Swn Festival special
gair rhydd Monday November 08 2010 | freeword – Est. 1972 | Issue 935
Inside this week:
Kissed off with Solus
By-Elections We introduce you to your newly elected part time officers and let you in on some of their plans for the coming year News, page 3
Adopting change Miranda Atty News Editor
The Tory government has recently changed the adoption laws, our Opinion writer discusses whether this is a good thing Columnist, page 10
Shibby Robati Features interview Sibby Robati, the latest member to leave The Apprentice, about his nights in Come Play Opinion, page 20
Wiki-leaked Politics discuss the controversial release of US Iraq war reports last week by website Wikileaks. Politics, page 14
Sport proudly tells us about the recent Athletic FC victory over Myg Myg in IMG Group 3. Features, page 17
Nobel pursuits Photo: JAKE YORATH
Cardiff Students’ Union has been forced to apologise to the student body after reports have emerged of three separate incidents in which gay couples were separated while kissing in Solus nightclub. The Union has issued a statement expressing remorse for the incidents, which all occurred since the start of the semester. Two of the incidents involved male couples being separated by members of staff while kissing in Solus. One of the individuals involved told gair rhydd that despite feeling worried and anxious about the reception of other students around him he met another male student and kissed him. During their kiss, the couple were interrupted by a member of staff, wearing a branded Students’ Union uniform, who pulled them apart by placing a hand on their shoulders. The staff member then walked off, completely ignoring the couple. The male student said that he felt scared and worried for his safety: “We went straight home as we felt unwelcome,” he said. This incident highlighted his fears about tolerance towards gay students from both the Union and students themselves. During the second incident, a final year student was dancing with
and kissing another man on the side of the dance-floor when a member of staff pulled on his shoulder to separate the couple. The student, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “I’ve been here for four years and always enjoyed the Union and the nights they create, but for the first time I felt completely uncomfortable and paranoid about what I was doing, and I shouldn’t have.” On the third occasion, two males were kissing on the dance-floor when one felt a kick to the back of his knee. This caused him to trip, and both students fell to the ground. While some onlookers helped the couple up, other students turned their backs and ignored the incident. The student concerned, who is a fresher, said: “I love the music, but I don’t feel safe in the Union.” Mark Anderson, Head of the LGBT+ Association, said that it was “heartbreaking and upsetting for both the students and the LGBT+ community” to hear of the incidents. He told gair rhydd: “After being in Cardiff for four years and being a big part of the LGBT+ society, rarely have I heard of bad treatment towards LGBT+ students and this is to the credit of Solus and its staff. “It is extremely important we don’t let one or two individuals ruin what we as a Union work so hard to achieve.” Continued on page 3
Science informs us of Man’s Nobel pursuits, and questions the value of the Nobel Prize. Science and Environment, page 23 And more, in Wales’ number one independent student newspaper
gr EDITOR Sarah Powell
CO-ORDINATOR Elaine Morgan DEPUTY EDITOR Dom Kehat SUB-EDITORS Anna Redbond Isabelle Roberts Hannah van den Bergh NEWS Morgan Applegarth Miranda Atty Pippa Lewis Ben Price Hannah Pendleton
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Graduate unemployment hits 17 year high Samantha Parker Reporter A study carried out by the Higher Education Careers Service Unit (HECSU) has revealed that graduate unemployment levels have reached a 17 year high. The study, which focused on the graduate class of 2009, revealed that unemployment figures have risen to 8.9%, which is a rise of 3.4% over the last two years. This amounts to 21,000 students who were unemployed at the begin-
ning of the year. HECSU representative, Charlie Ball, has reassured students that things are not as bad as they seem. “Graduate unemployment hasn’t risen as high as [HECSU] feared,” he said. He also said: “prospects for graduates in the short-term look brighter.” Despite HECSU’s positive outlook, universities and colleges are becoming increasingly worried about the effect graduate unemployment will have on their intake. There is concern that talented students will opt out of higher edu-
cation in response to the tough job market and suspected rise in tuition fees. This change, suggested in the Browne review of funding and fees for higher education, has been branded “unfair and illogical” by the National Union of Students. Sally Hunt, General Secretary for the National Union of Students, echoed the fears of universities and colleges when she said that the uncertain job market “will turn talented people away from university, which is not what the UK needs if we are to become a high-skill, high-
wage economy.” The survey revealed that graduates of subjects like Law did marginally better in the job market than others. IT and computing graduates' prospects in the job market are less certain, as levels of unemployment reached a high of 16.3% this year. However, researchers believe that unemployment amongst graduates has peaked. HECSU representative Charlie Balls has said that he does “expect to see a decline” in the number of jobless graduates.
Graduate employment: Your thoughts
FEATURES Zoe Bridger Laura Brunt OPINION Holly Howe Chris Williams POLITICS James Dunn Oliver Smith COLUMNIST Henry Burton SOCIETIES Bianca London LISTINGS Sarah Powell SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Tom Clarke Jack Parker SPORT Alex Bywater Lucy Morgan Alex Winter CONTRIBUTORS Ayushman Jamwal Matthew Grey Jenny Lambourne Sophie Keeling Luke Slade Blanche Lumb Caroline Dadd Jamie Evans Lloyd Griffiths Guy Kelly Charoltte Buffton Samantha Parker Samantha Mueller Samantha West PROOFREADERS Vicky Palmer Laurie Higdon Emily Kneale Joanna Cawley Catriona Camacho Keith Bugler Vicky Shirley
Thanks to Lloyd Griffiths and Luke Franks for being our willing volunteers for the front page photograph.
Lisa Watson English Literature 3rd Year On the basis of my English degree I’m not very confident about finding a job but I am seriously considering converting to law. I think that job prospects have definitely been affected by the increasing number of graduates trying to gain employment every year.
freewords EDITORIAL Pippa Lewis News Editor
Higher education is arguably facing its biggest challenge in recent years - how to fill the huge spending gap in light of the cuts announced in Westminster’s budget review last month. Last week the government announced that tuition fees are to rise to a minimum of £6,000, with a maximum limit of £9,000 if universities prove that they are providing access for poorer students. This must be looked at in the context of recent figures released by the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU) survey, which puts the current figure for graduate unemployment at 8.9%. This amounts to 21,000 unemployed students last
Alexandra Middle History 3rd Year
Tim Flack Chemistry 1st Year
Robin Webber Music 3rd Year
I'm intending on further study to acquire the job I want but need to work to gain money for this. Job opportunities look pretty slim for Humanities graduates. Thousands of graduates are coming out of university with a degree that probably wasn't worth their time or money.
I feel quite confident I will have many job prospects after my course is finished. I think the blame for the poor job market lies mainly with the government but I think the private sector is using the current financial climate as an excuse not to employ.
If business is down then naturally the demand for workers is much lower than if business was booming. This consequently affects the demand and need for graduates to commit to employment contracts as businesses can not necessarily afford to employ them.
January and these are only the students who we know about. When taking all this into consideration it is clear that, for the meantime at least, the future looks bleak for students. It is no secret that as a country we are facing tough economic times and so high levels of unemployment are unfortunately inevitable, although this brings little comfort. The fact is however that we will not be in a recession for ever, the job market should eventually pick up, and hopefully students can go on to get the jobs that they deserve. The wider problem facing higher education though is that as a country we are being flooded with graduates and as a result degrees are being devalued. Higher education has grown too big and too expensive and with more students entering university than ever before, often students are leaving in a position which is no better than when they started. Granted I am in no position to
say who should and who should not go to university but when universities are offering so called ‘MickyMouse’ degrees is it any wonder that the government cannot afford to subsidise the record number of students choosing degree courses? The New York Times recently reported that the University of South Carolina will offer the full-time course in Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame next semester. Yes, this is an example of an American degree, but it nevertheless relates to the principles of higher education as a whole. In this day and age, too much emphasis is put on the necessity of degrees for jobs which previously would not have required them. Instead we should be focusing on other forms of education, such as shorter degree courses for some subjects, apprenticeships and more practical based learning. Yes university is not purely about a degree or academic achievements but in economically testing times
surely we cannot expect the government to foot the total bill for degrees at the expense of other public services. The economy is tough and the prospect of studying for three or four years, gaining a degree and then not getting a job is less than appealing. However the reality is that the expansion of higher education under New Labour has turned what was the academic elite into merely the norm. In the current job market it is simply not enough to have a degree and employers are frequently looking beyond academic achievements to find the best employees. Increased fees will inevitably put students off degree courses. Steps must be taken to ensure that this deterrence is not in the form of a lack of affordability of students from less well off backgrounds. The higher education system as it currently stands is unsustainable. Something has got to give.
Monday November 08 2010 • gair rhydd • firstname.lastname@example.org
"I don't feel welcome in Solus any more" Continued from front
freewords EDITORIAL est.1972 Sarah Powell Editor
Photo: JAKE YORATH
A Union spokesperson has responded to these events: “The Union is proud to see itself, and be recognised by others, as a venue where all individuals can feel comfortable in expressing their cultures, background, gender, or sexual identity, and at least one individual involved has stated that this was a unique experience in their long history of using the Union facilities. “It is worth noting that the Union takes any concerns that individuals have with regard to issues such as this most seriously. “We are confident that no further incidents of this nature will occur. “The Union apologises wholeheartedly to the individuals concerned, and hopes that this will not discourage them or others from making use of the unique facilities and opportunities that the Union can provide.” This is not the first time the Union has been forced to investigate allegations of discriminatory behaviour by members of staff. In October 2007, gair rhydd revealed that a Southampton Solent student and his Glamorgan University boyfriend were asked to stop kissing by a security steward who suggested that they go outside, in case they made other students feel “uncomfortable”. A two-week investigation was launched into the alleged incident. At the time, officials said that this type of occurrence “did not reflect the Students’ Union’s general practice”. Olly Birrell, the Students’ Union President, has said of the latest incidents: “It’s disappointing to have incidents such as these happen in our Students’ Union. I believe the Union is seen as a place where any student can come and have a good time regardless of sexuality.” Birrell, in conjunction with
Union senior management and the University, has developed a webbased training programme focusing on diversity. He said: “[It] is already on the Union’s agenda for improved training to be provided to staff and students in the future [and] this case has pushed it higher up on my own agenda”. Rose Savage, the Welfare, Campaigns and Communications Officer said: "Positive progression is what we need here to move forwards and really impart the message to students that the Union is a safe place to be. “I have every confidence in
The results are in Pippa Lewis News Editor The Students’ Union has announced the winners of this year’s by-election. Anil Kumar Gangoomal, was announced as the new International Students' Officer, Claire Travers the Students With Disabilities Officer and Owain Lewis as the Welsh Students’ Officer. Fifteen people were also elected into the Student Council Representatives and the NUS Winter Conference delegates were announced. Turn-out for the elections was higher than last year with 971 students voting in this year's by-election for 37 candidates compared to 903 students voting for 31 candidates in 09/10 by-elections, however this was in the context of a student body of 27,527 people. James Davies, a third year phi-
losophy student, described the causes of voter apathy: “The whole thing didn't seem particularly well publicised, so while I was aware that elections were going to happen, I had no idea when or for how long. “Additionally, none of the officer positions that were open have any bearing on my position as a student here. I wouldn't really feel that I could say with any reasonable degree of authority what would work most effectively for an international student or a student with a disability.” Third year History student Charlotte Sorensen echoed these concerns, stating that she didn’t even know the by-elections were happening. The main elections held in last March saw 4,022 students voting for 55 candidates, illustrating the impact that publication can have.
Union staff that this issue can be resolved and that real lessons can be learnt.” Mark Anderson believes that awareness is the best way to move forward from these events. He said: “We need to be aware of the stigmas, clichés and homophobia inflicted on many students. However, we also need to realise that many LGBT+ students truly enjoy their experience of the Union. “This incident is taken very seriously by both myself and all Union officials, who have responded to this with the respect and seriousness it deserves.”
Welsh Students' Officer Owain Lewis
Fundamentally, I see the position of Welsh Officer as a point of contact between members of UMCC (The Welsh Association) and the upper tiers of Student Government. I also see it as part of an ongoing campaign to ensure that there is open discussion about the language and its status within the Union and the wider student body. Hopefully over the next term I will be able to implement some of my campaign policies, such as a separate Welsh language policy. This would ensure actual rights to students who wish to use their language on every level, beyond the odd tokenistic poster for recycling services.
When I first heard about the incidents that took place during clubnights in the Students’ Union this year, I was immediately reminded of the ‘No to Gays’ article that was published in October 2007 during my first year at University. I was shocked when I read that front page three years ago. I believed in the ideal that Cardiff Students’ Union would represent its students regardless of their sexual orientation. At the time, the Students’ Union was immediately apologetic. The President, Jonny Cox, issued a statement to gair rhydd which said: “It is important to take a hard line where breaches are found: all students and their guests should feel comfortable in the Students’ Union.” A nice promise indeed. And so, while confidence in the Students’ Union had been shaken, it looked like things were set to improve. Yet, three years later, we’re here again. Three separate incidences of homophobic behaviour have been displayed right here, within our Students’ Union. I think it’s important to note that two of those incidents involved our own staff members. As a Students’ Union we should
be paving the way for tolerance, and instead we appear to be exemplifying behaviour that would typically be displayed in some of the less liberal clubs in town. To me, this behaviour is unforgivable, especially when you compare the way in which heterosexual couples are treated during club nights. During Freshers’ Week it was a regular occurrence to see heterosexual couples practically impregnating one another on the dance-floor. Now I’m no prude, but I simply cannot understand why such graphic displays of affection by heterosexual couples are accepted, while a subtle kiss between two men is frowned upon, and almost seen as something which must be prevented. In each of the three incidents, the couples spoke of feeling “unwelcome” at their own Students’ Union and I think that this is what troubles me most. The Students’ Union should be a place where students feel safe and protected. But most of all, it should be a place of tolerance in which students can express themselves without fear of discrimination. While the Students’ Union has apologised to the individuals concerned, I believe that a real culture change needs to take place. Sending staff on Equality and Diversity training courses isn’t enough in my opinion. We can’t keep paying lip service to the concept of tolerance when this ideal isn’t being channelled into the actions of our staff and students alike.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article please contact the LGBT+ Association and Mark Anderson by emailing: LGBT_cardiffstudents@hotmail.com.
International Students' Officer
Students with Disabilities Officer
Anil Kumar Gangoomal
Being elected as International Students' Officer gives me a golden opportunity to represent international students' voices. I want to start by getting international students involved in all possible activities they might be interested in. I have thought of various ways in which every student will be able to talk about their problems, interests and ideas. I would also like to organise events where all the diversified cultures get a chance to mix and share their ideas. I want to give everyone an equal chance to mix with every culture.
