Archive for March, 2018

31
Mar

Former NASA astronaut Eugene Cernan dies aged 82

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Eugene Cernan, former NASA astronaut and the most recent human to walk on the Moon, died on Monday aged 82, according to a NASA statement. Cernan, who commanded the Apollo 17 mission to the Moon in 1972, was in Houston, Texas, at the time of his death.

Cernan, who was born in Chicago, Illinois, on March 14, 1934, earned engineering degrees from Purdue University in 1956 and the Naval Postgraduate School in 1963. He was an aviator in the United States Navy and logged more than 200 landings on aircraft carriers before becoming an astronaut in 1963. He flew in space for the first time aboard Gemini 9 in 1966. In 1969 Cernan flew aboard Apollo 10, a flight to the Moon that rehearsed a descent but purposefully did not land in preparation for the Apollo 11 landing. Cernan’s final flight into space was as commander of Apollo 17, the final lunar landing mission of the Apollo program, in which he spent three days exploring the lunar surface along with Harrison Schmitt.

Following Apollo 17, Cernan worked on the Apollo-Soyuz project before retiring from NASA and the Navy in 1976. In his later years he became an executive and consultant, wrote an autobiography, and advocated for returning to the Moon along with Neil Armstrong, the first human to walk on the Moon, who died in 2012.

“Truly, America has lost a patriot and pioneer who helped shape our country’s bold ambitions to do things that humankind had never before achieved,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement.

31
Mar

Up to 31 women sue UK police force over rapist officer

Friday, November 26, 2010

Up to 31 women are suing Northumbria Police—which covers northeast England—over abuse they claim to have received from Police Constable Stephen Mitchell. Mitchell was this week convicted of two rapes, three indecent assaults, and six counts of misconduct in a public office against seven separate victims. They were among sixteen, all female, who testified at his five-week trial, which also saw acquittals over three rapes, three indecent assaults, and nine misconduct charges.

One woman, whose complaint against Mitchell triggered the three-year probe that convicted him, says she has decided to sue because he was cleared of raping her. She alleges rape, sexual assault, false imprisonment, and a breach of human rights, claiming the policeman raped her at Pigrim Street’s police station in 2006, the culmination of four years using her as a sex slave. Now a mother-of-four and a PhD student, she “do[es] not accept the not guilty verdict. I want justice and I will prove his guilt.” It is alleged he tracked her on the police database.

Mitchell claimed at trial the alleged victims were all liars, involved in a joint conspiracy to frame him and driven by a single woman. He described her motivation as “self-preservation” but refused to elaborate on this in open court.

It has since emerged that Mitchell was considered emotionless by other officers during the probe, earning the nickname ‘PC Cucumber’. “We are making claims for damages for sexual assault, false imprisonment and breach of human rights,” said Lindsey Houghton of lawyers Irwin Mitchell. “Mitchell was in a position of trust and authority. He abused that position, taking advantage of vulnerable young women in the most horrific way… we hope to be able to provide our clients with some comfort as they try to get their lives back.” As well as the sixteen in court, fourteen more were willing to give evidence against him.

It does not get any worse than being a police officer with a rape conviction in prison, but he never flinched.

Inquiry leader Detective Chief Inspector Chris Sharman said he had “never seen anything like it in interviews. He showed no emotion whatsoever.” Sharman was accused at trial by Mitchell’s defence lawyer of offering the rapist a chance to resign in exchange for dropping the case, citing a secret recording between the two. The prosecution disputed this assessment of their conversation. An unnamed colleague who knew Mitchell said “It does not get any worse than being a police officer with a rape conviction in prison, but he never flinched.”

Glasgow-born Mitchell’s convictions cover 1999 through 2004. He previously served in the Army, as which time he appeared before court in Scotland over sex charges, but was cleared in 1997 before Edinburgh High Court; he lied about this on his police application.

The Mirror reports the total claimed to be in the region of millions of pounds.

31
Mar

Brazil’s Minas state stops sales of Toyota Corolla

Friday, April 23, 2010

Minas, one of the largest states of Brazil, has stopped the sale of the Toyota Corolla over safety concerns.

The move was made after nine Corolla customers reported that their cars automatically accelerated. The state public prosecutor’s office said in an online statement on Tuesday that the problem is blamed on accelerator pedals sticking underneath floor mats. Local government said the issue was “putting in danger the lives of occupants”.

According to the prosecutor’s office, sales of Corollas may resume when Toyota alters the floormats in its current models. Toyota has recalled over eight million vehicles worldwide due to acceleration problems.

31
Mar

Why Janitors In Bellingham WA Clean At Night

byAlma Abell

Just about everyone knows that the only way office buildings get clean is through the efforts of a team of Janitors in Bellingham WA. What they may not notice until someone calls it to their attention is that the janitors tend to do the bulk of their work after standard business hours. There are several good reasons why this is the case.

Some Cleaning Equipment is Noisy

In order to take care of the mud that employees track in and get up the coffee stains left on the carpeting, those Janitors in Bellingham WA have to use some heavy duty cleaning equipment. That equipment is rarely quiet to operate. Trying to use it while employees are making phone calls concentrating on data entry or attempting to hold meetings about a project can create a lot of frustration for everyone involved. For that reason, the janitorial team will save the deep cleaning until everyone else has gone home.

Cleaning Does Take Concentration

Like any task worth doing, cleaning is something that does require concentration and attention to detail. In order to do the best job, the janitor needs to be free from any unnecessary distractions. When everyone has left for the day, and the office is quiet, it is much easier to jump right into the agenda and clean each space with care. With nothing going on to detract from the task at hand, it is easier to make sure the furniture is polished, the carpet is vacuumed, and the waste paper baskets are emptied without fail.

A More Efficient Use of Time

Cleaning after hours also means that it is much easier to move forward with the cleaning without any interruptions. There is no need to wait for someone to step aside before vacuuming under a desk or wait until people are finished with their lunches in order to tidy up the break room. The janitor can quickly move from one task to the next, never having to slow down and wait until everyone else has left the area.

