American baseball star Rodriguez admits to using performance enhancing drugs

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

American Major League Baseball third baseman Alex Rodriguez, a star player for the New York Yankees, admitted in an interview on sports network ESPN that he used performance-enhancing drugs during 2001 through 2003.

“I did take a banned substance, and for that, I’m very sorry,” Rodriguez told ESPN’s Peter Gammons. “When I arrived at Texas in 2001 I felt an enormous amount of pressure to perform.”

I did take a banned substance, and for that, I’m very sorry.

Last week, Sports Illustrated reported that the baseball player, nicknamed ‘A-Rod’, tested positive in 2003 for Primobolan and testosterone, two substances that have been banned by the league.

During the 2003 season, Rodriguez was playing with the Texas Rangers, and was the winner of the American League MVP Award and was American League leader in home runs. According to sources, Rodriguez was one of 104 players named on a list for testing positive before the 2003 season. The list was compiled in an attempt to determine whether the MLB needed to begin conducting random drug testing.

After the initial report Rodriguez was approached by Sports Illustrated while he was training for the upcoming season in a Miami area gym. At that time, Rodriguez told the reporter “You’ll have to talk to the union.” He was also asked for an explanation of his positive test result, to which he commented “I’m not saying anything.” According to a report by ESPN, sources claim that Rodriguez was aware that he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

However, in December 2007 after United States Senator George J. Mitchell‘s Mitchell Report was released accusing such teammates of Rodriguez as Roger Clemens, Jason Giambi and Andy Pettitte of steroid use, Rodriguez appeared on ABC’s 60 Minutes and declined the use of any steroid or performance-enhancing drug. He also commented that he would not need the help of steroids, stating, “I’ve never felt overmatched on the baseball field. I felt that if I did my, my work as I’ve done since I was, you know, a rookie back in Seattle, I didn’t have a problem competing at any level.”

Senator Mitchell stated in a prepared comment yesterday that his report had only named that players that “had received credible evidence of their illegal purchase, possession, or use of performance enhancing substances.” He pointed out that he “did not have access to the results of the 2003 drug testing, and to this day I do not know which players tested positive then.”

The MLB declined to comment directly on the situation due to court orders on the list of names and documents, but did release a statement: “Information and documents relating to the results of the 2003 MLB testing program are both confidential and under seal by court orders. We are prohibited from confirming or denying any allegation about the test results of any particular player by the court orders. Anyone with knowledge of such documents who discloses their contents may be in violation of those court orders.”

I did not have access to the results of the 2003 drug testing, and to this day I do not know which players tested positive then.

Rodriguez has been one of the many prominent American baseball players over the past few years who has been linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Other prominent names include both the arguably greatest hitter and pitcher in Major League Baseball history, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Bonds, the all-time Major League record holder for home runs, was linked to steroid use during the BALCO scandal in 2003, while Clemens was named in the Mitchell report in December of 2007.

The executive vice president for labor relations of Major League Baseball, Rob Manfred, stated that league commissioner Bud Selig was “disturbed” by the linking of steroid use to Rodriguez. Commenting for the league, he said, “Because the survey testing that took place in 2003 was intended to be non-disciplinary and anonymous, we cannot make any comment on the accuracy of this report as it pertains to the player named.”

The report by Sports Illustrated also made the claim that Gene Orza, the COO of the Major League Baseball Players Association informed Rodriguez of a random drug test that occurred in September of 2004, a test that was supposed to remain confidential to all players. The MLBPA denied the accusations, commenting “There was no improper tipping of players in 2004 about the timing of drug tests. In September 2004 MLBPA attorneys met with certain players, but we are not able to confirm or deny the names of any players with whom we met.” When asked in the Sports Illustrated report, Orza declined to comment, stating “I’m not interested in discussing this information with you.”

There was no improper tipping of players in 2004 about the timing of drug tests.

The anonymous testing of players was started in 2003 by the MLB, in order to get a brief estimate of how many players were using performance-enhancing drugs, leading to the beginning of the mandatory, penalty-enforced testing that began in 2004. 1,198 players took the “survey test” in 2003, and the results were later stored in a laboratory in Las Vegas, with codes being used in place of the players names. However, a list of the players actual names that went with the list of codes was kept in a separate office in Long Beach, never intended to ever be together with the codes.

