Wikinews interviews Amber Merritt Australian Paralympic wheelchair basketballer

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

London, England— Tuesday, following her team’s 62–37 win over Mexico in the quarter-finals at the North Greewich Arena, Wikinews interviewed Amber Merrit of the Australian women’s national wheelchair basketball team.

In their next match, the Gliders will face the victors from the United States versus Canada, having suffered their first loss of this year’s Games to Canada on Sunday night by seven points.

((Laura Hale)) I’m excited to see you in London, because you were so fantastic in that interview.

[Wikinews previously interviewed Merrit, and teammates in July. —Ed.]

Amber Merrit: Thank you.

((WN)) Which state are you from?

AM: I’m from WA. [Western Australia —Ed.]

((WN)) You wheel change! What was wrong with your wheel?

AM: I smashed out three spokes. Someone hit me, and I lost three spokes in my chair.

((WN)) was that because you were playing really aggressively against Mexico?

AM: Yeah, or they were playing really aggressive against us.

((WN)) Watching that game it didn’t seem that they were playing that aggressive, in terms of they came in with set pieces; they weren’t doing the full-court press; they didn’t seem prepared for your offensive and defensive tenacity. ((Hawkeye7)) You kept on all holding them out, where they weren’t even getting across the centre line

AM: I think we have a really physical style of basketball where we’re going to press, and when we press we try to stop chairs and make sure they don’t get over that halfway line. They’re going to come out and play as hard as they can against us and sometimes there is that odd mishap where they might smash a few spokes cause they hit us. It happens.

((WN)) You tipped a lot in previous games. You haven’t tipped so much in this series.

AM: No, I’ve managed to keep my balance this time. Or maybe they haven’t hit me hard enough to put me down on the floor.

((WN)) Part of the appeal of wheelchair basketball, and I feel guilty admitting it, it watching you guys tip.

AM: And fall out. It’s embarrassing but I like it.

((WN)) You’ve got your next game coming up, which is going to be against the winner of the United States or Canada later today

AM: We’re not 100% sure yet who that’s going to be.

((WN)) Looking forward to meeting them?

AM: Yeah! Looking forward to coming up against them.

((WN)) Who would you prefer?

AM: I don’t know if I have a preference, to be honest. Whoever its going to be, we’re still going to go out there and play as hard as we can and take it to them as a team.

((WN)) Do you think you’ve been adequately prepared coming in to this, with your tournament in Sydney, your tournament in the Netherlands?

AM: Yeah, I think we’ve come in very well prepared for this tournament. We’ve been together for a while now as a team. Of course we had the Gliders and Rollers world challenge. We also went to Arnheim in the Netherlands for a pre-tournament, and we’ve trained together in Cardiff. And then after Cardiff we came in to London; so we’ve had that time together as a team and we’re doing really well.

((WN)) Does that give you an advantage over other teams?

AM: I’m not sure, because I don’t know what other teams have been doing behind the scenes as their training.

((WN)) Thank you very much.

AM: No worries!
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Opponents: New Zealand government sneaks bill into House to avoid public backlash

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Thursday, December 7, 2006

The New Zealand Government has tabled the Therapeutic Products and Medicines Bill, despite unprecedented political opposition.

In 2003 the Hon Annette King signed a Treaty with Australia agreeing to hand control of the natural health products sector over to an Australian regulatory body, however she needs to pass enabling legislation in New Zealand. “This will be a world-class joint scheme designed to regulate the safety, quality, effectiveness and promotion of therapeutic products in both New Zealand and Australia. That includes the regulation of complementary and alternative medicines, over-the-counter and prescription medicines, medical devices, blood and blood products and tissues and cellular therapies,” Ms King said.

Twice the Bill has been thrown out by select committees, but the Government is determined to ram it through Parliament, according to the New Zealand Health Trust.

“Late tonight the Bill was finally tabled, with no announcement from the Minister,” said Amy Adams, spokesperson for the Trust, “Clearly the Minister is keen to sneak it into Parliament under cover of the silly season, in the hope that she can keep it under the public’s radar.”

