students in total. But what does Nightline actually have to offer students? Is the service that important? And what is it like being a Nightline volunteer?

Inside the Nightline house: The sleeping area, phones, and the lounge

Nightline most often receive calls regarding depression and academic stress I shadowed Grace Bradley, the current Volunteer Welfare Officer and next year’s Co-ordinator, during a shift to see what it is really like being a Nightline volunteer. I met Grace at 7pm outside the Nightline house, located in the middle of a busy student road in Cathays. While on the outside, the house is indistinguishable from the array of student houses in the area, inside the house is very clearly Nightline HQ. The front room is the main hub of activity; there is a large desk with a phone, a computer, and a board covered in information for volunteers, as well as three beds. The lounge includes a sofa, a TV, and another phone and desk. As well as a kitchen and bathroom, there is also a small room with two chairs; although this is now used for little other than storing leaflets, for many years, Nightline had drop-in callers who would sit in this room to talk to a volunteer in person. While waiting for the other volunteer to arrive, Grace gave me a rundown on Nightline and what it is like to volunteer. Before they can answer calls, all volunteers undergo comprehensive two-day training. The first day is spent being trained on call taking, learning skills such as reflective lis-

tening, and the second is focused on the issues which they might face during calls. Nightline receives calls on a wide range of issues, but some are more prevalent than others. Grace tells me that Nightline receives twice as many calls about depression and academic stress than any other issue. “The following top eight issues raised by students are relationships, loneliness, self-harm, sexual abuse, anxiety, sexuality, sexual health and other mental health concerns, including suicidal thoughts. Some of the other issues that students raise include career path, bereavement, pregnancy and abortion, alcohol and drug abuse, family problems, housing concerns, discrimination, disability, worries about a friend, bullying, domestic abuse and debt.” While in the house, I noticed an old Christmas card pinned on the wall. The message underlined the difference Nightline can make – it was from someone who had rung the service,

thanking the volunteer who had spoken to them at length in the middle of the night. The message said that, before ringing up, the caller had been suicidal, and that the Nightline volunteer had saved their life.

The message said that the Nightline volunteer had saved their life Current Nightline Co-ordinator, Sally Wood, agrees on the importance of Nightline. “Students can make a fundamental difference to the lives of their colleagues through Nightline,” she says. “Everyone has suffered for some reason during University and I think it is important to make sure that there is someone on hand to talk through the night when all our other welfare services are closed.”

Nightline has five key principles; the service is confidential, non-advisory, non-judgmental, non-directive and anonymous. Grace explained to me the importance of these principles. “As a volunteer taking a call, we can never know all of the facts and the person’s life experiences necessary to make individual decisions which are right for them at the time. For this reason, we simply cannot offer to give people reliable advice. Crucially, Nightline is one of the few places students can go and not be told what to do, which gives them a chance to explore their own thoughts and feelings more clearly and attempt to come to the right conclusion. “It has also been found that if you directly tell someone what to do, they are less likely to do it, as you are taking away some of their autonomy and people react against this. So it is with respect for our callers, not ‘because we don’t want to get sued’ that we do not tell people what to do. However,

if someone phoned up and asked for advice we would also never say ‘oh, I can’t give you advice.’ We train volunteers to explore the situation with the caller, and usually find that the caller will be able to answer their own questions.” While the service helps support students’ welfare needs, volunteers need to be supported too. Volunteering for Nightline can be highly stressful, due to the often distressing calls volunteers deal with, as well as the sleep deprivation incurred during a shift. As Volunteer Welfare Officer, it is Grace’s job to look after the Nightline volunteers, ensuring that they are well supported. There is a mentor system in place, where new volunteers are paired with a mentor, who they can go to with any problems. During shifts, new volunteers – ‘newbies’ – are paired with volunteers who have completed a minimum of three shifts – ‘oldies’ – and there will always be at least one ‘oldie’ on any one shift. The Volunteer


FEATURES 13

gairrhydd | FEATURES@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY MAY 31 2010

rvice that listens

ff Nightline, officially the Best Nightline in the UK, can and experiences a night in the life of a volunteer

PHOTOS: DANIELLA GRAHAM

team of national executive officers and volunteers, and working with a team of trustees who help guide the organisation. If anyone would like to make a donation to the National Association, they can contact me at sally.wood@ nightline.ac.uk.” Money is a real issue for all Nightlines, especially Cardiff. Sally says: “Sustainability – knowing we will be funding from a secure source for a significant period of time – is one of the biggest problems facing Nightline at the moment.” Grace agrees: “Funding is hard to secure and vital to pay for a lot of necessities. Publicity is always an issue; just making sure that students know who we are, what we do and that we are open and happy to take their calls every night in term time. “Volunteer retention is hard too, as people have lots of commitments and sometimes volunteers can drop out.”

Welfare Officer’s job also includes ensuring people aren’t doing too many shifts in a short space of time, to make sure that they aren’t taking on shifts at a time when it could be damaging to them (such as when they are going through an emotional time, or during the exam period), as well as giving help and support to volunteers after dealing with distressing calls.

In March, Cardiff Nightline were awarded the title of Best Nightline in the UK In March, Cardiff Nightline were awarded the title of Best Nightline in the UK at the Nightline Awards. Sally says of the prestigious accolade: “We’re not the best in the country, but we do the best with the limited resources we have been given. We work

on one of the lowest budgets in the country, which is really quite shocking when we're one of the biggest students’ unions in the country and serve the needs of over 70,000 students across Cardiff. “However we have brilliant, loyal and experienced volunteers who work tirelessly to run the service and we are beginning to be recognised more by the University and Union, who are working on the most effective way to support this unique organisation.” Sally has just been appointed the Charity Co-ordinator of the Nightline Association. She will be the only paid member of staff, responsible for running the Association, which represents and guides the running of all 34 Nightlines across the country. “I'll be running training events for committees across the country and working on sustainable fundraising for the National Association, mainly from trust funds and corporate sponsors. Also, I'll be supervising a large

The stair lift is broken, so no wheelchair users can currently volunteer One of the biggest problems for Nightline is the state of the house. When I had originally entered the house, I had been struck by how run down the place was. Grace had agreed; “The house is pretty disgusting. It’s not a very nice place to stay.” As Grace gave me a tour of the Nightline house, I noticed a number of things. Aside from the 70s décor, the stair lift was broken. As all the rooms of the house used by Nightline are upstairs, this means that, at present, no wheelchair-users can volunteer for Nightline. The carpet was old and pretty dirty. Grace tells me that this is because their hoover is broken, and despite repeated requests to University Residences, who manage the property, they haven’t been given a replacement. The main windows of the house were cracked and stuck together with film – not ideal when you are taking a call and want to block outside noise. In the kitchen there is a fridge (a recent addition) but no other appliances aside from a kettle, so volunteers are unable to cook their own food. With no shower provision, volunteers have to rush home after a shift to be able to grab a shower before a 9am lecture. Nightline also have no control over the heating, as it is controlled by Residences. When I was in the house it was incredibly hot, but I was informed that this was preferable to in winter, when the house was often bitterly cold.

I was shown a document prepared by Nightline at the beginning of the year outlining all the problems with the house. While the number of problems was in double figures, only a couple had since been resolved. When I asked why this was the case, the answer was straightforward: money. To undertake all the necessary repairs, redecorate the house and install a shower would cost thousands of pounds: money that Nightline does not have. Whatever the reason, it seems unfair that volunteers are expected to regularly spend 12hour shifts in such an environment. After talking to Grace at length about Nightline, watching some television and getting on with some revision, it was time for us to go to bed. The beds are in the same room as the main phone, so it is impossible to sleep through a call. Luckily for me, there were no calls after we’d gone to bed, but Grace told me this was a very rare occurrence – Nightline receives an average of around 16 calls per night, and many of these are in the early hours.

At 8am we all emerged from our beds, tidied the house, then locked up. As I walked with Grace to return the keys to security, I asked her how she saw Nightline progressing in the near future. “We are currently putting a ‘Nightline model’ to the four universities we cover, strengthening links with the universities and securing funding, which will ensure that we are sustainable for many years to come. “We want to ensure there is better publicity in the universities, and we want to continue to improve links with student support services. “Most importantly, we want to continue to provide the best possible service to all our callers. We need to continue to ensure we fill all our shifts, and we are intending to train more volunteers next year.” As Grace and I separated to get on with our days, I couldn't help but be impressed by these students, who regularly give up their time to provide an invaluable service for their peers.

