November 12, 2012

    Photo: Bob Jagendorf/Flickr

Gender Testing Finds Pramanik Is Male

Asian Games gold medalist charged

A DNA test has determined that the Indian middle-distance runner Pinki Pramanik, who won gold in the women's 400m at the Asian Games, is in fact male, police announced Monday. The controversial medical report has led authorities to charge the athlete with rape, impersonation, and cheating.

The runner's live-in partner brought charges in June that Pramanik had been impersonating a woman and had raped her. Pramanik denied the accusations and initially refused to undergo a gender test.

Pramanik's subsequent arrest, imprisonment, and repeated inconclusive gender tests have been criticized as discriminatory. Experts have said that Pramanik could suffer from a condition called Congenital Adrenal Hyperplacia, in which females develop male physical attributes.

Up until 1999, the International Olympic Committee used mandatory DNA testing to determine athletes' gender. Criticism from medical authorities that DNA testing is inconclusive caused the practice to be abandoned. Several high-profile gender disputes prompted IOC officials to return to gender testing before the London Olympic Games by defining normal female hormone thresholds, a measure that has also received widespread criticism from the scientific community.

Via Times of India


The city of Venice during a 2008 flood.     Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Tourists Swim Through Venice in Floods

Water levels at record high for the fourth time since 2000

Seventy percent of Venice is now under water as heavy rain continues to pound northern and central Italy. The high water mark reached five feet in the northeastern part of the city on Monday, the sixth highest level since records began in 1872. Tourists could be seen sitting at submerged outdoor cafe tables in St. Mark's Square in their bathing suits. The flooding marks the fourth time since 2000 that the city has recorded record-high water levels. The city’s environment officer has said the flooding is likely a direct result of rapid climate change, and Environment Minister Corrado Clini has called for more funding to improve weather defenses. A sea barrier designed to protect Venice from repeated flooding during the winter months is due to be completed in 2015.

Via Reuters


    Photo: rory.ramsden/Flickr

Windsurfing Restored to 2016 Olympics

Sorry, still no kiteboarding

It was gone, then it was still gone, and now it’s back. Windsurfing, an Olympic event since 1984, will remain part of the 2016 Olympic program despite multiple group votes in favor of replacing it with kiteboarding. In May, the International Sailing Federation council voted to introduce kiteboarding in the Rio de Janeiro Games and to remove windsurfing. The decision was then reaffirmed by the ISAF council in another vote this past Friday. However, on Saturday, the decision was overruled by the ISAF general assembly in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, as they voted in favor of reinstating windsurfing. Some officials blamed the original decision on ambiguous language translation, which confused certain representatives as to which sport they were actually voting for. The Spanish Sailing Federation, for example, has since admitted that its representative voted for kiteboarding by accident.