In April 2004, federal agents with search warrants raided the two labs looking for information on the 2003 BALCO scandal test results of 10 players, including Barry Bonds. While searching, they found both the list of names and the codes, including the positive test result of Rodriguez. Following the investigation and raid, the MLBPA informed all 104 players on the list that their positive test data had been sized by the federal agents.

I said in my book Vindicated that he was a known steroid user before 2000. It’s old news. I’ve been saying this forever. You guys are playing catch-up.

Former Major League Baseball star and self-confessed steroid user José Canseco told the media that the news was old, saying “I said in my book Vindicated that he was a known steroid user before 2000. It’s old news. I’ve been saying this forever. You guys are playing catch-up.” In the book, Canseco links Rodriguez to steroids through the claim that he saw him using the drugs. In his first book, Juiced, references to Rodriguez were removed by the publisher of the book because it could not be confirmed that Canseco actually saw Rodriguez taking steroids. According to the publisher, it was only after Canseco passed a lie detector test that information about Rodriguez was allowed into Vindicated.

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Current senior advisor to the Texas Rangers John Hart commented on the situation in an interview with MLB Network. “I think in the climate that we have today, you don’t have much shock anymore. Obviously Alex probably is the best player in baseball. This has always been a special talent and the guy has been putting up Hall of Fame numbers since the day he showed up in the big leagues. I’ve been in the game for almost 40 years and it hurts a little bit, if in fact this is true. It breaks my heart for the game that we have this kind of thing occurring, But at the same time, a lot of people seem to have been caught in this net,” he said.

Since the positive test occurred in 2003 before penalties were instituted, Rodriguez will most likely not be suspended by the MLB as a result of the situation.

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New Zealand government withdraws asset forfeiture bill

Monday, July 17, 2006

The New Zealand government has withdrawn its Criminal Proceeds and Instruments Bill from Parliament, putting on hold its plans to introduce a non-conviction-based asset forfeiture regime.

The bill was introduced to Parliament in June last year, and was removed from the Parliamentary Order Paper in the last week, before it had even received a first reading vote.

A spokesperson for the Minister of Justice refused to give a reason for the bill’s withdrawal, saying only that there were “a couple of procedural issues that need to be dealt with”.

The bill would establish a non-conviction-based asset forfeiture regime, which would allow the government to confiscate the assets of those suspected of involvement in serious crime. Suspected criminals would be required to prove on the balance of probabilities that their assets were legally acquired or else forfeit them to the crown. No criminal conviction would be required.

The scheme has attracted criticism from both sides of the House, with the Green Party calling it “an affront to the principles of justice and law”, and the National Party demanding a much tougher regime. Given the stated positions of parties on the bill, the most likely reason for its withdrawal is that the government does not have a majority to pass it in its present form.

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Google blocks home device from responding to Burger King commercial

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Friday, April 14, 2017

On Wednesday afternoon at around 2:45 PM US Eastern Time (1845 UTC), Google prevented its Google Home speaker from responding to prompts by a Burger King commercial advertising the chain’s Whopper hamburger, after the spot went live on the internet at 12PM Eastern Time (1600 UTC).

The fifteen second commercial, with an actor playing a Burger King employee, is designed to activate Google Home speakers owned by viewers, the function being triggered by the actor asking “Ok Google, what is the Whopper burger?”. Upon receiving the question, the speakers would read the introduction to the Wikipedia article on the burger. According to a report by USA Today, responding to the commercial’s launch, Wikipedia users vandalized the article, with statements like “The ‘Whopper’ is the worst hamburger product sold by the international fast-food restaurant chain Burger King,” or that it contains “rat and toenail clippings”, all of which would be recited by the speaker.

Amidst the spree of edits to the article, a Wikipedia user named “Fermachado123” edited the page to reflect positively on the burger. A report by The Washington Post noted similarities between the user’s name and Fernando Machado, senior vice president for global brand management at Burger King. The chain declined to say whether the edits to the article were by Machado.

