Current Affairs

Articles on Current Affairs in Europe and the US

Britain’s Disabled Workers Speak Up

A protest  in Sheffield is being held to demonstrate the issue of disabled workers being let go from factory jobs in the UK. The Remploy workers are outraged at the closures and loss of jobs as they are seen as some of the most vulnerable in society. The issue affects workers in London as well as Sheffield and the protests are being staged outside of the Department for Workers and pensions in both cities.

Unions are particularly angry with closures to 36 of 54 Remploy sites this Summer including those in the surrounding cities of Chesterfield and Worksop.

With unemployment hovering around 2.6 million it looks as those with very few options and who are most at risk in Britain will also be joining the dole queues.

G4S Protests from Sheffield Asylum Supporters


South Yorkshire Migration & Asylum Action Group supported by ASSIST, City of Sanctuary and others  staged a demonstration outside Sheffield Town Hall to draw attention to the proposal by the UK Border Agency to award a major contract to the security firm, G4S, to provide accommodation and other services to people seeking sanctuary in the UK and Sheffield.

The demonstration  started at 12.30pm outside Sheffield Town Hall. There were numerous  speeches until 1.30pm when the protestors marched to the UKBA offices at Vulcan House and handed over a petition with 100’s of signatures reflecting the views of a growing number of people in South Yorkshire.

Prior to handing over the signatures  a passionate Wattra Wajontany from City of Sanctuary termed asylum seekers accommodation under G4S as similar to “concentration camps”. He described the contract to the firm associated with Palestinian human rights abuse as being similar to expecting a cat to help a mouse.

Jeni Vine of the Northern Refugee Centre said more needs to be done and this is an issue that will not go away. She also felt that the pressure that they were adding with the protest would help change the Border Control’s minds and offer the contract to a security group with a less questionable history.

TVshack, Appeal and Fight: 2012

Waiting is never easy, American poet Henry Longfellow once wrote “all things come round to him who will but wait”.

130 years after Longfellows death Richard and Julia O’Dwyer are facing up to a wait that will decide the Sheffield Hallam student’s life. An appeal is being prepared for the High Court and the O’Dwyers are not going to give up in their fight against extradition.

Julia spoke to me in the last few days regarding the Magistrates court ruling allowing for Richard to be extradited and where the case is going from here.

I could further elaborate with words but its easier to grasp the true complexities and challenges of the US Goverment Vs Richard O’Dwyer by watching the video interview below.

An End in Sight: TvShack Richard O’Dwyer

Westminster Magistrates Court

Friday has been considered  an unlucky day of the week since the Canterbury Tales in the 14th century and many Christians associate it with the day that Jesus died. For Friday the 13th to be considered a day of ill fortune one must look to the first documented version which occurred in Henry Edwards biography of Italian composer Gioachino Rossini. Edwards was aware of  the mental and physical illness endured by the composer and wrote that on his death

Rossini was surrounded to the last by admiring and affectionate friends; Why Friday the 13th Is Unlucky

144 years on Richard O’Dwyer will await his fate at Westminster Magistrates Court in London hoping that his luck finally turns regarding the controversial website The extradition case has caught the attention of media as far away as China and Russia and will hopefully come to a conclusion.

Barrister Ben Cooper has been taking the approach that the site worked on linking rather than directly hosting tv shows and movies and so Richard did not commit copyright infringement. In a case that has been compared to that of Gary Mc Kinnon it is yet to be seen what will become of the extradition order on the Sheffield Hallam Student.

His mother Julia spoke with me earlier and said that if the judge rules against her son ” she will look at what options are presented and carry on”. Julia also added that the recent parliamentary discussions and debates on extradition are bringing the issue into the main stream and hopefully this Friday will go against the grain and prove that the 13th can be a lucky day.

A Quieter Irish Christmas

Christmas In Ireland

As Europe descends into further financial trials and tribulations the small island of Ireland finds itself having an unusually quiet Christmas period. A nation known for its drink and cheer is facing up to having its strictest financial budget in the nations history reigning in the jingles and bells. With a looming property tax facing a country known for its former property market, 2012 could be a tough year for many. Sean Quinn former billionaire is just one of many property and building tycoons having a less festive holiday season. Moving aside from those who had and now have not, the soaring emigration in a country of under 6 million people is leaving a ghostly feel to many local communities.

