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New funding for Wales based companies to develop bilingual content for young audiences

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MORE Welsh language animation and live action programming is set to be developed for children and young people in Wales thanks to a funding boost from the Welsh Government, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden announced today.

The Deputy Minister has confirmed eight projects will receive a combined £352,545 in funding from Creative Wales’ Young Content Fund, which will see Wales-based companies develop new bilingual content for children and young people.

The fund, which is part of the co-operation agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru, is designed to stimulate the provision of programming for children and young people.

The projects include an animation and game inspired by the myths and legends of Wales; a comedy sketch show aimed at a preschool audience featuring an eclectic band of characters made from buttons and thread; to a fun-filled, water-based children’s gameshow that combines mental and physical challenges.

Familiars is the latest idea from Cloth Cat who have produced over 100 hours of animation on a variety of international broadcast series such as Boj, Dave Spud, Luo Bao Bei and Olobob Top. Cloth Cat has become a thriving animation and games production studio based in Cardiff. It has expanded its core crew to 6 full time staff and regularly employs over 25 skilled staff per project.

Jon Rennie from Cloth Cat, said: “We’re delighted to be part of the new Young Content Fund and it continues investment by Creative Wales in local companies looking to reach international audiences. Our project is a CG animation series and game idea that weaves together modern Wales and Celtic mythology to tell a new adventure story for 7 to 11 year olds.”

Caernarfon based Cwmni Da have been awarded funding for the development of a programme idea called ‘Act your Age’. Act Your Age is a situation comedy aimed at children in Key Stage 2 (age 6 to 11) and their parents. It uses the stereotypical style of a traditional situation comedy to create a familiar world, while at the same time, offering something completely new.

Barry “Archie” Jones, author and producer of Act your Age, said: “Act Your Age is an idea we’ve wanted to develop for some time. We really believe that the concept has potential to appeal to international audiences, and this Welsh Government support will help the dream become reality.”

Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden, said: “We have a vibrant and well-established creative sector in Wales which has an excellent track record of producing world class and award-winning content for young audiences. Some of the most iconic animations such as SuperTed and Fireman Sam were born in Wales and went on to make a lasting impression on a whole generation of children and young people.

I’m delighted we’re able to support the development of more original content which will support Welsh creative businesses and be about Wales – and from Wales. This will engage our young people in our history and culture as well as being a way of hearing and then using the Welsh language in a way that’s relevant and interesting to them.

I’m confident this investment will boost to our efforts to reach one million Welsh speakers by 2050.”

Designated Member, Cefin Campbell said: “Ensuring that children and young people across Wales have access to fun, engaging content is vital and a vibrant creative sector has a crucial role to play in this. We are supporting our creative businesses to create stories, images and content made in Wales, about Wales and in Welsh for the benefit of all.”

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Cornerstone 4G phone mast unconditionally backed

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A NEAR 70-foot-high 4G telecommunications tower scheme in north Pembrokeshire has been unconditionally backed by county planners.

Applicant Cornerstone sought what – in planning terms – is called prior approval for the installation of a 21-metre lattice tower supporting three antennas and associated works on land at Castle Farm Villa, Llanreithan, Hayscastle.

A report for planners says the radio base station “would allow a shared rural network in this rural area of Hayscastle for two of the main operators, to provide 4G connection, which would provide a reliable and fast communications services; to facilitate significantly improved connectivity for residents, businesses and visitors to locality.”

The application was supported by local community council Brawdy.

Cornerstone, in a supporting statement, says: “To keep up with growing demand from mobile phone users we need to upgrade existing base stations or build new base stations. An upgrade can be done in a number of ways, often by redeveloping the site to enable an increase in the number of technologies, or increasing the number or height of the antennas. However, even after these upgrades, in some busy areas the demand for services can still exceed the capability of the local base stations.”

It adds: “We recognise that the growth in mobile communication has led, in some cases, to public concern about perceived health effects of mobile technology, in particular about siting masts close to local communities.

“Quite naturally, the public seeks reassurance that masts are not in any way harmful or dangerous.   We are committed to providing the latest independent peer-reviewed research findings, information, advice and guidance from national and international agencies on radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields.

“Cornerstone ensure that our radio base stations are designed and built so that the public are not exposed to radio frequency fields above the guidelines set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).  In fact, radio base stations operate at low power and emit levels of radiofrequency fields many times lower than the ICNIRP general public guidelines.”

