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Supermarkets could have to provide services in Welsh

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AS PART of a Welsh Government pledge to increase Welsh language usage, private companies including supermarkets and banks could be made to provide services in Welsh, according to a report from the BBC.

The Welsh Government’s widely-publicised aim is to ensure that there will be one million Welsh speakers by 2050.

Local Authorities already have to provide services in Welsh, and standards are being set for water, energy, bus and rail companies.

Campaigners have said Welsh language minister Alun Davies told them they should cover the whole private sector.

Welsh language campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (Welsh Language Society) has said Mr Davies told them of his support for widening such measures to other firms at a meeting in March.

In a letter to the minister the following day, the group said: “We are glad that you are privately and personally in favour of including the rest of the private sector in the measure.”

The Welsh Government is expected to publish its plans to reform Welsh language requirements before the assembly breaks for summer recess in late July.

Plaid Cymru, which is leading the debate on Wednesday, is urging ministers to plan for “substantial growth” in Welsh medium education and childcare, strengthen the role of the Welsh language commissioner, and to ensure economic planning takes the Welsh language into account.

Consultation in 2016 on the target of one million Welsh speakers suggested it would be based on the census returns where people in Wales are asked to identify whether they speak the language or not, although not how fluently or regularly.

The last census in 2011 showed the number of Welsh speakers in Wales fell from 582,000 in 2001 (20.8% of the population) to 562,000 (19%). In certain areas, the number of Welsh-speakers has halved over the past 30 years.

A century ago, almost a million people spoke the language.

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Stereophonics to play Swansea gig

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ONE of Britain’s best live bands Stereophonics has announced a special performance at Singleton Park, Swansea on Saturday, July 13, 2019.

The stadium rockers will perform in their south Wales heartland to celebrate 20 years since the career milestone show in Swansea at Morfa Stadium to 55,000 people and the release of ‘Performance and Cocktails’.

It will be the band’s first time back in south west Wales since their Morfa Stadium show in 1999. This now iconic album, which was the band’s second studio release, gave Stereophonics three straight top five singles in the British charts with ‘The Bartender and the Thief’ reaching No.3, and both ‘Just Looking’ and ‘Pick a Part That’s New’ reaching No.4.

Over the past two decades, Stereophonics have played at some of the biggest venues to fans all across the globe, amassing over 10 million album sales in that time.

More recently in 2018, the band performed to sell-out crowds across the globe, including a huge 15-date arena tour, summer homecoming gigs in Wrexham and Cardiff plus headline shows at Kendal Calling, Y Not Festival and Victorious Festival.

Speaking about the latest announcement, Kelly Jones said: “Performance and Cocktails put us on the world map, and also on the TV and the Radio, which meant a lot of people went back to discover Word Gets Around and made our first album platinum! Morfa Stadium was where we set Performance and Cocktails alight, and it was a one off day that can never be beaten. It was perfect. I’m not a man that likes to go backwards, this event is merely a birthday party, so come along and help us blow out the candles.”

Stereophonics are Kelly Jones (vocals/guitar), Richard Jones (bass), Adam Zindani (guitar) and Jamie Morrison (drums).

Tickets go on sale on Friday (Dec 14) at 10am via www.myticket.co.uk.

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Heroin could be linked to Aberysytwyth supply

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A LIVERPOOL man has admitted possessing heroin that could be linked to drugs supplied in Aberystwyth.

Jack English, aged 20, pleaded guilty to possessing a quantity of heroin with intent to supply when he appeared at Swansea Crown ccourt for a plea and trial preparation hearing before Judge Keith Thomas.

The court heard the drugs could also be linked to English’s father, who had been a heroin user who had ‘gone to Aberystwyth on many occasions’ and who had died since his son’s arrest in October 2017.

Judge Thomas said he would sentence English on January 11.

English, of Storrington Road, was granted bail meanwhile but warned that a jail sentence was the most likely outcome.

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Mark Drakeford named next First Minister

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THE NEXT First Minister of Wales will be Mark Drakeford, it has been announced this afternoon (Dec 6).

Mr Drakeford, a Cardiff West AM, was named as the winner of the Welsh Labour leadership contest at the Principality Stadium.

The contest was triggered when Carwyn Jones, the current First Minister, announced he was stepping down.

Mr Jones will officially step down on Tuesday (Dec 10).

Mr Drakeford will then be officially confirmed as the new First Minister of Wales by the National Assembly next week.

In the first round of voting, the results were:

Mark Drakeford – 46.9%
Vaughan Gething – 30.8%
Eluned Morgan – 22.3%

Eluned Morgan’s votes were then redistributed on voters’ second preferences, with the following results:

Mark Drakeford – 53.9%
Vaughan Gethin – 46.1%

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