James P Mahon

Tvshack.net fate Unknown


” It’s been a long road and an eventful twelve months for Richard and Julia O’Dwyer. The Sheffield Hallam student and his mother now know their journey is not over yet.
The young web designer will have to potentially up to six more months before his appeal is addressed.

The fight to keep Richard in the country has led to thousands of supporters online and his petition has been signed by over 25,000 people.
With his appeal being pushed back from it’s original date of July 30th it will mean a long summer lies in wait for the computer science student who is entering the final year of his degree.

Home Secretary Theresa May ruled in January that Richard could be extradited to the US where he could face up to five years in jail.
His mother Julia spoke to me earlier and once again reiterated the fact that this case is not over and she will not giving up fighting for justice for her son.

When Obama was questioned on the Tvshack.net  creators potential extradition he refused to address the case directly and said “i can say broadly, intellectual property should be protected”.

The case was brought against Richard by the US Immigration and Customs agency which says that TVShack.net earned more than $230,000 (£147,000) in advertising revenue before US authorities seized the domain in June  2010 and then a few months later in January 2011 produced a warrant for the seizure.

The website only held links and did not host any copyrighted content. A recent freedom of information request to the UK home Office showed that no US citizen has been extradited to the UK for any crime committed on US soil,  this recent revelation supports the voices of campaigners in the UK who have long argued that the extradition treaty is imbalanced in favour of protecting US citizens who have additional protections in the First Amendment.

Over our heads.

We are sliding away, apart and together at different moments. Our lives are being lived through websites and social networks and slowly we are running away from the realities of the world around us.

It is easier to create a life or persona you wish you had on facebook, twitter or tumblr. Around us the power and sheer force of the internet and media  is liberating nations and cultures but driving us in western society into a frenzy. Facebook’s shares continue to drop and world markets still resemble a storm in a tea cup surrounded by melting sugar lumps of utter confusion. Inside each of us is a desire for drama and entertainment which is being projected at us continually through reality television, western culture and our own political upheaval.

It is greatly forgotten by many who chose to forget easily that it was greed and disarray that has left the world in its current state, banking crisis in the US and property markets fluctuating, falling and failing triggered the situations we know face ourselves in.

It is ironic that it is trust in other nations markets and our own that binds us together, trust and lack of it, skeptical of each other and each others views and interests. There is no simple solution, if any, no fiscal treaty will sort the true problems of excessiveness,  greed and mistrust among a race that is unable to overcome these natural instincts and flaws.

We are who we are, and the only way from here has to be up. Winston Churchill said 58 years ago,

“I for one am an optimist , it does not seem much use to be anything else”

He might have a point there.

If happy ever afters did exist

It’s basic instinct really, you know you meet someone, they give you butterflies and make you get all mushy inside or some nonsense like that, you hang out a bit, you get intimate, before you know it you are in a relationship.

That is when it’s get tough. Relationships do involve power struggles and emotional strengths swaying back and forth. At different times you are “more in love” than the other person and vice versa. None of this is easy. Curbing instincts, desires and submitting yourself to one person alone is damn hard. Often you think you are ready but you are not, while the other person may be and the other way round.

There seems to be no easy way to make it work, our innate desire is to be loved and be heard and cared for. Everyone wants someone else to be there for them and we all want physical satisfaction on some level. To deprive yourself of the opportunity of either or both leaves you hollow, frustrated and angry with yourself and in some cases your world in general.

Happy ever afters don’t exist as there is no ever after, its always more and more, its always building, pruning, maintaining what you have with someone else and trying to make it work.

It’s sad and annoying but as rewarding as relationships can be they are also damaging and demanding yet the good times do out weigh the bad. We are a strange species, we are animals with a strong sense of conscious and self control (without booze). There are times when you need to let go and if you can’t let go and be who you are with your respective other half than they are not your other half, they are the  person in your head you want to convince yourself is your other half.

If happy ever afters did exist it would be damn boring.