I am looking forward to getting stuck in, in fact, I have already had the first Student Council meeting and a meeting with Rose and Olly concerning ways to tackle the Browne Report. I will be focusing a lot of effort on preventing the fee increases and cuts and generally making the students more aware that they have a political voice. I want to raise awareness and break the stigma associated with having a mental disorder. I will be looking into creating lasting programmes to help find placements for mentally handicapped graduates, which I feel will help combat this.
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University apologises Sustainability week An apology has been released following noxious fumes entering a lecture theatre in Julian Hodge Morgan Applegarth News Editor
Last week gair rhydd reported that over 300 Law students were subjected to noxious fumes as they attended a lecture in the Julian Hodge building on Wednesday October 20. In response to the incident a Cardiff University spokesperson has said: “We apologise to those students and staff who were inconvenienced.” The incident occurred when students in the lecture began to smell fumes entering the lecture theatre, causing lecturer Professor Phil Fennel to abandon the lecture for fear of his students’ health and safety. “Once security staff were notified of a smell, the University’s Estates Division was contacted and an Estates foreman sent to investigate.” However, the investigation found
no internal problem with the building’s air intake system. The fumes were believed to come from equipment, or a vehicle, belonging to contracted workers. “The foreman investigating the incident also noticed a smell and, as a consequence, increased the ventilation system to expel it before any students were allowed back into the lecture theatre. “The University always takes complaints of this nature extremely seriously and they are always investigated. “As a result of this event, the Estates Division is considering fixing signs adjacent to the few low-level air intakes…to warn people using petrol-driven tools or vehicles away from the vents.” Students and staff have also been advised to contact the University’s Estates or Security Divisions immediately if they encounter any unexplained smells.
Cystic fibrosis research gets a boost from Trust
Jamie Evans Reporter Cardiff University has been granted £45,000 to fund cystic fibrosis research. Research scientists at the School of Bio-Sciences have announced the launch of a new one year research project aimed at studying a bacterial infection that causes problems for people who suffer from cystic fibrosis. The University have inherited a £45,000 grant from the Cystic Fibrosis Trust to carry out this investigative research. Cystic fibrosis is one of the most common debilitating, life threatening diseases in the UK that can affect every part of the body. Symptoms of the disease range from difficulty breathing, as a result of recurring lung infections, to frequent chest infections, sinus infections, infertility, poor growth and poor weight gain. It is caused by a single mutated gene. Infections caused by the Burkholderia bacteria are particularly problematic,
these infections are difficult to treat due to the body's resistance to antibiotics. Dr Eshwar Mahenthiralingam, leader of the research project, announced: “These bacteria are made up of many different species. Infections in people with cystic fibrosis caused by Burkholderia cenocepacia were common from the 1980s to 2000, so as a result the majority of research has focused on this bacterium. However, in the last decade,another species called Burkholderia multivorans has become more common, and to date we know little about how it causes infection and resists treatment.” He went on to add: “Using modern genetic approaches we will be studying how Burholderia multivorans causes infection and how to target new therapies.” A spokesperson for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust said: “We spend over £3 million on medical research every year which aims to benefit people and help us find new ways of treating those with cystic fibrosis.”
Ben Price News Editor For a second successive year Cardiff University hosts its Sustainability Week, which begins today and will continue until Friday. The week will see a range of special events, as well as many new initiatives taking place to encourage staff and students at the University to become more involved this year. Some of the activities happening around the main campus include a special sciSCREEN showing of the hit film The Garden, and the film regarded by The Telegraph as ‘highly provocative’, The Age of Stupid. The Main Building will host a fruit and vegetable stall, with fairtrade menus available. There will also be a chance to get bikes serviced for free. Some of the initiatives to be launched include the ‘Bring a Jumper to Work’ campaign, which hopes to encourage staff to wear an extra jumper at work instead of turning the heating up. There will also be a chance for students and staff alike to ‘Post a Pledge’, where
the aim is to promise to make one change in day to day life that would benefit the environment. Hywel Thomas, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Engagement and International, said: “Hundreds of staff and students took part in the University’s first Sustainability Week last year. The event certainly helped raise the profile of the University drive towards becoming more sustainable. It also provided an ideal platform from which to showcase our worldleading research. It would be great to see more staff and students getting involved this year.” Cardiff Students Union is also backing the week once again, hosting the UV bike marking and the opportunity to win tickets to the screening of The Age of Stupid. Many of the week’s initiatives echoed suggestions made by the staff and students as part of the Sustainable Idea online initiative. Earlier this year, the University also became the first higher education institution in Wales to sign up to the Welsh Assembly Governments’ Sustainable Development Charter.
Police warnings Hannah Pendleton News Editor Following a spate of robberies across Cardiff in recent weeks, city police are urging students to follow basic crime advice. They have stressed that the most common items to be stolen are wallets and electronic devices such as laptops and mobile phones. PC Steph Samuel said: "While the city remains a safe place, we would ask people to be aware of their personal safety when they are walking alone at night and to be mindful of their surroundings." "We would encourage students to contact us if they have any ideas about how to make Cathays safer." Although there seems to have been a lot of incidents recently, robberies in the city of cardiff have been greatly reduced by 32.3% since this time last year. Police have encouraged students to report anything suspicious and not to hesitate in the event of an emergency. Contact PC Steph Samuel on: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Students struggle with Cardiff's broadband speeds
Technology developed by the School of Computer Sciences creates a memorable peformance at the Cardiff's Baylit festival
Charlotte Bufton Reporter
Jamie Evans Reporter
It has been revealed by a recent survey that Cardiff is one of the worst cities in Britain for slow broadband speeds. The city is currently averaging a speed of 6.73 megabytes for broadband connections, while other better connected cities have an average of 15.73 megabytes. This is a particular problem for students trying to work and access the internet. Henry Pickup, a Theology student from Cardiff University, has said: “I’ve been living in student houses for the last couple of years and I have noticed that it is quite slow. I presumed it was because there were six of us in the house but I’ve spoken to a lot of other students and they have said the same thing.” Giles Phelps is the Director of Connect Cardiff, a business-only Internet Service Provider has explained: “The results are slightly
skewed in the sense that there are some not spots (slow areas) in Cardiff. The biggest problem is that we have not got complete coverage in Cardiff.” He added that there was also an issue with cost stating that, “broadband is quite expensive for faster speeds."
We have not got complete coverage in Cardiff However, some students have expressed that they have no problems with internet connections. Rachel Connor, originally from Northern Ireland, has stated: “I hadn’t really noticed that it was bad because it’s a lot better than where I come from.” A BT spokesman responded to these findings saying: “BT is investing heavily to bring faster speeds to towns and cities around the UK, including Cardiff, through advanced copper and fibre broadband.”
The TXT Big Thing? The top performance at the recent Baylit festival was TXT2Baylit, the live artwork project involving technology developed by professors at Cardiff University. The event and the innovative idea intricately entwined interactive texting with performance art, poetry, psych pop, folk singers and hip hop artists. Members of the public were encouraged to interact and be part of the live initiative by expressing their ideas and creative input via text message. The messages were then instantly projected onto a large screen that was situated behind the performers. The artwork project used the TXT2 technology developed by Dr Ian Grimstead from the School of Computer Sciences & Informatics, and visual artist Glenn Davidson of the Art and Media company Artstation. The research team also
includes creative writer Briony Goffin of Cardiff University, and anthropologist Kath Williams. The TXT2 technology adds another dimension to the exhibit by offering the public the chance to interact with the performance using their mobile phones. The Cardiff' BayLit/Llen y Lli shock of the new festival is a forum for highlighting and discovering cutting edge, experimental, groundbreaking, fresh cultural ideas in Wales. The TXT2 initiative has gained many plaudits, and has recently seen international success with the technology being showcased at an exhibition in Belgium. Speaking about the installation, Dr Grimstead said: "It was great to bring our interaction technology into a new area – compared to large external screens, the gallery is a more contemplative, intimate space. We're looking forward to seeing what people TXT2 us."
World News06 Bottoms up! Morgan Applegarth News Editor The world’s largest wine glass has been unveiled in Lebanon. The giant receptacle, measuring 94.48 inches in height and 65 inches in diameter, was revealed at a wine festival in Beirut. A Guiness Book of World Records adjudicator confirmed that the plexiglass container trumped the previous record, set 12 years ago in Portugal. “I’m proud to announce that Lebanon has achieved a new record” proclaimed adjudicator, Liz smith. Designed by engineers Walid Richa and Moussa Zakharia, the giant
glass was filled with approximately 100 bottles in front an on-looking crowd of wine fanatics, creating a large cocktail made up of red, white and rosé varities.
All in a hard days work
Caroline Dadd Reporter
Chris Andrews Reporter
A man from Belfast has claimed to have found evidence of time travel. In his YouTube video, filmmaker George Clarke claims that footage from DVD extras found on Charlie Chaplin's 1928 silent movie 'The Circus' shows a woman walking whilst talking on what appears to be a mobile phone. In his video, which has received almost 5million hits at time of print, Clarke slows down footage to show a female clearly talking into something which is held to her ear and mouth.
A Japanese pizza chain has caused a stir after advertising a job with a £19,400 (2,500,000 yen) per hour salary. As part of a series of events to commemorate the 25th anniversary of its opening in Japan, Domino’s Pizza Japan is looking to hire one lucky person for an hours worth of work in December. A company spokesman has declined to provide any more information until November, but he has said: “Basically, the job is open to any-
body over 18, no questions about education or experience. “We’re actually a little surprised by how much of a response we’re getting," he continued. However, compared to the average wage of just under 1,000 yen per hour it’s no shock that many people would like a 'pizza the action'.
Obama gets 'dolled up'
Under a vest
Hannah Pendleton News Editor
Caroline Dadd Reporter
Jamie Evans Reporter
A German aquarium that housed Paul the psychic Octopus has revealed that it was set to train a second ocotopus into obtaining apparent psychic abilities. Paul, the octopus who shot to fame during last summer's World Cup tournament as he predicted football results, was set to aid in the training of a second octopus. However, his untimely death last month hindered the aquarium's plans to help train 5-month-old Paul
II. "Unfortunately he died before he could [train him]" a spokeswoman has stated. The Oberhausen Sea Life Centre reamins unsure of Paul II's psychic ability, stating that they 'haven't test him' yet.
Barack Obama's face has been printed onto a blow-up sex doll in China. The doll was found at the 8th annual Sex Culture Festival taking place in the city of Guangzhou, China. Placed amongst other sex doll types, the Obama-themed doll was dressed in a dark blue suit, white shirt and red tie - attire that has become somewhat hand-in-hand with the current American President.
In the Spanish city of Lleida, prostitutes working on a dangerous roundabout outside of the city centre have begun wearing high-visibility vests in order to avoid being charged with a hefty 40 Euro police fine. Local Police state that they aren’t trying to rid prostitutes from the area, as they would rather include the ladies of the night in an attempt to enforce members of the public to sport
as they walk down the treacherous highway. A police spokesman said: "In the past couple of months the prostitutes have been fined for two reasons: not wearing reflective jackets and creating danger on a public highway."
Opinion 08 The end of Obama-Mania? Chris Williams Opinion Editor I have to say, two years ago when I first saw Barack Obama I was blown away. This man had this incredible atmosphere surrounding him, he was an uplifting sight in a political sphere so ravaged by idiocy and an appearance of not caring about the needy ones in society. I think that’s what struck me the most; the promises that he was willing to put his hands up and commit to (and the fact that his running mate didn’t make me think that nuclear armageddon would be an inevitable accident caused by Palin accidentally leaning on the red button...). As someone who believes in human rights, his commitment to shutting Guantanamo Bay was an incredible statement and it really made me get behind this man. People I’ve spoken to recently keep questioning, to me at least, why it matters who the American President is and what’s going on over the pond and it pains me to say it, but my response is the same: they’re the most powerful country in the world and their foreign policy will affect our own. We’re a slave to the American government and the American way of doing things - you only need to look at the Iraq war to realise that. Midterm elections are as inevitable in American politics as Boris Johnson saying something pseudoracist or just being a bit of an idiot in British politics. They’re almost like a checkup so the country can tell the incumbent President how they’re doing. Most reports yesterday were suggesting that it would be a travesty - Obama would lose control of the house, the Senate and the world. He’d be left a shell of his former self with lynch mobs surrounding the white house and a Republican shift for the next few years in American politics. The truth, however, is slightly different. Yes, Obama has suffered a bit of a battering with the Republicans snatching the House of Representatives, but he’s remained in a fairly strong postion - I bet the pundits are eating their words now. So, from this you’d think that there was a mass discontent among Americans and that Obama’s promises haven’t been kept. To an extent this is true. Guantanamo Bay remains open, they still occupy Iraq and are spending a massive amount on both controlling that war and dealing with the budget deficit. However, it’s a shame, for some ridiculous reason (and I’m not going to launch an attack at those ‘stupid’ Americans here) that the republican right have a massive issue with Obama’s healthcare bill which gives healthcare to a potential 32 million people. Now, what
Whilst Obama looks to implement policies of hope, the Republicans blindly see policies filled with Communist ideals I don’t understand is how anyone can label this evil or have any real problems with it. Yes, it will cost a lot of money, time and effort, but surely it’s better to put that time and effort into creating this bill and enacting this idea than to allow thousands upon thousands of people per year to die because of a lack of healthcare and because of practices that are just wrong from the insurance companies. But no, of course, it’s an evil policy and Obama is, therefore, a socialist and communist weirdo who would’ve found a better home in communist Russia: of course republicans, of course.
The way I see it, Obama is working in a broken system What this healthcare bill and the whole surrounding issue is effectively doing, is proving the republican right’s view on the poor. It’s saying if you’re rich and have money,
then you’ll be fine, if you’re poor then sort it out - we won’t help you. Now, to me that’s an abhorrent view of the healthcare bill and it doesn’t sit well with me that so many American’s have turned to that view and believe that the way of resolving such issues is pretending that there were never any issues. The way I see it, Obama is working in a broken system. Jesus, this is a system where there are fundamental governmental checks and balances on the votes cast by the countries people. There’s a little known thing called the ‘electoral college’ which is part of the electoral system. What you do when you vote for a president and vice president is vote for someone who will vote on your behalf at the electoral college. What this means (and this has happened before) is that you can have a state voting democrat, but the elected member to the electoral college from that state can vote republican. And this is supposed to be a country which is the pinnacle of democracies across the world. This country is supposed to represent all that is good about democratic
states, and yet it can’t even trust it’s own electorate to vote for its leader. So, from the off he’s working in a system that’s fundamentally flawed. Now, take it one step further and you realise that the amount of money that is spent on election campaigns causes great issues. Obama spent $740.6 million on his campaign to become President. I’m going to take a punt and suggest that he didn’t have that money and had to gain some of it from big businesses and a lot of rich people. So, what you end up with is a lot of interest groups and people who are expecting something in return for their donation to his campaign - meaning that most of his policies would be impossible to implement. These midterm election results, I think, could have a certain amount to do with the economic crisis, as well. America is slowly getting out of its economic problems, but ‘slowly’ is the key word. Something like the economic crisis that we’ve had has affected America in a massive way, but they’ve also been one of the strongest countries out of all of those affected by it. Yet, republican propaganda and Obama not having a magic wand to
fix the crisis, has caused a sway in public opinion - something I think is not only regrettable, but petrifying considering how far to the right Republicans have swung in the past few years. What the loss of one house means now for American politics is that there will be issues and deadlock over the next few years. There will be more problems than would have happened if there were still a Democrat majority in both houses. This means that die hard Democrats probably won’t be seeing the success that they dreamed off on first hearing the “Yes we can” mantra that was so effectively drummed into our heads. There is a glimmer of hope throughout all of this though. The Democrats have lost power in one house, not the two that some were predicting last week: overall, they haven’t done too badly, so there’s still hope for re-election in two years time. When it comes down to it though, it is the system that is broken, not Obama. He needs a better and a more real democracy to implement his ideas successfully.
