Lancet medical journal apologizes for referring to women as ‘bodies with vaginas’

Leading medical journal apologizes for referring to women as ‘bodies with vaginas’

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In this photo dated Saturday, July 2, 2016, participants wave flags and dance during the Gay Pride parade in Madrid, Spain. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) **FILE** more >

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By Sean Salai

The Washington Times

Friday, October 1, 2021

The editor of The Lancet, a leading medical journal in Britain, has apologized for a pro-transgender cover about menstruation that referred to women as “bodies with vaginas.”

Editor-in-chief Richard Horton issued the apology this week in response to blowback from feminist and medical groups against the journal’s effort to be inclusive of biologically born men who now identify as women.

“In this instance, we have conveyed the impression that we have dehumanized and marginalized women,” Mr. Horton said in a statement. “Those who read The Lancet regularly will understand that this would never have been our intention.”

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“Historically, the anatomy and physiology of bodies with vaginas have been neglected,” the journal’s Sept. 25 issue cover proclaimed in blue ink, centering the text on a blank white background.

The line, touting an article about menstruation stigmas, drew harsh criticism.

Feminists and doctors had pointed out that the London-based journal did not likewise refer to men as “bodies with penises.”

Following the apology, they also pointed out that the journal did not remove an electronic image of the cover from its website.

“Despite the outrage at calling women ‘bodies with vaginas’ and an apology from the Editor-in-Chief at The Lancet, the front page still remains,” Jane Chalmers, a senior lecturer in pain sciences at the University of South Australia, wrote in a Sept. 25 tweet.

In her tweet, Ms. Chalmers also suggested an alternative cover tease for the issue: “Historically, we’ve focused too much on men.”

Philippine leader asks officials to ignore corruption probe

Philippine leader asks officials to ignore corruption probe

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In this photo taken from video shown at United Nations headquarters, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, president of the Philippines, remotely addresses the 76th session of the U.N. General Assembly in a pre-recorded message, Tuesday Sept. 21, 2021. (UN Web TV via … more >

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By Jim Gomez

Associated Press

Friday, October 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines (AP) – The Philippine president says he will prohibit Cabinet officials from attending an ongoing Senate inquiry on suspected irregularities in massive government purchases of medical supplies in a brewing constitutional crisis.

President Rodrigo Duterte told Cabinet members in a televised meeting Thursday night that he‘ll issue a written order barring them and other officials, including three secretaries dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, from attending the inquiry.

The tough-talking president accused critical senators of using the televised hearings to gain political mileage ahead of next year’s national, local and congressional elections.

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He said Sen. Richard Gordon, who leads the inquiry, has failed to produce any evidence of corruption in government purchases of protective masks and face shields after several hearings and had berated invited guests like a “despot.”

“That power to compel people to be there does not include abuse, does not include despotic ways, does not include making a very reckless but deliberate statement which is an affront to the constitution when you say, `I will conduct the investigation until kingdom come,’” Duterte said.

If Cabinet officials ignore Senate summons and are ordered arrested for contempt, Duterte said he would order the police and the military to refrain from helping the Senate sergeant-at-arms enforce the arrests.

“I’m the commander-in-chief anyway of all uniformed personnel of government. I am ordering the police and the military and everybody to stay out of this trouble. Do not get involved, don’t follow, because we have a crisis already,” Duterte said.

Gordon’s committee has been investigating what he and other senators said were the overpricing and other possible irregularities in purchases of masks and other medical supplies from a Philippine company, the Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.

Registered in 2019 with a capital of 625,000 pesos ($12,500), the company managed to secure multi-billion-peso (multi-million-dollar) government contracts to supply the gear as the Duterte administration scrambled to deal with coronavirus surges last year.

A Chinese businessman, who Duterte once appointed as an economic adviser, has been linked to Pharmally as a financier of the medical supplies the company purchased from China and eventually supplied to the Philippine government, Gordon and other senators said, citing testimony from a company official.

Duterte and Pharmally officials have denied allegations the supplies were overpriced. Duterte has also said he authorized health officials to skip the required bidding to deal with the pandemic.

