And Precisely So.

Outwardly, the spring haute couture shows were about the joys of gardening and how many brides you could put on a runway. (Dior, 5; Chanel, 2, though Karl Lagerfeld might have upstaged Raf Simons of Dior by having a pair of lesbian brides.) Not to be left out, the house of Valentino also dug a garden theme. “Really, we didn’t call Karl and Raf,” Pierpaolo Piccioli, who, with Maria Grazia Chiuri, designs Valentino, said with a laugh.

It would be O.K. if they had, since the Valentino clothes owed their pure lines and filigree embroidery to garden architecture — mazes, terraces, curling ironwork — from the Renaissance. Traced in piping on a cream evening cape or embossed on the stiff skirt of a wool day dress, these patterns are gutsy. They also link Valentino to Italian culture.

What Mr. Piccioli and Ms. Chiuri have gained over the last couple of years at Valentino, after a rocky start, is control over their form. This collection has, among other qualities, a strong sense of line, so that the cut and finishing of, say, a caped dress or a deep red strapless gown, stand out.

Sketches every design

The designers are learning to use the extraordinary skills of a couture atelier to be more self-critical and demanding. In just two seasons at Dior, Mr. Simons has used its workrooms to further his ideas and expand his thinking. Mr. Lagerfeld is miles ahead of everyone. He sketches every design, and then turns those sketches over to the women in charge of Chanel’s ateliers, who know how to interpret his drawings. He is able to get precisely what he wants.

That precision of thought, in a business of compromises, is the virtue of couture, and it’s what Ms. Chiuri and Mr. Piccioli are closer to acquiring. It was evident in their morning-light palette of creams, light tan and pearl white, and in their lace pieces. If the Valentino designers can relate emotionally to Italian stone and iron, they may have found a vital creative key.

A garden is nothing if not the promise of continuity amid change — the change of colors and seasons, the impertinent arrival of weeds and drought. The garden goes on. By showing some of the same styles he first introduced at Dior, like a sharper Bar jacket trouser suit, Mr. Simons was essentially putting in his hardy perennials. Let’s put it another way: the Chanel cardigan jacket has roots deep in the Paris soil. So does the Bar, but it needs to be cultivated. Mr. Simons is starting that process.

The remarkable thing about this collection, aside from its colors and ultralight layers, was how easily it introduced asymmetry without pushing the “It’s unwearable!” button. More than a decade ago, John Galliano brought deconstruction to Dior. Everything was upside down and pulled apart. It was great, but how many people actually wore the clothes the way he showed them?

Proportion of the shapes

Mr. Simons’s idea is clearest in a suit. Consisting of three pieces, it has a cropped sleeveless jacket, a stiffened camisole with a Bar peplum and a slim skirt with a contrasting hem. There are four colors in all, four fabrics. Each shape is incredibly simple, but it’s the proportion of the shapes, along with the cuts and layering of colors, that makes the suit completely different. I hesitate to say that it redefines the suit, but it sure comes close.

“The idea is to make the shoulders beautiful,” Mr. Lagerfeld said. Some of the built-out collars of suits and dresses will not flatter every figure, but filling in necklines with white sequined yokes certainly puts the face in good light. Chanel’s misty forest, which also featured dresses with blood-red flowers against a black embroidered ground, provided a warm note of melancholia. It’s an underrated mood in fashion, creating a richness only for those inclined to embrace it.

Observing a cream chiffon gown plumped at the bodice with pale gray feathers, I remarked to Mr. Lagerfeld about the gray.

“But it would look flat if the feathers were only white,” he said.

Indeed. The same could be said about many things.

The other spring couture shows were good, but not as inspiring. Giorgio Armani put tension into his tailoring, with closefitting silk pants and smart jackets alternating with sexy tops. Baton-shaped ornaments wound into garments were inexplicable, but the jostle of chevron stripes and micro jacquards made a distinctive statement. Donatella Versace also emphasized shoulders in a collection that joyfully subverted pinstriped power suits by repeating the pattern in neon minkand metal mesh. The techniques were impressive.

Although Giambattista Valli had some sweet fabrics, his molded shapes looked trapped in couture aspic. He’s capable of a modern attitude. Which is exactly what Bouchra Jarrar showed with her skimmy dresses, an ink-plumed corset and her standout coats in houndstooth and ribbed gray silk.

Style labels

New York Fashion Week has long been perceived as a pinnacle of success for an American designer. Yet when fashion week opens Feb. 7, a number of labels that showed there in the past will be sitting it out.

Joy Cioci will instead present her collection in mid-March after editors and buyers return from Paris Fashion Week, the last event in the monthlong round of collections. The New York calendar “was so crowded, and it’s so hectic for buyers and the editors, she says of the four seasons she showed at the fashion-week tents. “I just felt that I wasn’t getting the investment return.”

Yoana Baraschi, whose 10-year-old label showed at fashion week for many seasons, will also move to mid-March. Her presentation, she says, will be more intimate, and she will be able to hire high-caliber talent that is usually booked during fashion week.”Everybody wants the same models and the same stylists. It’s just spinning out of control,” Ms. Baraschi says of the official week. “No one can see as many shows as there are now.”

New York’s calendar has become noticeably more crowded as labels squeeze in with entrepreneurial zeal. While fashion shows used to be limited to high-style labels, midprice contemporary labels and menswear brands are now muscling into New York. One reason: No official body controls the calendar, unlike in Milan and Paris, where just a few dozen labels are invited to show in each fashion week. So far, 283 labels have registered to present collections at New York Fashion Week, up from 204 in Feb. 2007, according to the Fashion Calendar, a company that tracks fashion events.While the official calendar runs Thursday to Thursday from Feb. 7-14, designers actually will start showing as early as Monday, Feb. 4, turning the “week” into 11 days.


There are hourly collisions on the busiest days. At 4 p.m. Monday, four labels are showing in various locations around New York. At 8 p.m. Sunday, editors must choose between seeing Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Rucci. And after seeing 10 or more collections a day, most viewers have to look at photos to bring the blur of clothes back into focus.

“I need memory retention. I need a chance to sit and talk to these people,” says designer Daniel Vosovic, who is moving his three-year-old label to a March presentation as well.Often, it is cheaper to circumvent New York Fashion Week. Mackage designers Elisa Dahan and Eran Elfassy found it less expensive to fly editors to their show at Toronto Fashion Week. They launched Montreal-based Mackage in New York in 1999—but started showing in Toronto last year. “I feel like we were little kids trying to accomplish a dream,” Ms. Dahan says of those early shows. But in Toronto, she says, they can hire top models who are contractually forbidden to do their shows in New York because of agreements with more powerful brands.

The cost of a show during New York Fashion Week is generally six figures and can rise to more than $1 million for big brands. If you hire top models, the minimum cost of a show is $350,000, says Ms. Baraschi, who estimates she will save 60% of the cost by moving to March.

Many designers are creating carefully produced videos of their collections. Rather than limiting their audience to the people at the show, they can send the video to stores and editors, use it for advertising and put it on YouTube and “It has longevity,” Ms. Cioci says.

Designers who forsake New York’s fashion week still plan to keep their showrooms open to take orders from store buyers during the week, just as they have in the past.

Increasing separation

The split highlights the increasing separation between store buyers and fashion editors. Shows, with their pomp and drama, are increasingly focused on marketing to magazine editors. As designers try to accommodate the growing number of celebrities and bloggers, stores have been crowded out. While top fashion executives at big department stores such as Saks and Neiman Marcus still get invitations, they aren’t always in the front rows. And smaller store buyers sometimes struggle to obtain invitations at all.

The chaos is a natural part of a fast-changing industry, says Tom Florio, former publisher of Vogue, who recently took over as CEO of Advanstar Fashion group, which runs eight fashion trade shows. Mr. Florio’s new shows, which seek to get higher fashion into the trade-show environment, aim to lure New York Fashion Week regulars. One show called “The Tents” will launch later this month in Las Vegas, inviting trendy menswear labels such as Billy Reid and Michael Bastian to participate. “There are so many ways to communicate fashion today,” says Mr. Florio. “You don’t necessarily have to tell that story on the runway anymore.

None of this diminishes many designers’ aspirations to reach New York fashion week. To launch her new ready-to-wear Rivini line during fashion week, bridal designer Rita Vinieris started looking for open times in October. “The calendar is insanely crowded,” she says. She settled on Feb. 6, a day before official fashion week. She hopes to reach editors who miss her presentation with a video and private appointments.

Nary Manivong, whose NAHM label will be showed to editors by appointment in March, says he is sanguine about skipping New York Fashion Week. “For me, fashion week will always be there. I can always come back.”

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga continued to break records on Wednesday when she reportedly paid the highest ever price for an Alexander McQueen creation at a charity auction.
Socialite and style icon Daphne Guinness put a huge collection of her haute couture wardrobe under the hammer at Christie’s in London, including several items by the late designer.
Gaga, who was a massive fan of the couturier’s work, gave the auction a boost by outbidding rivals to buy a dress – eventually spending a record-breaking $136,400 via her phone bids.
The singer is now the proud owner of a 2008 ivory silk gown called “The Girl Who Lived in the Tree,” according to Britain’s Associated Press.
Guinness says, “I’m overwhelmed by how many bidders took part … and I’m particularly moved by Lady Gaga’s support for the foundation. I like her very much, and it’s lovely to see the nascent beginnings of something that may help other people.”
The auction raised $747,200 for the Isabella Blow Foundation, set up in memory of the late fashion guru.


Wear your national pride on your sleeve, or shoulder.