Monday November 08 2010 • gair rhydd • firstname.lastname@example.org
How should drugs be classified? Jenny Lambourne Opinion Writer Every individual is aware that, in the simplest of terms, drugs are bad. What is not so concrete is the belief in the classification system used to categorise different substances. Professor David Nutt, the former UK chief drugs advisor who was sacked from his position last year, has ruffled feathers by the publication of his latest study which, he says, shows that alcohol causes the biggest harm to our society in comparison to Class A drugs. The media backlash against Nutt has not abated since his removal from office and the latest study from the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs (Nutt’s organisation set up to assess drug usage and impact without political interference), has merely stoked this opposition. The figures were calculated by experts ranking each drug in terms of its level of harm to both user and society, using factors such as crime, costs to the community and environmental damage as well as mental health and addiction. Combining these scores enabled the ISCD to rank each drug which placed alcohol at the top of the list followed by heroin and crack. Critics have been quick to brand these findings unfair and alarmist with the media focus centred upon alcohol’s position against heroin in the list. Certainly these findings are contrary to our existing classification process, but buried in the inevitable uproar this has provoked there is more of a point to be made. As Professor Nutt says, “overall,
alcohol is the most harmful drug because it is so widely used.” The sheer scale of the alcohol issue is a recognised problem in our society. The dangers of alcohol misuse are familiar to every student and yet it does not prevent the majority of us enjoying a night out once in a while. While it may seem an unfair comparison between the extremes of heroin addiction and alcoholism, it is clear even from a Saturday night in Cardiff city centre that alcohol consumption is a prevalent issue in student life, let alone wider society. Hospitals are overrun with individuals who have suffered after consuming one too many Jaeger bombs, and everybody has a friend who is renowned for their intoxicated exploits. It is far too easy to brush off Nutt’s comments as alarmist without the recognition of the impact that alcohol consumption has upon society. Spend a Friday evening in an A&E department in any city across the country and you will see for yourself. The findings have been published at a sensitive point in the drugs debate. We currently have a Prime Minister who has refused to dispel claims he has smoked cannabis and whose government is in the process of considering establishing a minimum price for alcohol, while in California Proposition 19 is being voted upon to make it lawful to possess and cultivate marijuana. The entire argument eventually comes to rest on the age old dispute of whether the legalisation of a substance means it can be more easily controlled. By allowing use of cannabis, supporters argue that
What criteria should we use to classify different substances? it would provide regulation and taxation funds of up to $1.4 billion a year to support the state which has the highest budget deficit in the US, while potentially reducing cartel related violence in Mexico. It sounds almost failsafe until you consider the implications of this proposition, which is not the official legalisation of cannabis. In fact, it may offer more restrictions on its use while leaving growers out of the commercial market and leading to the corporatisation of the drug. Punishment for the possession of more than an ounce of marijuana, the proposed lawful amount, would increase to a larger fine and the possibility of a prison sentence. The initiative appears vague with the possibility for larger socio-econom-
ic implications involving smaller independent growers who are part of the medicinal marijuana market to be taken over by larger corporations, as well as limited protection for those who use cannabis for medicinal use. It appears all too easy to jump on the band wagon and wave your spliff in the air in celebration of the legalisation of cannabis but this is not what is being proposed. Legalising, or making lawful, such substances may not be the answer, but launching a fierce antidrug tirade against Nutt and his colleagues for placing heroin beneath alcohol in terms of its level of harm to society is both narrow minded and deconstructive. The sheer scale of alcohol use and abuse is what we should be concentrating
upon, rather than dismissing the study’s comments as hyperbole. It is extreme to label alcohol as worse than heroin, but it must be viewed in the context of how these results were calculated and the sheer size of the problem is the issue here. Surely it would be more productive to confront the high levels of alcohol consumption rather than fixating upon its relative rate of harm in comparison to Class A substances? Perhaps it would not also be too revolutionary to suggest that the issue here lies not in arguing the position of illegal drugs in this hierarchy, but rather providing education about such substances.
A Tinie Bit of an Odd Choice? Sophie Keeling Opinion Writer “I’m on a mission, I don’t even wanna kiss her / Honey I won’t even miss ya when I’m done with ya eh eh.” Wise and poetic words there from Tinie Tempah, who caused more than a few raised eyebrows by speaking in the fabled Oxford Union on October 31. joining the ranks of past guest speakers such as Albert Einstein, the Dalai Llama and Winston Churchill. Explaining this seemingly peculiar choice spokesperson for the Union Ash Sangha said: "Tinie's rise to fame has been meteoric and his rise is a powerfully uplifting tale of ambition, of determination and of chasing your dream all the way." People doubtlessly will be making comparisons between him and other past speakers, but this seems
a little unfair. After all, although the Union has played host to the likes of Mother Theresa, they have also been visited by Kermit the Frog and Ron Jeremy, a porn star. It would seem the Union isn’t quite as intellectual as we assume, making Tempah’s selection not all that incongruous. At least he’s not a puppet. A Cardiff student told me they felt that “his story doesn’t hold particular relevance to much of the student population." Maybe that’s true, in that presumably few members of the Oxford Union hold an ambition to become a rap star, but then not many plan to become a nun either. I’m sure his story is probably rather interesting and although it would be very easy to make a snobbish comment as to the place of rap at Oxford, I suspect lots of the students there would be pleased to see him. Many a time have I heard the refrains of “Pass Out” in the Cardiff Student’s Union, and although
we seem to view Oxford students as intellectual powerhouses never stepping a foot outside the Bodleian, they probably like his music as much as anyone here. Let’s not forget either that Shakespeare was a popular entertainer of his day – what’s to say that students in several hundred years time won’t be studying lines such as “Would you risk it for a chocolate biscuit?” and writing essays on its ambiguity. However, there is no escaping the fact that his raps are, as well as being nonsensical and just plain silly, rather unpleasant. Take, for example:
"She wanna see what’s hiding in my CK briefs / I tell her wear suspenders and some PVC / And then I’ll film it all up on my JVC." Not only is it slightly disconcerting that songs about filming sex are played pre-water shed on Radio 1,
but this continues the tradition of misogyny in R n’ B music. It’s a bit worrying that lyrics telling women to dress up in a sexualised manner, or about using them carelessly for sex, are now so mainstream that their writer can speak in one of England’s most notable institutions. Naively one would think that university is a place for intellectual growth and discovery, where women would be respected for their minds, and yet the popularity of music like this makes it seem that even in this enclave from reality, women are objects, good just to wear suspenders and be filmed. Admittedly music sexualises men as well, but sexualisation seems on a grander scale for women – I haven’t seen any men teetering about, looking like a participant on “Snog, Marry, Avoid” as opposed to a studious young intellectual. Yet music like this is part of the phenomenon that makes women
think they should be aspiring to merely be sexy, and that they should be willing to give in to men’s wishes for them to wear PVC. Which presumably would chaff. I do not think that unpleasant lyrics are enough to stop him from speaking though. After all, they are nothing like the views of Nick Griffin whose invitation to speak and the ensuing media attention served to publicise how abhorrent the BNP is. Despite the fact I am not convinced of his creative genius, in a society of free speech performers of high and low art, and purveyors of opinions both uplifting and slightly degenerate should be given a platform so we can look at what they have to say, and then pull it apart if we don’t like it. If rap has no place in Oxford, we should be prepared to say why, and this is what the Oxford Unions’ sometimes peculiar choices seem to do. They make us think.
Monday November 08 2010 • gair rhydd • email@example.com
New adoption guidelines are a change for the better Miranda Atty News Editor
The Times has recently revealed that ministers are currently drawing up guidance for adoption authorities which lifts the barriers on couples of white ethnicity adopting children of other ethnic backgrounds. As I read this headline whilst selling The Times to a customer at work, my immediate reaction was positive. Adoption is something I feel strongly about, and have always done so. It has always been in my life plan to adopt at least one, hopefully two children, either from the UK or abroad. I was intrigued, therefore, when the customer in question started a rant to her companion about how this was a dreadful decision by the Tories, which could bring no good to society. From what I could gather, adoption was her area of research, and she had found that adopting a child from a different racial or cultural background to the parents’ themselves had led to children feeling isolated and confused. The case for this stance can be persuasive, as The Times article went on to reveal. They found that during the Seventies, when interracial adoption was at its most popular, nearly three quarters of children adopted by ethnically different couples struggled to settle into their new homes. One study found that a significantly higher percentage of children transracially adopted felt ‘different’ from the rest of their family: 71% (compared with 48% feeling 'different' in samerace adoption). Undeniably this risk exists, but I think it is a risk we should be prepared to take, every single time.
Think about the alternatives: foster care, or a perpetual round of care homes. Research has shown that a child usually has to wait two years and seven months from the time of being taken into care until they are adopted. Ethnic minority children wait an average of three times longer than this. Imagine being shuttled from foster family to foster family, where, as is often the case, a once mutual understanding between adults and child erodes into deep mistrust. Often, just as barriers start to be broken down, the children have to be moved on. Or, even worse, not even being placed with a family, but surviving in a succession of care homes, as one of many. This is not to disparage care homes and foster families who often do an amazing job at giving a temporary home to those in need. But the point is that, however you look at it, these children are being failed if they are not given a proper, stable, loving home. Of course a child’s ethnic and cultural heritage is important, and I am not prepared to deny that an element of that will be lost if white couples adopt ethnic children. But only an element. If the parents are willing to do some research, they can equip their child with knowledge of their cultural and ethnic background, and attempt to get in touch with the child’s wider family in order to keep hold of their roots. I firmly believe that it is important to know where you came from. But as a mixed race individual myself (though not adopted) I believe that your identity can only be enhanced by different cultures. As half English and half Ghanaian I think of myself as British, yet I embrace elements of my African heritage. I think it is entirely possible for adopted children to do the same.
Above: Should there be restrictions on which child you can adopt? What is important is the family structure, not the colour of the people in the family. The more I think about the changes to race rules, the more I think that, for once, I can safely say I agree with a Tory policy. Tim Loughton, the Minister for Children and Families, has announced categorically that white couples with good homes should be eligible to adopt children of other ethnicities. At the moment ethnic minority children in care are proportionally ‘over represented’ compared with
white children. Many social workers hold out and hold out until they find the perfect match. In a country that’s only becoming more racially diverse, this makes no sense. Imagine how long it would take to match me up if authorities were waiting for another quarter Welsh, quarter English, half Ghanaian pair to: a) decide they love each other and b) decide they want to adopt. There are around 65,000 children in care in the UK, and most of those will never be adopted, because they are now considered too
old. If authorities divert more of their energy into finding couples - gay, straight, black, white and interracial, that love each other and will provide a strong family unit rather than making sure the colour scheme goes nicely, there will be far fewer children feeling unloved and abandoned. After all, white on white has become a bit boring, and everyone wants a splash of colour. Now, on with my dream of a rainbow family.
Let's talk about sex...with Stephen Fry Holly Howe Opinion Editor Beloved television presenter and writer Stephen Fry has recently caused controversy by declaring his outdated, and frankly erroneous opinions about sex to Attitude magazine. Fry has made the dubious claim that, “the only reason women will have sex with [men] is that sex is the price they are willing to pay for a relationship with a man, which is what they want”. And who would know better about a woman’s sex drive than a homosexual man? Fry immediately discounts the idea of actually listening to what a women has to say about sex by stating, "Of course, a lot of women will deny this and say, 'Oh no, but I love sex, I love it!' But do they go around having it the way that gay men do?" Fry seems to be
using a combination of tired stereotypes and bizarre logic to back up his claim, asking: "If women liked sex as much as men, there would be straight cruising areas in the way there are gay cruising areas. Women would go and hang around in churchyards thinking: 'God, I've got to get my fucking rocks off', or they'd go to Hampstead Heath and meet strangers to shag behind a bush. It doesn't happen. " Ironically, the champion of facts and reason seems to have forgotten to think through exactly why women do not cruise. Firstly, gay culture has developed from a time where homosexuality was illegal, meaning that anonymous and clandestine sex has become part of this culture. But perhaps more importantly there is the undeniable fact that women simply would not be safe to cruise in the way that men
can. That is not to say that without these factors all women would be taking a nightly stroll round the park every evening, but not all gay men do either. Fry frustratingly homogenises the ‘categories’ of gay men and women, ignoring the nuances and differences in every person’s sexual desires as well as denying that any women really enjoy sex. Fry has supposedly quit Twitter after the controversy and is claiming he was misquoted, something that both Attitude, the magazine that conducted the original interview, and The Observer, the newspaper that picked up on his comments, deny. Paul Flynn, the journalist that originally interviewed Fry, has said, "I thought it was quite an odd generalisation to make at the time, but he delivered it with certainty and it was clearly something he'd
thought about." It seems odd that Fry himself didn’t notice the ‘odd generalisation’ he was making about an entire gender, especially as due to his position as a prominent figure on TV, and as a homosexual man he must have been the victim of similarly unfair generalisations. Many feminists have condemned Fry for the comments, suggesting that his ignorant opinions hark back to the outdated view of women as sexual objects rather than sexual beings. Unfortunately, sexual women are too often seen as ‘sluts’ for enjoying sex. We are all too familiar with differing perceptions of men that sleep around (stud) and women that do the same (whore). Fry’s comments imply that women use sex as a sort of currency and that ‘real women’ don’t, and therefore shouldn’t, enjoy sex.
Fry’s assumptions are all the more ill advised considering the nation’s habit of taking anything said on QI (Fry’s entertainment show) as gospel. It seems strange that someone who appears so intelligent and media savvy not only holds these ridiculous views, but also didn’t contemplate the implications of airing them. Fry’s own sex life has been subject to scrutiny after he claimed to have been celibate for 16 years, finding the idea of sex ‘disgusting’, and is now reportedly in a relationship with Steven Webb, a 25-yearold actor. Fry, therefore, must obviously be aware of the flexibility of sexuality, and that a person’s sexuality and gender does not dictate their desires or sexual practices. If it did, surely Fry would have been found in Hampstead Heath every night of those 16 years.