The team at Frontlinecleaning.com strive to ensure that their clients enjoy workspaces that are clean, fresh, and tidy at all times. Once the main work day is over, they will be there to ensure that everything is in order by the time people show up in the morning.

31
Mar

One in five Americans finds socialism superior, poll says

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Twenty percent of the American public believes that socialism is superior to capitalism, says a poll by Rasmussen Reports released on Thursday, April 9.

Asked the question “Which is a better system – capitalism or socialism?”, 53% of those polled found capitalism the better system, 20% preferred socialism, and 27% were unsure. The survey did not define either capitalism or socialism, but Rasmussen also cites a December 2008 result saying that 15% of Americans prefer a government-managed economy.

Analysis of the poll’s data by website FiveThirtyEight.com furthermore found that support for capitalism was closely correlated with income; respondents earning under $20,000 a year having an eight percentage point preference for capitalism, while those earning more than $100,000 a year expressed a fifty-seven percentage point preference for capitalism. Rasmussen noted that socialism had much broader support among people under 30, where 33% support socialism and 37% support capitalism, than among any other age group.

Socialism has found support in several countries, with member parties of the Socialist International in government in over 50 countries around the world and with several other regimes describing themselves as socialist or communist; the 20% result Rasmussen finds is comparable to the electoral support for the New Democratic Party in Canada. Support for an independent socialist movement in the United States, however, has historically been limited. Socialist candidate Eugene V. Debs won 6.1% of the popular vote in 1912, and two members of the Socialist Party, Victor L. Berger and Meyer London, were elected to the United States Congress before the Great Depression. This brief flirtation with socialism is contrasted against the times during and following the First World War and Second World War, which were marked by “Red scares” — periods of pronounced anti-communism — in the United States.

Currently, only a single member of the United States Congress describes himself as a socialist: Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The Social Democrats USA (SD USA), one of the successors of the Socialist Party of America, has expressed solidarity with the 76-member Congressional Progressive Caucus, which Sanders founded in 1991. It supports positions such as a living wage, universal health care, and the right of workers to form trade unions and engage in collective bargaining.

SD USA executive director Gabriel McClosky-Ross offered Wikinews an exclusive statement on the Rasmussen poll result:

I joined the Socialist Party, USA in 1972, when I was 16. That was seven months before the name change to Social Democrats, USA. I was a subscriber to the Party’s publication, New America for four years by that point. I grew up in a Catholic working class neighborhood. Many of my neighbors read the Catholic Worker. However, I would not meet another self described social democrat or democratic socialist who was close to my age until I completed college and entered the seminary when I was 21. That was not for a lack of my attempts at persuasion. Now when I speak on behalf of the Social Democrats, I meet many people who call themselves socialists or they are considering doing so.

Two things have changed. First, Stalinism in the Soviet Union finally and thankfully collapsed and The Peoples’ Republic of China is a transparently “state capitalist” regime. Second, the propaganda machine that equated private ownership of productive property with democracy is spurting under onslaught of facts that indicate just the opposite. There were two presidential elections in a row were[sic] the count look[sic] fishy and the money trail lead to the top of Republican Party. Then the banks collapsed and it was apparent that the largest financial institutions in the world were involved in sub-prime mortgage ponzi schemes.

I am not sure whether to celebrate or lament becoming an economist and union organizer instead of a priest given the current crisis. As my mentor, Michael Harrington, was fond of saying there are many kinds of socialism. Stalin, Hitler, and Mao, history’s three greatest mass murderers, all called themselves socialists. Hopefully, America is ready for a broad social democratic movement that works with trade unions and community organizations for national health care, re-industrialization, ecologically friendly mass transit, infrastructure repair, and eventually a democratization of our economy. Building such a movement will be very hard work. The cyber-world has many benefits, but people seemed to be convinced that social change can occur by email. It is great shame, that it takes 8.2% unemployment and massive economic dislocation to push people back to real time organizing and protest.

Simply that people are angry is not enough. The Bolsheviks, Fascists, and Nazis all road[sic] waves of mass discontent to power. A peoples’ movement must be militantly democratic and refuse to make common cause with even the ‘mildest and friendliest totalitarians.’ A truly democratic movement for social democracy must transcend the narrow special interest group politics that has made up most of political discourse since the protests against the Vietnam War. To transcend the current economic crisis we need a full employment economy and that means a movement concentrated on ‘red letter’ social democratic issues of democratic worker and community control of industry.

While support for socialism in the United States may be growing, Rasmussen’s polling finds that absolute majorities of the American public support both capitalism and free markets. Meanwhile, anti-communist sentiment remains strong in many segments of the US population, with opposition to socialism being a defining feature of Conservatism in the United States.

In an exclusive statement to Wikinews, John F. McManus, President of the anti-socialist John Birch Society, offered the John Birch Society’s position on the poll result:

If 20 percent of the American people prefer socialism, it is likely that half believe it has more to do with sociability that it has to do with an economic system that places government in control of their lives. Ask these 20 percent what socialism truly is and the response will rarely point to the great hero of all socialists, Karl Marx.

The John Birch Society believes that everyone is a capitalist. If one starts out defining capital as the means of production (which is its definition), then everyone — from the primitive fisherman to the corporate executive — uses capital and is a capitalist.

The distinction that most don’t make is who owns and controls the capital. Does each individual have the right to own his means of production — even a fishing pole? Or does the government own and/or control all the means of production?

When each individual has the right to own capital (property), there is freedom — up to the point where no one is permitted to impede someone else’s similar right. Where socialism reigns, the government dominates, either completely a la communism or essentially a la fascism (Nazi-style or Mussolini-style).

Most Americans are victims of an absolutely horrible educational system. Too many have been persuaded that government should take care of them. We tell such fools that, if that’s what they want, they should turn themselves in at the local prison where they will be cared for 24 hours a day. We ask them to stop advocating converting our entire nation into what effectively will be a coast-to-coast prison.

The proper role of government can never be more than the protection of the lives, liberty and property of the people who pay for it. The improper role of government is to take care of the people — which it always does poorly and does so almost always as a grab for power rather than a supposedly noble concern for the downtrodden.

