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gair rhydd Monday October 24 2011 | freeword – Est. 1972 | Issue 960

The great divide gair rhydd investigates the changing fortunes of the University’s two largest residences

£220, 000 refurbishment of Talybont Social Plans for new 179 student block at Talybont

as

Uni Hall Bar closes Facilities deteriorate

Left: The newly refurbished Talybont social; Right: The closed doors of Uni Halls Bar

New six storey house for Talybont North Barred Matt Jones News Editor Plans are being made for a new building that will house up to 179 students in Talybont North student residences. The new six storey block will be built on the site of the overflow car park at Talybont Gate. Currently the project is still in early stages of planning, but projected costs are estimated to be around £6.5 million. It is expected that construction will take place from early 2012 until Summer 2013. One major concern about the project could be that noisy construction work will be taking place in the same vicinity as students who are working in their flats. This would be a particular problem during exam preparation when most students will be attempting revision. Ben Jones, a 2nd year Bioscience student who lived in

Talybont North last year, said “It’s hard enough adjusting to first year in uni anyway let alone coping with the noise of building work, especially before exams”. However, when asked whether they shared worries about potential disruption a University spokesperson said: “The construction site is at the edge of the Talybont site and is separated to a certain extent from existing residences on Talybont North. “The construction process will be managed and overseen by Campus Services and Estates and in liaison with the appointed contractors to ensure the minimum disruption to students living on Talybont.” This is in fact the third proposal made by Cardiff University this year to build additional student housing in the area around Talybont. Plans were also submitted for a 249 flat project on Mynachdy

Road, just the other side of the railway line from Talybont North, and also a block of 23 flats at Cross Place in Maindy. Both of these proposals were met with concern from local residents, who felt that the area would not be able to sustain the parking that additional student housing would bring, and also that it could disturb what is seen as a quiet area. The new Talybont North proposals have also drawn apprehension over the fact that the new building will stand on the current overflow car park. Some residents are worried that the additional cars brought by students moving into the new block will be too many for the area. However, the University does not see this as a problem. A spokesperson said “Generally we discourage students from bringing vehicles with them to Univer-

sity. Those students who require parking are directed to apply for halls of residences that have parking spaces available.” Local councillor for Gabalfa, Ed Bridges, wrote to gair rhydd asking current Talybont residents for their responses to the proposals so that he could bring their opinions to the planning committee. He expressed some concern about the height of the new building, which will be six storeys rather than the four storeys that the other Talybont houses currently have. A spokesperson said: “The site does naturally drop down towards the edge of Talybont and so the new building will be an appropriate height alongside existing buildings, both in terms of University buildings and private sector businesses in the area and the general surroundings.”

The Taboo Issue

Laura Evans and Henry Mcmorrow News Editors

As of this academic year, the bar located at the University Halls Student Residences has been closed. University Halls, housing 672 students is the second largest of Cardiff student residences. Located 1.75 miles away from the campus, it is the most remote of all Cardiff University accommodation. A University spokesperson explained to gair rhydd: “Campus Services Division have been monitoring the situation with the Bar over a number of years as a result of a severe reduction in its usage by University Hall residents. Following a Business case review in April 2011, it was decided that the Bar would not open for 2011/12.” Continued on page 4...

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Monday October 24 2011

EDITOR Oliver Smith CO-ORDINATOR Elaine Morgan SUB-EDITORS Pippa Lewis Yas Langley Chris Williams NEWS Sheri Hall Henry McMorrow Hannah Pendleton Matt Jones Laura Evans OPINION Izzy Voss Libby van den Bosch COLUMNIST POLITICS Luke Slade Sophie Gidley FEATURES Ellen Atkinson Ali Ishaq SCIENCE Jenny Lambourne SOCIETIES Isabelle Roberts

SPORT Jamie Evans Zac Cole Jonathan Frank CONTRIBUTORS Lindsey Frodsham, Hugh Rodger, Alice Collins, Scott Kerpen, Alice Briggs, Lucy Barclay, Danielle Harris, Alex Calvin, Helen Cox, Cerith Rhys Jones, Jack Parker, Jodie Palombo, Georgie Bedford, Rebecca Saunders, Natalie Healy, Christina Tam, Sarah C. Uhl, Lawri Angharad Jones, Gareth Johnston, Mike McEwan, Pete Robertson, Rhys Clayton, Dale Jones, Louise Bungay Shavy Malhbtra, Shreya Das, Alec Care, Helen Cameron, Rebecca Wilson, Jia Goh,

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pg. 7

News explore Cardiff's failure to join the Times Top 200 Unis

pg. 11

gairrhydd

Opinion consider the recent media coverage of Carnage in Cardiff

Get involved. Contribution meetings:

- Monday - 5.00pm Aneurin Bevan Room

pg. 20-21

Features give the lowdown on how to stay healthy at Uni

- Monday - 5.30pm Aneurin Bevan Room

Sudoku pg. 23

Science look at the aftermath of Fukushima

pg. 30

Sport covers Dan Wheldon's tragic death

EASY

Taf-Od Caio Iwan

sport. taf-od. societies. science. features. politics. opinion. news.

02

For the answer and more puzzles, head over to page 28


News 1-7

Monday October 24 2011

Opinion Politics Features Science Societies Listings 25 27 23 - 24 9 - 12 14 - 16 19 - 21

Sport 30 - 32

03

gairrhydd

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Phoenix Jones: Seattle's own super hero! Emma Kate Marsden News Reporter Self proclaimed Seattle superhero and vigilante Phoenix Jones showed up for a brief hearing on Thursday October 13 at Seattle Municipal Court accused of assault. . The onetime mixed-martialarts competitor, real name Ben-

jamin Fodor, was arrested on Sunday. Police said he peppersprayed a group of innocent nightclub patrons he believed were involved in a street brawl. However, by all reports, they were in fact dancing and having fun. A video posted on the internet, shows Fodor in his superhero outfit rushing on foot

toward the revellers. He brandished a can of pepper spray at them yelling "call 911" after he was alerted to a 'huge fight'. Some in the crowd angrily fought back, with one woman screaming and beating Fodor with her shoes. On Thursday, he dramatically removed his mask and confirmed his real identity

60 Second Interview.... Finding enough time to achieve everything I want to alongside doing three sports and the 4th year of my Civil Engineering degree. My role is to make the Union and University consider its environmental and ethical impact, locally, nationally and globally. Get involved, it is much better to find yourself doing too much than struggling to fill your time. This year I have several big plans, from streamlining the process for societies organising events, collaborating with other groups and publicising to interested parties, to student switchoff and restarting the project to put solar PV panels on the Student’s Union roof.

@NadiaKamil

going to Allain Rol- I'm vomit in my paper bag & post it to land anger Greggs Allain Rolland. hits Twitter...

stating: "I'm Phoenix Jones. I'm also Ben Fodor. I also protect the city, I also am a father, I also am a brother. I'm just like everyone else. The only difference is that I decided to make a difference and stop crime in my neighbourhood and my area. I intend to keep making that difference. The charges were false."

He left his pinstriped shirt behind on a sidewalk, striding off in his mask and a faded black rubber shirt he uses as a back-up costume as the police are still holding his main costume. Prosecutors have so far declined to charge him.

free EDITORIAL

est.1972

I would like to offer my sincerest apologies to all those offended by the article printed in Taf Od last week entitled 'Roedd fy wythnos gyntaf yng Nghaerdydd'. It was printed due to an editorial oversight which will not happen again. Working with the newly appointed Taf Od editors we have amended our editorial process to include tighter controls put in place to prevent a mistake like this happening again. Furthermore I would encourage any Welsh speaking students or any students studying Welsh to contribute to the section, as only with your help can we develop it further. The Taf Od editors can be contacted at tafod@ gairrhydd.com Oliver Smith

@LiamLegend

@Gazzad131989

Referee chief Paddy O'Brien (Irish) has backed Allain Rolland (half Irish half French) decision to send off the Welsh Captain. Wazzock!

Sam Warburton was VERY UNLUCKY to be sent off. Allain Rolland better not come to Wales EVER again


04News

Monday October 24 2011

gairrhydd

gair rhydd News investigates students' feelings over the They claimed: “A severe reduction in usage has led to substantial financial losses over a number of years. Such losses have to be covered by residences fees.” This decision was made at the same time as a £220,000 development plan outlined for Talybont Social Centre. The University spokesperson claimed there was a greater need for refurbishments at Talybont because: “The facility is also used by sport visitors to site, conference and function bookings, University staff and as part of arrivals arrangements. Refurbishment of the Talybont Social Centre also created a new learning lounge with printing and photocopying services on site for all Talybont students.” The spokesperson added, “Students at University Hall have access to the same residences provision and facilities as those students at many other residences locations around the campus and Cardiff.” This news aside, there has been speculation that the Students’ Union may undertake the project. Nick Matthews, Finance and Commercial officer stated, “It is a real shame for students that the University chose to close the bar. It is understandable that the University wouldn't want to continue running a loss-making business, but the outcome has been that the students at Uni Halls now lack that central communal space. "We do hope that the Union can

Gareth Francis Medical Pharmachology

help these students by once again making this service available, but such a huge scale problem can by no means be remedied with a quick fix." University Halls students have raised concerns that they felt ‘betrayed’ by the University as facilities such as the bar and tennis courts were advertised on the Residences website, despite their closure having been decided prior to the residences application process. A University spokesperson claimed, “As soon as the business case review decision was taken, we amended all appropriate documentation that we could...but there is also a pdf file of a printed document we produce annually in December. Unfortunately we could not amend this, and it will be replaced by an updated version this December.” Helen Cox, a University Halls student has begun a petition that, as we go to print, has gained the support of over 400 students. Chris Davies, Welfare and Communications Officer said, “I’m not surprised they set up a petition. The loss of a safe and supervised space for students within the tight community of Uni Halls is upsetting. As well as a bar, that space offered a chance to meet people and to network with the student community. With the money being spent on Talybont there seems to be a huge discrepancy between the provisions for students at one residence compared to others. It seems those at Uni Halls are hard done by.”

Anna Klein English Literature

Dear Editor…

Below: Two ex-Uni Halls students, Sam Reid and Sarah Halpin comment on the closure of the bar:

,,

Continued from front page

We really enjoyed our time at Uni Halls and the bar was a really good social space. We think the lack of bar would detract massively from the students' experience. The nearest place to go was Albany Road which is not particularly safe to get to in the evenings. The University should be taking into account the fact that students need a social space...it's brilliant to see how great Taly Social is, but they seem to have just made a good thing better.

Jack Telford and Jamie Smith - Media and Journalism

Living in University Halls is a very enjoyable experience. The serene surroundings and leafy setting is the perfect location for University accommodation. Whilst there is almost a feeling of unity in the face of adversity amongst the residents there are obvious downsides as well. Number one drawback is of course the distance. Yes, there is a bus, but the infrequent times and lengthy journey means walking is often a more viable alternative, One of my lecturers lost a stone and a half in his first term at Uni Halls, which suggests he also walked instead of catching the, as he so beautifully put it, “clapped out K-reg doubledecker bus”. The issue about the bar is a tricky one. Personally, I would love to see a bar here purely for the sport. Knowing that I have to take a walk/ taxi to the Taf or other such places to watch the big sporting event of the weekend is often more trouble than it’s worth. However, I doubt the University took the bar away without good reason. One thing that we can surely all agree on is that you cannot advertise a bar and gym if those facilities are not available. When choosing my residence, I remember there being mention of a bar, gym and snooker room. This false advertising is unfair on students trying to make a very important decision on where to spend their first year of their degree. Additionally, the “tennis court” is merely a concrete area, with wire fencing, fading markings, and no net. Quite how this constitutes a tennis court, I’m not sure. The University should either stop labelling it on the map of Uni Halls, or fix the tennis court (preferably the latter). So far, I have had a brilliant time at Cardiff University, and really enjoy living at Uni Halls, and I hope my comments don’t give the wrong impression. However, if we have an inadequate £5 meal in a restaurant, we duly complain. Yet we pay huge fees for residences and our course, yet we often let mistakes and insufficient services/facilities go unreported. Taking steps to improve Uni Halls by re-opening the bar, gym, tennis court would be a huge improvement, and I’m sure students would appreciate it very much. But I doubt I will see these enhancements in my year. Please excuse me, I have to dash off. I’m late for the clapped out, Kreg bus... Rhys Clayton

Mary Rogers - Geography Zoe Powell - Economics

Rebecca Griffths, James Sutherland Medicine

,, ,, ,, ,, ,

It’s Bullshit. There should definitely be a bar. But I heard when it was here it was much more expensive than the Union bar so if its not as cheap then no one’s going to go there. If the Union ran the bar then maybe it wouldn’t make a loss.

We were told there was a social area before applying for accommodation. I think we need it because we don’t have a comfortable communal area. If you want to talk to flatmates as a group you have to sit in the kitchen. A bar would have been a relief.

The fact it was advertised and part of our fees means it’s not fair. There’s not a lot to say – we just have nowhere to socialise at all. The tennis court has no net either, it feels really run down and neglected. There's not even a local pub anywhere near here. It feels like we got the rough end of the deal.

We were lied to. It said there was going to be a bar and tennis courts. We feel betrayed by the University. We’re the furthest out so, in theory we deserve the most facilities. It’s annoying because we have to get a taxi , it would be nice to socialise here. It would be really good if the Union could help out because we’re still students at Cardiff University.

Everything’s closed. There’s no one to speak to directly about it. The online map shows all of these facilities and none of them are operational. Places like Talybont have them and we don’t. It wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t online.


