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International News Archive
August 09 - August 15, 1999

 

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This page contains news for the period Monday, August 09, 1999 through Sunday, August 15, 1999.


 

 

<<   August 1999  >>

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Thursday, August 12, 1999

Brazilian TV Star Criticized by Health Minister for Choosing Single Motherhood

Brazil TV Star Under Fire Over Single Motherhood

BRASILIA (Reuters) -- Brazil's queen of kiddie television Xuxa Meneghel engaged in a bitter war of words with the country's health minister Wednesday after he publicly criticized her decision to be a single mother.

Health Minister Jose Serra, speaking at a conference on teenage pregnancy Tuesday, said Xuxa (pronounced Shoo-sha) had set a bad example for her millions of adolescent fans by choosing to have her daughter Sasha out of wedlock.

"I keep imagining how many teenage mothers were influenced in Brazil by this example of independent production of Xuxa with Sasha," Serra said, according to his press office.

Xuxa in turn accused the minister of failing to do his job, saying the country's health system was a shambles.

"I have the means to raise my daughter, which is not the case of the majority of our population, who are victims of politicians who prefer to give hard-hitting interviews instead of taking decisions which will improve people's lives," Xuxa's press spokeswoman quoted her as saying.

The blonde and blue-eyed superstar surprised her fans in 1997 when she announced on prime time television she was having a baby with soap opera hunk Luciano Szafir, but the unmarried couple separated before she gave birth.

Xuxa, 36, has a fanatic following in Brazil, where coverage of her pregnancy last year threatened to eclipse reports of Brazil's performance in the soccer World Cup.

The presenter, known locally as "The Queen," recently celebrated her daughter's first birthday with an opulent party for 800 guests which reportedly cost just under $100,000 and made the front pages of glossy magazines.

One of Latin America's best-paid entertainers, Xuxa has over the years been involved in several highly publicized affairs, including one with soccer idol Pele and the late Formula One racing champion Ayrton Senna.

The soft-porn star turned children's television host has a line of look-alike dolls and endorses products ranging from diapers to sandals.

(Story from the August 12, 1999 News on Yahoo, courtesy of Reuters)

 

Wednesday, August 11, 1999

China's sexual revolution leads to people's condom

FROM OLIVER AUGUST IN BEIJING

CHINA'S first condom vending machines are being installed this week, two decades after the start of the one-child policy. Condoms had been available only to married couples on prescription in many parts of the country.

The arrival of the sexual revolution was triggered by the rise of Aids and prostitution. After denying for many years that "Western vices" existed in China, officials have moved to fight sexually transmitted diseases.

Some southern Chinese provinces are said to suffer Aids epidemics. The main reason has been the spread of prostitution as the welfare net is being cut and ordinary Chinese are encouraged by the Government to look after themselves.

The first 90 condom machines will be installed in Shanghai and Beijing, primarily in public lavatories, subway stations and university areas. Condoms will be priced at 10p each. Following a trial period, the machines are expected to be installed across the country of 1.3 billion people.

By law, in order to contain population growth, Chinese couples are not allowed to have more than one child. The policy is widely resented and sometimes flouted, but the general introduction of condoms will make it more tolerable.

Many unmarried Chinese women live in fear of becoming pregnant because unless they have an abortion they will not be allowed to have another child. Anecdotal evidence suggests that accidental pregnancies have been on the rise in China as Western influences take hold.

Chemists in selected cities have sold condoms since the early 1990s. The Government spends 24 million a year on free contraceptives for married couples.

(Story from the August 11, 1999 London Times)

 

Tuesday, August 10, 1999

Cyprus Orthodox Church to Stop Engagement Ceremonies

Church Engagement Scrapped

Nicosia, Aug 10 (CNA) -- The Cyprus Orthodox Church has decided to scrap religious engagement ceremonies as from October in an effort to discourage sex before marriage.

The decision was taken by the Church's highest body, the Holy Synod, and priests read out a relevant circular at church services across the island on Sunday.

The Church maintains people treat an engagement like a marriage and as an excuse for cohabitation, something it strongly objects to.

The Synod also considered allegations that engagements are used by some as a way of raising money, since it is customary, just as it is at weddings, for guests to give cash instead of gifts to the happy couple.

According to the Holy Synod decision, religious engagement ceremonies will be conducted only until October 1999.

(Story from the August 10, 1999 Cyprus News Agency - CNA MCH/EC/1999)

 

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