Archive | August 2010

APF Article: Caster Semenya Bombs She Only Finishes In Seventh Place In Track Event!

Semenya flops in Italy athletics meet

(AFP) – 4 hours ago

ROVERETO, Italy — South Africa’s controversial women’s 800 metres world champion Caster Semenya flopped here on Tuesday as she could only finish seventh in a below par field.

The 19-year-old only recently returned to action after being cleared following a controversial enquiry into her gender that saw her side-lined for almost 11 months.

Semenya, who handled the furore surrounding her gender tests with great dignity, won her first three races back but failed to sparkle at the Diamond meet last Friday in Brussels and was significantly off the pace here.

Italian athlete Elisa Cusma Piccione won the race in a time of 2min 00.37sec, with Semenya – who is hoping to add Commonwealth gold in Delhi in October to her world title – over seven seconds adrift, a long way off her targetted time this season of 1min 57sec.

America’s disgraced 2004 Olympic 100 metres champion Justin Gatlin came in to the meeting with three successive wins behind him on his comeback after serving a four year suspension for doping.

However, the 28-year-old just failed to win, finishing second in 10.09sec behind up and coming 20-year-old Jamaican Yohan Blake who won in a time of 10.06sec, though he would probably have gone under 10sec had he not struggled with a right thigh problem in the last 10 metres.

South African Oscar Pistorius, known as “Blade Runner” because of the artificial legs he runs on, finished third in the 400 metres B race in a time of 47.14 seconds.

Guardian Article: Caster Semenya Loses Race In Berlin But Female Athletes Still Upset About Silence From The IAAF!

Caster Semenya third in Brussels 800m as gender debate rages on

• Britain’s Simpson unhappy over confidential gender tests
• Tyson Gay of the US wins 100 metres in 9.79sec

Semenya South Africa’s Caster Semenya on her way to third place in the 800m in Brussels. Photograph: Str/ReutersAs Caster Semenya lined up in a world-class field at the Diamond League finale in Brussels last night, questions surrounding the issue of her gender would not go away. Britain’s Jemma Simpson complained that the rest of the 800 metres athletes have been unfairly treated, left in the dark after the results from the South African’s gender verification tests were kept confidential.

“I think that’s one of the issues for some of us, no one really knows what the outcome is,” Simpson said. “She’s just been allowed to come back on the scene and we’re expected just to get on with it. It’s fair to an extent but I think we all just want a fair level playing field out there. It would be nice to just – I know it’s really none of our business – but it would just be nice to be reassured more than anything.”

In her first truly competitive race since her return last month, Semenya looked slow and heavy, but still managed a third-place finish with a season’s best of one minute 59.65sec,behind the former world champion whose title she took in Berlin last year – Janeth Jepkosgei – and the European champion Mariya Savinova. The 19-year-old ran the long way round to overtake Britain’s Jenny Meadows in the final straight, and set up expectations as the favourite to take the Commonwealth title in Delhi.

But Meadows, who finished fifth, refused to join in with Simpson’s complaints, instead insisting: “We’re British and we’ll always keep our cards close to our chest. We support Caster as a person; she’s been through a great ordeal.”

In the men’s 100m Tyson Gay ran another impressive time of 9.79sec to win the Diamond League prize, making up for a poor start with a blistering final 50m in the second half. A false start – blamed on a technical fault – had delayed the field. “I think my mind got boggled because of the false start – which was my fault,” said the 27-year-old, who confirmed recent reports that he hopes to extend his 100m and 200m repertoire to running the 400m, beginning with the 4x400m at the World Championships next year.

“No, it’s serious. That’s a goal of mine, that’s what I want to do before I retire. I know I’m going to have some tough guys to beat but hopefully I can slide in there somewhere.”

The European champion Dai Greene put on an impressive performance finishing second in a world-class 400m hurdles field, with the second fastest time of his career, 48.26sec. “I’m very pleased with the results I think it just reinforces what I did in Barcelona and reiterates the fact that I can go sub 48,” said the 24-year-old, whose personal best of 48.12sec is tantalisingly close to the 48-second barrier.

Should The Hermaphrodite Caster Semenya Be Banned From Competing Against Female Athletes?

Globe & Mail Article: Archie Comics Finally Introduces First Gay Character!

Graphica

Archie and the gang welcome first gay character

A detail from the cover of "Veronica 202": Veronica is in for a surprise.