Nightline in 60% numbers 1 in 10 1 in 5 26% 116in 3 25 33% 11 114 81 22 1-5 58 people say they have often felt lonely

how much feelings of loneliness have increased in five years 12 shifts were

During the period September 18 - September 29, completed, during which time Nightline received 194 calls.

38 38

the average number of calls Nightline received in a night

of the calls were silent/ hang up calls, where the caller either hung up or did not speak during the call

admit theythis talk male callers during period to family and friends online too much

calls were known of from men with callers –depression people whotry call to regularly and are being fight it alone monitored

female callers during this period

calls were from problem callers – callers known to Nightline and banned from using the service

callers during this period where the sex was either unknown or not logged. think they know someone who is very lonely of the calls during this period were student calls; calling to chat, or to talk about their problems of the calls were information calls; enquiries for taxi, takeaway or security numbers

number of minutes information and silent calls normally last say they would be embarrassed to Student calls and calls from known admit they were callers to Nightline lonely have been logged as lasting between

15

minutes and

2

hours


14 FEATURES

gairrhydd | FEATURES@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY MAY 31 2010

Anti-social networking Are the fast-paced ways of modern life affecting our happiness? Features investigates this question and its impact on loneliness Jenny Pearce Features Writer

An alarming new report by The Mental Health Foundation, The Lonely Society? states that one in ten people have often felt lonely, and that one in three think they know someone who is very lonely. The study blames modern ways of living for people feeling lonely, stating that women are more likely to feel lonely than men. This could be due to a number of things, but especially the increasing number of one person households, which has gone from six percent in 1972 to 12% in 2008, and the rise in divorce rates, which have doubled in the past 50 years. The Lonely Society? believes this is impacting on people's ability to connect with others, resulting in loneliness. Feeling lonely is linked with other mental and physical illnesses and The Mental Health Foundation believes that vital relationships, such as those with friends and family, are key to good health and well-being; however, these relationships are being threatened by the increasingly isolating nature of modern life. Many people find themselves alone due to a variety of reasons, such as people around them pursuing career and education opportunities, geographical distance between family members and retirement. The study found that one in three people would like to live closer to their families so that they could see them more. This would mean that people such as the elderly and those who suffer from loneliness would have more regular contact with people. However, with many families spread across the country, and even the world, regular contact is not always an option.

The internet can become a lonely place if it is your only connection to the outside world

The study also links closures of community focal points, such as post offices and working men’s clubs, to isolation within communities as they particularly affect those who live on the margins of society and those who used the amenities socially; people like the elderly, disabled and the unemployed, who have now been left with no alternative place to socialise and meet with people. Shockingly, experiences of loneliness in children is rising rapidly. According to the NSPCC, around 10,000 calls were made last year reporting

feelings of loneliness, increasing by 60% in the last five years. Even more worrying is that some children are resorting to self-harm and even thoughts of suicide because of their loneliness. Inevitably, and unfortunately, loneliness and isolation are always going to be present in a small number of children’s lives. However, as the study shows, these figures are growing year on year, affecting more and more children than before. It is a well known fact that men are more reluctant to seek help about their problems and illnesses, and loneliness is no exception. With 36% of men feeling depressed due to loneliness, only ten percent have sought help for it.

In western societies, it is seen as embarrassing to admit to problems and illnesses In western societies, it is seen as embarrassing to admit to problems and illnesses. The Mental Health Foundation thinks this is due to pride in selfreliance, especially found in men. However, this embarrassment means that around 26% of men who feel depressed are trying to fight it alone, or without professional help, which is not a good idea, especially when there is so much help available both medical and alternative. The Lonely Society? also blames market-driven jobs for an increase in loneliness among people in work. They say that the pressure to be productive and busy means that some workers neglect their friends and family as they see social activities to be less important and, as a result, do not connect with others, which, as the charity says, is a basic human instinct. These feelings of loneliness can also result in poorer physical health. Loneliness is a natural human emotion which, although one in three are too embarrassed to admit they have, is still present in society and is one of the causes of many common health problems. Prolonged and persistent loneliness is linked to stress, as well as poorer functioning of the immune and cardiovascular systems, which, in modern society, is becoming more and more widespread. Evidence also shows that loneliness makes some habits and behaviours more difficult to control and manage. For example, lonely middle-aged adults drink more, eat more unhealthy foods and exercise less than happy, socially content adults.

LONELY: Then again, everything looks sadder in black and white More people having access to the internet and technology, especially people starting at a younger age, has also been identified as a contributor to loneliness. One in five people say that they think they talk too much to friends and family online when they should be going to see them in person. Some experts think that social networking sites undermine social skills and cause people to not understand and develop body language skills. With some people seeing social networking sites as being beneficial to their social life, many fail to notice that they are forfeiting face-to-face communication with online communication. In today’s society, with distance between friends and family and busy lifestyles, the internet is a convenient and cheap way to stay in contact with those you are unable to see regularly, which is, to some extent, a positive thing.

Closures of community focal points affect those who live on the margins of society However, for those who do not have family and friends to stay in

Loneliness: the facts

1 in 10 1 in 5 1 in 3

people say they have often felt lonely admit they talk to family and friends online too much

think they know someone who is very lonely

touch with, the internet can become a lonely place, especially if it is your only connection to the outside world and to social activities. The Lonely Society? states that physical contact promotes well-being and improves cognitive function due to the cognitive processes that it triggers and the hormone oxytocin that it releases. This is thought to highlight the link between social activity and healthy hearts. The Lonely Society? is helping to raise awareness of loneliness and the steps that people can take to combat and prevent it. They believe many people are unaware of the potential health risks that are linked to loneliness as it is not widely publicised and made known to people. The charity believes that those who are at risk of loneliness, such as the elderly, people with disabilities and those who are out of work should be

60% 26% 33%

how much feelings of loneliness have increased in five years of men with depression try to fight it alone say they would be embarrassed to admit they were lonely

supported at an early stage so that they do not develop loneliness, which may lead on to other potential health risks. Andrew McCulloch, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, says: “By raising awareness of the subject, we hope to tackle the stigma attached to loneliness and help individuals who are feeling lonely to connect with others.” He added that for some, it can be tackled by simply picking up the phone, but in more serious cases it might require a more formal kind of help, including visits to a GP. To read the report and for practical advice on how to combat loneliness, visit: www.mentalhealth.org.uk


FEATURES 15

gairrhydd | FEATURES@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY MAY 31 2010

The diary of an ex-smoker The majority of material designed to help you quit smoking is patronising and written by idiots. Hopefully, this will be different Paul Stollery Opinion Editor

where to shove their activity, safe in the knowledge that you can blame your outburst on nicotine withdrawal. The practical applications of this card are endless. Even if you're feeling confident, don't be naive; don't think you've conquered your addiction too soon. This was another mistake that I made. Instead of easing myself off the patches and gum, I came off them rather abruptly. Looking back at it, the sensible thing would have been to come off the patches, but stay on the gum for a couple of weeks. It sounds like an obvious piece of advice, but it is something that catches a lot of people out. The final piece of advice is to always keep some nicotine gum handy, especially if you're likely to find yourself in a stressful situation (exams spring to mind). Keep a couple in your wallet, just in case.

Many a time, I have done something I regret in Fun Factory. I think it's safe to say that I am not alone in this – very few of our university lives have been untouched by some form of alcohol-fuelled mistake in Solus. However, something somewhat amazing happened several months ago (and when I say amazing, yes, I am exaggerating a bit.) You see, towards the end of a night out in Fun Factory, I made a decision that would actually affect my life, long-term, in a positive way. I decided to quit smoking. I must admit, I don't really remember the exact point of the night that I quit smoking. I blame this on the £1.50 bottles of Foster's. In fact, the only way I know that I did indeed decide to quit smoking was that I had a note attached to my door the following day that read: "Stop smoking, go round mum's, sort life out." I was quite impressed with myself that, despite the fact that I was too drunk to bother undressing, I was able to write a note and make a reference to Shaun of the Dead.

