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Transgender women will still be allowed to play domestic rugby in England

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transgender women will still be allowed to play domestic rugby in england

Transgender women will still be allowed to play domestic rugby in England after the Rugby Football Union decided not to adopt the world governing body’s rules.

The RFU decided ‘further scientific evidence’  was needed before rules about transgender players – adopted by World Rugby last week – could be taken on.

In February, World Rugby launched a review into whether transgender women should be allowed to play on women’s rugby teams due to concerns about increased risks of injury, which they say comes from independent research.

A report said there could be ‘at least a 20-30 per cent risk’ of injury when a female player is tackled by a player who has gone through male puberty, as reported by the BBC

When the review came to a conclusion earlier this month, the global governing body for the sport found ‘safety and fairness cannot presently be assured for women competing against trans women in contact rugby’.

A Harlequins Women versus DMP Durham Sharks Allianz Premier 15s match at Twickenham Stoop on October 10

A Harlequins Women versus DMP Durham Sharks Allianz Premier 15s match at Twickenham Stoop on October 10

A Harlequins Women versus DMP Durham Sharks Allianz Premier 15s match at Twickenham Stoop on October 10

Trans women are banned from international women’s games, while trans men are still able to play on men’s teams – providing they show they understand that the potential-injury risk during a match is much higher. 

But the RFU opted not to take on the ban – which offered ‘flexibility’ to different national bodies.

A spokesperson told The Guardian: ‘The RFU does not currently plan to adopt World Rugby transgender guidelines as it believes further scientific evidence is required alongside detailed consideration of less restrictive measures in relation to the eligibility of transgender players.’

It said it will look into safety concerns as well as the evidence put forward. 

Notable British trans women players include Kelly Morgan (pictured) at Porth Harlequins Ladies rugby in Wales

Notable British trans women players include Kelly Morgan (pictured) at Porth Harlequins Ladies rugby in Wales

Notable British trans women players include Kelly Morgan (pictured) at Porth Harlequins Ladies rugby in Wales

The spokesperson added: ‘The RFU will also undertake further consultation with players in the women’s game to understand their views.’

‘The RFU is committed to LGBTQ+ inclusion as well as safety and fairness across all levels of the game.’

As the rules currently stand, transgender women can play women’s rugby in the UK if they lower their testosterone levels for at least 12 months. 

They are not able to compete in international games however, including  Six Nations or in the Olympics.

Notable British trans women players include Kelly Morgan at Porth Harlequins Ladies rugby in Wales.

In a 2019 interview with the BBC, she said she accepted that size and strength could give trans women an  advantage.

Trans rugby player Grace McKenzie plays for the Golden Gate Women's rugby club in San Francisco and said the sport allows her to 'just focus on living and enjoying myself'

Trans rugby player Grace McKenzie plays for the Golden Gate Women's rugby club in San Francisco and said the sport allows her to 'just focus on living and enjoying myself'

Trans rugby player Grace McKenzie plays for the Golden Gate Women’s rugby club in San Francisco and said the sport allows her to ‘just focus on living and enjoying myself’

She said: ‘I do feel guilty, but what can you do? I don’t go out to hurt anybody. I just want to play rugby.’

Trans rugby player Grace McKenzie plays for the Golden Gate Women’s rugby club in San Francisco and said the sport allows her to ‘just focus on living and enjoying myself’. 

She told the BBC – prior to World Rugby’s decision – in August: ‘I think the fear of losing rugby as a community and supportive space has been weighing on me quite heavily. 

‘There isn’t a moment I don’t worry about losing that access.’

Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies praised the ‘fair’ decision made by World Rugby this month. 

The British athlete, 57, argued the decision was ‘about safety’ while transgender footballer Blair Hamilton, from Brighton, argued that the scientific evidence backing the choice wasn’t strong enough.

Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies (bottom left) praised the 'fair' decision to ban transgender women from playing in elite female rugby during a GMB appearance with trans footballer Blair Hamilton (bottom right)

Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies (bottom left) praised the 'fair' decision to ban transgender women from playing in elite female rugby during a GMB appearance with trans footballer Blair Hamilton (bottom right)

Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies (bottom left) praised the ‘fair’ decision to ban transgender women from playing in elite female rugby during a GMB appearance with trans footballer Blair Hamilton (bottom right) 

The British athlete, 57, appeared from her Plymouth home to argued the decision was 'about safety'

The British athlete, 57, appeared from her Plymouth home to argued the decision was 'about safety'

The British athlete, 57, appeared from her Plymouth home to argued the decision was ‘about safety’

Blair, 29, Brighton, who transitioned from male to female two years ago, argued that this decision was come to without strong enough evidence

Blair, 29, Brighton, who transitioned from male to female two years ago, argued that this decision was come to without strong enough evidence

Blair, 29, Brighton, who transitioned from male to female two years ago, argued that this decision was come to without strong enough evidence

‘It’s about safety, but it’s about fairness as well,’ said Sharron, ‘How would any female athletes win any medals, have any success, if women who were born as men are allowed to compete?’