Columnist 12 '
A question of sport
ith international Rugby season starting this week, it’s that time of year when most men are reminded of their shortcomings as human specimens. While we all hope to be like those guys you see on the front cover of Men’s Health, laughing at their own abs, it only takes one look at a man like Jonah Lomu to realise that most of us are contributing very little to the national testosterone average. Indeed, like a lot of people, I’ve always felt a bit uncomfortable in sporting environments. My first foray into the world of competitive sport saw me taking part in a kickboxing tournament, which I only entered to win back a girl, but actually ended up doing so badly in that halfway through the first fight the referee had to give me advice. “I think you should kick him more”, he offered politely, which felt a bit like advising someone on life support to “not be ill”, and filled me with about as much confidence as if he’d signalled for a wheelchair. I realised there and then that God intended some of his creations to hold up golf sales signs, and vowed forever to stick to activities that I’m better suited towards, like doing up zips, or failing to get the attention of waiters. Kickboxing also taught me that having another man thrust his body parts at you for 90 seconds is distinctly unpleasant, and in an instant I felt an increased sympathy for my ex-girlfriends. Of course, many of us associate sport with the compulsory PE we
used to do at school. Far from helping you get fit, it provided little more than a welcome sideline for geography teachers and was the only lesson of the week where forgetting your clothes became a viable excuse. It was also a very efficient way to highlight those who were at most immediate need of bullying. There’s no fun quite like watching the fat kid try to complete the PE syllabus – unless that kid is you. I can still remember the class looking on in awe as six PE teachers worked in unison to force me through a backwards roll, a process which resembled a cross between removing a beached whale, and forcing antibiotics into a cat. This is all particularly relevant for me this week. The med school has revealed its plans to send me to Rural Wales for the whole of June and July, a process which I welcome about as much as shutting my testicles in a car door. Unfortunately, other than faking a mental illness or getting married to someone on a ventilator, the only way I’m allowed to remain in Cardiff and avoid this trip into Deliverance is if I play sport internationally. So, trying to improve my odds, I’ve spent the last few days looking up the most obscure sports played in Wales, and have now started training towards becoming the next big name in either ‘korfball’ or ‘spludunking’. I also tried fullcontact ‘greco-Roman wrestling’, but am unable to talk about the details of this experience without a close friend holding my hand. While I carry on training in hope, I feel a final word this week should go to the untimely death of Paul the World
I guess Grandma was right about the smell of gas all along
Cup Octopus. Over the summer Paul became a lone figure of inspiration for South Africa - a bit like if Nelson Mandela could fit into jars - delighting public and press alike with his successful prediction of eight world cup matches, the competition winners, and where Gamu’s mother will be spending Christmas. He will be for-
ever loved, and while we may miss his bright spirit, we can all rest assured that he’s in a better place than I will be this summer.
Letters To The Editor In which our readers ask Henry a series of common questions. This week: Concerns Dear Henry, I went and got a tattoo while drunk but didn’t tell my boyfriend about it. Was it wrong not to let him know? I wouldn’t worry. Everyone has little secrets; my uncle’s involved the seizure of his computer, and I once had a Saudi-Arabian friend who liked cross-dressing - a habit he managed to conceal for years until his parents came home early and caught him wearing a burkha. Indeed, even my mother confesses
that there are some things she’s kept from me in the past. I’m not quite sure what she means by this, but it might have something to do with why the milkman keeps kissing me on the forehead and telling me that he’s proud of me. Either that or why Dad doesn’t live with us. I was born with an unusual allergy to irony. I can’t look at contemporary art, and was once hospitalised after spotting
a group of midgets wearing shorts. What should I do? There are some medical conditions in this world that are so rare, all you can do is laugh. This was literally the problem with my brother, who for medical reasons found it impossible to stop giggling, and was eventually fired from his job as a domestic abuse counsellor. My advice is to always look on the positive side - at least you don’t live in Peterborough. It could be worse, you could suffer from the same
congenital defect as my friend Terry, who was born looking exactly like Gary Glitter. Whenever I go to club toilets, I’m constantly barraged by men who shout things like “no spray no lay” and charge me for soap. Is there any way I can get them to leave me alone? Follow them home, perch in their fridge for several days and force them to pay £1 every time they want to use some milk, then ask
them if they’re ‘having a good time’. They should quickly understand why this is quite annoying. Failing that, you might like to try intruding into inappropriate moments from their private life whilst shouting out snappy catchphrases, like “family funeral, no fun at all,” or “fffrreshen up fffrreshen up, it’s the fifth anniversary of your divorce”. They’ll soon come to appreciate that this isn’t a service people want to pay for, even if they do get a lolly.
Should Wikileaks be plugged? Guy Kelly Politics Writer The release last week of nearly 400,000 US Iraq war logs by whistleblowing organisation Wikileaks has sparked fresh debate over the responsibility of freedom of speech. Leaks of such reports, which reveal details of civilian deaths, prisoner abuse and military misconduct throughout a five year period of occupation, has been vehemently criticised by the US government and right-leaning media as a threat to national security, while others have applauded the website’s decision. Must there be a line drawn, then, where whistle-blowing does more harm than good? No, says Wikileaks (who are entirely separate from Wikipedia and its offshoots) editorin-chief Julian Assange, who last Thursday found himself defending the organisation at a London debate, stating “I’m not scared to make mistakes or be blamed, or even accidentally cause harm in the cause of justice”. Such maniacal sound bites and increasingly looking like a Brosnan-era Bond villain make the Australian an easy target for governments and media alike, but his crusade is a noble one. The logs, detailing incidents during the war and subsequent occupation of Iraq from 2004 to 2009, expose the human toll of a conflict cloaked in controversy from its inception. The US military has, in the past, denied that any records were kept of civilian deaths – citing as reason the difficulty of keeping reliable accounts in the heat of the battle. The released documents, however, show this to be untrue, identifying 109,000 civilian deaths in the aforementioned five year period. These break down into 66,081 civilians, 23,984 people classed merely as ‘enemy’ (a seemingly vague term for the coalition forces), 15,196 members of the Iraqi security forces and 3,771 coalition troops. What’s more, the reports disclose 11 cases of US ‘friendly fire’ on British forces, and tell of Iran’s illegal sponsoring of al-Qaeda insurgency attacks. It’s the nauseating detail in which the reports reveal acts of torture, rape and physical abuse by Iraqi officers directly under the authority and supervision of British and US troops that is most alarming. It appears that hope from any side of ameliorating the lives of Iraqi citizens by removing Saddam Hussein and his regime became a faded loss, as one tyranny was replaced by another. One log tells of an Iraqi man arrested and shot in the leg by a police officer. It states: “This detainee suffered abuse which amounted to cracked ribs, multiple lacerations and welts and bruises from being whipped with a large rod and hose across his back.” The report then adds (with an almost comedic sense
of understatement) that these acts amount to “reasonable suspicion of abuse”. Following is perhaps most incredible of all, the official judgement from the Pentagon stating: “No Further Investigation Required.” The longevity of the war comes as little surprise. It seems utterly understandable that a victim of such abuse would seek vengeance and direct their anger not at the immediate perpetrator, but rather at the troops standing by while such attacks take place. These being the same troops that are on a ‘freedom fighting’ mission, sent to export their democracy and bring calm to a country so blighted by unrest. What’s more, handing greater power to Iraq’s army and police is central to Barack Obama’s troop withdrawal plan – one he may now wish to revise in light of this progress report. Furthermore, one log tells of how British soldiers were fired upon at night by US troops who were ‘not equipped with the correct goggles and had been listening to their iPods’. With troops acting
less like professional servicemen and more like inebriated frat-boys playing Call of Duty, it becomes difficult to believe this war could ever end. Whether Obama will take action is unclear, however, as the United States’ instant reaction to the leaks echoed their torture analysis – no further investigation required. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, publicly condemned the website as ‘criminal’ and ‘immoral’, while the ever preposterous Fox News went hysterical, declaring Wikileaks an “enemy combatant” and stated (without a tincture of irony) that: “this mass compromise of classified data will make it much harder to find people willing to cooperate with the United States”. It seems that much like world geography quizzes or the exercise phenomenon ‘Zumba’, Middle America will ignore these logs as long as they highlight any sort of shimmering weakness in previous Republican policy. Sunk deep within this shouty outburst of right-wing media, how-
ever, sits an almost sensible point. Whistle-blowing can appear a most ethically correct decision in the short term, but the long term consequences are (and remain) wildly uncertain. Will these leaks lead to a tightening of military intelligence across the NATO forces? Will they encourage a helpful public backlash against an originally unjust war? Or will it simply endanger the lives of troops and innocent Iraqis that have a near-impossible job already? We simply do not know, and that is the critics’ point. The moral decision to blow this particular whistle seems to have been driven by a hope that less harm than good will come as a consequence. In fact, every time Wikileaks puts facts into the public domain it is accused of partisanship and irresponsibility from one side, and it probably always will be. In truth it scarcely matters what the fallout is. Wikileaks are entirely aware that their role ends once they press ‘send’, once the fire has started. Where critics get it wrong, however, is in portraying Mr Assange as
a playground snitch, out purely for selfish gains and to cause trouble. The scale and sincerity of allegations sparked by these leaks mean that however much it contributes to the considerable burden of the Iraqi government, revealing the information in this case was not irresponsible, but a duty. It is pleasing, then, that Nick Clegg has demanded investigations into all complicity with torture; despite UN calls, though, the United States remains in an obstinate state of denial. The public still require media analysis to decipher these logs from merely journalistic raw material, but Wikileaks now find themselves in an unprecedented position of control. The evacuation of truth is something which causes fear for those in power, a process that is now a great deal easier. What took Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein months to excavate in order to blow open Watergate can now take just a few clicks. Truth may be the first casualty of war, but it now becomes perhaps the most potent weapon too.
gair rhydd • Monday November 08 2010 • firstname.lastname@example.org
The state of our defence
Ayushman Singh Jamwal takes a look at the defence cuts put forward by the coalition government, and analyses the effect they will have on Britain's armed forces
he morbid rhetoric used in the news media, and by the Labour party, to describe the coalition government’s measures to cut the deficit has now been applied to the Strategic Defence and Security review (SDSR). In the House of Commons on October 19 2010, David Cameron illustrated eight percent cuts to the £36.7 billion defence budget, and highlighted their aim to re-scale the British defence infrastructure in order to maintain the nation’s position as a global military power, and address the changing nature of warfare. Over the next four years, the British Army will see the loss of 7,000 personnel, a single deployable brigade out of six, 40% of its tanks and 35% of its heavy artillery. The Royal Air Force will lose 5,000 personnel, and could see the closure of some of its bases like Kinloss and Lossiemouth in Scotland. The MRA4 Nimrod recon-
naissance aircrafts, on which the previous Labour government spent £3 billion, will be scrapped along with the nation’s 80 strong Harrier jump start jet fleet. The savings will be used to maintain the currently serving Tornado jets, the Eurofighter Typhoon jets, and to roll out the more advanced and cheaper F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet (JSF), for greater inter-operability with other NATO allies. The Royal Navy will lose 5,000 personnel, and have its surface fleet reduced from 23 to 19. It will be equipped with a new fleet of Astute-class nuclear powered submarines, six type-45 destroyers and a new class frigate. The previously planned construction of the HMS Queen Elizabeth and the HMS Prince of Wales aircraft carriers will continue, but they will be without active jets until 2020 when the JSF jets will be ready. Liberal Democrat influence has been noted in the coalition’s plans to make £1.2 billion of savings by
scaling down Britain’s nuclear weapons programme. The Trident nuclear deterrent system will have its warheads reduced from 48 to 40, while Britain’s overall nuclear stockpile will be reduced from 160 to less than 120. The Ministry of Defence will lose 25,000 of its civilian personnel, sell off unnecessary assets, negotiate a greater outsourcing of upgrade and maintenance operations with the private sector, and has scrapped plans for a defence academy at St. Athans in Wales. Taking the cue from the US and China, the government has put aside 650 million for a National Cyber Security Programme, with plans to use private sector expertise to develop a digital security grid. The defence budget will also divert efficiency savings to improve homeland counter-terrorism capabilities by implementing cyber surveillance technology and developing the armed police and specialist military response units. The SDSR illustrates the coali-
tion government’s attempt to strike a balance between conventional defence strategies and the evolving security issues of the digital age. It also addresses the contemporary economic and strategic liability of Britain’s large scale nuclear weapons programme. The cuts have been tailored to deal with the Labour party’s legacy of a £38 billion void created by inefficient defence spending. For 12 years the party invested huge amounts of tax-payer money into defence projects, but extended the payment period for smaller short term payments creating a whopping final bill. The two new aircraft carriers were commissioned after Labour’s 1998 Defence Review, and have not yet been rolled out. The current government is not cancelling them due to the amount of money already invested. To do so would be more punitive than keeping them. The world has globalised to a level where there is a chronic interdependency between global powers. The progression of technology has also led national infrastructures to be transferred to the digital sphere. This has made it detrimental, and even obsolete, for them to engage in full-scale warfare with each other, while alongside the nature of conflicts have evolved into global covert terrorism and ‘anonymous’ cyber espionage. Thus, the current state of affairs advocates greater international cooperation in order to maintain global security. Having an edge in the information war foiled a terrorist plot aimed at Britain, France and Germany, after the respective national intelligence services, along with the US, gained information on the plans being hatched in militant strongholds in Pakistan. Last Tuesday they co-ordinated joint drone attacks on the specific bases, killing nine militants. Last Friday, British intelligence foiled a terror plot hatched in Yemen after capturing a bomb at the East Midlands airport which was en-route to synagogues in Chicago.
Britain will remain the 4th largest military power in the world Even after the cuts, Britain will remain the 4th largest military power in the world, maintaining forces in regions ranging from the Balkans, Sub Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Operations in Afghanistan and Iraq are managed by a special reserve created by the Treasury, which will keep them unaffected by the cuts to the defence budget.
