Section of Sri Lankan Muslims condemn criticism of ancient rituals

The United Nations views all forms of FGM as a violation of the rights of women and girls.The practice among the Dawoodi Bohras hit the headlines in 2015 when a court in Australia found two members of the Indian Dawoodi Bohras diaspora community guilty of cutting two girls. A Bohra religious leader was convicted of being an accessory.Since then, more than a dozen Bohra communities in Europe and the United States have passed resolutions against the practice.Although it is not mentioned in the Koran, the Bohras consider Khatna a religious obligation. Debate on the subject has long been taboo, campaigners say. Members of Sri Lanka’s Muslim communities have strongly condemned criticism of ancient cutting rituals performed on girls, saying it should not be classed as female genital mutilation, Thomson Reuters Foundation reported.According to the World Health Organization (WHO), FGM includes all procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. “It is completely false to associate FGM in Africa, where the clitoris is seriously damaged or removed, with khatna in Sri Lanka,” said Jamila Husain, spokesperson for a body representing the 3,000-strong Dawoodi Bohra community in Sri Lanka.“Khatna involves making just the mildest of nicks on foreskin of the clitoris as required by our religion. There is no clinical evidence to show that it has negative health impacts or causes any kind of psychological trauma.” The practice has no health benefits for girls and women, says the WHO, adding it can cause long-term physical and psychological harm. A U.N. report on FGM last year listed 30 countries where cutting is practised, almost all in Africa. However, campaigners believe FGM happens in at least 45 countries and is more widespread in Asia than commonly thought.Members of Sri Lanka’s Moor and Malay Muslim community – which number nearly two million and 60,000 respectively – say it is misleading and damaging to their communities to brand “a nick on the hood or prepuce of the clitoris” as FGM.“We do not mutilate or cut our girls. Our religion requires it and it actually helps to keep the area clean and hygienic and prevents infections,” said Asiff Hussein, vice president at the Centre for Islamic Studies in Sri Lanka. But representatives of Sri Lankan Muslim communities – such as the Dawoodi Bohras, Moor and Malay Muslims – who practice female circumcision or “khatna” – say the procedure their girls undergo cannot be compared to what happens in regions such as Africa, where the practice can involve sewing up the vagina. But two Bohra women interviewed by the Thomson Reuters Foundation said when they underwent the ritual as children it involved damage to the clitoris, and vowed that their daughters would not undergo the khatna.And in India, a group of women from the Dawoodi Bohra community have called for the government to ban the practice.The WHO classifies FGM into four types – full or partial removal of the clitoris, the removal of the inner folds of the vulva plus the removal of the clitoris, narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a seal and pricking, piercing, incising, scraping or cauterising the genital area. “In fact, this procedure actually helps women gain more pleasure during sexual intercourse.” read more

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NY attorney general initiates probe into daily fantasy sports websites DraftKings and

Len Don Diego, marketing manager for content at DraftKings, a daily fantasy sports company, works at his station at the company’s offices in Boston on Sept. 9, 2015. The state’s attorney general on Tuesday sent letters to daily fantasy sports websites DraftKings and FanDuel demanding they turn over details of any investigations into their employees, saying they “may have gained an unfair, financial advantage in a contest known as Daily Fantasy Football. “The letters were prompted by media reports a DraftKings employee may have had access to valuable company data before winning second place in a FanDuel contest. The incident has been likened to insider trading. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Stephan Savoia NEW YORK, N.Y. – The state’s attorney general on Tuesday sent letters to daily fantasy sports websites DraftKings and FanDuel demanding they turn over details of any investigations into their employees, saying they “may have gained an unfair, financial advantage in a contest known as Daily Fantasy Football.”The letters were prompted by media reports a DraftKings employee may have had access to valuable company data before winning second place in a FanDuel contest. The incident has been likened to insider trading.Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, in opening his investigation, said DraftKings and FanDuel employees may have exploited their access to nonpublic data.“These allegations, and your company’s subsequent statement, raise legal questions relating to the fairness, transparency, and security of FanDuel and the reliability of representations your company has made to customers,” Schneiderman wrote to FanDuel.He sent a nearly identical letter to DraftKings.There’s no evidence that the information led to the DraftKings employee’s win, and a FanDuel spokeswoman said she did not believe there was an attempt to manipulate the contest.Schneiderman wants the companies to explain their policies or practices prohibiting employees from playing daily fantasy sports, whose participants put together virtual teams based on real players and compete for points based on the players’ statistics.In the letters, Schneiderman asked for the names, job titles and descriptions of employees who compile and aggregate data including pricing algorithms and athletes’ ownership percentages for past contests.On Monday, DraftKings and FanDuel posted identical joint statements on their websites saying nothing is more important to them than “the integrity of the games we offer to our customers.”“Both companies have strong policies in place to ensure that employees do not misuse any information at their disposal and strictly limit access to company data to only those employees who require it to do their jobs,” they said.As the controversy reverberated Tuesday, ESPN said it was cutting sponsored DraftKings elements from within its shows. It called the removal a standard procedure when “covering significant news, to avoid any suggestion of influence on our coverage.” It said it was not cutting DraftKings commercials. NY attorney general initiates probe into daily fantasy sports websites DraftKings and FanDuel by Tom McElroy, The Associated Press Posted Oct 6, 2015 11:11 pm MDT Last Updated Oct 7, 2015 at 8:20 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