The Canada Day holiday weekend is finally here — why not drape yourself in clothes, accessories and beauty products that are designed, invented and manufactured in Canada?
Despite the well-established trek to offshore production in many industries including the fashion business, it’s time to shine the light on those that elect to design and manufacture their goods at home.
“Ever since I started Second Denim in 2000, I’ve chosen to manufacture the product here although I could have gone offshore and benefitted from the apparent lower costs. But I know very well that in our (fashion) industry, offshore manufacturing is not all goodness,” says Eric Wazana, founder and creative director for Second Denim, the company known for inventing Yoga Jeans in 2007. “Offshore prices are low, but lead times are too long, quality is hard to manage, rework is expensive, and there is no real opportunity to react quickly to changes in demand.”
Successful at home and abroad for its Yoga Jeans, which were rumoured to be worn by the Duchess of Cambridge, Second Denim continues to produce in Canada, with Wazana having recently bought the plant that manufactures most of their product in the Beauce area of Quebec, saving the jobs of close to 70 employees.
Tilley Endurables is another well-established Canadian brand that’s also proud to wave the flag, producing almost everything they have made for close to 30 years in Toronto and Montreal.
“We’re a family business and it’s part and parcel of our brand to be hands on and contribute to the Canadian economy by making all but two of our products here in Canada, where we create about 300 jobs and related spin-off jobs,” says Susan Laspa, a spokesperson for Tilley Endurables.
“Our hats and clothes are known for being stylish, durable, easy-to-wear, lightweight and water-resistant, and are distinguished by the slogan on our label Made In Canada, where we can keep a watchful eye,” adds Laspa.
You may not know Montreal’s Fullum & Holt, but chances are there’s at least one piece of its stylish baggage you’d like to carry.
The brand, which has been manufactured in a factory at the corner of Fullum and Holt streets in Montreal since 1897, is also the largest manufacturer of leather belts in North America and is known the world over for both its own line of leather goods and those it produces for LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey), Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue, Helmut Lang, Alexander Wang, Gucci Group and other international fashion heavyweights.
“Our business has grown 50% since 2009, and we will continue to design and produce timeless bags close to home where we can exercise better control over the quality and bring the bags to market faster,” says Morgan Hirsh, the company’s president.
Manitobah Mukluks is another Canadian company, with footwear and leather goods handmade in Manitoba by Aboriginal artisans.
Well-known beauty products include the Laboratoire Dr Renaud line of about 150 aesthetic skincare products that are researched and developed in Laval, Que.


Paula Creamer: The 2010 U.S. Women’s Open champion got off to a slow start this year but has three top-10 finishes in her last five starts, including a T-9 at the Wegmans LPGA Championship. One of the game’s top ball-strikers, she is ranked 12th in the world and has nine career victories and 79 top-10 finishes. She is approaching $9 million in career earnings.
Shanshan Feng: Her first career victory three weeks ago at the Wegmans LPGA Championship reverberated through her homeland of China, an awakening giant in golf. Feng, who prefers to be called Jenny, is no flash in the pan. She is ranked third in the world and fifth on the LPGA Tour money list and has five top-seven finishes in nine starts.
Cristie Kerr: She has a great track record at the U.S. Women’s Open, with a two-stroke victory over Lorena Ochoa and Angela Park in 2007, a tie for second in 2000 and four other top-10s, including a third-place finish last year. Kerr, 34, played in the ’98 Women’s Open at Blackwolf Run, her first as a professional. She finished 60th.
I.K. Kim: Ranked ninth in the world, Kim seems to be a factor in nearly every big tournament she enters. She finished second at the Kraft Nabisco Championship three months ago and tied for 10th at the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open. The only question is whether she can handle Blackwolf Run at 6,800 yards; she ranks 110th on the LPGA Tour in average driving distance (247 yards).
Stacy Lewis: Lewis, 27, has won twice in the last two months (Mobile Bay LPGA Classic, ShopRite LPGA Classic) and is ranked No. 2 in the world. She leads the Rolex Player of the Year rankings by a slim margin over world No. 1 Yani Tseng and is second on the money list behind Tseng. As a young girl, Lewis suffered from scoliosis, which was diagnosed at age 11 and treated by a spinal fusion when she was in high school.
Ai Miyazato: She stands just 5-foot-1 but plays much bigger. Miyazato, 27, has eight career victories and held the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Rankings for 11 weeks during the 2010 season. She is ranked sixth. Miyazato opened the season with five top-10 finishes in her first six starts, including a victory at the LPGA Lotte Championship in April.
Azahara Munoz: The 24-year-old Spaniard broke through for her first LPGA Tour victory at the Sybase Match Play Championship in May and has three other top-four finishes this year. In 2010, she became the first Spaniard to win the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award. Munoz ranks eighth in greens in regulation and 14th in putts per GIR, a good combination.


Se Ri Pak: It will be an emotional return for Pak, who was 20 when she won the ’98 Women’s Open at Blackwolf Run on the second hole of sudden death, following an 18-hole playoff with amateur Jenny Chuasiriporn. Pak considers the victory the biggest of her career and it helped launch the Korean golf boom. She won’t lack for inspiration this week.

Suzann Pettersen: One of the most powerful players in women’s golf, Pettersen ranks 10th in average driving distance (267 yards) and led the tour in greens hit in regulation in 2010 and ’11. Born in Oslo, Norway, she is a six-time member of the European Solheim Cup team (12-8-5 record) and has eight career victories.

Morgan Pressel: She went 4-0-0 at the 2011 Solheim Cup and always seems to play well in major championships. Pressel describes herself as patriotic and said there’s nothing she’d like more than to win the U.S. Women’s Open four days after the Fourth of July. She won’t overpower Blackwolf Run, but chipping and putting are among her strengths.

So Yeon Ryu: The defending U.S. Women’s Open champion, Ryu undoubtedly got some good tips from Pak when they came in for a practice round at Blackwolf Run in May. Ryu hasn’t won this year, but she has six top-five finishes in 11 starts and ranks among the top 30 in every major statistical category except driving accuracy (45th) and sand saves (46th). She is ranked 19th in the world.

Yani Tseng: Possessing supreme talent and an effervescent personality, the 23-year-old Tseng is the youngest player, male or female, to win five major championships and is ranked No. 1 in the world. In 2008, at 19, she won the LPGA Championship to become the first Taiwanese player to win an LPGA major. She has since added the Kraft Nabisco Championship (2010), Wegmans LPGA Championship (2011) and the Ricoh Women’s British Open (2010, 2011). Tseng has won three times this year and leads the money list with $1,005,527.


Carlota Ciganda: A rookie on the Ladies European Tour, Ciganda made 13 birdies in a 36-hole qualifier at Big Foot Country Club in Fontana and cruised to an 11-stroke victory. The 22-year-old Spaniard made history at Arizona State by becoming the first back-to-back winner of the Pac-10 Championship. Ciganda ranks fifth on the LET Order of Merit.

Professional tennis

Jessica Korda: Just 19, the 5-foot-11 Korda opened the 2012 season by winning the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in a six-way playoff for her first career victory. Korda finished runner-up at the 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur and turned pro later that year at 17. She is the daughter of retired professional tennis players Petr Korda and Regina Rajchrtova.

Brittany Lincicome: She definitely has the length to handle Blackwolf Run — she ranks second on tour in average driving distance at 279 yards, and her nickname is “Bam Bam” — but can she handle the speed and slope on the greens? Lincicome has five career victories and won the 2009 Kraft Nabisco Championship with an eagle on the 72nd hole.

Lexi Thompson: She turned pro at 15, and her victory at the 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic made her the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history at 16 years 7 months 8 days. She also won the 2011 Omega Dubai Ladies Masters on the Ladies European Tour. Thompson ranks fourth in driving distance (274 yards) and fifth in greens in regulation (74 percent).

Cheyenne Woods: Tiger Woods’ niece hopes to blaze her own trail in golf. She was a two-time All-American at Wake Forest and won the 2011 Atlantic Coast Conference championship. Woods, 21, turned pro in May and signed a multiyear deal with Nike. She shot 74-72 to take co-medalist honors at a sectional qualifier for the Women’s Open.



Dior is the elegant feather in the cap of luxury goods group LVMH, which besides fashion brands like Louis Vuitton and Givenchy also owns Moet Hennessy and jeweller Bulgari.
Sales in Asia and the United States helped LVMH to a 25 percent rise in first-quarter revenue in April, but some analysts worry that wealthy buyers may balk at continued instability in the global economy and pull back on purchases.
The hiring of Simons for Dior’s top creative spot put to rest a more than year-long search to replace disgraced ex-creative director Galliano, who was fired after he was caught on camera hurling anti-Semitic insults at people in a Paris cafe.That negative publicity was forgotten on Monday with one look at the hyper-feminine dress in light organza sewn to resemble the petals of hydrangeas, or the deluxe red cashmere coat that made a swooshing sound as it wafted past.
Black suits had exaggerated “New Look” waists, while a half-top, half-cape creation in electric fuchsia wool crepe over black cigarette pants was a dramatic nod to Dior’s love of flowing fabric.
“It seemed very modern even though he was working with silhouettes from the ’40s,” said Hamish Bowles, an editor at Vogue. “It was interesting to see him use those lines in a different way.”


Raf Simons makes dazzling Dior debut in Paris.

The who’s who of the fashion world came out to toss flowers at the feet of Christian Dior’s new creative director on Monday, applauding the fresh and modern approach Raf Simons has brought to the feminine extravagance of a grand French atelier.

The Belgian couturier greeted oversized expectations for his first Dior collection with a decidedly architectural look that revelled in sumptuous understatement. The house has been without a permanent designer since former star John Galliano fell from grace over a drunken, racist tirade.Rival designers Alber Elbaz of Lanvin, Louis Vuitton’s Marc Jacobs, Versace’s Donatella Versace and even veteran couturier Pierre Cardin were on hand for the Simons debut in a grand Parisian mansion festooned with flowers.

“Flower women” is how Christian Dior referred to his revolutionary 1940s creations that used an abundance of fabric cinched in tightly at the waist to create his “New Look” silhouette that personified post-war elegance and excess.That floral idea, deconstructed, found its way into the new autumn/winter 2012-2013 Haute Couture collection, as the designer known for minimalism used dramatic colour and delicate workmanship to revive Dior’s vision.

Models navigated a catwalk that wound through five colour-coded rooms whose walls were covered floor to ceiling with either blue delphiniums, white orchids, red and orange roses or pink roses and peonies – a showstopping stage that would have struck fear into the hearts of anyone with allergies.

On the runway, structured bodices were intricately stitched to resemble petals, with subtle folds of fabric that opened like new buds on flirtatious dresses or curvaceous suits.“The architecture of flowers is analyzed in a different way for the contemporary world,” wrote Simons in his collection notes, adding that an “intense, new use of colour” was central.