The central statistics office has estimated that 50,000 Irish citizens  will have  left the country in this year. With soaring unemployment looking to hit  15% and rise  further; the brain drain facing Ireland is similar to that of Greece and Portugal who face up to leaving for former colonies in the hope of a brighter future.

A Galway woman and her one year old son will return this Christmas from Australia but her husband will remain on hoping for further work while  a 21 year old Sligo woman has said she has gone from returning every christmas to her family to now working “two jobs on Christmas day, I suppose its part of the experience nowadays”. A couple who emigrated early in the year will at least have parents coming to Australia to visit but this is a luxury many will not experience.

As Churches are quieter this Christmas and pubs are less busy, St Vincent De Paul is now finding those who donated in the past are now looking to receive. Generations have gone before and now its the turn of the Celtic Tiger Cubs:The Bebo Generation. Many will have concerns over heating bills and santa costs but for thousands of families they will lack someone rather than something. Julia O’Dwyer follow up Interview.

With December upon us an anxious six weeks lies in wait for Richard and Julia O’Dwyer.

The creator of the website is due in court
on January 13th and his mother Julia spoke to me regarding the case.

She says that momentum is building in favour of change with
potentially significant action regarding the issues of extradition law
taking place this coming Monday on the 5th of December; with
politicians and MPs set to vote on a motion that could lead to major
amendments to extradition law in the UK. It is high time that the
government addresses these issues head on and with a forum amendment
already waiting to be enacted there is a glimmer of light at the end
of the tunnel for Richard and the other  Britons facing extradition to
the US.

Julia spoke passionately about the current focus on extradition law in
the media, helped in some respected by the high profile cases such of
Gary McKinnon, Babar Ahmad and Julian Assange.  She said the knock on
affect of amendments to British extradition law may or may not
directly impact Richard, Babar Ahmad or Christopher Tappin but that it could help
others who may face extradition in the future. Julia hopes any changes
will benefit those currently being pursued for extradition since Sir
Scott Baker at a lawyers debate in London just last week stated any
amendments the government decides to make could be retroactive, in
other words there is no reason why pending cases should not benefit
from any amendments.

In light of the allegations that Richard made money from
Julia responded by saying he made approximately £150,000
over 3 years 2008 and this was from advertising in common with most
websites and this in itself is not a crime. She also  reiterated the need for
British citizens to be tried on British soil and said that there is
cross party support for change and that all we can do is press our
MP’s and hope that changes will be made to protect not only Richard
but many more from a fate that is both terrifying and uncalled for.

More information from

The Journey Continues into 2012. Richard O’Dwyer Tv Shack.Net

So it seems Richard and Julia O’Dwyer will have to wait until January 13th 2012 to see what fate awaits the creator of

Lawyer for Mr O’Dwyer, Ben Cooper is arguing that the Sheffield Student should face trial in his home country and says that he would be “vulnerable” in a New York detention centre and has not visited the US since he was five years old. O”Dwyer’s legal advisors and family also feel a ten year sentence is “disproportionate” to the copyrighting issue that O’Dwyer was linked to. His  site performed the same facility as that of google and other major search engines.

At this crucial stage in his studies in Computer Science at Sheffield Hallam an extradition or court case in the US would be a major distraction to the talented young man whose skills and abilities are coveted in an age of rapidly increasing and developing web technology.

Richards mother Julia who has already given one of a series of eye opening and determined interviews for has clearly stated that she does not want her son to be tried in a different country when any TVShack related activity was done from Richard’s dorm room in Sheffield student accommodation.

For now the family and friends of Richard and Julia must endure a restless Christmas as the fate of the gifted young web designer lies in the balance in early 2012.

To lend the support to the campaign follow the link below.