A detail from the cover of “Veronica 202″: Veronica is in for a surprise. AP/Archie Comics Publications

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Kevin Keller introduced to the wholesome comic-book community of Riverdale in new issue of Veronica

//

Dave McGinn

From Tuesday’s Globe and Mail Published on Monday, Aug. 30, 2010 3:52PM EDT Last updated on Monday, Aug. 30, 2010 6:07PM EDT

Riverdale hasn’t seen anything like this before.

In an issue of Veronica, a spinoff of Archie comics hitting stands on Wednesday, Archie and the gang will welcome the first openly gay character in the series’ 69-year history.

“It shows that Riverdale is in the 21st century,” says Veronica writer and artist Dan Parent.

While a number of openly gay characters have appeared in mainstream comic books in the past two decades, adding Kevin Keller to the wholesome world of Archie marks something of a milestone.

“In the way that we’ve always been considered a kids’ comic, a family-friendly comic, in that way it’s groundbreaking,” Parent says.

The introduction of the character is being welcomed by gay rights groups.

“It’s thrilling to see Riverdale High welcome its first openly gay student, and give readers a window into the lives of gay youth today,” said Jarrett Barrios, president of the U.S.-based Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. “As images of gay and transgender people become more frequent on TV and in film, people are embracing and expect to see images of our community across media platforms, including comic books.”

A page from "Veronica 202".AP/Archie Comics Publications

A page from “Veronica 202″.

Ever since Marvel Comics’s Canadian superhero Northstar came out of the closet in 1992, comic books have struggled with putting forward gay characters without at the same time promoting stereotypes.

Some have succeeded, such as when DC Comics reintroduced Batwoman as a lesbian in 2006. The character’s sexual orientation is merely a side note to her status as a high-profile crime fighter.

As well, both Marvel and DC – the powerhouse publishers in the world of superhero comics – have introduced gay couples in the past decade.

Some gay characters, however, seem to be the product of crude stereotypes.

Take, for instance, Bloke, a mutant in the Marvel Universe who first appeared in a tongue-in-cheek series released in 2001. The character hailed from San Francisco, was originally known as Rainbow, and turned pink when he went into fighting mode.

Then there’s the Rawhide Kid, a Marvel character from the 1950s who was resurrected as a gay cowboy with a penchant for leather in an adults-only series in 2003.

In the upcoming issue of Veronica, Kevin Keller’s sexuality is revealed matter-of-factly. Eating a hamburger at Pop’s, Keller tells Jughead why he’s not interested in dating Veronica.

“It’s nothing against her! I’m gay!” he says. “I guess I should just be up front!”

That is the kind of disclosure that would have been impossible under the Comics Code Authority. Established in 1954 as a response to public concern over depictions of violence and sexual innuendo in comics, the code banned references to homosexuality. Only in 1989 was the ban repealed to allow for non-stereotypical depictions of gays and lesbians.

But as times have changed, so have comics.

“I see comics publishers today definitely trying to be more reflective of the world we live in today, not just in terms of gay characters but in terms of minority characters and alternative lifestyles of any sort,” says Jonah Weiland of the magazine Comic Book Resources.

In the years since Northstar outed himself, “gay depictions in mainstream comics have been far more nuanced and have far more depth,” he adds. And by introducing a gay character, Archie Comics is proving its more relevant.

Bringing Kevin to Riverdale High simply reflects the world teenagers live in, Parent says.

“We still like our traditional stories and stuff, but at the same time we do have to be on top of what’s going on in the world, because they are teenagers,” he says. “We have to stay current.”

CNN Article: Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro Admits He Discriminated Against Homosexuals!

Castro admits ‘injustice’ for gays and lesbians during revolution

By Shasta Darlington, CNN

Former leader Fidel Castro visited Cuba's National Aquarium in Havana on Monday.

Former leader Fidel Castro visited Cuba’s National Aquarium in Havana on Monday.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Cuba sent openly gay men to labor camps with no charges in the ’60s and ’70s
  • Fidel Castro acknowledges “persecution” of gays and lesbians during the Revolution
  • Castro says the U.S. embargo against Cuba encouraged his country to be creative
RELATED TOPICS

Havana, Cuba (CNN) — Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro said he acknowledges the persecution of gays and lesbians during the Revolution in his country, according to a newspaper interview published Tuesday.