Americans currently most often cite the economy as their number one concern in polls, ahead of terrorism. In December 2008, workers at the Republic Windows and Doors factory in Chicago staged a union-backed factory occupation in a fight against company management — a return to tactics of direct action from the historically more subdued American organized labor movement.

On April 10 2009, Alabama representative Spencer Bachus (R-Alabama) told the Birmingham News that seventeen members of the US House of Representatives are socialists. He did not specify which members.

31
Mar

Japanese survivor of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings dies, aged 93

Friday, January 8, 2010

Tsutomu Yamaguchi, the only Japanese civilian to be officially recognized as having survived both the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States in August of 1945 at the conclusion of World War Two, has died this Monday at the age of ninety-three, due to stomach cancer—one of the numerous illnesses that he suffered throughout his lifetime as a direct result of his exposure to nuclear radiation.

Mr. Yamaguchi, although he was against his nation’s involvement in the War, worked as a engineer for Mitsubishi—a company that helped equip and supply the Japanese Imperial Army. He was on business in Hiroshima at the time of the first bombing on August sixth. His almost direct exposure to the atomic explosion temporarily blinded him, ruptured his ear drum (leaving him permanently deaf in his left ear), and severely burnt the top half of his body. Three days later, having gone back to work in Nagasaki, he was approximately three kilometers away from the site of the second bomb. Although he was exposed to significant radiation in this instance as well, Mr. Yamaguchi was left relatively unscathed.

Following Japan’s surrender and the end of the War days later, Mr. Yamaguchi worked as a translator for the occupying American forces and later as a local schoolmaster, before eventually returning to Mitsubishi—which had since then become an automobile manufacturer.

In his later years, Mr. Yamaguchi became a respected lecturer who gave talks about his experiences, and publicly spoke out against the stockpiling of nuclear weapons.

For instance, in 2006, he addressed the United Nations General Assembly. “Having been granted this miracle, it is my responsibility to pass on the truth to the people of the world,” Mr. Yamaguchi said to the Assembly. He went on to say, “My double radiation exposure is now an official government record. It can tell the younger generation the horrifying history of the atomic bombings even after I die.”

When asked by the British Broadcasting Corporation what his reaction was to Mr. Yamaguchi’s death, the mayor of Nagasaki said that “a precious storyteller has been lost.”

Among the family and friends Mr. Yamaguchi left behind were his three adult children—who have also had health issues in their lifetimes thus far that they think may have be related to their father’s initial exposure.

31
Mar

Major explosions at UK oil depot

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A series of large explosions have occurred close to Hemel Hempstead Hertfordshire, UK. The source of the explosions has been confirmed as the Hertfordshire Oil Storage Terminal (HOSL), Hemel Hempstead, known locally as the Buncefield complex. Up to 150 fire fighters are reported to be at the scene with 10 fire appliances and 1 specialist foamer.

The first ‘blast’ was heard near Hemel Hempstead on Sunday 11 Dec at 6 am. Further smaller explosions followed at 6:24am , 6:26am, 6:30am. BBC News 24 reported an additional, fourth large explosion. Hertfordshire Police Constabulary are currently treating the explosion as an accident.

Reports say the explosion, which registered 2.4 on the Richter scale, was heard as far away as Oxford, and Whitehall, Central London which is 60km (38 miles) away. Eyewitness statements report that the explosion was heard from at least 160km (100 miles) away and as far away as France and The Netherlands. Pilots reported noticing the blast from the North Sea and the West Country area of the UK. The M1 motorway which runs close by has been closed in both directions near the blast which is causing travel chaos as other roads become congested.

Malcom Stewart, a BBC News24 eyewitness who is a tanker driver for the site has reported that the site supplies several oil companies and is a joint operation between Total UK and Texaco, it is also used by BP, Shell and the British Pipeline association. The complex is not a refinery but a storage facility for refined petroleum awaiting distribution to airports and filling stations. The eyewitness reports that the depot has approximately 20 tanks which can hold about 3 million gallons (11 million litres or 70,000 barrels) each. Another News24 eyewitness has just reported that he has seen at least 5 of these tanks on fire.

The depot operates on a 24 hour basis and is split into 2 parts – aviation fuel and domestic fuel. A number of eyewitnesses have reported on UK news that the aviation fuel side appears to be the part of the site that has been affected.

Local authorities were not immediately available for comment but there have been reports of casualties.

Some reports on live television state that, “Several other neighbours said they did see a plane go into the depot.” BBC News 24 were also discussing the idea a possible plane crash as the cause of the explosions. Hertfordshire police have now gone on the record to say that there is no plane involved (BBC News24).

The police have issued a contact number 0800 096 0095 and asked that people do not call the emergency services in Hertfordshire directly unless it is an emergency.

In addition to being an oil storage depot, it is a major hub on the UK oil pipeline network with pipelines to Killingholme Lindsey Oil Refinery (LOR), Humberside (10 inch), Merseyside (10 and 12 inch), Coryton on the Thames Estuary (14 inch) and Heathrow (6 and 8 inch) and Gatwick airports radiating from it.

The disaster is believed to be the worst explosion at a petrochemical plant in the UK since the Flixborough disaster of 1974.Hertfordshire’s Chief Fire Officer Roy Wilsher said: “This is possibly the largest incident of its kind in peacetime Europe.”

A firefighting press officer said that they are stock piling foam from neighboring regions for a prolonged attach which they hope will stop the spread of the fire, however, the inferno itself will have to burn out which could take between 24 hours and a few days.

Despite the authorities saying that there is no need to panic buy petrol, filling stations have had above average queues since this morning and some small garages have ran out.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has visited the scene.

30
Mar

Tips For Dealing With Seasonal Allergies

byAlma Abell

As the spring months begin, many people start experiencing allergy symptoms, leaving them with sneezing, sniffling, runny noses, stuffy noses and other types of respiratory distress. If you are hit with allergy symptoms every year, it can be difficult to deal with. It is important to first understand what causes your symptoms. Most people find pollen to be one of the biggest sources of their discomfort. Pollen reaches its highest levels in the spring and then surfaces again in the fall months. To find relief from your symptoms, your Medical Doctor in Wichita Kansas can help. These tips can get you started on finding relief from your allergy menace.

