y t i v i t a e Cr Free inside
A showcase of Cardiff Students’ Photos, Art and Words
gair rhydd Monday December 06 2010 | freeword – Est. 1972 | Issue 939
Summer event gets revamped Morgan Applegarth News Editor
Tickets can be bought from the Student’s Union Box Office.
Review of the year with The National Leonardo Di Caprio Gorillaz Tom Hanks Arcade Fire The Black Keys Photo: Hannah Jones
gair rhydd can exclusively reveal new plans for an End of Summer Term celebration. The plans, decided and organised by Cardiff Students’ Union, involve three separate events to coincide with end of term celebrations. gair rhydd can reveal the events to be a May Ball, a “Big Summer House Party” hosted by Drink The Bar Dry and an ‘exclusive VIP area’ at Beach Break Live 2011. New plans come after the Board of Trustees for the Students’ Union made the decision to cancel the annual Cooper’s Field Summer Ball after incurring record losses of nearly £59,000 last year. The first event, scheduled for Sunday May 15, is a May Ball that will unite the University’s Main Building and the Students’ Union in what has been described as ‘a massive, all-building event.’ The May Ball will feature fairground rides, live music, cocktail bars, and a custom built casino. A Students’ Union spokesperson said: “The May Ball is going to be like nothing you’ve seen before. This won’t be the Students’ Union as [the students] know it.” The second event will see the ever-popular end of term Drink The Bar Dry be transformed into a “Big Summer House Party.” Keeping its usual features of a breakfast and drinks reception, the “Big Summer House Party” will see the Students’ Union open its first-ever beer garden, putting on barbecues and outdoor live music. Other attractions are set to include bouncy castles and paddling pools. “We’ll be expanding the use of lots of space…the building will be fitted out like a house party with kitchens, dining rooms, living rooms, bathrooms and bedrooms. “At the end of the night we’ll wash away all the mess with the largest foam cannon the Union has ever seen,” revealed the spokesperson. Commenting on the “Big Sum-
mer House Party” Finance and Commercial Officer Darryl Light revealed: “This promises to be one of our most ambitious projects yet.” To top off the trilogy of events, Cardiff University will be hosting an exclusive VIP area at next year’s Beach Break Live. At the four-day, four-night music festival, that attracts a said 20,000 attendees, the Cardiff University VIP area will provide students with catering outlets, a private bar and a place where students and their guests can “chill out.” Beach Break Live founder Celia Norowzian spoke on the deal, stating: “Cardiff University students have always been an important part of the festival, so we’re incredibly excited that the Union have made Beach Break an official part of its student entertainment calendar.” Four thousand tickets for the May Ball are due to go on sale on Monday December 6, a figure that sees a drop of up to 2,000 tickets when compared to previous years. “This event is going to take the concept of the end of year ball to a whole new standard,” announced the Union spokesperson. Tickets for each event are priced separately, however students can purchase a one-off “Beat the VAT” package deal that will include entry to the Drink The Bar Dry event and the exclusive Cardiff University VIP area at Beach Break Live. “I’m really excited by the package we have put together for students. We have managed to retain a formal end of year event in the shape of the new May Ball, while including a new link up with Beach Break Live to enhance the experience for the thousands of our students that attend each year,” said Darryl. He continued: “The “Beat the VAT” campaign is us trying to get students the best deal possible…so get your ticket now for what promises to be a new and exciting end to your academic year.”
Joining the party
The Cardiff Carnival Against the Cuts << News page 4
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 FEATURES Zoe Bridger Laura Brunt OPINION Holly Howe Chris Williams POLITICS James Dunn Oliver Smith COLUMNIST Henry Burton
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Occupation guidelines issued Pippa Lewis News Editor Cardiff Student Council has outlined official occupation guidelines and support in response to last week’s occupation of the Shandon Lecture Theatre by protesters. Acknowledging that students led and took part in a demonstration drawing over 400 students and lecturers, and a peaceful and non-violent occupation at Cardiff University on November 24, the Council felt that any students within any peaceful occupation should have the support of Student Council. The Council pledged to acknowledge non-violent action, including occupation outside official channels as a useful and viable tool in campaigning for the interests of students and furthermore outlined guidelines on the support that it could provide in future occupations. The Student Council and the Students’ Union agreed to fight for access to adequate toilet facilities during the occupation and for the provision of food and water to be made available. Additionally, access to prescriptions for handicapable students and
Above: Cardiff Students occupy the Shandon Lecutre theatre. Photo: Matthew Aslett from the site of occupation, those allowance to leave and return to re- that inline with the current conceive any treatment needed would stitution and Student’s Union reg- responsible will be held to account. Occupations should additionally be strived for and physically and istered charity status that it could respect educational rights of other mentally impaired students are to not support any party-affiliated acbe accommodated in any possible tion and outside interference from students and not impact on scheduled teaching. external political bodies will be capacity. Cardiff Students’ Union did howThe Students’ Union will also discouraged however this will be ever reserve the right to withdraw fight for no victimisation of those interpreted at the time at the discresupport for the protest if any of the tion of the Elected Officers. taking part in peaceful protest. If anything is removed or broken regulations were broken. The Council did however decide
SOCIETIES Bianca London LISTINGS Sarah Powell SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Tom Clarke Jack Parker SPORT Alex Bywater Lucy Morgan Alex Winter CONTRIBUTORS Emily Cotterill Hannah Fillingham Jo Greet Alex Calvin Kieran McCann Luke Slade Phil Mc Nally David Lewis Nic Yiend Clem Cooper Carl Noyce Philip Kenny Chris Andrews Harry Hunt Mark Jordan Nathanial Smith Jamie Evans Rebecca Ingram Benji Lamb Bianca London PROOFREADERS Amy Harding Emmar Hiller Yaz Lawgley Stephanie Pugh Richard Herliny
Gender neutral toilets passed Cardiff Student Council gives unisex toilets the go ahead Chris Andrews Reporter Cardiff Students’ Union will install gender neutral toilets following a mandate from Student Council. The motion, which was sent to Student Council on Tuesday November 30, outlined plans to modify existing toilets in the Students’ Union and explained the reasons behind the suggestion. Mark Anderson, Head of the LGBT+ Association and the motion proposer, told the council: “To install gender neutral toilets into the Students’ Union was my single greatest aim for the trans agenda this year, recognised as one of the key aims from the National Union of Students' LGBT UK-wide. “Trans students for far too long have been under-represented and discriminated against in the Students' Union, first and foremost by its single gendered toilets. Student Union’s around the UK have successfully installed gender neutral
toilets and trans students no longer feel unwelcome and can enjoy their student experience more in their Union.” Gender neutral toilets are facilities which do not have single gendered signage and thus do not require users to clarify gender. This follows the model of Unisex toilets, which can be used by both male and female. The motive for installing such facilities is explained in the motion: “Some students whether they identify as LGBT+ or not do not want to use single gender toilets, out of fear of discrimination; leading to feeling unwelcome and uncomfortable in their own union.” Although it is not currently known which toilets will be converted to gender neutral toilets, suggestions were put to Student Council to modify existing toilets on the third floor or inside CF10. The motion stresses that the modified facilities will not affect toilet provision for other students: “This motion recognises that we should
not abolish all the existing singlegendered toilets as it might upset other students who, for privacy reasons, religion or safety would prefer things to remain as they are.” When questioned about which students would use the modified facilities, Mark Anderson responded: “Although this may be a trans agenda, many students, trans or not, do not conform to gender stereotypes and some students might define between genders, be pre-transition, or have an ambiguous physical appearance for whatever reason. “So a lot of students may choose to use the gender neutral toilets whether they identify as LGBT+ or not, without fear of discrimination, bullying or even violence.” It is not yet known when the gender neutral facilities will be introduced, but as a result of the Student Council mandate a separate committee has been set up to plan and manage toilet accessibility and signposting around the Students’ Union.
King Louis do it again Miranda Atty News Editor Cardiff University’s student band King Louis Collective have made it into the Battle of the Bands final. King Louis collective will be up against two other bands: Article Theves and Summer's Gone, and will play in the student Benas final on December 18 in London. King Louis Collective received the second highest number of votes on student website studentbeans.com, securing their place in the national final. Singer Chloe Clarke said: “I feel brilliant. A big thank you to everyone who voted, it really means a lot.” Jake Larsson also commented: “The competition is make or break really, if we win it could affect the prospects of the band staying together after university."
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Cuts to library resources Miranda Atty News Editor Cardiff University has made a number of cuts to its University Library Services. The academic year 2009/10 saw a 30% reduction in expenditure on books, highlighting a continued decline in the Information Resources (IR) budget for the library. The total budget for the 2010/11 year includes a 0.6% increase in cash terms when compared to the previous year. However, due to the fact that inflation has risen by approximately 6%, the cash flow available for textbooks, journals and research resources has actually been significantly reduced. Budget constraints have seen significant cancellations to journals and bibliographic databases. The journal cancellations for the academic year 2010/11 are currently worth £155, 000. The academic schools that have been affected the most are Social Sciences, Science and Medicine, mainly as a result of the higher purchasing cost of journals for these schools than for the Humanities. Bibliographic databases have also been cancelled over the past few years, in areas including Chemistry, Pharmacy, Literature, Law, Engineering and Social Sciences. Concerns have been raised by a number of schools about the impact these cancellations will have on research capabilities. A staff member from the School of City Planning commented: “Journals are essential for research and electronic availability nowadays is almost as essential as availability itself.” A high proportion of schools have also announced that they are reducing the purchase of research monographs. Funds for research are being reallocated, as the Bioscience School are spending their reduced funds mainly on textbooks.
The Computer Science School have also cancelled a major research monograph series, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, commenting that this ‘will have an impact on
search aspirations.” Budget cuts have led to some Schools supplementing the IR budget with their own financial contributions.
part-time students, who may only be on campus infrequently. One Literature student noted: “The resources available in the library are limited, they haven’t got
both researchers and on Final year undergraduates who need this resource for their research projects.’ A staff member from the School of Physics stated: “The accessibility of journals is very important for research. “It seems almost unimaginable to me that we could claim to be a quality physics department but not have access to Physical Review Letters.” Bioscience staff also said: “This is a benchmark issue; the collection is not appropriate to the school’s re-
For 2010/11, monetary assistance from schools stands at around £233,000. Cardiff Business School has reportedly supplemented their IR allocation to the extent that they are buying copies of key textbooks for their students, as well as purchasing electronic resources. Lack of funds has meant that some librarians have also had to reduce the number of multiple key texts ordered, and place more copies on short loan. However, this is difficult for some
enough books on certain things, they have an amazing variety but there is limited amount of set texts, so I’ve spent hundreds of pounds on books.” A Social Sciences student commented: “There are not enough books in the library. Having one copy of a book that over 50 students need is not acceptable.” Cardiff University’s overall spend on information resources per student currently stands at £162. This is much lower than the overall spend by other Russell Group re-
search universities. The average spent is £235 per student, though this does include Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial, institutions which spend significantly more on information resources. The mean for the other research libraries in the Russell Group is £209, an average spend of £47 more per student than Cardiff University. Total journal subscriptions for Cardiff is over 16,000 contrasting with over 18,000 subscriptions for other research libraries. Cardiff also has a much lower number of books in stock per student, currently 59, compared with around 152 for the other Russell Group universities. Academic and University Affairs Officer Sarah Ingram said: "Cardiff University holds itself out to be a world leading, research-led University and yet they think it is acceptable that students cannot access key databases, journals or books for their studies. “This is both disappointing and worrying for students: Cardiff knows they spend less on library resources than many other competitor universities and think it is adequate because the National Student Survey records that the majority of final year students are positive about the 'library resources and services' even when every year there are decreases in the scores of some schools. “The fact that some lecturers are having to donate copies of their core module textbooks to libraries, shows that the situation is already dire, at a level that will never be recognised by students who do not know the length that staff are having to go to and who are unable to compare their libraries with those in other universities." If anyone has any comments on their experience of Cardiff University’s libraries, they are encouraged to contact Academic and Universities Affairs Officer Sarah Ingram on AcademicOfficer@cardiff.ac.uk.
Campaign for mental wealth Miranda Atty News Editor On December 29 and 30 the Cardiff Mental Wealth Society ran their first campaign of the year in the Kitchen and the Humanities building. The campaign was themed around the question “What Do You Do for Yours?” and aimed to both raise awareness of the importance of mental health and encourage students to consider how they maintain a healthy mental wellbeing. Students contributed to the campaign by writing suggestions on post-it notes regarding what they do for their own mental wellbeing, which were stuck to whiteboards,
creating a collage of ideas. Some ideas expressed by students included “Putting hats on my dog”, “Hummus and Chardonnay”, as well as more popular suggestions such as exercise, listening to music, and talking to friends. Everyone who took part over the two days will be entered into a prize draw with the chance to win a pair of union gig tickets, and the society also raised £50 from a cake sale in Humanities. Over 200 students contributed to the suggestions board with many engaging with volunteers about mental health at university.
Above: Members of the Mental Wealth Society pose with their collage of ideas
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Cardiff students hold cuts carnival Harry Hunt Reporter Cardiff students took to the streets once again to demonstrate against the planned tuition fee rise in England. The campaign was organised by Action Against Cuts Cardiff - the same group that planned the occupation of a lecture theatre last week. This demonstration coincided with other protests up and down the country, such as a main event held in London. At the protest, there was a clear sense of anger shown towards the coalition government in Westminster. A second year journalism student present at the demonstration said: “I am here to set an example for my son to fight back – we will not stand still." Her six-year-old boy was also holding a placard on the march. Some sixth form students from Bridgend were also in attendance: “We just want to feel as if we are doing something.” "The Lib Dems are even worse than the Tories – they are going back on their policies and switching their allegiances all the time.” Many others also shared a similar view. A third year English student said: “It’s all very well Jenny
Willott saying she will vote ‘no’, but she can’t just say that and know the proposal will get passed by other Lib Dems who will vote for it’. Cardiff ‘Cuts Carnival’ organiser, Edmund Schluessel, said that the protest had gained much momentum since the occupation. “As a direct result of last week’s action Jenny Willott has come out and stated she will vote against any parliamentary proposal to try and increase fees." Today, we must now build the campaign in the general public, oppose any welsh increase in fees and show solidarity with the other students around the country.” The protest itself started out peacefully with about 60 students meeting outside the union to prepare banners, placards and chants, before marching into the city centre. As the protest reached the Aneurin Bevan statue, their numbers had swelled to just over a hundred. The rally point for the demonstration was at the Aneurin Bevan statue at the end of Queen Street. Speeches were made by campaign organisers, students and members of the Socialist Workers Party. Despite the peaceful nature of the demonstration, at approximately 3pm a small group of protesters broke away from the main demonstration to occupy the Lloyds TSB
bank demanding to talk to the manager about the bank bailout. Following the disruption caused, other high street stores locked their doors for fear of the same thing happening to them, causing much irritation and aggravation among staff and shoppers alike. Many bystanders commented that they had sympathised with the students’ cause, however, a forceful approach taken by a minority group of students disappointed many
members of the public. Nevertheless, there remained widespread support for students facing higher fees. “This fee rise will put many people off of university, it’s only understandable they are acting out in this way,” commented one Christmas shopper. After a half an hour stand off near the Capitol shopping centre between students and the police, the protest was rounded up and moved
away from the shopping area of the town for their safety. Following this move, a large group lay down at the busy Park Place and Boulevard de Nantes crossroad. Students were threatened with arrest and most of the crowd were cajoled to give up and go home. However, one student would not go peacefully, and was consequently arrested.
