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Glasgow cannabis enthusiasts celebrate ‘green’ on city green

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Coinciding with Easter Sunday, Glasgow Cannabis Social Club’s annual 420 event was held on Glasgow Green, under sunny blue skies, and overlooking the river Clyde. Despite the city’s council attempting to revoke permission for the gathering at the last minute, police were happy for it to go-ahead with approximately a dozen officers attending in high-visibility vests.

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The Daily Record reported five arrests were made for minor offences, likely smoking and possession of small quantities of cannabis. Taking a less-sensational — and more accurate — line of reporting, the Monday edition of Glasgow’s Evening News stated five were referred to the Procurator Fiscal who is responsible for deciding if charges should be brought.

Official figures provided by the police were that 150 attended. With people coming and going, Wikinews reporters estimated upwards of 200 attended, compared to nearly 700 who had signed up for the event on Facebook. Hemp goods were advertised and on sale at the event, and some attendees were seen drinking cannabis-themed energy drinks.

“I was searched and charged under the Misuse of Drugs Act (which is a lot of bollocks)” one attendee noted online, adding “not fair to happen on a brilliant day like it was, other than that I had a great day!” A second said they were openly smoking and ignored by police, who “were only really focusing on people who looked particularly young”.

Cannabis seeds were openly and legally sold at the event and a hydroponics supplier brought a motortrike towing an advertising trailer. Actually growing cannabis is, however, illegal in the UK.

With the event openly advocating the legalisation of cannabis, speakers put their arguments for this to a receptive crowd. Retired police officer James Duffy, of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, spoke of the failed United States alcohol prohibition policy; stressing such policies needlessly bring people into contact with criminal elements. Highlighting other countries where legalisation has been implemented, he pointed out such led to lower crime, and lower drug use overall.

One speaker, who produced a bottle of cannabis oil he had received through the post, asserted this cured his prostate cancer. Others highlighted the current use of Sativex by the National Health Service, with a cost in-excess of £150 for a single bottle of GW Pharmaceuticals patented spray — as-compared to the oil shown to the crowd, with a manufacturing cost of approximately £10.

Similar ‘420’ pro-cannabis events were held globally.



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Obama to suspend Arctic oil drilling

Thursday, May 27, 2010

According to Democratic Senator Mark Begich from Alaska, the U.S. Department of the Interior has decided to halt all new Arctic exploratory oil drilling applications until 2011. The response is believed to be caused in part by the two current oil spill disasters (that of the Deepwater Horizon Incident and more recently the Alaska oil pipeline malfunction). However, Begich is not happy about the actions taken by the White House.

“I am frustrated that this decision by the Obama administration to halt offshore development for a year will cause more delays and higher costs for domestic oil and gas production to meet the nation’s energy needs,” Begich claims.

Last September, the state of Alaska made a public notice about Shell’s desire to drill off the coast of the Beaufort Sea, placing experimental drilling rigs at two drill site location: “Torpedo” and “Sivulliq”.

“Shell is committed to undertaking a safe and environmentally responsible exploration program in the Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea in 2010,” said Shell Oil Company President Marvin E. Odum to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Mineral Management Service (MMS).

Odum follows with, “I am confident that we are ready to conduct the 2010 Arctic exploratory program safely and, I want to be clear, the accountability for this program rests with Shell.”

Chuck Clausen, director of the Alaska project at the Natural Resources Defense Council is not so optimistic: “Hazards present in the Arctic can include frigid temperatures, presence of sea ice, gale-force winds, intense storms and heavy fog … The potential for loss in the Arctic is great.”

Odum believes that the climate in the arctic will make any spill easier to clean up because, “Arctic conditions create differences in responding to oil in cold and ice conditions. Differences in evaporation rates, viscosity and weathering provide greater opportunities to recover oil. In Arctic conditions, ice can aid oil spill response by slowing oil weathering, dampening waves, preventing oil from spreading over large distances, and allowing more time to respond.”

However, Clausen believes that there are no current systems to remove oil from icy ocean waters.

This is not the first time that President Obama’s administration has taken the environmentally cautious path in Alaska. The President put Bristol Bay off limits to oil and gas exploration until 2017. Bristol Bay currently is one of the top salmon fishing grounds in the state.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is expected to give a speech at Thursday’s White House address, regarding the suspension of Arctic oil drilling projects.



