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News Brief: Transgender athletes, mosquito viruses and Barbie with curves

Headlines from Jan. 25-29:

  • Transgender athletes can compete in Olympics without undergoing surgery (Time)

The International Olympic Committee will now permit transgender athletes to compete in the games without having to undergo sex reassignment surgery first. The new guidelines, however, require those transitioning from male to female to adhere to a more strict set of rules, while athletes transition from female to male will be able to compete in male categories without restriction.

  • Zika virus spreading ‘explosively,’ could affect up to 4 million people (Reuters)

The World Health Organization said Thursday that the mosquito-borne Zika virus is spreading so “explosively” that immediate action is necessary. WHO estimates that the virus, which has already been linked to thousands of birth defects in Brazil, could affect up to four million people in the Americas. WHO said that just confirming causation between Zika and birth defects could take six to nine months; developing a safe, effective vaccine could take a year or longer.

  • For the world’s most scrutinized body, Barbie has a new look (News OK)

Barbie’s manufacturer, Mattel, announced Thursday that the doll has three new body types — curvy, tall and petite. Barbie will also now come in seven skin tones, 22 eye colors and 24 hairstyles. Critics still say that the change does not change society’s standards of beauty.

  • Oklahoma Education Board OKs new standards for 2016-17 (KFOR)

The Oklahoma State Board of Education has approved new standards for English, math, health and physical education in schools. The new standards replace the Common Core standards Legislature repealed in 2014.

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