“I welcome the support of a majority of the House who want to see the Bill go to Select Committee where New Zealanders can have their say,” Ms King said.

The NZ Health Trust conducted research earlier this year which showed 62% of New Zealanders used natural health products. “This Bill represents a massive and irreparable change to the way we make rules for New Zealand dietary supplements,” Mrs Adams said.

“Under the proposed regime, well over a million New Zealand consumers would find the choice of products adversely affected, and experience cost increases. So you can see why the Government is trying to sneak this into the House without any fuss – they don’t want the public to know.”

All the political parties except Labour have pledged their opposition the proposal, despite some intense lobbying by Australian and New Zealand officials.

“It is a very serious thing to hand sovereignty over your country over to another nation,” Mrs Adams said. “And all the other political parties see the sense in making sure the sector is regulated from New Zealand – not as a minor state of Australia.”

Ms King said: “The Bill… ensures that New Zealand will have an equal say in the setting up and running of the new Authority and joint scheme.” The new authority will be like a crown-owned entity and will have to provide an anuual report and a statement of intent to parliament each year.

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International participants showcase different industry cultures at 2008 Taipei Game Show

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Friday, January 25, 2008

B2B Trade Area of Taipei Game Show, criticized by trade buyers last year, but accompanied with 2008 Taiwan Digital Content Forum, moved to the second floor at Taipei World Trade Center for world-wide participants with a better exchange atmosphere this year.

Not only local OBMs (Softstar Entertainment, Soft-World International Corp., International Games System Corp., …, etc.) but also companies from New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korea showcased different specialists with multiple styles. Especially on South Korea, participated members from G? Trade Show (Game Show & Trade, All-Round, aka Gstar) showcased gaming industry of South Korea and the G? upcoming at this November with brochures.

In the 2-days Digital Content Forum, world-class experts not only shared industry experiences, members from Taiwan Gaming Industry Association also discussed and forecasted marketing models for gaming industry. With participations from governmental, industrial, and academical executives world-wide, this forum helps them gained precious experiences of digital content industry from several countries.

According to the Taipei Computer Association, the show and forum organizer, the digital content industry in Taiwan was apparently grown up recent years as Minister of Economic Affairs of the Republic of China Steve Ruey-long Chen said at Opening Ceremony yesterday. Without R&Ds from cyber-gaming, and basic conceptions from policies and copyright issues, this (digital content) industry will be fallen down in Taiwan. If this industry wanted to be grown up in sustainability, gaming OBMs in Taiwan should independently produce different and unique games and change market style to market brands and games to the world.

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All About Antiquing Information

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Submitted by: Brian Daly

It is a known fact that collecting antiques is a great hobby and at the same time, it can be a great way to earn a little extra. No matter what your intentions are, there is definitely a value to all the pieces that you find everyday from the various sources. Since there are numerous various ideas and reasons why people love to collect antiques, it is important to learn some good antiquing information in order to understand the subject.

For instance, there are a lot of people who are into history. These individuals are passionate about discovering the legend behind a certain antique piece. On the other hand, there are others who enjoy watching the different developments that technology has created. While other people love the opportunity to feel a certain period of time and collecting various antique pieces allow them to do that. If you are one of them, the whole process can take you to various estate sales as you continue to find and collect antiques and use antiquing information that you have in order to increase your overall profit.

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Another thing that most antique collectors do is they target a market that they can fill. There are a lot of individuals who are into history and have needs as well, so treasure hunting can be a part of the whole process. The difference is that some individuals are just into history while others are solely focused on the money that they are going to make. Most of the time, this balance of things is the thing that swings from one way to another. However, a real antique hunter will be able to find the balance and take that to the next stage.

