Since when is sex testing fair?

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Among all the coverage of this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio, perhaps the biggest media furore was around the athlete Caster Semenya.

Caster Semenya is a South African runner who won the women’s 800 metres. The mainstream media is divided. Many reports have speculated on whether she is “really a woman” or questioned whether it is “fair” for her to compete alongside other women.

Get ready to break the Trade Union Act

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“Strike to win”, “Unity is strength”, “Workers’ solidarity”. Old fashioned? Yes, but these trade union slogans have never been more relevant than today.

All of the above is enshrined in the ethos of the Grangemouth trade unions hub — where various unions across different sectors have joined forces. The hub was founded just after the Ineos dispute in 2013, in order to bring together refinery workers, dockers, rail workers and tanker drivers to give us more leverage during any future disputes.

Can May save the Tories?

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New (unelected) prime minister Theresa May has had an easy time of it since June, but are the Tories' post-referendum blues really over? Sally Campbell thinks it is unlikely.

Theresa May has enjoyed a gentle stroll into her new, unelected, role as prime minister over the summer. While symbolically holidaying in neutral Switzerland, she has been able to relax as the Labour right has done its best to tear down Jeremy Corbyn.

The gig economy and collective action

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The supposedly endless rise of precarity is not as straightforward as it seems.

Growing use of zero hours contracts (ZHCs) and the “gig economy”, in which people scrape together a living from fragments of work without being formally employed, are, we are often told, leading us on an endless march towards precarity and undermining workers’ capacity to fight.

But right now things look rather different. In April this year, following protests organised by Fast Food Rights and the Bfawu union, McDonald’s offered all its employees the option of moving off ZHCs.

War criminals exposed

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The Chilcot report went further than many expected in condemning Tony Blair's role in the invasion of Iraq. As Judith Orr says, it also reinforced the need to be vigilant against all warmongers.

It took 12 days for the Chilcot report on the Iraq war to be read aloud non-stop at the Edinburgh Festival event last month. The 2.6 million words of the report were not the whitewash some had feared. In fact they were a confirmation of what so many of those who protested against the war at the time said.

Sport for all isn't part of the Olympic dream

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The Olympics saw some fantastic sport. The performances of Usain Bolt, Mo Farah and Almaz Ayana on the track were awe inspiring. Katie Ledecky and Michael Phelps in the pool were completely dominant. In the velodrome Laura Trott was untouchable (again), while Nicola Adams boxed with grace and power.

But the Olympics are so full of the contradictions of capitalism that it leaves me conflicted.

Orlando: Bigotry fuelled the slaying

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The massacre of 49 people at gay club Pulse in Orlando, Florida, in June has gone down in history as one of the most violent episodes against LGBT+ communities. Josh Hollands examines the context of US society.

The victims of the mass shooting at Pulse were overwhelmingly young, LGBT+ and Latino.

That the assailant, Omar Mateen, claimed to support Isis in a phone call to the police has allowed politicians and the mainstream media to produce a narrative that scapegoats Muslims for this tragedy.

Letter from Beirut

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Unprecedented electoral success for a new left alliance in the Lebanese capital has shaken up politics

The elections in May for control over Beirut proved to be a major breakthrough for the popular discontent that has been simmering in Lebanon since the advent of the Arab Spring.

Local elections are traditionally dominated by sectarian parties that reflect the religious makeup of the capital’s many neighbourhoods.

Laws dictate that inhabitants who moved to the capital over the past 40 years can only register to vote in their home villages. As such the electoral base does not reflect the city’s population today.


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