Photo: Hannah Jones
A 'Made in Wales' policy gives Welsh students tuition fees relief Ben Price News Editor The proposed rise in tuition fees will not affect welsh students. According to the Welsh Assembly Government, Welsh-domiciled students will be protected from any increase in fees. The decision was announced last week by the Education Minister for Wales, Leighton Andrews. Mr Andrews said he thought students from Wales would only have to pay the current amount of tuition fees, which stands at £3,290. Wherever Welsh students decide
to study, be it in a University in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland, the cost will remain the same because the Welsh Assembly Government will subsidise the extra cost for each student. Mr Andrews described the move as a ‘Made in Wales’ policy. He added: “We are preserving the principle that the state will subsidise higher education and maintain opportunities for all." This policy will take effect in the academic year of 2012-13, and it will cost the Assembly Government £140 million over two years. This proposal will mean that Welsh students will face a similar
situation to Scottish students who also have their fees subsidised by the Scottish Parliament. In response to this decision taken in Wales, a Cardiff University spokesperson said: "The Welsh Assembly’s proposals appear to be good news for all Welsh domiciled students. "We also welcome the commitment that ensures the income of Welsh HEIs will be at least the same in real terms in 2016-17 as it will be in 2012-13, though we would wish to understand the detail behind such calculations. If these proposals ensure parity of investment with universities
elsewhere, then that will be welcomed.” Leighton Andrews told AMs he was going to fund the new plan by top-slicing the teaching grant for Welsh universities. Questioned over the impact this may have on teaching at Cardiff University, a University spokesperson commented: "We need to have a more detailed understanding of the impact of these proposals on the level of teaching grant over time before we can comment with confidence. The 35% reduction mentioned by the Minister seems a very conservative estimate compared to the num-
bers of students being supported over time and the level of subsidy needed. We are proud of the excellent standard of teaching and learning currently provided by the University and which delivers long-term benefits for all students choosing to come to Cardiff to study." As the coalition government in Westminster continue to stand firmly behind their policy to allow Universities to raise their fees as high as £9000, undoubtedly the decision in Wales has mounted more pressure on a divided United Kingdom in terms of its public spending.
Paul Crechley, Second Year Theology
Andy Swan, Second Year Psychology
Lauren Griffiths, Law MA
Jack Thompson, Law MA
I think the decision by the Welsh Assembly will put some degree of pressure on Ministers in Westminster, however, I don't think they will actually change their proposal to raise tuition fees. It will be interesting to see how the Welsh Assembly manage to raise the money to subsidise students.
It will be interesting to see how the Welsh Assembly Government choose to define the notion of a 'domicile' Welsh student. It may seem like a drastic measure, however, I wonder whether English couples will cross the border for their children to have a cheaper education by living in Wales.
I think the decision taken by the Welsh Assembly Government is a positive move. As a student born in Wales, I am pleased to see that future Welsh students won't have to bare the burden of up to £9,000 in fees each year.
Your thoughts: gair rhydd asks students their views on the Welsh Assembly Government's proposal to subsidise tuition fees for Welsh domicile students
I think future Welsh students will be very fortuante not to have to pay thousands of pounds more like English students will have to. It will be interesting to see whether this decision taken in Wales will affect its funding from Westminster
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Males targeted as Cathays muggings rise
News05 Cardiff Professors take Chair
Police advise to plan how to you're getting home
Bianca London Reporter
Ben Price News Editor
Three Cardiff Professors have recently been appointed as chairmen for the 2014 Research Exercise Framework underlining Cardiff ’s position as a centre for highly regarded academics across a range of disciplines. The REF reviews the research of all UK Universities and is an expert method of assessing them on the impact and vigour of their research. Chosen for their high standing in their respective academic fields, each chair will lead a sub-panel of other experts in assessing UK research in their field forming part of the 36 sub-panels within the UK and are on a par with Oxford, Cambridge and Manchester. Cardiff University’s REF subpanel chairs are: Professor Gillian Douglas who will chair the Law sub-panel, Professor Roger Falconer who will take charge of the Civil and Construction Engineering subpanel and Professor Ole Petersen who will head the Biological Sciences sub-panel.
Cathays has recently experienced a spate of male muggings It has been reported that men have been specifically targeted and had their mobile phones stolen whilst walking in Cathays at night.
Police in Cardiff are reminding students to stay safe this Christmas and protect their belongings Despite seeing a 2% fall in crime for August-October in 2010 compared to the previous year, there was a 0.5% increase in robberies in the area between September and October this year. There has also been a reported increase in sexual assaults on fe-
male students after a night out. gair rhydd reported on an incident involving a Cardiff University student who was sexually assaulted on Cathays Terrace (issue 933). Due to the nature of these incidents, which have been happening late at night, usually after students have been on a night out, Cardiff Students' Union has said that it will make an official safety announcement from 1am on the speakers on the front union steps reminding students to stay safe. The Union also said that bouncers are reminding students not to walk home alone and are keeping a check on the numbers of young women who are walking home alone after being at the union club nights. There will also be safety posters and personal safety alarms available from reception by Christmas. Police in Cardiff are reminding students to stay safe this Christmas and protect their belongings. Student police liaison officer, PC Tim Davies, wished to remind stu-
dents to drink responsibly and to ensure they get home safely. PC Davies said: “Cardiff remains one of the safest cities in the UK and by following basic sensible advice then there is no reason for Christmas to be remembered for the wrong reasons.
Cardiff remains one of the safest cities in the UK “We know students will be out partying but we are urging them to drink and act responsibly and look after themselves. “Basic advice is not to drink too much, don’t preload before you go out, make sure you have something to eat, and plan in advance how you are getting home.” Taxis remain a safe way to get about the city demonstrated by a recent joint police and local authority operation in Cardiff city centre.
Four University representatives have additionally been appointed to the new Science Advisory Council for Wales. The role of the Council is to liaise with the Welsh Assembly Government on a range of scientific issues, particularly contemplating the role of science in national development. One of the appointees, Professor Petersen will work alongside Professor Sir Martin Evans, President of Cardiff University and 2007 Nobel Prize-winner for Medicine, Cardiff University has the highest majority of representatives on the Council and Lesley Griffiths, Deputy Minister for Science, Innovation and Skills, welcomed the appointees by saying: “This new independent Advisory Council will provide expert guidance and advice to help us achieve our vision.” The Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University, Dr David Grant, has also spoken out stating: “The three Cardiff colleagues appointed will provide strong leadership in assessment of the UK’s achievements in their respective fields. I am delighted that four distinguished members of the University have been selected to play a part in this vital task.”
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Chemistry | Cymraeg | Design & Technology | ICT | Mathematics | Physics 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.
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IT’S THE DESTINATION
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Santa's litter helpers Miranda Atty News Editor Cardiff University students volunteered to be ‘Christmas pickers’, cleaning up litter throughout Cathays on the evening of Thursday December 2. The event was organised by South Wales Polices’ Student Police Initiative, Keep Wales Tidy, Cardiff Student Union and cardiffdigs. co.uk.
Twelve full bags of waste and recycling were collected during the course of the evening The volunteers all wore red clothes or a Santa hat, in keeping with the Christmas season. Twelve full bags of waste and recycling were collected during the course of the evening and volunteers advised students on safety procedures. Above: Volunteers prepare for an evening of litter picking
Bipolar project award Miranda Atty News Editor A project developed to treat bipolar disorder has been awarded the 2010 MediWales Innovation Award for NHS Partnership with Industry. Dr Daniel Smith, of Cardiff ’s School of Medicine, was given the award in recognition of his use of technology in creating the first internet-based education treatment for bipolar disorder. He developed the Beating Bipolar project using an interactive website to inform patients and their families about treatments of the disorder, and helping them in the development of self-management skills. The award acknowledges the project's 'significant and commendable' impact on patient care. The project was developed in collaboration with the Healthcare Learning Company, Manic Depression Fellowship, funding from the Welsh Assembly Government and the Big Lottery Fund. It is made up of eight 20 minute interactive modules, each presented by Bristol University lecturer Dr Alice Roberts who has also presented the BBC series Coast. Beating Bipolar is part of The Bipolar Education Programme Cymru (BEPCymru), the first programme in Wales that offers both treatment and group education for bipolar sufferers and their relatives. The programme was developed jointly by Professor Nick Craddock, Dr Ian Jones and Dr Danny Smith from the University’s Mood Disorders group. Plans have been made to roll the
treatment out across the NHS at a low cost in order to treat a wider group of people.
The Beating Bipolar project explains symptoms and treatment options in an accessible way Dr Daniel Smith, Clinical Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant psychiatrist at the University’s Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute said: “Beating Bipolar helps put patients and relatives in touch with the latest ideas about bipolar depression and with each other." He explained the project, stating: “It explains symptoms and treatment options in an accessible way, and patients will find the online forum to be a really valuable extra source of support. It's about empowering people with knowledge, and providing a space where experiences can be shared and discussed.” He also commented: “We are delighted that the programme has been recognised with such a prestigious award.” The project, which will run for five years, has been funded by a grant of £770, 802 out of the Big Lottery Fund's £15 million Mental Health Matters programme.
Photos: Kieran McCann
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Cardiff Council confirm waste policy Pippa Lewis News Editor Cardiff Council has issued a statement in response to an article entitled ‘what a load of rubbish’ in issue 937 (November 22). Executive Member for Environment Councillor Margaret Jones told gair rhydd: “The message we are trying to convey is simple; we need students to help us reduce, reuse and recycle. We are committed to meeting our recycling targets but much more work needs to be done and an integral part of that is helping to inform and educate students. The council’s Recycling Education team will continue to work closely with the Students Union to provide advice and information on recycling and waste collections in the future.” The Council has stressed that on the spot fines of £75 are enforceable for anyone caught littering in Cardiff and that it is all residents of Cardiff, non specifically residents of Cathays who are required to dispose of their waste properly.
A £100 fine is enforceable for those who do not follow correct procedures however this will only be issued after a process of visiting residents and offering advice and information on how to dispose of waste correctly. If the problem persists after a formal letter of warning a fine of £100 is imposed. The council has reiterated the commitment of the Recycling Education Team to work closely with the Students' Union and its Liason Officers to inform and assist the student community to recycle and dispose of their waste correctly. Collection times and dates can be found on www.cardiff.gov.uk/ recycling. Green recycling bags can be found in various locations including the student's Union, more details of which can be found on the above website. Students can additionally sign up to a text service to recieve weekly reminderson waste collection by texting 'Tidy' followed by their house number and postcode to 60066
Above: Rubbish in Cathays
Festival of Ideas celebrates creativity Will Davies Reporter
Above: Kevin McCloud
Cardiff University is hosting its first ever Festival of Ideas to celebrate the vast creativity of the human mind. The festival, which explores science, the arts and the professional world, is being held in a range of venues across Cardiff throughout November and December and includes a variety of lectures, concerts and guest speakers. Launched by the University’s Community Engagement team, the Festival of Ideas aims to give students and members of the public the opportunity to consider and discover ideas and initiatives
on diverse subjects such as Antarctica’s climate history, gravity defying rock climbers and the 300 million year war between animals and their predators. Speaking on the introduction of the festival to Cardiff, Eluned Parrott, Community Engagement manager, said; “Cardiff ’s first Festival of Ideas is a chance for the public to share and explore some of the most exciting ideas from Wales’ leading University. There’s no limit to the imagination of our staff and students, and no limit to the ideas they will be sharing during the festival.” Kevin McCloud, best known for presenting Channel 4’s Grand Design programme and one of Britain’s most well known advocates
of sustainable building design visited the University last week to deliver a public lecture on sustainable architecture as part of the festival. Hosted by the Cardiff School of City and Regional Planning’s Innovation and Engagement Unit, the lecture entitled ‘Building ecohouses is easy’ tackled the issue of context, in terms of building proper places for people to live in that are distinctive and authentic. Kevin McCloud said: “The most important piece of architecture any of us ever experience is the home we live in. Eco-building is no longer the domain of the knityour-own-sandals brigade. Legislation and the Rio and Kyoto protocols require us to consider
the environmental impact of everything we do, and clearly our homes are big producers of pollution both in their construction and day-to-day running.” Other highlights from the busy schedule include a “Bright Club” comedy night that looks to bring a comedic touch to the subject of academic research, and a range of concerts by Cardiff University’s chamber choir featuring music by Durufle, Poulenc and Eric Whitacre. Although the majority of upcoming lectures and concerts in the Festival of Ideas are free, some require prior booking. To check the schedule and availability of events please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cardiff to launch car club scheme Rachel Cunningham Reporter Cardiff has launched its first city car club scheme as part of Cardiff council’s two year sustainable travel initiative. The scheme is an attempt to rid congested inner city areas of the problems caused by high levels of motor vehicles. Currently successful in 12 other UK cities, the scheme was unveiled on Wednesday December 1. The car club initiative works by renting out cars on a pay-as-yougo basis from one of its 12 car stations across Cardiff city centre.
According to Paul Carter, Cardiff Council’s operational manager, stations will be located in areas of the city that are particularly overcrowded, like Cathays. The car scheme offers annual membership to customers for £50 and then cars are rented to customers for an additional £4.95 per hour plus 19p per mile. Petrol is paid for using a fuel card and charged to the company. Cars can be hired from anything from one hour to 24 hours or as long as necessary. The council funded scheme currently owns only ten cars but council officials are planning on
expanding the scheme to more than 50 cars by the end of 2011. Figures show that for every car club car, 24 vehicles are taken off the streets. Carter said: “We are anticipating that it will be a scheme that will be very effective and useful to people” The scheme comes at a time when the council are about to start a consultation process into the city’s residents parking policy with the aim to limit the number of parking permits per household to two. For more information visit: http://www.citycarclub.co.uk
Above: Cardiff City Car Club
World News08 Drunken dogs Tubby Tabby
Anna Redbond Reporter
Benji Lamb Reporter
Jamie Evans Reporter
A fruit company in Japan has revealed that it plays music to it's bananas in the belief that it produces a sweeter product. Isamu Okuda, a representative from the fruit company, confirmed to The Japan Times that the organisation is convinced the process makes the bananas sweeter, and that consumers of the fruit agree. Sales of the yellow wonders are up compared to last year's non-music-exposed fruit, since they were introduced last July.
A small brewery in the Netherlands has launched a non-alcoholic beer designed just for dogs. Kwispelbier is made using a unique brew of malt and beef extract. The beer is the brainchild of pet shop owner Gerrie Berendsen, who wanted to share the experience of having a nice cold refreshing beer after a long day's hunt with her devoted dogs. His wife, Mrs Berendsen calls it “a beer for your best friend". "For large dogs we would rec-
An exotic short-haired cat named Giuly is believed to be the world’s funniest feline model. Although the five-year-old cat fails to do anything of extraordinary brilliance, Giuly has become the latest kitty web sensation. It is felt that all she has to do is strike a portly pose for the camera and fanatic feline fans across the globe come clawing in. Twenty-eight year old Chiara Bagnoli from Florence is the stout feline's owner.
“A lot of people tell me they really enjoy looking at Giuly’s photos, they find them funny and cute, and that fills me with joy,” she said. Since her rise to fame, rumours are currently circulating about Giuly’s debut 2011 'Fat Cat' Calendar.
Barbie and Jen Becca Ingram Reporter Barbie creators Mattel are to sue artists after a nude calendar shows the comapny's dolls in lesbian poses. The photos for each calendar month vary, from simple shots of the dolls naked, to intimate photographs of Barbie posing with another female doll. Creators of the calendar Breno Costa and Guilherme Souza, both from Buenos Aires, Argentina, defended the calendar. The claim that it is a gesture toward the idea
that sex is used to sell everything in society. The two also claim that they made the calendar in the co-operation of Matchbox, one of Mattel's brands. However, Mattel’s European Spokeswoman Dr Stephanie Wegener denies any involvement with the pictures and stated: "We don’t want Barbie to be portrayed in this way, especially when our brand and logo is involved. "We will be taking legal action against the creators," she continued.
ommend one bottle a day and for breeds like a Chihuahua, they prefer shots,” she added. Despite being fit for human consumption, ‘Kwispelbier’ is retailed at a price that is four times more expensive than Heineken.