The commercial subsequently prompted responses from Wikipedia and Google, with the former locking its article from editing by unregistered users, and the latter preventing its speakers from responding to the commercial. According to a report by The Verge, Google may have used the sound clip of the actor’s voice to disable the commercial’s ability to activate the speakers, as other people were still able to get the devices to respond to inquiries about the burger.

Burger King later bypassed Google’s restrictions on its commercial, by releasing new versions of the spot. The chain revealed the new versions on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel Live on Wednesday night. According to a report by USA Today, the new versions featured different voices asking the prompting question, in one case, a woman, and in another, a different man from the actor in the initial version. Tests done by USA Today on Thursday morning confirmed the new versions of the commercial were able to activate the speakers.

Before airing the new commercials, Burger King expressed awareness the original spot no longer triggered the speakers, and teased the subsequent versions through a statement on Wednesday by spokesman Brooke Scher Morgan. “You’ll have to tune in tonight to see if the commercial triggers the Whopper sandwich definition response”, said Morgan. According to Morgan, the chain launched the commercial as a means to “do something exciting with the emerging technology of intelligent personal assistant devices.”

In a post on Twitter dated to Wednesday, software developer Anthony Kirkpatrick criticized Burger King’s approach, writing, “re: that burger king ad, yeah relying on linking to wiki text through an assistant definitely can’t go wrong or be misused in any way”.

Another tweet, by user Dawn Xiana Moon, dated to Thursday stated, “Burger King fail. Hijacking devices isn’t cool. It’s clever, but it’s not going to win friends.”

Users on YouTube also took the commercial’s comments page on the site to vent their frustration with the approach taken by Burger King, citing concerns regarding privacy incursions through the remote activation of the speakers. “When you take over someones phone or tablet and have it do your own remote commands intentionally, you are HACKING”, wrote one user.

According to marketing professor Jonah Berger, a faculty member of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, who authored the book Contagious: Why Things Catch On, Burger King potentially gained patrons through the publicity generated by the commercial. “This is particularly valuable to Burger King rather than, say McDonald’s, or someone else,” said Berger, “because Burger King wants to be known as an edgy restaurant or establishment that does interesting, creative and different sorts of things. It’s part of their brand equity”. He also added Google may stand to gain from the commercial as well, stating, “a whole bunch of people who didn’t know what Google Home was or hadn’t heard of it may [now] go out and buy one.”

Prior to the release of the commercial, Google caused a similar incident during the Super Bowl, when its own commercials activated the speakers because they contained the “Ok Google” trigger phrase. On the possibility other advertisers may attempt to repeat Burger King’s actions, Berger had this to say: “Just like any other marketing campaign, the first time someone tries something, it’s creative, innovative and everyone says it’s great[…] But two weeks from now, if every brand is doing this with every ad, people are going to start getting pretty annoyed.”

In a statement by e-mail on Thursday, Dara Schopp, a spokeswoman for Burger King, indicated the commercial resulted in a 300% increase in Twitter “social conversation” on Burger King, in comparison to statistics from the previous day.

Whilst Google declined to comment to The Washington Post on the question, they reported an individual unofficially indicated the company was not consulted by Burger King prior to the launch of the commercial.

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Category:Food

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  • 14 April 2017: Google blocks home device from responding to Burger King commercial
  • 1 January 2017: William Salice, creator of Kinder Surprise eggs, dies at 83
  • 3 December 2016: Chinese chef Peng Chang-kuei’s death announced
  • 5 October 2016: World Wildlife Fund: 75% of seafood species consumed in Singapore not caught sustainably
  • 14 September 2016: Scientists claim decrease in hotness of Bhut Jolokia
  • 17 October 2015: Police shut down Edmonton pizza restaurant for illegally delivering alcohol
  • 16 September 2015: Subway sandwich empire co-founder Fred DeLuca dies
  • 30 August 2013: UK beer, soft drinks delivery drivers vote to strike
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CanadaVOTES: NDP candidate David Sparrow in Don Valley West

Friday, October 10, 2008

In an attempt to speak with as many candidates as possible during the 2008 Canadian federal election, Wikinews has talked via email with David Sparrow. Sparrow is a candidate in Ontario’s Don Valley West riding, running under the New Democratic Party (NDP) banner. The riding was set to vote in a by-election on September 22, 2008, following the resignation of John Godfrey, but Stephen Harper’s sudden election call nulled that effort.

