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International Rugby League Bans Transwomen From Women’s Competitions Until Policy Is Developed

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The International Rugby League (IRL) has banned transgender women – biological males who say they are women – from competing against women until “further research is completed to enable the IRL to implement a formal transgender inclusion policy,” the organization announced on Tuesday.

“In the interests of avoiding unnecessary welfare, legal and reputational risk to International Rugby League competitions, and those competing therein, the IRL believes there is a requirement and responsibility to further consult and complete additional research before finalising its policy,” the IRL said in a statement. “The IRL reaffirms its belief that rugby league is a game for all and that anyone and everyone can play our sport.”

“It is the IRL’s responsibility to balance the individual’s right to participate – a long-standing principle of rugby league and at its heart from the day it was established – against perceived risk to other participants, and to ensure all are given a fair hearing,” the statement continued. “The IRL will continue to work towards developing a set of criteria, based on best possible evidence, which fairly balance the individual’s right to play with the safety of all participants.”

“To help achieve this, the IRL will seek to work with the eight Women’s Rugby League World Cup 2021 finalists to obtain data to inform a future transwomen inclusion policy in 2023, which takes into consideration the unique characteristics of rugby league,” the statement added.

The announcement comes one day after FINA, the world’s top international swimming association, announced a new policy placing restrictions on transgender women from competing in swimming competitions.

“We have to protect the rights of our athletes to compete, but we also have to protect competitive fairness at our events, especially the women’s category at FINA competitions,” FINA President Husain Al-Musallam said in a statement.

Under the new policy, biological males can only compete against women if they have had “male puberty suppressed beginning at Tanner Stage 2 or before age 12, whichever is later, and they have since continuously maintained their testosterone levels in serum (or plasma) below 2.5 nmol/L.”

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International

Iran Launches Missile Into Space As Biden Admin Fails To Negotiate New Nuclear Deal

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Joe Biden

On Sunday, Iran’s state television announced that the country had launched a solid-fueled rocket into space, drawing criticism from the United States ahead of plans for continued negotiations over the Iranian nuclear deal.

“It’s unclear when or where the rocket was launched, but the announcement came after satellite photos showed preparations at Imam Khomeini Spaceport in Iran’s rural Semnan province, the site of Iran’s frequent failed attempts to put a satellite into orbit,” the Associated Press reported. “Iran had previously acknowledged that it planned more tests for the satellite-carrying rocket, which it first launched in February of last year.”

“Ahmad Hosseini, spokesman for Iran’s Defense Ministry, said Zuljanah, a 25.5 meter-long rocket, was capable of carrying a satellite of 220 kilograms (485 pounds) that would ultimately gather data in low-earth orbit and promote Iran’s space industry. Zuljanah is named for the horse of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad,” the Associated Press added.

According to the report, the White House is aware of Iran’s announcement and said the move was “unhelpful and destabilizing.”

Iran’s state-run media aired dramatic footage of the missile launch amid heightened tensions over Iran’s nuclear program, which has accelerated as President Biden’s administration has failed to negotiate a new nuclear deal with Iran.

According to a report earlier this year, three Biden administration negotiators working on a renewed nuclear deal with Iran gave up and left the team because they thought that President Biden was being too weak in dealing with Iran during negotiations.

“U.S. officials confirmed over the weekend that Richard Nephew, the deputy special envoy for Iran, has left the team. Mr. Nephew, an architect of previous economic sanctions on Iran, had advocated a tougher posture in the current negotiations, and he hasn’t attended the talks in Vienna since early December,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “Two other members of the team, which is led by State Department veteran Robert Malley, have stepped back from the talks, the people familiar said, because they also wanted a harder negotiating stance.”

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Economy

Biden Suggests Only Solution To Gas Prices Is Letting Putin Invade Europe

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Joe Biden

On Wednesday, President Biden suggested that the only solution to high gas prices is to allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade parts of Europe.

“For all those Republicans in Congress criticizing me today for high gas prices in America, are you now saying we were wrong to support Ukraine?” Biden said. “Are you saying we were wrong to stand up to Putin?  Are you saying that we would rather have lower gas prices in America and Putin’s iron fist in Europe?”

“I don’t believe that,” he continued. “Look, I get the easy politics of the attack.  I get that.  But the simple truth is gas prices are up almost $2.00 a gallon because of Vladimir Putin’s ruthless attack on Ukraine, and we wouldn’t let him get away with it.  And we’re doing everything we can to reduce this pain at the pump now.”

However, the increase in gas prices since Russia invaded Ukraine is closer to $1 than it is to $2. On February 24, the day Russia invaded Ukraine, national gas prices were at $3.54 per gallon, and on June 22, the day of Biden’s speech, gas prices were at $4.95 per gallon – which is an increase of $1.41.

Gas prices began rising shortly after Biden took office. From January 20, 2021, to February 24, 2022, gas prices soared from $2.40 per gallon to $3.54 per gallon – an increase of nearly 50 percent.

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