Britain will maintain its position as a chief member of NATO by continuing to channel two percent of its GDP to defence. It will also gain from developments in military technology and espionage through defence cooperation and intelligence sharing with other NATO nations like the United States and France. Moreover, while national financial stability dictates the downsizing, David Cameron has promised that defence spending will increase after 2015 if he is re-elected. Experts have applauded the ‘balanced nature’ of the defence cuts. On the other hand, the media has highlighted their ‘sting’ to the economic recovery. The First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, has strongly voiced his criticism towards any plans for the closure of the two RAF bases, which employ 6000 people and bring in £158 million to the local economy of Morey. The scrapping of the £14 billion military academy at St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan, which was projected to create 2,000 jobs, has been called “a betrayal” by Carwyn Jones, the First Minister of Wales. Most importantly, over 42,000 people working in the defence sector will lose their jobs. On the other hand, the ship building yards in Clyde and Fife in Scotland, and Barrow in-Furness, in Cumbria, will gain from the new naval contracts. The British defence industry, consisting of firms like BAE, Thales and Rolls Royce, is the world’s second largest defence exporter, with British defence contracts only consisting of 18% of overall procurements. Even with the reduction of British defence contracts, British supply chains working in collaboration with the firms will gain valuable overseas business from nations like Saudi Arabia, Brazil and India, which are consistently increasing their defence spending. Moreover, with greater logistical outsourcing going to the private sector, government cuts can further stimulate the manufacturing and service sectors of the country by creating alternative defence job opportunities for those made unemployed by the cuts. Change to conventional infrastructures always spark concern, as there is always a limit to what the government can mediate to the public. Debates surrounding the SDSR should not be clouded by the polarised rhetoric of the trade unions or the Labour party. The defence budget and the cuts have to be analysed through multiple perspectives to understand how government regulated private sector led growth, efficiency and innovation, is the best way to stimulate the nation’s tedious economic growth and equip its defence for a new age of digital global guerrilla warfare.
email@example.com • Monday November 08 2010 • gair rhydd
A new kind of 'special relationship' Olly Smith Politics Editor Last week David Cameron and French President, Nicolas Sarkozy announced the ‘UK-France Defence Treaty’ at a joint summit held in London. The aim of the treaty, praised by Mr. Cameron as “a new chapter in a long history of co-operation on defence and security between Britain and France”, is to enable the pooling of British and French military forces in order to cut costs and avoid the need for large military development projects. In theory it makes perfect sense, with both nations attempting to maintain their positions as world leaders in defence (see Ayushman Singh Jamwal’s article last week looking at the state of the UK’s defence), whilst also making cuts to total national expenditure. The treaty will allow joint training exercises with UK and French troops with the ultimate goal of
allowing the countries to share aircraft carriers and aircraft. Mr. Sarkozy announced the treaty as “unprecedented”, however a closer look at France's current domestic troubles makes it apparent that Sarkozy might even be more desperate than Cameron to take the knife to his budget. So while both leaders put on their happy faces and shake hands, the reaction from the crowd has been less than enthusiastic. The BBC have reported the news with words such as “ambitious” whilst former Liberal Democrat leader, Lord Ashdown called the plans “terribly out of date”. Even from the Conservative ranks there is a certain amount of distaste for the new policy, MP Bernard Jenkin claimed that it is important to remain “realistic” when making such agreements. Another worry is of British sovereignty. Surely the independence of our armed forces is one of the most central requirements to our defence. Will this pooling of resources
lead to a situation whereby British defence is left at the decision of the French government? According to both parties involved with the deal ,sovereignty and national defence would not be lost. As Mr. Sarkozy put it: “in France sovereignty is as touchy an issue as it is in Britain. Together we will be stronger.” It is obvious that in an ideal economic situation both Mr. Cameron and Mr. Sarkozy would rather not have to sign such an agreement, however desperate times... The reality of the 50-year agreement is that only time will demonstrate its effectiveness. If the treaty manages to make dramatic savings to the armed forces then it will obviously be hailed as an entrepreneurial success of the Liberal-Conservative coalition. However, if Britain and France are left squabbling over who gets to use the aircraft carrier... well maybe less of a success.
"A massively counter-productive policy..."
Lloyd Griffiths Politics Writer Figures released a week or so ago revealed that between nought and zero arrests relating to terrorism have come of over 100,000 stop-andsearches in 2008/09 will have come as between little and no surprise to many commentators. Those accustomed to dispiriting news on the subject will have noticed a backdrop of almost universal contempt being held for the measures, with incidents such as the strangely aggressive police searching of professional photographers last May in London. That incident prompted a collective shrug of the shoulders at increasingly draconian police treatment of the public. The attitude which seemed to suspect people of being guilty until proven innocent has left many feeling alienated and confounded by government legislation. These latest figures, at face value, support the feeling that the measures are needless, and what David Davis described as showing "what a
massively counter-productive policy this is". The raw figures themselves say that in 2008/2009, only 0.49% of the 101,248 searches under section 44 'yielded' arrests, which in comparison with around ten percent of 'general' police searches seems brutally pointless. With the majority of the press against these kind of measures and the European Court for Human Rights deeming section 44 to be essentially illegal (can a law be illegal? Apparently so, it reassuringly seems), the release of these figures is provocative with the foiled Yemen airline suicide bombings happening within a few days of their exposition. Do we need to give the police more powers at a seemingly dangerous time or should the government consider dropping the controversial 28-day detention limit as well? The latter inclination seems to us to be implicitly valuable, but this could be a sign that we as a generation have little experience of the current climate. A time to every purpose, perhaps? With the terror
alert at severe and the Yemen airline plot demonstrating the constant intelligence battle the government fights, the end may well justify the means when airline explosions are in order. However, little of this (as is clear by the zero terror arrests under section 44 in 2008-9) seems to justify police powers. While Americans are happy to suspend some of their liberties post-9/11, (in complete contravention, it must be said of the current right-wing anti government intervention feeling of the Tea Party), individual freedom is surely a worthwhile value to espouse? Of course we may risk one crazed fundamentalist slipping through (or not, as the figures have it) the police trawler net but it’s a risk we should be brave enough to take in order to keep faith in our values. This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t be scared to defend ourselves from violence which seems to threaten us, however, but this point is irrelevant when the measures fail to round up any terrorists whatsoever. Similarly, the figures seem to
Zero arrests relating to terrorism have come of over 100,000 stop-andsearches
back up Liberty’s joy at finally succeeding in overturning one of Labour's many controversial terror laws, with pointedly less harassment of ethnic minorities cited as a key victory. Although increased cultural hostility is one hardly inspired by Section 44 itself (the casually bellicose right-wing media can take credit for such hatred-byosmosis), the loss of it will nonetheless do much to cool the perception of police antagonism being endemic. As well as fanning the flames of a multicultural debate, which has simmered beneath the surface since Jack Straw’s ill thought out but well-intentioned remarks on the Niqab, these laws provoke what is a clearly divergent attitude to America. While Americans affirm terror laws as a statement of patriotism and their unflinching belief in the Bill of Rights, the issue is rightly more woolly and abstract in Britain, as groups such as Liberty argue that individual freedoms (i.e. don’t take my camera when I’m taking purdy pictures) are incontrovertible and absolute.
gair rhydd • Monday November 08 2010 • firstname.lastname@example.org
The Middle East's neighbourly relations Luke Slade takes a look at whether the Iranian influence is having an effect in neighbouring Afghanistan
amid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, signed a bill ‘legalising rape in marriage’. The law stated that a woman, in effect, is a possession of her husband and can only seek work, education or doctor’s appointments with her husband’s permission. With that in mind, it has now been released that the President of Afghanistan is receiving “bags of money” from Iran. Mr Karzai recognised that his office was in receipt of Iranian funding but stated that all transactions were “transparent”. In response to a New York Times report, he said that he received around 700,000 Euros (£607,035) once or twice a year and that it was used to pay for government and office expenses; not for an individual. The man who picked up this money was Umar Daudzai, Karzai’s Chief of Staff. According to an Afghan official who was on the aeroplane, the Iranian Ambassador of Afghanistan handed Mr Daudzai a large plastic bag bursting with Euro-bills. A second Afghan official confirmed that he then took with him a hefty bag of cash. It has also been highlighted that the US were a part of this funding process, albeit in the past. The Iranian embassy in Kabul called the allegations “ridiculous and insulting”, but due to President Karzai’s recent statement this seems to be slightly redundant, whilst also pointing out the mendacious conduct of Iran. Iran clearly seeks influence in Afghanistan and it is debatable as to whether they have succeeded. Mr Karzai insisted there was nothing deceitful about the payments, claiming “they want good relations in return … Afghanistan and Iran
have neighbourly relations”. But what these 'neighbourly relations’ entail is another question. Bill Burton of the White House said the international community should have “every reason to be concerned about Iran trying to have a negative influence on Afghanistan”. Iran is playing an ambiguous political game in Afghanistan. It has been speculated that they are funding and training the Taliban one minute, and then supporting the Afghan government the next. While these may not necessarily be true, the rumours do not help the international reception for Iran. It has also come to light that spies from Iran funded many of the candidates’ campaigns in the last parliamentary election. It appears that the ever-growing expanse of the Iranian government is slowly taking hold of the Middle East. Coupled with the threat of them turning nuclear it is hard to simply turn a blind eye. The Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is not the most sympathetic of men. He is one of the few who have claimed that the Holocaust was a myth. He suggests the Jewish population have a right to a government, but somewhere else so that they do not cause the displacement of a whole nation or occupy a whole territory. After eight years of a feeble government by the restrained reformist President Khatami, Iran suddenly had a lurid and idiosyncratic president who could not be disregarded. Mr Ahmadinejad went back to Ayatollah Khomeini's principles, and he wants to develop Iran's independence further by turning it into a nuclear power. Whether this is the best thing for Iran and the Middle East is yet to be seen. It appears that although the Middle East is split into regions, there is a
shadow of power and influence that lies in Iran: something that is not democratically sound, and which does not sit well with a Western onlooker. However, the Iranians did not gain so much power in a matter of moments. A principle aspect of their increase in power is the rising oil price, which have allowed Iran some spare cash to play with. Furthermore, the overthrow of Saddam Hussein by the United States has opened the field to Iran, as Iraq was their local rival. Finally, due to the free elections that were held in Iraq, a Shi’a majority have gained power, allowing Iraq and Iran to form ‘neighbourly relations’
as well. Not only does this not bode well for the British, but the US and Israel are seriously worried too. Mr Ahmadinejad insists that Iran has full rights to set up a civil nuclear power industry. But the Americanbased scholar Vali Nasr, author of The Shia Revival, believes that there may be a hidden agenda: "He really wants to be one screwdriver short of a nuclear weapon," he said. Iran has managed to fulfil their agenda by encouraging and arming Hezbollah. Hezbollah is a Shi’a Islamist political and paramilitary organisation based in Lebanon; it literally means ‘Party of God’. They have created an anti-American alliance between Shi’a and Sunni Muslims in many parts of the Middle East. And according to Prince ElHassan bin Talaal of Jordan: "The popularity of Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah is an alternative to civil society in the Middle East. By recruiting the poor and disenfranchised, they are closer to people's needs than governments are. Which is why they have this enormous following." Hezbollah have been highly criticised for dismissing the UN tribunal into the death of the former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri, as an “Israeli Project”. However, the UN says that they expect full co-operation from the government. Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah is said to have called for a boycott on the enquiry, something that heightens the suspicion into the former Prime Minister’s death. It is clear that this knock on effect of relationships within the Middle East is becoming stronger, all stemming from Iran. They are a force that wants independence, but it is the effects and what comes with complete in-
dependence that threatens the EU and US - just look at a nuclear North Korea. However, there is a glimmer of hope for more successful co-operation. Iran has agreed that it will resume talks in November on its disputed nuclear programme. Tehran's acceptance came one day after the US attempted to create a better fuel trade deal in order to coax Iran into trade. The previous offer, which was rejected by Tehran, whereby they were to ship out 1,200kg of uranium to be enriched, has been moved into a new area by the US; reports say that they have raised the bar to 2,000kg. This is the biggest reason why Western governments believe Iran is gathering the capacity to produce a nuclear bomb. Iran are strongly denying these allegations, commenting that they are pursuing a civilian atomic programme so that they can meet their ever growing energy needs. Whether they are to be trusted is yet to bee seen. In the wake of the President’s suggestion that America orchestrated the atrocities of 9/11, it is not hard to see why Iran comes under unrivalled international scrutiny. Westerners and the US may not like the fact that Iran is an incredibly influential force in terms of religion and nuclear power but, simply put, there is nothing that we can do. The influence of America is abating quite perceptibly while their positions are noticeably weaker. President Ahmadinejad has put Iran at the vanguard of all these changes. It is all part of the same progression that Ayotallah Khomeini started 27 years ago, when he overthrew the Americanand British-imposed Shah. It is all part of becoming independent, but at what cost?
We want to hear your stories: anything goes. Just drop us a line on email@example.com. This week Laura Brunt chats to Shibby Robati about being shown the proverbial finger on The Apprentice and his occasional excursions to Come Play.
irstly, thanks for your time. You must be very busy at the moment. It was great seeing you on The Apprentice. Now that you’re off the show, do you feel Alan Sugar made the right decision? Well, when you put yourself up as project manager you put your neck on the line. I do take full responsibility for losing the task. I did feel that perhaps Sandeesh got away with it a bit and she was just hanging around in the background, but in the end the right decision was made. You said in your application that your biggest strength is knowing your biggest weaknesses. So, what are they? Good question! I suppose I can be a bit soft; I could have done with being a bit firmer. I’m definitely not the most organised person, but I like to think I know roughly what’s going and where! I like to call myself an ‘organised mess’; did you see the state of the kitchen on the task? Yes, it was dreadful! So, the compensation issue. Will you be doing that again? I felt that with the task in hand it
Above: Cardiff University student Shibby Robati was third to be fired from The Apprentice probably wasn’t the most appropriate decision, but at the time I felt I needed to maintain a good relationship with the potential business partner. It’s very important to build a rapport with your clientele and if you’ve made an agreement with someone you should abide by it. I felt pretty bad for letting him down. What kind of qualities/attributes do you think are important for succeeding in the show? The winner needs to be intelligent, hard-working and ambitious. They’ve got to be driven and they must be someone who doesn’t need much sleep! Being articulate and likeable is also really important because you don’t want to alienate yourself and alienate others. You have to be a role model. Do you think that your vocational background, being a surgeon, might have gone against you at all? People who have worked in sales or recruitment for example are used to working to targets. Those kinds of skills are often needed to win the tasks. I think those with vocational backgrounds are possibly out of their comfort zone. What did you learn from the
show? I learnt that there are three types of people in the world: People who can count and people who can’t. That was terrible! Ok, so you’re studying at Cardiff University. What course are you doing? I’m doing orthopaedic engineering, the two year course. I’m in my second year so I graduate next year. I actually went to Come Play a few Saturdays ago. Really? How was it? To be honest, I felt like I was babysitting or something! I must be getting too old for this now. I went with some friends on my course and we just went for a few quiet drinks and left before it got really busy. Still, it’s my Union so I’ve got to show support! Too right. So how’s the course going? It’s going really well thanks. Everyone on the course is a doctor and a bit geeky! But there are a few that are cool and that I can have a laugh with. I got my first degree in London, then went to Edinburgh and registered to be a surgeon. So basically, I’ve done England and Scotland, now I’m studying in Wales. I just need to go to Ireland and I would
Firstly, there's no short cut to hard work. Secondly, don't let it happen, make it happen
have studied everywhere in the UK (pulls some dodgy sounding Irish accent). Nice accent there. For the business students of Cardiff, or for any student at Cardiff for that matter, do you have any advice for those who wish to kick start a career in business? There are a couple of key points I have tried to stick to. Firstly, there’s no short cut to hard work. Secondly, don’t let it happen, make it happen. If you want to do something, go and do it. Be pro-active about it and don’t wait for something to happen because invariably it won’t. Good advice. Is this how you would say you have succeeded? Yes, definitely. You described yourself as ‘arrogant, funny and honest’ in your application to the show. Is that about right? Yeah that’s about right I’d say. You definitely can’t be serious all the time, can you? Definitely not! From what I’ve read you’re a mean impersonator... It's really just a hobby... Which is your best impression? I’m saving it for the Apollo...
gair rhydd • Monday November 08 2010 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Too drunk to stay safe?