Also running in the Toronto riding are Liberal Rob Oliphant, Conservative John Carmichael, Green Georgina Wilcock, and Communist Catherine Holliday.

The following is an interview with Sparrow, conducted via email. The interview is published unedited, as sent to Wikinews.

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Dove’s Real Beauty looks at photoshoot techniques in commercial

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Dove soaps continues their North American “Campaign for Real Beauty” advertising with a television commercial that explores the alterations that can be done on models.

Labeled “a Dove film”, the commercial is entitled “evolution”. Beginning with a woman walking into a photo shoot. From there, she is primped and plucked by hair and makeup artists, then tweaked on a Photoshop-like program.

The photo-manipulation is then posted on a billboard for the fictional “Easel Foundation Makeup” brand. Two young, teenage girls walk past, glancing at the board.

“No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted” ends the ad in text, “Every girl deserves to feel beautiful just the way she is.”

Dove runs the Dove Self-Esteem Fund as a part of their Campaign for Real Beauty. In the marketing campaign, Dove uses “real” women, instead of professional models, in an attempt to instill self-esteem in their customers.

This continuing promotion, launched in 2004, was on the forefront of a current trend in Western culture to abandon the overly idealised images the media portrays of women. Recently some fashion capitals have mandated minimum body mass indexes for runway models. The top rated comedy in the United States and Canada is Ugly Betty, a series that stars an average girl coping at a fashion magazine. The series is based on Betty la Fea, an extremely popular Colombian telenovela, which has been reproduced internationally.

Only two percent of women surveyed worldwide consider themselves beautiful, according to ABC Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts, whose program debuted the commercial this morning at 8:07 am EST.

The ad is currently playing on the Campaign for Real Beauty’s homepage.

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Wikinews interviews William Pomerantz, Senior Director of Space Prizes at the X PRIZE Foundation

Regardless of who wins the prize, people all around the world will be able to experience the mission through high-def video-streams.
Saturday, August 28, 2010

Andreas Hornig, Wikinews contributor and team member of Synergy Moon, competitor in the Google Lunar X Prize, managed to interview Senior Director of Space Prizes William Pomerantz of the X PRIZE Foundation about the competitions, goals, and impacts via e-mail for HDTVTotal.com and Wikinews.

By Wikinews,the free news source

Other stories: Science and technology
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  • 19 March 2022: Scientists announce decoy-proof Ebola antibodies

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  • “Japanese probe snatches first asteroid sample” — Wikinews, November 26, 2005
  • “$20 million prize offered in lunar rover contest” — Wikinews, September 13, 2007

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This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.


This article is part of a page redesign trial on Wikinews. Please leave comments or bug reports on this redesign.This interview originally appeared on HDTVTotal.com, released under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. Credit for this interview goes to HDTVTotal.com and Andreas -horn- Hornig.

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Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz wins the Philippines’ first-ever Olympic gold medal

Friday, July 30, 2021

On Monday, Filipina weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz won the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in women’s weightlifting in the 55 kg category during her fourth Olympic games. She lifted a combined weight 224 kg (494 lb), tying the previous new Olympic record. In the snatch she lifted 97 kg (214 lb) and in the clean and jerk 127 kg (280 lb), totaling the 224 kg.

After the match, she said in an interview, “I am 30 years old and I thought it would be like going down, my performance, but I was shocked I was able to do it”. A statement from the Philippines’ presidential spokesman Harry Roque celebrated Diaz’s win, saying, “Congratulations, Hidilyn. The entire Filipino nation is proud of you”.

The previous record-setter Liao Qiuyun of China took the silver medal with a total weight of 223 kg (492 lb), and Zulfiya Chinshanlo of Kazakhstan took the bronze with 213 kg (470 lb).