An officer report says a site visit was carried out to assess the impact of the proposed development, considering that the siting and design of the mast and associated structures would be acceptable.

“As such, the prior approval of the local planning authority is not required,” the report concluded.

Recent plans by Cornerstone for a 20-metre-high, timber-clad telecoms tower on land opposite the National Trust car park at Trehilyn West, Trefasser, near Goodwick, were turned down by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park planners.

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Pembrokeshire stands against Israeli apartheid and Genocide

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PALESTINE solidarity groups in Pembrokeshire and West Wales are mobilising for a powerful protest in Haverfordwest, Castle Square, this Saturday 20th April at 2pm. They aim to vehemently condemn the relentless Israeli onslaught on Gaza and send a clear message to the UK government and local MPs Simon Hart and Stephen Crabb: End the complicity now! We demand an immediate ceasefire and an end to arms sales that fuel this brutal oppression.

The Nakba, or ‘catastrophe’ in Arabic, refers to the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Israeli forces, following the forcible displacement of 750,000 Palestinians (almost half the population) in 1947-49 in order to establish the state of Israel. Israel’s current assault on Gaza is an escalation of the ongoing Nakba and threatens to be the largest mass expulsion of Palestinians since 1948. The international community has an immediate responsibility to intervene to stop Israel’s ethnic cleansing today. Any delay in implementing practical measures constitutes complicity and/or participation in the ongoing Nakba.

This rally is a collective outcry against the crimes perpetrated by Israel and a rallying cry for the boycott of Israeli products.

“It’s sickeningly hypocritical that Israel strikes nations and communities first, claims victimhood when faced with resistance, and then receives unwavering support from the U.S., the UK, and Germany!” lamented one protester.

“For too long, the international community has turned a blind eye to Israel’s flagrant violations of human rights, granting it impunity while innocent lives are lost.”

“Six months of relentless violence. Six months of Israel slaughtering innocent Palestinians. Six months of Israel killing over 14,000 children! That’s an average of around 76 children a day and what has our government done? Profited from arms sales, turning a blind eye to the bloodshed,” remarked another protester.

This protest is a clarion call to all who stand for justice: It’s time to disrupt the status quo and challenge our complicit government. “We will never give up,” declared a participant. “To dismantle apartheid, we must disrupt the everyday and refuse to be complicit in Israel’s crimes against humanity!”

Join us at Castle Square at 2pm this Saturday to lend your voice to the 2 million people who suffer from a forced famine and brutal occupation in Gaza. Together, we will demand justice, accountability, and an immediate end to the bloodshed, the genocide and ethnic cleansing.

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Dragon LNG ‘monitoring’ scrap car blaze in Waterston

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A BLAZE has broken out at the Waterston Car Dismantler’s business in Waterston, Milford Haven.

Dragon LNG which is situated near the site said that the fire was not related to their operation and confirmed that the that emergency services were at the scene.

Residents living nearby have been advised to keep windows and doors closed whilst the incident is being dealt with.

“We are aware of a fire in Waterston with the emergency services present,” said a spokesperson for Dragon LNG.

“The incident is not related to Dragon LNG and Dragon Energy. We are monitoring the situation and are co-ordinating with the emergency services.”

A spokesperson for Mid & West Wales Fire & Rescue Service told The Herald: “At 11.09am on Monday, April 15th, the Milford Haven, Pembroke Dock, Narberth, Fishguard, Carmarthen, Tenby and Haverfordwest crews were called to an incident at a commercial premises in the Waterston Industrial Estate, Milford Haven.

“Crews responded to approximately 150 vehicles on fire, at the height of the incident, 12 fire appliances were in attendance.  Crews utilised six breathing apparatus sets, nine hose reel jets, two ground monitors and approximately 1,000 litres of foam to extinguish the fire.

“Properties in close proximity to the fire were evacuated and nearby roads were closed.  The incident required a multi-agency response, with Dyfed-Powys Police, the Ambulance Service and the Local Authority also in attendance.

“Crews began to leave the scene at 2.11pm.

“Please be advised that as a precaution:

“If you are in an area still affected by smoke, you are advised to stay indoors, close windows and doors, and turn off any air conditioning or ventilation units.

“Motorists who must travel through areas still affected by smoke should keep windows closed, turn off air conditioning and keep air vents closed.”

(Images: M Cavaney/Herald)

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