How Can You Find True Relief From Your Seasonal Allergies?

There are several preventative measures you can take to help to avoid allergy attacks or at least lessen your symptoms during peak allergy season. One of the most important methods of preventing allergy attacks is to be proactive in making sure you take your allergy medication before any symptoms present themselves. If you wait to take the medication when you begin to experience symptoms, it will be far less effective. The Medical Doctor in Wichita Kansas recommends taking your allergy medication during the morning, so it will be in effect when pollen levels are at their highest.

It is also important for you to avoid exposure to pollen as much as possible. Since pollen is at its peak from about ten in the morning until four in the afternoon, you should avoid outdoor activities during this time. You should also make sure you remove your clothing and shoes after having been outside. This will help to prevent pollen from being released in your home. As another measure, make sure you wash your pets frequently in the spring months, as their fur attracts pollen.

By seeing your doctor through the spring months, you can help to lessen and overcome your allergy symptoms. Your doctor is there to assist you through these difficult symptoms and can prescribe you antihistamines to help lessen the issues you face. The sooner you get started on combating the symptoms, the sooner you will find relief. Click Here to know more!

30
Mar

Wikinews Shorts: February 3, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A compilation of brief news reports for Wednesday, February 3, 2010.

Contents

  • 1 Christmas day bomber cooperating
  • 2 Fire in Hyderabad hospital; 1 dead
  • 3 China begins urgent sweep for tainted milk
  • 4 Karachi violence escalates, section 144 imposed

The Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound jetliner on Christmas day with hidden explosives is cooperating with investigators and providing fresh intelligence after the U.S. enlisted the help of his family, an administration official said. His family persuaded him to cooperate.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has been providing information to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents questioning him, the official told reporters on the condition of anonymity.

The official declined to provide details on what kind of information Abdulmutallab was providing.

Related news

  • “Failed bomb aboard Delta flight” — Wikinews, December 26, 2009

Sources


Somajiguda
Somajiguda on the map of India

One person died and 41 were injured, including three nurses who are critically injured, in a major fire at Park Healthcare Hospital in Somajiguda, a suburb of the Indian city Hyderabad, on Tuesday morning.

The fire engulfed a major portion of the five-storey hospital’s first floor, along with some medical equipment and furniture on the other floors.

City police commissioner A K Khan said that a criminal case had been registered against the hospital management. “It is also being determined whether safety standards were followed by the hospital,” he said.

Sources


Chinese authorities say they are preparing to launch a crackdown on melamine-laced milk after the scandal over tainted products, which made hundreds of thousands of children ill two years ago and damaged China’s brand reputation overseas, resurfaced.

China has dispatched inspectors to sixteen provinces to urge local governments to thoroughly investigate cases concerning food safety.

The decision comes after milk products tainted with the industrial chemical melamine were removed from sale in Shanghai and the provinces of Shaanxi, Shandong, Liaoning and Hebei, the state-run Xinhua News Agency said.

Related news

  • “Contaminated baby’s milk induces wave of child illness in China” — Wikinews, September 22, 2008

Sources


At least twenty-six people have been killed in Karachi, Pakistan after four days of ethnic killings, according to police officials. The officials said that nine people were killed on Monday in the city’s Orangi western neighbourhood, which has a majority ethnic Pashtun community.

The Sindh government has awarded special powers to the Pakistan Rangers under Section 5 of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 and imposed Section 144 in the limits of 26 police stations for a month.

At least forty people were killed as ethnic clashes erupted across the city in early January.Home minister of Sindh province, Dr Zulfiqar Mirza has called upon the Army to restore peace and order.

Sources

30
Mar

Wikinews interviews Australian wheelchair basketball player Tina McKenzie

Friday, January 3, 2014

Preston, Victoria, Australia —On Saturday, Wikinews interviewed Tina McKenzie, a former member of the Australia women’s national wheelchair basketball team, known as the Gliders. McKenzie, a silver and bronze Paralympic medalist in wheelchair basketball, retired from the game after the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London. Wikinews caught up with her in a cafe in the leafy Melbourne suburb of Preston.

Tina McKenzie: [The Spitfire Tournament in Canada] was a really good tournament actually. It was a tournament that I wish we’d actually gone back to more often.

((Wikinews)) Who plays in that one?

Tina McKenzie: It’s quite a large Canadian tournament, and so we went as the Gliders team. So we were trying to get as many international games as possible. ‘Cause that’s one of our problems really, to compete. It costs us so much money to for us to travel overseas and to compete internationally. And so we can compete against each other all the time within Australia but we really need to be able to…

((WN)) It’s not the same.

Tina McKenzie: No, it’s really not, so it’s really important to be able to get as a many international trips throughout the year to continue our improvement. Also see where all the other teams are at as well. But yes, Spitfire was good. We took quite a few new girls over there back then in 2005, leading into the World Cup in the Netherlands.

((WN)) Was that the one where you were the captain of the team, in 2005? Or was that a later one?

Tina McKenzie: No, I captained in 2010. So 2009, 2010 World Cup. And then I had a bit of some time off in 2011.

((WN)) The Gliders have never won the World Championship.

Tina McKenzie: We always seem to have just a little bit of a chill out at the World Cup. I don’t know why. It’s really strange occurrence, over the years. 2002 World Cup, we won bronze. Then in 2006 we ended up fourth. It was one of the worst World Cups we’ve played actually. And then in 2010 we just… I don’t know what happened. We just didn’t play as well as we thought we would. Came fourth. But you know what? Fired us up for the actual Paralympics. So the World Cup is… it’s good to be able to do well at the World Cup, to be placed, but it also means that you get a really good opportunity to know where you’re at in that two year gap between the Paralympics. So you can come back home and revisit what you need to do and, you know, where the team’s at. And all that sort of stuff.

((WN)) Unfortunately, they are talking about moving it so it will be on the year before the Paralympics.

Tina McKenzie: Oh really.

((WN)) The competition from the [FIFA] World Cup and all.

Tina McKenzie: Right. Well, that would be sad.