Another important piece of information to know is that antiques are items that go beyond a hundred years old. Although you will be able to find some antique pieces, there is a possibility that these pieces won t be sold in the market. The usual pieces that are of high value may include glassware, china and furniture. Remember that you can find a lot of these items in high value so it is important to do your research in order to avoid imitation.

Also, keep in mind that it is important to make sure that any piece you are looking at is indeed genuine. It is a fact that a lot of individuals will sell imitation pieces. It is recommended to take a lot of time in order to understand any piece you are eyeing and find any antiquing information available. This way, you will not worry about any unnecessary surprise in the process. If ever there comes a time when you find yourself in doubt, make sure to hold your decision to purchase so that you won t regret having a bad investment.

Learning how you can identify whether the condition of the item is good is a very significant bit of antiquing information that you should know. In addition, in order to differentiate a valuable antique piece from a something that is of no value, you can use various types of equipments and tools. For instance, you can use a black light when inspecting an item. With a black light, you will be able to tell a lot about the condition and value of a certain antique piece. However, keep in mind that using black light may require knowledge and experience.

About the Author: Brian is an antiques publisher. For more great information on antiquing, visit


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California jury orders Skilled Healthcare to pay $671 million in damages

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Friday, July 9, 2010

A California jury in a Humboldt County courthouse ordered nursing home operator Skilled Healthcare (SH) to pay $671 million (about €531 million) in a class action lawsuit from patients of SH’s 22 California facilities and their families. The jury found that SH failed to properly staff its facilities to comply with California state law.

The jury has not heard the case for punitive damages; however, it awarded the plaintiffs $613 million (about €484 million) in statutory damages. The remaining $58 million (about €46 million) was in restitution.

After the verdict was issued, Skilled Healthcare stocks plunged over 75% to a record low.

An official statement from SH says it “strongly disagrees” with the jury’s verdict. SH plans on filing an appeal to the decision. The company could possibly face bankruptcy because of this verdict.

One of the lawyers for the nearly 32,000 plaintiffs, Timothy Needham, claimed that inadequate staffing levels put SH’s patients at risk. He said, “The company knows that this lack of staffing causes a higher risk of problems for patients. Call lights don’t get answered, persons don’t get proper hygiene, persons don’t get their medications on time or the care they need.”

This lawsuit does not apply to SH’s facilities in Arizona, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas.

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A 1-year long strike against FMC Novamed: Women workers allege unfair treatment

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Monday, September 17, 2007

In a free trade zone in Antalya, Turkey, 80 women workers of FMC Novamed are in strike for almost a year now, since September 26th, 2006. They allege not only low wages but also severe abuses on FMC’s part.

Novamed, founded in 2001, is a factory managed by Turkish capitalists and located in the free trade zone in Antalya, Turkey. 95% of its workers are women. It is owned by Fresenius Medical Care (FMC), which is an international corporation with its headquarters in Germany. With factories in 12 countries and a total of 100,000 workers, FMC is a monopoly in the market of dialysis products.

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Holding On With Lou Gehrig S Optimism: Making Life More Manageable For Als Patients

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Holding on with Lou Gehrig s Optimism: Making Life More Manageable for ALS Patients


Cynthia Bennett

Lou Gehrig s spirit couldn t be doused even when dealing with a devastating disease like ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). This debilitating and fatal disease hit Lou Gehrig after years of sterling performance and a string of record-breaking in the field of American baseball along the way sustaining several injuries and traumas to various parts of the body including the head and back. Sadly, Lou Gehrig s career ended with an abrupt decline in performance as the symptoms of ALS began manifesting as he clumsily fumbled with the baseball and slipped while running bases movements that have become second nature to him for so many years. The worsening of these symptoms was what prompted Lou Gehrig s wife Eleanor to seek medical attention to explain her husband s unexplained loss of strength and motor functioning. It was after a battery of tests that she learned about her husband s grim prognosis of the possibility of paralysis and consequently death within a period of three years.

