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Olympians Surprise U.S.; Namibia Sterilized HIV Moms

Saturday, August 4, 2012



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Women's eight race rowing in 2012 Olympic Games

Women's eight race in 2012 Olympic Games.

Credit: LondonAnnie/AnnieC on Flickr, under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Cheers:

Women are getting a lot of media attention during the 2012 Olympics, from negotiations over wearing a hijab during competition to accusations of doping.

Among the many successes, the U.S. won gold in the women's eight rowing and Gabby Douglas became the first African American to win the gymnastics all-around in the Olympics, beating silver medalist Viktoria Komova of Russia and bronze medalist Aliya Mustafina, also of Russia. While some on Twitter were more focused on her Douglas's hair, blogs like Jezebel rushed to her defense.

Meanwhile, U.S. Olympian Kayla Harrison, 22, won the gold medal in judo on Aug. 2. After her surprise victory, she openly discussed the facts of a successful criminal prosecution of her coach for sexually assaulting her during her early teens, reported USA Today Aug. 2.

The first female Saudi Arabian Olympian to compete this year, 16-year-old Wojdan Shahrkhani, lost her judo competition against Puerto Rican Melissa Mojica, reported the BBC Aug. 3. "Unfortunately, we did not win a medal, but…it was the opportunity of a lifetime," she said afterward. The other woman competing for Saudi Arabia in the 2012 Olympics, American-born Sarah Attar, will compete in the 800 meter race.

Find out much more on women in the 2012 Olympics this week: Olympics Women are Winning All Kinds of Notice and U.S. Wins Firsts, Middle East Olympians Stay Upbeat.

More News to Cheer This Week:

A federal judge in Connecticut, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, has ruled that part of a federal law that denies federal benefits to married gay couples is unconstitutional, reported the Associated Press July 31. The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, violates the Fifth Amendment right to equal protection, according to the judge.

Starting Sept. 3, New York City will further discourage infant formula under the program Latch On NYC, reported CBS News July 30.

Hundreds demonstrated in Madrid against the Spanish government's plans to make it harder for women to obtain abortions, the Associated Press reported July 30.

On Aug. 1 the mandate that insurance companies begin to cover birth control without a co-pay began to come into effect. Read more: 8 Health Services for Women Broadened by Reform.

The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals granted a preliminary injunction blocking Arizona's new law that bans abortions after 20 weeks, reported AZCentral.com Aug. 1. The case will now move to a San Francisco-based court, which will likely issue a decision in late October.

A bill banning abortions after 20 weeks in the District of Columbia failed to garner enough support July 31, but provided Republicans an opportunity to air their concerns just months before the November elections, the Washington Post reported July 31.

Jeers:

The High Court of Namibia ruled July 30 that the government had coerced three women infected with HIV to agree to be sterilized after giving birth, the Southern Africa Litigation Center said, the New York Times reported July 31. The court said by pushing the women to agree to sterilization while they were in labor and in severe pain, the government had violated their rights. The three women who brought the case will be awarded monetary damages, the court said, but the amounts have not been fixed. Transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, from mother to infant during childbirth was once common, but has been drastically reduced with antiretroviral drug treatment.

More News to Jeer This Week:

A woman in Palestine was publicly murdered in a busy street by her husband on July 30, news that has garnered even more attention due to three recent "honor" killings in the area. A group of Palestinian women marched in the streets of Bethlehem on Aug. 2 in protest of the recent violence, reported the Los Angeles Times.

The Commission on Presidential Debates refused to meet with three high school students demanding that a woman be selected as a presidential debate moderator on July 31. The commission also refused to accept the Change.org petition signed by more than 170,000 supporters across the country, according to a Change.org press release. It has been 20 years since Carole Simpson, then a journalist with ABC News, became the first and only woman to ever moderate a general election presidential debate since the Commission on Presidential Debates launched.

A Sudanese court sentenced a woman, 23-year-old Laila Ibrahim Issa Jamool, to death by stoning after she was accused of adultery, reported the New York Times Aug. 1. She is currently in jail with her 6-month-old child.

House Republican Mike Kelly, Pa., compared the implementation of the contraception mandate to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor, MSNBC reported Aug. 1.

A priest in Kansas City, who has been accused of producing pornographic photographs of young girls he knew, will plead guilty in federal court, reported the New York Times Aug. 2. The Rev. Shawn Ratigan took pictures of young girls' genitals and stored them on his computer.

A doctor in Manhattan, N.Y., has been accused of using a pen camera to look up women's skirts in the subway, reported the New York Daily News Aug. 2. A search warrant allowed the police access to the videos, which showed more than one victim, according to sources.

Noted:

A military jury will hear evidence in the sentencing of an Air Force basic training instructor convicted as part of a wider sex scandal at a base in Texas, the Associated Press reported Aug. 2.

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