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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Gender controversy athlete lands in South Africa

(Originally appeared at: South African Catholic 25 / 08 | August / 2009; c.f. Sports24 (Secular; Independent; South African; part of News24) 25 / 08 | August / 2009 ; 25 / 08 | August / 2009 ; 25 / 08 | August / 2009)


Notation by Marc Aupiais

Pretoria local: Caster Semenya, the athlete who has struck up controversy internationally, due to the athlete's appearance being very much like that of a male of the species, a masculine voice, and running times like those of a male athlete: has landed in South Africa.

Sports24 has noted reports of elevated levels of male hormones in her blood, reportedly this information comes from testosterone testing. The UK Telegraph having reportedly reported that the Athlete has three times the normal female level of testosterone.

Semenya's mother insists that she is female, and locally, much of the reporting on the issue has sided with Semenya. The South African Council of Churches' youth wing has condemned international speculation which has lead to requests for gender testing, and members of the African National Congress (leftist ruling party in South Africa) have also stood on the side of the athlete at the centre of the controversy.

The Head Coach of the South African national athletics team (Dr Ekkart Arbeit), according to News24, has now been accused by East German Heidi Krieger of giving her high doses of anabolic steroids.

A birth certificate claiming that the Pretoria athlete is female has been presented to the BBC, by some of those on the side of Semenya.

The president of the international athletics body concerned: Lamine Diak, has reportedly raised concern over a seeming leak of confidentiality.

The IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) has asked local athletics authorities to carry out gender testing- a complex process which the BBC reports should take weeks, if the local body even conducts these at all.

The fact that gender testing is not done on all athletes- seems based on the complexity of the process and the time it takes to conduct.

According to News 24, Athletics SA President Leonard Chuene informed reporters:

"We are not going to allow Europeans to describe and define our child... we will define our child,"
(Sports24 (Secular; Independent; South African; part of News24) 25 / 08 | August / 2009)

This seems to hint that local authorities may not co-operate.

News24 reports that tests on Semenya are ongoing.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Communist Vietnam blocks globally acclaimed Catholic World News (CWNews)- CWNEWS

( News)

Notation by Marc Aupiais

Catholic Culture / Trinity Communications' Catholic World News service has allegedly been blocked by the Vietnamese Government. The service has noted their reporting on the situation in Vietnam, as a possible explanation for what they are reporting as a block against them online.

Due to the makeup of the specific site mentioned- it is unlikely that Vietnamese will be safely able to use usual methods to bypass the specific alleged block.

Several services, including Zenit News Service, AsiaNews, and Catholic World News- have reported on alleged state brutality against Catholics, reportedly conducted by Vietnam's Communist government, and allies. It is uncertain which other services, other than Catholic World News, who reported on the alleged issue, and AsiaNews, Catholic News Agency, and Independent Catholic News - have possibly been affected- if indeed the Vietnamese internet is being filtered by their national grid's possible firewall.

There has been increasing friction between the Vatican State, and the Communist Vietnamese government- over land ownership and over anti-religious violence, and censorship claims. Catholic services have increasingly been reporting on alleged violence, intimidation, sanctions against Catholics, and arrests- as well as alleged censorship.

According to Catholic World News: those blocked include:

"VietCatholic News, a service staffed by Vietnamese journalists, has long been blocked to users inside the country. Now Catholic World News, AsiaNews, Catholic News Agency, and Independent Catholic News have all been added to the list of blocked sites."
Catholic World News (Catholic Independent; American) 06 / 08 | August 2009

Unlikely to be an error if only a number of websites have been blocked, as seems suggested: news, recently found itself unavailable in the Republic of South Africa, along with at least one United States of America government site, however- this could well have been an error in South Africa's local system.

The report alleging the censorring of a number of websites by the Vietnamese state- in contrast- has claimed that many of those sites which reported abuse, are no longer available by ordinary methods in Vietnam.

By-passing government blocks with proxy and information masking techniques, is a likely method to be attempted by Vietnamese if the claims are true:

In situations such as that alleged by CWNEWS: browsers such as Firefox have been quite easily set up to use a proxy for every operation- thereby bypassing government or organisational information blocks, while other methods actually masking specific internet activity are well known to work- and to be in use in many instances. Both kinds of methods: having been used during the Iranian Election Saga, are likely known more widely than before. It is considered: not advisable to enter identifiable information, or passwords- over proxy- the Catholic World News site demands that users log in, after a certain amount of activity, or be denied access to their resources.

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