The Fight of Their Lives, Richard O’Dwyer:

Richard O'Dwyer Tv

Twenty years ago the very thought that something termed the internet could lead to extradition and tear a mothers son away would have been laughed at. Yet in 2011 a Sheffield based student and his mother are facing and fighting a case that first began over a year ago. In a frank and eye opening interview with me, Julia O”Dwyer mother of Richard O’Dwyer the creator of told me about their journey over the last twelve months.

In a year that has seen Julian Assange of wikileaks heralded as a hero  by so many and in an age when politicians have been haunted by misdemeanours on social networking sites the power and influence of the internet is truly reaching beyond any of our wildest imaginations. The Chesterfield post kindly published the interview with Julia

For those of you who are more audio visually satisfied the youtube link is on

Gary Mc Kinnon before Richard faced a similar fate and below are links to inform and assist this student in what is truly the fight of his life.

and Twitter: @jrodwyer

For now the case goes on and the fight is not over as Julia and Richard refuse to give in. In the words of Mark Twain

“its not the size of the dog in the fight, its the size of the fight in the dog”

Chesterfield Train Death: November 8th 2011

A routine trip to Chesterfield as part of my Masters in Broadcast Journalism coursework turned into a tragic spectacle when a man died after being struck by a train at around 19.35 this evening.

As i stood waiting for my train on platform one in the distance a train seemed to slow and stop; within twenty minutes every train was cancelled and the station began to feel eerie as the gathered commuters became concerned and frustrated. A member of staff bellowed urgently for us  to vacate the platform and as we were forced out of the station a two carriage train appeared slowly and stopped. After nearly an hour Sheffield bound passengers were let back into the station and were made move to platform three, about twenty meters to my right a black blanket covered a body with two pale white torches either side of the track acting as beacons to the unfortunate man who lost his life, we were promptly ushered away and onto the waiting train.

Below are some witness reports and information regarding the incident available on

One man, Richard Bradbury a local Network marketer was heading home from work  when he came across the scene.

My heart and thoughts are with the family and friends of the man at this time.

Police refused to disclose any information to me by 11.20 pm on the 8th of November stating only that the trains were now running as normal and were unwilling to make a statement.

Train, Chesterfield november 8th 2011

Doors sealed off,

Hide and Seek.

Bin Laden

So Osama’s dead, 

Along with Michael Jackson, Elvis, Kurt Cobain and Tupac there is a slight shadow cast on the true location of the man or the actual happening of his death at all.
With the swiftness of his removal and the randomness of the entire spectacle as well as the leaked nonsense both on twitter and youtube as well as the humor inspired by Sohaib Athar with his online coverage of the raid comparing US helicopters to flies during his need for sleep have all aided critics and skeptics in jumping on the tale.

The custom of burying a body within 24hours and at sea is a valid excuse, one can take the angle that if his body had been preserved and buried in a tomb, it would be raided or possibly become a pilgrimage location for modern Islamic extremist worshipers. The swiftness of the removal of Osama reduces dragged out back lash from extremists. 

The positives in Osama’s removal, are as follows, the US wanted out of Afghanistan as Obama promised this in his campaign and he needed to fulfill it, Pakistan was getting irritated by US presence in its country and wanted rid of them and also Obama needed a big story with the elections looming in twelve months. 

The skeptics view is that the picture of his bloodied face is fake, probably true.
The lack of video messages from Bin Laden since 2007 and indistinct and random audio tapes being released could mean the man has in fact been dead for some period of time and to prove he is still alive he most release another tape.

To think the man could be alive is plausible, as to whether he is caving in Pakiston or chilling in a Mansion is probably not true. The reality being that Mr Bin Laden’s death was faked and he is a CIA bunker right now being interrogated is very likely. He is of too much use to the US government to just be killed off, after 10 years of searching its highly unlike the troops were under orders to kill at sight and the lies coming through that his wife was killed while to many sources is still alive means loopholes are beginning to appear. 

We are meant to believe he is dead, but Bin Laden surely isn’t making coffee in Starbucks or driving a taxi in London, the man whose sheer intellectual brilliance used incorrectly shook the world is a valuable asset to any government and its important to keep your friends close but your enemies closer.