The swimmer feels that segregation in sport is down to ‘obvious reasons’, and that rules should not be changed without first assessing the ‘benefits’ that being born as a biological male brings.

She added later: ‘Ultimately this is about fairness, we’re trying to create new rules for something that is a modern phenomenon. We’ve had segregation in sport for centuries for obvious reasons.

‘You wouldn’t have a 15-year-old boy competing in the under 10s because it wouldn’t be fair and basically you’re asking the same for women’s sport.

‘What we’re saying is let’s do the science first, so we can assess any benefits male biology brings, so we can make it fair for women to achieve medals and careers and scholarships they are entitled to.’ 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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‘Very niiice!’: Kazakhstan adopts Borat’s catchphrase for tourism campaign 

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very niiice kazakhstan adopts borats catchphrase for tourism campaign

Kazakhstan has adopted Borat‘s ‘very nice’ catchphrase for a new tourism campaign. 

Borat, the fictional character played by Sacha Baron Cohen, hails from the central Asian nation of Kazakhstan and frequently paints the country as homophobic, sexist and anti-Semitic – a place where women are not allowed to drive cars and the annual ‘running of the Jew’ is intensely popular. 

In a new tourism campaign – released on Sunday – tourists can be seen visiting a series of sites in Kazakhstan and uttering Borat’s catchphrase ‘very nice’ in four 12-second clips. 

Kairat Sadvakassov, deputy chairman of Kazakh Tourism, said the catchphrase perfectly summed up his country’s tourism potential in a ‘short, memorable way.’ 

Borat (pictured), played by Sacha Baron Cohen, hails from the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan

Borat (pictured), played by Sacha Baron Cohen, hails from the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan

Borat (pictured), played by Sacha Baron Cohen, hails from the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan 

In one of the clips, a man is seen drinking traditional Kazakh wine, which he says is 'very nice'. In the first Borat film, the character claims that Kazakh wine is made out of fermented horse urine

In one of the clips, a man is seen drinking traditional Kazakh wine, which he says is 'very nice'. In the first Borat film, the character claims that Kazakh wine is made out of fermented horse urine

In one of the clips, a man is seen drinking traditional Kazakh wine, which he says is ‘very nice’. In the first Borat film, the character claims that Kazakh wine is made out of fermented horse urine

‘[Very nice] offers the perfect description of Kazakhstan’s vast tourism potential in a short, memorable way,’ he told the Huffington Post.  

‘Kazakhstan’s nature is very nice; its food is very nice; and its people, despite Borat’s jokes to the contrary, are some of the nicest in the world. 

‘We would like everyone to come experience Kazakhstan for themselves by visiting our country in 2021 and beyond, so that they can see that Borat’s homeland is nicer than they may have heard.’

After the release of Cohen’s first Borat film in 2006 – Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan – the country’s leaders were outraged at the way the comedian had portrayed the country. 

In this still taken from video a woman visits sites in the country's capital Almaty before uttering Borat's trademark catchphrase

In this still taken from video a woman visits sites in the country's capital Almaty before uttering Borat's trademark catchphrase

In this still taken from video a woman visits sites in the country’s capital Almaty before uttering Borat’s trademark catchphrase 

A man says 'very nice' while exploring the Kazakhstan's mountainous region. In 2006 the initial reaction to the Borat character from government officials was negative

A man says 'very nice' while exploring the Kazakhstan's mountainous region. In 2006 the initial reaction to the Borat character from government officials was negative

A man says ‘very nice’ while exploring the Kazakhstan’s mountainous region. In 2006 the initial reaction to the Borat character from government officials was negative 

The Kazakhstani government took out ads in American newspapers to dispute the claims made, attempting to portray the country as forward-thinking and modern, dashing suggestions of religious intolerance and sexism. 

In the first film, Borat drinks what he calls traditional Kazakh wine, which he says is made out of fermented horse urine. 

Government spokesman Roman Vassilenko was even forced to officially deny that this was a common Kazakh practice. 

In a statement, Vassilenko added: ‘Mr. Cohen could not have been more wrong when he chose Kazakhstan as a home country for his mythical, misogynist and anti-Semitic reporter. 

‘I am offended and the people of Kazakhstan are offended by the choice.’ 

Despite the official outrage, the number of visas issued to the country rose tenfold after the film’s release, AFP reported, prompting the country’s Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov to thank Borat for ‘helping to attract tourists to Kazakhstan.’

