About Me

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Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom
Ex Media Studies student at Swansea University. This blog is a collection of links, articles, academic reference and random thoughts.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Refugee Crisis and Media Hypocrisy

@fieldproducer: Read this by @max_fisher 'Nothing captures Western hypocrisy on refugees like these British tabloid front pages' http://t.co/linKMwvzEF

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

I Am News

Local volunteer community interest group I am involved with . 

"I Am News is a new Swansea-based volunteer community - or hyperlocal - news project using video production and citizen journalism to put news in the hands of the community members who live and breathe the story. Citizen journalism and reporting is transforming news media; I Am News forms and trains volunteer news teams to go onto the streets of Swansea, Neath, Port Talbot and Bridgend and film their community news for online consumption."

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Life after Chernobyl


From the Indepentent

Sergei Gaschak’s photography offers an unparalleled glimpse at animal life inside “the zone”, the area of Ukraine and Belarus that has been officially closed off to human habitation since the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe of 1986.

Using camera traps to take photographs mechanically, as well as taking photographs personally, Gaschak has captured what few have been able to see with their own eyes – the remarkable diversity of wildlife within the zone.

One of the first rescuers on the site of the nuclear disaster, Gaschak has devoted recent years to photographing lynxes, otters, owls and other wildlife, and has even discovered the footprints of brown bears. The exclusion zone stretches for miles around the site of the reactor, and includes Pripyat, which was once a thriving Soviet town of 50,000 inhabitants but has remained a ghost town since the disaster, a time warp of perestroika-era Soviet life.

More than 300,000 people evacuated the region in the aftermath of the explosion, and only a few hundred stubborn pensioners have returned, defying government bans on settlement inside the zone.

At the time of the disaster, there were few wild animals living in the region around the nuclear plant. But as the humans moved out in the wake of the catastrophe, large mammals appeared and thrived. While the animals showed incredibly high levels of radiation, they still looked normal. There were no giant wolves or three-headed deer.

Monday, 17 December 2012

A Sign From An Angel

Today my mother would have been 64, she died in a car accident in 1980 when I was 5. About 6 years ago I spent a  time searching for and getting answers to how and where exactly she died. I kept a file and put it away in a safe place in case I ever wanted to revisit it. A few months ago I looked for the file as I had been talking about it to another family member. It was no where to be found and have not seen it again until today. I had forgotten it was her birthday and was generally catching up with housework around the house, I looked down and saw the file. I picked it up and flicked through it gave it a kiss and tucked it under my arm to take it upstairs thinking no more about it. I turned to the computer and saw my sister has posted a message on Facebook to say Happy Birthday to her. I'm not saying I believe in the existence of spirits or ghosts but I definitely think someone was trying to give me a gentle reminder.

Happy Birthday Mummy, I know you are watching over me

Sunday, 18 September 2011

In memory of the Welsh Miners killed at Gleision Colliery

Haven't posted here in a while but the recent tragedy at Gleision Colliery in which four life were taken deserves to be acknowledged. Swansea and the surrounding valleys have always been tight knit communities which support each other during times of hardship however the families affected need financial support to help them through this difficult time. An appeal fund has been set up by the NUM which can be found at www.minersappealfund.org  and a Facebook group has also been set up for people to share their thoughts and leave tributes.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Storm to bring Northern Lights to Britain

“Britain should experience spectacular Northern Lights displays from Thursday due to a large solar storm which could disrupt communication networks, the British Geological Survey (BGS) said.

“Since February 13 three energetic solar flares have erupted on the sun and spewed clouds of charged plasma called coronal mass ejections (CMEs) out towards the earth,” a BGS geomagnetic storm warning said.

“Already one CME arrived on the 14th sparking Valentine’s Day displays of the Northern Lights (aurora borealis) further south than usual.

“Two CMEs are expected to arrive in the next 24-48 hours and further…displays are possible some time over the next two nights if skies are clear.”

The strongest storm in four years is expected to interfere with satellites and electrical networks, with astronomers in southern China already reporting disturbances to radio communications.

The BGS Wednesday published geomagnetic records dating back to the Victorian era which it hopes will help in planning for future storms.

“Life increasingly depends on technologies that didn’t exist when the magnetic recordings began,” Alan Thomson, BGS head of geomagnetism said.

“Studying the records will tell us what we have to plan and prepare for to make sure systems can resist solar storms,” he added.”

Read more at Yahoo News

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Gypsies: tramps and thieves?

Interesting article

Gypsies: tramps and thieves? | Columns | Progress
Paul's week in politics
Paul Richards

Gypsies: tramps and thieves?

Channel 4's My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding reveals C4's descent into yellow press journalism, but also our continued misunderstanding of travelling communities, the plights they have faced, and prejudices that have endured for centuries.

I was taught at school that ‘gypsy' was a derivation of the word ‘Egyptian', used in Elizabethan England to describe the feared, misunderstood, dark-skinned nomads who lived on the outside of society. I fear the sum of our understanding, 400 years on, has not been enhanced by My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, currently airing. Despite Barbara Flynn's sonorous narration, the reaction to the programmes has been little more sophisticated than that of the Georgians paying to poke the mentally ill in Bedlam. Viewers have gawped at the vast, illuminated wedding dresses, been appalled at the subjugation of teenage girls, and speculated out loud, with a barely concealed subtext, about the source of the cash to pay for the lavish nuptials.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Mubarak resigns: world reactions

Story from The Global Post

What world leaders and key figures in the Egypt uprising had to say in the press and on social media such as Twitter.

