Amid rising coronavirus cases in the country, an estimated thousands of saffron-clad seers and ash-smeared Nagas flouted COVID-19 norms and converged at Har Ki Pairi for a holy dip in the Ganga during the second royal bath of the Kumbh Mela. They were a part of the estimated 2.1 million pilgrims who took the holy dip in the Ganga river on the occasion of ‘Shahi Snan’ on Monday as part of the ongoing Haridwar Kumbh fair.
The Mela administration claimed that approximately 17.31 lakh devotees had taken the holy dip in the Ganga till 10 am. Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar said the Shahi Snan was being conducted smoothly throughout the Mela Kshetra from Haridwar to Devprayag.
It was the second Shahi Snan during the ongoing Kumbh Mela which has been limited to just one month due to the rising cases of coronavirus.
It's an easy question to ask but finding a conclusive answer is proving difficult. Republican lawmakers in several U.S. states have introduced more than 100 bills related to transgender issues, many of them aimed at preventing transgender women and girls from competing on female sports team. Those who support the legislation argue transgender athletes have a physical advantage in women's sports. So, do they? "It's a very polarizing topic," said Allison Sandmeyer-Graves, chief executive officer for Canadian Women and Sport. "There is quite a bit of research on the topic, with more being produced all the time. Our understanding of the research is that it's also divided, therefore quite inconclusive. Everybody's kind of got signs on their side. That's part of what makes this really a tricky conversation to navigate." Veronica Ivy, a Canadian transgender athlete who is a two-time UCI Women's Masters Track World Championship winner, argues there is no advantage. "The idea that [in] pre-puberty there's any physiological advantage for trans girls is literally nonsense," said Ivy, who was born in Victoria and is an associate professor of philosophy at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. "So, these bills are not scientifically grounded. "When it comes to post-puberty trans women, there's also no clear advantage, let alone an advantage large enough to justify exclusion. We have to remember that we already allow huge performance advantages within the women's category." Sandmeyer-Graves' group has joined with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports (CCES) to conduct a review of the research done on whether transgender athletes have an advantage. "A lot of people assume the answer," Sandmeyer-Graves said. "I think the science tells us that is actually a lot more complex than most people realize." Caitlyn Jenner recently added fuel to the debate when she said it "just isn't fair" for biological boys who are transgender to compete in girls' sports in school. WATCH | Bring It In panel breaks down Jenner's trans comments: Jenner won an Olympic decathlon gold medal as Bruce Jenner. "It plays into a lot of the fears that people have about how trans women's participation will impact women's sports," Sandmeyer-Graves said. "We don't believe those fears are well founded." Ivy said, in the past, Jenner has supported the right for trans girls to participate in girls' sports. "I suspect her about-face is politically motivated as she seeks the California governor's position as a Republican, tossing red meat to a transphobic voting base," Ivy said. "It's hypocritical to say the least." 'Trans girls are girls' Six U.S. states have passed bills preventing athletes from competing in categories different than their biological sex at birth. Ivy called the laws "cruel, unfounded and harmful." "They will do nothing but harm innocent children by taking away their right to play with people of their gender," she said. "Trans girls are girls. They are females. "When we're talking about children, sports and playing on teams is such an important part of their social and intellectual development. Taking that away from already marginalized kids is nothing but cruel." In Canada, the CCES has worked to develop policies for transgender athletes. "That guidance essentially says that a person should have the right to participate in sport in the gender they identify with," said Paul Melia, the CCES's president and chief executive officer. "There should be no requirements for either surgery or hormone therapy imposed upon on individual as a condition of their participation in sports because of the harmful consequence that kind of intervention can cause an individual." In 2018, U Sports, the governing body of Canadian university sports, released a policy saying transgender athletes can participate on varsity sports team that correspond with their sex assigned at birth or with the gender they now identify with. Existing concerns The issue of transgender athletes may not be making headlines in Canada, but concerns do exist. Some high school athletes might fear having a transgender person competing on their team could cost them a chance at a university scholarship. "We're not receiving complaints from universities or sports organizations directly, but we are hearing some negative feedback," Melia said. "This is probably more nuanced and complex. Our policy guidance at the community sport level has probably helped a lot of sports organizations. But once the rewards start to be become more significant, that's where the friction comes into the system." Canada's domestic policies might also face headwinds at higher levels where sports are governed by international federations. Last year, World Rugby became the first international sports governing body to institute a ban on transgender women competing in global competitions like the Olympics and the women's Rugby World Cup. The ban was introduced because "safety and fairness cannot presently be assured for women competing against trans women in contact rugby." Rugby Canada has rejected the policy, saying it has a trans inclusion policy and believes everyone deserves "respectful and inclusive environments for participation." Laurel Hubbard, a transgender weightlifter from New Zealand, has qualified for this summer's Tokyo Olympics. The 43-year-old lived as a male for 35 years and never made it into international weightlifting. Sandmeyer-Graves said a lack of funding and support for women's sports is a greater threat than transgender athletes. "I don't think there's going to be a wave of trans women taking over women's sports," she said. "I think the threat might be overstated. "The real threat to women's' sport is coming back to the idea of there's scarce resources and opportunities. The fact that women's sport isn't supported, funded with equitable opportunities, equitable resources and equitable coverage is a far more significant impediment to women's participation and advancement in sport than trans women's involvement."
