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First Minister visits Eisteddfod birthplace

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First Minister Carwyn Jones: Enjoying the day’s performances

First Minister Carwyn Jones: Enjoying the day’s performances

CARDIGAN CASTLE, birthplace of the Eisteddfod – Wales’ iconic cultural festival – once again saw its mighty walls filled with the sounds of traditional music and literature, as the Castle played host to a celebratory concert l on Thursday (Jun 25) .

The first concert to be staged on the lawns of the recently opened Castle, Beirdd a Chantorion brought together west Wales’ finest poets and musicians, marking the completion of the 900 year-old site’s new dedicated Eisteddfod exhibition.

Earlier in the day, the Castle’s funders were joined by the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, for their first tour of the site since the £12m restoration project ended in April.

The Castle’s restoration was made possible thanks to a £6.2m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and £4.3m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through Welsh Government.

Further funding was received through a Communities Asset Transfer grant of nearly £800,000, with support from Cadw – the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, Big Lottery Fund, The UK Association of Preservation Trusts, The Architectural Heritage Fund, Ceredigion County Council, Cardigan Town Council and The Prince’s Regeneration Trust.

Cris Tomos, Castle Director, said: “2015 is truly a year of celebration for Cardigan Castle, and Beirdd a Chantorion was the perfect way to mark the completion of the world’s first dedicated Eisteddfod exhibition and commemorate the rebirth of this amazing sit e.”

First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones said: “Cardigan Castle is one of Wales’s most iconic castles due to its history, setting and importance to the local community and more widely to Wales. I am delighted that the Welsh Government, through Cadw, has provided support and funding to the Cadwgan Trust on its rewarding journey in restoring and conserving the castle. It is also pleasing that EU funds of over £4 million have helped towards the development of a sustainable heritage attraction and multi-functional cultural, community and learning resource which will attract visitors, create jobs and bring wider economic benefit to the town and surrounding area. I wish Cardigan Castle and all those associated with it every success for the future.”

Ted Sangster, Interim Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund Committee for Wales, said: “We’re thrilled to finally see this historic Welsh building opening its doors to the public once again, marking a new chapter in its colourful history.

“Thanks to National Lottery players, we have supported this project as part of our ongoing investment in heritage based tourism for the benefit of local people and Wales’ economy. This project really demonstrates the value of investing in heritage and provides an opportunity for us all to find out more about our Welsh heritage, creates new opportunities for people to volunteer and learn new skills and at the same time, brings investment into the local economy. We are thrilled to see years of hard work come to fruition.”

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The Prince’s Regeneration Trust (PRT), added: “We are delighted that Cardigan Castle is finally opening its doors to the public following a successful restoration that has been more than 15 years in the mak ing.

“This has been one of Wales’ most important heritage regeneration projects and we feel very privileged that we played a part in helping it to bring it to fruition.

“PRT has worked with Ceredigion County Council and the Cadwgan Building Preservation Trust on the project since 2004. We contributed very significant support which has helped deliver their vision of the Castle becoming a major visitor destination that could transform the town’s economy.

“The Castle opened in April, and we are thrilled that this ambition is well on its way to becoming a reality.”

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Lecture considers the future of war

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INTERNATIONALLY renowned war scholar and military conflict expert, Professor Christopher Coker delivered this year’s Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture on Thursday (Nov 16).

Christopher Coker, Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, is a prolific author on all aspects of war. He is a former NATO Fellow, a former twice serving member of the Council of the Royal United Services Institute, and a regular lecturer at Defence Colleges in the UK, US, Rome, Singapore, and Tokyo.

In his lecture entitled ‘Still ‘The Human Thing’? Thucydides, Waltz & the Future of War”, Professor Coker discussed war as a feature of what we call ‘human nature’ or ‘humanity’ in general, while focusing on urgent contemporary issues such as possible changes in the nature of war by the blurring of the distinction between humans and machines.

He also considered how, as Artificial Intelligence becomes ever more a fact of life, the traditional functions and forms of war could change, discussing such questions as: will we still need war and will war still need us?

