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International News Archive
September 01 - September 06, 2000


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This page contains news for the period September 01, 2000 through September 06, 2000.



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Wednesday, September 6, 2000

Pope criticizes childless married couples, says no adoption by singles or unmarried couples

A story published today by the Associated Press reports that Pope John Paul II  took to task married couples who decide to remain childless.

Pope John Paul decried that, in the face of many children who don't have parents, "there are so many couples who decide to remain without children for reasons not rarely selfish."

At the same time, the pope took to task those who "desiring to have their 'own' child at all costs, go beyond the legitimate help that medical science can assure procreation, pushing themselves toward morally reprehensible practices."

The pope has repeatedly condemned such techniques as in vitro fertilization, insisting that the only way approved by the Catholic church to have children is sex between husband and wife.

The pope, while praising the concept of adoption, seemed to be closing the door to that possibility to single people or unmarried couples.

When a family is "solidly joined by marriage, it assures the child that serene environment and that affection, both paternal and maternal, which he needs for full human development."

Italian lawmakers recently debated proposals to allow unmarried people to adopt but decided to leave unchanged the obligation that adopting parents must be married.


Monday, September 4, 2000

Partners and soon-to-be-born children of unmarried Russian submarine victims denied survivor benefits

A story published today by ABC News reports that at least three unborn babies orphaned by the Russian Kursk submarine disaster are being denied their rights to compensation, because their mothers are not married to the fathers.

Six other women who had lengthy relationships and/or marriage plans with members of the doomed crew are also affected.

The Kursk nuclear-powered submarine, one of the most modern in the Russian fleet, sunk on Aug. 12 after at least two explosions, killing all 118 aboard. Most were killed in the first minutes after the blast, officials believe.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matviyenko, who visited the grieving families, said unmarried partners would have the same rights as the lawfully married widows.

Under Russian law wives, parents and children of the dead crew each have a right to compensation equal to 25 times the crewmember’s monthly wage, in addition to a payout of 120 times that salary per family.

But the unmarried partners have received a definite “Nyet” from the state registry office in Murmansk, which is assessing the claims. The claimant partners must be married, they say — and there is no law in Russia permitting a marriage after death.

“In Russia, there is no law which would permit the registration of a marriage with a deceased person,” said official Natalaya Andreyevna. It would set a dangerous precedent, she claimed. The same arguments “could then be used by the fiancées of Russian troops killed in Chechnya.”

That is little comfort for women such as Irena Sotnikova, 32. She had been living for the last 18 months with her fiancée, 25 year old Valery Baiburin, who died on the Kursk. She is four and a half months pregnant. Marriage plans were put on hold last year, when Valery’s father died.

“We had to observe a period of mourning,” she said. “That’s the Russian custom.” The couple also lacked the funds for the wedding.

Sotnikova and the other two expectant mothers believe that if they wait, they will get nothing. “I am not asking for anything for myself,” she said. “I’m only asking for the sake of my child. In six months, everybody will have forgotten about the Kursk and then noone will want to help us.”


Saturday, September 2, 2000

Norway prince to live unmarried with girlfriend

A story released today by Reuters reports that Norway's Crown Prince Haakon announced on Saturday he would live unmarried with his girlfriend, a single mother, in an Oslo flat.

Haakon, 28, will move into the flat in central Oslo with Mette-Marit Tjessem Hoiby and her three-year-old son, whose father has convictions for offences including possession of cocaine.

"The crown prince has agreed to buy a flat," palace spokeswoman Wenche Rasch told Reuters. Details of the purchase, in Ullevaalsveien 67, were still being discussed.

The couple's decision to live together stops short of an engagement.

Tjessem Hoiby, 27, is a student of social anthropology at Oslo university. Haakon caused a stir when he announced in May that she was his girlfriend.

However, opinion polls show many Norwegians believe the Crown Prince should be allowed to choose his own partner despite wide publicity about Tjessem Hoiby's past, including her attendance at parties where soft drugs were often used.

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