News 1-7

Monday October 24 2011

Opinion Politics Feature Science Societies Listings 25 27 9 - 12 14 - 16 19 - 21 23 - 24

Sport 30 - 32

News05

gairrhydd

facilities available at University Halls and Talybont Dear Editor… I’m living in Talybont South, House One right now, and we have an amazing social centre literally a minute away from where I stay. It's a brilliant place to go and hang out with friends, meet new people, eat, enjoy a drink, play pool and enjoy several other recreational activities. In fact, on days when we have had a tough time at Uni and we just want to catch a few hours rest and relaxation, we go to the Social rather than town to have some hours of fun before we get back to the grind. It actually helps a lot and acts as a stress buster. You get great food there as well. I purchased a loyalty card for five pounds which gives me discounts and offers on drinks and food, so it's definitely an added bonus.

Distance to campus:

Shreya Das

University Halls 1.75 miles

Talybont 1.25 miles

Annual accommodation fees Talybont North

£2803

University Halls

£2803 £3269

Small Ensuite

Shared bathroom

Talybont South Ensuite

University Halls Ensuite

James Blair - Geology

£3269

Tom Riley Natalie Cox - Biology

Oliver de Shaguiar Geology

Nicole Zolad Kelly Barrett Psychology and Business

George Webb - Maths Ashley Copp - Business

,, ,, ,, ,, ,, Talybont Social is a great place to hang out with friends and meet new people. Cheap drinks as well!

Talybont has a nice feeling to it. It’s really good to go and watch sports matches so close to where we live, especially if the matches are on early! It’s a nice meeting place for students to congregate.

Talybont Social is sick. I’m glad I’m living here this year. It's awesome living right next door.

My flatmates are big fans of curry nights. I think it’s because it saves you going all the way to the Union. Prices are reasonable and a loyalty card makes it cheaper.

Talybont Social is really handy to go and grab something to eat or have a couple of pints with friends. There’s loads going on there with the Pub Quiz and Curry Night. If you didn’t want a hard night out in town then it’s ideal. You can even play FIFA there!


06News Lindsey Frodsham News reporter Throughout October, Cardiff University engineering student Nathan Catherall is uploading daily videos to his YouTube channel ‘TheMentalistish’, hoping to raise awareness and funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Hannah Pendleton News Editor This year's Global Welcome event attracted just 55 international students. Formerly known as 'International Interchange', as it was titled in 2010, the event sought to engage international students and provide them with a way of meeting each other. However, just 55 turned up for this opportunity. The low figures of attendance contrasts to last years International Interchange which brought 300 international and UK students. The initial aim was to encourage students to learn a new language.

Monday October 24 2011

The series follows a Halloween theme and involves magic tricks, joke’s and guest appearances from Nathan’s friends and family. Each video ends with a link to the JustGiving page where viewers can make a donation. Nathan is giving nothing away about what will happen in the final video on Halloween itself, but prom-

ises a “big finish, and a great end to the series”. Although he has already raised £403, more donations are needed to reach his target of £1,000. Marie Curie Cancer Care relies entirely on donations to provide its free nursing services nationwide. Marie Curie Cancer Care nurses work to ensure that terminally ill

gair

patients are cared for at home for as long as possible and that they visit a free hospice when necessary; an alternative to living in hospital. Nurses also provide emotional support for patients, families and carers, alongside wellbeing courses to help patients manage their symptoms and maintain their quality of life.

This is a charity especially close to Nathan’s heart since he lost his grandfather to cancer this year. All of Nathan’s videos and the link to his JustGiving page can be found at: www.youtube.com/user/TheMentalistish.

Hannah Pendleton News Editor Three Cardiff University students have won a year’s supply of Papa Johns pizza. Entry for the competition was open at the Companies Fayre in Cardiff Students Union on Tuesday September 28 where Papa Johns gave students the chance to win 12 free pizzas. Gair Rhydd were asked to randomly pick out the three winners after which it was officially announced that, Sarah Weaver, a first year studying Business Economics, and Hannah, a second year studying English Literature and Music had won the pizza competition. When we asked them how they are going to use their years supply of Papa Johns pizza. Hannah who just “popped” into the Companies Fayre for some freebies stated: “I might have to have a think about that. Alot of my friends are quite interested”. Sarah Weaver responded: “I’m going to share it with my housemates, I just thought it would be good to try and win”. At the time this issue went to print Gair Rhydd could not contact the third winner for a response.

Societies Officer, Harry Newman commented on the lack of attendance to the Global Welcome: “55 people in CF10 can feel a little thin on the ground. However, they are still 55 students who we are engaging with and whom perhaps wouldn't otherwise be benefiting from the Union's services on a Wednesday night. "We are always improving and while the event didn't loose money, it might have benefited from a promotional push earlier in the week. “Thanks to everyone who came, it was an enjoyable evening and proof that the Union offers a diverse range of opportunities for everyone.”


News 1-7

Opinion Politics Feature Science Societies Listings 25 27 9 -12 14 - 16 19 - 21 23 - 24

Sport 30 - 32

News07

Monday October 24 2011

Sheri Hall News Editor Cardiff University has failed to get into the world’s top 200 universities as ranked by the Times Higher Education league table. Last year the University fell out of the top 200 and have yet again failed to make it into the list of world-leading institutions. Shadow Education Minister Angela Burns said: “Cardiff University is a world-leading institution with the potential to reach top 50 status. It should be moving forwards – not slipping back.” Universities placed after 200 are ranked in bands with Car-

diff falling into 201-225. A University spokesperson said: “The Times Higher Education ranking table is only in its second year of operation in its current format and there has been considerable debate and discussion about how the table is constructed. “Last year the methodology produced a ranking of 255th for Cardiff, this year it is 204th.” The league table suggests that Cardiff University needs to improve its teaching if it is to have a chance of moving up the ranks. The institution scored just 29 for teaching, compared to 35 which was scored by universities ranked at places 196-200. A University spokesperson

added that the University is committed to performing well in league tables but that it does not solely rely upon them to measure its standards: “Our approach to improving teaching focuses on enhancing education experience of our students and, interestingly, the methodology for the Times Higher Rankings does not utilise any measurement of student experience or satisfaction.” “We work in partnership with the Students’ Union to address outcomes from the National Student Survey (NSS) and ensure that students’ views are acted upon to improve the educational experience.” However, Cardiff performed better than universities 196-200

in attracting international students and staff, but this aspect is deemed as less important by the ranking system. A Welsh Government spokesman said: “Although the outcomes of global rankings should not be viewed in isolation, we’re disappointed that no Welsh universities have made the top 200 list. “The Minister has made it clear that he wants to see a strong and vibrant HE sector in Wales and this means Welsh universities must demonstrate a commitment to change in order to be able to compete on the world stage.”

Hugh Rodger News reporter

A new dental training clinic has been opened at Cardiff University’s School of Dentistry. The refurbished Dental Education Clinic will allow 34 dental students to train in some of the most advanced and modern facilities in the UK. Facilities includes 34 dental chairs equipped with IT-enabled equipment for student dentists, dental hygienists and therapists to treat patients in real-life situations; the suite is supported by two radiography units Funded by the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, the £1.5m clinic was one of several new laboratory facilities opened by Julie Morgan, Assembly Member for Cardiff North. The additional facilities were also created by the School and funded by a £650,000 grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales to develop the School’s training facilities. Developments funded by the grant include refurbishment and re-equipment for the Pathology Laboratory, space conversion to create new tissue culture rooms, microscope rooms and a large general purpose laboratory. The School’s microbiology facilities have also been expanded to accommodate the increase in research. Professor Mike Lewis, Dean of the Dental School and Division Director of Dental Services in the University Health Board stated: “These twin developments are major steps forward for the Dental School and Dental Hospital. The facilities in the Dental Education Clinic are now as good as any in the UK. Our students will be able to treat real patients in real situations with state of the art equipment.” Health Minister for the Welsh Assembly Leslie Griffiths said: “This new facility, which combines modern technology with everyday learning, will deliver the wide range of skills and competencies, from a range of oral health practitioners required to prevent and treat poor dental health in future.”


News Politics Feature Science Societies Listings 25 27 19 -21 1 - 7 Opinion 14 - 16 23 - 24 9 - 12

Monday October 24 2011

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Sport 30 - 32

Opinion09

Sending Mum and Dad back to school

Alice Collins Opinion Writer

T

he government is trialing free parenting classes for all parents with children aged five and under in Middlesbrough, High Peak, and Camden with the objective being to develop the scheme in the rest of the UK. The idea is to provide support for all parents, not just those who are struggling, and the classes will cover areas such as communication and listening skills, managing conflict and ‘strengthening positive relationships in the family’, as well as the importance of parents working as a team. Parenting issues seem to be everywhere at the moment with programmes such as Supernanny and The World’s Strictest Parents showcasing demonic children and frazzled parents, so will the well worn advice of discipline and patience be well received by families? I think it will; parenting classes are a fantastic idea, not because parents don’t know how to raise children, but because all parents need a little extra support. The day when I decide to start a family is a long, long way away but I know my first thoughts will be ‘Mum! Help me!’ when confronted with a very dependent child. In the past, families were geographically much closer and support could be sought from parents and grandparents. However,

with many families now dispersed across the country rather than living as units, parenting classes could replace this source of advice and assistance. However much we may like to believe that when we have our own children everything will fall into place, the reality is that many aspects of parenting don’t come naturally. It is a well established fact that the first few years of a child’s life are the most important in terms of the speed of their learning, and parents must be able to nurture them in these critical years. Ed Owen, editor of fatherhood website www.daddybegood.com, has said: 'Some suggest that the first two years are decisive. This does not mean that every child must be schooled, drilled and disciplined to make them model citizens at this young age. No, it means that in the first years children must be loved.' And it will be a lot easier to provide that love with a few basic lessons to steer families in the right direction. Of course there will be those who will resist being told what to do by the government; critics have suggested that many parents who would benefit the most, for example teenage mothers, will be the least likely to seek out the service, but I disagree. I think that any first time parent would appreciate a bit of extra help, even if it is just to get out of the house and socialise with other people having similar experiences.

Scott Kerpen Opinion Writer

T

he government’s plan to introduce free parenting classes is controversial to say the least. The initiative will be trialled in three areas of the UK and will cost the taxpayer in excess of £5 million, even before set up costs are taken into account. In light of the biggest public spending cuts in decades, should the taxpayer really be funding such a scheme? Furthermore the whole thing suggests some sort of moral decline, but is this really the case? We should consider if it is right to blame the parents or whether there are other social factors at play. Plans to introduce free parenting classes across the UK have received widespread disapproval. This scheme comes only several months after the announced closures and cuts to Sure Start day care centres throughout the UK. Sure Start is a government initiative that claims to give “children the best possible start in life." They already provide a variety of services including advice and support for parents until their children start school. With this in mind, the proposals don’t seem to be as new as they claim. Surely the money being used to pilot this ‘new’ scheme would be of better use to Sure Start who are already established and provid-

ing a similar if not more comprehensive service to parents. In essence, the government has wiped out some of their already established services and started a few ‘new’ trials in their place; all in the name of progress. Over recent years David Cameron has expressed deep criticism of past Labour policies, stating he was ‘aware of the limits’ of government action and loathes ‘nanny-statism.’ However, the proposed scheme arguably goes further than previous Labour interventionism. Jessica Hull, a student at Cardiff University shares the view of many arguing that, ‘at a time of such economic fragility shouldn’t the government focus their spending on more important matters than instructing parents how to bring up their children?’ So has there been a decline in parent’s abilities to bring up their children? A study at Oxford University showed that between 1975 and 2000 the amount of time parent’s spent with their children had trebled. It would appear that if parents are willing to put more time into parenting they are just as, if not more committed, to being good parents. A preoccupation with the importance of teaching parenting perhaps even has a detrimental effect, shadowing other areas of society, such as education, that might be equally to blame. In light of all this I would argue that there are better uses of taxpayers’ money, particularly in the current economic climate.

If you feel strongly about any article you have read in gair rhydd this week, and wish to respond, please contact us at Opinion@gairrhydd.com


Opinion

10

Monday October 24 2011

gair

No girls invited to the Conservative's Party

Alice Briggs Opinion Writer This week, The Times newspaper launched an attack on David Cameron’s apparent failure to change the Conservative Party from the ‘women-free zone’ it appears to be, and this debate has highlighted many issues. The fact of the matter is, that the Conservative party appears to be male dominated and is definitely represented that way in the press. I have noticed that female Conservative party representatives are almost invisible and even the senior figures tend to be silent or alienated by the media. I believe politics has a tendency to hide women away from the press because our culture silences them, and the public do not tend to associate women with power. Apart from Margaret Thatcher who seems to be an anomaly in British politics - there are not enough female role models represented in the press. It is a sad fact that the stereotype of an MP remains a white, middleaged, middle-class male. In my opinion politics in general is a fiercely male environment, and after researching the exact figures I have come to realise just how unbalanced the Conservative party really is. It has very few female MPs or Ministers; in 2010 they had 49 female MPs to Labour’s 81. Though this was a huge improvement on previous years, when they have seldom had more than 20, it was still

disappointing compared to Labour. There are only thirteen female ministers in this government and only four in the Cabinet. This tends to alienate the female vote and indicate that the party’s attitude to women is institutionally sexist. Cameron faced personal criticism for sexism and patronising women, when he told the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, Angela Eagle, to ‘calm down, dear’ in Prime Minister’s Questions. He also told one of his own Conservative MPs, Nadine Dorries, that he was aware she was ‘extremely frustrated’ before joining in with the laughter when the comment prompted giggles from the benches. Cameron even refused to apologise for these comments, dismissing them as purely ‘light-hearted’. The Times also outlines how the Conservatives have not only marginalised their female politicians, but also adopted a more assertive economy-focused political style, in an attempt to reflect the need for political strength. This style of politics will not appeal to women, who generally favour a more compassionate, and easy to digest approach. Women are also being hit harder than men by the government’s new economic policies. So is it any wonder the Conservatives are losing our votes? We face record levels of unemployment, as the number of women looking for work has hit the highest levels for two decades. Cameron, in his first attempt to win

back his female supporters, has said top companies should do more to promote women to boardroom level, setting an example himself by promoting Justine Greening to Transport Secretary following the re-shuffle in light of Liam Fox’s resignation. While Cameron appears to be trying to change the face of the Conservatives, his efforts are being misunderstood; perhaps it is the more traditional party members preventing development.