We've all muttered the famous last words 'I'll be fine' before walking home on our own in the early hours of the morning. But how risky is it and how can we make sure we stay safe? Zoe Bridger and Laura Brunt find out...
ne of the things that is drilled into our heads as we grow up is to never walk home alone at night. Our parents say it, our teachers say it, the police say it and yet we still do it. Why? Why do we do something we know could have serious and frightening consequences? Answer one: “I only live round the corner.” The perception that as it’s so short a distance it’s unlikely anything would actually happen. But it takes just seconds. One person takes an opportunity, there’s no one around, you have no way of defending yourself. But it’s only round the corner. Answer two: “I’ll be fine.” Another common response and one I am guilty of saying. What makes us think that we’ll be ok when countless others haven’t been? Stories of assault reach us all the time and those are only the ones that are reported, but still we think that it’s unlikely to happen to us or to a friend. Without knowing someone who has been assaulted it rarely hits us just how ugly it can be, or how real the danger is. Before I started writing this article I was one of those people. I walked home along Rhymney Street at half past eleven at night, blissfully unaware of the potential danger I was putting myself in. I didn’t know about the groups of people that loitered around the bridge causing trouble. I’d never seen anything bad happen and so somehow, using some strange logic, I thought I was relatively safe. I wasn’t stupid, I knew it was possible something could happen but I just didn’t really think about it. It was too unlikely, I thought. Here are a few statistics to scare you. In Cardiff last year 3,235 acts of violence against the person were reported. 849 burglaries of dwellings were reported and 148 sexual offences were reported. You’ll notice I didn’t say committed. The real statistics are
unknown, mostly for sexual assault. Research by help group Rape Crisis suggests that only 10% of people who have been sexually assaulted actually report it to the police. Feeling worried? You should be. After talking to people about this article, a wealth of stories opened up and I found that even people I knew had had an experience of violence when walking home alone after dark. One girl I know was walking through Cathays when someone started following her. The next thing she knew he had his hand up her skirt and was about to pull her leggings down when she whirled around and confronted him. Fortunately a man nearby saw and yelled out, frightening him away. Now this attacker was actually about 14years-old, which makes it seem less threatening, but who’s to say what would have happened if that man hadn’t been there to stop the boy? Or what if the boy had been a man, fully capable of exerting force? What could she have done to protect herself then? This question is one we all need to think about, men as well as women. Both can be attacked either for possessions, as sexual assault or even for no real reason other than the wish to hurt. The stark reality of this struck me as I watched the CCTV footage of a young woman walking through Cathays in the early hours of the September 26. A man drove past, saw his opportunity, ran to catch up with her and checked to make sure nobody was around. It was too easy for that man to take advantage of a vulnerable girl. His intentions were all too clear to a dispassionate onlooker, not to mention chilling. If you think about it, a person walking alone after a night out is the perfect target for an attacker. Most likely intoxicated, their reactions aren’t going to be quick enough to deal with any threat. Make no mistake; there
are people who will take advantage of this as we can all too easily see from the CCTV footage. So the solution? Take a taxi. And make sure it’s a licensed one. Now that’s all well and good after a night out, but what about getting home from a friend’s house? We’re students. We are, by definition, poor. Taking a taxi everywhere is not always a legitimate option. So how can we stay safe? I might take a tip out of my friend’s book. She had a run-in with a young teenager who tried to take a photo up her skirt. Being trained in Kung-Fu, however, her instincts kicked in and she whirled around and made a fist, thus effectively scaring off her attacker, or rather, the pervy 14-year-old. Still, this begs the question what would she have done had she not known Kung-Fu? Perhaps learning martial arts is the answer to keeping safe on the streets. Plus, let’s be honest, it sounds pretty cool. Maybe we should be taught self defence at school? It would certainly make me feel a lot safer and it might even ease parental worries that their son or daughter could defend themselves enough to put some distance between them and their aggressor. Although self defence seems like a wise idea, the worry still remains that if a person was intent upon hurting you then they would do it, no matter if you knew Kung-Fu or not. So the mind looks to other ways of staying safe. An easier way, that requires little skill, is to carry a deterrent. Typically, these include a rape alarm or pepper spray but VestGuard UK Ltd have released a product called 'Bouncer Spray'. It was so named because originally it was used by bouncers on people, otherwise known as ‘yobs’, wanting to cause trouble. It releases a repulsive odour, which, I am assured by Compliance Manager at VestGuard, Oliver Lincoln, is so vile that it can make y++ou want to
Top: you never know who's lurking in the shadows. Above: Cathays at night. Below: A city subway.
gair rhydd • Monday November 08 2010 • email@example.com
Above: The University's Main Buliding at night. Photos: Eleanor Hughes retch. Provoking such a reaction in an attacker would give the victim a little time to run. Speaking of the product, Lincoln said: "We have so far had already over 500 enquiries from young students wishing to purchase the ‘Bouncer Spray’ and we believe it is an effective and simple way to protect yourself should you have to walk home alone." It also emits a UV spray that, like the odour, stays on a person’s clothes and skin for up to three days, making it easier for you, the police and even the public to identify your assailant. Research by the company has revealed that rape alarms do not always make a person feel safer as they can sound too much like a car alarm. But 'Bouncer Spray' keeps you feeling safe while also being 100% legal, whereas pepper spray is not legal and is classed as an offensive weapon. While encouraging students to visit www.vestguard.com, Lincoln said: "This product could give potential victims of an attack precious seconds to put distance between themselves and the attacker. We are also offering a student discount reducing the price from £15.25 to £10 (incl. VAT)." When asked if she would use the deterrent, Ffion Morgan, a second
year History student, answered: “It’s a good idea but would I be able to get it out of my purse quickly enough?” Stewart Morley, a second year Medic, also said that he “wouldn’t have time to get to it” and he thought that it would be “quicker to hit them and run”. Of course one can never fully rely upon sprays, kung-fu or rape alarms, so it is always a good idea to bear in mind some key tips to staying safe on a night out: 1. Plan your night 2. Carry a mobile phone (and make sure it’s got enough battery!) 3. Let someone know where you’re going and who with 4. Carry a deterrent. Keep it in your hand if you feel threatened. Simply having it on show might be enough to deter any attacker. 5. Switch off your mp3 player. You need to be aware of everything around you in order to react quickly. 6. If you think you’re being followed, try crossing a road or turning back on yourself. If they continue to pursue you, seek help. Look for people in a pub, bar, cafe, shop, service station or knock on the nearest house with lights on. If you think an attack is imminent, have a deterrent
Why do we do something that we know could have serious consequences?
in hand and get ready to run, leaving valuables behind you if that’s what they’re after. You are far more valuable than property. 7. Use a licensed taxi 8. Walk with confidence. If an attacker thinks you might cause trouble they are more likely to leave you alone. Take flat shoes with you and keep your keys out ready. Walk in the direction of oncoming traffic, that way a car can’t sneak up on you and surprise you. This advice certainly helps if you do find yourself walking alone at night. However, after hearing the horror stories of Cathays and Roath and realising that even self defence or 'Bouncer Spray' might not help to protect me, I’m not sure I really want to go out of my house again. But even that isn’t as safe as I thought. Bikes are stolen with disturbing frequency from assumedly secure back gardens. Then there’s the worrying fact that the road on which I live, Rhymney Street, has the reputation of being the most burgled road in Cathays. I don’t think staying in the house is necessarily my safest option! The most frightening thing of all though, is a story I was told about a girl who
was attacked in her own room. According to a friend, a man forced entry to the house at night after visiting earlier that day to make sure that it was inhabited only by girls. The echoes of the sexual assault at the University of Glamorgan last year still linger in a few people’s memories, and that was in halls of residence. Are we really safe anywhere? If we all follow this line of thought we could end up living in isolated fortresses with triple security teams, alarm systems and a pack of hounds ready to frighten away intruders. Though we must be mindful of safety, we cannot allow it to govern our lives. Stay aware of your surroundings, walk home via well lit streets and don’t walk alone when you’re drunk. Most of it is common sense, just like the advice our parents and schoolteachers gave us. Take note of it. Listen to that nagging voice inside your head that sounds remarkably like your mother. You never know, simple common sense might even help to keep you unscathed the next time you walk home alone.
A Nobel Pursuit for Man freewords EDITORIAL est.1972
Tomos Clarke Science Editor Over a hundred years ago Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel left his fortune for the advancement of science. This week the Swedish institute for the advancement of science announced the recipient of the 2010 Nobel prizes in science. Physics: When Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, both physicists at the University of Manchester, started messing around with adhesive tape and a pencil they could never have imagined it would lead to a brand new class of materials and the 2010 Nobel Prize in physics. Graphene consists of strips of carbon only one atom thick. Previously regarded as impossible to make, the Manchester group succeeded by using strips of sellotape to rip off progressively thinner layers or graphite from a pencil. Graphene is colourless, stronger than Steel, as good a conductor of electricity as Copper, the best conductor of heat known, as light as Air yet dense enough to prevent Helium from passing through it. However, it is when mixed with other materials that Graphene really shines, it turns plastics into conductors opening all sorts of possibilities for future electronic devices, indeed a South Korean team has already used Graphene to make a touch screen tablet without the rare components usually used in their production. Chemistry: Once upon a time the idea of synthesizing long chain hydrocarbons from smaller organic fragments was seen as a modern day philosophers stone and those who claimed it was possible, were viewed as mavericks. Using highly reactive and dangerous reagents, such as the alkali metal Sodium, it was shown to be possible but not practical. A major step forward came during the 1970’s. Several groups of scientists independently developed Palladium catalysts that could do this in a safe environment and Palladium coupling is now a standard laboratory technique. In layman’s terms the Palladium metal catalyst inserts itself into the carbon molecule and activates it so reagents that would normally be inert can attack it. After a process known as trans-metalation the Palladium then drops out of the bond, generating the new CarbonCarbon bond. This gives synthetic chemists a convenient shortcut to the synthesis of large, complicated, expensive, useful molecules. Their discovery paved the way for a broad range of new materials from medicines to catalysts to plastics. Professors Heck, Suzuki and Negishi have deservedly been awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry. Medicine: In the early 1950s before the structure of DNA had been discovered and the basics of human genetics were unknown, Robert Edwards had a vision of a future where infertility was a thing of the past. Ever since that day Edwards has dedicated his life to IVF research, culminating in this year's Nobel Prize. He oversaw the initial experimental trials on creating test tube babies and made the leap from experimental procedure to clinical practice. The high point of his career must have come in 1978 with the birth of Louise Brown, the world’s first IVF child. This was the beginning of a new era in medicine. To date nearly five million children have been born with the aid of In-Vitro Fertilization therapy and modern research into stem cell therapies owe everything to Professor Edwards pioneering work.
Tomos Clarke Comment
Top: Alfred Nobel, Through his prize his legacy lives on Bottom: Graphene, the next wonder material
The Nobel prizes are a venerable institution and in days gone by have helped scientists make strides forward with their research. But in this day and age are the Nobels the best way to reward scientific excellence? Do they promote new and exciting research in the fields they represent? I don’t think so. When Nobel first envisaged the prize scientists were largely funded by their universities, if they were funded at all. The idea of a cash prize for exceptional work was very appealing as scientists were not by and large wealthy individuals. Today, however scientists work under the auspices of large well funded institutions. Industry provides grants worth trillions of dollars worldwide each year and top scientists are paid very handsomely for their work. This fact removes the need for a financial incentive, as top class research is a financial reward in itself. By the time they win their prize the recipients are well established in their field and handsomely wealthy. They don’t need to scrape around the bottom of the barrel looking for research grants, in fact they are often poached from university to university for the prestige their name will bring. Besides, the work they are rewarded for is often very stale. Take this years winners in chemistry; Heck, Suzuki and Negishi made their breakthroughs in the 1970’s and their work is now the standard method in the field. This year's award for breakthroughs in physics is work 20 years old and indeed the first commercial applications are only a few years away. Many branches of science such as psycology and bioscience are not represented. Its clear the system needs modernizing, Nobel couldnt have envisioned the new branches of science that are only just coming of age. If I were in charge of the Nobel committee (and thankfully I’m not) I would have more categories, with a narrower scope for each and reward more contempory work, rather than commending research that is decades old.
Y Gymraeg - iaith y dosbarth yn unig? Cynan Llwyd Taf-Od Roedd 2001 yn flwyddyn bwysig iawn i’r iaith Gymraeg. Dyma flwyddyn datgelu canlyniadau'r cyfrifiad cenedlaethol a olyga dangos ffigyrau statws bregus yr iaith Gymraeg. Cyn hyn roedd nifer y siaradwyr Cymraeg wedi disgyn yn ofnadwy o isel i 18.7%. Byddai’r ffigyrau newydd hyn yn dangos a oedd gwaith caled sefydliadau fel Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg a gweithredwyr fel Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg
wedi mynd yn ofer. Ond, er mawr orfoledd i Gymru a’i thrigolion, dyma weld cynnydd sylweddol yn nifer y siaradwyr - cynnydd i 20.8%! Roedd brwdfrydedd y Cymry yn amlwg wedi talu’r ffordd. Ond pa mor ddilys yw’r ystadegau yma? A ydynt wirioneddol yn adlewyrchu defnydd yr iaith ym mywydau pob dydd y Cymry? Yr wythnos ddiwethaf, darlledwyd rhaglen gan y BBC yn sôn am ysgolion cyfrwng Cymraeg a’r gwahaniaeth sydd rhyngddynt yn ardal y Fro Gymraeg yng ngogledd Cymru a’r ysgolion yn ardaloedd diwydi-
annol y de. Cafodd 10 ysgol eu dewis i gymryd rhan yn yr holiadur hwn (5 o’r de a 5 o’r gogledd). Dengys y rhaglen hon bod, er gwaith caled ysgolion y de i ysgogi’r disgyblion i siarad yr iaith yn naturiol tu allan i gyfyngiadau'r dosbarth dysgu, nid y Gymraeg oedd ar dafod rhan fwyaf y plant yno. Stori wahanol oedd i ysgolion ar gyrion Caernarfon, sydd dan ymbarél y ‘Fro Gymraeg’, gyda rhan fwyaf o’r plant yno yn cymdeithasu drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg. Braf oedd gweld cyflwynydd y rhaglen, sef ‘The Welsh Knot’, yn datgan
bod nifer helaeth y disgyblion a lenwodd yr holiaduron yn honni: ‘… that the Welsh language will somehow be very useful [to them] in future employment…’ Wrth i fwyfwy o rieni anfon eu plant i ysgolion cyfrwng Cymraeg, mae’n rhoi ffydd y bydd ‘na le i’r Gymraeg yn y dyfodol. Ond pa ots yw medru’r iaith os nad yw hi’n fyw yn y cartref ac ar yr iard - dyma gred sawl Cymro heddiw, mae’n si r. Yn sicr, mae ffigyrau 2001 yn dipyn o hwb, a gyda Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru yn buddsoddi miloedd ar filoedd i mewn i addysg
Gymraeg mae’n rhagweld bod dyfodol i’r Gymraeg ymysg yr ifanc heddiw. Er hyn, ai ond iaith weinyddol bydd y Gymraeg ymhen hanner canrif, felly? Neu a fydd y Cynulliad yn gwireddu ei gweledigaeth o Gymru ddwyieithog? Mae’n amhosib ateb y cwestiynau hyn ar hyn o bryd, ond rhaid bwrw ymlaen i’r dyfodol yn frwdfrydig ac yn optimistaidd gan edrych ymlaen at y canlyniadau da (gobeithio) sydd yn aros ar ein cyfer ym 2011.
