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Stop the War calls for optimism on the left

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Stop the War: Addressing issues of misrepresentation in the Middle East

LAST Saturday evening (Mar 11) saw some 60 local residents gather at the Morlan Centre in Aberystwyth to hear three distinguished speakers address the issue of ‘ Media, Misrepresentation and the Middle East ‘ , an event organised and co-hosted by the Aberystwyth Stop The War Coalition and the Ceredigion Labour Party.

Chaired by the latter’s officer for political education, Meic Birtwistle, the event is the first in a series held to celebrate the constituency party’s centennial.

First up was Mike Cushman of Free Speech on Israel who critically interrogated key terms of the political vocabulary the media uses when talking about Israel, and claimed that their official meaning is more or less the exact opposite of what they purport to be describing.

The ‘ disputed territory ‘ of the West Bank, for example, is actually subject to the longest military occupation in modern history (June of this year will mark the fiftieth anniversary), and its status as an illegally occupied zone has long been recognised in international law.

Also of Free Speech on Israel, Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi gave an engaging and forensic analysis of the national media’s relentless hostility towards Jeremy Corbyn since his election as leader of the Labour Party in 2015.

This ranged over a number of forms, such as the amplification of party conflict and the use of epithets stressing that Corbyn was an ‘ uncredentialled ‘ leader, but special emphasis was placed on the national media’s attempt to associate his leadership with an alleged growth in anti-Semitic attitudes within the party.

Last to speak was Chris Nineham, a veteran of the British radical left and currently national vice-chair of Stop The War.

The thrust of his talk was that the media’s capacity for liberal consensus-making, particularly in matters of war, has broken down, and that the election of Jeremy Corbyn in the face of across-the-board media hostility to his anti-war politics is solid evidence of this. Therefore there is, he continued, a genuine struggle underway.

What are the chances of success? Pessimism has been in vogue for a number of years now on the British left, and Stuart Hall in particular never tired of stressing the danger of underestimating the strength and resourcefulness of the war-making establishment.

Against this, Chris refreshingly called for optimism: it is the political centre which is now in crisis, and went on to say that the Left have a good chance of success if it is prepared to do the work of movement-building.

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Christmas gift fair returns

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Last year at the Food Fair: The annual Christmas celebrations return this year

NEXT Friday (Oct 20), the annual craft and gifts extravaganza will return to Aberystwyth Arts Centre to get the locals in the mood for Christmas.

The Winter Craft & Gift Fair is sure to get visitors feeling festive in the run up to Christmas with over 80 stalls selling a wonderful array of crafts and gifts, many produced by local makers from Ceredigion and mid Wales.

This year will feature many regular stalls, as well as some who will be selling at the fair for the first time, so prepare to discover the unusual and unexpected at this year’s fair with it’s new layout and products for 2017.

The fair will be open from 10am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday and 12 to 5.30pm on Sundays all the way up until December 23.

On Saturday​,​ ​November ​​25, ​the Arts Centre’s Christmas Food Fair will take over the Great Hall for the day. There will be the very best of Welsh produce with cheese, meats, fish, wine, cider, pastries, puddings, jams and much, much more from many local producers. The Food Fair is the perfect place to stock up on a few gastronomic goodies in the run up to Christmas. There will also be live musical entertainment to get you in the Christmassy mood! The fair will be on 10am-4pm and entry is free!

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‘​I​t’s ok to say’

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FUW raise awareness: Urging people to 'say' on World Mental Health Day​

​ON WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY, farmers across Wales are being reminded that ‘it’s ok to say’ and the Farmers’ Union of Wales is urging them not to hide problems from themselves, their families and friends and to talk about their personal feelings.

The FUW made a commitment at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show in July to continue raising awareness of mental health problems in rural communities and is therefore renewing the call for those who might be suffering from mental health problems to seek help.

“The focus of this year’s World Mental Health day is on mental health in the workplace and farms are just that. In our places of work we’ve faced some pretty low-points in the last few years. Bovine TB, price volatility and uncertainty about our future post-Brexit, this all puts a strain on our resolve and will have many feeling stressed and under immense pressure,” said Union President Glyn Roberts​.​

“But we must break the stigma attached to mental health, so if you’re feeling vulnerable, please open-up and speak to someone. That doesn’t just mean today, but always. Farmers and farming families need to continue talking openly about what they are experiencing and the FUW strongly encourages anyone who is worried about their own mental health or a loved-one, to seek help from the Farming Community Network, Tir Dewi, The DPJ Foundation, Mind Cymru or Call Helpline Wales,” added Glyn Roberts.

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Scholarship scheme funds student’s Masters

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One of the chosen few: Stella Foster (Pic. Mark Woodward)

A TALYBONT native is one of just 28 people in the UK to be awarded a scholarship granted by energy company ScottishPower.

Stella Foster, 32, gratefully received the grant from the Scottish Power Foundation for the 2017/18 academic year.

Having just completed an undergraduate degree in Chemistry at the University of York, Stella will begin her Masters in Environmental Sciences this week at the University of East Anglia. Environmental science degrees integrate biology, physical science and information sciences to examine environmental systems (air, water, etc.) and how they interact.

The sought-after scholarship covers full enrolment costs as well as a living allowance. On top of this, the scholars will receive unique opportunities including meeting leading industry professionals.

“Travelling around the world and living in China before I started my undergraduate studies made me aware of the astounding change of pace in urbanisation; the two-hour bus ride from where I lived to Shanghai, there wasn’t a moment where you couldn’t see a construction site,” Stella said.

“This fast and dramatic development creates issues with the environment, and I’m really excited to learn about the creative and fascinating solutions out there, and hopefully come up with some of my own,” she added.

Since it was launched in 2010, the ScottishPower Foundation scholarships programme has provided £1.5m in grants towards training the next generation in their chosen field.

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