Talking ahead of the the event, Professor Ken Booth of Aberystwyth University said: “Chris Coker is a very imaginative, interesting, and controversial thinker. Intellectually ambitious, he always addresses the biggest questions. The titles of some of his most recent books attest to this: Future War, Can War be Eliminated?, Warrior Geeks: how 21st Century Technology is Changing the Way We Fight and Think about War, The Improbable War: China, the US, and the Logic of Great Power Conflict and Men at War: what Fiction tells us about Conflict. We can be sure of a fascinating and challenging lecture about a supremely important area of human behaviour.”

The Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture brings distinguished scholars to Aberystwyth to talk about issues that were central to the concerns of the late Ken Waltz, the leading theorist of international relations over many decades.
Hosted by the David Davies Memorial Institute and the Department of International Politics, this year’s lecture was held in the Main Hall in the International Politics Building on the Penglais Campus.

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Youth Service invited to international training event

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TWO Youth Workers from Ceredigion Youth Service have been selected to represent the UK on a week’s training opportunity in Horažd’ovice in the Czech Republic.

‘The danger of a Single Story’ is a training course funded by Erasmus+, that combines stories, media, global education and active citizenship to empower trainers, educators and youth workers with the tools to educate young people on issues such as cyberbullying, hate speech, and online harassment.

Elen James, Head of Youth Engagement and Continuing Education​,​ said​:​ “We are extremely proud of both Rebeca Davies and Guto Crompton, 270 people had applied, for 24 places, 2 were allocated for the UK and both places have been assigned to Ceredigion Youth Service staff.

“This is an excellent training opportunity for them, which will inform them and encourage them to reflect on the evolution of media and the consequences that it has on the formation of stereotypes and prejudices. We wish them all the best in Prague!​”​

Rebeca Davies and Guto Crompton will join 22 other Youth Workers from Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey. The week will be hosted at the PROUD Environmental Centre approximately 120km from Prague, from ​Sunday (Nov 19) for a week.

Rebeca Davies, School Based Youth Worker said​:​ “I’m really looking forward to visiting Prague, and meeting other Youth Workers from across the World. It will be a fantastic opportunity to learn new tools and techniques to encourage and empower young people back here in Ceredigion.”

Guto Crompton, School Based Youth Worker ​added​:​ “I’m looking forward to learning more about different Youth Work methods and approaches. I’m also eager to develop a greater awareness around education, active citizenship and democracy.”

Cabinet member for Learning Services, Children and Young People’s Partnership, Councillor Catrin Miles, ​commented: “As a Council, we are very proud of the hard work of our Youth Service to the young people of the county. This will be a very important and worthwhile opportunity for Rebeca and Guto to represent Ceredigion and Wales and we wish them all the best at the event.”

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Pot Noodles bought with theft proceeds

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ON WEDNESDAY (Nov 15), Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court heard that a 23-year-old man stole an HDMI cable from a store and sold it for a tenner to buy ten Pot Noodles.

Joel Alexander Owens, of Portland Street in Aberystwyth, pleaded guilty to stealing alcohol to the value of £24.96 belonging to his hometown’s B&M Bargains on June 29. He also admitted stealing an HDMI cable to the value of £14 belonging to Tesco in Aberystwyth on September 24.

Prosecuting, Helen Tench said a staff member at B&M was notified by a member of the public about a male who left the store without paying for items.

CCTV footage was checked, which showed Owens select a number of alcoholic items and leaving the store without making any payments.

Police officers later viewed the footage and identified the defendant.

On October 14, a member of staff at Tesco was informed of the incident at B&M. The Tesco CCTV footage was viewed as a result and the defendant was seen removing an HDMI cable from its box on September 24 and leaving without paying.

Ms Tench said Owens was interviewed on October 19, where he admitted committing the offences in his personal statement.

The defendant also admitted he sold the HDMI cable for £10 in order to buy ten Pot Noodles.

Defending, Katy Hanson said Owens pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and admitted to stealing beer and cider from B&M.

Probation officer Julian Davies stated that the defendant was currently serving a 12-month community order for two previous offences of theft and a breach of a conditional discharge.

Aberystwyth magistrates revoked Owens community order and imposed a 12-month community order with 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and a four-week curfew.

Owens was told to pay prosecution costs of £85, compensation of £14 to Tesco and compensation of £24.96 to B&M Bargains.

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