Pandemonium in Parliament
Miranda Atty News Editor
Morgan Applegarth News Editor
Japan has trained its first Chihuahua police dog. Weighing just 6.6lb Momo is one of only 32 dogs to be trained up in the region of Yamatokoriyama. She faced stiff competition from more traditional police dog breeds such as Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds, but was successfully chosen for the force. Momo will be an important asset in rescue operations like earthquakes because her size means that she can squeeze easily into the smallest gaps.
A brawl erupted in South Korean Parliament after discussion regarding a provisional law to provide free meals for students in public schools turned aggressive. The dispute came after the governing Grand National Party (GNP) opposed the proposed bill, leading to members of the party to invade the speaker’s podium during the debate. Chaos ensued as members pushed and shoved one another whilst hurling abuse at the opposing party. The aggressive behaviour escalated as members reportedly began
to sledgehammer their way into a parliamentary meeting room that was occupied by members of one of the involved party’s.
Has Wikileaks gone too far? Alex Calvin Opinion Writer As many of you will undoubtedly hsve seen, the website Wikileaks recently released a series of documents detailing information surrounding American diplomacy. The details of these documents vary from relatively tame issues, such as criticism of British forces in Afghanistan, to dangerously hot topics, the most obvious example of which being the nefarious requests from Saudi Arabia for America to bomb Iran. On paper, an organisation like Wikileaks sounds great; it harvests information on a non-profit basis and describes it’s goals on it’s website as ‘to bring important news and information to the public.’ Even after the leaks it has just made, I refuse to agree with certain US politicians who are calling Wikileaks a terrorist organisation. At heart, the organisation is sound. In the past, Wikileaks has been responsible for releasing information such as lists of websites that are censored in certain countries or the dumping of harmful waste by the Tragifura in Africa. This information is useful; it is information that deserves to be shared, and more so in the Tragifura case, it serves to keep corporations in check. In the future, there is a ‘megaleak’ planned for 2011 with information about ‘a big US bank’. Given the recent recession, this is sure to be interesting !
I could not understand their justification for releasing this information about American diplomacy. Since the leaks several government spokesmen have emphasised the importance of confidentially in government. Now, I am all for freedom of information, and I do feel that governments should be more open with what they are doing. People have a natural distrust of government, so it makes sense to try and build bridges in order to gain the trust of their people. There is, however, information that the general public has no business knowing because it is dangerous or incendiary. The information just leaked is a prime example of this. In releasing this information, Wikileaks has lit the matches and is going to sit back and watch the fire. Nothing good can come of it. While the US opinion of other nations, and the demand for diplomats to spy on both allies and enemies alike might seem more than a little bit extreme, every nation on the planet is going to have a similar strategy. With the state of the world being what it is at the moment, it makes sense to be on guard. The exposed exchange between Saudi Arabia and the US is going to cause massive problems. Nobody needed to know that, and this is going to cause more than a little bit of political attrition, and any blood shed will be on the hands of Wikileaks. At the same time, you can argue that the opinions stated are the opinions of individuals; albeit
Above: Julian Assange is editor-in-chief for WikiLeaks
wwa bit clumsy of them to say such silly things. It is much like how you might gossip about a friend behind his or her back; it looks sloppy and backhanded, but everyone does it. Were we to get our hands on transcripts from diplomats from other nations, I am sure we would find plenty of unsavoury information about US diplomats. For me, this raises two major questions. My first is, who has appointed Wikileaks as the vanguard of truth and transparency? What right do they have to be releasing this information? The internet has always been somewhat anarchic, and while there is considerable effort of late to censor and control the internet, it is somewhat comforting to know that someone, somewhere is fighting for freedom of information. My second question is whether this information is deserving of being in the public realm. While there have been some cases where the freedom of information has been beneficial, there will be several more where the information exposed is harmful and incendiary, such as the diplomat leak. Freedom for the sake of freedom is not going to be a positive thing; information being in the public realm just for the sake of being in the public realm makes no sense. Even so, Wikileaks is a positive force in an increasingly censored world. Freedom of information is important but only if the information out there is beneficial.
Cardiff's silent protest
Chris Williams Opinion Editor
The socialist students seem to be everywhere. Anytime there’s something vaguely political going on, or an issue that certain people feel strongly about, they’re out in force. The same was true last week as students in Cardiff again took to the streets in protest against the cuts to education. As I’ve expressed before, I completely support the campaign and wish I had more time to get involved in the fight against ridiculous and damaging cuts not only to us, but society as a whole. Yet I can’t help feel that for us to win we need an image change. Across Britain there were marches and occupations - some of which lasted almost a week - and it was great to see, until I saw how the BBC website branded it. At the end of a long article about the Cardiff occupation they had a short line which read, “The occupation was organised by the socialist students of Cardiff.”
Image is important on these things. I remember a campaign outside parliament a few years ago where people were campaigning and fighting for abortion to be completely outlawed. The woman organising it was so conscious of the campaign's image that she attempted to prevent people she didn’t approve of talking to the media and was going spare as a group of BNP members turned up. I think the Cardiff protest needs this sort of organisation. The phrase: 'socialist students' is currently synonymous with weird political types. This is an image that I think is unfair - most socialists I've met aren't weird, but their extreme political views sit outside the mainstream (so I can see why people think they are weird). The problem is now that until they shake this image, any protest they attend is going to be scrutinised and looked at dubiously by passers by. And low and behold as a camera turned up to see the occupiers
leave, so did the socialist workers like a moth to a flame. Fair enough, they’re nice people and have a different belief to me: I absolutely have no problem with them and, while I don’t agree with some of their views, I will always stand side by side with them on the issues that we agree on. What I didn’t like was how they were diluting the message in an attempt to sell “The Socialist Worker” to those passing by and were handing out their leaflets and materials. Anyone walking past would have been given a snapshot of a legitimate protest with people from many different backgrounds and political views standing together. Yet when they walked away they would have been hounded by the guy with the socialist worker, taking a negative view of the protest as a whole. Another annoyance about the protest was that not a word was said by the university until eventually, on the November 26, a statement was sent to the gair rhydd. It avoided all of the key demands
and questions that protesters had and mentioned that they never booked the room that they were occupying. I don’t think, Mr VC, that a room booking matters in the grand scheme of things does it? Particularly when the protesters wanted to allow a lecture to take place in the lecture theatre, but for whatever reason, the lecture had to be moved. If we'd booked the reception of Millbank it wouldn't have mattered - they still didn't want us there. What angers me further is this one sentence: "The university fully respects the right of peaceful protest and freedom of expression for all its staff and students". A staff member attempted to join the protests but wasn't allowed - hardly a respect of his freedom to peaceful protest and expression. I emailed and tried to get an interview with the Vice Chancellor for this article, so that he could respond to the claims I’m about to talk about now. I never got a reply from anyone.
The Vice Chancellor, it is rumoured is one of many campaigning for no tuition cap - not just a ridiculous £9,000 a year, this is disputed however. All the students want to know is a definitive answer, so the malicious rumours can stop. The students at the occupation were also claiming that he’s taken a seven percent pay increase while attempting to cut lecturers' pay. If this is true, then it’s despicable. And further to this, the students inside were not given access to toilet facilities without leaving the occupation and never returning. Students inside were claiming this was against their human rights and, on speaking to a lecturer of my own, I found that there would be a very loose claim that their human rights were being abused, but it would be an abuse nonetheless. He should be accountable to the students on issues and I fully await a response from Dr David Grant about all of this... but his communication skills thus-far don’t make it look promising.
Monday December 6th 2010 • gair rhydd • email@example.com
Released from chains Kieran McCann Opinion Writer Saturday November 27 was the annual Buy Nothing Day. A simple idea: ‘spend the day without spending’. How many things do we buy without really thinking about whether we need them? We live in a throwaway society, where we buy convenience things and then discard them without a thought. The trend for ‘throwaway’ fashion means textiles are the fastest growing sector in household waste. Clothing is becoming so cheap that the temptation is to buy more than needed and throw the rest away. Apparently we buy two million tonnes of clothing each year, and with the cheap cost or ‘Primark effect’, the amount of unwanted clothing dumped in landfill sites is soaring. A small proportion is re-used or recycled while the rest ends up in the back of the ‘national wardrobe’. So this time last year I decided to make a commitment, a Buy Nothing Year on new clothing. I would limit myself to charity shops and recycle what I no longer needed. A donation to charity de-cluttered my wardrobe and started my year. I love the idea that you never know what you'll find in charity shops. When I needed clothing sometimes I didn’t find anything, while other times I could be found doing a little jig finding that perfect item. Highlights included a Tweed jacket £7, a cowboy style shirt £8, a dog print jumper £3 and dinner suit trousers £5. Which I admit makes me sound like the sort of person you cross the street to avoid but I promise I don’t wear these as a whole outfit. I thought I was going to have to buy new when I was invited on a
fancy dress stag-do, but my luck was in. I gave the shop a good giggle, as I appeared out of the changing room dressed in a full body penguin outfit – a £10 bargain. Unfortunately, the best man organised a Ghostbusters theme, with the stag as the Marshmallow Man and us in identical licensed outfits, so no make your own. Desperate not to be defeated, I placed ads and scoured the internet, but with limited time I had to resort to buying new. Although I had to buy the Ghostbusters outfit, I still feel a sense of achievement. Additionally, before the wedding my luck was back as I found a dress shirt and cummerbund in a charity shop. During the year many socks have disintegrated, I’ve had to resole a pair of boots and learnt that even gents can accessorise clothing – a few good cravats go a long way. I’ve had a mixture of compliments and criticisms; my favourite was being described as ‘abstract’. With high street fashion looking more and more generic I took that rightly or wrongly as a compliment. It was the exploring and uniqueness I enjoyed, it’s easy to walk out of a chain store with something you see every other person wearing, but it takes a certain amount of patience to hunt around in charity shops. I discovered new parts of Cardiff – Albany Road is an obvious charity shop paradise but Cowbridge Road East, Splott and Penarth are equally exciting. There is no resentment when charity shops took my money and no after shop slump because you haven’t broken the bank and profits directly benefit charities, not something you can say with your average store. I was introduced to different charities, shops like Shaw Trust
who help people with disabilities find employment or Tenovus who carry out cancer research. During my explorations I met interesting people, there’s more interaction in charity shops. Often the service was better than any chain. People were friendly and predisposed to helping out. They chat to you like a human being rather than a walking pound sign. I love the volunteers, often elderly but today more than likely it's younger people volunteering for the experience. The days when you came out looking a bit twee or out of place are long gone; vintage fashion is seemingly everywhere, the quality has increased, the layouts are savvier, and you can pick up clothing bargains. In this current economic climate who wouldn’t want to save money? Towards the end of the year, I was slung into a state of depression when the headlines exclaimed that shoppers have spent more than £1m a day in St David’s Two. Even during these economic times society is over consuming and doesn’t seem any happier. I recently ventured into a store and felt a little ill; £80 for a pair of jeans. Ill not just because of the price tag, but fashion has further reaching consequences than vanity; environmental, ethical and social. My year is over but I’m not about to rush back to new clothes. It made me think about what (and how much) I buy, and the effects, not just the environmental ones. Ultimately, it’s about consuming less, recycling more and making more local, ethical and environmentally aware consumer choices. As a step in the right direction, I would encourage anyone to cut the chains and explore charity shops – you might be surprised what you find.
Pictured: From High Street chains to charity shops
In defence of pop music Holly Howe Opinion Editor
The X Factor is one of the biggest shows on television, and for good reason. The production is watertight; they know what the audiences want and how to create a media frenzy. One of the common criticisms of the X Factor is that it is somehow damaging the integrity of all music due to the manufactured nature of the programme and the resulting acts. But are these people simply forgetting the premise of the programme? The X Factor is not looking for a musician, as much as the contestants would like to think it is, but instead they are looking for something very different, a popstar.
Due to the very nature of the genre, a popstar must be manufactured. Pop is all about the performance, a show. Lady Gaga embodies pop music; she never breaks free of her pop persona, instead claiming that she would ‘rather die’ than let her fans see her in normal clothes. Pop music is as much about the costumes, the music videos and the character than it is about the music. Stefani Germanotta (Lady Gaga) and her team have utilised the Pop persona to create a global megastar. Perhaps ironically, this level of dedication somehow leaves pop music at the bottom of the music hierarchy. There is an abundance of bad pop music: pop that thinks it’s indie (The Pigeon Detectives),
boring pop (Westlife), unimaginative pop (Pixie Lott). But somehow, all pop music has been positioned together by music snobs into a homogenised group of talentless wannabes. People expect pop music to be frothy and forgettable. There are a few common arguments against pop music. My personal favourite, ‘they don’t write their own songs therefore it must be crap’ firstly suggests that the person who wrote it must perform it in order to be authentic. Secondly, they ignore the plethora of Popstars that do write their own music, from Lady Gaga to Róisín Murphy. Incidentally, both stars play their own instruments, as do Taylor Swift, Little Boots and Scissor Sisters to name a few. Popstar does not
have to be a byword for a talentless model performing a song that was written by a computer programme. Another bugbear for ‘music lovers’ is that pop is meaningless and safe. Just one listen of the Scissor Sisters’ new album and you can hear themes of safe sex and the AIDs crisis, a debate on promiscuity and violence within the gay community and a monologue performed by Sir Ian McKellen. Safe is definitely not a word you would associate with the content of the album. Pop music can be surprisingly subversive beneath the music. Then there are the people who don’t like pop simply because it is pop(ular). These are the people who will rave about a new band until they hear them on the Chris
Moyles show and declare that they are sell outs. These are probably the same people who thought buying the Sony-owned Rage Against the Machine single instead of the Sony-owned Joe McElderry single was an incredibly subversive move. Just as not all rock, indie, classical or dance is defined as good or bad based on the genre it belongs to, pop shouldn’t either. Pop can be as fun, meaningful, dreadful, artistic, frivolous and outrageous as the next genre. So next time you are trying to decide who you should hate the least on the X Factor, just think about who will make the best Popstar. (The answer is Cher, unfortunately.)
Monday December 06 2010 • gair rhydd • firstname.lastname@example.org
Propofol study: worth the risk for the reward?
Cash before thought
Jo Greet Opinion Writer After receiving an email from the Psychology department asking for volunteers for an experimental drug study, I was intrigued. I cannot deny that the £120 promised for participation in the study was an attractive incentive. However, these were counteracted by worries and concerns that I have always associated with such studies; I decided to research. Firstly I decided to investigate Propofol, the drug to be used in the study. It is a very short-acting drug, which wears off in a few hours. The adverse affects are minor - lightheadedness and nausea - side effects that I am sure many of us recognise from a heavy night at Come Play. So why are we scared of taking a drug for a short amount of time, when the trials bring such benefits? Without such research, and willing volunteers to participate, investigating and finding improved treatments and cures for previously incurable conditions would not be possible. I am inclined to align such studies with giving blood, as I wouldn’t think twice about giving blood as a positive contribution to the lives of others. What about the risks? Well if I did happen to have a reaction to Propofol I would be situated in the best possible position to deal with it. With any such trial the involvement of medical professionals and the level of heath care facilities is high. I think it’s better to find out in a controlled environment that a drug, which is commonly used in many hospitals nationwide, has negative effects on you rather than in an emergency situation where you have little or no control over its usage. It is commonly known among medical professionals that the major danger with many drugs is that people vary in their response to a given dose. I then received another email from the School of Psychology. Places on the study had been filled in less than 24 hours. This speaks for itself. It is comforting to realise that others, like myself, have objectively weighed up the pro’s and the con’s and decided that such studies are not only beneficial to the volunteer, both financially and medically, but contribute to wider medical science. I think that research, such as the School of Psychology’s Propofol Study, is a crucial part of furthering medical science. Rather than disregarding such studies I would urge you stop, think and re-evaluate the potential benefits of such studies.