Considerable cuts to childcare support are also a massive blow, and with inflation expected to reach five percent this week, we should expect real hardship for families whose standard of living is being dramatically threatened by the rising cost of energy and food. Women in particular are likely to bear the brunt of the effect of such changes on family budgets. I believe the most vital factor during such challenging times is

that Cameron appoints the most able people to top positions, be they male or female. However, half the electorate are female and if Cameron wants to attract their votes and gain an outright majority in the next election then he needs to reflect women’s needs in his policies. He must make the party appeal aesthetically to the female population and modernise the party, diverting it from the hegemonic masculinity it currently exudes.

Resigning themselves to an easy way out? Hugh Rodger Opinion Writer

With Defence Secretary Liam Fox being the latest casualty in the media phenomenon of the political scandal, the act of resignation is one that never ceases to cause a stir in the world of news and politics. Politicians in the past have resigned simply for personal reasons such as to seek re-election, but becoming embroiled in a media scandal changes the game completely. 2011 has seen several high profile public figures caught in controversy and subsequently having to give up their jobs, with Fox’s working relationship with close friend Adam Werrity costing his. In light of the Defence Secretary’s resignation, is it possible for politicians to avoid having to step down in the face of severe controversy by simply apologising and continuing with their jobs? Such a phenomenon is not restricted to the world of politics. The News of the World hacking scandal was a state and media crossfire which saw many high profile resignations including News International executive Rebekah Brooks and Scotland Yard police commissioner Paul

Stephenson. Could an alternative punishment have sufficed without them having to step down? The circumstance for a public figure’s decision to resign depends largely on the severity of the incident they were involved in. Former US President Richard Nixon was

one of the most famous leaders to step down over Watergate. Had he refused, he would almost certainly have faced impeachment and be forced out of office by the House of Representatives and the Senate. In the UK, Liam Fox at least will continue to act as MP for North Somer-

set, which he deserves at least. His gross misconduct as Defence Secretary meant he deserved to lose his cabinet position. Controversies involving a politician’s private life however are often taken less seriously. Boris Johnson’s various gaffes, four year

affair with Petronella Wyatt (which cost him his shadow cabinet post) and other controversies failed to stop his ascent to Mayor of London. However, the difference between scandals involving a politician’s private life and the examples of Watergate, Foxgate and the hacking scandal is that the latter examples involved serious misconduct and borderline criminal offences. The public disgrace that politicians and executives suffer would make it very difficult, if not impossible for them to continue their jobs. Nixon’s resignation was undoubtedly for the good of his country to avoid more division, much like Fox did for his party. With the hacking scandal, the evidence was so overwhelming and widespread that Rebekah Brooks saw no escape amid such huge political pressure, and was even arrested. All three resignations are examples of admitting wrongdoing only after having nowhere else to run. Resigning may mean public figures accept responsibility for their actions, but it almost always becomes a case of jumping before being pushed; by their leaders, the media, or the public.


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Opinion11

British monarchy set to enter the 21st century Lucy Barclay Opinion Writer In recent discussions with the Queen, David Cameron has proposed substantial changes to the royal family and its long-standing traditions. In a bid to modernize and bring the monarchy into the twenty-first century, he has set the wheels in motion for the abolishment of male primogeniture. As it stands, the British royal family follows the prejudiced pattern of male superior succession. The first born son inherits estate to the exclusion of other siblings, regardless of how many older sisters he might have. In recent years, however, a preoccupation with equal rights for women means that many have called for the preference for male succession to be eliminated. We are now a nation very much concerned with gender equality, both in the home and at work, to the point that the distinct line that once separated gender roles no longer exists. It is thus shocking that the royal family, an institution that is so deeply rooted in our society, has continued with these laws for such a staggering period of time. Furthermore, it is curious to note that of the eight existing European monarchies, six have already abolished

this rule of primogeniture. In order to follow suit, Cameron will be changing a law which dates

back to the 1600s and to do so requires the consent of the fifteen commonwealth nations. Moreover,

he plans to abolish not only the Act of Settlement which sees the male over female right to the throne, but

also to change the rules surrounding religion. He is keen to scrap the rule that states Roman Catholics cannot marry into the royal family, claiming it to be a ‘historic anomaly’ that cannot continue. The Queen herself backs these plans. Should Cameron succeed, the implications for the royal family stand as follows: In the instance that Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge produce a first born daughter, that daughter shall take precedence over any further sons:, positioning her first in line to the throne. With modernity and equality at the heart of the discussion, a rule favouring man over woman and one religion over another seems distinctly primeval but is there a reason that this tradition has remained to date, relatively unchallenged? Successive Prime Ministers and monarchs appear to have made a considerable oversight in allowing such an outdated tradition to endure for such a stretch of time. It is quite possible that the vague commitment to merely ‘discuss’ revising the primogeniture laws could well provoke a more general scrutiny of the relevance of the royal family in a society where fairness and equality ought to reign supreme.

Breaking news: Cardiff students socialise Danielle Harris Opinion Writer The Daily Mail published a journalistic sensation of a story last week: a ground-breaking investigation into young people going out to clubs and drinking. The stewarded student clubcrawl Carnage hit Cardiff last weekend, propelling thousands of students on to the streets of Cardiff dressed up as doctors and nurses. The scenes prompted a Daily Mail journalist (who apparently bypassed any kind of adolescence herself) to scrape together a disparaging article, using every biased picture and untruth available to portray the event as ‘debauched’. Not only was the piece so overtly judgemental to the point that it was laughable, it was clearly written by someone who had no first-hand experience of the event. They had instead taken one look at a picture of a girl in a thigh-skimming nurse’s outfit and dutifully fabricated a thousand words. There’s little point in pretending that I didn’t see scantily clad girls or severely drunk Freshers on that night, but anyone who sees a picture of one person passed out in the street and thinks that this is representative of the 6,000 other students who took part isn’t seeing the whole picture.

Students aren’t given a fair hearing. Instead, an entire generation of young minds are judged on one picture of a girl with her underwear out and older generations are all too happy to unquestioningly lap up this overly-dramatic article as further evidence of ‘Broken Britain’. Another opinion piece in the same newspaper, entitled ‘This is our Future… It Should Make You Shiver’, suggested to the reading public that students are running wild on Britain’s ‘streets of shame’. Our reputation stems from the fact that the media reports on the country’s student body once a year at the time of massive social events, such as Carnage. Nobody is interested on the other 364 days of the year, when we may be spending the evening at the cinema or theatre, at the pub with friends quietly nursing a pint of cider, or at the library. We’re not always out and we’re not always drunk; I just don’t tend to take photos of myself studying and upload them to Facebook. Equally, Daily Mail reporters don’t tend to show much of an interest in me if I’m not passed out in a shop doorway. Reporters rarely provide a balanced view of students, because it makes better news to photograph some poor female fresher, drunk

because she hasn’t ascertained her limit yet. It angers me because we’ve all done it. We’ve all made these stupid mistakes. The people crafting these media images of us have done it; the people reading these articles and letting them-

selves be persuaded that the youth are everything that’s wrong with the world have done it. It’s all built on bad press and it’s both unfair and unfounded. The media pretend that we’re running wild, so that the middle-

aged middle-classes can tut knowingly over their daily paper. Our achievements as students are ignored and sadly, it’s anything negative about the state of the country’s young people that equates to journalistic gold.


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do read some newspapers occasionally, if I find them when I’m trawling through other people’s bins for scraps of food. Of what I’ve read on some of my more recent bin escapades, I’ve seen many articles (mainly in the Mail it has to be said) about Cardiff students and our apparent crazy, out of control and disgraceful drunken behaviour. A Daily Mail photographer snapped Cardiff ’s carnage a couple of weeks back, cheeky! There have been other occasions too, when Cardiff and its students have been singled out for being particularly drunk and wild. Why are we criticised so often? So, we’re all having a great time, what of it? Yes, some of us get drunk sometimes, and of course some ‘absolute lads’ will need to relieve themselves in the street and oh! Shock horror, some girls will actually remove their shoes on a night out! It might just be because they are in a little bit of pain due to the pressure the high heel inflicts on the ball of one’s foot. So long as we’re not causing any damage or killing each other, could we not be allowed to let our hair down once, or twice or three times or maybe just every night of the week? Thanks. Drinking. Boozing. It’s not illegal. Why then, do the broader strands of the media insist on splashing pictures of us having a really great time, deeming it disgraceful and claiming that we have no morals? It seems as though they jump at the chance to badmouth our generation. They need to chillax. We at Cardiff work hard and play hard. Most of us will go on to full employment throughout our whole lifetime and will contribute significantly financially to society, so what’s the big deal?

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We’re students! Would the Daily Mail prefer Cardiff students to stay shut up inside, developing no social skills thus presenting the future of Britain with further economic problems? They forget too, that we’re consumers, consuming alcohol. Spending our money (some of us also have jobs) in local businesses, yes – pubs are businesses too. I don’t know about you, but I’m just trying to have a good time before my life gets really complicated. All I really have to think about at the moment is food, drink, work and whether I’ve remembered to sky plus Made in Chelsea.

Geez give us all a break. I'd say that the behaviour of some politicians is more scandalous than ours...

The moment I leave University, I will have much bigger things to think about than whether that guy fancies me or whether to have a wine or vodka night tonight. Life will only get tougher, I know that. So excuse me while I make the most of my student lifestyle. That’s what we’re all doing, right? It seems to me that newspapers such as the Mail are forcing an image of student life, that presents us all as ridiculously out of control, and of course if a photographer is snapping Cardiff city centre at 1am on a Saturday night, they will see some sights! (And, I may add – not all of them will be Cardiff students.) Yes, we are having a super time, living with little or no big responsibilities; but our time will come. And anyway, some of us do stay in, sometimes. We’re not all terrible binge drinkers with no morals – that lot all go to UWIC, or should I say Cardiff Metropolitan, lolz. Geez, give us all a break. I’d say that the behaviour of politicians is

Above: Bingo! Legs 11! Put these girls in a nice pair of trousers. more scandalous than ours. It feels as though the student group of society are easy targets – oh yes, we’re sponging off society, with our student loans. Ooh! Debt! I tell you something about debt: It is our generation that will have to live through the economic consequeces of the mistakes that previous generations made. The least they can do is cut us all some slack.

All I really have to think about at the moment is food, drink, work and whether I've remembered to sky plus Made in Chelsea.

Yes, some boys and girls get ridiculously wasted and do a range stupid stuff, i.e. pissing on memorials of fallen soldiers or having a quickie around the back of Maccy D’s. But that’s not all of us. Some people do have morals and do retain them, even when they’ve demolished two bottles of wine. In the wise words of Dappy, have “no regrets”. I implore you, keep having a good time. We will continue

to be students so long as we are students. Yes, I admit, all this boozing is not doing us any good, and yes - there are some people who take things too far. But I resent seeing images of people drunk in newspapers with claims that we are 'all doing it'. It's ridiculous. And anyway, we suffer the consequences of our actions. Some of us awake with horrific hangovers, that leave us bed ridden for days. That's just what I heard from some of my friends, that would never, ever, EVER happen to me. I'm a good girl. Apologies for this turning into an epic rant dear student reader. It's just I'm really very annoyed by all this. I mean, we really aren't all bad. We do some good! We all have potential. Some of us could end up achieving great things. We could be the generation to find a cure for cancer, to live in space. Some of us might even become well respected journalists, who write powerful opinion pieces. In ten years time, I might be found writing in a national newspaper (hopefully not the Daily Mail) writing about the disgraceful behaviour of Cardiff students and how it was never that bad “in my day”. Oh god.

for girls if they resist the lowering of hemlines to below the knee. Head teachers’ across England and Wales suggest that short skirts on girls at school put them at a high risk of attack; they could be forced to wear trousers. Apparently wearing skirts above the knee to school might send out the "wrong message". What mess age might that be, hmmm? Perhaps tighter checks should be put into place for those who work in and around schools, rather than changing the attire of the innocent.

in the album chart: A success for reality television and for manufactured music. I thought those days were behind us, it turns out that they are not. Yes, they had a handful of number one’s in the nineties, but now they’re older, fatter and quite frankly irritating. Some one please make them go away.

that all politicians are stupid has been further backed up by the lovely Dr Fox over the past few weeks. What a lad. Getting his bezzie to advise him, to keep him company. How is it possible for one man to misjudge a situation so terribly?


Politics

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Alex Calvin Politics Reporter The year 2011 has been no stranger to protests, television news and 24 hour news programmes showing pictures of angry people, protesting and arson. The Arab Spring and London riots are still in the recent memory, but these protests are different. There is a memetic feeling of anger towards the rich and the greedy, which has spread across the globe, and these people have no idea who to be angry towards. What started out as a protest localised to Wall Street in New York and organised by the Canadian anti-capitalist side Adbusters, seems to have set off a spark in the minds of people all over the world. This started out as a simple statement; ‘We are the 99%’. Protestors were demonstrating against social inequality and the greed of many rich people in America, as well as corporate greed; the 1%. With the Forbes Billionaire list for 2011 featuring 1,210 names, there is at least $1,210 billion in the United States, with this wealth being very unfairly distributed. Most of these rich and these corporations also benefit from tax cuts that the 99% want to see repealed. The 1% contains people who earn more than $593, 000 per year. That said, protestors are not only speaking out against the huge imbalance in wealth, but they are also protesting against how this 1% have managed to augment that said wealth in the aftermath of the financial crisis, when most Americans are either losing wealth or remaining constant. The fact that these people have managed to develop and grow their wealth over this time, while the rest of the nation is still suffering, is a point of great anger. The protests have cost the city of New York $3.2 million in police overtime. All the more shocking is the me-

dia coverage of the 'Occupy Wall Street'. Protestors have been labelled as ‘anarchists’, ‘unpatriotic’ and ‘anti-American’. The protestors have been criticised for not having a list of demands, and lacking a universal voice. Only on day 24 of the riots did Mayor Bloomberg of New York condone the protests, saying ‘people want to express themselves, and so long as they obey the laws, we’ll allow them’, while on day 30, Barrack Obama himself said he is not only supporting the protestors, but he is working in the interests of the 99%. In October, the protests spread to Washington DC, Los Angeles and San Francisco, to name a few. On October 15, the protests crossed the Atlantic to London, beginning in solidarity with the American Occupy protests, and being backed by the UK Uncut movement. These took place outside the London Stock Exchange, with protestors now camped out over night outside St Paul’s Cathedral. Like their brothers in America, the British protestors are acting out against how the government and bankers have dealt with the economic crisis. They are angry that cuts are being made, which affect the general population, while bankers are still making vast sums of money, all of this after we, the people, bailed the banks out. Protestors are said to be after ‘accountability’. One protestor appeared on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral dressed as Jesus, holding a sign that read ‘I threw the moneylenders out for a reason’, obviously protesting against the inherent evil of money. On October 17, protestors issued a nine-point manifesto, calling the current system ‘broken, undemocratic and unjust’ and saying the people ‘refuse to pay for the bankers’ crisis’. Only eight arrests have been made at the time of writing.

