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Trans swimming ban, monkeypox latest and Eurovision row: 5 things you need to know about

Patrick Kelleher June 20, 2022
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Lia Thomas is in the pool after a swim meet

Lia Thomas finishes the 200 yard Freestyle for the University of Pennsylvania at an Ivy League swim meet against Harvard University on 22 January 2022. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty)

The world’s governing body for swimming has voted to ban trans women who have gone through male puberty in a stunning attack on trans inclusion in sport.

Elsewhere, the Eurovision fallout continues after the contest’s organisers asked the UK to host instead of Ukraine, while monkeypox continues to spread across the UK.

It might seem like there’s a lot going on in the world, but no need to worry – we’ve got you covered. Here are five things you need to know this week.

1. Monkeypox outbreak isn’t yet under control in the UK

Monkeypox
Under a microscope magnification of 500X, this image depicted a section of skin tissue, harvested from a lesion on the skin of a monkey, that had been infected with monkeypox virus, 1968. Courtesy CDC. (Smith Collection/ Gado/ Getty)

Monkeypox is continuing to spread in the UK, with health officials warning that the outbreak is still not under control.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) had recorded 574 cases as of 16 June – 550 of those were in England, with Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales sharing the remainder.

Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, told The Guardian that there is “no clear evidence” the epidemic has been brought under control.

Elsewhere, the World Health Organization (WHO) is moving to rename the virus, saying its current name is “inaccurate” and “stigmatising”.

2. Trans women banned from elite swimming

Lia Thomas is in the pool after a swim meet
Lia Thomas finishes the 200 yard Freestyle for the University of Pennsylvania at an Ivy League swim meet against Harvard University on 22 January 2022. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty)

There was widespread shock when news broke that the world’s governing body for swimming had voted to ban most trans women from taking part in women’s elite swimming events.

FINA issued a new policy document on Sunday (19 June) which bans trans women who have gone through “any part of male puberty” from elite competitions.

The swimming body reached its decision after 71 per cent of its 152 national federations around the world voted in its favour.

FINA said it would set up a working group with the aim of establishing a new “open” category to allow trans women to compete at some events.

Athlete Ally, an LGBTQ+ sporting advocacy group, said the policy was “deeply discriminatory”.

3. Boris Johnson wants Ukraine to host Eurovision

Sam Ryder performs on stage during Eurovision
The UK’s Sam Ryder rose like a phoenix during the 2022 Eurovision. (Daniele Venturelli/Daniele Venturelli / WireImage )

On Friday (17 June), the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) announced that it was entering talks with the BBC to host the contest in the UK.

In a statement, the EBU said there were “safety and security issues” around hosting the contest in Ukraine given the ongoing war. As the UK finished in second place behind Ukraine, organisers said they would enter talks with the BBC to host instead.

However, Ukrainian officials have expressed deep disappointment with the decision. Oleksandr Tkachenko, the country’s culture minister, said they would demand that the EBU reverse its decision.

Even Boris Johnson threw his support behind Ukraine to host the contest, saying they won “fair and square”.

The row is likely to rumble on over the next week.

4. Russia likely to intensify attacks on Ukraine as European Union nears decision

Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky. (Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said he expects Russia to ramp up its attacks on his country after the European Commission proposed it as a candidate for membership of the European Union.

Ukraine applied to become a member of the EU shortly after Russia invaded in February.

“I think it is obvious to everyone that since 1991 there have been few such fateful decisions for Ukraine as we expect now,” Zelenskyy wrote. “And I am convinced that a positive decision meets the interests of the whole of Europe.”

He continued: “Obviously, we should expect greater hostile activity from Russia. Purposefully – demonstratively. This week exactly. And not only against Ukraine, but also against other European countries. We are preparing. We are ready. We warn partners.”

5. Emmanuel Macron’s party suffers ‘crushing defeat’ in French elections

Emmanuel Macron celebrates his re-election
French President Emmanuel Macron celebrates his re-election at the Champ de Mars near the Eiffel Tower on 24 April, 2022. (Getty/ Jean Catuffe)

Emmanual Macron’s party has lost its absolute majority following legislative elections in France, with the far-right surging in support.

French news outlets were quick to call the election results a “crushing defeat” for Macron and his party. An alliance of left-wing parties also made significant gains, becoming the country’s largest opposition group.

However, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party won 89 seats, up from just eight in 2017. The results will mean that Macron will have a harder time pushing his reforms and policies through parliament.

 

More: eurovision, Monkeypox, ukraine

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