Advice is usually written by people who have never smoked in their lives Under normal circumstances, I would have ignored the note and gone on with my normal day. I would have grabbed my wallet and headed to T&A Stores for my normal hangover cure – ten Marlboro Lights, a Double Decker and a bottle of Lucozade – just in case you care. However, something about this was different. I had clearly been very determined in my drunken state of mind – due to the lack of Blu Tack, I had used toothpaste to stick my note to the door (any man determined enough to smear toothpaste over his door is one that should really be given the time of day). So I decided to actually give this a go. I decided to attempt to quit smoking. Now, being a ex-smoker, I know how patronising the majority of material intended to convince you to quit can be. But that's not what this is. If you don't want to quit smoking, that's fine. Smoke your heart out. Smoke like you've never smoked before. I am jealous. Bastard. This article won't be like the adverts that tell you to 'choose freedom'. I won't reel off a list of reasons why

One great benefit is the 'I've just quit smoking' card. This will get you out of a lot of work you should quit smoking. It's bad, we all know this. If you aren't already aware that smoking is an unhealthy habit, feel free to continue. The human race won't miss a person of your intelligence anyway. However, what I will try and do is offer some advice for those of you who do want to quit smoking. Hopefully, through my experiences, you will be in a better position to succeed in your goal. First things first: get on the patches or the gum – don't try and go this alone. I thought that I could go coldturkey, but this was a very bad choice. The first two days went well enough, however the third day resulted in me curled up in a ball on my bed – close to tears – ready to give my right arm for a cigarette. Not wanting to give in and smoke (or give away my right arm), I decided to get my nicotine fix in some other way. Obviously, you can get plenty of help from your GP. Patches, gum, lozenges and inhalers are all available free on the NHS. Unfortunately, however, I am not an organised man and, as a result, I am not registered with a GP. Boots is your best choice if, like me, you can’t go and see a doctor. A packet of 105 pieces of nicotine gum will set you back around a tenner. This sounds like quite a lot for chewing gum, but it should last you about a week, which isn't too bad. Patches are a little cheaper, at about six pounds for

a week's worth. My tactic was to buy both and use the gum as well whenever I was in a 'high-risk' situation (i.e. pissed). Once you've stocked up on products packed with nicotiney goodness, tell people you've quit. I wasn't sure whether to tell people as, if I failed, everyone would know I was a failure. I didn't want to be that guy who wakes up hungover, quits, and then starts smoking within a few days. However, by telling people, the motivation 'not to be that guy' increased.

Friends should be supportive, unless they're terrible people – like all of the people I know Also, in telling people, you should get some decent support from your friends. I say should, due to the fact that if all of your friends are terrible people – like mine – you probably won't receive this support. The first person who I told about my new life decision responded with these words: "Fuck off, you haven't quit. You'll fail within a week." Thanks Rob, you prick (this man proceeded to give me a packet of cigarettes for my birthday several days later – he truly is a terrible person). The second person I told was my

housemate Emma. "Shit," she said, "I was going to bum a cigarette off you." I love my friends. In a bid to make this article as informative and helpful as possible, I decided to look for some advice from professionals. Various hints and tips are out there to help you. These are mostly bullshit pieces of advice written by people who have never smoked a cigarette in their lives. One common piece of advice is "Make a list of all of the good points and the bad points of smoking." This is an utter waste of time and is a task best left for those that didn't realise that smoking was bad in the first place. Yes, the list of bad points will be far, far longer than the list of good points, however, when you're ready to pack it all in and buy a packet of cigarettes, the last thing you're going to do is check a list. We all know that quitting will make us healthier, however the NHS adverts seem to have missed one of the best benefits: the 'I've just quit smoking' card. This is, essentially, a card that you can play in many situations as an excuse. For example, you really want a nap, but somebody you know wants to do something that requires actual movement. You respond with "I've just quit smoking and, due to the lack of nicotine in my body, my metabolism has dropped and I therefore need to take a nap." If they argue with this, tell them

I really do wish someone had given me this last piece of advice. Several weeks ago, I found myself pulling an all-nighter before a deadline. I like to consider myself an experienced hand when it comes to all-nighters; my first two years of university were full of them. However, this was the first allnighter I had pulled since quitting. To cut a long story short, it resulted in me leaving the 24-hour study centre at 3am, desperately looking for someone to steal a cigarette from. No one was there, luckily. However, this was a night that I could have easily given in to temptation. This was a night I could have done with some gum. So there it is, my diary so far. I quit four months ago and I still don't consider myself a 'non-smoker', simply an 'ex-smoker'. I'm still a grumpy bastard, and I still blame that on quitting. I often find myself talking about nicotine like I'd talk about an ex-girlfriend. I have been known to refer to cigarettes as my favourite of my former relationships (I feel we ended it on good terms.) I feel that I should admit that I have had one cigarette since I quit. I had a moment of weakness after the Championship Playoff final just over a week ago. I was wearing blue, so you can probably understand the mood I was in. Since then, however, I've remained strong. One cigarette in four months. And I've only been close to tears once.


22 LETTERS

gairrhydd | LETTERS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY MARCH 01 2010


COLUMNIST 17

gairrhydd | OPINION@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY MAY 31 2010

Everyone needs a bit of egotism

RESPECT: Mourinho knows he's the shit

E

gotism; it’s a trait I’ve been told I have in abundance. It’s also been said it is not a very attractive quality. I beg to differ. I argue that, if egotism means a terrific interest in one’s self, then it is essential for efficient living. To be confident and assured of oneself is no bad thing in my book. But my egotistical tendencies are a faint whisper of self-adoration compared with the epitome of egotism that is José Mourinho. If you hadn’t noticed, the soon to be/the new (this was not confirmed when the paper went to print, please delete as appropiate) Real Madrid manager rather likes himself. It is not just that he takes himself extremely seriously; his personality demands that everybody else does as well. He is the self-anointed king of football. Brashly eloquent with everything he says, he is a man that commands respect. His relenting sense of self-destiny is overpowering. Mourinho makes his own rules and writes his own story. When he won the Champions League with Inter Milan just over a week ago, he announced soon after that he wanted to manage Madrid. Never satisfied with one achievement, he is always looking for the next challenge.

When he celebrates, he does so with just his own aggrandisement in mind. It all says, “I am the Special One”. The conviction Mourinho had when he first uttered those words was spellbinding. Mourinho is, without doubt, a great manager, but no matter how highly we rate the Portuguese, Mourinho’s estimation of himself is even higher. And it is this conviction that makes Mourinho such a great leader. To be able to make split second decisions creates a deep respect among your followers, or in this case, players. The philospher Leon Festinger studied how deep convictions are immune to objections and how they possess almost hypnotic power. When Mourinho tells his players what to do, they unite, fighting for the same goal. It is almost like a religious cult. The leader makes a decision and the rest follow. Mourinho’s narcissism is not a shortcoming; rather, it is the embodiment of his managerial genius. Mourinho without narcissism would be a like a kangaroo without a spring in its step. It is something that we should all apply to our lives. The arrogance and confidence are justified because of the hard work and preparation he puts into everything. It makes friends and enemies, but life is far more interest-

ing and you live it more fully. Perhaps not the best example, but people who worked with Adolf Hitler marveled at his “personality compulsion”. The dictator fantasised about a superior race and Nazism, but that was all secondary to his obsession of his own self. The best leaders are those who fantasise and believe in the impossible and make it reality. Yes, Hitler will probably always be known as the most evil man in history, but no one can deny he had a dream and he made it become reality. Mourinho is so aware of his own destiny and he is obsessed about writing his own future. He has won with Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan and now he has his eyes set on Madrid. Who knows where he’ll go after that? Back to Chelsea to set the record straight and win the Champions League, or to Manchester United to try and do the impossible and take over from Sir Alex Ferguson? Whatever it is, he already has it planned out in his mind. His ego will not be sated; even if he ruled the world he would then yearn after the Universe. However, this self-certainty is not the be-all-and-end-all. The mind of a genius is far more complex than that. Ferguson gave leeway with Eric Cantona - rather than losing the volatile but brilliant Frenchman - but he did

not give the rest of the team an inch. Mourinho has done the same with Didier Drogba at Chelsea and Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Inter. You need the egotism, the personal-

ity and the conviction, but every now and again you must be pragmatic and flexible. To do all that and not lose the faith of your followers is the mark of a great leader. Mourinho, take a bow.

Well that's it

W

ell that’s it. A year has been and gone in the blink of an eye, and how things have changed. As I’m writing this, I am in the Bute Building listening to Richard Bacon on 5 Live. As you are reading this, I am in a London office starting my first proper job. Yikes! Although, hopefully, I will still have Richard for company. For many of us, this is where we get off the bandwagon that is student life and try and make it in the real world. I delayed this harsh reality by a year when I decided to come to Cardiff to do a postgraduate course. The last nine months have been a whirlwind and I have grown fond of Cardiff. This fine city has nothing but happy memories for me. It brings the curtain down on four years of brilliant student life. I have learnt far more dur-

ing this short period than I did in three years as an undergraduate at Exeter. As an undergrad, university teaches you many lessons, but what I have found is that you learn far more outside of the lecture halls than you do in them. If I’m honest, my undergraduate degree is just a piece of paper that gave me the passport to do the postgrad course. Now, I have a diploma which allows me to apply for proper journalism jobs. I learnt more by getting involved in student media and the student union than sitting in tutorials and writing essays. As a wise friend has always told me: “Don’t let your degree get in the way of your university life and your education.” Yes, work hard and get a good grade, but don’t put your life and soul into the course and miss out on so many other opportunities.