Throughout the 1960s and ’70s, Cuba sent openly gay men to labor camps without charge or trial.

“They were moments of great injustice, great injustice!” Castro told journalist Carmen Lira Saade from the Mexican daily La Jornada. “If someone is responsible, it’s me.”

His comments came in the second installment of a two-part interview. The first half of the interview — a wide-ranging, five-hour conversation at his home — was published Monday.

“We had so many and such terrible problems, problems of life or death, that we didn’t pay it enough attention,” Castro said of the way gays and lesbians were treated.

In 1979, Cuba decriminalized homosexual acts and more recently, there have been efforts to legalize same-sex unions.

The former leader, whose popular Revolution seized power in 1959, ruled the island nation until ill health forced him to transfer power to his younger brother Raul Castro in 2006.

In the La Jornada interview, Fidel Castro also talked about the impact of the five-decade U.S. embargo on Cuba.

“The biggest problem was always medicine and food, which is true even today,” he said.

While the embargo prevented Cuba from trading with much of the world, it also encouraged the country to be more creative, Castro said.

“The fight, the battle that we had to carry out, led us to make greater efforts than we would have made without the blockade,” he explained.

The United States imposed the embargo against Cuba in 1961 after Castro’s government began seizing private land and nationalizing private companies, and Havana levied heavy taxes on American goods.

Telegraph UK Article: Novelist Zadie Smith’s Brother Changes His Career From Rap Artist To Stand Up Comedian.

Doc Brown: rapper to comedian

Zadie Smith’s brother Ben, aka Doc Brown, has turned his hip hop career into material for a standup show.

By Veronica Lee
Published: 4:43PM BST 11 Aug 2010

Comment

Doc Brown - Doc Brown: rapper to comedian

Change of creative direction: Doc Brown

It was while he was in a rehearsal studio last month that Doc Brown realised just how much his life has changed in the past two years. Previously he was a rapper living a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle in music’s most macho environment, but now he found himself shimmying about a studio, ballroom-dancing with a gay choreographer.

Brown is making his debut as a stand-up at this year’s Fringe with a show about his years in hip-hop (the dancing was for an acting role in a musical that is also at Edinburgh) and he reflects on what caused him to change creative direction.

“I had spent 10 years in the music business thinking that was what I wanted to do,” he says, “but I was never 100 per cent happy, because I couldn’t express myself fully. As amazing an art form it is, rap is also quite restrictive in that it comes from a street culture that you have to fit into.”

He was never comfortable with the misogyny and homophobia at hip-hop culture’s heart, for example. “I was always very careful about what I wrote or said,” Brown says, “and my music always had a degree of self-deprecation about it, which is unusual.

“But I had to be true to myself – I was the only one in my group, for example, who didn’t go around with weapons on me. I was able to fit in, but it was like going to a polytechnic and wanting to join the Cambridge Footlights.”

But rap is an enviable lifestyle for many, I suggest. “You exist in a bubble,” Brown says. “If you have any kind of success in the music world you have your ego massaged and you don’t have to address your product, your writing – your character, even. You can surround yourself with yes-men. This should be somebody’s nirvana but it didn’t feel like mine.”

Brown (real name Ben Smith), grew up in east London and his parents encouraged their children to express themselves – younger brother Luke is also a rapper and his elder sister is the novelist Zadie Smith.

“There is no history of penmanship in my family, but we all use words in what we do,” he says. “The comedy, though, comes from my dad. He played me records of people like Tony Hancock, Woody Allen and Richard Prior and I thought they were gods.”

Does he mind that everything written about him in Edinburgh mentions Zadie? “No!” he says with a laugh. “Zadie and I are close and it’s massive fillip to be mentioned together.” He then sheepishly admits: “It wasn’t so cool in rap, because it made me less ‘street’ to have a novelist in the family.”

He came to comedy almost by accident. A Radio 4 producer friend asked him to do some spoof raps and he started doing them on BBC shows as well. And then, when performing a small role in a TV sitcom in front of a studio audience, he realised he liked getting laughs in front of a crowd. He started doing 15-minute stand-up spots in 2008, but this is his first year with a full hour.

His show, Unfamous, is not simply a series of spoof raps, however, although there are some in the show. “It’s sort of an exposé of the rap business, with lots of name-dropping and tales of the lifestyle I led. But it’s a young man’s game [Brown is 31] – rappers have a short lifespan and there’s a constant turnover.