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Out of all the protests, only one was actually violent; Rome. 200, 000 people gathered to protest in solidarity against the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, both of whom the governments of Europe have had to bail out. At least 130 people have been injured, as police threw tear gas and used a riot hose on the crowd, though this is more a case of a peaceful protest being hijacked by a small violent element, known as black bloc. Witnesses have stated that protestors have been trying to stop violent protestors setting fire to cars, defiling religious iconography, and attacking buildings, causing at least $1.4 million in damages. As said earlier, these protests seem to be memetic, spreading because of a general feeling that something is not quite right with the world at the moment. People are angry at the economic situation, and how governments seem to be more concerned with pleasing the banks and the corporations than the people they have been voted in to serve. When the recession happened, people argued that it was a logical continuation of the capitalist system, the biggest flaw of a system that relies on eternal growth. These protests too are a logical continuation of a system that relies on growth and greed. The people are sick of the bankers and the rich hoarding all the money of the nation, in a manner that would make Ayn Rand proud. I think we are about to witness the next step of capitalism in the next few years, one that deals with the greed and masses of wealth acquired by a small percentage of the population where the people take back the power from the corporations. Either way, these protests show no sign of curbing any time soon. I am surprised they have not happened sooner.

Political Reporter Helen Cox investigates the recent controversy surrounding the lobbying industry

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ne of the most topical issues being debated in parliament at the moment concerns the regulating of lobbying. Lobbying is the practise of attempting to influence decisions made by officials. This can be done by everyday people campaigning for an issue they believe in, but it can also be slightly more sinister. It is estimated there are around 14,000 professional lobbyists for hire – that is, people can be paid by corporations to attempt to influence decision making in their favour. Allegedly, the Coalition had more than 1,500 meetings with corporate representatives in the first 10 months of its office. It has also

come to light that Conservative MP Robin Walker was paid £35,500 by lobbying firm Finsbury in the year between August 2010 and 2011. However, he defends his employment saying that his employment had not broken any rules and that he supported the idea of lobbying regulations. Following the Liam Fox affair, and the possibility that Mr Werrity was a covert lobbyist, should the Coalition be pressurised into reducing the privileges of coårporate interests in government and what exactly would regulating the lobbying industry entail? There are split views regarding the lobbying industry. Some people accept that it is simply a part of politics that has occurred for many

years and is inevitable. Others view it as immoral – why should large corporations be able to influence the representatives of the people into making decisions that most likely will reflect corporate interests and not the public? Before coming into power David Cameron was quoted as saying that "secret corporate lobbying" could be the next major political scandal after the MP expenses scandal, though since holding his position, he has made no move to investigate the practice. There are now renewed calls for regulation of lobbyists following allegations that Werritty had been using his friendship with Fox to influence decisions and gain information. The idea that there should

be a compulsory register for lobbyists has been floating around parliament since the ‘cash for questions’ scandal in the 1990s in which MPs were paid to ask questions in parliament that would benefit corporate interests. There is some degree of self-regulation within the lobbying industry that all the large lobbying firms abide by. The large firms ensure that their lobbyists are transparent when lobbying, meaning that they must make people aware that they are lobbying for corporations, however this is not a legally binding rule, and independent lobbyists may not be inclined to do so. The form of regulation that may be debated by parliament would require all professional lobbyists to

be listed on a register, and all lobbyists must make their intentions clear. Labour Leader Ed Milliband supports the idea of a register stating that "There does need to be greater transparency, people have a right to know who we meet and how we meet them." After much pressure in the wake of the Liam Fox scandal, Downing Street has said that the government is not going to speed up its proposals to regulate the lobbying industry, and that any matters regarding recent revelations are to be kept entirely separate. It is expected that the register will be discussed during the 2012/2013 parliamentary session.


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Monday October 24 2011

Sport 30 - 32

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Politics15

As we go to print...

having been a good leader, having led Plaid Cymru into Government for the first time in its history, despite a brief period of uncertainty in 2003 when he resigned as president and Assembly Group leader, following the party’s poor electoral performance in ‘03.

Mr Jones is generally accepted as having been a good leader

Cerith Rhys Jones explores potential future candidates for leadership in the wake of Ieuan Wyn Jones' recent resignation

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laid Cymru has announced the date of the election of its new leader following Ieuan Wyn Jones’ statement earlier this year that he would step down sometime during the first half of the current Assembly term. Plaid Cymru members will meet in a special event in Cardiff on March 15 2012 to elect their new leader, a week before the party’s

Spring Conference – also in Cardiff. Mr Jones’ announcement in May came after Plaid Cymru made its worst performance in a National Assembly election since the devolved institution was formed in 1999, tallying 11 Members. Plaid Cymru had previously been the junior partner alongside Welsh Labour in the ‘One Wales Government,’ between 2007 and May this year. Mr Jones is generally accepted as

Speaking in May, Mr Jones said that it had always been his intention to resign his position sometime before 2016. On the day that he left his role as Deputy First Minister, Mr Jones said that the “the time was right” for him to step down as Plaid Cymru’s leader. The former Presiding Officer of the National Assembly, Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas AM, has been nominated by his local party to stand for the Leadership, while Elin Jones AM, formerly Rural Affairs Minister, made a statement this summer declaring her candidacy. It had been widely thought throughout the party that Adam Price would surely succeed Ieuan Wyn Jones as leader, but because of constitutional changes made in 2003, he is not eligible to stand due to him not currently being an Assembly Member. Mr Price, the former MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, who is now pursuing his studies at the Harvard Kennedy School of Gov-

Libya's ex-leader Col Muammar Gaddafi has been killed after an assault on his home-town of Sirte, officials from the transitional authorities have said. It has been reported that fighters have seen Col Gaddafi’s body by the Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam. The Libyan prime minister, Mahmoud Jibril, told a news conference in Tripoli: "We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Muammar Gaddafi has been killed." The leader was revolted against in August after 42 years in power. The International Criminal Court has been since seeking his arrest. Mr Shammam said the NTC leader would officially confirm Col Gaddafi's death. “He was killed in an attack by the fighters. There is footage of that,” he said. Grainy video footage has been circulating among NTC fighters appearing to

show Col Gaddafi's corpse. AFP news agency reported that the video showed a large number of NTC fighters shouting in scenes of chaos around a body – a body which is covered in blood from the face and neck. Another NTC official, Abdel Hafez Ghoga, told AFP: “We announce to the world that Gaddafi has been killed at the hands of the revolution. “It is an historic moment. It is the end of tyranny and dictatorship. Gaddafi has met his fate.”

ernment in the US, has declared that he plans on returning to Wales to stand for the next Assembly elections in 2016. Speaking with the Welsh-language news website Golwg360 last month, Mr Price said that he would “support the new Leader – through to and beyond the 2016 election. Whoever she is.” Does that indicate Mr Price’s support for Elin Jones? Perhaps not. There are one or two other women in Plaid Cymru’s group of AMs who might be considered as possible candidates for the Leadership. One of those women is Leanne Wood, who incidentally, is one of our AMs here in Cardiff University, representing the South Wales Central region. She is considered to be on the left of the party, a staunch socialist and republican.

will no doubt be questioning what having a vocal republican leading them would mean come election time.

Adam Price cannot succeed due to constitutional changes in 2003

While she would not naturally have the backing of more ‘old school’ party members, she would surely have the support of those in the party who want to see Plaid Cymru put more of a focus on its constitutional aim of Welsh Independence. What that would mean for Plaid Cymru on the national stage however, is debateable. With a minority of Welsh voters supporting independence for Wales, Plaid members

A new leader will mean a change of direction and a fresh start

Plaid Cymru’s other female AMs, Bethan Jenkins and Jocelyn Davies, aren’t as widely thought of as being ‘Plaid’s next leader,’ but you’d better not rule either of them out. Ms Jenkins, the party’s AM for South Wales West, is seen as popular among younger members and voters, while Ms Davies, Plaid’s AM for South Wales East, is equally popular following her widely-revered performance as Deputy Housing Minister in the Welsh Assembly Government of 2007-2011. It’s not a given that a woman will lead Plaid, though. Two of its newbies, Simon Thomas AM and Llyr Huws Gruffydd AM are seen as likely candidates. Both considered highly competent Assembly Members with a wealth of experience, Plaid Cymru members will have a lot to think about in the coming months. Whomever they choose, they can be certain that a change in leader will in some way mean a change in direction and a fresh start for the party. It remains to be seen how that will pan out. Watch this space.


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Monday October 24 2011

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How do students fight rising energy bills? Mrs Fox’s Diary

Jack Parker comments on rising energy bills as David Cameron urges the big six to lower their prices and Chris Huhne says we need to shop around

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s a third year student I’m getting increasingly conscious of how short my maintenance loan will stretch. Each year the income seems to stay roughly the same while rent, bills, food and travel rise mercilessly. The classic example is of course gas bills, which in recent weeks have surged up by an average of 18%. It’s no surprise that the reputation of the “big six” energy companies was dipping even before Ofgem accused them of increasing their profits by up to 733% on some customers. In response to the growing public outcry the government organised a summit early last week with energy leaders to discuss ways of lowering the burden on average citizens. David Cameron emerged with a vague demand for energy markets to become more competitive, which is hardly an inspirational quote from a Conservative politician. Chris Huhne, shouting out from the yellow corner, didn’t seem to do

much better. The conclusion of his argument seemed to be that consumers have to help themselves by simply shopping around more. It’s a shame that neither of their

“ proposed solutions will actually help reduce the burden or solve the root problem. The managing director of British Gas was quick to grab the pulpit and explain that rising prices was not the fault of his own greedy self but instead a result of rising global demand. In particular he blamed Japan for importing gas that used to come into the UK market. So it was that the energy summit ended in a diplomatic blame game without any realistic solutions.

The 'shopping around' solution is even less applicable for most students, as we get transferred by name into whatever energy contract the landlord signed upto, however many years ago. Even if the rules regarding swapping supplier had been explained to us upon moving in, by the time the process would be fully implemented it may well be nearly time to move off to the next house. Many second year students have difficulty just switching internet provider accounts in time for moving in, let alone anything else. The almost nomadic lifestyle of an average student just doesn’t fit well with our government’s holy grail of money saving advice. Already we seemed to have forgotten about our friendly managing director of British Gas. Though I’m sure his views may be slightly skewed, there’s no denying that the global supply and demand crisis is going to push up our gas and electricity bills year on year for the foreseeable future. Though it will take considerable

time in implementing real alternatives to fossil fuels, there are easy actions that can be taken in the short and medium term to reduce our gas consumption and our reliance upon the energy companies. One of the best things our politicians can do, is to fund home insulation and other energy efficiency measures, which in many ways is much like sticking a massive fluffy jumper over your entire house. For those of us thinking long term, there's the added bonus of reducing carbon emissions at the same time. The insulation stays put regardless of how short a student's stay is and there's no doubt that a lot of the homes in Cardiff could do with some maintenance work. Perhaps the reason why the Tories are lacking on any real action, is because an effective home insulation scheme would create tens of thousands of jobs too, something which our leaders seem to have an unerring rejection to. For shame.

What a nightmare this past couple of weeks has been. I mean, all I’ve had from Liam is moaning. To make it worse, he sits at his computer crying with The Guardian’s ‘how we broke the story’ page up. I always find those pages so obtuse “oo look at me we’re The Guardian and we get all the best stories” bloody pathetic. The one thing that annoyed me, is that they were saying his apology was not enough. I mean if you say that to a child, they will look at you not knowing why the word ‘sorry’ exists in the first place. The very nature of the word is so that it gets you out of these tricky situations. Not only that, I put him on the naughty step for 50 minutes (one for each year as the super-nanny suggested) apparently this wasn't enough. The worst thing is I’ve suspected things have been going on with Adam for years. I mean I know they were friends and all but it was the ‘play-dates’, the trips abroad (even on our honeymoon – I didn’t think the best man had to come, but apparently that’s the norm?) And after all that, he goes and resigns. Why is it that a resignation is all these people want? Couldn’t he be disciplined with that whip they're always talking about at parliament, or perhaps the speaker could give him a talking to, I mean, if they want, I could put him on the naughty step for longer? That said, Liam and I have been out of touch lately but since this whole affair we have really connected. Adam hasn’t been around and it feels like the first time we’ve ever had some time together. Perhaps Adam will piss off and be someone else’s advisor for a bit, so that Liam and I can have our lives back. I saw Adam the other day, he said sorry, I told him it wasn’t enough and that he should resign as a friend. Apparently, that’s how we adults deal with these things. As conceived by

Politics in Pictures

Libya: Col. Muammar Gaddafi dies

Lib Dem aide, Katia Zatuliveter, who denies being Russian Spy

Liam Fox resigns and is set to give a statement following damning report


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gair rhydd Monday October 24 2011

Your Space.