Duterte has shot back by publicly accusing Gordon of misusing funds as chairman of the local Red Cross, an allegation the senator dismissed. Gordon criticized Duterte for defending government and company officials who have been linked to the irregularities and said the Senate investigation wound not be deterred by the president’s threats.

Biden’s approval slumps after a slew of crises: AP-NORC poll

Biden’s approval slumps after a slew of crises: AP-NORC poll

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In this Sept. 24, 2021 photo, President Joe Biden listens during the Quad summit in the East Room of the White House. President Joe Biden’s popularity has slumped — with half of Americans now approving and half disapproving of his … more >

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By Josh Boak and Emily Swanson

Associated Press

Friday, October 1, 2021

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden‘s popularity has slumped after a slew of challenges in recent weeks at home and abroad for the leader who pledged to bring the country together and restore competence in government, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Fifty percent now say they approve of Biden, while 49% disapprove. Fifty-four percent approved in August, and 59% did in July. The results come as Americans process the harried and deadly evacuation from Afghanistan, mounted border patrol agents charging at Haitian refugees, the unshakable threat of the coronavirus with its delta variant and the legislative drama of Biden trying to negotiate his economic, infrastructure and tax policies through Congress.

Since July, Biden’s approval rating has dipped slightly among Democrats (from 92% to 85%) and among independents who don’t lean toward either party (from 62% to 38%). Just 11% of Republicans approve of the president, which is similar to July.

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Approval also dipped somewhat among both white Americans (49% to 42%) and Black Americans (86% to 64%).

In follow-up interviews, some of those who had mixed feelings about Biden‘s performance still saw him as preferable to former President Donald Trump. They said that Biden was dealing with a pandemic that began under the former president, an Afghanistan withdrawal negotiated on Trump’s behalf and an economy that tilted in favor of corporations and the wealthy because of Trump’s tax cuts.

“Trump had a lot to do with what’s going on now,” said Acarla Strickland, 41, a health care worker from Atlanta who voted for Biden yet now feels lukewarm about him.

As a mother of four, Strickland said she has benefited from the monthly child tax credit payments that are flowing as part of Biden‘s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. But she feels the government needs to do more to help Americans. Strickland said she borrowed $66,000 to get a master’s degree and fears the debt will never be repaid.

Just 34% of Americans say the country is headed in the right direction, down from about half who said that through the first months of Biden’s presidency. Trump supporters such as Larry Schuth feel as though Biden is damaging the nation by seeking to enlarge government and mismanaging the southern border. The Hilton, New York, resident added that he would like to travel to Canada but can’t because of COVID-19 restrictions.

“If he had a plan to destroy this country and divide this country, I don’t know how you could carry it out any better,” said Schuth, 81. “We’re spending way too much money. We’re planning on spending even more. We don’t have a southern border.”

The poll shows that 47% of Americans approve of how Biden is handling the economy, down from a high of 60% in March but similar to where it stood in August.

The initial burst of optimism from Biden‘s rescue package has been met with the hard realities of employers struggling to find workers and higher-than-expected inflation as supply chain issues have made it harder to find automobiles, household appliances and other goods. The rise of the delta variant and reluctance by some Americans to get vaccinated also slowed hiring in August.

Roni Klass, a tutor in her 70s living in Miami, said she was glad to vote Trump out, but she’s worried about inflation given her dependence on Social Security and wages that have yet to rise.

“When I go to the grocery store, the prices have really shot up,” she said. “My money coming in is not keeping up with the money that I have to spend going out, and I have to cut back as much as I can.”

The poll finds 57% approve of Biden’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. That number is similar to August but remains significantly below where it stood as recently as July, when 66% approved. Still, it remains Biden’s strongest issue in the poll. Close to 9 in 10 Democrats approve of Biden’s handling of the pandemic, compared with about 2 in 10 Republicans. In July, about 3 in 10 Republicans said they approved.

More also approve than disapprove of Biden’s decision to require that most U.S. workers be vaccinated or face regular testing, 51% to 34%, with 14% saying they neither approve nor disapprove. About 8 in 10 Democrats approve; roughly 6 in 10 of Republicans disapprove.