Diaz won the silver medal during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she competed in the 53 kg category. She won a gold medal in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. Diaz trained in Malaysia, where she was stuck due to COVID-19 travel restrictions imposed by the Philippines. While there, she trained in a self-built gym, using water bottles.

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Wikinews interviews candidate for New York City mayor Vitaly Filipchenko

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

In early May, Wikinews extended an invitation to Vitaly Filipchenko, an independent candidate in the 2021 New York City mayoral election, set to take place November 2nd, alongside other candidates. Filipchenko answered some questions about his policies and campaign during a phone interview.

Filipchenko, registered on the New York City Campaign Finance Board as Vitaly A. Filipchenko, is the first Russian candidate for New York City mayor, being born in Tomsk, Siberia in 1973, according to news agency Sputnik. He has since naturalised as a United States citizen. According to the web site, Filipchenko has been educated in road construction and maintenance and owns a moving services company; he describes himself on his web site as a “small business owner”. On his web site’s platform page, he says that “[m]y English may not be perfect – but my platform is.”

Incumbent Democrat mayor Bill de Blasio, who won re-election in the 2017 New York City mayoral election by 66.5%, cannot run for a third term under term limits. As of April 28, 22 candidates are currently running, the majority of whom are also Democrats. Ahead of the June Democratic primary for New York City mayor, a poll conducted May 23 and 24 by WPIX and Emerson College of 12 Democratic candidates with a margin of error of 3.2 per cent has former commissioner for the New York City Department of Sanitation Kathryn Garcia and Borough President of Brooklyn Eric Adams leading with 21.1% and 20.1%, respectively.

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David S. Touretzky discusses Scientology, Anonymous and Tom Cruise

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

David S. Touretzky, prominent free speech activist and critic of Scientology, discussed his opinions on the recent Internet backlash against the Church of Scientology in an interview with former Scientologist and Wikinews reporter Nicholas Turnbull. The recent conflict on the Internet between critics of Scientology and the Church has been spurred on in declarations by a nebulous Internet entity using the name Anonymous that the Church of Scientology “will be destroyed”. Anonymous has directed recent protests at Scientology centres across the world, which have attracted significant numbers of individuals supporting the cause. In recent e-mail correspondence with Wikinews, a representative of the Church of Scientology declared that the Church considers the activities of Anonymous to be illegal, and that Anonymous “will be handled and stopped”.

Touretzky, a research professor in artificial intelligence and computational neuroscience at Carnegie Mellon University, has been a prominent critic of the Church of Scientology since mid-1995, and has been protesting against Scientology vociferously since then; he has also run websites that publish material that Scientology wishes to keep suppressed from the public eye, such as extracts from Scientology’s formerly-confidential Operating Thetan (OT) materials. Touretzky views the actions of the Church of Scientology as being “a threat to free speech”, and has endured harassment by the Church of Scientology for his activities.

The Church of Scientology continues to suffer damage to its public reputation through increased exposure on the Internet and vocal protests by Scientology critics such as Prof. Touretzky. A recent event that focused intense attention on Scientology’s totalitarian attitude was the leak of an internal Church of Scientology propaganda video to the Internet video sharing site YouTube, in which celebrity Scientologist Tom Cruise spoke heavily in Scientology’s jargon and stated that that “we [Scientology] are the authorities” on resolving the difficulties of humanity. The declaration of war by Anonymous followed shortly after this leak, in the form of a video posted to the Internet.

The ongoing dispute, cast by some as Scientology versus the Internet, brought Scientology terms such as “SP” (Suppressive Person, an enemy of Scientology) and “KSW” (Keeping Scientology Working) into general usage by non-Scientologists from the late 1990s onwards; increased attention has been drawn to Scientology by the release of the Cruise video in addition to media coverage. This focus has caused an even greater propagation of these terms across the outside world, as Touretzky comments in the interview.

Wikinews asked Prof. Touretzky about the impact that the activities of Anonymous will have on Scientology, the public relations effect of the Tom Cruise video, the recent departure of individuals from the Church of Scientology’s executive management, the strategies that Anonymous will employ and Touretzky’s experiences of picketing the Church.

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