A Europe without Greece

The world is watching and waiting as Greece is yet to deliver a government.

If a coalition can not be formed then there may be a further election in June leaving more confusion, uncertainty and punishment.

Greek people on the streets  are unsure of what is going on with their country and have been lied to for decades by its two biggest parties and are left lacking faith and belief in their political system or any one in power.

The nation that gave us some of the worlds greatest thinkers, speakers and rulers could be on the verge of defaulting to the point of falling out of Europe in the coming months.

With more unrest and distrust coming in the light of the French elections and with tension building between France and Germany the out look does not look positive.

Spain’s third biggest bank, Bankia,  has just been bailed out and the country’s unemployment continues to sky rocket. If Greece cannot repay its loans it may have to leave the euro zone and start reprinting its own money. When you hit rock bottom the only way to go is up, just ask Iceland.

To lose Greece from the Euro-zone could make share prices and trust drop further in European markets and only time will tell where the fate of our currency, our continent and our European family lies.

Shopkeeper fights on after being stabbed and hammered.

A Sheffield shop keeper has been violently attacked by hammer-wielding thugs merely six months after being stabbed three times in an armed raid.

Michael Wiles, 58, has been running his shop on Langsett Road for over 35 years, suffering over six robberies since 2002. His father was also a victim in 2007 when he died after an argument with youth offenders over selling single cigarettes.

Michael is determined to carry on though and will not give in.

“You’ve just got to keep battling, get through the rough and jog on. I’ve been here for nearly 40 years and its only in the last 10 I’ve had this problem”, he stated.

“There’s a target on smaller business, because bigger places have got security. They won’t attack there, but I’m just on my own. There’s one or two who just want to be Mr Big Gangster”, Michael said.

The latest attack occurred after a football game when two hooded thugs attempted to rob the shop of its day’s takings. After Michael tried to defend himself and the shop, one attacked him with a hammer hitting in him the side of the head and shoulder five times, while the masked accomplice kept guard of the door. Police are investigating the incident, using CCTV footage.

“They know they get away with it a lot of the time, if they want to cause trouble, you can’t stop them really ” Michael said.

It is nearly six months to the day that Michael was stabbled in the stomach, ribs and shoulder after a group of armed raiders attempted to steal cash from the till. Michael said: “You’re just never expecting it. I check my doors every five minutes, when I see any doubtful characters I just clear off. If I don’t get it someone else will.”

In 2010 Michael was also attacked by a robber who tried to gouge his eyes out with a tent peg, and in 2002 he was smashed in the head with a wrench. Michael also receives frequent abuse from drunks and underage teenagers who want to buy cigarettes.

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.

Hunger Games and Head Hunters

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Two movies are creating waves in different ways while leaving people thinking about their present and their future.

Hunger Games has already proven a box office smash but it displays under-currents of discontent in our western society. The idea that children need to be curbed and controlled has come to the fore after the London summer riots and with more and more young people threatening society’s upper tier through hacking and the power and force of social media and internet, a day may come when the young can rattle the pillars of society further.

Hunger Games also draws on the theme of revolution, with the Arab Spring and Islamic states struggling to adjust to western ways it is the youth who are voicing their anger. We see young people controlled and curbed in the forest scenes that in a strange kind of way draws on modern reality television obsessions. Our desires to see other suffer or make fools of themselves from shows like I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and Big Brother moves to the next level in TV show where you compete to live. It’s sick twisted nature is not a shock to a modern audience who is used to seeing people eating insects to gain food packets and shows like Survivor have already displayed traces of a world where we need mass suffering and bloodshed to feel entertained. Have we gone full circle and returned to an era of Gladiators, blood and guts for satisfaction? The jury remains out, with Jackass by MTV, the desire to see people suffer was brought to the fore and although leaves a bad taste in some people’s mouths it was a global success.