Features19

We want to hear your stories: anything goes. Just drop us a line on features@gairrhydd.com. This week Jodie Palombo talks about her experiences with bullying. through social networking sites has become the new way to bully others. There is almost no escape from it. There used to be a time when you could come home and leave all of the bullies behind at the end of the day, but now, you might hear from them when you least expect it.

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ticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’. That’s what my mum used to tell me when I was being bullied in primary school. I knew then that she was wrong. Words will always hurt me. Bruises fade, cuts and grazes heal, but memories will stay with you for a lifetime. It doesn’t matter whether you’re eight years old or 18 years old, if you’re being bullied, you feel completely alone and unable to escape. I was bullied in primary school. I was bullied in secondary school. I could never grow a protective shield to make the feelings go away. Even the teachers at school had told my parents that it was my fault I was being bullied, for allowing myself to be a victim. But, at the tender age of eight, I was never going to stand up to the nasty bullies in the playground.

The bullying took a new form as I reached high school. I had found myself mixed in with a group of girls who took pleasure from talking about people behind their backs. Sometimes, they would take it a step further by saying appalling things

about a close friend of mine in front of her. They told her she was fat and that her relationship with her boyfriend would never last because of the way she looked. Three years on, they are still together and how can anybody judge someone for the way they look? We’re all individual. Looking back, I regret being a part of this group. Not only did they hurt me with the stuff they said about me, but I landed myself with a bad reputation for allowing myself to join in. Three years on, I don’t talk to many of my old school friends, because I realised what they really were. Bullies.

Bruises fade, cuts and grazes heal, but memories will stay with you for a lifetime.

We may not realise it, but bullying is all around us. We have probably all been affected by bullying at some point in our lives. You might

have been a victim, you might have had a friend who was being bullied, or maybe you were a bully yourself. Some might think that beyond school, when we all grow up to be mature adults, then the bullying stops. However, bullying is happening where we may least expect it, at university, in the workplace and maybe even in the home. If you show any signs of vulnerability, the chances are you might be bullied for it. It may only be a joke to some people, but you can never judge how some people might be affected by it. You might be a little bit different to everyone else. You might not be the loudest and most confident person in the world. Maybe there's something you've done that has really annoyed someone. There are so many reasons why you might be bullied. In all honesty, nobody should ever be bullied. We should be able to do whatever we want without the fear of being judged for it. That day will probably never come. Bullying will always exist, all around us. In fact, we can already see through developments in technology that it is increasingly getting worse. Bullying doesn’t just happen in the real world nowadays. Cyber bullying

We hear all the time about the bullying in schools. There are so many campaigns to try and stop it. What about the bullying that doesn’t get much public attention? It wouldn’t even cross your mind unless you were involved with it, but people are bullied in all types of situations, from the workplace to their own homes. Your supervisor at work could be putting you under inappropriate pressures, treating you differently to your other colleagues. In this instance, what are you supposed to do? Fight back and lose your job? A battle like this is only going to end up in tears. What is most worrying is that some people are bullied in their own homes by the people they love. If you are in an abusive relationship, it can be almost impossible to escape. It’s a scary thought, but that person you love more than anything could one day make your life hell. Of course, this doesn’t happen in every relationship. In fact, it is only a minority of people that are affected in this way.

How can anybody judge someone for the way they look? We're all individual.

What about bullying in university? Does it exist? Surely, we are all mature enough to step away from this cruelty. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. You're away from home, miles away from all of your close friends and family. You don’t get to choose who you live with in halls. Yes, you might live with some really nice people, you might become best friends in a matter of weeks, but

you might be unfortunate enough to live with some people who aren’t that kind and considerate. It’s easy to talk about someone behind their back. We’ve probably all done it. Sometimes it can just come out accidentally, or you might just be trying to fit in with everyone else. Really, we should look at it from a different point of view. It might just be a little light hearted fun from where we’re standing, but somebody else could be badly affected by your fun. There isn’t much we can do to stop bullying. We can try and stand up for ourselves, even be the better person by walking away. Bullying will always exist. This is the sad reality we have to face. The only thing we can do is make sure we aren’t the bully. This isn’t a perfect world, but nobody should have to live in fear.

Bullying does not get left at the school gates. It can still happen at university. In fact, research conducted by the National Union of Students suggested that 63% of the 1500 respondents interviewed said that they had experienced bullying at university. But there are people to help. If you are experiencing bullying at university, then it may well be the last place you would think of to talk about it, but universities do take bullying very seriously. Seek help from your personal tutor or a trusted memeber of staff. Alternatively, Cardiff Student Support Services offer counselling sessions for students. They also run SPACE4U, a daily drop in service at 50 Park Place where you can see a counsellor for 10-15 minutes, between 3 and 3.45 pm.


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Monday October 24 2011

gairrhydd

Healthy Habits

In this Features issue, Georgie Bedford gives us the lowdown on staying healthy at university.

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budget. It will come with practice but planning, although it sounds anal and boring, can really help as you only buy what you need so don’t have extra food that’s wasted or eaten for the sake of it.

ealth and fitness is a phrase we hear a lot and are told is very important, but when you’ve got a stack of work, limited funds, and a social life to maintain, it’s bound to be low on the priority list. Students tend to get irregular sleep, little exercise and low nutrition. Add in a large consumption of alcohol, fatty foods and no nagging adults to keep and eye on you, and it doesn’t look good for being alert in lectures or feeling energetic and active. However having a healthy lifestyle and a good diet really is important, and it’s about more than just looking good! (Although having a slender and toned body with bright, clear skin and healthy hair and nails certainly is a big benefit.) Being fit and healthy can make life easier - your mind will be clearer and more awake and you’re less likely to feel tired and sluggish. Not forgetting the long term benefits, you reduce the risk of many health issues and ultimately feel better for longer. So read on for a few solutions to the common problems students face in being healthy and begin to feel fitter and fresher.

Top Tips for a Good Diet Learn to cook Eating well isn’t always easy when you’re a student, but there are answers. Many students buy takeaways and ready meals because they don’t know how to cook or simply because they’re quick and easy. But as perfect as they seem at the time, takeaways and ready meals really aren’t a good everyday meal choice as they’re packed with calories and bad fats. The average calorie content of an Indian or Chinese takeaway is around 1400, and Indian, as it usually

contains lots of butter, can pack up to 23.2g of saturated fat - considering the RDA is 20g for women and 30g for men, this is massive. Chinese tends to be lower in saturated fat but can have nearly three times as much sugar, in some cases as much as 19 teaspoons. Fast food isn’t the only problem because even if you can cook a basic meal, the average student diet still ends up being very sugary and high in carbohydrates thanks to bread and pasta based meals. Your time at university is ideal for learning to cook; there’s no parents telling to you to clear up and you’re cooking for yourself so you can experiment without worrying. Home cooking is also cheaper, particularly if you cook up a big meal, and either stash away a few speedy meals in the freezer or cook for a crowd, which is really fun and sociable. For instance, if you cook mince into bolognese sauce you can tub it up and have a yummy microwave spag bol on a lazy Sunday or get everyone in your flat together and all chip in a pound or two for a delicious meal - you’ll get real satisfaction out of cooking a proper meal, especially as the compliments come rolling in. Bear in mind that learning to cook isn’t the whole story - you also need to learn to shop efficiently, choosing decent, nutritious food on a tight

There are some really good cook books designed specifically for students. I’d recommend 'From Pasta to Pancakes' by Tiffany Goodall, which is available from Blackwell’s for a budget-friendly £9.99. Student cook books normally cater for complete beginners and those who already have the basic skills, and they take prep time and cost into consideration.

The average calorie content of an Indian or Chinese takeaway is around 1400.

cheaper than making it yourself and also bear in mind that multipacks can be split with flatmates. You could also try and find some recipes for interesting ways to cook your favourite veg or try incorporating them into stews and sauces.

Eat regularly Even though there’s no one putting out a hot meal and calling you to the table, you still need to make sure you eat all three meals, plus healthy snacking in between (or ‘grazing’).

And let’s not forget the importance of a well balanced diet. It’s recommended to have 1/3 of your diet made up from carbohydrates, such as potatoes, cereal (non-sugary, like bran flakes or muesli) and rice, having at least one portion per meal as they provide useful energy and fibre. Fruit and veg should also be about 1/3 of your diet as well. Protein, like meat, beans and eggs, and dairy should each be about 10% of your diet and fats and sugars should be less than 10%. If you want more info there’s a good nutrition section on thestudentroom.co.uk. Watch what you drink

Watch what you eat Try and remember those basic rules we’ve all been taught, and think how you can accomplish them easily in your everyday life. For example, it can be tricky to get your ‘5-a-day’ since fruit and veg is expensive and if you buy larger, better value packs, they will probably go off before you’ve finished them. But why not try grabbing a carton of smoothie when it’s on offer or go for the supermarket own brand - it’s generally

Drinking enough water is also another one of those important rules try and get into the habit of carrying a bottle with you, and always have a big glass of water with your food.

Of course you’re going to drink at university but we all know too much can be pretty harmful so here’s the facts about how much we’re recommended to drink: women shouldn’t exceed 2-3 units per day and for men it’s 3-4 units and you should have at least two drink free days a week. One unit can be about half a pint of your average beer, a standard pub measure of spirits or about 125ml glass of 8% wine.


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Monday October 24 2011

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Sleep The typical student drinks about 11 units in the average drinking session, which is much more than the ‘binge drinking’ limit, considered to be most harmful. If you are conscious of the serious effects of alcohol you could try

and limit yourself to the recommended units as it really is possible to have a good time without being drunk, and it also means you’ll feel fine the next day and save on spending too. If not, particularly now Freshers is over, try and go out a bit less and find things to do in the evenings with friends whilst sober. It might even make you enjoy your nights out as they will become more of a treat. Finally, you may want to consider swapping your ‘usual’ with a healthier alternative, for instance Vodka & diet coke (just 45 calories) instead of beer or cider, (around 300 calories per pint!). For more info visit drinkaware.co.uk and check out the cool unit calculator under tools and tips. However there’s more to being healthy than just diet…

Students tend to get irregular sleep, due to the crack of 9am lectures, noisy flat mates, staying up to finish an essay or going out until the early hours. This lack of sleep can cause overeating and weight gain and will leave you feeling far from fighting-fit and fresh-faced for that morning lecture. The American Academy of Sleep Education suggests you try and go to bed early and never on a full stomach, you avoid caffeine and get up at the same time everyday to get your body into a regular cycle. But let’s be honest, while you can try and achieve this on some days, most of those suggestions aren’t practical because sleep is unlikely to take precedence over activities like socialising. However, you can try to make the most of the sleep you do get by:

pounds). While it’s important to remember you don’t have to be thin to look and feel good, it’s best for your physical health and your own confidence to avoid putting on weight that isn’t natural to you. Alongside eating well, exercise can help you stay in shape and feel more energetic and healthy.

are great if you need a little motivation and want to have fun with friends, or use the fully equipped gym if you prefer to break a sweat alone. Either way there’s so much opportunity for fun and interesting exercise at Cardiff for a small cost. Visit cardiff.ac.uk/sport for more information on these facilities.

University really is a fantastic opportunity to try new things. Here at Cardiff we have over 60 sports clubs ranging from cheerleading to kickboxing and hockey to yoga, with loads more in between, so you’re bound to find something for you. As well as keeping fit, you have the opportunity to compete, learn something new, or just enjoy yourself and meet new friends.

If you don’t fancy any of that or don’t feel like you have the time, at least try and be active in your day to day life - walk or cycle where you can, take the stairs not the lift or jog with friends to explore the area. Lastly, consider investing in some good trainers as working out in unsuitable shoes that don’t sup-port your feet properly can cause damage. And finally, just a few more points about the less obvious aspects of health and fitness.

- putting up blackout material or getting an eye mask if your curtains let light into the room

Walk or cycle where you can, take the stairs not the lift or jog with friends to explore the area.

- getting earplugs to mute the various 4am conversations of your drunk and disorderly housemates happening outside your door - making sure your bed is comfy and your room isn’t distracting (try switching off appliances) - restricting afternoon naps to one or two hours (although it’s okay to sleep in all day Sunday if you’ve missed a lot of hours in the week). Exercise Lots of students put on weight when they go to university, the American’s even call it the ‘Freshman 15’ (referring to a gain of 15

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Mental health

As well as sports clubs, which I would seriously recommend you take advantage of, there are university sports fields, a fitness and squash centre and a sports training village. You can get a purse-friendly membership and enjoy a massive range of classes such as Zumba, Pilates and boxing circuits, which

Cardiff has an excellent student support centre that offers a range of services including counseling and advice. Remember there are lots of people who could help you and be there for you to talk to. If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or depressed or just need to talk to someone don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Sexual health Gone are the days of awkward sex ed classes, but it’s still important to just keep in mind that STDs and pregnancy are a serious risk of unprotected sex. Contraception is free to all from any GP and the NHS website advises that “students can make an appointment for advice on contraception and sexual health at any time”. You should consider getting a sexual health check if you are at all worried, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Health risks The university health centre is on Park Place and operates a Health Service to supplement that provided by your GP. Call them to speak to a nurse or make an appointment. For some good advice about what to do in various cases of injury or illness have a look at the student guide to common health problems on the Health section of thestudentroom. co.uk. One bit of simple advice though, if you’re feeling under the weather, give yourself time to recover, rest and stay hydrated. Keeping yourself well fed and strong will really help keep away annoying coughs and colds and if you’re worried about your nutrition you could supplement your diet with vitamins (but always read the label first). So there’s a few tips to keep your body in tip-top condition while it endures the toils of student life. Ultimately, just be aware of the importance of good health and find a balance that’s right for you. Enjoy your time at university and make the most of it by getting involved with everything Cardiff has to offer, and staying fit and healthy so you don’t miss out.