Following the show, as a crush of photographers and television cameras encircled Simons, designer Elbaz summed up the collection succinctly: “Voila modernity.”

Others agreed. French actress Marion Cotillard, wearing a navy floral dress with a short full skirt, called the collection “sublime,” while black-clad Sharon Stone dubbed the floral motifs “very witty.”
As for Simons, who appeared relieved that it was all over, more prosaic concerns were on his mind.“I need another drink,” he said, heading backstage after greeting guests. “Now, a glass of wine.”

Women post

Women post unflattering pictures of each other on purpose: Survey.

Almost half of women who responded to a U.K. survey said they’ve uploaded an unflattering image of another woman to a social media site, knowing full well the woman pictured would hate it.
The survey found that 24% of respondents had purposefully uploaded and tagged an unflattering picture of a female friend in a bikini, despite knowing that friend would be unhappy with it.
Just under half of those surveyed, 45%, had done the same with a photo of a friend in an unflattering outfit, and 41% posted pictures of their girlfriends with no makeup on.
What’s even harsher, though, is the motivation behind what site— the photo memorabilia site that conducted the survey — calls “photo sabotage.”
Of all the women who committed photo sabotage, 51% said they did it because they didn’t like their so-called friend. Another 32% did it for revenge, because their friend posted a bad picture of them first.
Rebecca Huggler, co-founder of site, said she found the politics of tagging fascinating.
“The etiquette of tagging friends in photographs on social networking sites is a tricky one to master, and with so many pitfalls, we wanted to look into women’s relationships with the photographs they upload to the sites in question,” she said.
“To see that so many women deliberately commit photo sabotage and upload unflattering pictures of friends is somewhat surprising, particularly when you consider how many said they’d be mad if the same was done to them.”


Women’s baseball pioneer Doris Sams dies at 85.

Doris Sams, one of the stars of the women’s professional baseball league that inspired the movie “A League of Their Own,” died at age 85, a funeral home spokesman said on Monday.
Sams died on Thursday and her funeral was held on Sunday in her hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee, Don Haynes of the Stevens Mortuary Chapel said.Sams played for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, the brainchild of Major League team owners Philip Wrigley and Branch Rickey as a wartime diversion, and they paid some 600 women players between $45 and $75 a game, according to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Their salary was several times what the mostly working-class players could make in jobs traditionally reserved for women, author Barbara Gregorich wrote in her book, “Women at Play.”
Wrigley reasoned that, if women could be used to build ships and aircraft, they could also be used to fill the nation’s ballparks while male players were at war, Sharon Roepke wrote in her book “Diamond Gals.”
“The women ballplayers would serve as inspirational examples to further the ‘manpower’ mobilization,” Roepke wrote. “In addition to playing ball they would raise money for war bonds, develop youth programs and visit service hospitals.”
The 1992 movie “A League of Their Own” featured actor Tom Hanks as the heavy-drinking team manager depressed about coaching women. After making one player cry, he memorably said, “There’s no crying in baseball.”
The women’s league’s teams were coached by men.
Hanks’ players included the fiercely competitive Dottie Hinson (played by Geena Davis) and the rebellious, gum-chewing Mae Mordabito (Madonna).
Sams pitched and played the outfield for the Muskegon Lassies and the Kalamazoo Lassies from 1946 to 1953, in what was largely a Midwestern league.
She won the league’s player of the year award in 1947 after pitching a perfect game. In typical fashion, she humbly credited her fielders, saying she was hit hard that day, according to an account on the Hall of Fame website.
The women played hard, raising welts when they slid in their short skirts. But Wrigley wanted them to act like polite ladies, hiring beauty consultant Helena Rubinstein to teach etiquette and how to use makeup, the Hall of Fame said.
Sams was inducted into the Women’s Professional Hall of Fame in 1970. After baseball, she became an office worker for the Knoxville Utilities Board, according to the Knoxville Sun-Sentinel. She never married nor had any children.


US Women’s Gymnastics Team Named, Minus Reigning Olympic Champ Nastia Liukin.

It was goodbye to the reigning Olympic all-around champion and hello to the new faces of women’s gymnastics at the HP Pavilion in San Jose on Sunday night. And on both counts there were plenty of tears.

Gabrielle Douglas, of Virginia Beach, Va., won the Olympic Trials and guaranteed her spot on the US women’s team heading to London. Just one tenth of a point behind her, the current all-around world champion, Jordyn Wieber of DeWitt, Mich., was also named to the squad after a 10 minute meeting at which the USA Gymnastics selection committee determined the remaining four women to represent the US. Joining Douglas and Wieber will be McKayla Maroney, of Long Beach, Cal., Alexandra Raisman of Needham, Mass. and Kyla Ross of Aliso Viejo, Cal. It’s the first Olympics for all five women. The emotional roller coaster of the intensive training, along with the injuries they have overcome — including a concussion and a fractured nose for Maroney just two weeks ago — over the past four years, plus the pressure of the two-day Trials, spilled out in uncontrolled tears as the team got the news in the locker room deep inside the Pavilion.
The evening was bittersweet for gymnastics fans. They welcomed five new Olympians but watched the reigning Olympic all-around champion, Nastia Liukin, say goodbye to her competitive career. Liukin had been attempting a comeback for London, and was hopeful that she could recreate some of the magic moves that had earned her the team silver medal and four individual medals in Beijing, matching the highest medal count of any US women’s gymnast at a single Olympics. For Liukin, it wasn’t about winning more medals for herself; in London, she wanted to help the US women’s team earn its first team gold since 1996.

But it wasn’t to be. On the event that she dominated in Beijing, the uneven bars, Liukin struggled on both days of the Trials, losing strength during her routine and falling on the dismount on the first day, and missing a release move that landed her flat on her stomach during the second round. She regained her hallmark grace on the balance beam, ending her career with a standing ovation from the crowd.

“I knew that I had no doubt in my mind I was going to come out here and finish and walk out of here on my terms, not because somebody wanted me to be done,” Liukin said. “To come full circle, I don’t regret a thing.”
In the years leading up to these Trials, Liukin had said that she would have been “haunted” by the question of whether or not she would have been able to make this squad, and help the US earn that team gold, had she not tried. But a shoulder injury, and the constant pressure from younger gymnasts such as the quintet headed for London made that impossible. Now she knows, and the haunting can stop. She walks away from competitive gymnastics with the same grace and dedication to the sport that she always demonstrated as an athlete.

That’s a lesson that the newest US women’s Olympic team will likely remember as they head to one more training camp at the National Training Center outside Houston, Tex., under national coordinator Martha Karolyi’s watchful eye, before leaving for London. While four of the five members are part of the squad that won the team gold at the world championships last year, Karolyi will likely demand more, in the form of stabler routines without the minor bobbles that littered the performances at Trials. Douglas is strong on the uneven bars, where her high-flying release moves earn her high scores, but struggles on beam, and Wieber, who is always intense when competing, could impress the international judges by competing with more flair. Maroney, the current world champion on vault, will undoubtedly wow with her soaring tumble through the air on that event, but can become more consistent on the uneven bars and floor. And Raisman and Ross, both consistent, solid competitors, just need to keep their thoughts from straying to the enormity of being first-time Olympians and focused on completing their crowd-pleasing — and high-scoring — routines.


Teresa Gabriele help Canada’s women earn final basketball berth at Olympics.

Mission native, teammates off to London after Canada Day victory.
Twelve years after she went to the Olympics as a bright-eyed 20-year-old Simon Fraser University student believing her best five-ring moments were ahead of her, Teresa Gabriele is finally going back to another Summer Games.
Her knees ache constantly now and an injured right foot kept her out of last fall’s Pan Am Games.
And instead of playing pro basketball overseas like several of her young teammates on Canada’s women’s basketball team, she trains at home and works as an early-morning delivery driver for her parents’ bread business.
But the little point guard with the big heart has proved that adage about hard work paying off.
“Obviously there comes a point in time where you start to reach an age and your body falls apart a little bit,” the Mission native said Sunday on a media conference call from Turkey after Canada beat Japan 71-63 to qualify for London.
“Everybody should know that if you put in the hard work, you’re going to get something out of it. That’s what happened to our team today.”
And fittingly enough, it happened on Canada Day.
“Unbelievable. How cool is that?” said euphoric head coach Allison McNeill.
After being upset by Croatia in a quarter-final game Friday at the 12-country qualifying tournament – Croatia and the three other quarter-final winners advanced to London – Canada needed to beat Argentina on Saturday and then Japan on Sunday to earn the fifth and final Olympic berth. It’s the first time Canada has qualified for the Games since 2000 in Sydney.
Guard Courtney Pilypaitis of Ottawa led the way with 21 points, including five of Canada’s nine three-pointers, and six assists.
But the 5-5 Gabriele, the oldest player in red and white, was terrific as well with 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
“She’s been such a strong part of this program for so long,” said McNeill. “She’s so fit, so mentally tough. To have been to two worlds and two Olympics, there’s very few athletes in [summer] team sports in Canada who can say that. She’s an amazing young woman.”
The win touched off a joyous celebration among the Canadian team and the small band of supporters in the nearly empty arena in Ankara. McNeill wasn’t surprised, though, that the even-keeled Gabriele was somewhat reserved.
“She’s pretty stoic. Her husband was crying and she was pretty stoic. It was cute.”
Gabriele, the only player on the roster who was at Sydney in 2000, insisted she was indeed caught up in the excitement and emotion of the moment as well.
“There were a few tears. Maybe she didn’t see them.
“To end my career [at] an Olympics is just an amazing experience.
“We’re all kind of babbling right now, don’t know what to say. We’re super excited and to do it on Canada Day is even better.”
Canada will be in tough in London, where it will play in a six-team pool with Australia, Russia, France, Britain and Brazil. The top four from each pool advance to the knockout quarter-finals.
“We’re not the greatest shooting team, but we’re tough and we grind it out,” said McNeill, the Salmon Arm native who has coached the women’s team since 2002.
“Are we a favourite going in? Of course we’re not. But I think on any given night if we play well people are going to be concerned about playing us.”I think we can make a little noise.”