Dennis Keen, an American living in the Kazakh capital Almaty, was behind the new advertisements.  

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Covid outbreak at Cranswick meat plant as 144 staff catch virus

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covid outbreak at cranswick meat plant as 144 staff catch virus

Around 140 people have tested positive for coronavirus at a Norfolk meat processing factory, it has emerged today.

Norfolk County Council said there had been a ‘significant outbreak’ of Covid-19 at the Cranswick Country Foods site in Watton.

Some 300 members of staff at the factory have been tested so far, with the remaining employees due to be swabbed today.

The outbreak comes as 75 workers at a Bernard Matthews turkey plant in Great Witchingham, Norfolk, also tested positive for coronavirus earlier this month. 

There has been a 'significant outbreak' of Covid-19 at the Cranswick Country Foods site in Watton (pictured)

There has been a 'significant outbreak' of Covid-19 at the Cranswick Country Foods site in Watton (pictured)

There has been a ‘significant outbreak’ of Covid-19 at the Cranswick Country Foods site in Watton (pictured)

The council’s director of public health, Dr Louise Smith, said the local authority was working with the Joint Biosecurity Centre to urge people in the Watton area to get tested if they have symptoms.

She said in a statement: ‘Testing of staff at Cranswick Foods has revealed a significant outbreak.

‘At this stage we have identified about 140 positive cases out of around 300 tested so far. The analysis of swabs continues and the remaining staff on site are being tested today and tomorrow.

‘Due to the high proportion of positive case results received so far, we are liaising with the Joint Biosecurity Centre and have stepped up contact tracing and leafletting in the Watton area, urging people with symptoms to access testing.’

Cranswick Country Foods has been contacted for comment. 

As of October 15 there had also been 72 positive cases at Bernard Matthews' food processing facility in Holton near Halesworth

As of October 15 there had also been 72 positive cases at Bernard Matthews' food processing facility in Holton near Halesworth

As of October 15 there had also been 72 positive cases at Bernard Matthews’ food processing facility in Holton near Halesworth 

Some 75 workers also tested positive at a Bernard Matthews turkey plant in Great Witchingham, Norfolk

Some 75 workers also tested positive at a Bernard Matthews turkey plant in Great Witchingham, Norfolk

Some 75 workers also tested positive at a Bernard Matthews turkey plant in Great Witchingham, Norfolk 

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34865714 8883495 image a 10 1603790269541

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34865718 8883495 image a 11 1603790273439

Chilled and damp interior with ultraviolet light: Why meat plants are a hotbed for coronavirus outbreaks

The virus thrives in cold, damp and indoor environments, particularly on cool surfaces.

The lack of a breeze or ultraviolet light from the sun means the moisture remains and can’t be killed off inside food processing plants.

Furthermore, social distancing is particularly difficult in workplaces with a busy production line meaning the virus is likely to spread more easily.

Loud machinery also forces people to raise their voices and researchers say situations where people have to shout result in an increased risk of projecting the virus to others.

It’s not just in the UK where a trend has been seen, either, after hundreds tested positive in a Berlin slaughterhouse, while a wet market in Wuhan is believed to have been at the heart of a huge number of infections early on in the crisis.  

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The local authority said testing at the Bernard Matthews turkey plant began on October 15, with more than 600 members of staff tested.

‘Results showed that the majority of positive cases so far worked on the afternoon shift at the site, leading Public Health to advise Bernard Matthews that the entire shift be instructed to self-isolate,’ Norfolk County Council said.

As of October 15 there had also been 72 positive cases at Bernard Matthews’ food processing facility in Holton near Halesworth, Suffolk County Council said.

In Suffolk, Bernard Matthews brought in Covid-19 bus marshals on its free staff transport as part of its response to the outbreak.

Food production at the processing facility has not been affected by the Covid outbreak.

The site has had controls in place since March to reduce coronavirus infections, including regular temperature checks, staff working in bubbles, Covid marshals, masks and visors and social distancing.

The majority of the 18 workers who tested positive live in the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft areas and the cases are believed to have been caught in the community.

Officials including from Suffolk County Council, Public Health England and Bernard Matthews are working together to manage the situation.

Earlier this month ten cases were linked to a Scunthorpe factory where employees claimed they were told not to wear masks because they are food hazards.

The Karro Food Group pork processing plant, one of the country’s largest food producers, was criticised by employees for its coronavirus measures.

Workers reported a spate of cases over the last week, though the company claimed they were infected through ‘community contact’. It also insisted it was following all government guidelines.

One employee at the factory, who wished to remain anonymous, said: ‘Staff are dropping like flies and being sent home. There’s around ten confirmed cases now.’