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t has come to light that more than 300,000 children living near to the Fukushima nuclear power station will be checked for thyroid abnormalities. Japanese authorities have said that the results of the checks will not be published, adding further fuel to the argument by the residents of Fukushima and the surrounding area, that they are being kept in the dark about the dangerous after-effects of the nuclear meltdown. Seven months ago, on the 11th March 2011, at 2145 Pacific Standard Time, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake shook Honshu, the main island of Japan. Such was the enormity of the earthquake that it moved the island 8ft to the East and shifted the earth by an estimated 25cm on its axis. The tsunami wave that was triggered swept six miles inland at a height reaching 133ft. It also flooded Fukushima power station which was operating three out of six reactors on the day of the quake, cutting off power supply to the vital cooling pumps that would have been able to prevent the nuclear melt-down that followed. An evacuation zone was instantly put in place 10km around the plant, which within days was increased to 20km. Radiation levels rocketed and not even the plant’s operators Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) could sweep the nuclear fall-out under the proverbial carpet. Radiation is measured by sevierts (usually given in milli-sevierts, mSv) which measure the absorbed dose of radiation, whereas becquerels are a measurement of the rate of emission at source of the radioactivity. With varying numbers being released by the Japanese authorities with very little explanation, the general public began to panic and wanted to know what the danger truly was. The day after the tsunami, levels of radiation hit 1.577 millisevierts per hour around the plant, about the same as would have been allowed in one year normally. Not instantly harmful, but over the course of a year an individual would receive a cumulative dose of 575mSv; enough to seriously increase your risk of cancer. However, within a few days the figure had risen to nearly 400mSv per hour being kicked out of Fukushima proving enough to provoke the early stages of radiation sickness with several workers falling ill. Information being given to the evacuees was still limited and the Japanese press reports gave mixed messages about just how much radiation residents were being exposed to. Now, the estimates are that the disaster has so far released over 500,000 terabecquerels of ra-

dioactive particles. Japan has worked hard to rebuild after the earthquake and tsunami, but the lasting effects of the nuclear fall-out that followed are harder to get rid of. Health-risks are often talked about in conjunction with exposure to radiation, but how much is too much and what will it do? Radioactive particles emit radiation as they decay, this radiation is different from that associated with UV, microwave or radio-waves because it is ionising. As this radiation hits human tissue it reverberates around the cell causing damage at a molecular level to structural elements of the cell, and more importantly to its DNA by breaking chemical bonds. Our cells are able to repair damaged DNA but when a lot of damage has occurred, this isn't always possible leaving sometimes fatal effects (in the case of high-doses) and causing the cell to die or potentially cancerous mutations (at lower doses). The radiation damage may just pre-dispose a cell to become a cancer cell by mutating the DNA which doesn't immediately induce cancerous replication but may contribute to the formation of cancer later on in life due to the mutation being copied in duplicate cells. Alternatively, the damage may be so irreparable that multiple cellular processes are stopped including the ability to prevent the cell from replicating – leading to a cancerous tumour. However, it's not just cancer that can be caused by radiation, other disorders and diseases stemming from mutated DNA can be prompted. The damage caused to DNA can be passed on not just to duplicated cells within the body, but also to potential offspring where it can cause deformities or learning difficulties in future generations. Relating this to Fukushima, 400mSv isn't enough to induce fullblown radiation sickness but could cause damage to the DNA leading to an increase in an adult's chance of developing cancer by 2-4%. It must be noted that this dose was actually an hourly dose in the days after the meltdown. By the time that the hourly dose reached this level, most of the surrounding 20km had been evacuated although just outside of the exclusion zone measurements of up to 100mSv per hour were being recorded. According to the World Nuclear Association, 100mSv per year is the “lowest level at which any increase in cancer is clearly evident, above this, the probability of cancer occurrence (rather than the severity) is assumed to increase with dose.” However, exposing children to this dose can pose a much greater risk as a child's cells duplicate quicker as they grow – amplifying any potential mutation. The thy-

roid gland is particularly sensitive as it usually concentrates iodine in our diet to produce important hormones needed for the body to function properly. One of the most abundant radioactive isotopes is that of iodine and so when exposed to this, the thyroid concentrates and holds onto it, increasing the chances of cancer forming as well as other thyroid disorders. Since Chernobyl, more than 6,000 cases (in 2005) of thyroid cancer had been reported in those who had been children and adolescents at the time of exposure, several thousand more suffer from thyroid disorders such as hyper-thyroidism or thyroid nodules. The issue surrounding irradiated food is contentious. The small amounts of radio-activity found in some of the food produced around the exclusion zone and the tap water circulating in the province is not enough to pose a threat for someone never exposed to the initial dose of radiation if not consumed regularly. It is probably good to be cautious, but the Japanese government haven't fully explained the reason for their caution and so add to the hysteria surrounding the original disaster. The whole event has shown the need for clear and understandable explanation of health-risks surrounding events such as this, to minimise panic, reduce confusion and improve access to necessary care for those truly affected. TEPCO have been heavily criticised in the months following the disaster due to the way they handled the emergency cooling of the reactors resulting in vast radio-active leaks not only into the air but also

Japan has worked hard to rebuild after the earthquake and tsunami, but the lasting effects of the nuclear fall-out that followed are harder to get rid of.

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the soil and sea. Warnings given to the company when they built the power station included concerns over the low-lying nature of the emergency power generators and pump equipment which could well have prevented the melt-down if they hadn't been engulfed by the tsunami. The nuclear fall-out displaced 50,000 households and has removed the livelihoods of thousands more as farmers and fishermen now no longer have viable stock to sell as radiation levels found within the food are considered too high. Only time will tell as to how much the radiation exposure of the residents from the surrounding area will affect their health. For scientists, it will provide an interesting study into the effects of radiation to compare with data collected since Chernobyl. For countries around the world, the Fukushima nuclear disaster has highlighted the dangers of nuclear power, for some it has been enough to put the brakes on plans for their own countries, for others it has been dismissed as a natural disaster. For those evacuated, it comes down to, quite simply, the ongoing need to ensure their family's safety.

Follow @GairRhyddSci for the latest news and info on future articles.


24Science

Monday October 24 2011

gair

Quick Fix for Blurry Vision? There’s an App for that!

Natalie Healey

application designed to sway unsure customers of the older generation to purchase and become dependent on the Apple smartphone? However, the papers and clinical trials linked to Uri Polat and Dennis Levi from the University of California, Berkeley make for interesting reading. Polat's paper published in Vision Research provided support for the theory that perceptual learning can be a practical method to improve impaired or blurred vision. The clinical trial performed by Levi's team on a group of volunteers also showed impressive results. The volunteers, with an average age of 51, completed 40 training sessions - on the Gabor patch software run on a PC. After the training, volunteers

Science Writer As smartphones grow ever more popular, users can now choose from over 500, 000 applications to utilise in just about every aspect of life. If the hilarious and innovative “Keyboard Cat” app wasn't enough to convince you to join the iPhone craze, perhaps an application to improve your eyesight will convert you. Due to be released next year, an exclusive application for the iPhone from company Ucansi claims to help older users shed their reading glasses and increase the amount of time that other users can go without having to purchase spectacles. As we age, the lenses in our eyes lose elasticity. Focussing on nearby objects becomes more difficult because the eyes cannot readily readjust. This is a condition known as presbyopia, a practically ubiquitous complaint among people aged 50 or over. It is not only reading that is affected; symptoms also include headaches and tired eyes. “GlassesOff ” is the aptly named app from Ucansi which claims to help people compensate for eye deterioration by using “brain-training” to help process the blurred images of nearby objects which result from presbyopia.

Uri Polat of Tel Aviv University in Israel and co-founder of Ucansi, told NewScientist simply: “We're using the brain as glasses.” The application works by boosting the speed and quality of image processing in the brain. The software trains users to detect patterns named Gabor Patches – blurry lines created by varying a grey background. In the training programme, the user focuses on a white circle target which gives way to a quick succession of images. Some of the images

show Gabor patches at varying places on the screen, one of which will occur where the circle was. The user has to determine when in the sequence the patch appeared at the target position. As users become better at the task, the program alters the orientation of the patterns and speeds up the sequence. As a user of the cheapest mobile phone available, with only the most basic functions, I was initially sceptical of yet another miracle application for the sacred iPhone. Was this

It seems a large price to pay for something that will merely delay the inevitable, despite the impressive evidence.

were able to read more than two lines further down a typical optical eye chart, held 40cm away. This corresponds to an average reduction in “eye age” from 50.5 to

41.9 years. The volunteers' reading speed also increased by an average of 4 seconds per sentence. As with many new technologies, there is a cost involved. A three month training subscription to GlassesOff where users train for 15 minutes a day, three days a week, will probably set you back around £60. After the initial training period, a small monthly fee will apply so that users can “maintain” their visionary improvements. Given that our eyes will eventually lose their ability to focus on nearby objects, it seems a large price to pay for something that will merely delay the inevitable, despite the impressive evidence. This new application once again raises the question of whether smartphone technologies are playing too big a part in our everyday lives. Could this programme pave the way for the development of other medical iPhone Apps? If Apps are not subject to the same strict regulations as pharmaceuticals, could applications with limited evidence of efficacy soon be available to purchase? Is this the future of alternative medicine? Polat's paper available at: http:// bit.ly/oQI9Br

Scientists Train Monkeys to Control Avatar Arm

All the Latest from NASA

Christina Tran

Sarah C. Uhl

Science Writer A team of scientists in America have trained monkeys to control a virtual arm using only their brain waves, a huge step forward in the creation of an exoskeleton that paraplegics could control with their mind. The research published in the journal Nature, also details how the monkeys could not only control the avatar arm, but also receive sensory feedback providing a tactile response. Professor Miguel Nicolelis, leader of the team at Duke University, North Carolina, said in a comment to the BBC that the research “provides us with the demonstration that we can establish a bi-directional link between the brain and an artificial device without any interference from the subject’s body.” The motor cortex in the monkey’s brain, responsible for orchestrating voluntary movement, directed movement of the avatar limb. Simultaneously, as the arm grabbed hold of objects on the screen, electrical feedback triggered the somatosensory cortex, a region of the brain responsible for tactile sensation. The rhesus monkeys were initially trained using a joystick to capture three virtual objects by moving the arm. Each object was vi-

sually identical but was identifiable by different vibrations executed by the joystick. Professor Nicolelis affirms that a “new sensory channel” developed across the brain to allow information to be processed that was no longer being received from the peripheral nerves of the body. As such, the study underpinned the significance of a “bidirectional relationship” between mind and machinery; as electrical brain activity provided motor command on the digital screen. Such evidence points to a step forward in modern neuroscience for the brain to act in accordance with an artificial device without the necessity of physical body. Development of a wearable exoskeleton is envisaged to provide patients with the possibility to experience different terrains and every nuance of physical sensation. Sensation and movement once lost could one day be restored; a functioning nervous system success-

fully mimicked. Professor Nicolelis and his colleagues are currently developing an exoskeleton commanded solely by the brain activity of its wearer. A fully operational system is due to be revealed and demonstrated at

Sensation and movement once lost could one day be restored; a functioning nervous system successfully mimicked.

the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. For patients of neurological disorders, such a development could provide the opportunity for improved rehabilitation. Bionic revolution is rapidly expanding with the development of thought-controlled wheelchairs, nerve-controlled prosthetic arms and the redesign of robotic legs. With the field of brain-machine interface finding mounting interest and progression within scientific research, daily struggles faced by quadriplegics could one day be successfully overcome. Full paper available at: http://bit. ly/oQI9Br

Science Writer On August 31 2011, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, more commonly known as NASA, officially retired its Space Shuttle Program, ending a decadeslong tradition. NASA is planning on donating the shuttles themselves to four different museums in the United States. On October 11, NASA officially gave ownership of the shuttle Endeavor over to Los Angeles' California Science Center. However, Endeavor will not be moved to the museum until sometime in 2012. Without a space shuttle programme of its own, NASA will need to rely on Russia to transport astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), which will cost between fifty and sixty million dollars per astronaut. To help cut costs, NASA is working with commercial space flight companies such as Virgin Galactic and Sierra Nevada Corporation to develop projects such as space taxis capable of transporting astronauts to the space station. NASA is planning a test flight next summer of a space taxi that can transport as many as seven people at a time. Dream Chaser will be unmanned during the high altitude test flight

and will be lifted by White Night 2, a carrier aircraft designed specifically for carrying space craft up to high altitudes that is owned by Virgin Galactic. NASA is hoping to use commercial space travel to transport astronauts to the ISS by 2016. Meanwhile, the United States government, acting on NASA's behalf, has filed suit against Edgar

Mitchell, the sixth man on the moon. Mitchell has stated that NASA allowed him to keep a camera from the historic Apollo 14 mission as a souvenir. NASA originally planned to leave the camera on the Apollo 14 lander, which crash landed on the moon as planned. In the suit, the government states that there is no record of Mitchell being given the camera and has requested that he return it. Mitchell had placed the camera on auction in New York City prior to the suit. Bonhams, the auction house listing the camera, has withdrawn the item from the Space History Sale it was listed in due to the pending litigation.


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Isabelle Roberts Societies Editor The Big Band Society has decided to morph into the Jazz Society because of the number of sign-ups at the Freshers Fayre. Eve Theobald, the president of the Big Band Society, said that they "had 120 signups at the freshers fayre, and the big band was supposed to be about 17 members. 90 people officially signed up on campus groups, so we had to do something. This change means we can have unlimited numbers of people. We will still have a big band, but also an informal jazz orchestra where anyone can conduct and any instrument is welcomed.” The society also plan to visit Café Jazz in town (who put on jazz nights) and provide members with a discount card for the Café. The idea is that people who are only interested in jazz, rather than performing, can still be members of the society. There are already many jazz-related events lined up: on the November 05 there is a workshop with experts on the American Songbook who will also perform a couple of songs. The workshop will be interesting and aimed at the history of jazz in the 1920s-1950s. On November 11 the Jazz Society will be holding a concert themed on the American Songbook of the 1940s – contact the society for more details.