Watercolour Painting Choosing Your Colours}

Read An Opinion On:

Submitted by: Steven Cronin

So youre stood in your local art store having decided youd like a dabble with watercolours and youve made it to the paint section. In front of you lie a multitude of colours and you cant possibly make a decision with such little experience in painting.

Well, lets start to narrow it down a little. First of all were going to go for the student quality paint. Winsor and Newton do a great Cotman budget range in large 21ml tubes that I use myself. Theyre of excellent quality and will put you in good stead as you begin your watercolour journey.

I only use seven colours for all my paintings Raw Sienna, Burnt Umber, Light Red, Ultramarine Blue, Lemon Yellow, Paynes Gray and Alizarin Crimson.

Limiting your palette this way will help you get more intimate with your colours and you will quickly learn how they react when mixed together. With experience you will instantly know which colours to mix to replicate any colour that you see in nature.

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My first colour, Raw Sienna, I use more than any other on my palette and is present in practically all my paintings. I start off many a sky with a light Raw Sienna wash and its also prominent in much land detail. Youll find it an excellent companion.

Burnt Umber is a good earthy colour and really comes into its own in winter scenes as the earth sticks out from the snow. Mixed with Ultramarine Blue its possible to get a whole range of greys, useful for cool shadows.

Light Red is a strong, fiery colour and only used in moderation too much and it will dominate your palette. A tube of red will last an eternity! Never use it on its own. Mixed with Burnt Umber its an excellent substitute for Burnt Sienna. Used with Ultramarine it will produce some lovely warm shadows.

Ultramarine Blue is predominant in many of my skies. It is also used with Lemon Yellow to produce a whole range of greens. Note there is no green on my palette, I prefer to mix them myself.

Lemon Yellow is an essential colour for my greens. A little with more Ultramarine will push your trees towards the horizon. As you come closer add more Lemon Yellow to warm the mix up for the foreground.

Paynes Gray can be used with many of the colours to generally darken the mix. I like to add it to Lemon Yellow to create rich, dark greens for foreground trees and foliage.

Alizarin Crimson is the second of my red colours and just like the Light Red, a tube of this will go a long way. I probably use it most with Paynes Gray for cloud shadows in the sky. Used with Ultramarine Blue it makes a cracking sky colour in winter scenes and looks lovely against the white paper as the shadows dance along the snow.

These seven colours have stood me in good stead. I generally try to use as few as possible to keep the colours harmonious in the painting. Often, especially in winter scenes, Ill restrict myself to just three Raw Sienna, Burnt Umber and Ultramarine Blue. Remember practise makes perfect. Happy painting!

About the Author: Steven Cronin is artist and author of oil and watercolour painting tutorial books aimed primarily at beginners. Visit his bookstore at

LearnToPaint.net

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=518043&ca=Arts+and+Crafts}



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Ford’s US auto sales spike, surpassing GM

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ford Motor Company said on Tuesday that its sales in the United States rose 43% in February compared to the same period last year, as the automaker outsold rivals Toyota and General Motors.

The strength of our new products … are resonating with customers

Ford said that total sales improved to 142,285 units, compared to 141,951 units sold by GM. Additionally, Ford said that its share of the total US car market rose to 17%, up from 14% a year ago. The increase was better than analysts had predicted, and Ford’s stock rose to a five-year high in morning trading, before declining later in the day. Ford’s sales were significantly influenced by a 74% increase in fleet sales to businesses. Rental car agencies alone accounted for around 30,000 units sold. Sales to retail consumers increased only 28%.

The increases were led by sales of two sedans, the Fusion and Taurus, which rose 166.5 and 93.3% respectively, although sales of other models such as SUVs and pickup trucks also increased. Both models were significantly redesigned last year, and analysts said that improved quality from such cars were driving the increases.

Other companies also reported February sales today, nearly all reporting sales gains as well, although none as large as those of Ford. Toyota was the sole exception to the sales gains, as their sales declined 8.7%, as the company was faced with a global recall during the month that led to a temporary stoppage of production for some models.

“The strength of our new products … are resonating with customers,” said Ken Czubay, Ford’s vice president of sales and marketing. However, he believed that traditional Toyota customers were not buying rival autos, but rather awaiting the results from the recalls.