22 LETTERS

gairrhydd | LETTERS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY MARCH 01 2010


LETTERS 19

gairrhydd | LETTERS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY MAY 31 2010

the Comments from the week’s news, opinion, features and sport at www.gairrhydd.com CCAR host anti-racist protest meeting Edmund Schluessel, CCAR I’d like to thank the Students’ Union for its great & continued support in supporting and building CCAR’s counterdemonstration. The Students’ Union exec and management have gone above and beyond in ensuring that CCAR’s event will be a safe but firm response to the WDL, stating clearly that racism and xenophobia are inimical to the people of this city and the students of Cardiff University and that hate groups of whatever stripe are not welcome here. The CUSU response provides clear evidence for the value of a communitybased campaign, bringing together local groups from across all faiths and ethnicities and across the political spectrum with national organisations like Searchlight and UAF. In addition to our upcoming meetings, we will be holding a concert in CF10 from 8pm on June 3rd in order to raise funds for materials associated with the counterdemonstration. We will continue to work closely with the Students’ Union and we are discussing the safest and most effective plan for student participation in the counterdemonstration. I look forward to thousands of students coming out with us on the afternoon of the 5th of June.

on frankly. E E EDL E E EDL E E EDL

Robert Johnston Were genuine non students able to attend ? After all it’s Cardiff Communities against Racism not Students against Racism. Edmund Schluessel I’ll let someone more neutral come in on it (Jamie maybe) but to my eye it was about twothirds non-Cardiff students, more students proportionally than at last week’s meeting at the Sandringham. There were a few Uni Glam & college students as well and also a lot of new faces. Due to the security situation it was easier for students than nonstudents to get in, unfortunately. I’m not certain what the best solution is for that; it’s really down to the general manager of the Union. With luck there won’t be a threat of a WDL intervention at the next meeting, but if there is we now have some time to think of a better arrangement. wdl/edl NO SURRENDER EVER wdl/edl I look foreward to getting smashed on the 5th,it turns me

Is Spotify killing the music industry?

forum

and local residents at odds with each other, which is no good for anyone. Cllr. Ed Bridges

why on earth is there any need for further student accomodation, you can always find somewhere, halls arent full and the rental sector is massive and never anywhere near capacity

Worth adding that I have no axe to grind against the student community. I’m very proud to represent Talybont, Allensbank House and all the students who live theirin – but I do have concerns about this particular development. I’ve long campaigned for better facilities at student halls; both for the student occupants and for residents in surrounding streets. One of the key things is parking. As “Stringer Bell” has pointed out above, no-one would be allowed to build 345 flats for nonstudent residents without providing them with on-site parking. Students should get the same amount of onsite parking as anyone else, and that’s why I’m concerned about these plans. Well done Miranda on a wellarticulated article which does justice to the story and accurately captures the facts.

Stringer Bell

susie

The councillor is spot on about the lack of parking at halls. It’s crazy that big halls can be built with hardly any parking spaces – it’d never be allowed if it were private flats, so why are students any different? It just ends up putting students

fair play ed. i lives in your patch, and you do stay in touch with everyone and tell us whats goin on. pleased youre opposing these flats. there’d be big probz if they are allowed.

reality Methinks you are confusing the “music industry”, which is raking it in, with the “recording industry”, which has mostly become irrelevant as recording and distribution costs have gone to zero and as consumers and artists are starting to notice that fact.

Anger at plans for more student flats me

Our Twenty20 vision Edward Quick question, why on earth is international cricket on the back page of a student paper? It’s ridiculous. Jay Presumably because all student related sport has finished for the year.

Guns don't kill people, games do Rhys I think there is a mistake in this article, on the one hand you claim video aren’t real so can’t effect the player, but say that children shouldn't be allowed to play them because there are certain themes in some games which they are too young to handle. Video games have been linked with increased aggression, poorly developed social skills and children perform well less at school. There can be some positive effects, but to say there are no effective and it’s fine because its just a games and not real is foolish.

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20 TAF-OD

gairrhydd | TAFOD@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY MAY 31 2010

Diffyg dewis 'Steddfod 'ma Roli Rant

Taf-od Writer Roeddwn i’n wirioneddol edrych ymlaen at ‘steddfod Glyn Ebwy eleni, mae’r ’steddfod wastad yn well mewn lleoedd lle nad ydych chi’n disgwyl ’steddfod wych (e.e. Abertawe a’r Wyddgrug). Roedd fy ngobeithion ar gyfer Blaenau Gwent felly yn uchel iawn. Ond, yna, trychineb - Cymdeithas yr Iaith a Maes B yn uno ar gyfer ‘steddfod eleni ac am o leiaf dwy eisteddfod arall hefyd! Y peth gorau am yr eisteddfod ydi eistedd yn un o’r bariau ar y maes ar brynhawn crasboeth yn trafod yn ddwys “be ‘di’r plan am heno?”. Gydag un neu weithiau ddwy gig bob noson gan Gymdeithas yr Iaith yn ogystal â gigs Maes B a Maes C roedd yna ddigon o opsiynau i fodloni amrediad eang o chwaeth cerddorol. Ond mae’r dewis bellach wedi diflannu ar ôl i’r ddau brif drefnydd uno, gan orfodi pawb fynd i gigs swyddogol y ‘sdeddfod bob noson. Ac ’wn i ddim os mai dim ond fi sydd wedi sylwi, ond ydi cynulleidfa Maes B ddim yn mynd yn 'fen-

gach bob blwyddyn d’wch? Dewis o glwb ieuenctid Maes B neu glwb yr henoed Maes C fydd hi i ni fyfyrwyr ym Mlaenau Gwent eleni mae arnaf ofn. Wrth gwrs fyddai hyn ddim yn broblem pe byddai’r ‘steddfod, trwy’r bartneriaeth newydd hon yn cyflawni ei bwriad o ‘ddarparu ystod eang o’r adloniant gorau posibl i gynulleidfa amrywiol’ fel y mae hi’n honni ar ei gwefan. O edrych ar lein-yp Maes B dwi ddim yn rhy siwr bod hyn yn digwydd yn enwedig ar y penwythnos olaf. Dyw Bryn Fôn ar y nos Wener ac Elin Fflur ar y nos Sadwrn ddim yn fy llenwi gyda brwdfrydedd, a rhaid mynd yn ôl at y nos Iau a Cate Le Bon er mwyn dod o hyd i rywbeth sy’n gwyro rhyw fymryn o ganol-y-ffordd. Dydi’r Sibrydion ddim ar gael eleni a phrofodd ei gig llynedd nad oes gan Racehorses ddigon o ddeunydd Cymraeg i gynnal set eisteddfodol bellach. Ac efallai bod y swn yn brin o hedleinars ar hyn o bryd heb y ddau fand yna ond Bryn Fôn ac Elin Fflur? Cym-on Guto Brychan! Ond rhaid i rywun drio edrych ar bethau o safbwynt yr Eisteddfod am wn i, ac yn y bôn, artistiaid poblogaidd

fel hyn sydd yn mynd i dynnu cynulleidfa. Ond, onid dyna oedd mantais cael gigs ar wahân? Os oedd gig boblogaidd Maes B ddim yn mynd â’ch bryd roedd Cymdeithas yno yn cynnig rhywbeth gwahanol. Ac er bod gwefan yr Eisteddfod yn honni y ‘bydd Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg hefyd yn parhau i drefnu gigs amgen yn ystod yr wyl’ dwi ddim mor siwr. Oni fyddwn i wedi clywed rhywbeth am drefniadau’r ‘gigs amgen’ hyn bellach, a hyd yn oed os daw ambell un i’r fei, go brin y bydd hi’n rhaglen wythnos gyflawn. Mae’r penderfyniad bellach wedi ei wneud ac yr un fydd y trefniant yn Wrecsam a Bro Morgannwg dros y ddwy flynedd nesaf. O edrych ar y lleoliadau hyn, tybed ai diffyg ffydd mewn ardaloedd lle nad yw’r Gymraeg mor gryf sydd wrth wraidd penderfyniad Cymdeithas yr Iaith? Wedi’r cwbl, mae’n hawdd trefnu gig Gymraeg yng Nghaerdydd neu’r Bala. Ta waeth am hynny, efallai y daw trefnwyr eraill i’r fei cyn mis Awst i roi i ni unwaith eto ddewis yn y ‘sdeddfod.