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ALS eventually became known as Lou Gehrig s disease. Even with his predicament, Gehrig remained steadfast and strong, sans any depression or pessimism, declaring during his retirement his intention to hold on as long as possible and to accept the inevitable when it comes, hoping for the best. Gehrig continued to live a productive life after retirement despite his worsening condition, even taking on the post of New York City Parole Commissioner only months after being diagnosed with ALS. As his motor neuron disease started claiming his body with paralysis setting in, his wife continued to assist him in performing whatever he needs to do until the time when it was entirely impossible for him to physically continue working. Soon after, Gehrig succumbed to the disease and passed away nearly two years after his ALS diagnosis.

Lou Gehrig s disease is difficult to deal with while normal motor functions deteriorate, mental functions remain the same, leaving the mind to be fully aware of what is happening right through the end. While others would think of this as a grueling ordeal, Gehrig remained optimistic through his ailment and used his mental faculties for as long as he could rather than to simply wallow in his physical disability. Life with ALS need not be as depressing nor should it be as short as Lou Gehrig s other patients with Lou Gehrig s disease are actually able to preserve their muscle function longer and some are able to outlive their life expectancy at diagnosis. While Lou Gehrig s physical condition might not be enough to sustain him, his mental functions were enough to let him enjoy the time he had left to live, maximizing whatever opportunities available to him both in his personal life and in his professional life.

One or two patients out of 100,000 people are diagnosed with Lou Gehrig s disease every year. Most of these people are prescribed with medication and recommended for physical and occupational therapies to manage the symptoms of ALS. These treatments have been found to help prolong the lives of people with ALS and delay the progression of the debilitating effects of the disease. ALS advocacy groups and organizations like the Often Awesome Army have cropped up over the years aiming to give the best possible care for people with ALS and to help further studies into the disease and its possible cures. In the absence of any real cure to prevent death in the years after an ALS diagnosis, what matters most is that the ALS patient is able to live his final years with the best quality possible to quote Lou Gehrig in his retirement speech I might have been given a bad break, but I ve got an awful lot to live for. For more information visit us

Cynthia Bennett works with ALS patients to help with as many of the difficulties of life with ALS as possible.

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Polish mine explosion kills 8

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Methane gas was blamed for the explosion deaths of 8 miners in southern Polish‘s Halemba coal mine Tuesday, November 21. Officials say at least 15 are missing.

Rescue efforts were halted because dangerously high levels of methane gas returned, according to Zbigniew Madej, spokesman for state-owned Coal Co., which operates the mine.

The missing miners’ locater devices were not emitting signals, increasing rescurers’ concerns for their well-being. Grzegorz Pawlaszek, head of Coal Co., said the 15 missing miners’ fate is “not known,” but added that “there is a chance to find someone still alive.”

“This is a tragedy. People have died here,” Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski said when he came to Ruda Slaska to see the blast.

Earlier Wednesday, a reconnaissance rescue team descended 3000 feet toward the blast scene, only to retreat because of safety concerns related to high methane gas levels. Rescue digging efforts were also halted because of explosion concerns.

The missing men were aged 21-59. One of the miner’s family members, Andrzej Pytlik, 30, remained on scene with his sister, hoping and waiting for news of her husband, Krystian Gaszka.

Pytlik, also a miner, said through teary eyes that, “I work in the mines and I know that hope is scant because that’s the truth.”

The explosion occurred in a closed portion of the mine where the now-missing miners were working to retrieve abandoned equipment. According to Pawlaszek, the value of the equipment was $23 million, adding that “It was new equipment and that is why we decided to retrieve it.”

He indicated that the recovery work was performed under the supervision of gas detection specialists, and that the bodies of the recovered miners were difficult to identify because of the severity of burns and because their ID tags were blown away in the explosion.

The Halemba mine, located in Ruda Slaska, has produced coal for nearly 50 years, has been fraught with safety concerns and has a track record of serious accidents. One of the oldest mines in Poland, it is centrally located in the industrial Silesia region.