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IMF head remains in New York prison; charged over alleged hotel sex attack

Sunday, May 15, 2011

This sordid episode—no matter how it ultimately plays out—will spell the end of Strauss-Kahn as an effective leader of the IMF even if he retains his position, which is highly unlikely.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund, remained in jail last night after being charged with sexually attacking a chambermaid at a New York City hotel. Strauss-Kahn has agreed to undergo forensic screening before he appears in court, and has vowed to “vigorously” defend himself against the charges, which are likely to create a leadership void at the IMF, disrupt emergency talks over the European debt crisis, and spell the end of his political career.

Strauss-Khan was the favourite candidate for the French presidency, and was expected to announce he would stand against Nicolas Sarkozy this month. But the allegations are expected to destroy the hopes of his supporters, increase infighting among the French left, and leave his political career in tatters. His arrest comes at a critical moment for the IMF, and will likely plunge efforts to stabilise the financial states of struggling eurozone countries into chaos. He was meant to discuss the bailouts of Greece and Portugal with European Union financial officials at a meeting in Brussels this week.

Eswar Shanker Prasad, a professor of international economics at Cornell University, said: “This sordid episode – no matter how it ultimately plays out – will spell the end of Strauss-Kahn as an effective leader of the IMF even if he retains his position, which is highly unlikely.” The IMF, however, insisted it remained “fully functioning and operational.”

Strauss-Kahn was to appear in court in Manhattan yesterday charged with three crimes, including attempted rape, but the hearing has been delayed so he can undergo forensic tests. He was taken into custody by officials while on an Air France passenger plane which was about to take off from John F. Kennedy International Airport for Paris; when detectives approached him in the first class cabin in the aircraft he reportedly asked: “What is this about?” Strauss-Kahn reportedly fled the hotel “in a hurry” after the attack, leaving a number of personal effects behind. “If our officers had been ten minutes later he would have been in the air and on their [sic] way to France,” a spokesperson for the New York Police Department said.

The chambermaid reported that she had been sexually assaulted by a man staying in a “luxury suite” at the Sofitel hotel near Times Square. “The maid described being forcibly attacked, locked in the room and sexually assaulted,” the police spokesperson said. Strauss-Kahn came out of the shower naked while the chambermaid was working in the room, tried to pull the woman onto the bed and locked the door, The New York Times reported, quoting police sources. She allegedly fought him off, but he sexually assaulted her again after dragging her to the bathroom, before he locked her in the room; she was reportedly hospitalized afterwards with trauma.

In 2008, a year after becoming the leader of the IMF, Strauss-Kahn was reprimanded by the organization’s board after being involved in an extramarital affair with another senior executive at the bank. More recently, he was pictured driving a luxury car in Paris, causing a media furore over whether his lifestyle fitted with the socialist attitude he claims to represent. But his wife, former television star Anne Sinclair, has dismissed the accusations. She said: “I do not believe for one second the accusations brought against my husband. I have no doubt his innocence will be established.”



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Execution of two gay teens in Iran spurs controversy

Saturday, July 23, 2005

International controversy erupted after Iranian officials executed two gay teenagers who were originally reported to be convicted of homosexuality, however later reports released by the Iranian government after international furor claimed the conviction was for the rape of a 13-year-old boy. The two were hanged July 19.

Only the age of one of the two executed teens was officially released to the public. He was 18 year old Ayaz Marhoni. The other, Mahmoud Asgari, according to the Iranian Student’s News Agency (ISNA) was aged 17, but other news agencies have reported the teenager’s age as 16. In the original report by the ISNA it was said that the two were found having sex together when they were both 16. It also reported that they were held and beaten for fourteen months before the execution.

The UK-based gay rights group, Outrage! claims the report issued later by the government of Iran is a “smokescreen” to justify killing homosexuals. And one media outlet, Direland, has blasted the media holdings of Rupert Murdoch that includes Fox News Channel and The Times newspaper for publishing the subsequent Iranian government issued allegation of rape as matter of fact without mention of the previous stories before international condemnation bearing no such accusations.

According to Iranian newspapers, the two boys were given 228 lashes for their other convictions of theft, disrupting public order and public drinking before they were hanged in Edalat (“Justice” in English) Square in the Iranian city of Mashhad. The executioners, fearing reprisals, wore masks and anti-riot forces were mobilized to prevent outbreaks of public protests.

Photos of the execution released by Iranian Students News Agency showed the two teens crying in the truck driving them to the gallows in Justice Square, located in the northeastern region of the country.