Beth am ni, S4C? Roli Rant

Taf-od Writer

Skins Cymraeg?

Dwi’n siwr nad fi oedd yr unig un i fynd yn wirion bost rhyw bythefnos yn ôl pan ddangoswyd y gyfres Jabas ar S4C eto. Be gewch chi well na rhamantu’n ddiddiwedd am ddyddiau ysgol trwy gyfrwng cymeriadau doniol mewn cyfres oedd yn trin themâu sy’n bwysig i bobl ifanc ym mhob oes - cariad, cyfeillgarwch, cyffuriau ac alcohol. Ond wrth edrych yn ôl yn rhamantus i’r gorffennol dyma fi’n meddwl yn sydyn - be ddiawl sydd wedi digwydd i ddarpariaeth S4C ar gyfer pobl ifanc? Mae Bandit wedi diflannu i ddechrau. Dwi’n gwybod bod yna ambell i bennod yn ymddangos yma ac acw o hyd ond dydyn ni heb gael cyfres iawn o Bandit ers tipyn. Cymerwch Uned 5 wedyn, dyw’r amser newydd ar bnawn dydd Sul heb weithio, beth oedd yn bod ar “gwenwch, mae’n nos Wener”? Ac mae’r rhaglen honno yn dod i ben yn fuan p’run bynnag.

Dyna i chi Caerdydd wedyn. Dwi’n siwr y byddai S4C yn dadlau bod y gyfres erchyll honno wedi ei hanelu at wylwyr 18-30, ond oes yna unrhyw un ohonoch chi fyfyrwyr Caerdydd yn gallu uniaethu ag unrhyw un o gymeriadau’r gyfres? Go brin, a pha syndod gan gofio mai cyfres Saesneg wedi’i lleoli yn Nulyn oedd hi’n wreiddiol, cyn iddynt, fwy na thebyg, sylweddoli na fyddai'r un sianel hanner call yn comisiynu’r fath sothach. Ond dyw hi ddim yn ddrwg i gyd cofiwch. Roedd y rhaglen gylchgrawn Gofod yn llwyddiant ar y cyfan, er ei bod hi’n gallu bod braidd yn hit-andmiss chwedl y Sais. Ond llwyddiant neu beidio, chafodd hi ddim chwarae teg gan amserlenwyr S4C, gan mai cael ei stwffio i ryw gornel dywyll yn hwyr yn y nos wnaeth hi. Mae angen cyfres arall o Gofod, ond dim ond dechrau fydd hynny. Beth sydd ei wir angen ar y sianel ar hyn o bryd yw drama wedi ei thargedu at bobl ifanc, Jabas cyfoes neu Skins Cymraeg (er mor shit ‘di Skins!).


gairrhydd | SCIENCE@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY MAY 31 2010

SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT 21

Exposed identity on Facebook Thought your personal information was truely safe through privacy settings? Think again... Richard Herlihy Science Writer A new snooping technique using your social networking history may allow some websites to discover your identity, New Scientist has reported. The group of Austrian researchers who developed the method created a website which indirectly finds out which social networking groups you have visited.

The technique makes use of security vulnerability in many web browsers because they store a list of visited web page addresses. Website owners can hide a list of addresses in their own page’s code, which, in turn, tells them which of those websites you have visited before. Groups on networks like Facebook sometimes have distinct web addresses, such as www.facebook.com/pacman, so the website owner can match some of a huge list of popular Facebook groups to those which appear

only on your profile page. Even if a user chooses to hide the groups that they belong to by tweaking their profile’s privacy settings, their names can still show up on a public list of each group’s members. The method was researched by Gilbert Wondracek and colleagues at the Vienna University of Technology in Austria. They used the German based business-networking website, Xing, to gather information on 6,500 groups, with 1.8 million members, and estimated that 42% of users could

be identified uniquely. Next they created a website which partially mapped out visitors’ browsing history, and invited 26 Xing members to test it. The snooping technique allowed Wondracek’s team to identify 15 of them. The researchers presented their findings at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy in Oakland, California on Monday May 17. Following the revelation of Wondracek’s experiment, Xing began adding random strings of numbers to the addresses of its groups. The social website ignores the extra numbers, but the variable addresses can confuse snooping websites. Facebook employs a similar method of adding numbers to groups and ‘like’ pages, but many more official and more popular groups do not have this protection, such as www.facebook.com/chokingorwelsh. These concerns are expressed by Stanford University computer scientist Arvind Narayanan, who fears that random numbers may not be enough to fend off similar attacks. The probability of revealing your identity increases with use of multiple social networking and membership websites because it is unlikely that every site will employ random numbers for addressing masking, he says. Several major browsers – Firefox, Chrome, and Safari – have announced that they are developing fixes in their next round of browser updates that will prevent website owners from indirectly accessing browser history. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, used by 53% of internet users, declined to say whether it is working on something similar. In the meantime, the simplest protection may be to regularly clear your internet browsing history.

World Environment Day Raising awareness for the world in which we live Rachel Henson Environment Writer World Environment Day is approaching. Events will take place across the world on June 5 to promote environmental awareness and to pressure political bodies to take action on important issues. 2010 has been declared the International Year of Biodiversity by the United Nations. Biodiversity is not only important for preserving individual species and habitats, but is also essential for maintaining the ecosystem services we rely on, such as food, clean water and fuel. The UK has a Biodiversity Action

Plan to monitor and protect our biodiversity. The latest figures from it estimate that over a third of the high priority species in Wales are declining or have been lost since the last assessment. Economically, biodiversity loss is also a bit of a nightmare. 'The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity Study' could well be the most influential report since ‘The Economics of Climate Change’ by Lord Stern in 2007. The study was undertaken by leading economist and senior banker, Pavan Sukhdev, and the resulting report is expected to announce that the ratio of costs of conserving natural ecosystems to the benefits of doing so range

from one to ten, up to as much as one to 100. Natural ecosystems play an essential role in supporting human civilisation, but we’re currently living in the age of the sixth mass extinction. The last time Earth experienced one of these was roughly 65 million years ago, when a meteorite collided with the Yucatan Peninsula and led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. However, this mass extinction is due to the destruction of numerous habitats faster than species can adapt to suit them. If they can’t adapt to altered habitats, the only other viable option is to move, but the corridors that once made this possible are now largely absent or blocked. The remain-

ing path to take is extinction. The silver lining is that, because this mass extinction is largely caused by us, it is not an unpredictable event that we can do nothing about. Reversing the biodiversity crisis is one of the biggest and most complex challenges to face our generation, and it will take global participation and skills from all walks of life to solve. World Environment Day has been celebrated on June 5 since 1972. In Cardiff, the National Museum of Wales is holding an ECOfair on the day to celebrate it, which includes an informal Q&A session at 2pm. The theme this year is ‘many species, one planet, one future’. It may be clichéd but it’s all we’ve got.

News in brief Creation of synthetic life Scientists at the Craig Venter Institute in America have taken a small step in the design of synthetic life using entirely synthetic DNA to replicate the Genome of a common bacterium. This synthetic copy was then inserted into a blanked host cell and left to grow. This breakthrough potentially heralds the start of a revolution in biological sciences, proving microbes can be potentially designed from scratch with any trait we choose. There is no reason for them not be viable. The ethical debate is raging as to the moral ambiguity surrounding the synthesis of life, with one scientist going so far as to accuse Venter’s team of “going towards the role of a god”, with others putting him forward for the Nobel prize. Alzheimer's breakthrough An international team of researchers, including a group at Cardiff, have mapped two new genetic variations that are linked to Alzheimer’s disease. The two new variations are not linked to the risk of developing the dehabilitating disorder but are located at important parts of the genome, meaning that they are likely to be linked. The team used a genome-wide association study to identify the genes. They concluded that the genes were located at points on the genome called loci. These points link genes together. The team hope that the identification of these loci will open up possibilities for new treatment options. Fishy theory on origin of man US scientists have developed a new theory of the origin of man and all higher vertebrates. Three hundred and sixty million years ago, a mass extinction of fish reset the evolutionary clock for vertebrate life. Key features shared by all vertebrates evolved after this. The extinction took place at the end of the Devonian age, also known as the “Age of Fishes”. Armoured, segmented fishes, such as the terrifying 30-foot carnivore Dunkeosteus dominated the waters. All this changed with the Hangenberg extinction, which only left the ancestors of modern fish, and all other vertebrates. The theory re-affirms the role of mass extinctions in the shaping of evolution. Without these, life today would look very different. Beetroot juice boost for athletes Beetroot juice can help athletes perform for longer, according to scientists at the University of Exeter's School of Sport and Health Sciences, because it helps make muscles more fuel-efficient. The study focused on men aged 19 to 38, and found that drinking a pint a day meant they could cycle 16% longer than the control group. The researchers believe that the high levels of nitrate ions in the juice lead to increased concentrations of nitric oxide within the muscle tissue, promoting bloodflow and boosting hormone levels. The most likely application of the findings is in the ultra-competitive isotonic and energy drinks industry.


