Tag Archives: South

South Dakota passes bill banning biological males from participating in female sports to mark Women’s Day — RT USA News

South Dakota passes bill banning biological males from participating in female sports to mark Women’s Day — RT USA News

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem vowed to sign the legislation that will ban biological males from competing in female sports, following other Republican-controlled states in sending a message on gender politics.

“We’re celebrating International Women’s Day by defending women’s sports,” Noem said Monday on Twitter, minutes after the South Dakota Senate passed the state’s Women’s Fairness in Sports legislation. “I’m excited to sign this bill very soon.”

South Dakota’s bill was passed after Mississippi lawmakers approved similar legislation last week. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said on Thursday that he would sign the bill, making it law. Idaho last year became the first US state to enact a law barring transgender females from competing in girls’ and women’s sports, but a federal court ruling has held up implementation.

READ MORE: Mississippi’s ban on trans athletes competing in sports is a step in the right direction to stop kids’ gender being weaponized

South Dakota and Mississippi were among about two-dozen states that had such legislation pending this year. The bills are advertised as protecting girls and women from unfairly having to compete with biological males. Among other concerns, parents have raised fears that biological males with physical advantages over girls could stand in the way of their daughters winning college athletic scholarships.
The legislation also reflects efforts by Republicans to push back against Democrats on transgender politics, including President Joe Biden’s Inauguration Day executive order expanding LGBTQ discrimination protections. The order condemned denying children “access to the restroom, the locker room or school sports.”

The political divide was evident on Monday. While Noem, a rising star among conservative Republicans, was touting a bill banning transgender females from female sports, Biden marked International Women’s Day by creating a White House Gender Policy Council and announcing that two female generals would head US combat commands.

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Before it was passed on Monday, the bill ran into unlikely opposition from some members of the Republican-dominated legislature. Republican Senator V.J. Smith argued the passage of the bill would be tantamount to a “political statement,” that is bound to be challenged in a federal court.

Opponents of the bill have argued that it’s discriminatory and purports to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. While there believed to be no transgender females playing in any high schools sports league in the state, instances of transgender females dominating women’s sports have grabbed headlines in the recent years.

For instance, two transgender girls dominated Connecticut high school sprinting championships, leading to lawsuits filed last year by the families of female competitors who said they were deprived of track titles and scholarship opportunities.

In 2018, Rachel McKinnon, a Canadian transgender woman, became a world cycling champion in the 35-44 age bracket, drawing complaints of unfairness from some competitors. McKinnon defended her title the next year, attracting more attention to the cause.

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‘Destroying women’s sports’: Fury after transgender cyclist Rachel McKinnon defends world title

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Why sex abuse and bullying claims against Ki Sung-yueng and other South Korean sports stars are a good thing

Why sex abuse and bullying claims against Ki Sung-yueng and other South Korean sports stars are a good thing

A spate of sexual abuse and bullying claims against South Korean sports stars has prompted calls for the country to rethink its “obsession” with winning medals at any cost.

Footballer Ki Sung-yueng is among the latest names in a growing list of sports men and women to have been accused of misconduct, with two of his former school teammates claiming Ki forced them to perform oral sex on him in 2000 when Ki was 11 and his alleged victims one year younger.

Ki’s case follows renewed interest in…

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South Texans worry Operation Lone Star's police surge will be a repeat of 2014 mass ticketing of locals

South Texans worry Operation Lone Star's police surge will be a repeat of 2014 mass ticketing of locals

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Gov. Greg Abbott launched Operation Lone Star on Saturday — an effort to stop Mexican cartels from smuggling drugs and people into Texas by surging state police and National Guard forces to the border.

South Texas leaders welcomed the arrival of help but were reminded of a similar effort in 2014 that upset local communities.

“You know, locals really didn’t like it,” said Sandra Sanchez, the South Texas correspondent for Border Report. “They were issuing a lot of tickets for minor traffic infractions. Basically, it caused to kind of divide the communities here.”

At that time, Dept. of Public Safety troopers could be seen almost every mile of U.S. 83, which runs along the U.S.-Mexico border from Brownsville to Laredo before continuing north.

An analysis of DPS border offenses from 2014-16, part of KXAN’s “Border Splurge” investigation, found that only 6% were for felony drug possession and less than 1% were human smuggling offenses.

Most of the offenses during that time were for drunk driving and misdemeanor drug violations.