Iran has been under fire by international human rights groups for executing teenagers in the past, including the 2004 execution of Atefeh Rajabi, a 16-year-old girl convicted of having sex before marriage. Medical reports, not allowed in the court, had stated that she was mentally ill.

Like many other Islamic countries, Iran enforces the religious sharia law, which allows for the execution of children, including girls aged nine or older and boys 15 and older.

Iranian officials have complained that the media has emphasized the teens’ ages. Deputy Ali Asgari said, “Whatever sentence is decreed by an Islamic penal system must be approved, unless proven otherwise… Instead of paying tribute to the action of the judiciary, the media are mentioning the age of the hanged criminals and creating a commotion that harms the interests of the state… Even if certain websites made a reference to their age, journalists should not pursue this. These individuals were corrupt. Their sentence was carried out with the approval of the judiciary and it served them right.”

Both teens were convicted by Court No. 19 under sharia law. The teens are identified only as “M.A.” and “A.M.” Those found having homosexual sex in Iran may face death by either hanging, stoning, cutting in half by a sword, or dropping from a tall building or cliff.

An ISNA report said the couple acknowledged having sexual relations with each other but said they were unaware of laws against homosexuality.

Another report, by Iran In Focus, claimed that the two were hanged not for gay sex, but rather for sexually assaulting a thirteen year old boy at knife point. Neither the original Iranian Student’s News Agency nor an additional report from the National Council of Resistance of Iran had this allegation, said the United Kingdom based Outrage. Direland Press has noted that the accusation of rape in reports came days after international outrage and detailed reports by other Iranian news agencies. They suggest the recent report is a ploy of the Iranian government to justify its actions.

“The allegation of sexual assault may either be a trumped-up charge to undermine public sympathy for the youths — a frequent tactic by the Islamist regime in Iran — or it may be that the 13-year-old was a willing participant but that Iranian law … deems that no person of that age is capable of sexual consent and that therefore any sexual contact is automatically deemed in law to be a sex assault,” said OutRage!’s Peter Tatchell.

“This is just the latest barbarity by the Islamo-fascists in Iran,” Tatchell remarked. “The entire country is a gigantic prison, with Islamic rule sustained by detention without trial, torture and state-sanctioned murder.”

Tatchell told reporters that according to Iranian human rights activists, more than 4,000 lesbians and gay men have been executed in Iran since the ayatollahs seized power in 1979. He said an estimated 100,000 Iranians have been executed in Iran since that time.

Reports also indicated that three other gay Iranian teenagers are reportedly being hunted by police, but they are said to have gone into hiding.

OutRage! requested the international community see Iran “as a pariah state” and to “break off diplomatic relations, impose trade sanctions, and give practical support to the democratic and left opposition inside Iran.”

The United Kingdom has a policy of constructive engagement with Iran, as does France and Germany, primarily directed at the resolution of the Iranian nuclear crisis.

European Union officials have been holding a human rights dialogue with Tehran, but last year the report by Human Rights Watch said that violations had increased since 2000.

In the Unites States, the Human Rights Campaign has called for U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to condemn the executions.



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Documents reveal al-Qaeda wants war between U.S. and Iran, Iraq insurgency weakening

Friday, June 16, 2006

Documents found at the hideout of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi revealed al-Qaeda‘s desire to force a war between the U.S. and Iran. The document was translated by Iraqi National Security Adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie, but the authenticity of the information could not be confirmed to be from al-Qaeda.

The documents reveal that al-Zarqawi was planning to destroy the relationship between the Shi’ite Iraqis and the United States. The document also said the U.S. military was hurting the insurgency by seizure of weapons, disrupting their financial outlets, massive arrests, and training Iraqi security forces.

The translated document said, “Generally speaking and despite the gloomy present situation, we find that the best solution in order to get out of this crisis is to involve the U.S. forces in waging a war against another country or any hostile groups.”

Mowaffaq al-Rubaie said, “These documents have given us the edge over al-Qaeda and (they) also gave us the whereabouts of their network, of their leaders, of their weapons and the way they lead the organization and the whereabouts of their meetings.”



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Wikinews Shorts: September 25, 2007

A compilation of brief news reports for Tuesday, September 25, 2007.

Canadian workers with the Canadian Auto Workers Union have gone on strike due to 70,000 American employees of United Auto Workers Union (UAW) forced to strike against General Motors (GM), just one day ago.

