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International News Archive
October 04 - October 10, 1999


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This page contains news for the period Monday, October 04, 1999 through Sunday, October 10, 1999.





<<   October 1999  >>

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Thursday, October 7, 1999

3 Jordanian females killed by relatives in 'honor crimes'

According to an Associated Press story published today in the Seattle Times, police are investigating the deaths of two Jordanian women and a 12-year-old girl who were killed by male relatives for allegedly bringing dishonor to their families. One of the victims was killed because she was unmarried and pregnant.

The killings are the latest so-called "honor crimes" in this tribal-oriented society, where beating or killing women who are perceived to have shamed their families is a widespread practice.

The story says that women in Jordan can become victims of family retribution for as little as talking to a man or dating.

Under an archaic law rooted in Napoleonic times, Jordanian men who prove in court that they killed female relatives to restore "family honor" are usually jailed for just three months to a year.

But under pressure from a campaign launched by human-rights activists, the government recently submitted a bill to Parliament that would close the legal loophole and ensure that so-called "honor" killers face the full force of the law.

The latest three killings brings to 16 the number of women killed by male relatives this year.

The 12-year-old victim was identified as Kifaya by the Jordan Times. The newspaper said she was beaten to death last week by her father and her 13-year-old brother in the northern town of Irbid. The girl's father reportedly told police he beat his daughter "because she used to go out walking in the streets" without permission.

A 34-year-old woman identified as Hanan was shot dead by her brother in Zarqa, 15 miles northeast of Amman, after he reportedly accused her of "immoral behavior."

The third killing involved a 21-year-old woman who was shot to death by her brother because she was pregnant and was not married.


Tuesday, October 5, 1999

Same-sex workers at British railway win equal benefits with heterosexual couples

According to a story published today by the BBC News, employees who work for Britain's Southwest Trains will be entitled to receive benefits for their same-sex partners. The company already provides benefits to unmarried opposite-sex partners and spouses of its workers.

Telephone inquiry clerk Lisa Grant, 32, and her partner Jill Percey, 40, will be the first in line to sign up for the new perks. They sued the train company in the European Court of Justice but lost the case last year. Despite the ruling, the train company has voluntarily changed its position and will now offer employee benefits on a gender-neutral basis to all unmarried couples who live together.

The parent organization, the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), told reporters that all of its companies must fall into line with the new policy.

An ATOC spokesman said: "It's a case of railways moving with the times. We think we are providing the conditions our staff and customers would expect in the modern age."

The move brings the train companies into line with many other forms of public and private transport.

For example, London Transport already grants same-sex or unmarried partners of employees all-zone travel passes. Couples need to reside at the same address as the employee. Full pension benefits also apply.

Virgin Atlantic employees can nominate a travel partner or the same or opposite sex to receive free and discounted flights. The company's health care scheme also applies to same sex or unmarried partners.

Unmarried employees at British Airways can nominate a relative or partner of either sex to enjoy discounted travel.


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