Hannah Fillingham Opinion Writer University life has never been cheap. But with this years’ credit crunch, VAT increase and rise in tuition fees, it is not surprising that current students are finding it harder than ever to surface from underneath it all. And with occupational fields such as retail being one of the most affected (as well as one of the most popular undergraduate trades) it has resulted in student’s trying many different, alternative and even controversial ways to earn money. But some of the extreme measures that students are taking to keep above the financial tide beg the question how far is too far? The psychology department at Cardiff University recently asked for willing students to undertake a series of tests involving the highly addictive drug propofol, infamous for its links to the cause of Michael Jackson’s death. But with a generous cash incentive of £120 to be earned, many students didn’t even question the health risks or side effects and leapt at the chance, filling up the designated spaces within days of the email being sent out. And this is nothing new. The internet boasts a number of ‘money saving’ tips for students. Many ideas, such as selling items on eBay and taking part in online questionnaires are logical and eas-
Michael Jackson is propofol's highest profile victim
Students didn't even question the health risks or side effects and leapt at the chance... This is nothing new
ily achievable, however take up a lot of time and energy and don’t necessarily guarantee huge incomes. Worryingly, medical trials on the other hand are easily accessible for students online and are normally listed as one of the ‘top ten ways’ to gain money quickly, making them far more desirable. Websites including www.trials4us.co.uk are persuasive in making the trials sound more like a relaxing spa day than a potential health risk. They boast that by joining you can ‘earn up to £120’ and ‘relax in our entertaining facilities’. Although the trials are safe more often than not, unfortunately they are not always as simple and easy as they sound. Just a few years ago, six British men suffered serious organ failure after testing a drug designed to treat conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, leukemia and multiple sclerosis. Another notorious way to earn some easy money is through egg donation. Although illegal in the UK, over in the United States it seems to be an increasing trend. One fertility clinic in Wellington (Palm Beach Medicine for reproductive medicines) offered $10,000 to any willing donors. According to a nurse at the site, ‘college students are a good demographic because they have flexible schedules’. This worryingly extreme way to earn fast money not only comes with added side effects of ‘headaches, irritation and abdominal pain’ but extreme moral controversies. When discussing our tight financial budgets, I asked if anyone would, if it were legal, go to the extremities of selling an egg for money. Although the majority branded it ‘unethical’, ‘not natural’ and ‘morally wrong’, one friend said that she would, if really hard up, seriously think about it for the money. Thankfully, unless she moves to America, it can never happen, but how long before students start flying out there to earn some fast money as a result of this exploitation? Sadly, it seems that gone are the days where dressing up as a mascot and busking in the street are deemed as ‘extreme’ ways to earn cash. Students are now open to far more adventurous ideas that put their financial troubles before their health.
Columnist 12 '
Christmas is finally upon us
he first term is drawing to a close, snow settles over Cardiff, and it’s that time once again for us to turn our thoughts to the festive season. Whether it’s your first trip back since Fresher’s Week or just a nice breather before exams, Christmas is always a welcome break and a good chance to say goodbye to your pets before the current Day After Tomorrow style weather freezes them to a drainpipe. These days, Christmas tends to progress in much the same vein every
year. X-Factor finishes, Louis Walsh goes back to his job at Argos, and families from all over the country sit down together to watch someone get bludgeoned to death on Eastenders. Bottles of brandy are finished, tensions rise, and arguments form; my parents would always bicker over trivial things, like the brussel sprouts, or Dad’s affairs with his secretary. It got so bad that they even split up over a game of charades, and refused to speak to each other during or since. Meanwhile, Grandpa is wheeled out from under the stairs to watch
He squeezed the puppy triumphantly between his buttocks, and I knew he was mental
the Queen’s Speech, then given some mulled wine and garnished with a christmas hat before being wheeled back again. While it’s a nice tradition, the thing about drinking with your grandparents is that it’s very hard to spot if they’ve had a stroke we once went several days before realising that Grandma’s slurred speech was the result of serious neurological damage, not gin, and would continue to make funny faces and wink at each other knowingly as we stepped over her in the corridor. But of course, Christmas is still a time of magic and wonder for young children. Every year, I used to love telling my parents about how a bearded man had climbed down my chimney in the middle of the night, but it was only when he was identified as the local vicar that the council finally came and took him away. Stockings are put up, Christmas lists are drawn, and refreshments are left for Santa and his reindeer; my friend was five when he discovered that Santa wasn’t real, after mistaking bleach for Egg Nog and coming down to find his father passed out by the fireplace. Likewise, I accidently discovered the secret when the christmas list I wrote was muddled up with my dad’s tax receipts, and I woke up one morning to discover 6 bottles of cognac and a male prostitute. The school nativity is another much-loved tradition, and not just by the kids. Parents would enjoy trying to correctly identify Little Donkey from a series of near-identical recorder pieces, and it was a welcome break for drama teachers, being one of the few times they could dress the div kid up as a goat to keep him away
from a speaking role. Things really reach their peak when the children start to forget their lines - one of the shepherds usually arrives early, to widespread puzzlement, prompting the boy playing Joseph to skip to the end and start demanding myrrh from a confused-looking Mary. Meanwhile, extracts are chosen from some of the less depressing parts of the Bible, and there is much joy as a kid with a speech impediment is required to say “Bethlehem”. It’s just a shame that political correctness prompted my primary school to change the story and “include input from other faiths” - as while Christianity isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, there’s no denying that Jesus looked silly in a turban, and it was almost impossible to stage the birth scene while Mary was forced to sit in a separate room away from the men. Still, there’s plenty to look forward to in these holidays, even if we can’t fit on Santa’s lap anymore. Furbies no longer exist, and there’s a new Harry Potter film to enjoy - “The Darkest One Yet”, which, seeing as they’ve said this every year since the first one, implies that it’ll share several scenes with Pulp Fiction. So have a lovely Christmas, and be sure to enjoy the holiday in your own special way. Rest assured that I’ll be content at home, sipping on Baileys and flicking through this month’s Bravissimo catalogue, dribbling happily down myself until it’s time to make more New Year’s Resolutions - I usually try and give up racism, but like most people, I often find it very difficult to keep these things up for more than a few days. I just don’t have the willpower.
Letters To The Editor In which our readers ask Henry a series of common questions. This week: Festive Concerns Being a time of giving, I was thinking of spending these holidays helping out underprivileged children. Where’s the best place to start? There are a huge range of organisations looking for help at Christmas, so it really depends on your interests. I started volunteering with the Make a Wish Foundation, as there’s no greater gift than taking a sick child to swim with dolphins, even if the life support ma-
chines do tend to weigh them down quite quickly. Some people might like to give money online, and a popular option is to sponsor a child from a deprived third world country - but once you consider that it’s only £5.10 for the Severn Bridge, you might as well deliver the goat there yourself. Whenever it’s Christmas time, I always find myself feeling lonely and depressed. Is this just me being irrational?
Not at all. Despite the festive cheer, it’s actually very common for people to feel isolated around this time of year. Last Christmas saw my neighbour drink over six litres of Calpol in a cry for help, and the Samaritans apparently reported a ten percent increase in suicides over this period, though to be fair, they had just changed their hold music to Nobody Loves Me by Portishead. Over the holiday it’s easy for people to feel jealous and lose their self-esteem, which is why
I’ve started doing a series of inspirational talks at local primary schools - reassuring the children that just because you’re born with a large penis, it doesn’t mean you can’t go on to achieve great things. My grandma keeps knitting me jumpers for Christmas, and won’t let me go out the house without them. I wouldn’t normally mind, but she’s inherently right-wing and they always have pictures of Hitler’s face on
them. Is there anything I can do to get her to stop? It's already cost me my job at CBeebies. Unwanted gifts are a hallmark of Grandmas, but this sounds brilliant. Never mind stopping, write the word “Cameron?” on them and you’ll make an absolute killing down the next NUS protest. I'd see if you can get her to rustle up some biscuits in the shape of Nick Clegg - you’ll be paying back those extra tuition fees in no time.
Our anger at compensating torture victims shames us all
Phil McNally looks at the former detainees of Guantanamo Bay who the government have agreed to pay 'millions' in compensation to; right or wrong?
s usual, I was enraged while watching Question Time the other week. But this wasn’t a result of Simon Hughes’ stunning audacity in claiming that tuition fees were “not a debt”, nor was it a result of a Tory responding to criticism over their cuts with the usual right-wing platitudes about maxed-out credit cards and there being no money left. No, what particularly annoyed me this time were the responses from the panel over the issue of the compensation paid to former detainees of Guantanamo Bay, and alleged torture victims, by the British government. Kelvin Mackenzie was his usual vulgar, troglodyte self, arguing that torture was justified and that he couldn’t care less about these individuals’ “rights”. That is to be expected from him. But far more disturbing was the response from members of the panel who should have known better, including minister Chris “ban the gays from B&Bs” Grayling, who struck a tone expressing regret for the compensation paid to people tortured, while arguing that it was inevitable, and that it was cheaper to pay them off rather than fighting an expensive court case. This was echoed across the panel. The view that it is stomachturning to pay compensation to “terror suspects”, and that the public “wouldn’t understand” why this money is being paid to people who “want to harm this country”, was the view expressed almost uniformly across the media. So, in the interest of those, apparently many, people who “cannot understand” why this money is being paid, I thought I’d attempt to explain. Crucially, there is little or no evidence that any of these people actually are terrorists, or have any links to terrorism. One, Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian-born Briton, was detained in Pakistan after trying to return home following the bombing of Afghanistan. He was transferred to
Binyam Mohamed: Held in Guantanamo Bay without trial. Morocco, where he was held for 18 months, with the co-operation of MI5. Mohamed was drugged, beaten, hung from hooks in the ceiling from his wrists, and had his genitals mutilated with scalpels. The horror of his experience is recounted in human rights lawyer Clive StaffordSmith’s excellent book “Bad Men”. One passage describes the reasons for Mohamed’s interrogation. “They told Binyam...to say that he had told Bin Laden about places that should be attacked,” Mohamed said, “they told me that I must plead guilty. I’d have to say I was an al-Qaeda operations man.” He told them that this was ridiculous, as he did not speak Arabic and had only been in Afghanistan for a few months. “We don’t care,” was their reply. Martin Mubanga, one of the others, is a British citizen tortured in Guantanamo Bay, with (he alledges) the knowledge of the British. He describes one interrogation: “I needed the toilet, and I asked the interrogator to let me go. But he just said, "you'll go when I say so.”...He left the room. Finally, I squirmed across the floor and did it in the corner... He comes back with a mop and dips it in the pool of urine. Then he starts covering me with my own waste, like he's using a big paintbrush...beginning with my feet and ankles and working his way up my legs. All the while he's racially abusing me, cussing: ‘Oh, the poor little n*gro, the poor little n*gger.’ He seemed to think it was funny.” He was also viciously assaulted, repeatedly. To make matters worse, Pentagon documents revealed that US intelligence officials did not even believe that Mubanga was a terrorist. There are many other cases, in all of which there is a startling lack of evidence of the detainees’ guilt. It seems clear that the US/UK have been torturing precisely those people against whom there is the least evidence, and the highest doubts over their guilt. This was no attempt to prevent future atrocities; it was an attempt to make largely in-
Binyam Mohamed: Sought compensation for the five years that he was held for. nocent men confess to being guilty. George Bush has claimed that torture under his administration saved British lives. Far be it for me to call Mr Bush a pathological liar, a monstrous falsifier, a man for whom the phrases “shameless” and “disgraceful” could have been invented. He seems to have an innate hatred for both decency and the truth, but even the British government have enied this claim. Furthermore, it is hard to believe that the policy of kidnapping Muslims and inflicting the kind of practices inflicted upon Guy Fawkes on them could have done anything other than create more Islamic extremism. The tone adopted by those who complain about paying compensation to our victims is so offensive because it reflects a lack of empathy for those who suffer by our hands. It reflects an environment where the main anti-war argument is to stop the deaths of British troops. This is an important reason, but the 3,000 Afghan civilian deaths and the 600,000 to 1,000,000 Iraqi deaths are mentioned as an afterthought. It re-
flects an attitude where the phrase “Support Our Troops” is used as a cynical attempt to suppress criticism of war, for fear of “damaging morale” and where Muslims are subjected to appalling racism in the press. In short, it reflects a culture that has no shame. No shame for torture, for the attack on the Afghan people for having the misfortune to be ruled by barbarians and for destroying Iraq and massacring hundreds of thousands of people. There are many things that taxpayers’ money is spent on that we should be angry about. Compensating people who will never recover from the injuries we caused, people who did nothing wrong except being the wrong colour, the wrong religion, and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Compensating these people so that at least they can live in financial comfort for the rest of their days, however, is not one of these things. We should learn some humility, and be angry at our barbarity, not compensation payments to our victims of it.