Women with cats may have higher suicide risk due to feline fecal parasite
Owning a cat might increase a woman’s risk for attempting suicide, new research suggests.
A new study from the July 2 issue of Archives of General Psychiatry showed that women infected with the Toxoplasma gondii parasite found in some cats’ feces were 1.5 times more likely to try to take their own life than those who were not infected.
10 scary diseases pets give people
“We can’t say with certainty that T. gondii caused the women to try to kill themselves, but we did find a predictive association between the infection and suicide attempts later in life that warrants additional studies,” study author Dr. Teodor T. Postolache, associate professor of psychiatry and director of the Mood and Anxiety Program at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said in a written statement.
For the study, researchers looked at nearly 46,000 Danish women who gave birth between 1992 and 1995 and whose babies were screened for T. gondii antibodies. Babies don’t typically produce antibodies to the parasite until three months after their birth, thus newborns with antibodies suggest their moms were infected by the parasite. The researchers then cross-referenced Danish health registries to see if any of these women later attempted suicide in the decades since, and then looked at a psychiatric health register to determine which of these women were previously diagnosed with mental illness.
The researchers found an increase in suicide risk for women that corresponded with the levels of parasite antibodies found in the children’s blood tests. Seventy-eight women had a violent suicide attempt, which may have involved guns, sharp instruments or jumping from high places, which suggests an 81 percent risk increase for infected women. More than 500 women in the study attempted suicide, so the overall actual risk was still small.
About one-third of the world’s population is thought to be infected with the T. gondii parasite, which causes the infection toxoplasmosis. The parasite hides from the immune system in “cysts” found in brain and muscle cells and many people won’t even show symptoms. The infection, however, may cause headache, fever, a mild illness similar to mononucleosis, muscle pain, blurred vision and seizures within two weeks. Toxoplasmosis has also been linked to mental illness such as schizophrenia and changes in behavior, the researchers said.
The parasite thrives in cats’ intestines and is often passed through their feces into litter boxes or elsewhere in the home. As such, women are often warned not to change the litter box during pregnancy to reduce risk of infection. However the parasite can also be passed from other animals, or through contaminated drinking water, unwashed vegetables or by eating undercooked or raw meat.
Postolache notes his study had limitations, namely that the researchers didn’t capture many occurrences of attempted suicide and weren’t able to determine what caused the suicidal behavior.
“”T. gondii infection is likely not a random event and it is conceivable that the results could be alternatively explained by people with psychiatric disturbances having a higher risk of becoming T. gondii infected prior to contact with the health system, Postolache said. The study also didn’t look at men and women who didn’t have kids.
Dr. J. John Mann, an international suicide expert at Columbia University, said in press release that there’s mounting evidence that immune factors may be tied to suicide risk, so identifying infections that can trigger a heightened immune system response in at-risk patients that may lead to new suicide prevention strategies.
About 1 million people commit suicide and another 10 million attempt suicide worldwide each year.

Irish women

Irish women least satisfied with sex in Europe

Women from Ireland are the least satisfied in Europe with their sex life, says a study of the sex habits of girls across the European Union.
A massive seven out of 10 Irish women say they are not satisfied with their night-time sexual activity, The Sun reported citing the study by Women’s Health magazine.
Irish women are also the busiest in bed among European countries. A whopping 42% have sex more than three times a week. Their perfect time for sex is said to be 11 pm on a Saturday night.
The study of 1,000 females was conducted to find out the truth behind European women’s sex lives and the difference in sexual appetites.
It found that women from Scotland were more sexually satisfied.
After Irish women, Londoners and Welsh women have the most sex. One-third of women from these two regions have sex three times a week.
Having sex outdoors was labelled the “most exciting” way — with 40%. It was followed by sex at work and on the beach.
But not all the 1,000 women polled seek such naughty sexual thrills, with 28% saying the only place they had sex was at home.


Women’s World Championship Draw Complete, Tourney to Decide Olympic Spots.

The 2012 London Olympic Games will see boxing history made when women take to the ring for the first time ever in Olympic competition. Fans of boxing will be able to see gender equality in the sport on the world’s biggest stage.
The draw for the Women’s World Championships were held in Qinhuangdo, China May 11. The draw comes after some changes were made to the Olympic qualifying process the day before changes the path some boxers will have to take to get to London.
Boxing slots open for the Olympics will now have to come under a continental quota system. The wrinkle means wins at the World Championships are only part of what will be considered. There will still be eight boxers from each weight class who will get berths out of China, but continental numbers will play a part.
Essentially, there are two parts to the Olympic selection, requiring a strong finish in the Worlds but also taking into account the strength of other boxers from the same regions. It can be compared to how team sports like soccer are given Olympic berths.
A clear example of the way the continental changes will impact Olympic hopefuls is seen in three American boxers. Flyweight Marlen Esparza and middleweight Claressa Shields will need to place in the top two in their respective classes from the Americas to earn a ticket to London. Queen Underwood, a lightweight from Seattle, Washington, will have to see the best finish in the Americas to see her way clear to the Games.
There is another aspect to the World Championships beyond Olympic qualification, and that is fights in non-Olympic classes. The United States team has three Olympic hopefuls, and six boxers looking to do their best at the Worlds. A full list of all the brackets can be viewed here.
A total of 343 women boxers from 77 nations are at the Worlds. Host nation China along with Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine have the maximum allowed ten boxers. Canada, France, Kenya, and the United States are sending nine. Other nations with strong representation are Australia and Vietnam with eight, while DPR Korea, Germany, Poland, Serbia, and Venezuela each are sending seven.
The list of countries participating in the Women’s World Championships for the first time is impressive, and even includes Afghanistan.


Jharkhand: Witchcraft an excuse to eliminate women to usurp property?

In the space of just over a month, four persons were brutally killed in Jharkhand this year, all four stated to be the victims of witchcraft. On March 10, throats of Sushil Oraon and Jhibi Oraon were slit in Lohardaga’s Lawagai village, while on April 16 the head of Budhva Mahali was severed and his wife Etwari Mahali suffered a macabre death at Haslata village in Gumla district.
The police said that the killings were the result of witchcraft being practised widely in the remote villages of Jharkhand.
The police’s contention was corroborated by a recent survey which found that 1,157 murders, committed between 1991 and 2010, were due to the evil practice.
Since 2001, there exists a law in the state “Jharkhand Dayan Pratha (witchcraft) Act” to control the crime, but it has been proved more effete than effective.
According to an official report of the Jharkhand Social Welfare Ministry, mostly widows, single women and families with no male members fall victims to these arcane beliefs.
The ministry pointed out that the real motive behind the killings was usurpation of the helpless women’s moveable and unmoveable property.
Jharkhand Social Welfare Minister Bimla Pradhan said Rs 20 lakh was earmarked this fiscal to organize workshops, publicity campaigns through the Jharkhand Information and Public Relations Department in an effort to weed out witchcraft.
This superstition has led to atrocities against women. The need of the hour is to launch a widespread awareness campaign to root out the evil belief, she said.
Hardly a month passes without a witchcraft murder happening in Jharkhand, particularly in the districts like Chatra, Latehar, West Singhbhum and Gumla.
It’s because of lack of awareness (that such incidents happen). An awareness campaign will be launched to eradicate this superstition, Gumla Superindent of Police Jatin Narwal said.
If necessary, action would be taken against those spreading the superstition, he said.
The Dehradun-based Rural Litigation & Entitlement Kendra (RLEK), an NGO engaged in rooting out witchcraft across the country, has recently approached the Supreme Court pleading for a direction to all states to have strict acts in place to deal with witchcraft-related crime.
The SC observed that when women were getting fifty per cent reservation in legislatures, there should be strict laws to prevent atrocities on women, RLEK Chairman Avdhash Kaushal told PTI over phone.
Unfortunately, witch-murders take place practically every week, which is nothing but a murder for property under the excuse of witchcraft, he says.
Kaushal suggested that the laws be made more stringent by increasing the present three-month prison term for such murders.

Water polo

UCLA, USC earn women’s water polo rematch

Bruins top Iona, Trojans defeat Princeton and will meet Saturday in a semifinal. UC Irvine will play top-seeded Stanford in the other semifinal.
Second-seeded UCLA put away Iona, 14-3, and No. 3-seeded USC dominated Princeton, 14-2, on Friday in the opening round of the NCAA women’s water polo championship tournament at San Diego State.
UC Irvine was an 8-6 winner over Loyola Marymount, and Pomona-Pitzer fell to Stanford, 17-5.
Senior KK Clark scored four goals for the Bruins (22-3), who established a 5-0 lead and never looked back. Sarah Orozco, another senior, had a hat trick for UCLA, which moved into a semifinal match Saturday with USC (22-5).
“I thought we did a good job with our composure and executed early, which makes all the difference,” UCLA Coach Brandon Brooks said.
Goalkeeper Sarah Wilkey made 11 stops for UCLA and Caitlin Dement recorded five saves.
Against Princeton, the Trojans took a 6-0 lead on goals by Colleen O’Donnell, Kaleigh Gilchrist, Chelsea Silvers, Patricia Jancso, Eike Daube and Madeline Rosenthal. Overall, 10 players scored for USC.
The Trojans went on a five-goal run to close the game and now await UCLA, which had three one-goal victories over USC this season.
Seven consecutive goals broke open a 1-1 game and led No. 1-seeded Stanford (24-2) past eighth-seeded Pomona-Pitzer. Victoria Kennedy led the Cardinal with four goals, and Alyssa Lo and Pallavi Menon also posted hat tricks. Kaley Dodson scored twice for Stanford, which moves into the semifinals against fourth-seeded UC Irvine (25-6).
That will be the second meeting between Stanford and UC Irvine this season.
The Cardinal defeated the Anteaters, 17-5, on March 4.

Miami women

University of Miami women’s tennis team advances to regional final.