((WN)) But anyway, it is on next year, in June. In Toronto, and they are playing at the Maple Leaf Gardens?

Tina McKenzie: Okay. I don’t know where that is.

((WN)) I don’t know either!

Tina McKenzie: (laughs)

((WN)) We’ll find it. The team in Bangkok was pretty similar. There’s two — yourself and Amanda Carter — who have retired. Katie Hill wasn’t selected, but they had Kathleen O’Kelly-Kennedy back, so there was ten old players and only two new ones.

Tina McKenzie: Which is a good thing for the team. The new ones would have been Georgia [Inglis] and?

((WN)) Caitlin de Wit.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah… Shelley Cronau didn’t get in?

((WN)) No, she’s missed out again.

Tina McKenzie: Interesting.

((WN)) That doesn’t mean that she won’t make the team…

Tina McKenzie: You never know.

((WN)) You never know until they finally announce it.

Tina McKenzie: You never know what happens. Injuries happen leading into… all types of things and so… you never know what the selection is like.

((WN)) They said to me that they expected a couple of people to get sick in Bangkok. And they did.

Tina McKenzie: It’s pretty usual, yeah.

((WN)) They sort of budgeted for three players each from the men’s and women’s teams to be sick.

Tina McKenzie: Oh really? And that worked out?

((WN)) Yeah. I sort of took to counting the Gliders like sheep so I knew “Okay, we’ve only go ten, so who’s missing?”

Tina McKenzie: I heard Shelley got sick.

((WN)) She was sick the whole time. And Caitlin and Georgia were a bit off as well.

Tina McKenzie: It’s tough if you haven’t been to Asian countries as well, competing and…

((WN)) The change of diet affects some people.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah. I remember when we went to Korea and…

((WN)) When was that?

Tina McKenzie: Korea would have been qualifiers in two thousand and… just before China, so that would have been…

((WN)) 2007 or 2008?

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, 2007. Maybe late, no, it might have been early 2007. It was a qualifier for — Beijing, I think actually. Anyway, we went and played China, China and Japan. And it was a really tough tournament on some of our really new girls. They really struggled with the food. They struggled with the environment that we were in. It wasn’t a clean as what they normally exist in. A lot of them were very grumpy. (laughs) It’s really hard when you’re so used to being in such a routine, and you know what you want to eat, and you’re into a tournament and all of a sudden your stomach or your body can’t take the food and you’re just living off rice, and that’s not great for anyone.

((WN)) Yeah, well, the men are going to Seoul for their world championship, while the women go to Toronto. And of course the next Paralympics is in Rio.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, I know.

((WN)) It will be a very different climate and very different food.

Tina McKenzie: We all learn to adjust. I have over the years. I’ve been a vegetarian for the last thirteen years. Twelve years maybe. So you learn to actually take food with you. And you learn to adjust, knowing what environment you’re going in to, and what works for you. I have often carried around cans of red kidney beans. I know that I can put that in lettuce or in salad and get through with a bit of protein. And you know Sarah Stewart does a terrific job being a vegan, and managing the different areas and countries that we’ve been in to. Germany, for example, is highly dependent on the meat side of food, and I’m pretty sure I remember in Germany I lived on pasta and spaghetti. Tomato sauce. Yeah, that was it. (laughs) That’s alright. You just learn. I think its really hard for the new girls that come in to the team. It’s so overwhelming at the best of times anyway, and their nerves are really quite wracked I’d say, and that different travel environment is really hard. So I think the more experience they can get in traveling and playing internationally, the better off they’ll be for Rio.

((WN)) One of the things that struck me about the Australian team — I hadn’t seen the Gliders before London. It was an amazing experience seeing you guys come out on the court for the first time at the Marshmallow…

Tina McKenzie: (laughs)

((WN)) It was probably all old hat to you guys. You’d been practicing for months. Certainly since Sydney in July.

Tina McKenzie: It was pretty amazing, yeah. I think it doesn’t really matter how many Paralympics you actually do, being able to come out on that court, wherever it is, it’s never dull. It’s always an amazing experience, and you feel quite honored, and really proud to be there and it still gives you a tingle in your stomach. It’s not like “oh, off I go. Bored of this.”

((WN)) Especially that last night there at the North Greenwich Arena. There were thirteen thousand people there. They opened up some extra parts of the stadium. I could not even see the top rows. They were in darkness.

Tina McKenzie: It’s an amazing sport to come and watch, and its an amazing sport to play. It’s a good spectator sport I think. People should come and see especially the girls playing. It’s quite tough. And I was talking to someone yesterday and it was like “Oh I don’t know how you play that! You know, it’s so rough. You must get so hurt.” It’s great! Excellent, you know? Brilliant game that teaches you lots of strategies. And you can actually take all those strategies off the court and into your life as well. So it teaches you a lot of discipline, a lot of structure and… it’s a big thing. It’s not just about being on the court and throwing a ball around.

((WN)) When I saw you last you were in Sydney and you said you were moving down to Melbourne. Why was that?

Tina McKenzie: To move to Melbourne? My mum’s down here. And I lived here for sixteen years or something.

((WN)) I know you lived here for a long time, but you moved up to Sydney. Did your teacher’s degree up there.

Tina McKenzie: I moved to Sydney to go to uni, and Macquarie University were amazing in the support that they actually gave me. Being able to study and play basketball internationally, the scholarship really helped me out. And you know, it wasn’t just about the scholarship. It was.. Deidre Anderson was incredible. She’s actually from Melbourne as well, but her support emotionally and “How are you doing?” when she’d run into you and was always very good at reading people… where they’re at. She totally understands at the levels of playing at national level and international level and so it wasn’t just about Macquarie supporting me financially, it was about them supporting me the whole way through. And that was how I got through my degree, and was able to play at that level for such a long time.

((WN)) And you like teaching?

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, I do. Yeah, I do. I’m still waiting on my transfer at the moment from New South Wales to Victoria, but teaching’s good. It’s really nice to be able to spend some time with kids and I think its really important for kids to be actually around people with disabilities to actually normalize us a little bit and not be so profound about meeting someone that looks a little bit different. And if I can do that at a young age in primary school and let them see that life’s pretty normal for me, then I think that’s a really important lesson.

