Friday, April 19Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

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#BringBackOurGirls

The hashtag ‘Bring Back Our Girls' has been trending in social media platforms for over recent months. The campaign, supported originally by Amnesty International, has been propelled into the public sphere by high profile tweets, and there have been calls for increased efforts to find and further protect the 270 plus school girls who were kidnapped by the jihadist group Boko Haram from a school in Chibok, North-Eastern Nigeria, on the 14th April. Translating as ‘Western Education is Forbidden', Boko Haram is a Nigerian, Islamist terrorist group which was founded in 2002. The group was created by leader Abubakar Shekau with the intention to overthrow the Nigerian government and create an Islamist state. Since 2009, the group has launched violent attacks against the military and civilians...
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1 in 5 students admits to taking performance-enhancing drugs

1 in 5 Students take ‘smart drugs' every day, it has been revealed. A further quarter of all final year students have taken them to assist with study. Oxford University has the biggest problem with the taking of ‘smart drugs' with 26% of all students admitting to having taken the ‘smart drug' Modafinil. However, Oxford has said that it has seen no evidence of a problem, despite reports that there is a thriving black market there, with students selling the drugs in libraries for £2 a pill. Newcastle and Leeds are close behind with 25% of their student population admitting to taking the drug. In a survey done at York University a further 79% of students said that they would consider taking the drugs for exams. The UK is not alone in this, the US has reported a huge problem in their Ivy...
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Most Restrictive Abortion Law in Europe

Spanish Prime Minister Marino Rajoy has caused a storm amongst the Spanish public as his government attempts to tighten abortion laws, controversially becoming one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe. The current government are pushing for abortions to only be permissible in instances of sexual assault, or if the mother's psychological or physical health is at risk. Women would additionally need to find two independent doctors willing to testify that the mother would be in danger if she were to carry the foetus to full term. These plans have been met with outrage in and around Spain. A survey conducted by the polling organisation ‘Metroscopia' for El País' newspaper in January revealed that 86% of Spaniards believed that women should have the right to choose whether to termi...
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Queen to Visit Royal Holloway

The Queen will be conducting a visit to Royal Holloway on Friday 14th of March. She will be accompanied by His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh, to present a prestigious music award to the department. The ‘Regius Professorship' dates back to the 16th century and this is the first time it has been awarded to a Department of Music. Principal, Professor Paul Layzell says: ‘It is a great honour that our Department of Music has been given such world-class recognition, confirming its position as one of the best in the country.' On the day, students will be able to stand outside the north tower where they can watch Her Majesty arrive in her car. The ceremony will be followed by a private reception in the Picture Gallery afterwards. While this will be a mostly private event, the Student's...
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Floods Cause Havoc!

As large parts of England and Wales brace itself for yet another barrage of heavy rain and very strong winds it is unsurprising to learn the Met Office has issued ‘red warnings' for North-West England and Wales with risk to life and widespread damage expected. Southern and Central regions have not gone unscathed as there are as many as sixteen severe flood warnings across Berkshire, Surrey and Somerset. The heavy rain which has been coming down since December has already resulted in entire villages becoming islands and widespread road and rail closures, and it doesn't appear to be stopping any time soon. For many Royal Holloway students living in Egham and the surrounding area the floods are a real danger. For one particular resident of Strode Street, Egham, each day brings new anxiety o...
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The EDL in Slough

On February 1st of this year, members from the far- right organisation ‘The English Defence League' lead a protest in the nearby town of Slough. Announced as part of a series of demos across the country, a statement on the group's website states that the demo is against the conversion of a local community centre into a mosque and the creation of an all-girls Muslim faith-school in the area. The controversial group had a conflicting 2013, seeing an upsurge in activity following the murder of soldier Lee Rigby by a pair of extremists, holding protests up and down the country. This was followed by the resignation of its leader, Tommy Robinson, in October stating his concerns for growing far- right extremism in the group as his reason. The February demo will be one of the first under new Lead...
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Fears for Romanian and Bulgarian Students Over the Future of their Degrees.

Many Romanian and Bulgarian students studying in the UK have experienced loan freezes and are therefore unsure if they will be able to complete their degree programmes. The students affected did not know there was anything wrong until they didn't receive their maintenance loan at the beginning of this term.. This comes as Student Finance England has told the students that they are no longer eligible for Student Finance as they have withdrawn early from their course. Some have even been told that they must start repaying their loans immediately. Some Universities have been sympathetic to the situation, such as the University of Bournemouth and have delayed payment deadlines. Others have declined comment. Mr David Willetts, the Conservative MP and Universities and Science Minister, froze the...
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Controversy Grows Following Principal Pay Rise

Royal Holloway's financial report for 2012-13 was released this January and amongst much controversy as it reveals a lot about the financial facts surrounding current hot debates on the recent strikes on pay cuts on campus. Firstly, it reveals that RHUL Principal, Paul Layzell, received a 3% (£8k) pay increase, bringing his total salary up to £265k per year in a figure that includes his pension, as well as his free house ‘Settrington' which is positioned adjacent to the campus. This has caused a stir, especially amongst staff who went on strike twice last term in conjunction with UCU and Unite unions, protesting against below inflation pay rise, in effect cutting their wages by 2%. It is unclear whether Professor Layzell had taken a rise for the current 2013-2014 academic year...
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Bangladesh Factory Fire

On May 10th the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh, which produced clothes for Primark, H&M and Gap, collapsed in flames, killing 1,127 of its workers. This has triggered worldwide concern as to the standard of health and safety being kept to supply popular clothing brands as cheaply as possible. There is increasing pressure against chain stores such as Benetton and Zara, who source their clothing from the Bangladeshi factory, to move towards safer working conditions for the people who work in these ‘sweatshops'. By signing the binding Fire and Building Safety Agreement, the clothing companies make a promise to protect the garment workers by ensuring that all safety standards that are expected are kept. H&M were one of the first to sign the agreement, as other chains followed in their path ...
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The EU Referendum

As the Conservative government openly defy Cameron and ask for an EU referendum, the Prime Minister has to make a decision whether to hold the referendum in 2017. But what should he do? Cameron has been in a tight corner this month and no matter what decision he makes on the United Kingdom's remaining in the EU, he will upset someone. While Cameron has already promised a referendum, this next step will place it in stone – in case anyone thought the Conservatives would go back on an election promise. There are 3 ways forward for the prime minister: If he holds the referendum tomorrow, the people will almost definitely vote ‘no' for EU participation. In this economic climate, there is just too much hatred and scapegoating of the EU. This will lose Britain her only place in a rapidly globali...