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BROADEN YOUR MIND. AND YOUR HORIZONS. AGORWCH EICH MEDDWL. A’CH GORWELION. Just finishing your degree? Chemistry | Cymraeg | Design & Technology | ICT | Mathematics | Physics Would you like to teach at primary or secondary level?
For these subjects above you will receive a Training Grant of £9,000*. A Teaching Grant can also be applied for, after successfully completing the induction year. For those teaching Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics a Teaching Grant of £5,000* is available. For those teaching ICT, Design & Technology and Welsh a Teaching Grant of £2,500* is available.
Why not study for a PGCE and gain Biology | English | Geography | Modern Foreign Languages | Religious Education | Science 11-16 qualified teacher status? For these subjects above you will receive a Training Grant of £6,000* Art & Design | Business Studies | History Train in Wales and you could earn For these subjects above you will receive a Training Grant of £4,000* whilst studying Primary | Primary – Welsh Medium For further information, please contact Laura Aston on 01792 481202/ 01792 482105 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Rhaglen TAR Cynradd Cyfrwng Cymraeg. Am fwy o wybodaeth, cysylltwch â Laura Aston ar 01792 481202/01792 482105 neu e-bost email@example.com * Subject to final confirmation.
IT’S THE DESTINATION
Societies 24 Societies to march in National Demo Bianca London Societies Editor Hundreds of students will march in a demonstration on November 10 to protest against government cuts. The Higher Education sector will suffer cuts of up to 40% under the new coalition government which will have a substantial impact on Universities. Cardiff Students Union faces cuts of up to 40 societies as a result of this devastating news. This week I spoke to Cosimo Montagu, Societies, Events and Activities Officer, to find out about the
upcoming march and how the cuts and tuition fee rises will affect societies. How do you think this news is going to affect societies? With the upcoming proposals outlined by the government, societies face a tough future. In my first Societies Council I ran an exercise whereby I instucted students to knock off 40% of societies from a full list of University societies that I gave them. Obviously this is something that nobody wants to do but cutting so many volunteering and social community based societies is inevitable as a result of the cut. The
cuts themselves, as well as a rise in tuition fees, will have separate but equally devastating effects. What impact will the cuts and fee rises have on University societies? Well, as outlined above, the University has told the Union that if it is to receive a cut in its budget from the government, the Union should expect a similar cut of up to 40%. Not everyone in the Union values societies as much as I believe is necessary so I worry that societies who aren't seen to contribute as much financially to the Union as say, the AU, will potentially be the
first to get cut. This will obviously offer a lot less choice for students and a lot less ability to get involved in amazing community projects that are essential for Cardiff and for student's CVs. In a time when stress levels are going to be very high because of tuition fee increases, I worry that there won't be any groups to provide the essential support and social outlets for so many students in Cardiff University. Also, with increased tuition fees, students will feel under pressure to gain part-time work so won't have time to get involved with societies. David Cameron has told us he
wants us to become a 'big society' but without the time to get involved in societies this idea will be undermined from the start. On November 10 SUs around the country will be sending students to London to protest but it is also important to get involved in all of the campaigning and blogging after the demo. This will help swing majorities in Parliament and make a real difference when they vote on the reforms. To get involved in the demonstration visit www.cardiffboxoffice. com
Monday Nov 8 Economics Society: Pub Golf Social -The Woodville, 7.30pm
Student Scout and Guide Society: Fireworks -19th Scout Hut, 6pm
Tuesday Nov 9 Enterprise and Entrepreneurs Society: Speaker Sessions Event and Social -Nelson Mandela room in SU, 6.30pm
Police Student Initiative: Drop in session -Students Union, 10am
Wednesday Nov 10 Pole Dance Society: Classes -Cathays Community Centre, 11.45am
Rock Foundation: Weekly Meeting -Nelson Mandela Room, SU, 7pm
Thursday Nov 11 Above: Students march in the National Demo in 2009
KOP'ing long way Samantha West Reporter KOP society spent the day on the union steps racking up the miles on exercise bikes in an attempt to raise awareness of a 435km bike ride which is taking place in Kenya in November. On Saturday October 30 Cardiff ’s ‘Kenyan Orphan Project’ (KOP) group took to their exercise bikes and rode a staggering 435km. Members strove to spread their message by not only staging their bike ride outside the Student Union but also cycling round the city with charity buckets. KOP took part in the nationwide event to raise awareness and money for ‘Making Tracks’ one of the many projects KOP supports in the Kisumu area. It is hoped that the money raised will help improve the physical
condition and cognitive ability of the local children who would otherwise have little or no chance in life. ‘Making Tracks’ is one of the many projects that aims to improve the wellbeing of Kenyan children and will take place this month. 50 riders will be cycling from Nairobi to Kisumu as part of KOP’s global fundraising programme. The 435km cycled by Cardiff ’s members is in honour of the amazing feat of determination that will take place during this charity event. The day was a success raising a fantastic £263.42 for their cause, ensuring that aid will continue to be given to those who most need it in the Kisumu area. KOP will continue to raise money and awareness for their cause and are very grateful to those who turned up in support of the 435km bike ride.
AIESEC: Work or Volunteer Abroad Information Session -Nelson Mandela Room 4th Floor Student Union, 6.30pm Fforwm : Experimental Theatre Society: Theatre workshop -Milgi Lounge, 7-9pm
Law Society: Comedy Club Social Fashion Society: Ann Summers Party Common room of the cai, 8pm
Friday Nov 12 Chaos: "Observing Night" -Meet outside union, 5pm
Saturday Nov 13 Rock Foundation: Party Jamz -Cardiff Bay, 7pm
Sunday Nov 13 Pole Dancing Society: Drop In -Cathays Community Centre, 8pm
To feature an event or article email societies @gairrhydd.com
If you would like to join a Society, or see a full list of opportunities, visit: http://groups.cardiffstudents.com/societies/home
25 Wednesday Thursday
THE LASH, Solus, £3.50, 9.30pm 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.
LIVE MUSIC, The Taf, FREE, 8pm Pretty much what it says on the tin really. Live music. In the Taf. They had a pretty good line-up last week, so expect great things from this night.
FUN FACT TREE, Solus, FREE, 9pm Fun Factory is an institution among Cardiff students and therefore you simply must check it out. Playing the very best in alternative music, and with various cheap drinks promotions, you're sure to have the best night of the week here - and I'm not even biased. It's a staple. Free entry and super cheap drinks are a perfect way to enjoy yourself while keeping an eye on the purse-strings. 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 perform in the Rock Room, with 50s and 60s garage rock in the bar. AN EVENING WITH NEIL HANNON: THE DIVINE COMEDY, The Gate Arts Centre, £17, TBC Apparently these guys wrote the theme tune to Father Ted. Their website claims that the band have since gone from strength to strength and are now well known for their 'superb indie/folk tinged pop songs'. To me, this is a complete contradiction, but still...
JUST DANCE, Clwb, £3, 10pm 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...cheap entry, cheap drinks prices and great, GREAT tunes.
COMEDY CLUB, CF10, 8pm It's Tuesday night, and what could be better than getting together with some friends and watching live comedy? Comedy Club selects the finest young talent on the comedy circuit and brings them directly to your union for a stupidly cheap ticket price. TOP SHELF JAZZ, Sandringham Hotel, £4, 7.30pm Top Shelf Jazz are a four-piece hot swing jazz outfit. Bringing you their anarchic, original songs full of filth and lechery, Top Shelf Jazz are sure to get you going with their deliciously filthy swing. This band is, without doubt, my own personal favourite and I will almost certainly be there tonight!
LISTEN UP, Clwb, £3, 9pm 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 among 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 at the moment including the amazing The Social Network and Mr. Nice. Have a chilled out night. JAZZ AT DEMPSEYS, Dempseys, £5, 9pm Music ranges from piano or guitar trio, saxophone or trumpet quartet, quartet with vocals to big band. Hear jazz standards made famous by the likes of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, as well as original tunes.
BOOMBOX, Solus £3, 10pm Playing an eclectic mix of electro, funk, drum 'n' bass, hip hop, dubstep and breaks with a turntablist twist. Featuring dance classics, chart remixes and old school classics. Expect to hear Pendulum, Calvin Harris, Dr Dre, David Guetta, Major Lazor, A Skillz, High Contrast, Prodigy and much more. To be fair, it's the cheapest Friday night this side of the bridge, fulfilling all your student needs and perfect for bringing those visiting mates too. Go ahead kids, BOOM YOUR BOX. ELLIE GOULDING, Great Hall, £15, 7pm Oh Ellie. Sweet, sweet Ellie. With all your beauty and emotional vacuousness. LCD SOUNDSYSTEM AND HOT CHIP, CIA, £24, 7pm gair rhydd consensus: apparently Hot Chip are incredible live. And who can forget LCD Soundsystem's iconic 'Daft Punk is playing in my house. In my house' song? To be fair, LCD Soundsystem is pretty massive, and he's coming HERE, to our fair city. Who can turn down the opportunity?
COME PLAY, Solus, £3, 10pm 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? RYLAND TEIFI, RUSTY SHACKLE, NOS SADWRN BACH, Clwb, £7, 8pm Apparently this is an acoustic, folk night. If you don't know anything about the above bands (or how to read their names) here's some information for you: Ryland Teifi has one of the most extrordinary voices on the planet. He draws you in, and before you know it you're hooked. This is according to BBC Radio Wales. Rusty Shackle draws influences from bluegrass, folk, celtic and old time Blues. They have a banjo - what more do I need to say? The Myspace page for Nos Sadwrn Bach is rather less descriptive, so I can't tell you anything about them. But, the chances are, they'll be good and 'folksy'.
HAVE A SUNDAY ROAST The Taf does 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 or stave off the end of the weekend blues. 10 FEET TALL SUNDAY SOCIAL, 10 Feet Tall, FREE, 8pm A brand new night featuring Greg Ramshackle and Steve French, whoever the hell they are. However, if you have nothing better to do on a Sunday night and fancy heading out for two-for-one cocktails, perhaps give this a go. MOSTLY AUTUMN, The Globe, £7, 7.30pm Fancy a bit of celtic rock on a Sunday evening? If so, this is the thing for you. And please let me know what this celtic rock thing is about... KIDS IN GLASS HOUSES, Great Hall, £13, 7pm The general consensus in Media HQ is that this band is a little bit shit. But our opinion doesn't really count for anything, does it?
BOUNCE, Walkabout, £4, 9pm If you really, honestly, have nothing better to do... actually, no, even that isn't a valid excuse. No reason for going to Walkabout is acceptable in my eyes. Okay, so perhaps you have to go once in your university career, but I know that the debauchery and filth will put you off going again, if you have any personal morals, that is. C.Y.N.T, Clwb, £4, 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 drum 'n' bass. Advance queue-jump tickets from c-y-n-t.com. This is the only legitimate thing to do on your Thursday night.
Venues Students’ Union, Park Place, 02920 814456 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 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 ◆
gairrhydd | LETTERS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY SEPTEMBER 14 2009
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Is NFL launching American colonisation? Matthew Grey watched another Wembley experiment...
pectacle and pagentry. It could only be an American import. Since 2007, Wembley Stadium has played host to a regular season game of NFL. Only from witnessing the event first-hand can one truly appreciate the game in all of its over-thetop all-American glory. Swigging Gatorade midst the hustle-bustle of the Saturday afternoon Fan Rally enjoying the Yankfest. This was followed by the Sunday afternoon pre-game Tailgate Party. But the game (Denver Broncos versus San Francisco 49ers) seemed to take a back-seat in conversation, next to the talk of a permanent NFL franchise in London. NFL first took the road to Mexico City in 2005, but now seems to have its sights set for London; may international expansion be on the horizon? "There’s nothing wrong with that idea and that vision," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, ahead of the fourth international series match in London. "I think the idea of a franchise here is realistic." Goodell also discussed spreading the game across mainland Europe but made it clear that it wouldn’t happen overnight: "clearly we would love to bring football [NFL] to more people and we know there's a tremendous fanbase over here," said Goodell, "I think the next step will be multiple games in the same season. "I'm not concerned about doing it with any sort of a time frame," said Goodell, "but we'll do this as quickly as is practical." It’s clear from the yearly sell-out Wembley match - the first game in 2007 sold 40,000 tickets in 90 minutes - that there is a fan base for American Football here in the UK. However, would fans dump their current team to support a new one based in London? Do Manhattan's soccer [sic] fans prefer Manchester United or the New York Red Bulls? More importantly, would people new to the sport really take to a team of Yanks with no home-grown talent to root for? More realistically, would 90,000 Wembley seats get filled for eight home games a season, especially if
Pomp and Circumstance, but not as we know it: could American razzmatazz sustain a permanent home in London? the team happens to have lost 12 games on the trot? Having hosted Ryder Cups, Cricket and Rugby World cups (and soon the Olympics and Commonwealth Games!), Britain, home of the Premier League, has every capability of staging the very best of world sport. The NFL are very aware of this, and you cannot doubt the Commissioner looked out over a packed Wembley, his mind whirring with a myriad of possibilities for the international future of the sport.