GM Canada’s Windsor, Ontario plant, which employs 1,400 people shut down on Monday. On Tuesday Car Plant 1 in Oshawa, Ontario, which employs 3,000, closed at 3:00am ET. Car Plant 2, also in Oshawa, which employs 2,500 workers, could make a speedy close today or tomorrow. Other GM car plants in Ontario are also feared to close during the strike.

If the strike in the U.S. stays, up to 100,000 Canadian UAW workers could be laid off, according to Buzz Hargrove, president of the Canadian Auto Workers Union. Eighty-thousand Canadians work for the auto-parts industry in Canada, and 40,000 could be laid off, Hargrove also says.

According to the BBC, analysts say the strike will only last for two weeks. The UAW last called a national strike on GM 30 years ago.

Related news

  • “70,000 General Motors employees go on strike” — Wikinews, September 24, 2007

Sources


Findings on a new “sleep survey” seem to be mixed as a sleep analysis of 10,308 government workers over seventeen years was recently made public. The study was conducted by the University of Warwick and the University College London in the United Kingdom.

The participants were aged 35-55. Researchers examined the participants’ sleeping habits between the years of 1995 to 1998, and 1992 to 1993, and mortality rates until 2004. It also compared the social lives of the participants to sleeping habits.

The study shows that, if a person cuts their sleep from seven hours to five hours they ultimately risk an increase of death and death from cardiovascular problems. But sleeping more than eight hours doubles the risk of death, and death would be triggered from non-cardiovascular diseases. Sleeping less than five hours per night increases a risk of weight gain, Type 2 diabetes, and other diseases, which could end up in leading to death.

“A third of the population of the UK and over 40 percent in the U.S. regularly sleep less than five hours a night, so it is not a trivial problem,” said Francesco Cappuccio, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Warwick. “The current pressures in society to cut out sleep, in order to squeeze in more, may not be a good idea — particularly if you go below five hours.”

“This change, largely the result of sleep curtailment to create more time for leisure and shift-work, has meant that reports of fatigue, tiredness and excessive daytime sleepiness are more common than a few decades ago. Sleep represents the daily process of physiological restitution and recovery, and lack of sleep has far-reaching effects,” he said on the university’s website.

“In terms of prevention, our findings indicate that consistently sleeping around seven hours per night is optimal for health,” Cappuccio added.

The new findings have been published on medical journal SLEEPs website. It will officially be published in the magazines next issue.

Sources



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Oil spill reported in Gulf of Mexico

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

At least 21,000 gallons of crude oil has spilled into the Gulf of Mexico near the United States mainland coast, about 30 miles off the shore of Galveston, Texas. The U.S. Coast Guard says that oil is still leaking at a rate of 80 to 400 gallons a day.

The High Island Pipeline began to leak on Sunday and was immediately shut down when a pressure loss was detected. The pipeline is owned by Plains All American Pipeline who state that the incident is “under investigation” and that officials are working to “minimize the impact of the incident.”

“A medium crude oil pipeline ruptured 30 miles southeast of Galveston, Texas, and leaked approximately 21,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico Sunday, December 24,” said a press release by Coast Guard.

“There’s a 60-yard-wide oil sheen that extends for about half a mile. It is still leaking slowly, about 80 to 400 gallons a day,” added the Coast Guard.

Reports say that the oil is traveling away from any shoreline and that remaining oil is being suctioned out of the pipeline. Ships in the area have not been diverted.

“All appropriate agencies have been notified. Plains, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Texas General Land Office are working within a unified command system consisting of Federal and state agencies and oil spill response organizations to manage and mitigate this incident. In addition, Plains has activated its spill response plan to contain and clean up the spill. At present, Plains has mobilized Airborne Support, Inc., Clean Gulf Associates and other additional resources in an effort to minimize the consequences of the incident,” said a press release by the Plains oil company.

So far, no injuries have been reported.



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Wikinews interviews Australian blind Paralympic skier Melissa Perrine

Monday, December 10, 2012

Vail, Colorado, United States — Yesterday, Wikinews sat down with Australian blind Paralympic skier Melissa Perrine who was participating in a national team training camp in Vail, Colorado.

((Wikinews)) This is Melissa Perrine. And are you like Jess Gallagher and just here training and not competing?

Melissa Perrine: I’m not competing right now.

((WN)) And you competed in 2010 in Vancouver?

MP: I did. Yeah.