Food factories ravaged by Covid outbreaks

  • October 26: Cranswick Country Foods site in Watton, Norfolk
  • October 22: Bernard Matthews turkey plant, Great Witchingham, Norfolk
  • October 6: Karro Food Group pork processing plant in Scunthorpe 
  • September 30: Pilgrim’s Pride food factory in Pool, near Redruth, Cornwall
  • September 29: Bernard Matthews turkey plant, Holton, near Halesworth in Suffolk
  • September 23: Greggs factory in Newcastle 
  • September 11: Aunt Bessie’s Yorkshire pudding factory in Hull
  • September 2: Millers of Speyside in Scottish Highlands
  • August 26: Food Standard’s Authority reveal there are at least 40 active outbreaks at factories in the UK 
  • August 22: Banham Poultry in Attleborough, Norfolk
  • August 21: Greencore in Northampton
  • August 20: Cranswick in Ballymena, Northern Ireland
  • August 18: Bakkavor in Newark
  • August 17: 2 Sisters Food Group in Coupar Angus, Tayside
  • August 17: Fyffes in Coventry, West Midlands
  • August 13: Greencore in Northampton
  • July 12: AS Green and Co, Herefordshire
  • July 3: Walkers, Leicester
  • June 26: Tulip, Tipton  
  • June 24: Kepak Food Group in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales 
  • June 23: Princes, Wisebech
  • June 19: Asda, Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire
  • June 19: Rowan Foods in Wrexham, Wales 
  • June 17: 2 Sisters food factory in Anglesey, North Wales
  • May 15: Cranswick, Barnsley
  • May 11: Moy Park in Dungannon, Northern Ireland
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This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Scary moment Elvis the alligator takes a ‘nibble’ at Florida man’s shoulder

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scary moment elvis the alligator takes a nibble at florida mans shoulder

A Florida man’s bizarre decision to take a dip with a 13ft alligator came to an abrupt end when the predator bit his shoulder. 

Footage shows the large alligator approaching John Braje who was swimming in Miami Lakes in the Florida Everglades.  

Mr Braje said the alligator is called Elvis and describes him as his buddy. 

Florida man John Braje was swimming along with a 13-foot alligator in the Everglades when the massive predator nibbled his shoulder

Florida man John Braje was swimming along with a 13-foot alligator in the Everglades when the massive predator nibbled his shoulder

Florida man John Braje was swimming along with a 13-foot alligator in the Everglades when the massive predator nibbled his shoulder

The adrenaline junkie, pictured, said the alligator did not mean him any harm as the beast had the ability to kill him

The adrenaline junkie, pictured, said the alligator did not mean him any harm as the beast had the ability to kill him

The adrenaline junkie, pictured, said the alligator did not mean him any harm as the beast had the ability to kill him 

Though, despite his confidence, he clambered out of the water before claiming he would swim again with the alligator who is known as Elvis

Though, despite his confidence, he clambered out of the water before claiming he would swim again with the alligator who is known as Elvis

Though, despite his confidence, he clambered out of the water before claiming he would swim again with the alligator who is known as Elvis

He said the large predator had no intention of harming him. 

The daredevil said: ‘I’m a recreational scuba diver, snorkeler and free diver. I’m kind of an adrenaline junkie and I love animals . So, I swim and dive with sharks, alligators, and all sorts of marine life for fun.’

After posting the video on Facebook, Mr Braje said: ‘So, I got nibbled on by a 13 ft gator today. 

‘Thinks just because he’s bigger than me, that he could bully me. 

‘No hard feelings though. He was just displaying dominance or maybe even just curious. If he wanted a bite, I wouldn’t be on FB right now.’ 

‘He’s still my buddy & ill be back in with him soon. 

He added: ‘I’ve had plenty of interaction with him in the past. I think maybe because there were a lot of people around, he felt he needed to display dominance but normally he’s really chill. If he wanted more, he could have got it. That’s my buddy.’

A second man, described as a fifth-generation gladesman remained in the water despite the danger posed by the alligator

A second man, described as a fifth-generation gladesman remained in the water despite the danger posed by the alligator

A second man, described as a fifth-generation gladesman remained in the water despite the danger posed by the alligator

Friends of Mr Braje said he could have been killed or seriously injured by the alligator. 

Mark Aziz wrote: ‘Not your smartest moment… if he wanted to rip your arm off, he would have.’  

Another friend remarked at the calmness of a second man who remained in the water despite the danger. 

Mr Braje replied: ‘He’s a pro. Hes a fifth generation gladesman. He grew up in that water. I’m way better with sharks. He’s the gator man but I’m trying.’ 

Jeff Charles claimed: ‘You no longer have a chip on your shoulder.’ 

While others suggested he was ‘crazy’ for getting into the water with a large alligator.  

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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