22 LETTERS

gairrhydd | LETTERS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY MARCH 01 2010


LISTINGS 23

gairrhydd | LISTINGS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY MAY 31 2010

Monday 31st May

FUN FACT TREE, SOLUS, FREE Fun Factory is still producing cheap entertainment for those too stingy to splurge their student loans. Free entry and super cheap drinks are a perfect way to enjoy yourself while keeping an eye on the purse-strings. Dubstep, DnB, Electro... it's got everything. Don't even question it, just go for it. LATE NIGHT LIVE, TEN FEET TALL, FREE, 9pm Every week, 10 Feet Tall selects the finest in local, new and up-and-coming bands to perfom. JAM BONES POETRY SLAM!, CAI, £4, 7.30pm Hopeful poets battle it out in this witty warof-the-words. Jam Bones aims to bring the brightest and best in UK performance poetry to Wales, while supporting local poets by giving them a chance to show, share, and sharpen their words, through regular open mic sessions, support slots to the UK's best and now a poetry slam. For rules visit: www.jambones. webs.com. TWENTY TWENTY, BARFLY, £6, 7.30pm From the photo, this band looks like your classic emo/MySpace bunch of losers... But, who am I to judge?

Friday

4th June BOOMBOX, Solus, £3.50 Get your weekend off to a good start, with cheap drinks and lots of good music. You can't help but have a good night at the Union, with 99p drinks, and the high probability of bumping into everyone you know. Do it, boom your box. HELL'S BENT, Barfly, £4, 10.30pm Hell's Bent is Cardiff's only alternative gay night and everyone is welcome. It's a fun, relaxed night where you can hang out with your friends and maybe meet some new ones. When it comes to Hell’s Bent you can be guaranteed to hear at least one song you’ll want to dance to! The DJs play a range of genres from electro, pop to indie, guilty pleasures to rock. FRIDAY NIGHT PRESENTED BY BEACH BREAK LIVE, CAI, PRICE TBC, 9pm The UK’s top student festival is bringing two up and coming DJs from London to launch this festival with a one-off party playing an eclectic mix of transglobal bass music. This is a night not to be missed, there will also be an opportunity to win free Beach Break Live tickets. CROWDED HOUSE, CIA, £35, 7pm If you have a spare 35 squid, don't even consider this, just DO IT! "Everywhere you gooooo, you always take the weather with you..."

Tuesday 1st June

JUST DANCE, CLWB, £3, 10pm Cardiff's hottest music venue just got a little hotter. Just Dance returns every Tuesday night at Clwb Ifor Bach with one simple mission; to get you dancing all night long. A mixture of modern day pop, rock and R&B, thrown together with some cracking blasts from the past. No gimmicks, no false promises... just cheap entry, cheap drinks prices and great GREAT tunes. FLUX=RAD, CLWB, FREE, 8pm FLUX=RAD is a regular occurance at Clwb these days. Expect tunes from awesome new bands and great live acts that you're bound to find exciting. Keep your ears peeled this week for the new lineup to be announced. THE GUNS, BARFLY, £6, 7.30pm If you don't already know, The Guns are a four piece rock band from South Wales. They have gigged extensively and toured with the Lost Prophets, and they were also nominated for a Welsh music award all in their first year. This seemingly makes them a pretty mediocre deal. But still, perhaps worth a listen if you have nothing better to do on your Tuesday night.

Saturday 5th June

COME PLAY, SOLUS, £3.50 A safe bet for a Saturday night. If none of the other events do it for you, head to the Union for guaranteed good music and cheap drinks. Not the most imaginative of nights out, but you'll be sure to have a good time. And who said that being able to predict the playlist down to the very last minute was a bad thing? MR POTTER / DIRTY POP / VINYL VENDETTAS, CLWB, £5, 10pm Saturday night at Clwb is probably the longest running DJ night in Cardiff and it just keeps on getting better. Offering three floors of the best tracks from a variety of genres, Clwb has picked the best DJs currently gracing the decks in Cardiff and put them all on the same night. Expect an eclectic mix of funk, soul, indie, and dirty pop. What more could you ask for from a Saturday night? STEREOPHONICS, CARDIFF CITY STADIUM, £35, 7.30pm Kelly Jones and company continue to deliver their combination of energetic pop hooks and bittersweet lyrical storytelling to the delight of an adoring audience. JUST LIKE FRANK, CLWB, £6, 8.30pm The band describes themselves as 'Korean Pop/ Spanish Pop and Japanese Pop'. So, why not?

Wednesday 2nd June

THE LASH, SOLUS, £3.50 The Lash promises 'all the best in chart and cheese', which doesn't really sound all that tempting, to be honest. But, if you're a sporting LAD then it's most definitely the place to be. LISTEN UP, Clwb, £3 Listen Up has become an institution within an institution. Everybody loves Clwb. Everybody loves Listen Up. Playing a mix of motown, funk, indie and pop amoung three floors of cheap bars and trendy kids, this is the place to be every Wednesday. BOGOF ORANGE WEDNESDAYS There's so much good stuff on this week. There's the apparently hilarious Hot Tub Time Machine, Robin Hood, and not to mention the emotionally vacuous sequel to Sex and the Ciyt. Take a friend and have a chilled night out away from exam stress. NO SWEAT PRESENTS, EVENING CHORUSCAT MOUSE CAT, MATTHEW JOSEPH, CAI, FREE, 8pm They’re not even a year old yet (the band, not the musicians), but folksters Evening Chorus are already making their mark on the Cardiff scene. Support comes from the Cardiff-based Cat Mouse Cat and Matthew Joseph.

Sunday 6th June

TAKE A REVISION BREAK The exam season is well and truly upon us, and I'm sure many of you will be feeling pretty stressed right now. But remember, it's important to take regular breaks from all the revision/Facebook procrastination to recharge those brain cells. Take a walk in Bute Park, or head to the pub for a drink. Relax, Listings endorses it. HAVE A SUNDAY ROAST The Taf do a wicked, and cheap Sunday roast as do the CAI. Have a lie in, and then get some classic comfort food to help beat Saturday night's hangover, the end of weekend blues, or general essay/exam hell. Keep going. I'm sending you virtual hugs as you read. THE SCHOOL, BUFFALO BAR, £5, 7.30pm Eight-piece female-fronted indiepop band promoting the release of debut album 'Loveless Unbeliever' on Elefant Records. Fresh from supports with The Boy Least Likely To and The Hidden Cameras, along with festival appearances at Latitude, Swn, Murcia Sound and Lemon Pop, the group sweetly blend 60s girl group sounds with modern influences such as Camera Obscura, Belle and Sebastian and The Aislers Set.

Thursday 3rd June

THE KEYS (ALBUM LAUNCH), CAI, FREE, 8pm If you like your new music, this could be something for you. The Keys are set to release new album ‘Fire Inside’ on See Monkey Do Monkey Recordings. The long-awaited album was self produced and recorded with the help of producer Charlie Francis (of R.E.M fame), and apparently it sounds very much like 'The Velvet Underground'. If you know what this means, then maybe you should check it out. C-Y-N-T - HOSTAGE, CLWB, £4/5, 10pm Voted as one of the top three nights in the UK by Mixmag. The biggest midweek rave this side of the bridge. Expect big queues as ravers descend for their dose of electro, techno,dubstep and DnB. ARGENT DAWN, BARFLY, £6, 7.30pm The Argent Dawn are a five-piece death metal band from the southwest of England. Apparently they draw influences from bands such as Decapitated, Bloodbath and Aborted. So, to be honest, I definitely won't be seeing you there. BETHAN ELFYN PRESENTS, CAI, £8, 8pm The best place to hear new music first in Cardiff with Radio 1's Bethan Elfyn.