Starr County Judge Eloy Vera told KXAN that he welcomes the arrival of DPS troopers and has been assured that their presence this time will focus on organized crime.

“For that reason, I think this initiative, probably, will play a good role,” Vera said.

According to DPS reports, personnel devoted to border security dropped by 330 from 2016 to 2020.
Abbott is now sending an unspecified number of DPS and National Guard personnel to the border.

“The crisis at our southern border continues to escalate because of Biden Administration policies that refuse to secure the border and invite illegal immigration,” Abbott said in a statement. “Texas supports legal immigration but will not be an accomplice to the open border policies that cause, rather than prevent, a humanitarian crisis in our state and endanger the lives of Texans. We will surge the resources and law enforcement personnel needed to confront this crisis.”

Both the Governor’s Office and DPS declined invitations to be interviewed for this story.

South Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Laredo Democrat, said it’s clear there is a crisis at the border.

The Biden administration is facing a spike of unaccompanied minors and, according to Reuters, 100,000 migrants were detained at the border in February — an increase of 78,000 from a month earlier.

But Abbott’s operation has a different focus.

“If they can stop any drugs or smugglers, that’s good,” Cuellar said. “But, remember, the unaccompanied kids and the family units, they won’t be able to touch them all.”

KXAN politics reporter John Engel will have a full report at 6 p.m.

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China Improving Strategic Base In The South China Sea

China Improving Strategic Base In The South China Sea

By The South China Sea Chronicle Initiative | March 7, 2021

In early December 2020, the People’s Liberation Army Navy conducted a live-fire exercise over the South China Sea. The Harbin Z-9 helicopter equipped with anti-ship missiles took off from an airbase on southern tip of Hainan and conducted a live-fire at a simulated target. In mid-December 2020, a report by H.I Sutton and detresfa showed that the strategic Yulin naval base was being expanded large enough for China’s new Type-003 super carrier to station full time. China is currently building an aircraft carrier fleet, and the largest to date, Type-003, is currently built in Shanghai. The Type-003 will be significantly larger than the first two aircraft carriers and is expected to have an electromagnetic aircraft launch system that allows the launch of fighters and unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). 

An overview of China’s naval base expansion up to December 2020. Image analysis by d-atis.

Following the story, the latest 2021 satellite images from Google Earth given by South China Sea News and its partner show that the expansion of the strategically important base in the South China Sea is more than just a few hangars and expanded runway but also new permanent ammunition storage areas. As attack helicopters and UAVs have been observed at the airbase, this new piece of evidence allows one to suggest that air operations projecting from this base will not only be limited to reconnaissance operations but may as well include combat missions from here to the South China Sea using helicopters and UAVs.

Satellite imagery in 2021 reveals latest development at Yulin airbase. Credit: SCS_news & Partner/Google Earth.
New hardened bunkers are most likely permanent ammunition stores. Credit: SCS_news & Partner/Google Earth.

The new air base facilities along with the expansion of the naval base suggest Yulin in the future would be capable of supporting both naval and air combat missions, contributing to strengthening and projection of Chinese conventional military power in a strategic maritime trade route as well as creating an advantage for China in attempt to establish de facto control over the South China Sea.

The authors would like to thank a military analyst for their valuable help and suggestions.

The South China Sea Chronicle Initiative is a non-profit, independent project initiated by Vietnamese-origin researchers to compile facts and systematic studies about the South China Sea disputes. Their goal in chronicling events in the South China Sea, both in the past and at present, is to better understand the origins of and hence to promote a peaceful solution to the disputes in the interest of peace, stability and development in the region and the world.

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South African COVID-19 variant discovered in Colorado prison

South African COVID-19 variant discovered in Colorado prison

The more-contagious COVID-19 variant first identified in South Africa has been detected in a Colorado prison that is experiencing an active coronavirus outbreak, state health officials announced Sunday night.

The confirmation of three cases — among two prison staffers and one inmate — at the Buena Vista Correctional Complex in Chaffee County mark the first detection of the B.1.351 variant in the state, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said in a news release.

Prior to the discovery in Colorado, 81 cases of the South African variant had been confirmed in 20 jurisdictions across the U.S., including California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, New York and Maine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The South African variant first was detected in that country in October, and like the B.1.1.7. strain first identified in the United Kingdom, it’s believed to spread more easily and quickly than other versions of COVID-19, according to the CDC.