Monday December 06 2010 • gair rhydd • email@example.com
What’s happening behind closed doors? Hannah Van Den Bergh Politics Writer Following the events on the November 23, where 170 shells were shot across the North/South Korea divide, the question of peace in the East is once again brought to the foreground of the global political arena. With two marines and onecivilian killed in the cross-fire on Tuesday, used as “human shields”, tensions have continued to expand leaving the questions of war hanging in the breach. North Korea, stating they were only acting as a means of retaliation, fired across the waters of the Yellow Sea at Yeonpyong Island. After further unrest due to artillery fire on Sunday November 28, residents have been ordered to take shelter in armed facilities. Although this precaution was lifted only 40 minutes later, barely 20 of the 1,700 residents have chosen to stay on the Island. With the remnants of the atrocities of the Korean War still a bleak memory hanging over inhabitants, the spectre of further civil unrest is daunting. But it is safe to say that, without some sort of mature agreement, the ideologies of the two countries cannot co-exist in a level of controlled peace. Following the events on March 26, when the Cehonan (a South Korean warship) was sunk killing 46 sailors, it is difficult to see a future where the people of Korea are not left resting in stagnant waters riddled with the underlying hatred beneath the two neighbouring lands. Although there was little evidence to prove that North Korea was involved with the event in March, it is
heavily assumed. The lives that continue to be lost across the North/South divide show that peace is a wavering attraction. As is the opinion of many key South Korean players, there is an aim to withstand North Korea’s brute force. The chief military commander in the South, MajorGeneral You Nak-jun, vowed that “our marine corps... will carry out a hundred – or thousand-fold” in retaliation. “We will put our feelings of rage and animosity in our bones and take our revenge on North Korea.” With the floundering attitudes of the likes of the UN to maintain peace (that which was pledged in the Korean armistice signed in 1953) the world waits in anticipation as to the movements yet to unfold amid the waters of these two powers. It is safe to say that if we should see war, other key players are likely to be drawn as allies. North Korea, said to be the fourth largest army in the world, will be a force to take on if they decide to continue to provoke the South. It has also been identified that up to 20,000 of the North Korean workers sent to Russia as part of a state migration service are being recalled, easily prompting the question as to whether we are witnessing the construction of last-minute military aid. South Korea’s weakened military and dominating economic deficit, in contrast, do not help their position as a resistance to the Communist North. This is merely elevated by the loss of Kim Tae-young as defence minister. However, there is one clear pinnacle of importance that has not been mentioned. Al-
though there is the regular dominant threat from the North, can this be shaken by the prospect of a Capitalist alliance spanning the waters? Despite Sarah Palin’s most recent calamity, the US is allied to the South, and has been since the Korean conflict. This begs the question as to whether, if so demanded, they would support Korea in what could expand into a potential Nuclear War. The presence of a 55,000-ton George Washington armed warship with fighter planes in the Yellow Sea will hopefully act as a deterrent to the North. Resting in foreign wa-
North Korea: The situation in the Yellow Sea is escalating. ters for the past week if not longer, Kim Jong Un? Or, as the North conthe US stress that it was not meant tinues to assert, was it the result of as any type of threat and is merely threats from the South? However, the echoes of a military operation tracing the scope of history and as part of an investigation into the the inescapable power of the North, this seems highly unlikely. unannounced Uranium centre disHowever, amid the fury of the covered recently in North Korea. The echoes of hostility come at a past week the future of Korea retime when North Korea is undergo- mains unstable. As it stands, the ing the transition of power from fa- South “fall hostage to whatever ther (Kim Jong Il) to son (Kim Jong the North Koreans” decide to do, Un). Does it not therefore beg the and therefore all the world can do is wait and guess at the decisions question of why this blight of brutality has come to a head now? May made behind closed doors. it be taken as a sign of competency and even a rise to challenge from
BREAKING: 'Cablegate' and Wikileaks Olly Smith Politics Editor Every so often a story comes along which defies the traditional character of mainstream political news. Elections, budgets, scandals and summits: these are the staple diet of the daily press. The revelation of 251,287 US embassy cables is one such story which defies those norms. ‘Cablegate’, as it is being coined on twitter, is the story which will keep on giving. Wikileaks intends to drip-feed the 251,287 cables out bit by bit, allowing the media time to digest the information within. The result of which will be that the stories and revelations will keep on coming week-by-week. Indeed, even the five news organisations that already have full access to all of the files can surely not have in-
vested the 17,418 man-hours needed to fully read every cable (that's 725 days of solid reading). Therefore, rather than offer an in-depth review of the leaks, I will give my reactions to a story which will dominate the front-pages for months to come. The only thing more shocking than ‘Cablegate’ itself has been the reaction of the governments around the world to the leak. The language ranges from disapproval to pure fear-mongering. In the words of Hiliary Clinton, the leaks are an “attack” on the US which puts “countless lives” at risk. Firstly, I have to disagree. The measures Wikileaks has taken to negate any risk were extensive. Wikileaks created a multi-party collaboration effort, consisting of five well respected news organisations (those with enough respectability and manpower for the job) to trawl the data and identify areas
of the data which could cause risk to individuals or groups. Wikileaks also contacted the US government to help them collaborate on the effort to identify cables which could hurt national security. This multiparty, transnational effort at harm reduction is similar to what any group in the media would undertake should they receive a similar potentially threatening leak. The failure in this however was not on the side of the journalists, but rather the US’s refusal to aid them in their attempts to minimise the risks of putting individuals at risk. The US refused to identify which of the 251,287 cables were the ones which they claimed would cause problems to national security. It was therefore left to the coalition of the press to deduce that for themselves. The reaction from some parts of the media are equally shocking, comparing Wikileaks to a terrorist
organisation! I was taught that the role of political journalists was to seek the truth about those in power, not act as politicians' press offices. The truth of the matter is, that it is the weakness of our press that has led to these high profile leaks on the website Wikileaks. Should any other media agency have received the information that Wikileaks had received, would they have released it to the public? Highly doubtful. For one, no single news organisation would have had the manpower to trawl the cables on their own, and the idea of inter-press collaboration would seem equally taboo so the story might never have seen the light of day. Secondly, any traditional news agency attempting to break such a story would face the insurmountable political pressure not to publish which currently faces Wikileaks. This in itself would be enough for
most members of the press to give in out of fear for their jobs. Indeed, the only reason Wikileaks has survived the pressure and still exists is due to its so-called ‘insurance’ file, a password-protected file on bit torrent, which carries the threat of being decrypted should Wikileaks be shut down. I believe that Wikileaks sets the bar for true investigative journalism, the epitome of a free press, and is something that the rest of the media should aspire to mimic. With continuing leaks casting a critical eye on the US, and its position as a global superpower, Wikileak’s next leak said to be big enough to “bring down a major American bank”, this truly is the story which will keep on giving.
Check back in after Christmas for the full story on Wikileaks and ‘Cablegate’.
16Politics Retirement of the Dalai Lama Luke Slade Politics Writer His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet has indicated that it is time for him to retire from his post as a political and religious leader. During an interview, the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader said he was thinking about presenting the issue of having an elected political leader for Tibet in order to “utilise fully democracy." The Dalai Lama (meaning Ocean of Wisdom) is the head monk of Tibetan Buddhism and conventionally has been responsible for the governing of Tibet; this was until the Chinese government took control in 1959. He was born in 1935 and recognised as the reincarnation of Thubten Gyatso at the age of two - once the Dalai Lama dies, a complex search begins to find his reincarnation. The 14th Dalai Lama claims that he may be the last reincarnation and that, if there is a new one, they could be female and from outside Tibet. However, the current Dalai Lama has broken convention in the name of compassion and the search for unity. He is the first Dalai Lama to venture into the western world, as opposed to staying in Tibet. Because of this, he has managed to bridge communication with many political leaders and has gained wide popularity. He also received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, after the committee recognised his exertions against “the struggle of the liberation of Tibet and the efforts for a peaceful resolution instead of using violence." However, the biggest question that the Buddhist community now faces
is that of their new leader: who will succeed the Dalai Lama? As much as it is a spiritual impossibility for there to be a successor of the Dalai Lama during his lifetime, he has indicated that the Karmapa Lama, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is to be his most suitable successor; like the Dalai Lama, the Karmapa Lama is considered a living Buddha to the Buddhist community. The Karmapa Lama is the head of the Karma Kagyu, one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. As a child he was a prisoner of the Chinese and used as a political pawn. One of his biggest motivations for escape was that he felt he was unable to obtain the specialized instruction he needed to complete his studies and realize his full spiritual authority. When he escaped, the Chinese government were very embarrassed. Afterwards they claimed that they had in fact released him. Due to his escape, some believe that he is a Chinese spy, despite a lack of evidence. Most people believe that he could be the hope needed to lead the struggle against China. Although where simplicity presents itself, difficulty is waiting beneath. China has been waiting eagerly for the death of the Dalai Lama, since this will allow them an opening. If the Dalai Lama were to step down or die and no successor put in place, China would be free to choose their own reincarnation of the Dalai Lama and raise him with their ideology; something they have already implemented with the highest ranking Lama after the Dalai Lama: the Panchen Lama. In 1995, a boy recognised by the Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, was arrested.
Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was six years old when the Chinese government took him away and he has not been seen since. Human rights groups have described him as the world’s youngest political prisoner. The Chinese government were then free to choose their own reincarnation: Gyaincain Norbu. He is, according to the government of the ‘People's Republic of China’, the eleventh Panchen Lama of Tibetan Buddhism. Norbu was selected by the drawing of his name from a Golden Urn. China favours this method of selecting reincarnations, as opposed to the Tibetan government in exile's method of acknowledgment by those people closest to his former incarnation. It seems almost a sacrifice as his ideological viewpoint has been highly tainted, raising him as a royal communist. By providing the Karmapa Lama with general leadership Tibetans could bypass the Chinese plans to control the succession. But whether this will be a smooth transition, or not, remains to be seen. The Karmapa Lama is head of a slightly different sect to the Dalai Lama (which is more widely followed). The difference in followers may prove a hindrance for the Karmapa Lama’s easy succession. Throughout history there has been intense rivalry between the Gelugpa (Dalai Lama’s sect) and Kagyupa (Karmapa Lama’s sect) even culminating in bloodshed. Although their relationship is peaceful now, the question is whether the Gelugpa are comfortable accepting a leader from a different sect after so many centuries. However, it is clear that other alternatives seem to produce less desirable outcomes.
firstname.lastname@example.org • Monday December 06 2010 • gair rhydd
Politics, religion, and superstition have been blended together, leaving the Buddhist community in a concerned anticipation. No matter what, when the Dalai Lama steps down, Tibet will need a strong and charismatic leader to act against the Chinese influence. Although many would like to see the Karmapa Lama succeed him, others believe that a more fundamental change is needed. The Dalai Lama told the German Magazine Der
Spiegel: “The key factor should be the will of the Tibetan people ... Everything is possible: a conclave ... no Dalai Lama anymore, or perhaps even two, since the Communist party has, astonishingly enough, given itself the right to be responsible for reincarnations.” The 14th Dalai Lama himself has said that he may even be reincarnated as an insect, if that particular reincarnation would be more useful to mankind.
New Head at the top of Britain’s biggest Trade Union
Tomos Clarke takes an insider's look at the new role the Trade Unions are playing in this time of austerity, and explains why he voted for Len McCluskey In this new age of cuts and austerity the role of trade unions is well and truly back in the spotlight. It is perhaps strange, then, that the election of Len McCluskey as head of Unite, the country’s largest trade union, has gone by so quietly. Taking over from Tony Woodley and Derek Simpson, McCluskey will be the first sole General Secretary of the union - an important milestone in the history of this young yet powerful force on the left of the political spectrum. Unite was founded very recently from the merger of Amicus and the T&G trade unions, who were themselves the two largest unions in the country at the time. Unite now represents a little over 2 million workers from a range of vocations. I voted for Mr McCluskey. I’ve been a member of Unite since before it even existed. When I started my first job as a supermarket cashier, I joined Amicus (as it was
then known) and I’ve kept my contributions going ever since. I feel that supporting your fellow workers through the work of the trade union epitomises the left wing movement. Mr McCluskey comes from the "other side” of the Union; his background is with the T&G section of the Union. I tried not to let that influence my judgement. What I looked at was his 40 years of experience as a shop steward. Over his 40 years, he has gained a huge amount of political experience, vital for the lobbying and campaigning that is a vital part of his new role. Coming from a working background, he knows the brutal realities of the many people on the poverty line in this country. He is the ideal man to take the fight to the coalition, especially compared to our public school political elite. And that’s what he must do. If he is to be successful he must be vociferous in his criticism of the coali-
tion, fighting them tooth and nail. Ed Milliband has been largely ineffective in his attempts to pick apart the coalition’s plan thus far and the left wing needs a standard bearer; the eloquent McCluskey may be the perfect man to do so. The right wing press will try and tear him to shreds, but he seems to have shoulders broad enough to weather it. Ill-advised comments like “there are no unjustified strikes” won’t really have helped him in that regard and he has already been labelled Red Ken. If he can weather the barrage of abuse he will invariably receive from the press, where does he take the Union? Mass demonstrations are a distinct probability. He is an outspoken supporter of the BA cabin crew in their dispute over pay and Unite has been, in recent weeks, mobilising protests up and down the country against the cuts. Preparations are already underway
for a massive demonstration and protest in the spring calling for reform of anti-trade union legislation as well as against public service cuts. This is the direction he wants to take the union in: a far more public approach harking back to the unions of the 1970s and 80s with a strong emphasis on direct action and striking, with getting the best deal for workers at the top of the agenda. There will certainly be fewer blank cheques for the Labour Party to cash in. He’s already said that Labour will have to work for any union money they want to receive. He talks about “value for our political money.” Ominous words for a virtually bankrupt party with a leader very thankful for union support. This can only be a good thing; for too long the Labour party has looked at the trade unions as a bottomless pit of money they can use to dig themselves out of finan-
cial trouble with rather than as the heart and soul of the progressive movement. It’s a big year for him. There are significant internal challenges for him to face down: only 10% of the available electorate voted in the election which for an organization that claims to be a democratic one is scandalous. There is still a great deal of division within Unite between the two sections: the two outgoing general secretaries could not agree on a joint candidate to endorse. Tony Woodley endorsed Mr McCluskey while Derek Simpson’s favoured candidate was beaten into third place largely due to his association with the candidate. Unite can lead the resurgence of the Unions. They can rise again with Len McCluskey at the helm. David Cameron and Nick Clegg should watch their step - the political landscape is about to get far more hostile.
We want to hear your stories: anything goes. Just drop us a line on email@example.com. This week David Lewis, Nick Yiend and Clem Cooper tell Features how they managed to break into the Ryder Cup in an inflatable dingy. large hole in our plans and desires (literally). We carefully manoeuvred ourselves into the vessel, but it became apparent immediately that there was a hole in the seam of the boat which began to fill with water. As enthusiasm overcame common sense, we set off. The current was strong at the point we launched from so the first 40 metres of the journey were pretty unstable to say the least. Armed only with a dustpan and chopping
There was only one way now, and it was through the forest.
From left to right: David Lewis and Clem Cooper embark on a mission of a lifetime
t was a crisp, foggy October morning. Three students stood at the edge of the river Usk, armed with a £9.99 rubber dingy, a chopping board, a dustpan, a waterproof bag and nerves of steel. This scene betrayed the reality of months of pre-planning, Google Earth interrogation and wild optimism, which are the basis of any successful operation. We had originally budgeted for two people. However, on Saturday afternoon whilst watching the golf in the Student's Union we had recruited a third, Clem Cooper, who only became aware of the shortcomings of our expedition 12 hours before launch, and so was understandably concerned about the ad-
venture. We gathered at the ridiculous hour of 7.30am in Cardiff for what was about to become one of the greatest days of our lives. Radio Five live was blaring in the background as we made our way up to Caerleon, a couple of miles west of Celtic Manor. As we sat in the car listening to the roars greeting the players on the first tee, excitement was at an all-time high. Having deposited the car in a farmyard we went on a minor ramble to scope out the condition of the river and launch point. The mood was apprehensive and we became nervous as we realised the potential problems of the mission. For one thing, the river was flowing quickly, and getting down-
stream was going to prove difficult. The River Usk has the greatest tidal range of any river in the world and at the time we had decided to cross, the level had fallen to expose a thick layer of sticky mud, which could prove treacherous. We could see the grandstands in distance, shrouded in fog, adding to the mystique and drama of the whole event. As we unloaded the gear and made our way down to the riverbank the sun began to break through the clouds, casting god-like rays of hope onto our expedition. We edged our way down the riverbank, taking care to spread our weight evenly and passing the dingy between us like ants with a leaf, narrowly avoiding brambles and thorns which would have put a
board, we struggled against the force of the water and began to spin uncontrollably. Panic set in but we overcame it, starting to paddle with coordinated strokes Sir Steve Redgrave would be proud of. The sun was smiling on us now, as we relaxed and let the tide take us down a few hundred meters. At this point we were in jovial spirits, as for the first time it looked possible that we could make it. Naturally it wasn’t plain sailing for long: as we edged round the first bend in the river we were greeted by mini rapids to our right. Engulfed by panic once again we tried to navigate ourselves away from the maelstrom. Lewis, always the voice of reason, urged the paddlers to compose themselves, and sure enough we regained control of the boat. Yiend had identified the remains of a fallen tree protruding from the river bank as the optimal landing position. This was situated only ten meters away from the rapids, so if we missed it we would be swept into the vortex, inevitably resulting in one of us falling into the murky abyss, dashing our hopes and dreams. Further to our left there was a small inlet of relatively tranquil water, which provided the perfect mooring point for our intrepid craft, (which we would go on to leave as an offering of thanks to the river gods). We were now ready to negotiate the next stage of our epic adventure. The signs of further problems
arose early, as the forest which we planned to walk through looked exceptionally dense. The muddy, slippery banks also looked cumbersome. However, we glided into port seamlessly and proceeded to disembark onto a tree offering its branches helpfully to the river. The next few minutes were particularly difficult, having to make our way up though the dense vegetation whilst being dragged down by the muddy banks. After several minutes of trawling through the undergrowth we began to see light, and again we began to sense hope. The roars were echoing all around us now, and I for one began to feel butterflies. At the top of the bank we found a clear opening from which we could see barriers and people walking towards the course. As we waited pondering our next move, a Marshall came past and leered at us. We waited motionlessly as the guard stared straight at us for a full ten seconds and then set off in a different direction. Our hearts sank as we thought we’d blown it. Sure enough he came back a few minutes later radioing for others to come and help. We didn’t hang around and scrambled back through the undergrowth away from the scene. We found another opening where we changed our clothes, and conjured up the next plan of action. There was only one way now, and it was through the forest. There was a line of barbed wire fencing running through the heart of the forest and we had to continuously weave over and under it for 100 metres. Progress was painstakingly slow but we made it to the edge. We poked our heads up for air, and found ourselves 50 metres away from the rear of the tenth tee grandstand. Having broken cover, we skulked through some long grass to the other side and took a moment to survey the situation. There were a few guards to the right of the grandstand, but nothing we could see to the left. Lewis always maintains that “if you're confident you can get away with anything.” With these words of wisdom still ringing in our ears we decided to simply bowl up and casually walk the last 50 metres as though we did it every day. It worked: no one even raised an eyebrow, as we walked straight past the grandstand and found ourselves ten yards away from the solitary figure of the legendary Colin Montgomery. We had made it.