Comment Alex Winter Sports Editor
What a terrible spectacle for the NFL. That was the general consensus after three-quarters of the fourth edition of the NFL experiment at Wembley - for those who hadn't already switched to Countryfile on BBC One. The sight of Matt Baker roaming around the British countryside was far more appealing than Troy Smith roaming around, and digging up, the Wembley turf. The San Francisco back-up quarterback eventually found his range
with seven minutes left on the clock. His 28-yard play was the highlight of a miserable 196-yard game. It did liven up, but this was a contest between two poor teams. With a quarter to go in the previous rounds' matches, Denver simply gave up. San Francisco may squeeze into the playoffs but only by winning a poor NFC West. It was not the contest to whet Britain's appetite for a permanent NFL franchise in London. What an outrageous idea anyway. Ninety thousand fans may turn out for a one-off showcase of a different culture but there are not enough people to sustain a fran-
chise in Britain: everyone would like a Malaysian holiday but no-one wants to live there. Americans would surely not vote for it either. Why would they want any share of the $8 billion annual revenue to leak over the Atlantic? Another grand idea is to export the richest sporting event in the world. The economic benefit to South Florida from last season's Super Bowl in Miami was $353 million. Why would anyone wish to deny their own people such benefits? America never had an empire but now they are forging a path to sporting colonisation. A complete ego trip.
The wildlife is quite amazing. A safari gives you the chance to see these animals in their natural habitat. Certainly better than the badgers and foxes we have to offer in Britain.
Monday November 08 2010 • gair rhydd • email@example.com
Worst of Friends, Best Of Enemies Jamie Evans previews David Haye's Heavyweight title defence against Audley Harrison
aturday November 13. will see the M.E.N arena in Manchester host the coming together of two of the most enigmatic British boxers to ever have stepped into the ring. Defending WBA Heavyweight world champion David “The Hayemaker” Haye takes on the current European Heavyweight champion, Audley "A-Force" Harrison, more widely known as "Fraudley." The fight, which has aptly been named as the “Best of Enemies,” promises to be an enticing and electrifying bout. So why exactly has Haye, seen as the saviour of British boxing and the most colourful character in the heavyweight division, decided to take on a man whose career looked close to tatters a few years ago? “The Hayemaker” claims that fans' requests for him to retire have prompted Harrison to make sure the fight happens as opposed to setting up a duel with either of the two Klitschko brothers. He has vowed to “close the curtain on the joke that is the Audley Harrison show,” by comprehensively beating him in Manchester. Harrison on the other hand, whose entire boxing career has come under scrutiny, intends to silence the doubters once and for all by winning the Battle of Britain and thus becoming heavyweight champion of the world. The fight gives Harrison the chance to fulfill the promise he had shown when he became the Olympic champion in Sydney in 2000. This contest is seen as an under-bill for the Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito fight, which takes place later on the same night at the Texas Cowboys stadium. Though with that fight expected to result in an easy victory for Pacquiao, this British blockbuster could very well steal the show. There is no love lost between Haye and Harrison, two former friends and sparring partners. Pre fight, the pair have exchanged insults, with Haye even going as far as to tell Harrison that the fight would be, “as one sided as gang rape.” Haye has recently refused to apologise for these extraordinary remarks. This one-sided prediction in favour of the extremely arrogant Haye has seen underdog Harrison become an unlikely fan favourite. Indeed Harrison has been publically scathing of Haye's arrogance saying, "David Haye's ego is way out of control, like mine was back in the day. I've got compassion for David Haye but he's going to get schooled in the art of boxing." Haye's comments suggest that Harrison may well be getting under his skin. Harrison on the other hand, has seemed in a reflective, pre-fight mood. He told reporters: "I definitely lost the passion at times
in my career, with all the stuff I had to put up with out of the ring, but I never ever lost the belief that one day Audley Harrison would be heavyweight champion of the world." The fight is the first all British fight since Lennox Lewis famously saw off the challenge of Frank Bruno in 1993 and this fight has all the makings of being as spectacular. Rumours stemming from the Haye camp have suggested that he was knocked down by his sparring partner Tony Thompson whilst in training for the fight. Haye denies this but Harrison is using this as an easy comeback: “if Tony Thompson is knocking you down, what the hell am I going to do to you?” This event has certainly caused an added sense of excitement to the fight. Haye is at his peak as a professional in the Heavyweight echelon of the boxing world. After a hugely successful period as undisputed Cruiser Weight champion, 30-yearold Haye moved up a division when he beat Monty Barrett in 2008. Haye then conquered Goliath by defeating Nikolai Valuev on points to become WBA Heavyweight Champion of the world. Earlier this year Haye defended his title against former two-time champion John Ruiz. Haye goes into this fight with seemingly everything to lose and nothing to gain. Beating Harrison would not convince anyone that he is ready to take on the Klitschko brothers. A loss would simply be an em-
Above: David Haye and Audley Harrison stare each other out during a pre fight press conference
Haye has vowed to close the curtain on the joke that is Audley Harrison
barrassment to the big talking, big punching man from Burmondsey in South London So for him to have agreed to this bout seems strange compared to a a more realistic fight against more competitive opposition such as American Eddie Chambers or Russian Alexander Povetkin. Harrison, on the other hand, is 39 years of age and probably on the verge of his final career fight. Since turning professional in 2001, the 6”5 southpaw's career has been extremely controversial. After winning the gold medal in Sydney, Harrison was touted as the answer to the next Lennox Lewis and went on to win most of his fights. Arguably though, Harrison seemed to dodge the high profile bouts, especially when he avoided facing Michael Sprott for the British title in 2004. Harrison then went through a period without success, losing to his bitter rival Danny Williams and being convincingly knocked out by Michael Sprott. However, after winning the Prizefighter tournament in 2009 and turning the tables by knocking out Sprott the confidence has since returned. This has all the makings of a classic fight and despite Haye being overwhelmingly popular with the bookies some expert pundits still give him a chance. "You've got two guys who have proved in the ring they can knock people out so the first person that makes a mistake could be out of
there,” said Steve Bunce. “I don't think Audley will win but he's got a shot. This is not the mismatch that some are making it out to be," he continued. Harrison's camp are also understandably confident and believe that the Olympic Champion has turned a corner. Harrison's trainer Shadeed Suluki claims his fighter is ready after his training camp in the hills of California."He's matured, he knows where he went wrong and he's corrected that," said the American. "You see a different Audley now, even in training," continued Suluki. "He usually likes to run things but tables seem to have turned for this camp when he asked 'what do you want me to do? I'll do it'". "You can see and hear the sincerity. When a man comes to you and says 'I was wrong, I apologise, I'm not like that now', your heart has to give in. You've got to give them a chance, and the British public are giving him a second chance." Whether the talented “Hayemaker” can rule the roost and “embarrass” Harrison remains to be seen. To say that the fight will result in an easy victory for Haye is too simplistic. Though a tough call, I think Haye will win by knockout in the fifth. His power was too much for Valuev and Ruiz and although Harrison has had an excellent preparation I fear he may be on the end of something similar on Saturday night.
Monday November 08 2010 • gair rhydd • firstname.lastname@example.org
Your Mum celebrates inaugral IMG victory Kevin Goodwin IMG Football Your Mum AFC 5 - 2 Myg Myg Your Mum's Athletic FC claimed their inaugral IMG win with a comfortable 5-2 victory over Myg Myg in Group 3. After a 9-1 stuffing from AFC History on Sunday, Your Mum notched up the points in the drizzle at Pontcanna. Matthew Lelli's early strike settled Athletic's nerves before Ben Melhuish doubled the advantage with a 20 yard shot rolling over the line by the Myg Myg 'keeper. However, Myg Myg responded well to the early setback and netted their opener after some fine work down the left-wing which saw their striker pass in front of the Athletic defence to head past Bilal. However, Athletic went into halftime with a two goal advantage when Lelli's free-kick was deflected past the goalie.
In the second-period, both sides made a number of changes, with Athletic picking up where they left off by scoring an additional fourth goal. Kevin Goodwin's weighted through ball allowed Melhuish to race through and sweetly strike leftfooted at the near-post. Daniel Bennett then headed home after a Goodwin corner before Myg Myg scored a late consolation with a fine lobbed effort beating Bilal. Myg Myg had a late chance to grab another goal when they were awarded a debatable penalty for handball, but Athletic's shot-stopper Bilal came up trumps making a strong diving save. With a break of 11 days until the next IMG fixture for Your Mum, they can take solace from picking up their first points of the season and will hope to push on from here, assuring the league that they are much more than a team who are just there to 'make up the numbers'.
Opus 11 dance to Economics' tune James Lyons IMG Football Economics FC 12 - 1 Opus 11 Economics FC began their campaign strongly with a flurry of goals against IMG new boys Opus 11. The tone was set early by Econ with pressure building from a series of early corners culminating in a powerful finish by Economics’ front man Adam Ganon. It was only moments later that Ganon again swept into Opus’s box, only to be cut down just inside the area, leaving the referee no choice but to award a penalty which was dispatched into the bottom corner by Sam Pritchard. Pritchard added to his tally swiftly after the restart with a trademark finish to make the score 3-0 in quick time. As the first half raced by, Opus began to share some of the possession before once again an intuitive move from the Econ midfield resulted in the second penalty of the game, finished by Ganon to make it 4-0. With two players on track for hat-tricks, Econ were caught out by a counter-attack resulting in Opus’ game peak: a cool finish into the bottom corner to make it 4-1 at half time. This setback only served to fuel the Econ’s fire, and with a change
from 4-5-1 to 4-4-2 a much more open second half ensued. With Pritchard orchestrating play in midfield, he proceeded to pick up his hat-trick moments after Ganon had used his strength to do the same. With the score at 6-1 and the game all but over Econ proceeded to pick up six more goals in the second half. Pritchard picked up his fourth and fifth of the game, whilst Coelho chipped in with two, both AdamsKing and Wallace finishing the game off, leaving the final score 12-1. Hopefully Opus will be able to scale up the performance for their next opponents.
Not so sub-Standard Morgan Applegarth IMG Football New to IMG last year, Sub-Standard Liege have got their 2010/11 campaign off to a strong start. Following a successful pre-season, which saw Liege lose all but one of their four games, the side headed into their opening Group B game full of confidence. Facing IMG new boys CHAOS in their first game of the new season, Liege soon settled into a rhythm, attacking the CHAOS goal frequently throughout the opening stages. Despite lacking defensive cohesion, CHAOS caused problems for the Liege defence in a bid to exploit stand-in goalkeeper Peter Andrews. With both defences receiving their fair share of pressure, it was only a matter of time until a goal was scored in the game. Liege drew first blood, with Ben Pearson slotting home from close range. It was clear that the goal took the wind out of the CHAOS sail, as from then on, the new side's defence certainly lived up to their name. Liege took a 7-0 lead into halftime, leaving little hope for the opposition to claw any sort of result back from the game. Fired up after receiving a thrashing in the first half, CHAOS turned up the heat on what was possibly a complacent Liege side.
Consequently, a defensive lapse caught Liege off-guard, resulting in Liege’s goalkeeper bringing down a CHAOS forward just outside the penalty box. With no teammates in sight to cover and as the last man, the Liege keeper was subsequently given his marching orders. Stunned that such a dominant first half display faced being tarnished, Liege began to increase momentum in the second period that, up until the dismissal, was evenly balanced. Liege went on to net two more goals, finishing the game as impressive nine nil victors, sending a message to their Group B counterparts. Ben Pearson finished the match with a magnificent seven goal haul. After their morale-boosting performance, Liege’s second game saw them face a much sterner test against another team new to IMG football, Fenerbache. The early stages of the game proved to be evenly balanced, with both midfields neutralising one another. However, Liege’s perseverance paid off after a swift move down the left wing led to the game’s opening goal. A low, driven cross into the penalty area saw Liege midfielder Andy Paramore coolly pass the ball into the lower corner of the Fenerbache goal. Despite falling behind, Fener-
bache applied pressure onto Liege, throwing themselves forward in an attempt to tie the game just before half-time. Liege started the second-half with a bang, passing the ball with composure and conviction. On the hour mark, Sub-Standard earned themselves a corner which saw them double their lead; George Salmon finished at the front post. A somewhat flattering scoreline failed to mirror the performance of Fenerbache, whose downfall during the game was perhaps their lack of a ruthless offensive in front of goal. Sub-Standard lost their mindset and resulted to some sloppy passing. Retaining possession proved to be a hard task, as Fenerbache’s off the ball movement tested the Liege players. Gaining possession, Fenerbache soon got their reward. Conceding a sloppy free kick on the halfway line, Liege were caught out by a long ball over the top of the defence, leading to Fenerbache to half their deficit. The two teams traded blows in the latter stages of the half, though Sub-Standard's superior fitness seemed to pay off as Owen Aron rounded off a 3-1 win with a far post finish. Sub-Standard are now looking forward to continuing their bright start throughout the rest of the tournament.
NFL London << Inside
Photo: Anne Wagner
Ladies Rugby secure impressive victory Cardiff get their Premiership campaign off to a strong start against Chichester Blanche Lumb Ladies Rugby Cardiff Ladies 33 - 7 Chichester Cardiff Ladies Rugby started their Premiership campaign this Wednesday with a home match against Chichester 1sts. The game couldn’t have got off to a better start for Cardiff. Having won the toss Chichester elected to kick off putting the ball straight into the hands of Cardiff number eight, Rosie Hutton. Hutton took the ball to the Chichester defence and remained strong in the tackle setting the ball perfectly for a solid ruck that obviously frustrated the Chichester forwards, who gave away a soft penalty for coming in
at the side. Intelligent rugby from scrum half Meg Tudor saw her take a tappenalty and exploit a hole in the Chichester defence. Good support from flanker Claire Molloy allowed a quick offload leading to Cardiff ’s first try of the game after two minutes. The try was converted by Molloy to put Cardiff 7-0 up. Cardiff continued to take control of the game from the restart and powerful rucking from outside centre Sally Tuson led to a turnover which was quickly shipped wide to bring Cardiff back to the opposition’s 22. Sustained pressure from the forwards allowed hooker Emily Baird to crash over for the second try.
The second half wasn’t such a dream start for Cardiff with messy play due to the weather conditions and some miscommunication, leading to a soft try for the Chichester scrum half which was then converted.
Preview Can the Hayemaker do it again? << Inside
Not letting this get them down, strong scrummaging from the Cardiff pack continued to put the Chichester team under stress.
A poor pass to the Chichester fly half off a scrum and pressure from open side flanker Molloy led to a fumble which Molloy capitalised on chipping the ball through. The covering player also fumbled and a quick tackle and jackal by Molloy set the ball for Tudor to pick and go. Molloy was in support again and another perfect offload from Tudor put her over for her second try, which was then converted. Cardiff continued their impressive defensive display with all the girls putting in solid tackles with wing Tazine Bogue being particularly strong under the high ball. Chichester continued to be put under strain and after numerous infringements at the breakdown another player was sent to the bin.
Tudor again punished them for giving away penalties by taking a quick tap from a penalty on the 22 and pushing over for a try of her own. Despite being comfortably in the lead the girls continued to play attacking rugby and another quick penalty saw a crash ball from full back Blanche Lumb get close to the line. Good forward support provided quick ball to the backs which put Leila Hughes in forthe final try of the game. Cardiff couldn’t have asked for a better start to their first year in the premiership and there are a lot of positives for them to take on to next week’s cup game against Durham.
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