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South Grafton man avoids jail over crash that killed friend

South Grafton man avoids jail over crash that killed friend

A 22-year-old South Grafton man has been spared a full-time prison sentence after facing court over a fatal crash that claimed the life of a 20-year-old man when the car they were in rolled down an embankment at Newton Boyd.

Matthew David Sommerville and three friends had gone on a camping trip in September 2018 to a remote area west of Grafton, but after a night of drinking a decision to go visit another friend ended in tragedy when the vehicle the four men were in left the road, rolled several times down an embankment, and killed 20-year-old James Bowling.

Sommerville appeared in Grafton Local Court last week where he was sentenced after pleading guilty to negligent driving occasioning death, negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm and driving with low range PCA.

The court was told that Sommerville and three friends had arranged to go camping and on the afternoon of Friday, September 14, 2018 Sommerville drove to the campsite alone, arriving before his friends, sometime between 5pm and 5.30pm.

Court documents reveal that after arriving Sommerville set up his camper trailer and began drinking, and about 30 minutes later the remainder of the group arrived at the campsite.

The agreed facts state that over the next few hours the group drank while playing games such as beer pong, with Sommerville later telling police he drank between six to seven full strength stubbies, but only ate snacks shared by the group.

At around 10pm the court documents reveal group decided to go for a drive to visit another friend that lived further west on Old Glen Innes Rd. Police investigations indicate that at the time the weather was fine and dry.

The four men got into Sommerville’s vehicle, a Nissan Patrol, and Sommerville began driving west from the campsite along Old Glen Innes Rd. The group travelled around 3.2km before approaching a sweeping right-hand bend, which court documents state was clearly signposted.

The court was told Sommerville drove wide into the blind corner at a speed of around 50-60km/h, and as he began to turn right, due to the speed and the gravel surface, he failed to navigate the turn and the vehicle went over the embankment, rolling multiple times before coming to rest in the shallow edge of the river.

Matthew David Sommerville, 22, has been convicted over a fatal 2018 crash at Newton Boyd.

Matthew David Sommerville, 22, has been convicted over a fatal 2018 crash at Newton Boyd.

Sommerville and two others were able to get themselves free from the vehicle however Bowling was unconscious, and the others were not able to get him out of the wreck.

After freeing themselves from the vehicle the three men walked back to the campsite where they got into another vehicle and drove west again to look for assistance. They travelled some distance before they were able to come across a farmhouse with lights on, where they were able to call for help.

When emergency service arrived the three received medical treatment while police attempted to find the vehicle. A short time later Sommerville directed police and ambulance officers to the scene of the crash. Court documents reveal that once emergency services found the wreck they discovered Bowling had suffered fatal injuries and he was declared dead in the vehicle.

Another 20-year-old was later flown to Armidale Hospital in a serious condition and had suffered a fractured clavicle which required surgical insertion of pins and plates. A 19-year-old male also suffered a fractured clavicle, fractured ribs and a cut to the forehead.

Court documents reveal that crash scene investigators examined the roadway at the crash scene and found it free of any potholes or anything that would have likely contributed to the crash, and there were no road markings or debris to indicate mechanical failure.

Sommerville later provided a breath analysis some time after the crash, with investigations revealing his blood alcohol level would have been between 0.074 and 0.164.

Court documents state that Sommerville told police at the time “I’ve realised I was going slightly too fast for the grade of the corner. (I) braked and slid off the cliff”.

In Grafton Local Court on Wednesday magistrate Kathy Crittenden sentenced Sommerville to a 12-month intensive corrections order, with 200 hours community service. The court also disqualified Sommerville from holding a driver’s licence for two years.

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South Korea agrees to ‘meaningful increase’ in payouts for the privilege of hosting 28,500 US troops  — RT USA News

South Korea agrees to ‘meaningful increase’ in payouts for the privilege of hosting 28,500 US troops  — RT USA News

The US and South Korea have finally reached an agreement on “sharing costs” for stationing American personnel, after talks gridlocked amid former President Donald Trump’s demands for Seoul to quintuple spending for the privilege.

Seoul currently pays Washington roughly $920 million a year for hosting some 28,500 American personnel on its soil, but back in 2019 Trump demanded an increase of annual payouts to $5 billion. With a new commander-in-chief in the White House, Washington moved to soothe disagreements with its military allies, under Joe Biden administration’s “commitment to reinvigorating and modernizing our democratic alliances around the world.”