gair rhydd • Monday December 06 2010 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Be a match, save a life With 7,000 people in the UK currently waiting for a stem cell transplant and 70% of them without a suitable sibling match, Phillip Kenny tells us why it is so important to join the bone marrow register.
f, like me, you gave blood at one of the various blood drives in the Union last week, you were probably surprised to see just how many students were queuing up. In fact, I had to book a slot three days ahead of the donation due to the large numbers. But the one thing that surprised me more, while I was sitting on the chairs filling out the forms, was the number of people sitting around me who said "no" when asked if they would also like to join the national bone marrow transplant list. Every year thousands of children and adults with fatal bone marrow diseases, like leukemia and aplastic anemia, reach a stage when their only hope of survival is a blood stem cell transplant from a donor who shares the same ‘tissue type’. Although family members may offer the best match, unfortunately 70% of patients do not have a suitable sibling match and are therefore reliant on an donor who is not genetically related to them to offer the chance of life. To find a donor their doctors must turn to the bone marrow/stem cell donation register. Anthony Nolan, the charity who manages the biggest UK register, receives over 16,000 patient search requests each year from transplant centres worldwide. However, those needing bone marrow transplants greatly exceeds those willing to donate. A bone marrow transplant is a life-saving treatment for people with leukemia, lymphoma and many other diseases. First, patients undergo chemotherapy and sometimes radiation to destroy their diseased marrow. A donor's healthy blood-forming cells are then given directly into the patient's bloodstream, where they can begin making the cells that the body needs again. For a patient to accept these healthy cells, a donor who is a close match must be found. But for those who are not lucky enough to have a
donor within the family, their only hope is ordinary people like you and me being on the donor list. Aimee’s Story A few years ago Aimee, now a second year medical student at Cardiff, found out that her brother had developed severe aplastic anemia. She was willing to speak to gair rhydd about this experience: “In 2005, my brother James was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia. It was during Christmas, he was 15 and I was 14, and I remember very vividly the day he showed me his huge ‘cool new bruise’. "After telling my parents he was taken straight to the doctors for some blood tests. Within minutes we received a call from the GP and he was rushed into the hospital with critically low red and white blood cells and platelet levels. "At first the doctors thought that he might have leukemia, but after a bone marrow biopsy he was finally diagnosed with this very rare and life threatening disease. He was very brave. "The doctors had initially hoped that he would respond well to GCSF (granulocyte colony-stimulating factor) and blood transfusions, however during the new year he caught a bad infection and was in a critical condition, we didn’t think that he would make it. "After two weeks his temperature finally dropped but he was in a terrible condition. It was at this point it was decided that he needed a more definitive treatment - he needed a bone marrow transplant. "As his sister I was tested first as a potential match. Due to genetics, parents cannot be a match and even siblings only have a 25% chance of being one. However, the blood tests revealed me to be a match for my brother and due to the severity of his condition, the procedure was pushed to the top of the waiting list. "The bone marrow harvest lasted a little over an hour. I was put under a
general anesthetic and needles were places in my lower back to remove the tissue, but I didn’t feel a thing. "Since I was very small at the time, they had to take a particularly large amount of bone marrow due to the severity of my brother’s condition. When I came round, I’m not going to lie, I did experience pain but I was given painkillers and iron supplements which helped a lot. "But this was nothing compared to what my brother was going through and if I was asked to do it again I would do it in a second. Seeing the huge wards of children waiting for a match to appear really made me realise that we are their only hope. So many people could be a match but just wouldn’t know. ‘The worst part of donating was not the procedure, but the wait to see if it worked, James had to be kept in isolation awaiting the results. The doctors said that if there was no change in his blood results after 30 days then the bone marrow had been rejected and by day 29 there were still no changes. Then on day 30 post-transplant, we saw a tiny rise in his blood results; the graft had taken and after that James never looked back. He was placed on immunosuppressives and allowed to go home. Within 12 months he was able to take his GCSEs and he is now at Cambridge University living as any other 21-year-old would. His only reminder is that he has to take antibiotics every day of his life and have yearly check ups. It's amazing how just a bit of bone marrow can literally save someone’s life. One of the main factors which put people off the idea of joining the transplant list is often misconceptions of what happens during the procedure. Many people still believe that it is an extremely painful procedure that can harm you, but this simply is not true. Recent breakthroughs in the field mean that donating bone marrow is not too different from ordinary blood donations.
Above: a photo of a patient's bronchiolar wall after stem cell transplantation. Below: second year medic Aimee Leadbetter donated bone marrow to her brother, James.
gair rhydd • Monday December 06 2010 • email@example.com
Above: Marrow volunteers ran a registry session at Beachbreak festival last summer For four days before the donation the donor is given a drug which stimulates the production of stem cells in their blood. On the fifth day they have a blood test to check enough cells have been produced and if successful they are connected to a cell-separator machine. From this, blood is removed from a vein in one arm, passed though the machine to separate the stem cells from other cells and then returned to the body through a vein into the other arm. Luke, a student here at Cardiff, talks us through his transplant experience from earlier this year: Luke’s Story. “I first signed up with the Antony Nolan trust at a pizza evening hosted by the Cardiff Bone marrow society in June 2009. I was sold the idea as it is a good cause but I never expected to be called up. "Then five months later, in January, I received a letter and a testing kit from the trust stating that I could be a potential match - there was about a one in ten chance. "I then went to the heath hospi-
tal shortly afterwards to have a blood sample taken, which I then posted off. It was very weird posting off some of my own blood. "After that I didn’t hear anything back till around mid-May when the tissue match was confirmed by the trust. It was then that I was asked for a final decision of consent as the patient would have to start chemo very soon. "It was all very strange but I felt quite excited that somebody I didn’t know was going to receive my cells and that I could potentially be saving someone’s life. "The next step was to go to London with my mum to have a blood test, and an ECG (an electrocardiogram) and a general health checkups to determine if I was fit enough for the procedure. "Two weeks later a nurse started to come round and give me growth factors know as GCSFs. These were just simple injections given to me once a day for three days while I was back in Surrey. My bones did ache a little but that was it. "After the last injections my mum and I were put up in a hotel in London for the final injection and medi-
For all you know you could be the one match for a complete stranger who is in need
cal. The next day the procedure began very early. I was attached to a machine that took my blood from one arm, separated the growth factors, and returned the blood to my other arm. "I barely felt a thing and just sat and watched DVDs for the five hours of the procedure. It was just like giving blood the normal way. "After the procedure I had to wait a little while to see if enough marrow had been collected, otherwise I would have had to come in the next day and give some more. In the end it turned out I had given almost twice what was needed! "After that, I was sent back home to Cardiff and that was it. I did feel a little lazy and tired over the next few days but it was really nothing. Since then I’ve had a few phone calls to check on my well-being and ask if I wantED to stay in the know about the patient as there is a chance that the transplant won't take." When asked if he would go through the whole process again, Luke said: "It was such a small effort on my behalf which goes a long way to potentially saving somebody’s life, and I
would do it again without a moments hesitation." With recent advances making bone marrow transplants a relatively easy and painless procedure it is still amazing that the donor lists are so small. For all you know, sitting here reading this article, you could be the one match for a complete stranger who is in need. Every year thousands of patients rely on ordinary people like you and me to take that extra step and help change the life of someone who may not have any other hope. If anything in this article has inspired you to join the register, the Cardiff branch of the Anthony Nolan charity, 'Cardiff Marrow', will be holding registry sessions Wednesday December 8 in the students union and Sunday December 12 in the Talybont Social. An info evening will also be held on Thursday December 8 in the Kitchen in the union starting at 7.30pm. Finally, on Friday December 17 between 9am and 5pm, Cardiff Marrow will be carol singing in town to raise money for the charity. Please come along and help save a life.
gair rhydd • Monday December 06 2010 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Donation not Discrimination
In light of World AIDs Day on December 1, Cardiff's LGBT+ media officer Hector Roddan discusses the association's attempts to raise awareness of HIV and AIDs
or the first time ever, Cardiff University's LGBT+ Association has been out campaigning in your Student's Union. The event, which ran all day on World AIDs Day (December 1), was to raise funds for the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT). Established in 1982 and named after one of the first UK victims of the AIDs virus, THT seeks to maximise sexual health in the UK by minimising the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. “For the first time in years, the LGBT+ Association is visibly campaigning for LGBT+ students like never before,” said Mark Ander-
Above: Campaigners at the LGBT + World AIDs Day event held in the Student's Union son, Head of the LGBT Association. “We're teaming up with RAG, SHAG and Nightline, the listening service, to showcase what a studentled community can do for itself,” he continued. Alongside practical advice from THT and Nightline, volunteers from RAG and SHAG also sold cakes, facepainting and ran fun and games throughout the day. The event had a particularly pertinent message for gay and bisexual men, as Mark Anderson explained: “For a poignant twist we're doubling up with 'Donation not Discrimination', a national campaign run by the National Union of Students to raise awareness and fight this inequality.” As the law currently stands, any
man who has had sex with another man (MSM) is permanently ineligible from donating blood in the UK, regardless of whether he self-identifies as gay, straight or bisexual. The ban is for life and applies to any subsequent female sexual partners that men may have. At a national level, all three major political parties have stated their support for amendment of the permanent ban, which was drawn up in the 1980s when diagnosis of HIV was poor and treatment of the condition virtually non-existent. As leader of the opposition, Davidd Cameron stated in February that he believed it was “perfectly logical and sensible to make the change”, based on the publication of a review by the Advisory Com-
mittee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs, which is expected for publication later this year. This echoes a manifesto pledge by the Conservatives’ coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, and newly elected Labour leader, Ed Milliband. Writing for the British Medical Journal, biomedical journalist Bob Roehr argues that the ban “does not distinguish between sexual acts, how recent or distant the exposure, or whether a man has been in a monogamous relationship, but eternally stigmatises any male samesex contact.” The campaign is fundamentally about equality, and many activists feel that the ban effectively condemns all gay and bisexual men re-
gardless of whether they practice safe sex. There is no prohibition against blood donation from heterosexual individuals who have unprotected sex or engage in recreational drug use. Nine countries worldwide have replaced the life-time ban with a deferral period of between six months and five years, since current testing methods mean the HIV virus can take up to six months after infection to be detected. This was very much the mood outside the Union on Wednesday, argues Mark Anderson: “It’s about respecting and raising awareness of the deadly disease that is HIV, but also fighting for the right for gay and bisexual men to help save others by giving blood."
Science 24 Crouching China, hidden dragon Christina Tran Science Correspondent Think of where you’ve read the label ‘Made in Japan’, hi-tech goods normally: your digital camera, your laptop, your highly advanced sexual stimulation aid? Japan has a reputation for the manufacturer of cutting edge commercial goods, and there is something that any manufacturer of goods such as these need, rare earth metals. If your knowledge of the periodic table has gathered a little dust of late then the rare earths are the ones in the box at the bottom, the ones that don’t connect with the rest of the table, the ones with long funny names that tend to end in ium. Where does one go to look for these strange exotic elements? Well, generally you have two options: China, or nowhere. China almost holds a monopoly but a decidedly hefty chunk of the export privileges of rare earth met-
als’ around 97% in fact. As such China is the nation that most businesses in search of these metals turn to. This isn’t because rare earth elements are particularly rare, despite what the name suggests. These metals are simply difficult to extract, the process is dirty and dangerous, it requires mining which, judging be recent events is not a profession that has become particularly safe as of yet. All of these factors contribute to the fact that most nations are ready to allow China carry on with this trade and China, in order to feed its phenomenal growth rate is probably quite happy to continue to sell them. The beauty, if you want to see it that way, of having such a large chunk of the business is that you decide who you sell to and you decide the price. All’s fair in love and war though right? China has rare earths Japan has money, boom boom job done. Well apparently not, not for the last two months anyway. Since an alter-
cation over disputed islands in the East China Sea, during the course of which the Japanese took Chinese prisoners, China has stopped selling rare earth elements to the Eastern technological hub. Now you may say sell to who you want buy from who you want but think about it this way, China has a vastly expanding economy, this from the second biggest economy in the world already, it has nuclear weapons, it has massive man power, it has a billion citizens living within a strict government, could you really paint a better picture of a country that could become more than powerful, a country that could control the world? It’s an undeniable truth that today’s world relies on technology that should really, logically, be luxury. It’s clear that if the people of today are technologically advanced nations were suddenly cut off from the materials that create their iPods, their satnav and their Sky+ not only would they be lost and bored,
(and they'd severely miss Desperate Housewives) but they, as people and as nations would be pretty angry. This gives China massive power, people aren’t about to stop needing these elements, China can raise their prices, China can make demands and China can impose restrictions and really, what is there that anywhere else can do about it? This is the dark side of the free market. Fortunately for Japan, or so you may say, the trade embargo has been lifted and in a mysterious turn of events the prisoners have also been released, spooky that. Unfortunately for China it would appear the Japanese have seen this coming, hardly surprising given the historical nature of relations between the two oriental players. Japanese corporations have begun the process of opening trading avenues with Australia, the companies Sojitz and Lynas have, given 70% exclusive import privileges to Japanese companies of the rare
earth elements that they extract. A nation taking advantage of the fact that rare earth metals are in fact not really rare at all. How many nations will actually be willing to take this on though, mining has been pretty much killed off forever in Britain and it’s hardly a major concern of many Western nations either, mining isn’t the image of a cutting edge twenty-first century G20 nation. So are there any other options? Any ways that nations and be emancipated from this latest tie of obligation? The rare earth dilemma is quite likely to become one like the oil dilemma: one that can only be fixed by finding new ways, forging new paths and innovation. A way to stop relying on things that come out of the ground. Hitachi, the Japanese manufacturing giant, has developed a new kind of motor which uses ferric oxide, a cheaper and easier to source alternative to the contested rare earths that China holds sway over, cutting them out of the trade picture.