((WN)) You retired just after the Paralympics.

Tina McKenzie: I did. Yeah. Actually, it took me quite a long time to decide to do that. I actually traveled after London. So I backpacked around… I went to the USA and then to Europe. And I spent a lot of time traveling and seeing amazing new things, and spending time by myself, and reflecting on… So yes, I got to spend quite a bit of time reflecting on my career and where I wanted to go.

((WN)) Your basketball career or your teaching career?

Tina McKenzie: All the above. Yeah. Everything realistically. And I think it was a really important time for me to sort of decide sort of where I wanted to go in myself. I’d spent sixteen years with the Gliders. So that’s a long time to be around the Gliders apparently.

((WN)) When did you join them for the first time?

Tina McKenzie: I think it was ’89? No, no, no, sorry, no, no, no, ’98. We’ll say 1998. Yeah, 1998 was my first tournament, against USA. So we played USA up in New South Wales in the Energy Australia tour. So we traveled the coast. Played up at Terrigal. It was a pretty amazing experience, being my first time playing for Australia and it was just a friendly competition so… Long time ago. And that was leading into 2000, into the big Sydney Olympics. That was the beginning of an amazing journey realistically. But going back to why I retired, or thinking about retiring, I think when I came home I decided to spend a little bit more time with mum. Cause we’d actually lost my dad. He passed away two years ago. He got really sick after I came back from World Cup, in 2011, late 2010, he was really unwell, so I spent a lot of time down here. I actually had a couple of months off from the Gliders because I needed to deal with the family. And I think that it was really good to be able to get back and get on the team and… I love playing basketball but after being away, and I’ve done three Paralympics, I’ve been up for four campaigns, I think its time now to actually take a step backwards and… Well not backwards… take a step out of it and spend quality time with mum and quality time with people that have supported me throughout the years of me not being around home but floating back in and floating out again and its a really… it’s a nice time for me to be able to also take on my teaching career and trying to teach and train and work full time is really hard work and I think its also time for quite a few of the new girls to actually step up and we’ve got quite a few… You’ve got Caitlin, and you’ve got Katie and you’ve got Shelley and Georgia. There’s quite a few nice girls coming through that will fit really well into the team and it’s a great opportunity for me to go. It’s my time now. See where they go with that, and retire from the Gliders. It was a hard decision. Not an easy decision to retire. I definitely miss it. But I think now I’d rather focus on maybe helping out at the foundation level of starting recruitment and building up a recruiting side in Melbourne and getting new girls to come along and play basketball. People with… doesn’t even have to be girls but just trying to re-feed our foundation level of basketball, and if I can do that now I think that’s still giving towards the Gliders and Rollers eventually. That would be really nice. Just about re-focusing. I don’t want to completely leave basketball. I’d still like to be part of it. Looking to the development side of things and maybe have a little bit more input in that area would be really nice though. Give back the skills I’ve been taught over the years and be a bit of an educator in that area I think would be nice. It’s really hard when you’re at that international level to… you’re so time poor that it’s really hard to be able to focus on all that recruitment and be able to give out skill days when you’re actually trying to focus on improving yourself. So now I’ve got that time that I could actually do that. Be a little bit more involved in mentoring maybe, something like that. Yeah, that’s what I’d like to do.

((WN)) That would be good.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah! That would be great, actually. So I’ve just been put on the board of Disability Sport and Recreation, which is the old Wheelchair Sports Victoria. So that’s been a nice beginning move. Seeing where all the sports are at, and what we’re actually facilitating in Victoria, considering I’ve been away from Victoria for so long. It’s nice to know where they’re all at.

((WN)) Where are they all at?

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, dunno. They’re not very far at all. Victoria… I think Victoria is really struggling in the basketball world. Yeah, I think there’s a bit of a struggle. Back in the day… back in those old times, where Victoria would be running local comps. We’d have an A grade and a B grade on a Thursday night, and we’d have twelve teams in A grade and B grade playing wheelchair basketball. That’s a huge amount of people playing and when you started in B grade you’d be hoping that you came around and someone from A grade would ask you to come and play. So it was a really nice way to build your basketball skills up and get to know that community. And I think its really important to have a community, people that you actually feel comfortable and safe around. I don’t want to say it’s a community of disabled people. It’s actually…

((WN)) It’s not really because…

Tina McKenzie: Well, it’s not. The community’s massive. It’s not just someone being in a chair. You’ve got your referees, you’ve got people that are coming along to support you. And it’s a beautiful community. I always remember Liesl calling it a family, and it’s like a family so… and it’s not just Australia-based. It’s international. It’s quite incredible. It’s really lovely. But it’s about providing that community for new players to come through. And you know, not every player that comes through to play basketball wants to be a Paralympian. So its about actually providing sport, opportunities for people to be physically active. And if they do want to compete for Australia and they’re good enough, well then we support that. But I think it’s really hard in the female side of things. There’s not as many females with a disability.

((WN)) Yeah, they kept on pointing that out…

Tina McKenzie: It’s really hard, but I think one of the other things is that we also need to be able to get the sport out there into the general community. And it’s not just about having a disability, it’s about coming along and playing with your mate that might be classifiable or an ex-basketball player. Like I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and she’s six foot two…

((WN)) Sounds like a basketball player already.

Tina McKenzie: She’s been a basketball player, an AB basketball player for years. Grew up playing over in Adelaide, and her knee is so bad that she can’t run anymore, and she can’t cycle, but yet wants to be physically active, and I’m like “Oooh, you can come along and play wheelchair basketball” and she’s like “I didn’t even think that I could do that!” So it’s about promoting. It not that you actually have to be full time in the chair, or being someone with an amputation or other congenitals like a spinal disability, it’s wear and tear on people’s bodies and such.

((WN)) Something I noticed in the crowd in London. People seemed to think that they were in the chair all the time and were surprised when most of the Rollers got up out of their chairs at the end of the game.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah.

((WN)) Disability is a very complicated thing.

Tina McKenzie: It is, yeah.