A look at what’s happening around the majors today: ___ NOT DONE YET Albert Pujols wants to hook on with a new team and be an everyday player. The 41-year-old superstar was cut Thursday by the Los Angeles Angels, abruptly ending a decade-long stint with his second major league club. He was designated for assignment one day after Pujols, dissatisfied with irregular playing time, had a late-night meeting with general manager Perry Minasian and team president John Carpino. Pujols, batting .198 this season, is determined to play first base regularly for another team after he clears waivers, Angels manager Joe Maddon said. Pujols is fifth in major league history with 667 career homers and 13th with 3,253 hits. “He wants to play, and he wants to be in the field,” Maddon said. “Hopefully he’s going to get that opportunity somewhere else, and believe me, we’re all going to be rooting for him.” The three-time NL MVP for St. Louis was in the final season of a $240 million, 10-year contract with Los Angeles. If another team picks up Pujols after he clears waivers, the Angels still would owe him the rest of his $30 million, minus a prorated portion of likely the major league minimum salary. “Albert is not a bench player,” said Minasian, the Angels’ first-year GM. “Him being on the bench would not do him any good, and would not do the team any good. He’s as motivated as he’s ever been. If the situation was different and there were at-bats for him to play here, it would be different.” REMEMBER ME? This seems almost poetic: St. Louis slugger Nolan Arenado will face his former team for the first time and go against the pitcher who was involved in the trade for him. Arenado has a hit in three at-bats against lefty Austin Gomber, who along with four minor leaguers was dealt to the Colorado Rockies for the eight-time Gold Glove winner on Feb. 1. The Rockies also agreed to pay St. Louis roughly $51 million of the $199 million remaining on Arenado’s contract at the time. It’s a deal that has many Rockies fans still seeing red heading into the three-game series in St. Louis. Gone is Jeff Bridich, the general manager with whom Arenado had a falling out over the team’s direction. Bridich stepped away last month from a squad that’s currently last in the NL standings. Arenado was a second-round pick by the Rockies in the 2009 amateur draft. He’s developed into a five-time All-Star third baseman and one of the slickest fielders in the game. Arenado is hitting .276 with five home runs and 22 RBIs this season. CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ A couple of intriguing matchups out West get started when Mookie Betts and the World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers visit Mike Trout and the Angels in the Freeway Series, while the San Francisco Giants host San Diego with first place on the line in the NL West. Julio Urías (4-0, 2.87 ERA) pitches for the struggling Dodgers, who have lost three straight and eight of 10, against Griffin Canning (2-2, 6.20). Blake Snell (1-0, 3.51) is on the mound for the Padres against Anthony DeSclafani (2-1, 2.00). BANGED-UP BLUE JAYS Toronto outfielder George Springer isn’t expected to be ready to rejoin the lineup when his latest stint on the 10-day injured list ends May 13. Signed to a team-record $150 million, six-year deal in the off-season, the 2017 World Series MVP with Houston didn’t make his Toronto debut until April 28 because of two separate injuries, first a strained oblique muscle and later a quadriceps issue. Springer again landed on the injured list after aggravating his strained right quad. “I would expect it would take more than just the IL stint,” general manager Ross Atkins said. Blue Jays reliever David Phelps was put on the IL because of a right lat strain. Infielder Joe Panik had an MRI after feeling calf pain and catcher Alejandro Kirk is expected to miss at least four weeks because of a left flexor strain. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