The sides negotiated a “meaningful increase in host nation support contributions,” a State Department spokeswoman said on Friday, according to Reuters, but it remains unclear how much more Seoul will pay. Under a similar agreement with Japan reached last month, Tokyo will pay Washington some $1.85 billion for hosting about 55,000 US military personnel in 2021, roughly the same amount as last year.

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South Korea’s Foreign Ministry also offered no details of the deal, saying the “sides will make a public announcement and hold a tentative signing ceremony after completing internal reporting procedures.” 

The government will resolve to sign an agreement in a swift manner to resolve its vacuum that has lasted more than a year and contribute to strengthening the alliance.

The US military has “around 800” bases outside of US territory, with “up to 200,000 troops” overseas according to some estimates, although a real number unknown as many of them are maintained under the veil of national security. US troops have been stationed in Japan and Germany since the end of the Second World War in 1945, and in South Korea since the ceasefire froze the Korean War in 1953, with the host nations covering just a fraction of the upkeep costs. Former President Trump had been pushing for more fair ’protection deals’ with NATO and other military allies, at one point reportedly going so far as to demand “cost plus 50” percent from South Korea.

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South of Mallorca on yellow alert for rain, March 8

South of Mallorca on yellow alert for rain, March 8

Mallorca cloudy conditions

Cloud and rain in Mallorca on Sunday.

The met agency Aemet has issued a yellow alert for heavy rain in the south of Mallorca. The alert is from 03.00 to 11.59 on Monday.

The forecast is for rainfall of twenty litres per square metre in an hour. Thunderstorms are possible and these could bring particularly heavy downpours. The whole of Mallorca is due to be affected by rain on Monday, with the alert applying to a stretch of the island from Andratx to Campos / Ses Salines.

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Forest police take endangered egret under wing

Forest police take endangered egret under wing

YINCHUAN, March 7 (Xinhua) — When “Little Fellow” was found on ice, it was dying.

“The little bird had injuries in its left wing, and it just lay on the ground, unable to lift its head,” said Ma Hongjun, 47, a forest policeman in Jingyuan County, Guyuan City in northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. “After examination, we found that it had not eaten for several days. If we were a little late, it would not have made it.”

Jingyuan is located deep in the Liupan Mountains, a major ecological barrier in northwest China. Last December, three snowstorms in Jingyuan stranded the little bird migrating to the south.

Authorities later confirmed that it was a one-year-old Chinese Egret, an endangered species under national protection. Such birds mainly reproduce in parts of Russia and China in the spring and summer, and fly south to the Phillipines and Singapore in the autumn and winter to get through the bitter cold.

To protect the bird from low temperatures and its inability to hunt, Ma and three other colleagues took it under their wing and named it “Little Fellow.”

After learning that egrets feed on fish and shrimps, they bought three buckets of crucian from the market and fed the bird by turns. Ma also gave all the fish his son caught during the winter holiday to the bird.

“I didn’t tell my son, and I plan to buy some from the market before he comes home this summer holiday,” the policeman said.

The bird ate three meals a day, and each time Ma fed it, he patted the bird on its neck to show kindness.

After more than two months of feeding and as the ice melted, the egret was ready to be released into the wild in late February. Ma and his colleagues released Little Fellow into a local wetland.

“We were worried about him and went to check on Little Fellow every day,” Ma said. “We fed him little fish and observed how he adapted.”

Earlier this month, a sudden sleet lowered the local temperature to minus seven degrees. Ma hurried to the wetland but couldn’t find the bird anywhere. Little Fellow did not come back until recently, and brought home a new friend, a black stork.

“I was surprised to see the black stork, because it is also a national, first-class protected animal in China, as precious as the egret,” Ma said.

After living with the police for about two months, the bird has become quite attached to people wearing police uniform: it flies away if an ordinary person is about 20 meters away, but stays when those wearing police uniform approach.

“For me, it’s five meters, because Little Fellow knows that I will not harm him,” said Ma. “It is recovering well, and I think he will find company when other egrets return.”

With the ecological environment improving in the Liupan Mountains, many wild animals thrive there. Official figures show that the forest coverage rate there increased from 1.4 percent in 1982 to 26.7 percent, and the area is home to various plants and wild animals.

The number of the endangered egretta is also increasing, and authorities have observed about 15 in the county in recent years.

“Animals are our friends, and we should protect them so that we can live in a better environment,” Ma said.

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