China has taken a huge advantage in the race to gather materials
Let's do the time warp (again) Adam Clancy explains the tumultuous and confusing world of relativity. In science the point is to take data, fit it to a theory and work out something bizarre this new theory predicts. Putting it like that makes it sound mind numbing, but bear with me. Ninety-five years ago Einstein had the idea that nothing could travel faster than light. Now, if you throw a ball at someone’s face at ten mph, it’s going to hit their face at ten mph. If you then run at them at five mph and throw the ball, it will hit their face at 15 mph. Now imagine you stand still and shine a torch at someone’s face, the light will hit them at, well, the speed of light. Now run at them at five mph, shine the torch at them. The light should travel at the speed of light plus five mph. Except that would
be faster than the speed of light so cant happen. Oddly, even though the running person’s light is travelling is the same speed as the standing one, it will get there quicker. If the speed isn’t changing but the time it takes to go across a set distance is, then something weird is going on. And it is. By running at that extra five mph, the running person is warping reality, changing the shape of the space time continuum. To us, time is this linear thing that bumbles along at its own unrelenting pace. You may think a year seems shorter now than when you were a kid, but most people see it as a constant, with each year lasting the same amount of time as every preceding year. The problem is that the
same year lasts a different amount of time for each person. If you get two stopwatches and put one of them in a plane and fly it round the world a couple of times while the other sits on the runway, when the plane lands, the two stopwatches have experienced a different amount of time; the plane warps spacetime so the watches exist for different amounts of time. Spacetime itself is pretty cool because it runs completely contrary to how we see the world. If I told you to point up, or forward or left I would like to think you would know what to do. These are the three spatial dimensions. If I told you to point to the past, then you would probably have a bit more of a problem. We experience
space and time as two completely separate things; we have different perceptions of them. Physics begs to differ and it’s a lot more complicated. As a great man once said “People assume that time is a strict progression of cause and effect, but actually from a non-linear, nonsubjective view point, it’s actually a big ball of wibbly wobbly… timey wimey… stuff ” and he was right. The main advantage of all this stuff is that by saying time isn’t as fixed as mankind once thought; some of the stuff from sci-fi might actually be possible. Epic stuff like time travelling delorians and warp drives. We don’t see all the dimensions there may be others we cant physically comprehend and we might find a way to go through
them to travel really large distances in virtually no time at all. Think of spacetime like an atlas, to go from Cardiff to Sydney you need to go a really long way, with a 3D globe you can go through the middle of the earth and the distance is shorter because you added another dimension. This is pretty much how wormholes would work, by having extra dimensions you can have these shortcuts. If we can use these to travel ten light years away and point a really really good telescope at earth, we could see what happened ten years ago as the light from then would have only just reached where we had wormholed to. And you have to admit, that would be pretty damn cool.
Taf-od Protest y myfyrwyr 25
Gyda phrotestio ar hyd y wlad, aeth Taf-od i weld beth sy'n digwydd... Nia Brodrick Taf-Od Yn dilyn y protestiadau mawr yn Llundain ar y 10fed o Dachwedd fel corff o fyfyrwyr, y cam nesaf i fyfyrwyr yn erbyn y toriadau oedd protestio'n heddychlon fel Prifysgolion unigol. Penodwyd un dyddiad ar gyfer y brotest gyntaf o’r math yma, ac ar ddydd Mercher, Tachwedd y 24eg fe wnaeth myfyrwyr Prifysgolion Prydain weithredu'n lleol. Dechreuodd y protestio yng Nghaerdydd tu allan i'r brif adeilad am hanner dydd. Yn wahanol i’r protestiadau mawr yn Llundain, bu holl fyfyrwyr Caerdydd yn cydweithio gyda’r heddlu, ac fe sicrhaodd hyn brofiad heddychlon a buddiol i bawb. Casgliad o faneri, myfyrwyr a rhigymau oedd tu allan y brif adeilad, gyda siaradwyr a chamerâu teledu hefyd yn bresennol. Er bod naws tebyg i naws protest fawr Llundain yno gyda’r cyffro, y bloeddio a’r rhwystredigaeth , doedd dim ofn fod pethau yn mynd i fynd o chwith. Bwrlwm o egni a chyfle i fynegi barn oedd y brotest ym Mhrifysgol Caerdydd. I lawer, roedd hi’n amlwg yn gyfle i weithredu drostyn nhw eu hunain, eraill yn gwneud hyn ar gyfer y genhedlaeth nesaf - dros frodyr a chwiorydd iau. Yn debyg i nifer o Brifysgolion eraill Prydain, fe feddiannodd rhai o fyfyrwyr Prifysgol Caerdydd ystafell ddarlithio. Wedi aros yno am ddeg ar hugain awr, fe adawodd y meddianwyr yn hapus gyda’r amo-
Above: Oes ots gennych chi? Ymunwch. dau gadael a gytunwyd gyda’r Brifysgol. Nid dyma’r unig brotest y gynhaliwyd yng Nghaerdydd gan
y myfyrwyr. Ar ddydd Mawrth, Tachwedd y 30ain bu protest arall, y tro yma yn dechrau yng nghanol y dref. Cynhaliwyd Carnifal yng
nghanol y siopwyr. Er mwyn ceisio anwybyddu'r oerfel, bu canu, dawnsio a mwynhau'r adloniant oedd ar gael, oll er mwyn pwysleisio pwynt -
dydy myfyrwyr ddim yn hapus gyda chodiad yn y ffioedd Prifysgol.
Trafod, trafod a rhagor o drafod Llyr Gwyn Lewis Taf-Od Tra bod aelodau Awdurdod S4C yn dadlau ymysg ei gilydd a oedd eu cadeirydd wedi ymddiswyddo ai peidio yr wythnos diwethaf, daeth criw dethol o wrandawyr ynghyd i glywed Dr Simon Brooks o Brifysgol Caerdydd, David Donovan o undeb BECTU a Silvia Grassi yn trafod yr argyfwng sy’n wynebu’r unig sianel deledu Gymraeg ei hiaith, yn adeilad y Dyniaethau, Prifysgol Caerdydd. Trafododd Simon Brooks sefyllfa annerbyniol bresennol S4C, a’r hyn y gall y cyhoedd ei wneud i achub y sianel. Tanlinellodd y ffaith nad oes sicrwydd o gwbl y caiff S4C yr un lefel o gyllideb ar ôl 2015, ac awgry-
modd bod nifer yn tueddu i weld dyfodol S4C ar batrwm BBC Alba, y sianel Gaeleg ei hiaith. Pwysleisiodd na ellir, ac na ddylid ar unrhyw gyfrif, gymharu’r ddwy sianel, a bod angen gweithredu’n awr i sicrhau dyfodol S4C ymhen pum mlynedd. Rhaid gweithredu, awgrymodd, tra bo awdurdod y sianel mewn trybini gan ddefnyddio’r argyfwng diweddaraf hwn i danlinellu difrifoldeb y sefyllfa, cyn i lywodraeth San Steffan frwsio’r cyfan yn daclus o dan garped y Nadolig a’r flwyddyn newydd. Yn ogystal â rhoi llais i farn nifer yn y gynulleidfa drwy awgrymu bod rheolwyr S4C wedi gwneud smonach ohoni ac wedi arwain y sianel i’r cyfeiriad anghywir ers y newid i deledu digidol, mynegodd
David Donovan ei siom bod y sylw a roddwyd i’r sianel yn wyneb yr argyfwng cyllid diweddaraf wedi esgor ar gyfle i nifer o hen elynion yr iaith ganfod fforwm i’w syniadau drachefn. Prif rybudd Donovan oedd na ddylai’r argyfwng presennol arwain at wyntyllu syniadaeth wrth-Gymreig nad yw’n deilwng o genedl fodern, ddatganoledig. Agoriad llygad mwya’r noson i nifer o’r gynulleidfa oedd anerchiad Silvia Grassi, a’i darlun diddorol o sefyllfa ddarlledu Catalunya. Er i Catalunya ddioddef blynyddoedd o ormes dan gyfundrefn ffasgaidd, ac er na chydnabyddir hi hyd heddiw fel gwlad gan lywodraeth Sbaen, yr oedd yn amlwg fod ei diwydiant darlledu, o dan ei llywodraeth a’i chorfforaeth ei hun, yn ffynnu.
Roedd clywed bod corfforaeth ddarlledu Catalunya yn darparu saith sianel wahanol drwy gyfrwng yr iaith yn destun ysbrydoliaeth, a nifer o’r rhain wedi eu hanelu at blant a phobl ifanc. Yn sgîl hyn, fe’n hatgoffwyd nad methiant yw pob elfen o S4C, a bod y gwasanaeth i blant, ‘Cyw’, yn wasanaeth clodwiw na ddylid ei ddibrisio, fel sydd wedi ei wneud yn ddiweddar gan lawer, oherwydd nad oes, yn ôl ystadegau sy’n anwybyddu unrhyw wylwyr o dan 5 oed, neb yn ei wylio. Roedd gan y gynulleidfa ddigon i’w ddweud hefyd, a chafwyd trafodaeth helaeth ac adeiladol yn dilyn yr anerchiadau. Pwysleisiwyd bod angen codi ymwybyddiaeth o’r sefyllfa yng nghadarnleoedd y Gymraeg, nad ydynt o reidrwydd yn
llawn werthfawrogi’r argyfwng yng Nghaerdydd. Barn gwrandawr arall oedd bod ystadegau camarweiniol ynghylch y gostyngiad mewn gwylwyr ers y newid i ddigidol yn arf peryglus iawn yn nwylo gelynion y sianel a’r iaith. Ni chaiff y broblem hon ei datrys yn llwyr hyd nes y caiff y Cynulliad bwerau gwell sy’n golygu y daw S4C yn gorff a reolir, ac a ariennir, gan Gymru yn hytrach na chan lywodraeth yn Llundain. Ond pwysleisiwyd bod angen gweithredu’n fuan i ddatrys y sefyllfa argyfyngus ddiweddar hon cyn gallu edrych ar ddyfodol mwy hir-dymor y sianel.
Comments from the week’s news, opinion, features and sport at www.gairrhydd.com What a load of Rubbish
html Chris ---
Paul --I think there is quite a bit of publicity and free green and white bags are readily available in Cathays. But LANDLORDS/LETTING AGENTS should be more responsible, they should ensure that students know which day is bin day and what goes where (which tbh is quite simple with the system that Cardiff Council use), they should also ensure that rubbish is not mounting up in front gardens. Most landlords and letting agents just seem to be after the cash and couldn’t give two hoots about either their properties or they neighbourhood/local area. Lecturers support student protest David Hatton --Quite frankly the protests were despicable; what ever happened to a peaceful protest; the way those people were behaving was disgusting. How does this represent students today? Do we want these vandals at university? I hope they get charged and compromise their positions at any university. Isn’t it time we had a little perspective? http://davidhatton1987.blogspot. com/2010/11/little-perspective.
Couldn’t agree more. Adam Troth --Let me start by agreeing with Jonathan (which isn’t something that happens too often) in reiterating the importance of peaceful protest and the rule of law. The scenes we saw last week were a complete disgrace, and undermined the main protest march which passed off peacefully. The comments made by Sam Coates could be seen as irresponsible by some, but I will focus more on “Commentator” (like the rioting students, please unmask yourself and show us who you are), and his/her comments that smashing windows of the HQ of a legal, legitimate and democratically elected political party is somehow “ethical”. Spare a thought for the hundreds of people who were working inside, many of whom had absolutely nothing to do with the Tory party, who were terrorised and inconvenienced by the rioting and vandalism. Think of the scarce taxpayer’s money which will no doubt be used to pay for the damages. If the moron who thought he was being clever by lobbbing a fire extinguisher off the top of the building was so roundly jeered and
booed by fellow demonstrators, then why on earth did they not hand him into the police straight away? Didn’t they realise how damaging these kind of actions can be? I think both Commentator and Jonathan have thrown the word “murder” around a little too lightly when discussing these kinds of incidents. I agree entirely that the actions of the police in the Tomlinson case and many others were disproportionate and unacceptable, and that those involved have not been hold to account. I daresay Jonathan will echo these points, although you can hardly blame him for not mentioning it initially. As for these cuts being “ideologically driven and unnecessary”, regardless of whether or not this is true (I for one do not think it is), I haven’t seen anyone in the Labour Party or on the Left in general propose a viable alternative. It’s very easy to stamp your feet and moan about how horribly unfair this all is. It’s a lot tougher to actually come up with a viable alternative and put it into practice. I will end though by agreeing with the comments about the VC being unaccountable and exorbitantly overpaid. Besides his address at the start of my first year, and half-heartedly reading out my name at Graduation, I really can’t think of any other contributions he made to my life at Cardiff. They may as well give Lee Evans the job.
Anon --I wonder how many of the editors at Gair Rhydd know that it was Labour who introduced tuition fees, and it was Labour that commissioned the Browne Report with the intentions of implementing its findings. Most of these articles consist of socialist nonsense condoning violence and criminal damage. Besides, the building is usually incorrectly referred to as ‘Tory HQ’ when it was in fact their campaign headquarters during the election. Even then, why weren’t you at the Lib-Dem HQ? They were the ones stupid enough to sign a pledge for a policy that was never going to be implemented, desperately pleading for the votes of students naive enough to believe them. The Left-leaning parties have proposed no viable alternative. Instead we have students with an over-inflated sense of entitlement stamping their feet and yelling “me me me I want this I want that for free NOW”, buying into Harriet Harman’s laughable attempts at reaching out to them pretending Labour is the student-friendly party.
tion/2010/nov/24/tuition-fees-higher-education The NUS can dress up and justify violence all they like. But they’re going to get little sympathy from the public who are refusing to buy into these rubbish excuses like ‘oh, they weren’t students, they were anarchists!’ when many of them clearly were the former. Pippa Lewis---
In response to Anon: As a gair rhydd news editor I am more than aware that it was Labour that introduced tuition fees and that it was labour who commissioned the Browne Report. I hardly think that you can accuse this article of being full of ‘socialist nonsense’ when as a news article it is an impartial account of what happened during the protests displaying points from both sides of the argument. As for other articles in the gair rhydd, some may condone the violence but surely it is our job to encourage debate and let everyone contribute. As it happens I actually agree with your points but as a part of the student media I don’t feel that it is right that we sensor articles to suit our own personal opinions.
George --The boy who threw the fire extinguisher was indeed a student. http://www.guardian.co.uk/educa-
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Away on a placement? Heading abroad? In bed with a hangover?
Big Band goes for gold Jo Greet Reporter Cardiff University Big Band picked up a Gold award at the West of England and South Wales Regional heat of the National Concert Band Festival in Monmouth on Sunday. The band, under the direction of conductor Jeremy Taylor, put in a really enthusiastic and tight performance in order to secure the coveted award. It was the first time that the band has entered the competition and the members were ecstatic with the result. The programme really showed off the band's skills and musical sensitivity as they demonstrated the laid back swing of Glenn Miller's 'American Patrol' as well as the driving funk sound of Gordon Goodwin's 'Get in Line'. The adjudicators of the competition were Kevin Price, Head of Brass at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and Andy Everton, a Trumpeter for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
Kevin Price complimented the band saying that there were ''some great solos and real spirit.â€? The atmosphere was tense but this turned to euphoria as it was announced that the band had attained a Gold Award for the Open Big Band Class. Conductor Jeremy Taylor was ecstatic and said, "I thought the band's performance was excellent and a real credit to the hard work put in over the last couple of weeks." This result means that the band have now qualified to represent the University in the National Concert Band Festival in at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow next April. The band play a number of gigs throughout the year and are available to play at any of your society events. The band's next gig is on December 10 at 7.30pm in the University Concert Hall on Corbett Road and it promises to be a fun filled evening with some festive Christmas hits!
