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‘Inherently flawed’: Caster Semenya case reflects wider dilemma of discrimination in sports – National

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Inherently flawed’ Caster Semenya case reflects wider dilemma of discrimination in sports National

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Athlete Ally, a U.S.-based group advocating for greater transgender inclusion in sports, assailed the ruling against Semenya.

“Forcing athletes to undergo medically unnecessary interventions in order to participate in the sport they dedicate their lives to is cruel and a violation of their human rights,” said the group’s executive director, Hudson Taylor.

READ MORE: Talent — not testosterone — drives successful intersex athletes, scientists say

Also angered was Kimberly Zieselman, executive director of InterACT, which advocates on behalf of intersex youth.

The ruling against Semenya “is another example of the ignorance faced by women athletes who have differences in their sex traits,” Zieselman said in an email. “There is no one way to be a woman.”

“It is an inherently flawed conclusion that Caster’s natural testosterone level is the only thing giving her physical strength,” Zieselman added. She noted — while citing swimmer Michael Phelps’ long arms — that many athletes have unique physical advantages.

WATCH: On doping scandal, IAAF leaders are corrupt: report





Powerful female stars such as Serena Williams in tennis, Katie Ledecky in swimming and 6-foot-9 (2-meter) Brittney Griner in basketball also have been cited as possessing a distinctive physical edge.

World-class triathlete Chris Moser, one of the few prominent transgender male athletes, suggested there was a racial element to the targeting of Semenya.

“We do not police white bodies in the same way,” Mosier said in an email. “When Katie Ledecky beat women in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games by an entire pool length, no one questioned her gender or her testosterone levels.”


READ MORE:
The complex history of deciding who can compete in sports as a woman

Aside from Semenya, there have been relatively few high-profile controversies involving intersex athletes, while there’s been an abundance of news stories about transgender athletes.

Overall, supporters of increased trans inclusion in sports are heartened by the pace of progress. In the United States, a growing number of state high school athletic associations enable them to play on teams based on their gender identity, and the NCAA has trans-inclusive guidelines for all member schools.

But there have been numerous bitter controversies, even at the high school level. In Connecticut, for example, the dominance of transgender girl sprinters Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood has stirred resentment among some competitors and their families.

At the adult level, USA Powerlifting incurred recent criticism for sticking by its policy of banning trans women from its competitions. The organization contends that regardless of testosterone levels, male-to-female competitors generally have significant advantages related to bone density and muscle mass.

Earlier this year, tennis great Martina Navratilova became entangled in the debate over trans women’s place in sports.


READ MORE:
Trans sportswomen hit back at tennis ace Martina Navratilova’s ‘cheating’ comments

A lesbian and longtime gay-rights activist, Navratilova was accused of being “transphobic” after asserting that many transgender women — even if they have undergone hormone treatment — have an unfair advantage over other female competitors. Among her critics was Athlete Ally, which ousted her from its advisory board.

Another critic was Rachel McKinnon, a transgender Canadian track cyclist who in October won a world championship sprint event for women ages 35 to 44. She suggested that Navratilova’s argument reflected “an irrational fear of trans women.”

McKinnon encountered widespread resentment after she won her championship event. A photo spread across the internet showing her on the podium with the two smaller, skinnier runners-up, triggering extensive social-media attacks.

Joanna Harper, a medical physicist and transgender runner from Portland, Oregon, said the controversies raise complex questions, and she believes there needs to be a standard based on hormone levels.

“The gender identity doesn’t matter; it’s the testosterone levels,” Harper said. “Trans girls should have the right to compete in sports. But cisgender girls should have the right to compete and succeed, too. How do you balance that? That’s the question.”

The IAAF argued in Semenya’s case that high, naturally occurring levels of testosterone in athletes with intersex characteristics give them an unfair competitive advantage. It decreed a maximum level for females.

Semenya — whose muscular build and super-fast times have led some to question her accomplishments — declared she will not be deterred by the court ruling.

“For a decade the IAAF has tried to slow me down, but this has actually made me stronger,” she said in a statement. “I will once again rise above and continue to inspire young women and athletes in South Africa and around the world.”



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FOREIGN NEWS

Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

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Harris accepts VP nomination

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Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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