((WN)) And who was your guide?

MP: Andy Bor.

((WN)) Why a male guide? He’s got to have different skis, and he can’t turn exactly the same way.

MP: I think that with me it was just that Andy was the fittest person that was with the team when I came along. He used to be an assistant coach with the team before I started with him.

((WN)) And you guys have a good relationship?

MP: Yeah!

((WN)) Like a husband and wife relationship without the sex?

MP: No, not at all. (laughs) Older brother maybe. Good relationship though. We get along really well.

((WN)) So have you ever lost communications on the course in an embarrassing moment?

MP: We ski courses without communications. (unintelligible)

((WN)) You’re a B3 then?

MP: I’m a B2.

((WN)) So you can see even less than Jessica Gallagher.

MP: Yes.

((WN)) How do you ski down a course when you can’t even see it?

MP: Andy!

((WN)) You just said you had no communications!

MP: Oh, I just have to be a lot closer to him.

((WN)) So if he’s close enough you can overcome that issue?

MP: Yeah.

((WN)) Why are you doing skiing?

MP: Why? I enjoy it.

((WN)) You enjoy going fast?

MP: I love going fast. I like the challenge of it.

((WN)) Even though you can’t see how fast you’re going.

MP: Oh yes. It’s really good. It’s enjoyable. It’s a challenge. I love the sport, I love the atmosphere.

((WN)) I’ve asked the standing skiers, who’s the craziest Paralympic skiers? Is it the ones who are on the sit skis, the blind ones or the ones missing limbs?

MP: I probably think it’s the sit skiers who are a bit nuts. I think we all think the other categories are a bit mental. I wouldn’t jump on a sit ski and go down the course. Or put the blindfold on and do the same thing.

((WN)) B1 with the black goggles. Is your eye sight degenerative?

MP: No, I’m pretty stable.

((WN)) Not going to become a B1 any time soon?

MP: Oh God, I hope not. No, I’m pretty stable so I don’t envision getting much blinder than I am now unless something goes wrong.

((WN)) And you’re trying for Sochi?

MP: Definitely.

((WN)) And you think your chances are really good?

MP: I think I’ve got a decent chance. I just have to keep training like I have been.

((WN)) Win a medal this time?

MP: I’d like to. That’s the intention. (laughs)

((WN)) Do you like the media attention you’ve gotten? Do you wish there was more for yourself and winter sports, or of women athletes in general?

MP: I think that promoting women in sport and the winter games is more important than promoting myself. I’m quite happy to stay in the background, but if I can do something to promote the sport, or promote women in the sport, especially because we’ve got such a small amount of women competing in skiing, especially in blind skiing. I think that’s more important overall.

((WN)) Most skiers are men?

MP: There’s more men competing in skiing, far more. The standards are a bit higher with the males than with the females.

((WN)) The classification system for everyone else is functional ability, and you guys are a medical classification. Do you think you get a fair shake in terms of classification? Are you happy with the classification?

MP: I think I’m happy with it, the way it’s set out. With vision impairment I’m a B2, against other B2s. It may be the same category, but we have different disabilities, so there’s not much more they can do. I think it’s as fair as they possibly can.

((WN)) You like the point system? You’re okay with it? Competing against B1s and B3s even though you’re a B2?

MP: The factors even all that out. The way they’ve got it at the moment, I don’t have any issues with them, the blind categories.

((WN)) What was it that got you skiing in the first place?

MP: An accident, basically. Complete by chance. A friend of mine in the Department of Recreation used to run skiing camps in the South West Sydney region, and she had a spare spot at one of the camps. Knew that I was vision impaired, and: “Do you want to come along?” “Yeah, why, not, give it a go.” This was back when I was about twelve, thirteen. I went, and I loved it. Went back again, and again, and again. And for the first five or six years I just skied for like a week a season sort of thing, like, you’re on a camp. Fell in love with the sport; my skiing and the mountain atmosphere, I love it, and then, when I finished my HSC, I decided to take myself off to Canada, and skiing Kimberley, the disabled race program that was run by the ex-Australian who coaches Steve Boba, and I’d heard about it through Disabled Winter Sports Australia. And I thought I’d spend some time in Canada, which is for skiing, and had a year off between school and uni, so… first time I ran through a race course actually. It was pretty awesome. So I went back again the next year, and Steve [Boba] recommended me to Steve [Graham], and he watched me skiing in September in the South Island, and invited me on a camp with the Australian team, and I trained for Vancouver, and I qualified, and I said “sure, why not?” And here I am!