UM defeated North Florida and will face Utah in the regional final. The winner of that match makes it to the NCAA Round of 16.
The University of Miami women’s tennis team took one big step forward Friday — and it certainly wasn’t a foot fault — in the NCAA regional at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center on the UM campus.
The Canes defeated in-state opponent North Florida 4-0 to move into Saturday’s 1 p.m. regional final against Utah, which upset Texas Tech 4-3. The winner of Saturday’s match between UM (19-4) and Utah (12-10) will advance to the NCAA Round of 16 next week in Athens, Ga.
UM’s No. 1 player, Anna Bartenstein, had a tougher time than expected. She lost her first set to North Florida’s Aline Berkenbrock 6-2, but that bad first set brought out the grit in Bartenstein.
“Yes, I was mad at myself,” Bartenstein said. “I think I should have started right from the beginning. I was a little stressed out, and I wasn’t playing my game.”
In the second set, she turned things around, winning 6-2 and was awaiting the third set when UM’s Melissa Bolivar clinched the match for the Hurricanes with a 1-6, 6-4, 6-0 triumph over Simona Weymar in No. 4 singles.
Bolivar’s clinching match gave the Canes a 4-0 victory and the rest of the matches, including Bartenstein’s, did not have to be completed.
Bartenstein and fellow senior Gabriela Mejia have been the key to UM’s success this season.
“They won’t tell you this,” UM coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews said of Bartenstein and Mejia, “but they bear the weight of this team on their shoulders.”
Friday was particularly trying for both of them. They graduated in the morning and then almost immediately had to ditch the cap and gown for tennis shorts.
“They’ve got finals, senior pictures, they have family coming from all over the world, they’re walking [for their degrees] at 8:30 a.m. in the morning and they know they have to go out here and compete, and not just compete, but to go out and compete in the top two positions for this team and pull in Ws,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “We haven’t been in a real competitive situation in three weeks. All in all, I think they did a great job.”
Freshman Liat Zimmerman also contributed to the UM victory with a 6-2, 6-1 triumph over North Florida’s Marina Cunningham.
Bartenstein accepted her diploma for marketing and will stay in school in order to get her MBA.
Mejia was handed her degree in international finance and marketing and, moments later, was teaching North Florida’s Lorna Aviles how to manipulate numbers with a 6-1, 6-0 victory.
Yaroshuk-Tews is proud of Bartenstein and Mejia walking away with their diplomas but also was nostalgic.
“It’s always tough when you know your time with the seniors is coming to an end,” she said.

Bethune-Cookman women

Texas-Pan American men, Bethune-Cookman women lead PGA Minority Collegiate.

Texas-Pan American took a seven-stroke lead Friday in the first round of the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship, while Bethune-Cookman opened a 19-shot advantage in the women’s competition.
Santiago Bueno, from Mexico, led Texas-Pan American with an even-par 72 in windy conditions on PGA Golf Club’s Wanamaker Course, and Kevin Kirakossian, from Tualatin, Ore., had a 73. The Broncs had a 6-over 294 total. Alabama State was second, followed by Tennessee State at 302.
“The wind made it very difficult today, but I managed to finish very strong and help the team,” Bueno said. “This is my last college tournament, so I want to bring home a title and finish well.”
Kirakossian, a member of the 2010 championship squad, overcame a bogey on the par-5 first hole.
“I definitely didn’t start the round like I wanted. You are supposed to birdie the par 5s out here,” Kirakossian said. “But I was able to steady myself after that and finish well for the team.”
The Bethune-Cookman women’s team had a 305 total on the Ryder Course. Patrizia Trevisan, a freshman from Austria, opened with a 72.
“I had a rough start with two opening bogeys, but I recovered and am really happy with how I finished,” Trevisan said. “This tournament is so important and we want to win the title badly.”
South Carolina State was second, and defending champion Texas-Pan American was tied for third with Hampton at 329.
In Division II, Fayetteville State finished at 300 to take a 13-stroke lead over Lincoln University. Jedidiah Frazier led the Broncos with a 71, and Jake Barge had a 72.
“The wind was just unbelievable and you had to hit fairways and greens in regulation to post a good score,” Barge said. “I was really satisfied with my round and got the most out of what was a difficult day.”
In the Men’s Independent Division, Justin Watkins of Central Oklahoma and Chris Davis of Carroll University, shared the lead at 74.
“It was extremely windy out there today and I spent the whole day really grinding to shoot a good score,” Watkins said. “Birdies were hard to come by, and I had three, and overall I am happy with how I performed.”
In the Women’s Independent Division, Mia Campbell of Alabama State topped the field with an 83.

Gators women’s

Gators women’s lacrosse team sticking out as nation’s No. 1.

Quick-starting Florida battles Albany today in NCAA opener.
University of Florida lacrosse coach Amanda O’Leary built in three years what some programs take a lifetime striving for — a No. 1 ranking nationally and a legitimate chance to play for the national championship.
The Gators (17-2) will open NCAA Tournament play against Albany (12-5) at1 p.m. today.
“I think,” said O’Leary, “we’ve put ourselves on the map.”
Freshman draw specialist Shannon Gilroy scored seven goals as UF knocked off top-ranked Northwestern 14-7 to claim its first-ever American Lacrosse Conference Tournament title last week. The Gators beat the defending national champions for the second time this season and were the unanimous top team in this week’s polls — joining North Carolina (accomplished in 1996) as the only third-year programs reach No. 1.
It also was the fastest a Florida program has reached the top spot in its sport in school history.
Defense will be a key in tournament play and O’Leary actually took a page out of the UF basketball teams.
“You could basically put lacrosse on a basketball court and not see much difference, so we do a lot of basketball drills,” said O’Leary, who in April became just the 12th lacrosse coach in NCAA history to get 200 career wins.
“We certainly have watched our women’s basketball practice, we’ve watched our men’s basketball practice to get some hints, not only defensively, but offensively.”
While the Gators are still a relatively new face in the sport, O’Leary has huge goals and thinks her team can win it all, but how they do could be as much mental as physical.
“I think if our team comes out and executes and does the things that we typically do well, I think we can play with anyone in the country,” she said.
“I’ve also seen us at the other end, where we don’t necessarily play very well, and we can lose to anybody in the country if we do that.
“It’s just a matter of how we come out of that locker room, ready to play, ready to compete and, hopefully, at this stage of the game they understand what’s at stake and they are going to come out and be ready when that first whistle blows.”
This year’s squad feels it is better than the one that fell short of reaching the Final Four last season.
Junior defender Emily Dohony: “I think we’re definitely a better team this year. It’s leadership on the field and off the field. Everyone is a leader in their own way. We had leadership last year, but not as much, which comes with experience. This year, we are really ready to go the Final Four and succeed further than last year.”
Junior defender Sam Farrell said last year’s team may have lost focus at the end.
“This year, we have one goal in mind,” Farrell said. “And we are definitely not going to lose focus. We’re going to stay focused every step of the way.
“We’re obviously taking it one game at a time, but if we do get past this first weekend, we’re going to work so hard for the next game.”

Women team

Women team up to build homes.
Therese Johnson never thought she would own her own home.
But Thursday afternoon she was working with about 20 other local women to build her new home from the ground up.
“It’s a dream come true,” said 44-year-old Johnson, who has worked in the Thibodaux High School cafeteria for 18 years. “It means a whole lot to me. I thought I would never own a home, but I guess God stepped in.”
More than 50 local volunteers, mostly women, also stepped in to build Johnson her dream home as a part of Bayou Area Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build Week, a nationwide Habitat for Humanity effort.
The effort aims to get more women involved with Bayou Area Habitat for Humanity in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes, teach them construction skills and move families out of poverty housing, according to Bayou Area Habitat for Humanity officials.
“This is the third year we’ve gotten women from Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes to pick up a hammer and go to work building homes — doing what is traditionally thought of as a ‘man’s job,’ ” said Andrea Clark, executive director of Bayou Area Habitat for Humanity. “It’s wonderful for the homeowner, and it’s a blessing for the community.”
Habitat volunteers began working on the home Thursday morning and will continue through today.Volunteers groups from many local companies pledged their time, including Lowe’s, Terrebonne General Medical Center, Best Buy, Amelia Belle Casino and John Deere. Lowe’s also provided Bayou Area Habitat for Humanity with a $5,000 Lowe’s store gift card, as well as in-store volunteer training in support of Women Build Week.
Chris Ledet Homes of Thibodaux sponsored the project.
Sheri Eschete, wife of Thibodaux Mayor Tommy Eschete, was one of the women working on Johnson’s future home, hammering on its base. She got involved after judging the organization’s Mr. Habitat fundraiser last summer.
Sheri Eschete said she’s not traditionally “handy” — the most hands-on she gets is sewing. But she was happy to help.
“I think Habitat is a great organization because it gives people a chance to help themselves,” she said. “I’m not really good with a hammer, but I’m learning.”
Future Habitat homeowners have to put in “sweat equity,” or volunteer hours working on other Habitat projects, to qualify for homes.
Habitat homes typically take about three to nine months to build, said Habitat volunteer coordinator Aimee Bourgeois. But many volunteers like to stay involved, volunteering to continue working on a home after Women Build Week, and that makes the process go faster.
If you’re interested in volunteering, contact Bourgeois at 447-6999, ext. 224, or email her at
Johnson said working to build her own home was a good experience, and the St. Charles Street lot where her shotgun home will be located is “perfect.” She plans to live there with her 22-year-old son.
“I’ve lived in Thibodaux all my life. It’s a quiet neighborhood. It’s perfect for me,” she said.


Tech women’s tennis falls in first round of NCAA tournament to Utah.

The Texas Tech women’s tennis team saw its historic season come to an end Friday with a 4-3 loss to Utah in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
The No. 21 Lady Raiders won their first Big 12 Conference title this season and earned their first trip to the postseason, but for the second time this season, they were unable to solve No. 37 Utah.
One of Tech’s five regular season losses came against the Utes back in February. Deja vu reared its head on Friday, as the Lady Raiders lost in identical fashion as they had three months earlier.
“It was an eerie feeling,” Tech coach Todd Petty said in a telephone interview, “because it seemed like it went down the same way. It’s just one of those things. I don’t think it was nerves. I think it’s just a bad team match up with them because of the positions with them and where they’re at.”
Tech won the doubles point with narrow victories from Caroline Starck and Nikki Sanders at the No. 2 position and Rashmi Teltumbde and Elizabeth Ullathorne at No. 3. Then, in singles, straight-sets victories from Adams (No. 2) and Sanders (No. 6) gave Tech a 3-0 lead.
But Utah stormed back tie the match with victories at the No. 1, 4, and 3 positions, leaving the match to be decided by the result of the battle at No. 5 singles between Tech freshman Kenna Kilgo and Utah’s Lucia Kovarcikova. Kilgo won the first set, but Kovarcikova won the second set and triumphed again in the third to push Utah into the second round.
Petty said his team was “out-toughed a little bit” in the loss. With
“After each one of our losses to end the year we talk about raising the bar,” he said. “I think that will really drive them. My character and the character of this team is that no is going to ever outwork us, and they did that today. We want to make sure that never happens again.”
Tech ends its season at 19-6. Adams and Kilgo will participate as the 19th-ranked doubles team at the NCAA individual championships later this month.