Venues Students’ Union, Park Place, 02920 387421 www.cardiffstudents.com ◆ IV Lounge, Neuadd Meirionydd, Heath Park 02920 744948 ◆ Clwb Ifor Bach 11 Womanby Street 02920 232199 www.clwb.net ◆ Barfly, Kingsway, Tickets: 08709070999 www.barflyclub.com/cardiff ◆ Metros, Bakers Row 02920 399939 www.clubmetropolitan. com ◆ CAI, Park Place 02920 412190 ◆ Buffalo Bar, 11 Windsor Place www.myspace.com/ wearebuffalobar ◆ Chapter Arts Centre, Market Road, Canton 02920 304400 www.chapter.org ◆ Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay 0870 0402000 www.wmc.org. uk ◆ The New Theatre, Park Place 02920 878889 www.newtheatrecardiff.co.uk ◆ The Sherman Theatre, Senghennydd Road 02920 646900 www. shermantheatre.co.uk ◆ Cardiff International Arena, Mary Ann Street 02920 224488 ◆


22 LETTERS

gairrhydd | LETTERS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY MARCH 01 2010


FIVE MINUTE FUN 25

gairrhydd | FMF@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY MAY 31 2010

MEDIUM

EASY

crossword.

Across

Down

1. Bother (7) 5. The pursuit of animals for food (7) 9. Apply (9) 10. Acquire knowledge (5) 11. Analyze (7) 12. Extremely wicked (7) 13. Long string pasta (9) 15. 10 in a decade (5) 17. Encounters (5) 19. Breechcloth (9) 22. News (7) 25. A certain kind of jewelry (7) 26. The viscera of a butchered animal (5) 27. Insight (9) 28. Pettifogger (7) 29. Torture (7)

1. Arm muscles (7) 2. An institution for parentless children (9) 3. Flaw (7) 4. Primary (9) 5. Coop (5) 6. Declare invalid (7) 7. Insect stage (5) 8. Beginning (7) 14. Traveling from place to place to work (9) 16. Find repugnant (9) 17. Ways of doing something (7) 18. Undershirt (7) 20. Medical examiner (7) 21. Loftiest (7) 23. A cartoon duck (5) 24. Not drunk (5)


26 SPORT - WARM UP Previews in Lucy Morgan predicts a narrow win for Wales over

gairrhydd | SPORT@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY MAY 31 2010

brief

South Africa as they kick off their summer campaign

Alex Bywater Sports Editor

This weekend Wales begin their tough Summer campaign as they play World Champions, South Africa, at the Millennium Stadium. The match is a crucial one as Wales head to New Zealand – the toughest place to play rugby – later this month. If they can secure a victory over the Springboks on Saturday they will be able to head out there with added confidence. Warren Gatland has named a strong 27-man squad for the summer but Wales are without a number of players, with James Hook, Luke Charteris, Dwayne Peel and Martyn Williams all unavailable for selection. Hook requires surgery on a niggling shoulder injury, Charteris has a neck problem and it has been decided that both Peel and Williams need to be rested. Wales also suffered an injury blow last week with the news that Gethin Jenkins is unable to play a part in the Summer Tests. The Blues prop picked up a calf injury last weekend in the side’s 28-12 victory over Toulon in the Amlin Cup. Despite these injuries, Wales Coach, Warren Gatland, is confident in the squad: "We have some depth with the likes of Jamie Roberts, Andrew Bishop and Jonathan Davies playing well at the moment at centre. We are okay in the second row as well", he said.

England v Bangladesh Second Test

England take on Bangladesh in two Test matches prior to the main event of a Test Series against Pakistan later this Summer. England really should, and undoubetdly will, dominate the Bangladeshi's and the result is pretty much a foregone conclusion. However, like the tour to Bangladesh last winter, it gives fringe players the chance to impress the Selectors and Coach Andy Flower. Having made a strong start to the first Test, England will most probably be 1-0 up by the time the team move onto Old Trafford for the Second Test.

Having failed in the first innings of the Lord's Test match, Kevin Pietersen will look to continue his incredible form from the World Twenty20 in the West Indies. However, this Test Series is all about players like Steven Finn, Tim Bresnan and Twenty20 expert, Eoin Morgan. Morgan, possibly the first player to force selection in Test cricket through his Twenty20 performances, will be looking to press his claims with a solid performance in the middle order as Twenty20 Captain Paul Collingwood misses out with a sore shoulder. Steven Finn will be looking to press his claims for a place on the Ashes tour this winter. With England lackig a tall fast bowler able to ruffle up tailenders, Finn will be looking to fill that role. This is one area where England can improve, especially as a failiure to polish off the tail has cost England dear in recent times, espcially in South Africa. So although the result is not really in doubt, the peformance of players such as Finn and Morgan is key as England look to build a top quality squad ahead of the Ashes. Expect England to win convincingly, quite possibly by an innings with Ian Bell scoring runs.

Confidence and self-belief is too often a problem in Welsh rugby However, nothing can compare to the immense strength in depth within South African rugby. Depite South African coach, Peter de Villiers, indicating that he would make few calls on the Bulls and the Stormers, who both made the Super 14 Final, he has still managed to name an extremely talented squad. It was said that South Africa would be fielding a second-string side for the Test, but this is far from the case. As Wales fly-half Stephen Jones said: "Look at Ricky Januarie, Ruen Pienaar and Butch James. That’s not a

SET PIECES: They will be key if they are to beat the world's best bad nine, ten and 12 combination for any side." South Africa do, however, have their own injury concerns to contend with after it was announced last week that Jean de Villiers was out due to a shoulder injury. The in-form Munster centre was one of six overseas-based Springboks named in the starting lineup to face Wales. He has now been replaced by Stormers' Jaque Fourie, who will now play alongside Bath's Butch James in midfield. Both sides will also be looking at the match as a good start in their respective preparations for next year’s World Cup. The inclusion of the overseas players in the Springbok side gives them the opportunity to make an impact on the coaching staff and both sides have a number of youngsters looking to make their mark. Peter de Villiers has named uncapped Stormers wing Gio Aplon and Flanker Francois Louw in his starting 15 while in the Welsh squad, Ospreys teenager Tom Prydie and the uncapped Scarlets trio of Tavis Knoyle, Ken Owens and Rob McCusker have all been named in the

squad. Despite their lack of experience, Warren Gatland has every faith in the youngsters in his squad: "I am a great believer in ‘if you are good enough you are old enough’ and that applies to the likes of both Tom Prydie and Tavis Knoyle." Wales will, however, need to draw on the experience of their older players this weekend if they are to beat South Africa for the first time in 11 years. They will, in particular, look to draw on the experience of their Lions contingent with Stephen Jones, Shane Williams, Mike Phillips, Matthew Rees and Alun Wyn Jones all part of the Lions side who beat South Africa 28-9 in the third Lions Test last July. Scarlets Talisman, Stephen Jones, was also on the bench when Wales recorded their only victory over the World Champions at the inaugural match held at the Millennium Stadium in 1999. As Jones stated: "You have that experience and memory in the back of your mind which you can call on." Wales will further be buoyed by

the Blues contingent in the squad who will have an extra spring in their step after becoming European Champions last weekend. This confidence will be vital – particularly after Wales' disappointing Six Nations campaign. Confidence and self-belief is too often a problem in Welsh rugby but Wales do have the talent to take on any side and they have to play with greater confidence in their ability if they are to beat South Africa at the weekend. There is, however, a lot of faith in this Welsh Squad and former All Black International, Justin Marshall, has tipped Wales to win at the weekend: "South Africa are a great team, they are the current World Champions and we all know what pride they take in that and in the way they play. But, in Cardiff, Wales are more than capable of beating the Springboks." With the Millennium Stadium crowd behind them and a desire to get their summer campaign off to a strong start, I think Wales may just secure a second historic victory over the Springboks on Saturday.

Wales v South Africa: Editors' Predictions Adam Horne: With the side South Africa have at their disposal I can't look past them. Wales have had a pretty disappointing year in terms of rugby and I don't see it getting much better in this fixture. Butch James is likely to be as commanding as ever in the Springbok's midfield especially after the revelation that Warren Gatland has picked quite a few youngsters in this squad. They will be inexperienced and this is the wrong match for youngsters to be involved in, especially if Wales want a confidence boost. South Africa to win.