((WN)) I was surprised myself at people who were always in a chair, but yet can wiggle their toes.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, it’s the preconceived thing, like if you see someone in a chair, a lot of people just think that nothing works, but in hindsight there are so many varying levels of disability. Some people don’t need to be in a chair all the time, sometimes they need to be in it occasionally. Yeah, it’s kind of a hard thing.

((WN)) Also talking to the classifiers and they mentioned the people playing [wheelchair] basketball who have no disability at all but are important to the different teams, that carry their bags and stuff.

Tina McKenzie: So important, yeah. It’s the support network and I think that when we started developing Women’s National League to start in 2000, one of the models that we took that off was the Canadian Women’s National League. They run an amazing national league with huge amounts of able bodied women coming in and playing it, and they travel all over Canada [playing] against each other and they do have a round robin in certain areas like our Women’s National League as well but it’s so popular over there that it’s hard to get on the team. They have a certain amount of women with disabilities and then other able bodied women that just want to come along and play because they see it as a really great sport. And that’s how we tried to model our Women’s National League off. It’s about getting many women just to play sport, realistically.

((WN)) Getting women to play sport, whether disabled or not, is another story. And there seems to be a reluctance amongst women to participate in sports, particularly sports that they regard as being men’s sports.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, a masculine sport.

((WN)) They would much rather play a sport that is a women’s sport.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, it’s really hard. I think it’s about just encouraging people, communicating, having a really nice welcoming, come and try day. We run a… like Sarah [Stewart] actually this yeah will be running the women’s festival of sport, which is on the 30th of January. And that’s an amazing tournament. That actually started from club championship days, where we used to run club championships. And then the club championships then used to feed in to our Women’s National League. Club championships used to about getting as many women to come along and play whether they’re AB or have a disability. It’s just about participation. It’ll be a really fun weekend. And it’s a pretty easy weekend for some of us.

((WN)) Where is it?

Tina McKenzie: Next year, in 2014, it’ll be January the 30th at Narrabeen. We hold it every year. And last year we got the goalball girls to come along and play. So we had half of the goalball girls come and play for the weekend and they had an absolute brilliant time. Finding young girls that are walking down the street that just want to come and play sport. Or they have a friend at high school that has a disability. And it’s just about having a nice weekend, meeting other people that have disabilities or not have disabilities and just playing together. It’s a brilliant weekend. And every year we always have new faces come along and we hope that those new faces stay around and enjoy the weekend. Because it’s no so highly competitive, it’s just about just playing. Like last year I brought three or four friends of mine, flew up from Melbourne, ABs, just to come along and play. It was really nice that I had the opportunity to play a game of basketball with the friends that I hang out with. Which was really nice. So the sport’s not just Paralympics.

((WN)) How does Victoria compare with New South Wales?

Tina McKenzie: Oh, that’s a thing to ask! (laughs) Look I think both states go in highs and lows, in different things. I think all the policies that have been changing in who’s supporting who and… like, Wheelchair Sports New South Wales do a good job at supporting the basketball community. Of course, there’s always a willingness for more money to come in but they run a fairly good support and so does the New South Wales Institute of Sport. It’s definitely gotten better since I first started up there. And then, it’s really hard to compare because both states do things very differently. Yeah, really differently and I always remember being in Victoria… I dunno when that was… in early 2000. New South Wales had an amazing program. It seemed so much more supportive than what we had down here in Victoria. But then even going to New South Wales and seeing the program that they have up there, it wasn’t as brilliant as… the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, cause there there good things and there were weren’t so great things about the both programs in Victoria and in New South Wales so… The VIS [Victorian Institute of Sport] do some great support with some of the athletes down here, and NSWIS [New South Wales Instituted of Sport] are building and improving and I know their program’s changed quite a lot now with Tom [Kyle] and Ben [Osborne] being involved with NSWIS so I can’t really give feedback on how that program’s running but in short I know that when NSWIS employed Ben Osborne to come along and actually coach us as a basketball individual and as in group sessions it was the best thing that they ever did. Like, it was so good to be able to have one coach to actually go and go we do an individual session or when are you running group sessions and it just helped me. It helped you train. It was just a really… it was beneficial. Whereas Victoria don’t have that at the moment. So both states struggle some days. I mean, back in 2000 Victoria had six or seven Gliders players, and then New South Wales had as many, and then it kind of does a big swap. It depends on what the state infrastructure is, what the support network is, and how local comps are running, how the national league’s running, and it’s about numbers. It’s all about numbers.

((WN)) At the moment you’ll notice a large contingent of Gliders from Western Australia.

Tina McKenzie: Yes, yes, I have seen that, yeah. And that’s good because its… what happens is, someone comes along in either state, or wherever it may be, and they’re hugely passionate about building and improving that side of things and they have the time to give to it, and that’s what’s happened in WA [Western Australia]. Which has been great. Ben Ettridge has been amazing, and so has John. And then in New South Wales you have Gerry driving that years ago. Gerry has always been a hugely passionate man about improving numbers, about participation, and individuals’ improvement, you know? So he’s been quite a passionate man about making sure people are improving individually. And you know, Gerry Hewson’s been quite a driver of wheelchair basketball in New South Wales. He’s been an important factor, I think.

((WN)) The news recently has been Basketball Australia taking over the running of things. The Gliders now have a full time coach.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, which is fantastic! That’s exciting. It’s a good professional move, you know? It’s nice to actually know that that’s what’s happening and I think that only will lead to improvement of all the girls, and the Gliders may go from one level up to the next level which is fantastic so… and Tom sounds like a great man so I really hope that he enjoys himself.

((WN)) I’m sure he is.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, I’ve done some work with Tom. He’s a good guy.

((WN)) Did you do some work with him?

Tina McKenzie: Ah, well, no, I just went up to Brisbane a couple of times and did some development days. Played in one of their Australia Day tournaments with some of the developing girls that they have. We did a day camp leading into that. Went and did a bit of mentoring I guess. And it was nice to do that with Tom. That was a long time before Tom… I guess Tom had just started on the men’s team back them. He was very passionate about improving everyone, which he still is.