Indian women

Indian women boxers make winning start at World Championship.

Indian women boxers were off to an impressive start at the World Championships-cum-Olympic Qualifiers in Qinhuangdao, China with Mandakini Chanu (57kg) and Neetu Chahal (69kg) advancing to the second round with easy wins.
Mandakini and Neetu are competing in the non-Olympic categories as only 51kg, 60kg and 75kg divisions have been picked for the London Games where women’s boxing will make its debut in the quadrennial extravaganza.
Mandakini comprehensively defeated Serbia’s Bojana Ranic. Right from the moment the gong was sounded, Mandakini went on a relentless offensive against the Serbian who was physically taller and heftier.
At the end of Round one, the score was 10-3 in favour of India and during the second round, Mandakini stunned Ranic twice whereby the referee had to administer the standing count of eight on both occasions.
Finally the Referee stopped the contest in the third round in favour of Mandakini. Mandakini will now take on world number one Tiara Brown of USA on Monday.
Neetu, meanwhile, defeated Hungary’s European Champion Bianka Nagy 22-6.
At the end of the first round, Neetu was leading 4-1and although Bianka was a very experienced boxer, Neetu’s attacking play gave her the edge and the bout.
Score at the end of second Round was 9-3 which increased to 17-5 by the next and finished at 22:6.
Neetu’s next opponent is also a world number one — Marie de Jong of Netherlands. PTI PM Indian women boxers make winning start at World Championships
New Delhi, May 12 (PTI) Indian women boxers were off to an impressive start at the World Championships-cum-Olympic Qualifiers in Qinhuangdao, China with Mandakini Chanu (57kg) and Neetu Chahal (69kg) advancing to the second round with easy wins.
Mandakini and Neetu are competing in the non-Olympic categories as only 51kg, 60kg and 75kg divisions have been picked for the London Games where women’s boxing will make its debut in the quadrennial extravaganza.
Mandakini comprehensively defeated Serbia’s Bojana Ranic. Right from the moment the gong was sounded, Mandakini went on a relentless offensive against the Serbian who was physically taller and heftier.
At the end of Round one, the score was 10-3 in favour of India and during the second round, Mandakini stunned Ranic twice whereby the referee had to administer the standing count of eight on both occasions.
Finally the Referee stopped the contest in the third round in favour of Mandakini. Mandakini will now take on world number one Tiara Brown of USA on Monday. Neetu, meanwhile, defeated Hungary’s European Champion Bianka Nagy 22-6.
At the end of the first round, Neetu was leading 4-1and although Bianka was a very experienced boxer, Neetu’s attacking play gave her the edge and the bout.
Score at the end of second Round was 9-3 which increased to 17-5 by the next and finished at 22:6.
Neetu’s next opponent is also a world number one — Marie de Jong of Netherlands.

Women’s Golf Second

Women’s Golf Second After Two Rounds at NCAA’s.

The second-seed LSU Lady Tigers did two things they wanted to do Friday on a cold and rainy second-round day at the NCAA Women’s West Regional golf tournament at the Colorado National Golf Club.
The put themselves in position for a good advancement position for the D1 Championships and they have a chance to win their first regional title.
The Lady Tigers, ranked seventh in the country, followed a 3-over 291 with a round best 2-over 290 to stand at 5-over par 581 for 36 holes, Stanford, ranked 40th in the country, played in the morning wave and moved to the lead while sitting on the bench in the afternoon at 4-over 580.
Third place is five shots behind LSU at 10-over par 586 with North Carolina and top-seed UCLA tied for the position. The eighth and final qualifying spot that will advance teams to the NCAA D1 Women’s Golf Championships in Franklin, Tenn., is held by California at 21-over par 597.
After an opening round played in 80 degree sunshine, Friday’s second round was played at times in a light rain with temperatures in the mid-40s.
But the Lady Tigers answered the call and now, after finishing a program best second in last year’s Central Regional, behind UCLA, has a chance to get the title on the final day.
Individually, defending NCAA individual champion sophomore Austin Ernst, posted a 3-under round of 69 to go with a 1-under 71 to stand at 4-under 140 for 36 holes. That puts her in second place one shot out of the lead of Catherine O’Donnell of North Carolina at 5-under 139.
LSU also got a great rebound from freshman Madelene Sagstrom who posted a 2-under 70 to finish at 2-over 142, moving her up 42 places to a tie for 12th in the individual standings. LSU also counted a 2-over 74 from senior Tessa Teachman and a 5-over 77 from senior Jacqueline Hedwall.
“I am so very pleased with how the team came out and played (Friday),” said LSU Coach Karen Bahnsen. “Everyone had to play in the same conditions, but the girls blocked it out of their minds and went about their business. The team showed a lot of mental toughness. Obviously, qualifying is the most important thing in this event, but we are in a position to win this tournament and we want to have one more strong round and see what happens.”
The top 12 teams in the standings will get the chance to probably decide the eight spots, playing first in the morning wave that begins at 8:30 a.m. CDT. LSU will tee off with Stanford and North Carolina off the first tee at 9:36 p.m. CDT.
At Erie, Colo.
Second Round Team Results (Par 288-584)
1. Stanford 287-283 – 580 +4; 2. LSU 291-290 – 581 +5; 3. North Carolina 288-298 – 586 +10; 3. UCLA 290-296 – 586 +10; 5. Baylor 300-293 – 593 +17; 6. Texas Tech 300-294 – 594 +18; Pepperdine 297-299 – 596 +20; 8. California 296-301 – 597 +21. 9. Colorado 297-301 – 598 +22; 9. Illinois 296-302 – 598 +22; 11. Tulsa 297-303 – 600 +24; 11. UC Davis 305-295 – 600 +24; 11. San Jose State 302-298 – 600 +24; 14. Oklahoma 305-296 – 601 +25; 15. UNLV 302-301 – 603 +27; 16. Iowa State 302-302 – 604 +28; 17. TCU 302-304 – 606 +17; 18. New Mexico 303-307 – 610 +34; 19. Denver 304-311 – 615 +39; 20. Kennesaw State 309-311 – 620 +44; 21. Missouri State 314-307 – 621 +45; 22. Oregon State 313-318 – 631 +55; 23. Northern Colorado 311-324 – 635 +59; 24. Jackson State 348-355 – 703 +127.

Individual Top 5 (Par 72-144)
1. Catherine O’Donnell, North Carolina, 70-69 – 139 -5; 2. Austin Ernst, LSU, 71-69 – 140 -4; 3. Sydney Burlison, Stanford, 67-74 – 141 -3; 4. Sally Watson, Stanford, 71-71 – 142; 5. Hayley Davis, Baylor, 69-74 – 143 -1.

LSU Scores
2. Austin Ernst 71-69 – 140 -4
T12. Madelene Sagstrom 76-70 – 146 +2
T22. Jacqueline Hedwall 71-77 – 148 +4
T40. Tessa Teachman 76-74 – 150 +6
T54. Lindsay Gahm 73-79 – 152 +8


Woman who ate poison while pregnant loses appeal.

The Indiana Supreme Court on Friday declined to drop murder and feticide charges against a woman who ate rat poison while she was pregnant in a case that medical and women’s rights groups contend could have larger repercussions.
However, the court’s unanimous ruling does allow Bei Bei Shuai to be released on bond, which is rare in murder cases.
Shuai’s attorneys contend the Chinese immigrant living in Indianapolis ate rat poison in a suicide attempt, not to kill her baby, and that she was suffering from depression. Prosecutors have said she wanted the baby to die. The baby died three days after being born.
Defense attorneys argued in court documents filed March 9 that prosecuting a woman based on the outcome of her pregnancy violates constitutional rights to due process and equal treatment and is cruel and unusual punishment.
Shuai, 34, lost her bid to have the charges against her dropped when Indiana’s highest court declined to hear her appeal. Friday’s order let stand a February Indiana Court of Appeals ruling that ordered a Marion County judge to set bond. Shuai was charged in March 2011 and has been jailed since.
Shuai’s attorney, Linda Pence, said she was “devastated” that the high court declined to hear the case. “It’s horrible. She shouldn’t be in jail. She should never have been in jail in the first place,” Pence said.
Bryan Corbin, a spokesman for the state attorney general’s office, which defended the charges on appeal, emailed a brief statement. “We respect the Court and the process in this difficult case,” Corbin said.
Several medical and women’s rights groups, including the National Organization for Women and the National Alliance for Mental Illness, have filed friend-of-the-court briefs in support of Shuai, claiming that prosecuting Shuai could set a precedent under which pregnant women could be prosecuted for smoking or other behavior that might deemed a danger to their fetus. They said that could discourage women from seeking prenatal care.
Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said prosecutors are merely applying Indiana law.
“The Legislature has drafted a law that says the intentional killing of a fetus is within the murder statute. We think that intent is present,” Curry said. “All we can do from the prosecutor’s perspective is enforce the law.”
Lynn Paltrow, executive director of the New York-based National Advocates for Pregnant Women, said Indiana courts have ignored 80 organizations and experts who have warned that allowing the case to go forward is “bad for mothers and babies.” An attorney from Paltrow’s group is helping defend Shuai.
“The message is … if you suffer a pregnancy loss or do anything an outsider thinks could be harming your pregnancy, you could be charged with a crime and put on trial,” Paltrow said.
Curry disputed that theory.
“We’ve attempted to make it clear that there’s no intention whatsoever to endanger pregnant women, to endanger a fetus,” he said.
Shuai was 33 weeks pregnant when she ate rat poison on Dec. 23, 2010, after her boyfriend broke up with her. Shuai was hospitalized, and doctors tried to treat her for the poison. Court records show doctors told Shuai that they detected little problem with the fetus until days later, when the premature baby girl was delivered by cesarean section Dec. 31. The child, Angel Shuai, died from bleeding in the brain after being removed from life support.
The Indiana Court of Appeals in February ordered a judge to set bond for Shuai, saying her defense attorneys presented sufficient evidence to rebut the murder and feticide charges. But the three-judge panel declined to dismiss the case, saying Shuai had not proven that common-law immunity exists for pregnant women who harm their own fetuses.

women control pill

Birth control pill recall puts women on alert

Women are wondering if their birth control medicine worked and are buying pregnancy test kits after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a recall of a million pill packets.