HeadHunters shows a different side of society. The shady existence of lies and deceit that are often required to succeed in a world where being the “nice guy” gets you nowhere fast.The protagonist on paper has it all but is forced to get in touch with his true nature and will to survive when he becomes hunted. The ability to draw on animalistic instincts to survive show how far man has come from his primitive origins. When put in life or death situations he murders to keep alive and turns on the one person who loves him when fearing for his existence. Our inability to see and believe in true love is shown in this movie, how our inner securities of not being loved or not being “good enough” can be over come and inside we all need a sense of belonging. The movie leaves you doubting everything around you including what you love the most and shows how isolated the modern world is.  Headhunters works as a movie but also shows how film can be a medium to express deep social issues in our world and do so in a clever and entertaining way.

Sheffield Students Speak Out on Education Cuts

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Sheffield Socialists and Students Speak out

Sheffield Students from both Hallam and University joined together and spoke out against the cuts to higher education. The group totaled some thirty students mainly from the socialist parties of both colleges and included  megaphones and drums in what was a loud and passionate protest.

The group made their way down through the cities main streets and past the town hall just after midday escorted by mounted and walking police.

Today’s events across the UK are part of the “come clean” campaign which has followed on from previous student protests. This time  young people of Britain want answers as to why tuition fees were trebled to 9,000 pounds and also why the private sector have been given new degree awarding powers.

It is expected local MP Nick Clegg we be lobbied by both of the Universities unions as the push for change moves forward in 2012.

How To Pen A Eurovision Song: Songwriter Sharon Vaughn Speaks on Jedward

JEDWARD MANIA

Q1, How does one go about penning a Eurovision song?
I REALLY DON’T KNOW. ALL WE DID WAS WRITE THE BEST POP SONG WE
COULD AT THE TIME.

Q2, How did you feel when you knew Jedward would perform it?
I WAS ECSTATIC AND COMPLETELY SURPRISED

Q3, What are the essential elements to a good pop song?
IT HAS TO HAVE A HOOKY MELODY AND LYRIC. WATERLINE IS A VERY DIFFERENT
AND UNUSUAL TITLE BUT THE SONG ITSELF IS VERY SING-ALONG-ABLE.
AS YOU CAN TELL FROM THE FANS!

Q4, What do you think is needed besides a song to win Eurovision?
JEDWARD ARE THE PERFECT ACT FOR EUROVISION BECAUSE THEY EMBRACE THE ENERGY,
FUN AND THE GLITZ OF THE EVENT.

Q5, Have you looked at the other competitors entries and if so which
do you feel are strong?
TO BE HONEST, I HAVEN’T. THOUGH I AM WATCHING THE SWEDISH
MELODIFESTIVALEN VERY CLOSELY. THERE ARE SOME INCREDIBLY
TALENTED PEOPLE IN THE COMPETITION. ALSO A FRIEND OF MINE IS THE
WRITER-WINNER FOR NORWAY, SO I WISH HIM WELL, OF COURSE.

Q6, Do you have any words of advice for those wanting success in the
music industry today?
MY ADVICE… IT IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE… BUT ALMOST DOESN’T SCARE AWAY
THE ONES WHO MAKE IT. AND FOR THOSE WHO HAVE DONE IT A LONG TIME… JUST
KEEP DOING IT AS LONG AS IT IS JOYFUL THERE ARE SO MANY NAY-SAYERS AND
NEGATIVE REPORTS ABOUT PIRACY AND THEFT OF INTELLECTUAL
PROPERTIES AND ALL OF THAT IS TRUE AND TERRIBLE. BUT THE FACT ONE CAN MAKE
A LIVING WRITING SONGS IS A GLORIOUS AND WONDERFUL THING.
IT IS THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD… AS LONG AS IT IS A JOY TO YOU…
IF NOT, DON’T TRY IT OR QUIT AND MAKE ROOM FOR SOMEONE ELSE WITH THE
FIRE IN THEIR BELLY.

G4S Protests from Sheffield Asylum Supporters

G4S PROTESTS

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.