((WN)) Watching the Gliders and the Rollers… with the Rollers, they can do it. With the Gliders… much more drama from the Gliders in London. For a time we didn’t even know if they were going to make the finals. Lost that game against Canada.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, that wasn’t a great game. No. It was pretty scary. But, you know, we always fight back. In true Gliders style. Seems to be… we don’t like to take the easy road, we like to take the hard road, sometimes.

((WN)) Apparently.

Tina McKenzie: It’s been a well-known thing. I don’t know why it is but it just seems to happen that way.

((WN)) You said you played over 100 [international] games. By our count there was 176 before you went to London, plus two games there makes 178 international caps. Which is more than some teams that you played against put together.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, I thought I’d be up to nearly 200. Look, I think it’s an amazing thing to have that many games under your belt and the experience that’s gained me throughout the years, and you’ve got to be proud about it. Proud that I stayed in there and competed with one of the best teams in the world. I always believed that the Gliders can be the best in the world but…

((WN)) You need to prove it.

Tina McKenzie: Need to get there. Just a bit extra.

((WN)) Before every game in London there was an announcement that at the World Championships and the Paralympics “they have never won”.

Tina McKenzie: No, no. I remember 2000 in Sydney, watching the girls play against Canada in 2000. Terrible game. Yet they were a brilliant team in 2000 as well. I think the Gliders have always had a great team. Just unfortunately, that last final game. We haven’t been able to get over that line yet.

((WN)) You were in the final game in 2004.

Tina McKenzie: Yep, never forget that. It was an amazing game.

((WN)) What was it like?

Tina McKenzie: I think we played our gold medal game against the USA the first game up. We knew that we had to beat USA that day, that morning. It was 8am in the morning, maybe 8:30 in the morning and it was one of the earliest games that we played and we’d been preparing for this game knowing that we had to beat USA to make sure that our crossovers would be okay, and knew that we’d sit in a really good position against the rest of the teams that we would most likely play. And I think that being my first ever Paralympic Games it was unforgettable. I think I’ll never, not forget it. The anticipation, adrenalin and excitement. And also being a little bit scared sometimes. It was really an amazing game. We did play really, really well. We beat America by maybe one point I think that day. So we played a tough, tough game. Then we went into the gold medal game… I just don’t think we had much left in our energy fuel. I think it was sort of… we knew that we had to get there but we just didn’t have enough to get over the line, and that was really unfortunate. And it was really sad. It was sad that we knew that we could actually beat America, but at the end of the day the best team wins.

((WN)) The best team on the court on the day.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, absolutely. And that can change any day. It depends where your team’s at. What the ethos is like. and so it’s… Yeah, I don’t think you can actually say that every team’s gonna be on top every day, and it’s not always going to be that way. I’m hoping the Gliders will put it all together and be able to take that way through and get that little gold medal. That would be really nice. Love to see that happen.

((WN)) I’d like to see that happen. I’d really like to see them win. In Toronto, apparently, because the Canadian men are not in the thing, the Canadians are going to be focusing on their women’s team. They apparently didn’t take their best team and their men were knocked out by Columbia or Mexico or something like that.

Tina McKenzie: Wow.

((WN)) And in the women’s competition there’s teams like Peru. But I remember in London that Gliders were wrong-footed by Brazil, a team that they had never faced before. Nearly lost that game.

Tina McKenzie: (laughs) Oh yes. Brazil were an unknown factor to us. So they were quite unknown. We’d done a bit of scouting but if you’ve never played someone before you get into an unknown situation. We knew that they’d be quite similar players to Mexico but you know what? Brazil had a great game. They had a brilliant game. We didn’t have a very good game at all. And it’s really hard going into a game that you know that you need to win unbeknown to what all these players can do. You can scout them as much as you want but it’s actually about being on court and playing them. That makes a huge difference. I think one of the things here in Australia is that we play each other so often. We play against each other so often in the Women’s National League. We know exactly what… I know that Shelley Chaplin is going to want to go right and close it up and Cobi Crispin is going to dive underneath the key and do a spin and get the ball. So you’ve actually… you know what these players want to do. I know that Kylie Gauci likes to double screen somewhere, and she’ll put it in, and its great to have that knowledge of what your players really like to do when you’re playing with them but going into a team like Brazil we knew a couple of the players, what they like to do but we had no idea what their speed was like or what their one-pointers were going to do. Who knows? So it was a bit of an unknown.

((WN)) They’ll definitely be an interesting side when it comes to Rio.

Tina McKenzie: I think they’ll be quite good. And that happened with China. I’ll always remember seeing China when we were in Korea for the first time and going “Wow, these girls can hardly move a chair” but some of them could shoot, and they went from being very fresh players to going into China as quite a substantial team, and then yet again step it up again in London. And they’re a good team. I think its really important as not to underestimate any team at a Paralympics or at a World Cup. I mean, Netherlands have done that to us over and over again.

((WN)) They’re a tough team too.

Tina McKenzie: They’re a really tough team and they’re really unpredictable sometimes. Sometimes when they’re on, they’re on. They’re tough. They’re really tough. And they’ve got a little bit of hunger in them now. Like, they’re really hungry to be the top team. And you can see that. And I remember seeing that in Germany, in Beijing.

((WN)) The Germans lost to the Americans in the final in Beijing.

Tina McKenzie: Yes. Yeah, they did.

((WN)) And between 2008 and 2012 all they talked about was the US, and a rematch against the US. But of course when it came to London, they didn’t face the US at all, because you guys knocked the US out of the competition.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, we did. It was great. A great game that.

((WN)) You won by a point.

Tina McKenzie: Fantastic. Oh my God I came. Still gives me heart palpitations.

((WN)) It went down to a final shot. There was a chance that the Americans would win the thing with a shot after the siren. Well, a buzzer-beater.

Tina McKenzie: Tough game. Tough game. That’s why you go to the Paralympics. You have those tough, nail-biting games. You hope that at the end of the day that… Well, you always go in as a player knowing that you’ve done whatever you can do.

((WN)) Thankyou very much for this.

Tina McKenzie: That’s alright. No problems at all!