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Racing greats Alonso and Johnson drive together in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson and two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso drove for fun together around the Abu Dhabi F1 track on a blazing hot Saturday afternoon.Alonso took the wheel of the McLaren 570S car, with Johnson for once in the passenger seat, as they completed a few laps around Yas Marina circuit.“Fernando was very, very upset he couldn’t turn off the (stability) assistance from the car and the traction control,” Johnson joked afterward at the McLaren motorhome. “So we spent two laps trying to figure out how to push the buttons to turn that off. As soon as we got that off, we spun out.”On Monday, they will swap race cars in Bahrain for an event they have been teasing about on their social media accounts in recent weeks.The 43-year-old Johnson arrived in Abu Dhabi from the McLaren headquarters in Woking, England, where he got a seat fitting and time in the McLaren simulator.“It was so impressive, the architecture and the landscaping. I was there on a cool morning with the fog off the lake, the modernism of the building and the cars sitting there in the lobby,” Johnson said. “Simulators are very good for the flow of the race track and (knowing) where the pit lane is. I was able to get that out of the way.”After the last race of Alonso’s long F1 career on Sunday, he will try his hand at what Johnson does so well.A Hendrick Motorsports stock car was shipped last month to Bahrain in a container that included tires and equipment for a full day run. Hendrick Motorsports is also providing a crew to work with Alonso when he drives the Chevrolet.“Our car (is from 2018) yes. Sadly, the restrictions for Formula One (means) it is a five-year-old car, but I hear it’s a V8 (engine),” Johnson said, comparing the two cars being used. “I miss that sound, which I know everybody does. So I’m excited about that.”The race swap idea was formed during a chance January meeting in a waiting area at the Charlotte Convention Center. Johnson was at NASCAR’s preseason media availability, and Alonso was brought to the event by IMSA to promote the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.“His presence in America has a huge effect on American racing, on Formula One racing, and on motorsports in general,” Johnson said of Alonso. “Just the excitement value he brings to racing and the way he’s portrayed in the U.S.”Alonso won F1 in 2005 and ’06, and his 32nd and last GP win was in 2013 while with Ferrari.The 37-year-old Spaniard has grown more interested in pursuing other racing interests and is aiming to win motorsport’s Triple Crown of the 24 Hours Le Mans, the Indianapolis 500, and the Monaco GP.Last year, Alonso skipped the Monaco GP, which he has won twice, to compete at the Indy 500. He led for 27 laps before his engine blew. In June, Alonso won Le Mans at the first attempt.“Anybody in motorsports appreciates other forms of racing. It’s maybe not in your backyard … but we all watch and enjoy it,” Johnson said. “Fernando’s put on many great battles over the years.”Johnson said he would take the opportunity of racing in F1 “in a heartbeat” but knows that’s far from realistic.“The last single-seater I drove was probably in 1996, maybe ’95 even,” he said. “So it would be crazy to think I could come in and just immediately be there.”His more realistic goal is attempting to win an eighth NASCAR title. He is tied for the record with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.“The competitor in me wants to do it. I want to be the best,” Johnson said. “But I can’t believe I’m sitting here with seven as it is. It’s been a pretty crazy ride.”___More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsJerome Pugmire, The Associated Press read more

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