Hosni Mubarak quit the Egyptian presidency and handed power to the military on Friday, a day after declaring he would stay in power until September. Mubarak reportedly left Cairo for the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Here's what world leaders and key figures in the Egypt uprising had to say in the press and on social media such as Twitter:

Mohamed ElBaradei, opposition figure and Nobel laureate (via BBC News)

"This is the greatest day of my life. The country has been liberated"

And: "Well I can't even to begin to describe my reaction. It's a joy, exhilaration, total emancipation for 85 million people. For the first time Egypt has been liberated and has put its feet on the right track to towards a country of democracy and social justice."

Ayman Nour, Egyptian opposition figure (via Al Jazeera)
"The heart of Egypt beats again"

Muslim Brotherhood, opposition Islamist group (via AFP)
Hailed Mubarak's resignation and "thanked the army, which kept its promises."

Wael Ghonim, opposition figure (via Twitter)

"The real hero is the young Egyptians in Tahrir square and the rest of Egypt #Jan25"

President Barack Obama (via media reports)

Due to make a televised statement about Mubarak's resignation at 1:30 p.m. Friday, the White House said.

Joseph Biden, U.S. Vice President

"This is a pivotal moment in history... the transition that's taking place must be an irreversible change"

Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader (via Twitter)
"Young people leading #Egypt towards democracy-their energy changed Egypt, their actions are an inspiration to the world."

Catherine Ashton, EU foreign policy chief (via Reuters)

Ashton said the EU stood ready to help Egypt, Reuters reports.

Angela Merkel, German Chancellor (via Agence France-Pressse)
Welcomes Mr Mubarak's exit as a "historic change."

David Cameron, UK Prime Minister (via BBC)
"What has happened today should only be the first step. Those who now run Egypt have a duty to reflect the wishes of the Egyptian people. In particular, there really must be a move to civilian and democratic rule."

Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkish Foreign Minister (via Twitter)
"Congratulations to the Egyptian people. And we hope that a system meeting the expectations of the Egyptian people will emerge."

Amr Moussa, Egyptian Arab League head (via Reuters)
"I look forward to the future to build a national consensus in the coming period."

Iranian Government (via AFP)

Egyptians achieved "great victory"

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri (via Reuters)
"The resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is the beginning of the victory of the Egyptian revolution."

"We call upon the new Egyptian leadership to take an immediate decision to lift the blockade of Gaza and open Rafah [border] crossing permanently to allow people's free movement and in order for the reconstruction process of Gaza to begin."

Carl Bildt, Swedish Foreign Minister (via Twitter)
"Let's hope this is the beginning of a new renaissance for Egypt and the Arab world!"

Qatari Government (via Reuters)

"This is a positive, important step towards the Egyptian people's aspirations of achieving democracy and reform and a life of dignity."

Professor Fawaz Gerges, London School of Economics (via BBC 5Live)
"They should be concerned about what's going to happen in the next four to eight months, not just 48 hours," he says.

Samir Radwan, Egypt's finance minister (via BBC)

"Hosni Mubarak will never leave Egypt, he will die in Egypt. It is his right."

Wikipedia (via Twitter @Shady Samir)

Wikipedia article on #Mubarak already edited saying he WAS the president of Egypt! #jan25"

Here's a complete text of the Vice President Omar Suleiman's statement, published by the BBC:

"In the name of God the merciful, the compassionate, citizens, during these very difficult circumstances Egypt is going through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down from the office of president of the republic and has charged the high council of the armed forces to administer the affairs of the country. May God help everybody."

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Big Fat Gypsy Weddings

The controversial Channel 4 documentary is back with a big fat series of its own. Big Fat Gypsy Weddings aims to explore great milestones in a travelers life, from the first communion, wedding to death. I watched from mostly behind my hands as I was witness to the most extraordinary scenes. The most important day in a traveler's girls life was depicted to be her wedding day with the wedding dress featuring as the starring role.

I don't think I have seen so much lace, netting and sparkle in one place before. Some dresses weigh as much as 20 stone and the scars that are inflicted on the girls who wear them are seen as trophy badges. The mind boggles however as to the expense of the dress and how travelers find the means to pay for them as the women are not allowed to go out and earn money, instead they stay at home to look after the home and children.

First communion for a gypsy girl is seen as "a taster for the big wedding day" and the dresses were similarly outlandish. Six year girls wearing dresses which weigh more than them is not something I have seen before. The beauty regime consists of a spray tan, glitter spray blasted in the face before a ton of make up is applied by the proud mum. The sight of the young girls gyrating in the post communion part in the most provocative manner wearing little other than a bikini however was deeply disturbing.

In contrast to their scantily-clad outfits, young gypsy women have been brought up with very strong morals. Travelling girls are encouraged to marry very young to someone within their own community. For me, the most shocking element of the first episode of the Channel 4 documentary was the tradition of "grabbing" young gypsy girls by young gypsy boys. Strict rules stipulate girls aren't allowed to approach boys, so it's up to the males, aka the 'grabbers', to tempt the girl away from her group of friends and try to get a kiss off her, even sometimes going as far as twisting her arm. If they manage a kiss the couple very shortly announce their engagement.

The documentary has been received with mixed reaction. I have been following responses on Twitter and I have to say that there has been a small element of name calling and hostility towards the travelling community. The biggest worry for me is that the documentary only depicts the ridiculous and sensational and leaves out the more serious issues which affect gypsies every day.

Having said that I think the show will largely become a success and hopefully appease hostility from outsiders. May be the tradition of big fat gypsy weddings will catch on and I hope for one that I get an invite to the most wonderful spectacle of outrageous indulgence.

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