James Hinks: In this match, I cannot see past the current rugby World Champions, South Africa. Even though Wales have home advantage they are not really reaching anywhere near top form, and they would need to be at their best to beat South Africa. I predict a spirited battle from Wales but South Africa to be to fast and powerful and win reasonably easily. I'm going to get specific and say the end result will be South Africa 25-9 Wales.

Jon Evans: Both sides are struggling with injuries to key players but the strength in depth that each squad has should counter-balance this. Fringe Welsh players will be looking to make a point to Warren Gatland with the World Cup ever approaching and with the home crowd behind them I can see Wales just pipping this one. They've come close to beating the Springboks at home in recent years, but with the quality South Africa possess, nothing should be taken for granted. Nevertheless I fancy Wales to take it by a couple of points.

Robbie Wells: There is no question that South Africa will win this game. I've had to watch a lot of Welsh rugby since being in Cardiff, and this is not looking like a particularly strong Welsh side. The addition of some youngsters to the side may provide some much needed energy and spirit. While this is all well and good, it would need a lot more than that to beat the World Champions, who continue to look head and shoulders above the northern hemisphere teams.


THE WORD ON - SPORT 27

gairrhydd | SPORT@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY MAY 31 2010

Robbie Wells gives The Word On... Blackpool's Premiership prospects Since the Premier League - the greatest league in the world - began in 1992, there's been some truly awful teams promoted to it. With the likes of Swindon Town (often unfairly cited as the worst Premiership team), Mick McCarthy's lacklustre Sunderland side, and Paul Jewell's catastrophic Derby team, who managed just 11 points from 38 games two seasons ago, it is easy to think that the gap in quality between the top two leagues in England is becoming larger by the season. There's no question, though, that Blackpool are tipped to become the new benchmark for inadequacy by the time the 2010/11 season is over. As relegation favourites in the Championship in August, Ian Holloway has provided managerial magic to steer the Tangerines not only to safety, but to the play-offs, where they upset Nottingham Forest and then Cardiff City at Wembley. But while the attractive brand of football that Holloway has instilled in his team proved too much for the better equipped Forest and Cardiff, it is unlikely that their fearlessness will count for much in the ruthless Premier League.

Quite simply, Blackpool are not the right team to be promoted It is impossible to deny the fighting spirit that has taken Blackpool so far this season. But they are, quite simply, not the right team to be taking the 20th place in the English elite league. Of course it's great for the club, and it gives them financial security and future propserity for years to come - provided they invest the £48

Top Five Premiership failures

1. There’s no debating this one. Derby County were trounced by pretty much everyone in the 2007/08 season, which led to them being the first club to be officially relegated in April of any season.

2. Two atrocious seasons under Mick McCarthy in 2002/03 and 2005/06 saw Sunderland finish on just 19 and 15 points respectively. Bukkake party goes down well in Blackpool million parachute payments wisely. But in terms of what they can bring to the competition, aside from an outlandish kit and a comedian boss in the David Brent mould, I think that there are three teams more equipped for life in top flight. I'm aware of the expression, 'the league is a marathon; not a sprint', but Blackpool spent just seven of the 46 rounds of league games in the top six of the table, changing a season of mediocrity into a season of success through the sprint finish of the play-offs. It is all very well that the format provides excitement. But there is nothing more depressing as a fan to come so close to automatic promotion through having a good season, only

Holloway's love/hate relationship with his trophy

for some team with a lot of spirit and not a lot else, to pip you to the post.

The play-offs can change a season of mediocrity into a season of success Nottingham Forest and Leicester both had solid seasons, both building quickly from promotion to the Championship in recent seasons, but their impressive improvements have been entirely eclipsed by the seaside minnow's achievements in three games. Cardiff City, on the other hand, have even more reason to kick themselves after they continually conspire to stay in the Championship. When they realised the only team that stood between them and the Premier League was Blackpool, they must have thought long and hard about how they could possibly pass up the opportunity. In reality, Blackpool outplayed the Bluebirds for the first half, and had enough to see it through. But with a stadium capacity of 12,555, Bloomfield Road is hardly the kind of stage that will intimidate the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United or Wolves. The passing game that got the better of many Championship sides will be ineffective against teams filled to the brim with quality. Try passing through Chelsea without ex-

act precision and Michael Essien will sweep up all day. Try some trickery on the wing and Patrice Evra won't give you an inch. Try playing a cross that isn't spot on and Abdoulaye Faye will get it away. Promoted teams that do well in the Premiership are those with a strong team spirit sure; but they also have a resoluteness, and are difficult to penetrate (see Stoke, Birmingham and Wolves). Holloway's promise to provide attacking football, even if they lose 20-0 to Manchester United, is admirable, but maybe somewhat naive. It's fair to say that they do not need to win; they've got their financial security, and this probably won't be the season they will look to stay in the league. But surely they are depriving the Premiership of a proper competition?

Blackpool's passing game will not be effective against teams filled with quality When Derby managed just 11 points in 2008, it seemed an all-time low that no team would ever beat. If Ian Holloway is content with losing pretty, then they could do well to even match it.

3. Ipswich once mixed it with the big boys in the Premier League, but suffered one horrible season in 1994/95 when managed by George Burley. They gained only 27 points in the whole season.

4. Leicester's 1994/95 season in the Premier League was an anti-climax after they gained only 29 points in total. Luckily, Martin O’Neill was soon to take over.

5. Watford had a woeful season in 2000 but after splashing out only £950,000 on your star player, what can you expect? Nordin Wooter was unable to help Graham Taylor and his side to Premiership survival.


Sport gairrhydd

INSIDE: Word On...The Rise and Rise of Blackpool F.C. Plus, Wales v South Africa Preview in Rugby Union

European glory for the Blues Jon Evans Sports Editor The Cardiff Blues made history in the blistering French sun last weekend, as they became the first Welsh side to win a European trophy in 15 years of competition. Toulon, from the south of France, were the much fancied side going into the match, and had the vast majority of support from the near 50,000 strong crowd. Yet the Cardiff Blues produced a fantastic display of battling rugby and clinical finishing to claim the Amlin Challenge Cup, in a game which finished 28-21. The game was held at Marseille’s Stade Velodrome, a stadium used to attacking rugby and flair, and this game did not disappoint. The crowd was a record attendance for the competition and the fans were nearly treated to an immediate try. Confusion from the kick-off meant that Toulon should have scored within 15 seconds, but Cardiff were let off the hook as Sonny Bill Williams opted to take the ball instead of passing inside to score what looked like a certain try. After an exchange of penalties, Toulon scored the first try through Williams, who was

able to make amends for his earlier missed opportunity, resulting in the Blues trailing 13-6 at half-time. The game was New Zealand legend, Tana Umaga’s, last at the club, yet it was the influential Jonny Wilkinson who was running the show, as his side seemed to be creeping away from the valiant Blues. But after striking a penalty just after half-time, Wilkinson collapsed to the floor in agony, resulting in him being taken off. The extent of his injury is not yet known, but he could miss out on England’s tour of Australia, putting further strain on the 31-year-old's international playing career. Toulon looked a far better side with Wilkinson on the pitch, and his substitution changed the shape of the game. Toulon looked as if they had lost all of their shape, whereas the Blues took heart from his loss, and it was not long after this that Cardiff were able to find the breakthrough. Fittingly, it was Cardiff University's own Jamie Roberts who ploughed through the Toulon defence for Cardiff’s first try. This galvanised Cardiff and, after some swift passing, Leigh Halfpenny was able to finish in the corner. Four minutes later their third came in Bradley Davies, the Welsh-

man crashing over the line after a classy break from centre, Casey Laulala. Toulon responded with a try from substitute Thomas Sourice, but it was too late, as Cardiff came out deserved winners by seven points. The match was a great example of attacking rugby - something which was severely lacking in the match the day before in which Toulouse narrow-

ly beat Biarritz 21-19 in the Heineken Cup final. It was Toulouse who beat Cardiff in the 1995 Heineken Cup final, and Cardiff’s success on Sunday was the first European trophy a Welsh side has ever won. For Welsh fans the win was even sweeter as Cardiff’s victory meant the Llanelli Scarlets grabbed the final Heineken Cup spot ahead of Gloucester.

"We have flirted with glory, next year we must sleep with it", were the typically French words from Toulon owner Mourad Boudejellal, in response to his side's defeat. Cardiff were more than happy to be merely flirted with, as this win caps off a good season for Welsh rugby after such a poor start.

A FAMILIAR SIGHT: The medical staff help Wilkinson to his feet

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gair rhydd - Issue 926  

gair rhydd - Issue 926

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