((WN)) So you liked Vancouver?

MP: It was just an amazing experience. I came into Vancouver… I had quite a bad accident on a downhill course in Sestriere about seven weeks out from the games, and I fractured my pelvis. So, I was coming into Vancouver with an injury and I had only just recovered and was in quite a lot of pain. So it was an amazing experience and I was quite glad I did it, but wish for a different outcome.

((WN)) So you are more optimistic about Sochi then?

MP: Yes.

((WN)) One of the things about skiing is that it’s really expensive to do. How do you afford to ski given how expensive it is? And the fact that you need a guide who’s got his own expenses.

MP: I’m lucky enough to rank quite high in the world at the moment, so due to my ranking I’m awarded a certain amount of funding from the Australian Sports Commission, which covers my equipment and expenses, and the team picks up training costs and travel costs. All I’ve got to pay for is food and my own equipment, which is good, so I’ve managed to do it a budget.

((WN)) What do you do outside of skiing, because you look kind of young? And you being not like, 30 or 40?

MP: I’m 24. I’m a student still.

((WN)) Which university?

MP: University of Western Sydney. It’s my third university degree. I’ve completed two others prior to this one that I’m doing now.

((WN)) Which degree? That you’re currently pursuing.

MP: Currently, physiotherapy.

((WN)) Because of your experience with sport?

MP: Not really, except that my experience with sport certainly helped my interest and kind of fueled a direction to take in the physiotherapy field when I’m finished my degree, but more the medical side of injury, rehabilitation that got me interested in physiotherapy to begin with, burns rehabilitation and things like that.

((WN)) You view yourself a full-time student as opposed to a full-time professional skier.

MP: Not really. I’m a student when uni’s on and when uni’s finished I’m a skier. The way that the term structure is in Australia it gives me all this time to ski. The uni starts at the end of February and goes to the beginning of June, and then we’ve got a six or seven week break until beginning or mid-August, and uni starts again then, and we go up to mid way through November, and then we’ve got a break again. Skiing fits in very nicely to that.

((WN)) What’s the route for qualification to Sochi for you.

MP: Just maintaining my points. At the moment I’ve qualified. I just need to maintain my points, keep my points under, and then I qualify for the Australian team.

((WN)) So there’s a chance they could say no?

MP: If I’m skiing really badly. An injury.

((WN)) Or if you’re like those Australian swimmers who had the guns…

MP: I’ve no sign of picking up a gun any time soon. Giving a blind girl a gun is not a good idea. (laughs)

((WN)) It just seemed to us that Sochi was so far away on out hand, and yet seemed to be in everybody’s mind. It’s on their program. Sixteen months away?

MP: Yes, something like that. Sixteen. I think it’s been on our mind ever since Vancouver was over and done with. Next season, that was that, it was like: “what are our goals for the next four years?” And it was, “What are our goals for the next three years and two years?” And subsequently, next season, it’s Sochi. What we need to work on, what we need to accomplish for then, to be as ready as possible.

((WN)) What is your favourite event of all the skiing ones? You like the downhill because it’s fast? Or you like Giant Slalom because it’s technically challenging? Or…

MP: I prefer the speed events. The downhill; frightens me but I do love the adrenalin. I’m always keen to do a downhill. But I think Super G might just be my favourite.

((WN)) Do you do any other adrenalin junkie type stuff? Do you go bungee jumping? Jumping out of airplanes? Snowboarding?

MP: I don’t snowboard, no. I have jumped out of a plane. I thought that was fun but downhill has got more adrenalin than jumping out of a plane, I found. I do mixed martial arts and judo. That’s my other passion.

((WN)) Have you thought of qualifying for the Summer [Para]lympics in judo?

MP: As far as I know, Australia doesn’t have a judo program for the Paralympics. But, if I ever get good enough, then sure.

((WN)) They sent one.

MP: They’ve sent one, and he’s amazing. He beats up blind guys, able bodieds, quite constantly. I’ve seen video of him fight, and he’s very very good. If I ever reach that level, then sure, it’s something I’d look into it.

((WN)) Does judo help with your skiing?

MP: Yes, it increases my agility and balance, and strength, for sure.

((WN)) I want to let you get back to changing. Thank you very much.



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