The sequence of the pills in the blister packs — the 21 days of medicine and the seven days of placebo — may be out of whack because of a packaging error.

The 1 million packet recall is limited to the brand name Lo/Ovral-28 and its generic equivalent, norgestrel and ethinyl estradiol, which are manufactured by Pfizer Inc. but labeled as Akrimax Pharmaceuticals products. Physicians advise women to check the lot numbers on their packets and start using alternative forms of contraception if they have the recalled medicine.

Some women may want morning-after pills to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, but the window may have closed for that medicine to work. It’s most effective 72 hours after conception, said Dr. Helen Cavasin of Tennessee Women’s Care in Hendersonville. She advised women not to smoke or drink alcohol until they determine whether or not they are pregnant.

“They can take a pregnancy test now, but they have to realize that if conception has occurred within the last several days, that negative pregnancy test is not necessarily enough to confirm that they are not pregnant,” Cavasin said. “They would take another pregnancy test one to two weeks additionally to confirm that they are not pregnant.”

Her best advice for women who have the recalled packets is to start relying on an alternative form of birth control, such as condoms, and to contact their pharmacies and doctors for advice.

Dr. Kelly Williams of Murfreesboro Medical Clinic noted that the affected medicine is not one of the more popular forms of oral contraceptives. He does not prescribe the medicine.

It’s not unusual for women to skip a few days taking the pill, he said, but the packaging mix-up increases the likelihood of a surprise pregnancy.

“If a patient misses several days’ worth of pills, they can usually make it up by coming back on the next day,” Williams said. “What the FDA is saying here with these pills is there is not enough estrogen. If they miss a pill, they are going to be in trouble.”

And he pointed out it is possible for a woman to get pregnant when she stays on a correct pill regimen — even without a recall.

“People get pregnant on birth control. It happens.”

Disruptions possible

The packaging defects do not pose immediate health risks for those women who took the actual birth control medicine beyond 21 days, the FDA said. However, they may experience disruptions with their menstrual cycle, Cavasin said.

“During that seven days of placebo, you have your period,” she said. “With some people, their packs may have had too many days of hormones and not enough of the placebo days, which is not really actually dangerous, it just means they might skip their period or have a short period or an abnormal period.”

Pharmacists at Riverside Village Pharmacy in Inglewood and Reeves-Sain Drug Store in Murfreesboro said that as of Wednesday afternoon they had not received calls from concerned women. Both businesses also had pregnancy tests in stock.

Women 2

Women from around the world to assess role of technology

Women leaders from India and over 50 other countries are gathering in Bangalore on Friday to discuss role of technology in empowering women, particularly in developing nations.

The three-day conference titled “Women and Technology” is being organised by the Art of Living (AoL) International Centre, founded by spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar .

This is the fifth International Women’s Conference (IWC) hosted by AoL. Parliamentarians, film makers, corporate executives and social activists from India, Argentina, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Holland, Italy, Ireland, Bulgaria, Egypt, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Bangladesh, Singapore and Japan will attend the conference, a statement from the AoL said on Thursday.

Union minister of state for human resource development Daggubati Purandeswari, first Woman presidential candidate of Egypt Bothaina Kamel, Israeli parliamentarian Ronit Tirosh, and Jordanian filmmaker Al Wajd Al Fayez are some of the leading personalities attending the conference, it said.

“The conference will focus on the impact of technology on women and society, the connection between spirituality and technology, raising awareness on the role of yoga and meditation in relieving stress, the opportunity to use technology as a tool to empower women in the developing world and technology serving as a connecting link between women belonging to different social strata,” the statement said.

“The purpose of this conference is to raise awareness on the multi-dimensional impact of technology on women. The new age woman is on par with men in creating new technology as well as in using the same,” said IWC chairperson Bhanumathi Narasimhan.
The conference will showcase the rich heritage of various cultures by both Indian as well as international artists.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar will preside over the inaugural function, the AoL statement said.

Women’s Basketball

Women’s Basketball: Northwestern hopes shots fall against Michigan on Thursday

Northwestern hopes February will mean an end to turnovers on the court and a turnaround of its record.

Traveling to Ann Arbor, Mich., Thursday, the Wildcats look to beat the Wolverines on their home court, much as Michigan did to NU two weeks ago.”The mistakes that we made in that game we’ve really got to try to clean up going into tomorrow,” coach Joe McKeown said.
In the previous game, the Cats had a sluggish start and no control of the ball, turning the ball over 18 times in the first half, a statistic McKeown called “crazy” and “unacceptable”.

McKeown said he noticed NU becoming more confident in the last two matches, even in the loss to Purdue last Thursday, and especially in the Cats’ victory over Indiana on Sunday.

Michigan has lost its last two games, but the Wolverines remain a threat with the second-lowest turnover average and the second-best scoring defense in the Big Ten.In its last meeting with Michigan, NU shot 36.5 percent for the game and made only seven field goals in the first half.Meghan McKeown said the Cats worked on taking better shots, running through their offense and looking before they pass.

“For us it’s being able to control the tempo, get the offensive rebounds, really working the ball inside,” the sophomore guard said. “Dannielle Diamant has been unstoppable lately. Last time they played here, they couldn’t guard her so hopefully (Thursday) will be the same.”

Diamant earned her third consecutive double-double against Indiana, but the junior forward had only 12 points when the Wolverines visited Welsh-Ryan Arena on Jan. 19, 10 fewer than Sunday.The poor shooting present in its last match gives freshman guard Karly Roser confidence that Thursday will be a better day for NU’s offense, she said.

Roser said the more than 11-minute stretch in the Jan. 19 contest, when the Cats only managed two points, was “ridiculous.” This game they will focus on all the “little things” that coach McKeown reiterates, including making better decisions on the court.”We have to be balanced, getting more possessions by not turning the ball over so much,” coach McKeown said. “Trying to get better shots and I think that for us if the big key.”

Roser added that Michigan has some good three-point shooters in its starting lineup and NU must ensure the Wolverines don’t get open looks, especially from behind the arc. Michigan scored 27 points off three-point shots in the previous matchup.

She said her number one goal on Thursday is shutting down Courtney Boylan, Michigan’s number two scorer. Roser also said she wants to attack the basket and get open looks for teammates against the Wolverines.Meghan McKeown said NU needs to have a great shooting day at Michigan to get the win.

“Some days with basketball, shots are going to fall or shots aren’t going to fall,” she said. “You have a game where you can go 5-for-5 and you have games where you go 0-for-12. It just is kind of the way the game works. Everyone’s been in the gym shooting, working it out so hopefully we’ll be making it rain on Thursday.”

Missouri women

Missouri women fall to No.1 Baylor

Losing the opening tipoff isn’t necessarily an accurate predictor for the rest of a basketball game. Conceding that tipoff by sending out one of your shortest players to jump center against an All-American? That move has the making of a long night.

At 5-foot-9, Missouri freshman guard Morgan Eye was no match against 6-foot-8 Brittney Griner of Baylor, who remained flat-footed and still won the tip easily. She scored Baylor’s first eight points and spent much of the second half on the bench as the top-ranked, undefeated Lady Bears rolled to a 71-41 win over struggling Missouri on Wednesday night.

Baylor (22-0, 9-0 Big 12) dominated every facet of the game, outscoring the Tigers 42-14 in the paint, 25-4 off turnovers, 17-2 on second chances and 12-0 in fast breaks.

“Some of those unforced turnovers, when we lack poise or the toughness that we need to have – I think that’s the most frustrating thing,” Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said. “Because those are all leading into easy conversion transition buckets for them.”

BreAnna Brock and Sydney Crafton led Missouri (10-10, 0-9) in scoring with eight points apiece, while Christine Flores, the team’s leading scorer with an average of nearly 19 points a game, was held to seven points and seven rebounds.

Flores made just 3-of-15 field goals and missed all four of her 3-point attempts. Many of her inside misses came on shots either altered or rejected by Griner, who had four blocks against a Missouri team whose front-line starters are five and six inches shorter.
Pingeton felt her senior leader lacked the same confidence she has displayed in previous games, especially on the perimeter.

“I feel like she took some rushed shots,” the coach said. “She didn’t have the poise that maybe she’s had as of late with her shot, especially on the perimeter.”

When it came to defending Griner, add Missouri to the ranks of those whose game plans sounded good on paper but didn’t work out as planned once it came time to take the court against the Lady Bears. Griner scored 18 points overall, Destiny Williams had 10 points with 11 rebounds and Odyssey Sims had 12 points for Baylor.

“We’ve seen it all,” Mulkey said after the game. “I thought they used up the shot clock quite a bit to shorten the game, keep it low-scoring. They stayed in the zone and challenged us to basically be patient and work it around.”

Missouri kept pace with Baylor early on, briefly taking their only lead at 4-2, but trailed 28-18 at halftime after a seven-minute scoring drought that left the Tigers with just six points after 10 minutes. Baylor quickly took control in the second half, scoring the first 10 points and going on a 24-5 run over the first seven minutes of the period to put the game away.

The Lady Bears, who had 11 steals overall, sped up the pace in the second half as Missouri continued to flounder, converting just 31.4 percent of its field-goal attempts for the game and 26 percent of its 3-point attempts.

“We’re the victim tonight,” Pingeton said. “It can go from a 12-point game to a 25-point game in a matter of minutes. “Their transition game is very aggressive, and when you have a turnover in that open court, it’s going to be a layup at the other end.”