If you don’t know much about Jazz then its beginnings are usually attributed to prohibition in the United States (from 1920 to 1933) which banned the sale of alcoholic drinks, resulting in illicit speakeasies becoming lively venues of the 'Jazz Age', an era when popular music included current dance songs, novelty songs, and show tunes. Jazz proceeded to change substantially throughout the 1920s-1950s but is stil popular today. If you’re interested in Jazz then on November 08 the newly-named Jazz Society will be at the re-sign up fayre in the Kitchen/Solus area of the SU from 10am-4pm. When asked why she thought there was so much growth in the society, Eve attributed it to being near the front of the room at the fayre, but also said that the sign-ups were random. “There were lots of second and third years and a lot of medics…plus lots of music students from year one (and there were a lot of music students admitted this year).” If anything, the growth of the Big Band society seems to prove the popularity of societies here in Cardiff. In fact, now official figures have been released, societies have overtaken sports with the signups and money paid on campus groups - showing a trend, perhaps, to online payment.

In other news... UNICEF are holding elections for vacant committee member positions. UNICEF member Summer Ip said “you can make a difference for children by starting to help out the charity on campus”. Elections are on the 28th October. Contact societety executives for more details.

AltSoc had an alternative day out recently. President of AltSoc, Rachel Outram, said “We went to Barry, played frisbee on the beach, then played Quasar. Everyone got a bit competitive and had a fantastic time. The event was sold out, but due to how popular and cheap it was we'll definitely be going again!”

Sport 30 - 32

Societies 25

Anime Society Halloween Party 7.00pm - 11.00pm at Koko Gorillaz

Amnesty International Tea Party

4.30pm - 6.00pm in the Kitchen, SU

Anime Society Library Jam Session

6.00pm - 8.00pm Nelson Mandela Room, SU

Mountaineering Club Weekly Climb 6.00pm - 10.00pm at Boulders

Rambling and Hiking Club

Trip to Much Wenlock in Shropshire

WEMS trip to UK National Conference Cambridge

Scout and Guide Society

Freshers' Camp (Pirate Theme)

Student Run Self Help Fundraiser 6.30pm Cardiff Arts Institute

Follow @GairRhyddSoc for the latest news and info on future articles.

If you would like to join a society, or see a full list of opportunities, visit: http://groups.cardiffstudents.com/societies/home


Opinion Politics

Monday October 27 2011

Science Societies Listings 25

27

Sport

Listings 27

gairrhydd

Ladybird presents a night of mystery

express DJ's are playing in Buffers so special guests this is a gig not to be

slashed drinks prices and provided top DJ's, massacred Moulin Rouge and jaded

What could be better than singing your heart out in a luxury private karaoke

is included in the price so once you're done singing you can dance the night

Friday

er h t O s to e c a l p ! y r t

IV Lounge, Neuadd Meirionydd, Ifor Bach, 11 Womanby Street

puddings and the richest gravy all for a

Another Halloween event for this weekend of ghosts and ghouls. Propaganda Cardiff, which promises to put an indie twist on Halloween.


28Puzzles

Monday October 24 2011

sudoku.

INTERMEDIATE

gair

CHALLENGING

word wheel.

How many words of three or more letters, each including the letter at the centre of the wheel, can you make from this diagram? We've found 20, including a nine-letter word. Can you do better?

You are the ruler of a medieval empire and you are throwing a celebration tomorrow. The celebration is the most important party you have ever hosted and you've got 1000 bottles of wine, but you find out that one of them is poisoned. The poison exhibits no symptoms until death, which occurs within ten to twenty hours after consuming even the minutest amount of poisoned wine. You have over a thousand slaves at your disposal and just under 24 hours to determine which single bottle is poisoned. You have some prisoners who are about to be executed, and it would mar your celebration to have any one else other than the prisoners killed.

G H

E C L

L E

A N

answers.

Rhys's riddles. -challenge -allege - glance - angel - angle - glace - legal - clang - glean - lance - clean - leach - call

EASY

INTERMEDIATE

CHALLENGING

- eagle - lace -lean - glen - heel - hell - hall - heal - eel - gel - cell - leg - gal

word wheel.


News Opinion Politics Feature Science Societies Listings 25 27 9 - 12 1-7 14 - 16 19 - 21 23 - 24

Monday October 24 2011

Sport 30 - 32

gairrhydd

Taf-od29

Hoffwn ymddiheuro yn ddiffuant i bawb a oedd wedi eu siomi gan gynnwys yr erthygl ‘Roedd fy wythnos gyntaf yng Nghaerdydd’ a gyhoeddwyd wythnos diwethaf. Fe’i printiwyd oherwydd amryfusedd golygyddol a wnaiff ddim digwydd eto. Drwy weithio gyda golygyddion newydd Taf-od rydym wedi diwygio ein proses golygyddol i gynnwys rheolaeth fwy llym fel nad yw camgymeriad o’r fath yn digwydd eto. Yn ychwanegol i hyn, hoffwn annog unrhyw fyfyriwr sydd yn medru’r Gymraeg neu fyfyrwyr sydd yn astudio Cymraeg i gyfrannu at yr adran, gan mai gyda’ch help chi yn unig y gallwn ei ddatblygu ymhellach. Gellir cysylltu â golygyddion Taf-od ar tafod@gairrhydd.com

Annwyl Olygyddion,

Hoffwn fynegi fy siom fod yr erthygl a gyhoeddwyd yn Taf-od yr wythnos dwytha' (‘Roedd fy wythnos gyntaf yng Nghaerdydd’ gan Dylan Edwards) mor wallus a dirmygus o'r iaith Gymraeg, ac o ddarllenwyr y golofn. Beth oedd pwrpas cyhoeddi'r fath rwtsh? Os mai i wawdio'r rhai a ymgyrchodd i gael cydnabyddiaeth o'n hiaith a'r hanesion sy'n berthnasol i ni yn yr unig bapur newydd arbennig ar gyfer myfyrwyr Prifysgol Caerdydd, roedd yn llwyddiannus.

Hoffwn gredu nad dyma'r bwriad, ond yn hytrach codi ymwybyddiaeth am ddiffyg parodrwydd ymysg myfyrwyr Cymraeg eu hiaith i gyfrannu at y golofn. Rwyf yn siwr nad ydi hi'n hawdd llenwi'r golofn bob wythnos, ac yn y gorffennol, ar ddiwrnod enwebu golygydd i Taf-od, bu hi'n anodd gweld parodrwydd gan unrhyw un i gymryd y cyfrifoldeb. Mae'r problemau hyn yn tanseilio'r ymgyrchu diweddar a fu dros benodi Swyddog i'r Iaith Gymraeg yn yr undeb; mae angen ystyried pam ein bod mor frwd o blaid creu'r

swydd hon, pan nad ydym yn defnyddio'r adnoddau sydd gennym yn barod? Efallai mai rhan o'r broblem yw bod llawer o'r Cymry Cymraeg sydd yn fyfyrwyr yn y brifysgol yn gweld ei gilydd yn rheolaidd, ac felly mae unrhyw newydd neu farn a allai fod o ddiddordeb yn cael ei ledu ar lafar cyn ei wneud yn erthygl. Ar ben hyn, mae'r ffaith fod "pawb yn 'nabod pawb" yn gallu creu rhwystr i'r awydd i ysgrifennu rhag anghytuno â'r farn gyffredinol, neu rhag ymddangos yn wirion. Ond rwyf hefyd yn credu fod difaterwch yn broblem enbyd; pam nad ydi'r myfyr-

Ymateb i lythyr Lowri Angharad Jones,

Yn dilyn y llythyr uchod gan Lowri Angharad Jones, hoffai'r ddau ohonom, fel golygyddion Taf-od, ymestyn ein hymddiheuriadau gwresog i holl ddarllenwyr y dudalen Gymraeg. Hoffai’r ddau ohonom bwysleisio mai diffyg cyfathrebu rhyngom ni’n dau a’r Prif Olygydd oedd y rheswm dros gyhoeddi’r erthygl ‘Roedd

fy wythnos gyntaf yng Nghaerdydd’ wythnos diwethaf, ac nid ymdrech dila i lenwi tudalen wag. Wrth gwrs, pe bai un ohonom ni wedi darllen yr erthygl ymlaen llaw, ni fyddai’r darn wedi ei argraffu. Doedd dim malais yn perthyn i’r erthygl, ond yn hytrach, ymdrech mae’n debyg ydoedd i amlygu gwallau sylfaenol yn system gy-

hoeddi Taf-od. Yn sicr, gwneir ambell i bwynt dilys gan Lowri, megis bod ysgrifennu yng nghornel Gymraeg y Gair Rhydd yn rhywbeth y dylai fod yn apelio at nifer o Gymry Cymraeg Prifysgol Caerdydd. Hoffai olygyddion Taf-od gyhoeddi, yn dilyn cyfarfod gyda Prif Olygydd y papur, y bydd gan Taf-od fwy o fewn-

Taf-od

wyr sy'n astudio'r Gymraeg yn cwffio am y cyfle i fod yn olygydd? Byddai'n seren aur ar unrhyw CV, ac fe awn mor bell ac awgrymu ei fod yn fwy perthnasol iddyn nhw nac i'r rhan fwyaf ohonom sy'n astudio cyrsiau eraill gan mai nhw yw'r 'arbenigwyr' am fynegi yn y Gymraeg. A pham fod prinder erthyglau i'w cyhoeddi? Eto, diogi sy'n cael y bai; gan gofio fod Y Gym Gym wedi cael llwyddiant ysgubol yn yr adran gwaith cartref yn yr Eisteddfod Rhyng-gol llynedd, 'dwi'n meddwl fod 'na dipyn o awduron gweddol yn byw yn strydoedd Cathays… Dydi hi

ddim yn anodd gyrru e-bost i'r cystadleuwyr yn gofyn am ran o'r gwaith i'w gyhoeddi sawl stori fer a gafodd wobr? Byddai'n hawdd gwneud cyfres o straeon byrion, neu gyhoeddi stori hirach fesul 'chydig dros chwe wythnos, a beth am rannau o flog buddugol? Does 'na ddim angen gwneud llawer, heblaw am ddangos ychydig o ddychymyg, a llawer, llawer mwy o barch a balchder yn ein hiaith, a'i chynrychiolaeth ym mhapur y myfyrwyr.

bwn i mewn i’r Gair Rhydd o hyn ymlaen. Ein gobaith yn y dyfodol agos yw darparu dwy dudalen drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg i ddarllenwyr y papur, yn hytrach na un fel sy’n bresennol. Gobeithio bydd hyn yn rhoi mwy o gyfle i’r myfyrwyr Cymraeg yn ein plith rhoi eu barn am faterion yr wythnos. Yn ogystal â rhoi lle i ni gynnig gwasanaeth mwy amrywiol ac ysgafn i’n darllenwyr,

bydd cyfle i fwy ohonom gyfrannu’n wythnosol. Unwaith eto, ein hymddiheuriadau diffuant os achosodd erthygl wythnos diwethaf unrhyw dramgwydd i ddarllenwyr selog Taf-od. Yn gywir, Caio Iwan a Osian Gruffydd

Yn gywir, Lowri Angharad Jones

Os oes gennych chi ddiddordeb ysgrifennu erthygl i Taf-od, ymunwch a’r grwp facebook Taf-od 201112 neu cysylltwch a un ohonom ar gyfeiriad ein ebost prifysgol: IwanC@cardiff.ac.uk ; <dy gyfieiriad di, Osian>


Sport

30

Monday October 24 2011

Out with the new, in with the old

gairrhydd sport@gairrhydd.com

Dan Wheldon dies, 32, in horrific Indy Car crash

Gareth Johnston assesses the current Cardiff IMG football format

T

he Cardiff IMG football structure has been going strong for a while now, year in, and year out it has allowed teams of varying abilities to compete and play their football in what was considered a relatively effective and fair system. With 32 teams registered in total, the first half of the season would see each team randomly allocated into a group with 7 others, to form 4 preliminary leagues. After completing 7 fixtures each, the top two performing sides in each preliminary league would, in the second half of the season, adjoin to form the top division. Those placing third and fourth would form the second division, fifth and sixth the third division, and finally those in seventh and eighth position would comprise the fourth and lowest division. Inevitably there would be a few fixtures that would see some teams unfairly matched, prior to Christmas, however the format essentially dictated that for the majority of the season, teams would be playing opponents of a similar level to themselves. So, understandably, it came as a shock to many club captains in the past fortnight, to see a fixture list released that had seemingly abolished the post-Christmas division of teams. Chris Duncan, co-captain of IMG football team Port Fail stated that, “We received an email that was just one season long continuous fixture list, one that seemed to have little

structure. As captains we were wary that this would lead to a lot of very unfair matches, all throughout the season and affect the enjoyment of the game for a lot of our players. As much as we want to be competitive and be challenged, we also want to enjoy ourselves and ideally be playing teams that are around our level.”

As much as we want to be competitive and challenged, we also want to to enjoy ourselves

In response to the numerous comments made by players and captains alike, Matt Richards, current IMG administrator released an email that stated, “In my defence, I couldn’t find any administration or any other info from last year’s set-up, so I went into the league a bit blind.” A few days after the original fixture list was released it was, much to the relief of many, reverted back to its old tried and tested format. To level any criticism at Richards would however be very unfair, considering that in previous years the league had been managed by students who played in the league itself, and thus usually had a fair understanding of how it operated. However in an interview with the Athletics Union's Membership Development and democracy manager Steve Wilford, it became clear that the decision to appoint an admin-

istrator, who was not part of IMG, was taken in light of problems previous occupants had encountered. “In recent years the league has been run by people who have been also playing in it. Combined with their commitments to their own teams and their university studies it became clear that this was creating a lot of pressure for that individual, including the potential for accusations of bias from other players." Steve also commented on future plans to create a more efficient and safer league. He discussed ideas to introduce a program to train referees, so as to have qualified officials for every match. He also urged anybody who is already a qualified referee, or interested in being so to contact the Athletics Union if they are interested in contributing toward the improvement of the league. “We are looking to eliminate the need for players to have to referee their own games, and within the next year adopt a program to allow anybody to gain full refereeing qualifications.’’ What is clear is that it is difficult to implement an IMG system that is ubiquitously fair, due to the ever changing nature of teams and their squads courtesy of graduation or the injection of new players. Yet with the old fixture system safely now readopted and a wealth of improvements on the horizon, it seems likely that Cardiff IMG will only strengthen, and become a service that gets as many people, of all abilities, playing football as possible.