EDMONTON — Travis Hamonic says Thursday night was exactly the kind of result the beleaguered Vancouver Canucks needed. After losing six in a row, the Canucks stormed the ice in Edmonton on Thursday, dominating the Oilers in a 6-3 victory. Snapping the skid felt good, Hamonic said. "As the season grinds along, it’s never going to go necessarily the way you think or you want. But you’ve got to kind of slow things down and enjoy the wins when they come your way and reset tomorrow," said the veteran defenceman. "It felt like we’d been kind of grinding for a little bit for the last couple and it was nice to get one." Hamonic had a Gordie Howe hat trick in the win, scoring his first goal in a Canucks uniform, adding an assist, and dropping the gloves with Edmonton's Alex Chiasson. "You just want to do your part," he said. "You want to kind of find your role on the team and try and help and chip in. It was nice to see one go in." His big night came on his mom's birthday. "I know she doesn’t like when I fight too much. But she’ll be happy about the goal, for sure," Hamonic said with a grin. It's been a difficult stretch for Vancouver. The squad chalked up a pair of big wins over the Toronto Maple Leafs directly after returning from the NHL's worst COVID-19 outbreak, but has struggled since. A flood of injuries has exacerbated the issue, keeping a number of stalwart players out of the lineup and leading to fresh faces learning new roles without much practice time. Coach Travis Green said he and his staff have done their best to be honest with the group and keep them confident. "I think they have been working extremely hard, competing extremely hard," he said. "We’ve had a couple of games where top end guys have really taken over the game on the other team and not getting results. "Any time you’re talking to a team and trying to teach and keep them confident, getting a win goes a long way. And I think tonight was an important win for our group.” Ten different Canucks players made it on to the score sheet on Thursday. Nils Hoglander, Jayce Hawryluk and Brock Boeser each scored and chalked up an assist for Vancouver (20-25-3). Jack Rathbone buried his first NHL goal and Tyler Graovac found the back of the net for the first time since November 2019. Leon Draisaitl found the back of the net twice for Edmonton (32-17-2), Jesse Puljujarvi scored and Connor McDavid added three assists. The Oilers outshot the Canucks 42-27 but Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko kept his side in the game, making 39 saves, including a stop on a McDavid penalty shot. Defenceman Tyler Myers slashed the Oilers captain from behind on a breakaway midway through the third, prompting the 1-on-1 chance. McDavid wove his way into the Canucks zone and flipped a shot on net from in tight, but Demko stretched out to make the pad stop. “I was kind of swimming there for a second, to be honest," the goalie said. "Quick hands, he’s a good player, obviously everyone knows that. And he’s got a handful of things that he can go to in a situation like that and I was just trying to be patient. I thought he had me beat there for a second and got a leg out and luckily I got a piece of it.” Mikko Koskinen was pulled from Edmonton's crease midway through the first period after allowing four goals on four shots in the first period. Mike Smith stopped 21-of-23 shots in relief and registered an assist on Draisaitl's first goal. “I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that where the first four shots go in your net. So it’s a big hole to jump out of," said Oilers coach Dave Tippett. Hoglander opened the scoring just 31 seconds in, dodging Puljujarvi and blasting a shot past Koskinen from the left face-off circle for his 10th goal of the year. Rathbone added to the tally 4:43 into the first. A shot from Hawryluk was blocked in front of the net and Rathbone picked up the puck in the slot, sending a wrist shot over Koskinen's glove. Vancouver went up 3-0 just 50 seconds later when Hamonic bounced a puck in off Koskinen's shoulder. Koskinen was chased 12:22 into the opening frame after Hawryluk sent a shot through his legs, building Vancouver's lead to 4-0. The netminder responded by smashing his stick on the goal post until it snapped. It wasn't just goaltending that was the problem early in Thursday's game, McDavid said. “The whole team wasn’t very good to start, top to bottom," he said. "They were obviously ready to go and got the jump on us. And we couldn’t stop the bleeding until it was a little too late and put ourselves a little too far behind the eight ball.” The Oilers were down 5-2 heading into the final frame Thursday but refused to relent. Draisaitl finally beat Demko 12:55 into third with a shot from the bottom of the left face-off circle, his second of the night and 28th goal of the season. McDavid tallied his third assist on the play. He continues to lead the NHL in scoring with 96 points (31 goals, 65 assists) in the pandemic-condensed campaign. The Oilers still hold a 5-3 edge over the Canucks in the 10-game series. The next round will go Saturday in Edmonton. NOTE: The result snapped a three-game win streak for Edmonton. The Oilers beat the Canucks 4-1 on Tuesday. … Edmonton forward Patrick Russell played his first game since March 13. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021. The Canadian Press