The Tigers remain winless in their final season in the Big 12 Conference before joining the SEC next year. They set season lows for points in both the first half and the entire game.
Mulkey said her team was well prepared against Missouri, which starts two freshman guards as Pingeton attempts to build a struggling program in her second year in Columbia after seven years coaching Illinois State.

“I told them in the scouting report: expect two post players that can shoot the 3 to take you outside, “Mulkey said. “Expect them to shorten the game, keep it low-scoring and just be patient on defense, disciplined the last 10 seconds of the shot clock. You’re going to see a zone.
“Everything I told them came true tonight. But it’s not something we haven’t seen.”

Thai women

Tip-off leads to trio of young Thai women who were ‘held as sex slaves’

A TIP-OFF to the Salvation Army uncovered their ”abhorrent situation”. Three young Thai women, allegedly lured to Australia from Thailand on the promise of student visas, had been allegedly held against their will to work as sex slaves in a Sydney brothel.

Yesterday, the Australian Federal Police announced they had arrested the 42-year-old Chinese-Cambodian owner of the Diamonds 4 Ever brothel in Guildford and charged him with human trafficking offences.

The three Thai women, believed to be under 18, claim they were told they were travelling to Australia on student visas but, once here, their passports were confiscated and they say were taken to the brothel and forced to work as prostitutes.The brothel’s website boasts of ”dream ladies” and an excellent reputation for luxurious, prestigious services.But the reality was ”abhorrent”, the AFP’s national co-ordinator of human trafficking operations, Glyn Lewis, said.

”It’s our general experience [that] these women live under very harsh conditions,” he said. ”Their freedom’s restricted, they may be forced in various ways coercively, threatened with deportation by the owners [and] lied to. They often have [poor] language skills so they’re really in a very frightened state when we get to meet them.”

Jennifer Burn, director of Anti-Slavery Australia at the University of Technology, Sydney, said a client or co-worker may have raised the alarm to the Salvation Army, which runs a safe house for victims of human trafficking.

Thai women chose to speak to police, leading to a long investigation culminating in late-night raids on the brothel as well as four residential and business addresses in Cabramatta, Casula and Canley Heights on Wednesday.

The brothel owner, Phnom Penh-born Song Chhoung Ea, was arrested and charged with several offences carrying a maximum of 25 years’ imprisonment. The charges include conducting a business involving sexual servitude, facilitating entry of persons into Australia knowing they would be exploited and allowing persons to work knowing they were in breach of visa conditions.

Thai women have been referred to the Red Cross for a three-month recovery program and may be granted special witness protection visas.

Virginia Senate

Virginia Senate passes bill requiring women to undergo ultrasound before abortion

The Virginia Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would require women to have an ultrasound before an abortion, the first of several legislative measures this year that are expected to dramatically alter abortion law in the state.Democrats and moderate Republicans in the Senate had rejected similar legislation each year for the past decade, arguing that the bills’ intent is to discourage women from the procedure. But now that the body is more conservative, abortion and other social legislation are back to the forefront.

Republicans, in control of both chambers for only the second time since the Civil War, are looking to pass a slew of bills in the 60-day session that take on abortion. They include banning the procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy, requiring that insurers that cover abortions also offer policies that do not, and giving rights to a fertilized egg at the moment of conception. Another bill, which will be debated in the House of Delegates on Thursday, would end state subsidies for poor women to abort fetuses that have serious birth defects.The House has been pushing the abortion legislation for years but only now has sympathetic partners in the Senate and the governor’s mansion.

The House is expected to easily pass the ultrasound bill in the coming weeks. Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R), who opposes abortion rights, has already said he would sign it into law.

The measure passed Wednesday would require a woman to undergo an ultrasound to determine the gestation age of the fetus and be given an opportunity to view the pictures. A woman who refuses to view the ultrasound would have to sign a statement — which would become a part of her medical file — saying she was given the option. The bill also would require the abortion provider to keep a printed copy of the image in the patient’s file.

McDonnell, a rising star in his party and a possible vice presidential contender, has been uncharacteristically outspoken in his support of the ultrasound bill and other abortion proposals that are likely to come to his desk. As a delegate, he introduced a bill, now law, that requires providers to receive written permission from a woman before performing an abortion.

‘Legitimate health issue’

Supporters of the ultrasound measure say it would provide crucial medical information to women seeking abortions, while opponents say it would subject women to unnecessary tests and invade their privacy.

“It’s a legitimate health issue,” said Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (R-Winchester), who sponsored the legislation.

Vogel also said the measure “does not infringe on a woman’s decision, her autonomy.” She added: “It is not invasive. It does not attempt to infringe in any way on the doctor-patient relationship, and it absolutely does not infringe on her right to have an abortion.”

The Senate voted 21 to 18 in favor of the ultrasound bill, largely along party lines, with a pair of Democrats who oppose abortion rights voting with 19 Republicans. One Democrat was absent. Sen. John C. Watkins (R-Chesterfield) voted against it.


Women Fret Over Implants, Line Up at Doctor’s Offices

In Venezuela, where women seem to love going under the knife, hundreds are lining up at doctor’s offices worried breast implants.

The office of plastic surgeon Ignacio Sousa in Caracas is packed. College students in their 20s, housewives in their 40s, middle-class office workers: nearly all are fearful that their breast implants may be leaking.

Thousands of women worldwide are consulting their doctors about health concerns that have sprung up since December due to faulty silicone breast implants made by the now-defunct French company Poly Implant Prothese, or PIP. In some cases, the implants filled with industrial-grade silicone have split open, prompting growing demand for their removal.


Babes in Arms in Venezuela?

“It’s like a snowball,” said Sousa, who has been receiving dozens of patients every day since the news broke that French authorities recommended the implants be removed.

The scandal has hit beauty-obsessed Venezuela particularly hard. An estimated 16,000 Venezuelans have the implants, one of the highest figures among Latin American countries, along with much-larger Brazil, where about 20,000 women have PIP-made implants.

Breast enlargement surgery is common in Venezuela and has grown in popularity in recent years among middle-class women, thanks in part to low-interest loans offered by private clinics for the operations.

The PIP brand was used frequently until the implants were pulled from the market in 2010.

Like many of those affected in Venezuela, Sania Arroyo has struggled with the mounting medical bills. The 33-year-old bank employee and single mother managed to save about 20,000 bolivars, or $4,600, for surgery to replace the implants in January, scraping together nearly four times what she paid to have them inserted in 2007.

Miss Venezuela

Former Miss Venezuela Loses Battle with Breast Cancer

Miss Venezuela suspected a problem with the implants when she felt a tingling pain under her left breast, and an ultrasound exam confirmed one had ruptured and was leaking silicone into her body.

Miss Venezuela said the replacement implants feel more comfortable, but she’s still apprehensive about them.

“I feel so much better now, although I still have the fear something similar could happen again,” Arroyo said, holding a plastic case containing the ruptured implant and the yellowish silicone that leaked out.

PIP’s silicone gel is transparent, but doctors say the substance often turns yellow when it comes in contact with body tissues.

Arroyo is one of 495 Venezuelans who are suing companies that sold the implants, demanding payment of medical costs.

Venezuela’s government offered to remove the implants for free, but many women say they won’t take up the offer because they prefer to have new implants and the government won’t pay for them.

Venezuelan women

Venezuelan women

French authorities say an estimated 300,000 women have the implants worldwide, including more than 42,000 in Britain, more than 30,000 in France, 9,000 in Australia and 4,000 in Italy.

The implants were never approved for sale in the United States, but tens of thousands of pairs were sold in Latin America. In Colombia, for instance, the association of plastic surgeons says about 14,000 pairs of PIP implants were sold.

On a per-capita basis, Venezuela appears to lead Latin America in the number of breast implants. That’s no surprise to most people in the country, where beauty pageants are a source of national pride and where some teenagers receive implants as birthday presents. Middle-class women sometimes set aside large portions of their salaries for the surgery.

An estimated 35,000 to 40,000 women undergo breast enlargement surgeries in Venezuela each year, and doctors say the numbers have been rising.”Terror has certainly gripped patients who have the implants, but I don’t believe the desire for breast enlargement surgery is going to diminish,” said Gabriel Obayi, a surgeon who has been answering many emails from women concerned about health risks.
Like most surgeons in Venezuela, Obayi recommends that PIP implants eventually be removed but advises that surgery is not urgent in most cases.Regardless of the brand, breast implants are known to break down over time and rupture in some cases.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned silicone-gel type implants in 1992 amid fears they might cause cancer, lupus and other diseases. But in 2006 the agency returned the implants to the U.S. market after most studies failed to find a link between silicone breast implants and disease.


Hottest Latinas of 2012

The FDA began an investigation last year into a possible link between implants and a very rare form of cancer, known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma. The agency said it had learned of about 60 cases of the disease worldwide among women with implants.

France’s Health Safety Agency has said the suspect PIP implants appear to be more rupture-prone than other types, but officials have not specified why.

French health authorities have said they don’t know enough about the health effects of the industrial-grade silicone in the faulty implants, and have recommended that women get them removed after the implants ruptured in more than 1,000 cases. The government has agreed to pay for the procedure.

Investigators in France say PIP sought to save money by using industrial silicone rather than the medical-grade variety.

Last week, French authorities filed preliminary charges against PIP’s founder, Jean-Claude Mas, who according to his lawyer is under investigation for “involuntary injury.” His company went into bankruptcy proceedings shortly after the government in 2010 pulled the implants from the market.

The scandal has left many women asking about the risks they may face, and doctors so far have limited answers.

“We don’t know, neither in Venezuela nor Latin America, what percentage of PIP implants rupture,” said Dr. Carlos Nieto, a surgeon and board member of the Venezuelan Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

It’s also unclear how many women have had the implants removed so far.

In Argentina, about 300 women are negotiating with private clinics and a local distributor, Pro Estetica, demanding the defective implants be replaced for free, said attorney Virgina Luna, who represents the group.

Jobless Mexicana Flight Attendants Pose for Calendar

Gabriela Febres, a 30-year-old financial analyst in Caracas, has joined the legal case against Venezuelan distributors. She suspects she needs to have surgery soon because her right breast has been hurting for weeks.

“This affects you in so many ways: your job, your finances and your psychological state,” Febres said. “The uncertainty is the worst.”