Bursting the Bubble Week 5

Lumiere came to Durham again this week


  • Durham Students’ Union has announced a series of upgrades for its Riverside Bar in a bid to boost the popularity of the venue. This term students have already been treated to live Champions League football following the installation of BT Sport for the start of freshers’ week. However, the bar has also now fitted a big screen TV to enhance the experience further. The Activities Officer, Kara-Jane Senior, commented: “The Riverside Bar is growing in popularity since it was refurbished two years ago. We have seen the Domino’s quiz night become a firm favourite amongst students. We were keen to expand this and offer even further for students”. These developments have come at the same time as the newfound takeover of the Riverside Bar every Saturday at 22:00 by the Union’s very own Purple Radio and DJ Society. The complete Riverside Bar entertainment programme can be found on the Union website www.durhamsu.com.
  • Thousands are expected to descend upon Durham this week as the Lumiere light festival, the largest of its kind in the U.K., commences on Thursday. Twenty-eight light instalments from artists across the world will be switched on every evening until Sunday. Highlights include Janet Echelman’s ‘1.26’ – a net like structure set up above the River Wear near Milburngate Bridge. With contributions from Durham County Council and Arts Council England, funding for the event will amount to around £1.8 million. Nevertheless, planners hope ticket sales for the ‘central zone’ will provide a boost for the local economy. Speaking to the Durham Times, Councillor Simon Henig, leader of Lumiere commissioners Durham County Council, said: “We look forward to welcoming everyone to our beautiful city and to them seeing it in a whole new light’’.
  • A recent recruitment campaign by Durham Constabulary has resulted in six hundred people applying to become police officers within a fortnight. Looking to employ only 50 new police officers, the process was inundated with applications when they opened on 9th October. The campaign’s success comes as no surprise after Durham Constabulary was deemed the most efficient force in England and Wales last month. Discussing the news, Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg said: “The high number of applicants wanting to join our police service is a reflection of the commitment and standards of our officers and staff. I am confident the successful applicants will build on this ethos by continuing to support victims and keep our communities safe.”
  • Following the discovery of the skeletons of up to 28 Scottish soldiers in Durham City earlier this year, Durham University is inviting members of the public to hear more about the archaeology project and to give views on what should happen to the remains. A public consultation event will be held in Dunbar, Scotland, on 30 November, St Andrew’s Day; close to the location where the soldiers fought a battle that led to their eventual imprisonment in Durham. The Durham University archaeology team, joined by Canon Rosalind Brown of Durham Cathedral, will present their findings and ask for public feedback on the possibility of further research, reburial and commemoration. Andy Robertson, Archaeology Officer at East Lothian Council, said: “The work of Durham University adds an exciting new element to the story of the Battle of Dunbar and to our understanding of the events surrounding the battle. This public consultation is a great opportunity to find out more about some of the participants in this famous battle.”

Hugo Harris


  • Armistice Day saw the nation honour the war dead. On 11th November a two-minute silence was observed to commemorate the end of the First World War and to remember the dead from mass conflicts since. The proceedings were briefly overshadowed when Jeremy Corbyn was criticised by The Sun for reportedly not bowing his head enough when he laid a wreath at the Cenotaph on Sunday. The paper’s headline has since been condemned by thousands on twitter.
  • A British flight from Sharm el-Sheikh narrowly avoided being hit by a missile. The flight, carrying 189 people, reportedly had to take action to avoid a missile that was launched for routine military reasons.
  • The NHS faced yet more criticism as data showed that key targets were missed. NHS England revealed that targets in A&E, cancer treatment, diagnostic tests and ambulance response times had all been missed. Some of the data for England included that ambulances answered fewer than 75% of the most serious 999 calls in eight minutes, and the NHS 111 phone service could not reach its target of answering 95% of calls within 60 seconds.
  • The European Council President revealed that the renegotiation on Britain’s place in the EU will be “very tough”. Donald Tusk made his first comment regarding David Cameron’s objectives for the EU and his outlook was not optimistic, stating that there was “no guarantee” that a deal would be made by the end of December. Cameron asked for protection of the single-market, a reduction in red tape, exemption for Britain from “ever-closer union” and a restriction of EU migrants’ access to in-work benefits. In other EU news, the Electoral Commission announced that EU referendum votes will be counted overnight.
  • India’s Prime Minister is visiting Britain for the first time in a decade. The PM, Narendra Modi, and David Cameron are set to sign deals worth more than £9 billion. Modi stated that whilst he was visiting other EU countries, the UK was seen as India’s “entry point”.
  • Five new prisons are to be opened by 2020 as the government plans to close “Victorian” jails. The chancellor’s spending review, due on 25th November, plans for nine new prisons in England and Wales, with five to be completed by 2020. The aim is to close outdated facilities and move inmates to cheaper and more efficiently run institutions. The old sites will be sold to make room for new housing.


  • The GOP debate revealed divisions in the Republican Party. On Tuesday the prospective Republican candidates came together for a fourth time to discuss immigration, national security and Wall Street. News outlets seemed unsure whether or not there was an outright winner.
  • Thermal scanning revealed “anomalies” in the Giza pyramids. Giza antiquities officials revealed that thermal cameras had detected higher temperatures in some of the stones, with three stones in particular, at the bottom of the Great Pyramid, drawing attention. The ministry stated that there were “a lot of hypotheses and possibilities” to explain the anomalies.
  • European raids lead to the arrest of 13 people suspected of recruiting jihadists to fight in Iraq and Syria. The raids took place in Finland, Germany, Italy, Norway, Switzerland and the UK. They targeted a jihadist group, Rawti Shax, which Italian police claimed was planning to try and release its imprisoned leader, Mullah Krekar, who was also arrested. Meanwhile, Kurdish forces moved into Sinjar, a strategic town in Northwest Iraq which they lost to ISIS in summer 2014, and was once home to thousands of Yazidis.
  • The National League for Democracy won by a landslide in Myanmar. Victory for the party, led by former political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi, ends decades of military rule.

Florence Cook

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