Earlier this year, a miner was trapped underground in the Halemba mine five days after a cave-in. In 1990, 19 miners were killed and 20 hurt in a gas explosion, and five were killed in collapse in 1991.

Inside, priests and mining officials were comforting and counseling with distraught relatives. Outside, eight white candles flickered on a main gate wall.

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NASA issues survivability report on Columbia crash

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Friday, January 2, 2009

NASA has issued a report on survivability during the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, entitled “Columbia Crew Survival Investigation Report”. Although the report finds the accident was impossible to survive, it still faulted a number of design issues with the astronauts’ equipment.

The accident investigation report was released in 2003, the year of the crash. During launch on January 16, the spacecraft’s wing was holed when a chunk of foam detached and struck it. The shuttle then broke up on re-entry on February 1 over Texas, killing the seven on board.

This new report reveals details of what happened to the astronauts during the accident sequence, although some parts have remained confidential to the victims’ families. The report reveals that within seconds of the breakup commencing the crew became unconscious due to the rapid depressurization and that they never regained consciousness prior to their deaths.

The report notes that the cabin began spinning wildly, causing some of the astronauts’ helmets to come off. The report noted that most on board were secured only by lap harnesses that offered no restraint to the upper body and were not designed to cope with sideways motion, meaning “lethal trauma” was caused by the rotation. However, the report was unable to determine whether the astronauts had died from oxygen deprivation or the extreme nature of their injuries.

The pressure suits the crew wore, introduced after the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, were criticised as the crew could not keep their visors down throughout re-entry due to a design limitation that would have caused excess levels of oxygen to be present had they done so, leaving the suits unsealed. The gloves also made many tasks difficult or impossible. When the accident occurred, three people were not wearing gloves, one was not wearing a helmet, and none had their visors down. The helmets also did not conform to the heads of the wearers.

Upon disintegration, the occupants were exposed to extreme heat and high friction from re-entry. The astronauts likely died very quickly, and were probably dead by the time Columbia broke apart.

The report added that although the crew all wore parachutes, they had to be activated by the crew — impossible as they were unconscious. The report concluded that future spacecraft require sturdier construction and better restraints, while safety devices should be automatic. NASA is designing better suits and helmets.

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Over 60 illegal miners die in South African mine fire

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Over 60 miners were killed in an abandoned gold mine shaft near Welkom, in the Free State province of South Africa, after a fire broke out inside the mine.

36 bodies from the Harmony Gold mining company Eland mine shaft were brought up earlier on the weekend from depths up to 1.4 kilometers (1 mi). On Tuesday, 25 more bodies were recovered by other illegal workers.

“We suspect there was a fire on the 18th of May. We never saw any smoke. Over the weekend [30 May] we were informed by other illegal miners that people had died,” said Tom Smith, Chief Operating Officer for Harmony’s South Region, “The bodies are not burnt. It seems more of a case of gas or smoke inhalation. I don’t know if there are any more bodies down there, we just have to wait.”

The workers may have died from poisonous gasses, smoke inhalation, suffocation, cave-ins or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Harmony gold mine will not send anyone in to the mine as the conditions are extremely dangerous and abandoned shafts are without safety equipment. Illegal workers may gain access bypassing security at one mine site, and exit via a series of interconnected underground tunnels many miles away.

Harmony is internationally the fifth largest gold mining company and has bought up old, abandoned mines.

Police were seeking relatives to help identify the bodies, and are instigating an investigation into the circumstances.

Almost 300 “gold pirates” were arrested over the past two weeks at the Eland mine shaft alone. Thousands of illegal workers can be underground, and remain working for weeks and months continuously. “These are ex-miners and unemployed people – we need to target the syndicates,” said Smith.

There are over 4.18 million unemployed in South Africa due to the economic decline, and another 1 million may soon join the ranks.

Susan Shabangu, the minister of mining, extended her condolences.

Welkom, with a population of over 400,000 is located 160 kilometers (99 mi) northeast of Bloemfontein, the provincial capital.

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