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Protest to end spending on weapons

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Projecting the message: One of many signs protesting against the use of drones

Projecting the message: One of many signs protesting against the use
of drones

AS PEOPLE across the world marked the UN International Day of Peace (Sept 21), about 150 people from across south and mid Wales gathered at Parc Aberporth (Blaenannerch). 

The event, the brainchild of local woman Kate Sherringer, took the form of a symbolic ‘Drape the Drones’ and ‘Wool against Weapons’ action. Speakers Jill Evans MEP (Plaid Cymru), Jim Scott (Pembrokeshire Green Party), Sue Lent (Deputy Leader of Cardiff Council) and Jill Gough (CND Cymru) all called for an end to militarism, and a halt to plans to spend £100billion of taxpayer’s money on replacing Trident – the British nuclear weapons system. Jill Evans MEP said: “War technology, of course, changes constantly but what does not change is the use of our country to test and practise for war. Aberporth is where drones have been developed for a multimillion Ministry of Defence programme – not a fact we can be proud of. Wales can help build a better world by contributing to peace and development.”

Jim Scott of the Green Party emphasised the damage caused to the environment caused by wars, arms build-up and militarism he said: “Technology is being used by governments and big oil companies to control and exploit vulnerable regions in the world, perpetuate instability and war, and disconnect us from the act of killing by conducting it remotely. We must redress and reverse the environmental damage caused by this approach before it is too late.” Sue Lent of Cardiff City Council, a long time campaigner for peace and justice said that she and her family had been visiting Wales for decades on holiday but had always considered the military sites near Aberporth as a blot on the landscape which spoiled an otherwise exceptionally beautiful area. CND Cymru National Secretary Jill Gough said: “It is time to work on alternative, non-violent ways of conflict resolution and we want Ceredigion, and the rest of Wales to be part of the solution – not part of the problem.

Here, where people are forced to use food banks and to seek help to pay energy bills, while £billions is spent annually on armaments, it is time to reconsider our priorities. The Peace Scarf shows just how passionate ordinary people everywhere are about nuclear disarmament. However symbolic the action, when people find their voice, they speak out. If we fail to abolish nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons will abolish us.” Music provided by Côr Gobaith (Aberystwyth), St Dogmaels Community Choir and Côr Cochion Caerdydd, and poetry by Paul Hawkes and Dave Rendle (Cardigan), Katy Beddoe (Newport Gwent) and Patrick Dobbs (Llandovery) was followed by a moving reading of the Waldo Williams poem Y Tangnefeddwyr by Megan Williams (Glandŵr Pembrokeshire). After a 2km locally knitted rainbow scarf had been unrolled around and across the entrance to Parc Aberporth and around the roads and the adjacent roundabout, people stood in a very moving two minutes silence, to remember all victims of war.

Over 100 signatures were collected on a giant postcard to David Cameron calling on him to follow 19th Century Tregaron born Welsh MP Henry Richard in his work towards International Arbitration instead of violent conflict. The day had been preceded by a colourful and musical lead-up event outside Cardigan Guild Hall. Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire peace campaigners will be meeting on the Global Action Day against the Use of Drones for Surveillance & Killing to fly kites on Poppit Sands at 12pm.

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Aberystwyth: Driver on drugs hits lorry and causes ‘road chaos’

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A DRIVER high on drugs caused 15 miles of chaos as he approached Aberystwyth on the A44.

Brian Pitts hit an oncoming lorry and road signs as he drove on the wrong side of the road.

A car passenger filmed him because she was sure a serious accident was about to happen.

Pitts, aged 57, of Delmont Close, Tipton, west Midlands, admitted dangerous driving and driving while unfit through drugs he had taken.

Dean Pulling, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court that on June 16 last year Pitts had been driving his Rover MGZR, towing a trailer full of wooden fencing posts, towards Aberystwyth from his home.

Richard Brooks followed the car through Llangurig and became so concerned he telephoned the police while his wife Victoria filmed Pitts on her mobile.

The Rover collided with a 13 tonne lorry driven by Andrew Paxton but failed to stop.

Pitts failed to take a roundabout and hit road signs and an embankment but still carried on.

During the 15 miles, said Mr Pulling, oncoming traffic had to swerve off the carriageway to avoid a collision.

Several motorists telephoned the police to report what they were witnessing, he added.

Pitts came to a stop in the middle of the road and another motorist snatched the keys out of the ignition–and noticed that Pitts had been driving with a dog on his lap.

Mr Pulling said police officers could tell there was something wrong with Pitts, but an alcohol text showed he was below the limit.

“He was clearly unfit,” said Mr Pulling, although it was still unclear what drugs he had taken.

Pitts was taken to Aberystwyth police station and then to Bronglais hospital, where he appeared to recover after treatment. But he soon deteriorated and had to be taken back to the hospital.

Pitts developed pneumonia and had to be kept in for nine days.

His barrister, Tom Scapens, said when Pitts had been shown the mobile telephone footage he felt physically sick.

Judge T Mervyn Hughes jailed Pitts for 10 months and banned him from driving for four years.

He told him, “If you had not been stopped I am quite sure you would have caused serious injury if not death.”

Pitts was told to pass an extended driving test before getting his licence back.

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Motion to support the reduction of plastic use in Ceredigion approved

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In a Full Council meeting on 22 February 2018, the Council unanimously supported a motion to reduce the use of plastic and to support plastic reduction initiatives in Ceredigion.

The motion was proposed by Councillor Mark Strong and was seconded by Councillor Gethin Davies. The motion calls on Ceredigion County Council to support the various ‘Plastic Free’ campaigns throughout the county by reducing single-use plastics within Council facilities and offices and to promote the use of sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics at all Council supported events.

Councillor Mark Strong said, “I’m delighted that the Council unanimously supported the motion. This is an important step for the Council but we must carry on to reduce plastic use. Everyone has a responsibility to reduce the environmental damage caused by plastic. Carrying out small acts such as buying milk from your local milkman supports the local economy but in turn also supports our environment by using reusable glass bottles.”

The motion also calls on the Council to encourage local businesses, organisations, schools and communities to move away from single-use plastics and use sustainable alternatives as well as to support beach cleans and other events which aim to raise awareness of the issues of single-use plastics under the “Plastic Free”, Caru Ceredigion, Tidy Towns or any similar initiative.

The motion was amended in the meeting to include the establishment of a Members’ Task and Finish group to support measures to reduce the Council’s use of plastic and to support initiatives in the county that reduce plastic use.

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Richards-Keegan cleared of sending underage girl nude pictures

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A BOW STREET man has been cleared of charges that he sent an underage girl photographs of his penis.

Paul Robert Morgan Richards-Keegan, aged 21, had denied two allegations of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Richards-Keegan, of Tregerddan, said the only messages he sent her via the internet were in response to approaches from her and did not include photographs of his private parts.

Catherine Richards, prosecuting, had told a jury at Swansea Crown Court that the 14-year-old girl had shared messages with Richards-Keegan via Snapchat.

At one stage police issued to him a child abduction notice, which he signed, instructing him not to contact the girl

In 2016 she told her mother that he was again sending her unwanted photographs of his penis attached to messages.

Richards-Keegan was arrested, and told police he had obeyed the order apart from messages he had sent after being contacted by the complainant.

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