Monday Dec 6 Police Student Initiative: PACT Meeting -Crwys Road Methodist Centre, 7pm
SKIP: Mince Pie & Mulled Wine night -Pretence cafe on Whitchurch road, 7pm
Tuesday Dec 7 Art Society: Canvass Session -Gareth Edwards Room, SU, 7pm
Duke of Edinburgh Soc: Christmas Social -Location TBC, 7.30pm
Wednesday Dec 8 Marrow Society: Buffers -SU, 12pm
TCUPS: Christmas Concert -University Concert Hall (on Corbett Rd)
Thursday Dec 9 Politics: CUPS Nativity Rave Christmas Social -Meet at Woodville, 8.30pm
Spanish and Italian: Christmas Meal and Party -Las Havanas, 6pm
Students For Life: Bryan Kemper -Main Building, room 1.25, 7pm
TRAFFIC: Social -Cafe Jazz
Act One: Alice in Pantoland Above: Big Band Society
Society event causes Facebook commotion
Friday Dec 10 RATPack: Graffiti Social -Taff and Boombox, 9pm
Chaos Society: Christmas Social -Location TBC, 7pm
Bianca London Societies Editor A society event is set to become the biggest event of the year with over 4000 individuals already expressing interest. Cardiff University Green Party created a Facebook page to advertise its latest event. Within a day a considerable 88 people had confirmed their attendance. The numbers increased exponentially and by the end of the week almost 4000 individuals from all over the country had expressed interest. The profound popularity was caused by one simple name; Noam Chomsky is coming to town. Chomsky is one of the most wellknown intellectuals of this century in topics ranging from linguistics to politics. Describing himself as a libertarian socialist, he has established himself as a prominent critic of the United States including both its foreign and domestic
policies and it is estimated that he is the most widely quoted author. Despite his lecture "The Current Crises in the Middle East" not taking place until March 11, plans are already under way to try and accommodate the thousands of expected guests. Jack Parker, society Co-Chair, explains how messages have been streaming in from other societies and groups wanting to help out with dozens of desperate individuals commenting on the Facebook page in search of tickets. "For those of you interested, tickets are not yet available but the best thing you can do is to add your name to the group, linked below, and prepare yourself for what will be the biggest society event of the year- possibly of a generation" he says. Visit this page for all the event informationwww.tinyurl.com/ chomskyevent
Saturday Dec 11 Cath Soc" Christmas Meal -Y Mochyn Du Pub, 7pm
Windband Society: Christmas Concert -Music Department Concert Hall, 7pm
Sunday Dec 12 Marrow Society: Social -Talybont, 12pm
Pole Dancing Society: Drop-In -Cathays Community Centre, 8pm
To feature an event or article email societies @gairrhydd.com
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Hear Xpress at its best! Friday December 3 - Friday December 10 Xpress are doing 'Showcase Week'. MASSIVE prize giveaway! Tune in for your chance to win: - Xbox - Four tickets to NME Awards Tour - Four tickets to Cardiff's Winter Wonderland
by Daniel Judd
31 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 you simply must check it out. Playing the very best 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. 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. SCISSOR SISTERS, CIA, £30,7.30pm I bloody love the Scissor Sisters. Who can resist screaming the lyrics to 'Take your mamma out all night...'? It's a classic. Although, I'm not sure whether the £30 ticket price is worth it, especially this close to Christmas. Might be a nice present for a closet fan though?
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, £2, 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. This week the line-up looks amazing as usual, with performances from Kai Humphries and Mark Nelson. Kai is a happy-go-lucky, supremely funny and truly loveable Geordie comedian, and he has recently supported Rhod Gilbert on his tour. Mark is notorious for his dark humour, and will be sure to get you laughing at things you know you shouldn't laugh at! You're guaranteed a good night at Comedy Club. See you there.
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. 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, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nina Simone, as well as original tunes.
MELVANA, Clwb, £4, 7pm I've just heard that Melvana are a tribute to Nirvana and The Melvins. To me, this sounds bloody awful, and you'd have to pay me to go. However, I guess it could be someone's cup of tea. I mean, perhaps there's a niche for shite music out there... either way, I won't be going. BUMPER, Buffalo Bar, £4 after 11pm Massive jump-up party anthems and beat-driven mayhem. Expect Justice, Dizzee, Chromeo, Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem, Soulwax, La Roux and the Klaxons.
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? MAMMA MIA - THE MUSICAL, Wales Millennium Centre, £Various, 7.30pm Who can resist the cheesy, Abba-filled goodness of Mamma Mia? Certainly not I. This smash-hit musical, featuring the songs of Abba woven around the heart-warming tale of Donna and her daughter Sophie, is a feel-good favourite which can be enjoyed by all ages. If you haven't got anything better to do with your Friday night, why not get some cheap tickets and head on down to the Bay to sing your little heart out? For ticket prices and more information see http:// www.mamma-mia.com for further information.
C.Y.N.T, Clwb, £4, 10pm 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.
NO SWEAT PRESENTS: PORT ERIN, DRAW ME STORIES AND ALEX COMANA, CAI, FREE, 9pm I'm not sure who any of these bands are, but you are guaranteed an alternative evening.
Friday 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.
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.
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. THE BIG SUNDAY RECOVERY PROJECT, CAI, FREE, 12pm What’s the Sunday project ? It’s a regular’s social gathering to end the week. You get together over a late Sunday Roast or just laze around with fellow hung-over friends on the Sofas. Enjoy a Sunday ‘Institution’, weekly - Squeaky Hill Pub Quiz are back. The only quiz that provides you with a general all round work out, utilising the physical, mental and creative parts of your brain that other pub quizzes just can’t reach! It's free to play, and there's loads of exciting prizes to be won.
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 ◆
Barca give Real a footballing master-class Carl Noyce analyses Barcelona's 5-0 thrashing of José Mourinho's Real Madrid and what it means for the rest of the La Liga season
ack in April, when José Mourinho witnessed his Inter Milan side lose 1-0 at the Nou Camp, it was enough for them to progress to the Champions League Final. Mourinho labelled it his “most beautiful” defeat. His return to the Nou Camp will live long in the memory as well, but for all the wrong reasons. It would be easy to talk all day about where Mourinho’s Real Madrid Galacticos went wrong in their 5-0 defeat to Barcelona. It would, however, be more fitting to examine the brilliance of their old foes. Real Madrid and spectators alike were treated to a football masterclass, once again orchestrated by the precision of Xavi and executed by another of Spain’s World Cup heroes, David Villa. This was Barcelona’s toughest fixture to date, and it was a breeze. Is there any team that can match their style of play, their immense quality on the ball and the fluidity that runs through the entire team from back to front? The answer? World champions Spain - half of their team are from the Catalan club. Barcelona’s thrashing of Madrid should serve as a lesson for both teams rather than a premature conclusion to the current campaign. Although in recent seasons El Clasico has had a large influence on the destination of the La Liga title, neither side can consider it won or lost from this match. While Madrid are an improving side under the stewardship of Mourinho, there is clearly much harder work ahead. This is the first time his newly assembled team faced a formidable challenge and they crumbled to their first defeat under the Special One. A repeat will not be tolerated in the return fixture in April at the Bernabéu. The home side’s relentless start to the match left Madrid in shock but the visitors should not have been surprised. This Barca team are a formidable force. They press high up the pitch, the forwards play as the first line of defence. Their
ability to retain possession and to do so much more than merely knock the ball side to side is well documented. Last season, Inter Milan were able to limit Josep Guardiola’s side to two goals in the Champions League semi-final. This happened because of resilient defending and six defensive players doing their best to remain in their own half. Although it was a tactic successfully employed in the past, rarely can you keep out players who have the craft and ingenuity of Messi, Pedro, Iniesta and the rest. They can be the undoing of the most disciplined defence. El Clasico was the perfect stage for Barcelona to reclaim top spot in the league; they demonstrated exactly why they have won the last two La Liga titles. In the week building up to a game that was reportedly watched by over 400 million people, Guardiola blocked his players from doing interviews, choosing instead to keep them out of the spotlight.
Above: David Villa scored twice as Barcelona thrashed Real Madrid
Real Madrid and spectators alike were treated to a footballing masterclass
Mourinho, meanwhile, attempted his own Jedi mind tricks in front of the world’s media. Unfortunately for the former Chelsea boss, Guardiola’s men were immune to this. But just as we shouldn’t write off Barcelona as champions, it would be most unwise to do the opposite to the Special One’s Madrid side, who will only be motivated by such a humbling defeat. Elsewhere in La Liga, former Real Madrid manager Manuel Pellegrini has taken the hot-seat at Málaga, taking the job in early November. The Chilean has been employed to try and revive the fortunes of Málaga, who currently sit in 18th position in La Liga. This represents somewhat of a coup for the Andalusian Club, to attract a manager who last season took Real Madrid to a record points total in the league, only to be narrowly surpassed by Barcelona. He was reportedly interviewed for the manager’s job at Liverpool in the summer too.
The former Real coach also experienced success as manager of Villarreal. During his reign at the Madrigal he was only a penalty away from the 2006 Champions League final (Jens Lehman denying Juan Román Riquelme to send Arsenal through instead) and guided the Yellow Submarines to a second place finish in the 2007-2008 season. Málaga’s outgoing boss, Jesualdo Ferreira, was only given nine games before facing the axe. Pellegrini will need to improve results quickly if he wants to last longer. Many will feel Pellegrini will have a point to prove, especially after the scathing criticism of Madrid paper ‘Marca’ during his reign at the Bernabéu. But the Chilean should command respect for the jobs he has done at both Villarreal and Real Madrid. He has, arguably, provided the latter with a platform that José Mourinho will hope to build success upon.
Monday December 6 2010 • gair rhydd • email@example.com
'Tis the Season for Sport
Alex Winter previews the best of the sporting action over the festive period
adies and Gentlemen! Are you ready?…you know the rest: the boorish introduction to a firm feature of the Christmas season. Not one, but two World Darts Championships. Nothing says Christmas like watching overweight men (save German Roland Scholten and Australian Simon Whitlock) throwing some arrows. Neither does football fans who want some indoor entertainment to watch while consuming as much alcohol as they can fit on their elongated tables: a very cheap version of Oktoberfest. The PDC-Sky Sports version at the Alexandra Palace is undoubtedly the higher quality of the two tournaments but its continual domination by Phil Taylor results in a worse competition, save Raymond van Barneveld's challenge. Counterintuitively, the poorer standard of the BDO-BBC event produces an outrageous level of unpredictability where any old mucker arrives and storms their way through the tournament. Phill Nixon was a househusband from Durham who decided to play darts in his spare time; he reached the 2007 final on a wave of hilarity at the patient nature of his play. Dave Chisnall was another man from nowhere who had a run to last year’s final. He admitted his preparation for the final was “to go down the pub for a couple of pints.”
feat not achieved for 30 years. The Welsh National can give some clues to contenders for the Aintree Grand Natonal in April. Racing returns to its home at Cheltenham on New Year's Day.
he traditional opening of the Christmas sporting season provides a triumphant review of the sporting year and crowns the Sports Personality of the Year. It’s another chance for the smaller sports to regain the limelight and this season we will relive Amy Williams slide to gold in the Skeleton Bob at the Winter Olympics. Largely forgotten, Williams’ hard work and sacrifice produced a truly golden moment in Vancouver. But the favourites are two Northern Irishmen: Graeme McDowell, who held his nerve to win the final Ryder Cup singles match to bring home the cup for Europe at the Celtic Manor; and Tony McCoy, the 15-times champion jockey who finally won the Grand National on 'Don’t Push It' back in April. Other contenders include Jessica Ennis, whose heptathlon gold at the European Championships confirmed her position as the queen of athletics after her World Championship title last year. Tom Daley also makes the shortlist after another victorious year. At just 16 he continues to show ability far beyond his years, adding European and Commonwealth titles to his World Championship gold.
orseracing offers some of the best festive entertainment, with 27 fixtures between Christmas and New Year. Top of the bill is dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner 'Kauto Star'. The Paul Nicholls-trained pin-up of racing is bidding for a record fifth consecutive success in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. The three mile contest is Kauto’s second run of the season after an easy reintroduction at Down Royal in November. A fifth King George
would be a remarkable comeback. He was lucky to survive a fall on his neck in last season's Cheltenham Gold Cup. Kauto’s main challenger will be the current top chaser, 'Imperial Commander'. The 2010 Gold Cup champion won impressively in the Betfair Chase at Haydock last month but may be hampered by a cut leg. Trainer Nigel TwistonDavies says he will be fighting fit to usurp Kauto once again. The other major meeting is at Chepstow on December 27. 'Dream Alliance' will be running for a consecutive Welsh Grand National – a
he Ashes continues with the traditional Boxing Day Test at Melbourne. Traditionally, the Test where the England support is at its greatest, the Barmy Army’s massed ranks will be hoping England are on their way to retaining the urn in Australia for the first time since 1987. The final Test begins in Sydney on January 3. Football festivities have the tastiest aperitif when Chelsea host Manchester United on December 19. Tottenham’s visit to Aston Villa is the pick of the Boxing Day Premier League games before Arsenal play Chelsea a day later. A top of the table clash provides the pick of the Football League action as Coventry City take on Queen's Park Rangers on December 28. North of the border, the Old Firm do battle again on January 2. There’s also a London derby in rugby’s Guinness Premiership as Saracens and Wasps meet at Wembley on Boxing Day.
Racing King George VI Chase, Kempton, Sunday December 26, C4, 15.00 Welsh Grand National, Chepstow, Monday December 27, BBC, 14.10 Cheltenham, Saturday January 1, C4, 12.30 Football Chelsea v Man Utd, Sunday December 19, Sky Sports, 16.00 Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa, Sunday December 26, Sky Sports, 17.30 Coventry City v QPR, Tuesday December 28, Sky Sports, 12.15 Arsenal v Chelsea, Tuesday December 28, Sky Sports, 20.00 Rangers v Celtic, Sunday January 2, Sky Sports, 12.45 Darts PDC World Championships, Thursday December 16 - Monday January 3, Sky Sports BDO World Championships, Saturday January 1 - Sunday January 9, BBC Cricket Australia v England, Ashes 4th Test, Sunday December 26 - Thursday December 30, Sky Sports 5th Test, Monday January 3 Friday January 7, Sky Sports Rugby Saracens v Wasps, Wembley Stadium, Sky Sports, 14.45
Dancing to Success
Bouncing in Bristol
DanceSport enjoy fantastic tournament
Emily Russell Trampolining
Rachel Henderson DanceSport Cardiff University DanceSport Club kicked off the start of their Ballroom and Latin Dance season with some fantastic results at the Warwick University Competition on Sunday November 21. The club gained some of the best results in their recent history. Cardiff's couples had a great day, with many partnerships making it through to the later rounds. Cardiff's beginners really proved themselves with partners Sophie Olley and Becky Wadey finishing 18th out of over seventy couples in the beginners’ waltz. In the novice ballroom category, two Cardiff couples made it through
to the finals, proving their wonderful waltz and quickstep skills. Sam Durley and Helen McKenzie came an impressive eighth place. Meanwhile, Steven Griffiths and dance partner Aimee Cridland just beat their fellow team-mates to finish in a remarkable seventh place position. Team Captain Joanne Shearer and her partner Daniel Moore reached the finals of intermediate ballroom, finishing in an amazing second place after their waltz, tango and quickstep. The couple also finished in sixth place in the intermediate latin final after their combination of cha cha cha, rumba and jive. The couple also placed sixth in the open basic rumba. In the ex-student event, Sam Dur-
ley with Luiza Patorski, came fourth in ballroom with their foxtrot, waltz and quickstep. The day culminated in the team event in which Cardiff truly proved what they were made of on the dance floor. Both Cardiff A and B teams made progress in division one, with
Christmas Sport Preview << Inside team A making it to the semi-finals while team B finished in a very respectable eighteenth place. In division two, teams C and D carried
on Cardiff ’s string of success. Team D finished in nineteenth place. Team C stormed their way through the rounds, successfully reaching the final. The team consisted of couples Sebastian Buchert and Sophie Kendall, Rae Greenacre and Jess Donaldson, Joelle Loew and Sarah Phillips, and Robb Hunt and Jenny Riley . Team C finished in a terrific fifth place, even beating teams from Oxford into a medal winning position. Overall Cardiff enjoyed a very successful competition and are now looking forward to their next competitive event in Bath on December 4.
The Trampoline Club crossed the Severn bridge to Bristol for their second competition of the year. The team had another successful weekend, with many mproving their score from the previous competition. Cardiff won three categories which has given the team high hopes for the Welsh Championships on December 12. Significant performances came from Katie Wilkinson winning the novice category and Finn McAlinden and Elly Blackwell winning the elite category. The elite team of Craiger Solomons, Holly Bryant, Elly Blackwell and Lydia Osborn also deserve a mention for finishing third place overall.
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