Mike McEwan Sports Writer

W

ith his dashing looks and long, slicked back locks, Dan Wheldon could quite easily have been mistaken for a driver from a bygone era. But this English gentleman from Oxford drove in a supposedly sanitised epoch of motor-racing, a notion which was cruelly dismissed in a blaze of fire and twisted metal at the Las Vegas Indy 300 event last Sunday. Passing at the untimely age of 33, Wheldon was a name unfamiliar with many British motorsport fans as he plied his trade in America. Despite this, in the junior series, he battled with the widely acclaimed Formula One star Jenson Button, holding his own and making a name for himself in his own right. Although he had the prodigious skill to attract F1 teams, he did not have the sponsorship to secure a drive in the flagship formula of motorsport.

So the American series of Indy Car is where he finally found his calling. He quickly dazzled the motorsport scene with his speed on the track and his good humour off it, Wheldon quickly became a poster boy for the series and a crossover star in the States. It was in the Indycar series where he claimed his greatest accomplishments; he became the first Brit to win the Indy Car title since the esteemed Nigel Mansell, in 2005. He was also victorious in the Indy 500, the piece de resistance of American racing, on two separate occasions. However, the fateful events of the 16th October seemed to pale all those successes into insignificance. Wheldon, unavailable to secure a seat for the 2011 season, had been invited to compete in the Indy 300 for an enticing $5 million, if he was able to gain victory starting from the back of the field. It later transpired that the winning figure fell far short of the $5 million suggested; instead the Englishman would have collected just £178,000. Before the race he appeared extremely optimistic; but heartbreakingly, on the 12th lap, after becoming embroiled in a 15 car pileup, he suffered “unsurvivable” injuries and tragically lost his life. Motorsport has endured a grave reminder of the inherent dangers of its profession and Wheldon’s legacy must necessitate higher degrees of safety in Indy car. The safety of the sport maybe a dubious topic, but what cannot be disputed is that a man of such high ability and moral fibre has been lost. He is survived by his two young boys and wife Susie.

Referee gets it wrong as Wales lose to France Pete Robertson Sports Writer

Wales saw their ambitions of being World Champions dashed at the hands of a 9-8 loss to France last Saturday. However, the match will be best remembered for one particular decision from referee Alain Rolland. His decision to show Wales captain Sam Warburton a red card in the 18th minute of the match drastically altered, not only the result, but also the spectacle. Warburton's tackle on French winger Vincent Clerc was a poor one, and in most circumstances a yellow card would have sufficed followed by Dmitri Yachvili converting the penalty under the posts. But for Warburton to be sent off, in the letter of the law, the Welsh captain must have been shown to put Clerc down in a dangerous man-

ner, thus meaning that he drove his head or neck into the ground. However, replays showed that this was not the case, and that upon realising that the tackle was almost too good, Warburton released Clerc from the tackle, refraining from a dangerous spear tackle on the winger. He then subsequently tried to carry on with the game, unaware that he was mere seconds away from being shown a straight red card. Most impressive of all though was the response of the Welsh players that remained on the pitch after referee Rolland's knee-jerk decision. Despite being a man down, Wales dominated the second half, and had numerous chances to win the match. Had Stephen Jones' conversion gone through rather than hitting the post, or one of James Hook's penalty chances not gone wide of the uprights, Wales would have pulled off possibly the biggest victory in World Cup rugby his-

tory. The 60,000 Welsh fans in the Millennium Stadium who came to watch on the big screens thought that full back Leigh Halfpenny had won the game for their nation with a long range penalty as the game neared its climax. But the Welsh were left in despair once replays showed that the ball dipped just under the posts, giving France the victory. Nevertheless, Wales can be proud of their team. They may have lost the match by a single point, but they stood up to a strong French side after they lost their captain, and had Warburton only recieved ha yellow card, they may have won the game and gone on to face the All Blacks, in what would have been their first World Cup final.

Look out for next week Gair Rhydd Sport review the Rugby World Cup review.


News Opinion Politics Feature Science Societies Listings 25 27 1-7 9 - 12 14 - 16 19 - 21 23 - 24

Monday October 24 2011

Sport 30 - 32

Sport31

gairrhydd

What it takes to make it as a professional Dale Jones catches up with a Craig Lodge, a Cardiff Uni student who has recently made the jump into the world of professional sport.

W

healthier than ever before; “I’m much more conscious when I’m out now, not to go over the top and make sure I’m in a good enough state to get up and train the next day.” His only respite comes every Thursday, the rest day, which he devotes to catching up on University work. It’s hard to imagine that amongst all of the training his main priority is the final year of his Criminology degree where the pressures of the long awaited dissertation deadlines are mounting up. His housemates constantly remind him that “recovery is the forgotten session” as it’s vital to relax your muscles correctly during periods before and after intense training to avoid injury.

hether they are being described as poor role models, questioned about their commitment and loyalty or simply believed to be under performing, modern sportsmen and women are often publicly criticised. Now that sports stars are instantly given celebrity status as soon as they hit the spotlight, their behaviour outside of their chosen profession is constantly being scrutinised and judged by the world. Sometimes the criticism is justified, such as the level of irresponsibility shown by the England Rugby team off the field during this year’s Rugby World Cup. However, it’s usually harsh and the offence committed, commonly alcohol related, is either blown out of all proportion by the media or is completely unrelated to their performance and life as a sportsman.

Rifle Club round up Louise Bungay Sports Writer

It’s always been my dream to become a professional rugby player

Craig was invited by the Cardiff Blues to train with their Academy team

Are we too harsh on these individuals who have spent all of their lives training and perfecting their skills to be the best that they can be? I predict many of you would suggest not, considering the large sums of money often carried home by such individuals. However, look at the adjustments every sports star has had to make to their lives, to risk absolutely everything and commit all of their time and effort into succeeding as a sportsman, at such a young age; perhaps the commitment, bravery and determination shown by someone to take that leap would change your mind. Craig Lodge,20, is a 3rd year student at Cardiff University and is currently taking this leap, I met up with him to find out the lifestyle changes and commitments he is making in order to make it as a professional sportsman. After impressive early season displays for both Cardiff University rugby team, involving a last –minute pre season win over a Newport Gwent Dragons ‘select’ side, and Beddau RFC, Second Row Craig was invited by the Cardiff Blues to train with their Academy team; ever humble he claimed first off “without the support of the University coaching staff and my teammates, I wouldn’t have been presented with this opportunity. Fact.” Over the past couple of weeks he

Next time we’re sharpening our knives after another sporting controversy or scandal, maybe we should consider the hours, weeks and years of hard work that have been put in place by the sports star in question, before judging them on the moments of madness that may have led them to the front pages of our newspapers.

has made the transition from train- where he has to eat more than two ing twice a week and playing once and a half times the amount of calories than the average individual a week with the University firsts, per day and drink up to to training seven times a 20 protein shakes week across all three a week in an atteams he’s curA week in the life tempt to bulk rently involved of a professional athlete up. A lad who with, whilst also and student. used to pargetting stuck ty just as into match Monday: Blues Academy and Cardiff much as days on both University training any other Saturday Tuesday: Blues Academy and Beddua RFC student and Sunday training still has every week. Wednesday: Cardiff University match his fun at “The trainThursday: Beddua RFC training the Lash ing sessions Firday: Blues Academy training on the Uniwith the acadSaturday: Beddua RFC match versity rugemy are much Sunday: Cardiff University training by socials but more intense, other than that, they don’t last as All the while in full time has seriously cut long but I’m made education. down on his alcohol to work so much harder intake in comparison than ever before.” to his first two years at Cardiff, as On top of that he’s also been he attempts to become fitter and placed on a strict dieting regime,

Every sportsman and woman seen on television went through this same transitional stage of his or her lives at some point, where sport gradually takes over everything else and the courage it takes to put everything else on hold whilst you pursue your dream is immense. After University Craig’s always wanted to move to London and join the Metropolitan Police but he now has to decide whether to stay and make a go of it with the Academy or not; “It’s always been my dream to become a professional rugby player and now that the opportunity is there I have to take it.” That doesn’t mean to say that he’s not anxious about his decision; “It’s such a big step, the thought’s always there that if it doesn’t happen and I don’t make it, perhaps I’ve wasted time I could’ve spent working my way through the Police ranks.” But at the end of the day it all comes down to the hunger and talent of the individual and Craig’s got that in abundance; “It’s not up for me to say whether I’ll make it and play for the Blues or even Wales at some point, there are lots of factors out of my control, but I’m convinced I’ve got the ability and desire to do it.” It’s clear to see, through Craig, the huge steps one has to take in order to make it as a professional athlete. This particular moment in Craig’s life seems the hardest step of all, to fully commit, to stop everything else and devote all hours of the day to raising his game. So maybe sports stars deserve more credit for their commitment and sacrifice than they’re given!

L

ast weekend 4 members of the Students Union team came down to Cardiff University Rifle Club's range to have a go at some target rifle shooting. Although they all admitted to not having much previous shooting experience, some who had never picked up a rifle before, all 4 turned out to be very impressive shots. After some competition style shooting, the group were split in to 2 teams for a bit of fun rivalry shooting, trying to hit as many discs as possible. With drinks riding on whichever team won, the competitive spirit certainly came out. In the end it was deemed a draw. The Cardiff University Rifle Club is looking forward to a great year ahead, building on momentum from a strong finish in BUCS last year. Follow @GairRhyddSport for the latest sport and info on future articles.


Sport

Student signs for Cardiff Blues << Inside

A RELAXING SUNDAY? NOT HALF!

The Cardiff Half Marathon proves to be a great a success as around 11,000 people take to the streets and push themselves to their limits

Rhys Clayton Sports Writer

T

he 2011 Cardiff Half Marathon could not have come at a better time. With the nation in mourning over the calamitous rugby semi-final of the previous day, the annual race provided a welcome distraction from the Welsh rugby team and a chance to focus on something other than events in Auckland. There are few events that quite capture community spirit more than a Half Marathon, and over 15,000 entrants from places as far afield as the Virgin Islands and Singapore, stood on the start line in Cardiff Bay to take part in the Cardiff half last Sunday. From a personal perspective, knowing that there are 15,000 people all in it together, produces a unique energising effect that helps you through the last few brutal miles. No feeling could rival the adrenalin and nervous excitement every runner feels

in the minutes before the gun. Liniment fills your nostrils, and butterflies flutter in your stomach with the sense of anticipation of what is about to come. The winner of the men’s race was Kenya’s Edwin Kiptoo, who posted a sublime time of 1:03:26. Kiptoo soared to the front from the gun, and heaped on the pressure throughout the race, shattering the course record as well as claiming victory. Silver and bronze also went to Kenya with last year’s winner, Andrew Lesuuda, taking 2nd and Edwin Kipkorir coming 3rd. In the women’s race, Alice Mogire, another Kenyan athlete posted an equally fantastic winning time of 1:11:26. "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?" winner, Connie Fisher also ran in the race to raise money for the Marie Curie Cancer Care. She was joined by other celebrity runners such as Egghead CJ de Mooi and Dirty Sanchez’s Mathew Pritchard. Regrettably, I missed out on my target time of 1 hour 30 minutes. I

daresay that next year, I may follow in the footsteps of the Welsh rugby team, and make a trip to Spala, Poland, to see if the -140 degree chambers are as magical as their effects appear. Wales may have had 14 heroes on the pitch on Saturday, but there were 15,000 heroes pounding the tarmac on Sunday, raising over £1 million for charitable causes in the process. Many runners even ran in imaginative fancy dress outfits, including mankinis, sunflower suits, Banana-man, and Roman Centurions. However, the best costume award must go to James Thornton from Swansea, who ran in an 8-ft tall giraffe costume. Several members of the Cardiff University Athletics Club took part, with all participants enjoying the experience and posting excellent times. Suzanne Turvey, a third year medicine student, achieved a brilliant personal best time of 1 hour and 32 minutes. A very happy Suzanne commented, "The Cardiff Half has been the best race of my

life so far, the atmosphere was electric! The people and the place made it a fantastic event. Thank you to the race organisers and volunteers." Whilst fellow third year medical student, Sian Thomas, also clocked an incredible time of 1 hour and 43 minutes. Six minutes ahead of Sian was physiotherapy student Katrina Rye, who ran a very respectable time of 1 hour and 37 minutes. Ms. Rye loved the “brilliant atmosphere and excellent camaraderie throughout the race. I even received a high five at the end from a fellow runner after the final mile of motivating each other!” Katrina achieved a better time than her mum, which is probably for the best, or she may never have heard the end of it. Elsewhere, Owen Haswell took part in the race for the first time and posted a time of 1 hour and 23 minutes, which ensured him a 151st place finish. And even with aching legs the following day; he is already committed to next year's event, a sentiment echoed by all the above participants.

The Cardiff Half Marathon continues to go from strength to strength and organisers will be delighted that this year’s race went according to plan after last year's embarrassing scaffolding diversion left the course 193 metres short. Congratulations to one and all!

TEAM OF THE WEEK: CARDIFF MENS BASKETBALL Cardiff Uni 53 - 49 Southampton Solent Uni This week is the first time Cardiff have travelled down to Southampton for an away match. They came away from this hardfought encounter victorious over the highly rated Solent university team. ''A fantastic result.'' Ollie Devon AU President.

gair rhydd - Issue 960  

gair rhydd - Issue 960