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International News Archive
February 14 -  February 20, 2001


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This page contains news for the period February 14, 2001 through February 20, 2001.



<<   February 2001 >>

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Friday, February 16, 2001

More married couples in Beijing are living separately, except on weekends

A story published today in Xinhua reports that the traditional marital mode of co-habitation is facing challenges from an emerging group of weekend couples in China's capital city of Beijing.

Many married couples now choose to live separately and only get together during weekends or at mutually convenient times, according to a special report on China's Youth Daily.

Although a relatively new phenomenon, weekend couples cover a wide range of age groups, including open-minded youths who are fascinated with the freedom of substantive lives, steady middle- aged and even gray-haired husbands and wives.

Su Li, who works for a website as editor-in-chief of women's issues, constitutes the coolest and most fashionable representation of the new marriage format.

Su and her husband Xiao Gang were university classmates. Both of them are not local Beijingers and both rented apartments before taking the marital oath.

"Xiao Gang and I are super web enthusiasts who do not let mundane trivialities bother our net tours," Su Li said.

"As a modern woman, I desperately need a physical shelter that can allow me absolute freedom to live my life, as well as a spiritual space for unconstrained meditation".

"Women usually base their love on fanciful and unrealistic imagination, which are too fragile to resist the erosion of daily lives. That's why a considerable portion of married women are not satisfied with married life. I know that. I don't want to follow suit," explained Su.

So far the separation-reunion of Su Li and Xiao Gang has worked pretty well. And the couple hope that the current living manner may better prepare them for the possible disappointments amidst their future marital co-habitation.

Islamic morality cops bust unmarried couples in Malaysia

A story published today by the Associated Press reports that Islamic police turned Valentine's Day into a fright night for 208 Malaysian couples, raiding hotel rooms and lovers' lanes to enforce rules against illicit sex and cuddling.

The officers work under the Islamic Affairs Department and enforce religious laws affecting the Muslim majority among this Southeast Asian nation's 22 million people.

The Sun and Star newspapers reported Friday that teams swooped on sites where they suspected couples might be violating laws against unchaperoned contact between unmarried couples.

They raided hotel rooms, parked cars, university buildings and parks and disturbed the affections of 208 couples, 44 of whom were charged with violations punishable by up to two years in jail and a $80 fine.

In one incident, a couple was caught naked in a parked car. In another, a youth leaped out of a hotel window in his underwear but was caught. Another youth was caught hiding in a hotel room ceiling.

The story says that half the couples were questioned and released, many after producing marriage certificates. Sixty who were in violation of the law but whose offenses were deemed less severe were ordered to receive counseling.

Officers were reported as saying that many couples guilty of nothing worse than holding hands were simply ordered to go home.

Iran flogs three men for unmarried sex

A story published today by the Associated Press reports that two brothers and their cousin have been publicly flogged in Tehran after a court convicted them of drinking alcohol and having illicit sex, Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

It said the three men were flogged near Vanaq Square in northern Tehran on Thursday. It identified the brothers by their first names only, Mohammad and Majid but gave the full name of the cousin, Ismail Rahimi.

Mohammad received 179 lashes while Majid and Rahimi got 180 each, according to IRNA's report late Thursday. The agency gave no other details.

Iran has been ruled by Muslim clergymen since the 1979 Islamic revolution ousted the monarchy. Flogging is in line with Islamic laws prohibiting drinking alcohol and unmarried sex.


Wednesday, February 14, 2001

One in five young Brits will never marry

A story published today in the Daily Telegraph reports that one in five British youngsters is destined never to marry, according to a recent study. While rejecting the single life, many are choosing to live with partners instead.

The study by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, based on a survey of 10,000 adults in 1998, is a blow for those who champion traditional family values.

In 70 per cent of cases, cohabitation was the first type of serious relationship that couples entered. And though almost three quarters of couples living together planned to marry at some time, long-term figures showed that only three in five cohabiting relationships actually reached the altar, with more than a third ending in under 10 years.

Of the couples who regarded cohabiting as advantageous, almost half said it gave them the opportunity of a trial marriage, while a third enjoyed having no legal ties. Prof John Ermisch, who conducted the research, said the trend was worrying considering the high proportion of children born outside marriage - 22 per cent of children were born to cohabiting couples in 1997, compared to two per cent 20 years ago.

He said that 70 per cent of married couples stayed together until their children turned 16, compared with only a third of cohabiting relationships.


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