World track body proposal: No ban on transgender athletes
By Gerald Imray in Cape Town
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — Track and field’s governing body is facing renewed criticism for a proposal to allow transgender athletes to continue competing in top female events, although with stricter rules.
World Athletics has sent a proposal for new regulations governing transgender athletes — and the separate issue of athletes with differences in sex development like two-time Olympic champion Caster Semenya — to national track federations for their feedback.
The governing body’s “preferred option,” it said in a statement this week, is for transgender athletes and those with sex development differences to still be allowed to compete in female events if they reduce their testosterone levels further, to below 2.5 nanomoles per liter of blood.
They would have to keep their testosterone below that level for at least two years before being allowed to compete, according to World Athletics’ proposal.
Transgender athletes are currently clear to enter elite female events if they have kept their testosterone levels below 5 nanomoles for at least a year. Athletes with sex development differences who also have testosterone levels higher than the typical female range have to be below 5 nanomoles for six months before competing.
Although WA is proposing to tighten its regulations, it had been expected to consider a complete ban for transgender athletes in female events following swimming’s decision to do that last year.
World swimming body FINA’s decision, which bans transgender athletes who have experienced any part of male puberty from competing against women, was supported at the time by World Athletics president Sebastian Coe.
Track’s proposal to still allow transgender athletes was criticized by some, including British shot putter Amelia Strickler, who said transgender athletes had a clear advantage in her event.
“The fact that World Athletics, one of the biggest, has not (put) its foot down, I think it is really, really upsetting,” Strickler told The Telegraph newspaper. “I am genuinely worried. This is my career. … I think these rules really could open the floodgates. If I get social media backlash, I don’t really care.”
Some British athletes supported Strickler on social media.
Others have argued that sports needs to find a way to include transgender athletes. There are currently no openly transgender athletes in either elite track and field or swimming.
The inclusion of transgender athletes and those with sex development differences is one of sport’s most contentious and emotive topics, and track and field has been wrestling with how to formally deal with it for more than a decade.
The new rule proposals have been sent to WA’s member federations but that didn’t mean they would definitely be adopted, WA said.
Athletes with sex development differences, like Semenya of South Africa and Olympic silver medalist sprinter Christine Mboma of Namibia, are not transgender, although the two issues do share similarities when it comes to sport.
Such athletes were legally identified as female at birth but have a medical condition that leads to some male traits, including high levels of testosterone that WA argues gives them the same kind of unfair advantage as transgender athletes.
AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Premier Smith urges PM Trudeau to talk Ethical Energy Security in meeting with US President Biden
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau:
The arrival of President Joe Biden presents our nation with an opportunity of great significance. It is my request that the federal government uses its platform to focus on collaboration between the U.S. and Canada, highlighting the critical need for North American energy security.
We have a deep, long-standing relationship with the U.S. at both the federal and state levels, which is only growing in importance. In 2022, Alberta surpassed Ontario and Quebec as the largest provincial exporter of goods to the U.S. at $182.5 billion, with energy making up 85 per cent of exports to the United States. Alberta, by far, remains the single largest source of U.S. energy imports.
This economic reality, along with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has highlighted that North American energy security must be a top priority for the Government of Canada. I urge you to raise the need for better collaboration between Canada and the U.S. to ensure the continued and enhanced supply of sustainable, affordable, and reliable energy to the U.S.
I recommend that the two governments work to fast-track energy projects in the name of economic security for our democratic partners, as committed to by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland. A similar effort is needed in critical minerals as the world shifts to lower emitting sources of energy.
Alberta, through both government policy and industry action, is leading the way on reducing emissions and driving the transition to new sources of energy. New investments in the province are global flagships in clean energy and emissions reductions technology. For example, Pennsylvania’s Air Products will create a world-scale net-zero hydrogen energy complex in Alberta, and Dow is advancing the world’s first net-zero carbon emission integrated polyethylene complex at its existing site near Edmonton. It is also worth noting that Canada’s oil sands operators have announced plans to spend $24 billion on emission-reduction projects by 2030 as part of their commitment to reach net zero by 2050. All of this amounts to a herculean effort undertaken by industry partners, and Alberta’s government, to position ourselves as the foremost leader in emissions reduction and responsible energy production.
As you know, management of oil and gas methane emissions is one of this country’s greatest climate success stories. Collaboration with the U.S. on methane emissions would both advance climate action, and address regulatory inconsistencies between the two countries. As of 2020, methane emissions from the upstream oil and gas sector in Western Canada have decreased by around 44 per cent from the 2014 baseline – ahead of our schedule of 45 percent by 2025. More evidence of Canada, and Alberta, leading the way.
Alberta is home to vast geological potential, an experienced, skilled, workforce, and has the necessary processing and transportation infrastructure in place to support a growing critical minerals sector. For example, technological advances to extract minerals from underground brine solutions are found throughout Alberta. These extraction technologies could result in a low emission, sustainable source of lithium to meet the demand of our emerging battery value-chain. We would encourage your government to work with the provinces, especially Alberta, on critical minerals and seize the opportunity to collaborate with the U.S. on enhancing North American supply chains.
As the owners and stewards of our world-class natural resources, any discussions involving energy security, natural resources, and trade must fully involve the provinces. I would be pleased to help assist you, and the federal government in advancing the work on North American energy security as well as developing the business cases to increase exports of clean Alberta energy, critical minerals and technologies to the U.S. As is only appropriate when discussing natural resources, and areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction, I would also request that Premiers be invited to participate in a meeting with the President and his delegation.
I look forward to your response and welcome an opportunity to collaborate. We both agree that the world needs more Canada. It’s imperative that in a time of such uncertainty, and unaffordability, that Alberta, and Canada profile ourselves as the preferred supplier of responsibly produced, ethical energy to the U.S., North America, and the world.
Pentagon: Budget readies US for possible China confrontation
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Mark Milley, right, accompanied by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, speaks during a briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, Wednesday, March 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
By Lolita C. Baldor And Tara Copp in Washington
(AP) — The U.S. military must be ready for possible confrontation with China, the Pentagon’s leaders said Thursday, pushing Congress to approve the Defense Department’s proposed $842 billion budget that would modernize the force in Asia and around the world.
“This is a strategy-driven budget — and one driven by the seriousness of our strategic competition with the People’s Republic of China,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in testimony before the House Appropriations subcommittee on defense.
Pointing to increases in new technology, such as hypersonics, Austin said the budget proposes to spend more than $9 billion, a 40% increase over last year, to build up military capabilities in the Pacific and defend allies.
The testimony comes on the heels of Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow, amid concerns China will step up its support for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine and increasingly threaten the West.
China’s actions, said Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “are moving it down the path toward confrontation and potential conflict with its neighbors and possibly the United States.” He said that deterring and preparing for war “is extraordinarily expensive, but it’s not as expensive as fighting a war. And this budget prevents war and prepares us to fight it if necessary.”
Milley, who will retire later this year, said the Defense Department must continue to modernize its forces to ensure they will be ready to fight if needed.
Two decades of war in Iraq and Afghanistan eroded the military’s equipment and troop readiness, so the U.S. has been working to replace weapons systems and give troops time to reset. It’s paid off, Milley told Congress.
“Our operational readiness rates are higher now than they have been in many, many years,” Milley said. More than 60% of the active force is at the highest states of readiness right now and could deploy to combat in less than 30 days, while 10% could deploy within 96 hours, he said.
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