LOS ANGELES — Paul George scored 24 points and the Los Angeles Clippers routed a Lakers team minus LeBron James 118-94 on Thursday night, moving into the No. 3 spot in the Western Conference playoff race. The loss kept the defending NBA champion Lakers at No. 6. The Staples Center co-tenants could potentially face each other in the first round. The Lakers have lost four of five, with six games remaining in the regular season. The only thing they’ve clinched so far is a spot in the new play-in tournament, which James has derided. Still dealing with a high ankle sprain, he will be out again Friday night for a pivotal game at Portland. That season series is tied at one. Kawhi Leonard had 15 points, eight rebounds and six asssists, and Ivica Zubac added 14 points and eight rebounds for the Clippers. Kyle Kuzma led the injury-plagued Lakers with 25 points. Anthony Davis, bothered lately by a right calf strain, was limited to four points on 2-of-9 shooting in nine minutes. MAVERICKS 113, NETS 109 DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic scored 24 points, Tim Hardaway Jr. added 23 and Dallas beat Brooklyn to finish a season sweep. Kyrie Irving scored a season-high 45 points for the Nets. They lost a season-high fourth straight game and dropped two games behind Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia. Dorian Finney-Smith scored 17 points as the Mavericks reached 10 games over .500 for the first time this season and moved a half-game ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers for the fifth seed in the West. Dallas holds the tiebreaker on the defending NBA champs. Kevin Durant had 20 points and nine rebounds for the Nets with each team missing an injured star: James Harden for Brooklyn and Kristaps Porzingis for Dallas. In the Mavericks’ 115-98 win at Brooklyn in February, Harden played while Durant and Irving were out. Doncic also had 10 rebounds and eight assists. WIZARDS 131, RAPTORS 129, OT TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Bradley Beal scored 14 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and overtime Thursday night, and Russell Westbrook had his 34th triple-double of the season in Washington's victory that all but Toronto from the NBA’s play-in tournament. Pascal Siakam matched his career high with 44 points for the Raptors. They lost for the fifth time in six games and fell four games behind the Wizards for the 10th spot in the Eastern Conference with five left to play. Westbrook had 13 points, 17 rebounds and 17 assists before fouling out with 15.3 seconds left in overtime. The triple-double was the 180th of his career, leaving him one behind Oscar Robertson. WARRIORS 118, THUNDER 97 SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Stephen Curry had 34 points and seven assists and Golden State raced past Oklahoma. Mychal Mulder added 25 points in just 20 minutes off the bench, making seven 3-pointers in 13 attempts. Andrew Wiggins had 18 points and seven rebounds. Ty Jerome scored 23 points to lead the Thunder and Darius Bazley added 22. They have lost five straight and 19 of 20. BULLS 120, HORNETS 99 CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Nikola Vucevic had 29 points and 14 rebounds and Chicago breezed past Charlotte with Zach LaVine back on the floor for the Bulls. LaVine returned from an 11-game absence due to the league’s health and safety protocols and scored 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting. P.J. Washington, who missed Charlotte’s last game for the birth of his child, led the Hornets with 24 points on six 3-pointers. PACERS 133, HAWKS 126 INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Caris LeVert scored nine of his 31 points in the final 2:17, and Indiana awoke from a recent funk to beat Atlanta. LeVert also had 12 assists. All-Star forward Domantas Sabonis scored 30 points on 12-of-14 shooting with nine assists. The Pacers had dropped four of five, including one of the season’s ugliest losses Wednesday night in which they managed just 93 points at home against Sacramento’s NBA-worst defence. Trae Young led the Hawks with 30 points and 10 assists. PISTONS 111, GRIZZLIES 97 DETROIT (AP) — Wayne Ellington and Cory Joseph scored 18 points apiece and Detroit beat Memphis to snap a four-game losing streak. Fighting Golden State for eighth place in the Western Conference, Memphis couldn’t take advantage of the matchup against lowly Detroit. Ja Morant led Memphis with 20 points. ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press