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Campaign developments in fight for post office

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POSTOFFICE12CAMPAIGN group Save Aberystwyth Post Office say there have been several developments within the last week in their fight to save the last crown office in a 140 mile area from franchise and closure.

Roger Gale of Post Office Ltd has acknowledged the delivery of the campaign’s petition of over 3000 signature s. In his email to campaigners Mr Gale said: “We know this demonstrates the strength of feeling within the local community”.

He added that there is still no confirmed date for a public consultation over the fate of the Post Office: “as this is subject to us finding a potential partner.”

Most interestingly, despite Mr Gale claiming not to know who the ‘potential partner’ for the Post Office might be, the email to the campaign was signed: “General Manager –Crown and WHSmith!”

Within the same week Post Office Ltd released news of a deal whereby WHSmiths will take 61 Crown Offices over a ten year period under franchising or concessionary agreements. It now seems highly likely that Post Office Ltd want Aberystwyth Post Office to go into WHSmith as part of its deal.

If a concessionary deal is worked out for Aberystwyth, rather than a franchise agreement, then post office staff will remain employees of Post Office Ltd.

Also last week, Jeremy Corbyn used a speech at the Communication Workers Union (CWU) conference to call for Royal Mail and the Post Office to be brought back together under public ownership.

Mr Corbyn told CWU delegates that post offices are under increasing threat: “If we lose high street post offices, we’ve lost something pioneers fought to get,”

“The bean-counters in our government don’t understand the importance of human interaction.”

This week Save Aberystwyth Post Office campaigners were out in Aberystwyth making a film (see attached picture) highlighting some worrying issues with poor disabled access, lack of high street frontage and lack of space for projected higher customer traffic within WHSmith if the deal goes ahead.

Dinah Mulholland, speaking on behalf of the Save Aberystwyth Post Office campaign, said: “How come our post office might be moved into this totally unsuitable building when a perfectly good one exists on G r e a t D a r k g a t e St?”

Ms Mulholland added that campaigners will continue to fight to keep the iconic post office in its purpose built prime location, and will campaign to protect jobs and the terms and conditions of post office staff.

Campaigners have written to Post Office Ltd asking them to confirm the nature of the WHSmith agreement for Aberystwyth Post Office. The letter also recommends that instead of the Post Office being moved into WHSmiths that WHSmiths consider relocating into the Post Office building in Great Darkgate St.

Campaigners will be leafletting outside WHSmith for the next few Saturdays. Other actions are also planned

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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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