“What it’s really about, though, is lost youth and the pursuit of happiness. We sometimes tell ourselves we’re happy when really we’re not, and I’ve had those moments in my life. That’s the crux of the show.”

Toronto Star Article: Canadian Police Accused Of Watching Two Women Engage In Lesbian Sex In Prison On Video!

RCMP accused of watching female inmates

Published On Mon Aug 30 2010

Image

By Petti Fong Western Bureau

// // <![CDATA[
jQuery(document).ready(function(){
if (jQuery('.ts-main_article2_image').width() // KAMLOOPS, B.C.—What exactly happened inside a Kamloops cellblock on a steamy mid-August night?

Seven people — including four RCMP officers — allegedly watched the incident on video but they’re now under investigation and are saying nothing.

City council wants to know, the mayor is promising to get to the bottom of it and the central British Columbia town is abuzz over reports of what happened.

It’s not often the story includes two women — one allegedly HIV-positive — engaging in sex for as long as an hour while RCMP officers and prison employees gathered around to watch the show on closed circuit cameras, doing nothing to stop the duo.

Now an investigation has been launched and an RCMP supervisor has been moved to administrative duties. Municipal officials and the RCMP have not said whether there have been any suspensions as a result of the jail cell incident which occurred Aug. 18.

A justice official in Kamloops Monday told the Toronto Star on the condition of anonymity that there is also the possibility of a charge of aggravated assault against the inmate who is reportedly HIV-positive, even if the sex between the two inmates was consensual.

The cellblock incident investigation is being undertaken by the detachment and the RCMP headquarters in B.C., an issue that creates concerns over independence, according to William Sundhu, a former provincial court judge and now a defence lawyer in Kamloops.

Sundhu said ever since Robert Dziekanski, the Polish man who died at Vancouver airport after getting shot by RCMP officers with a Taser gun in 2007, the public has become wary of the RCMP investigating itself.

“The public has over the last two to three years become very aware of the problems that arise when police investigate police,” he said Monday. “There’s been a loss of confidence in the RCMP.”

Kamloops mayor Peter Milobar says there shouldn’t be a rush to judgment. “The public has made it clear that they don’t want things hidden,” he said, adding it would be wrong to speculate on bits and pieces of information.

Kamloops, about two and a half hours east of Vancouver, is having a tough year when it comes to its RCMP force.

According to the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, 13 RCMP civilian staff or officers in Kamloops have been charged or under investigation for various incidents since January 2010.

Last month, two Kamloops officers were involved in a fatal shooting and have since been placed on administrative duties while the Calgary police service was called in to investigate the incident. That investigation is still underway.

Two other officers face assault charges from separate incidents earlier this year. One of the officers has been suspended with pay and charged with using excessive force during two separate arrests. A second officer is now on desk duties after a fellow officer witnessed and filed a complaint about an off-duty altercation outside a bar in Kamloops.

Ken Salter, a street outreach worker with the ASK (AIDS Society of Kamloops) Wellness Centre, said Monday that most RCMP officers are conscientious and respectful. But a level of distrust is prevalent among the most vulnerable on the streets.

“There is a feeling among many people on the streets that they’re justified in not trusting the RCMP and that evidence is starting to come out,” Salter said. “People have experienced too many incidents themselves at the hands of police or heard stories.”

B.C. Civil Liberties executive director David Eby said there have been previous concerns raised about the prison situation for female inmates in Kamloops. While male inmates are sent to a remand centre, there is no similar facility for women arrested in Kamloops and they can spend up to five days in RCMP cells while awaiting court appearances.

“They’re held in quite awful conditions, they can’t shower before their court appearances, they have limited access to lawyers and there are no provisions for women staffing. Often there are men staffing women,” said Eby Monday.

Sex in jail has become a black hole in prison policies, according to Eby, with no clear rules on when or with whom inmates can have sex.

“There is also the question of whether it is possible to have sex in prison without it being a sexual assault,” he said.

Staff Sergeant Garry Kerr with the Kamloops RCMP, the acting officer in charge of the detachment, has confirmed there are video cameras in the facility’s jail and said guards have an obligation to stop sexual activity among detainees.

In a statement, Kerr said the investigations are “focused on the actions and/or inactions of four RCMP members and three municipal staff” at the detachment.

With files from the Canadian Press

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