Biden struggles on several issues related to foreign policy. Forty-three percent say they approve of his handling of foreign policy overall, and only 34% approve of his handling of the situation in Afghanistan. Even among Democrats, only 54% say they approve of Biden’s handling of Afghanistan. Just 10% of Republicans say the same.

At the same time, Americans are slightly more likely to approve than disapprove of the decision to remove the last remaining U.S. troops from Afghanistan at the end of August, with 45% saying they approve of that decision and 39% saying they disapprove. About two-thirds of Democrats approve of the decision to withdraw troops, compared with about a quarter of Republicans. Roughly two-thirds of Republicans disapprove.

Forty-six percent of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of national security, while 52% disapprove.

The poll was conducted just after tensions emerged with France over a submarine deal with Australia, but it finds 50% approve of how Biden is handling relationships with allies – similar to his approval rating overall.

Just 35% of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of immigration, down from 43% in April, when it was already one of Biden’s worst issues. Immigration is a relative low point for Biden within his own party with 60% of Democrats saying they approve, along with 6% of Republicans.

The president has committed himself toward humane immigration policies, yet the persistent border-crossings and flow of refugees from Haiti and Afghanistan has led to challenging debates and troubling images. Immigration poses a challenge because voters are divided over whether to welcome more foreigners or focus the government more on the needs of existing citizens.

“There isn’t enough money to take care of our own, why do we have to take care of some other country?” said Anthony Beard, 48, a chef from Lansing, Michigan.

Syria rights group urges world to reject presidential vote

Syria rights group urges world to reject presidential vote

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FILE – In this May 12, 2014 file photo, campaign posters for the upcoming presidential election adorn a street in Damascus, Syria. On Monday April 26, 2021, the Paris-based Syrian Network for Human Rights called on the international community to … more >

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By SARAH EL DEEB

Associated Press

Monday, April 26, 2021

BEIRUT (AP) – A leading Syrian rights group Monday called on the international community to reject next month’s presidential elections because they will take place under the rule of President Bashar Assad, who is implicated in war crimes.

Paris-based Syrian Network for Human Rights, describing the elections as a sham, said the vote was scheduled by Assad’s government in violation of a U.N.-charted path toward a political resolution to the decade-old war.

According to the 2015 resolution, presidential elections should take place only after drafting a new constitution that allows for a free and competitive vote.

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“What is the point then of a (U.N.-backed) political track?” said the rights group’s director, Fadel Abdul-Ghany. “The regime has totally torpedoed the U.N. Security Council resolution. The world must stress these elections are illegitimate.”

The election will be the second since the country’s civil war broke out 10 years ago. It is to be held May 26 with Syrians abroad voting May 20.

The rights group noted that international investigators have found that Assad and his forces have committed war crimes against civilians, including the use of chemical weapons on several occasions.

The findings by the U.N. and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have been contested by Assad and his allies, who deny his government has used them against civilians.

Meanwhile, U.N. talks have been bogged down because Assad enjoys the support of veto-yielding nations Russia and China in the Security Council, as well as Iran.

Syrian Network for Human Rights said crimes against Syrians continue.

Since Assad was elected to his last 7-year term in 2014, nearly 48,000 Syrian civilians have been killed in the conflict, including more than 8,000 children. More than 44,000 are still forcibly disappeared, according to SNHR, which shares its data with the U.N.

So far, over two dozen candidates have applied to compete in next month’s elections. Abdul-Ghany said none of them represents real competition for Assad. According to the 2012 constitution, candidates must have lived in Syria for the last 10 years, which effectively bars any opposition candidate from running against him. It also requires that parliament – stacked with members of Assad’s ruling party – approve those eligible to run.

The armed conflict has subsided but Syria remains torn. Thousands of foreign troops are based in different parts of the country and over 30% of the territory, with at least 7 million people, is outside of Assad’s control.

Elections are not going to take place in at least four provinces, said Abdul-Ghany, because they are under control of the opposition and Kurdish forces.

“Is he going to be president of (only) parts of Syria?” he said, referring to Assad.