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International News Archive
February 21 -  February 28, 2001


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This page contains news for the period February 21, 2001 through February 28, 2001.



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Wednesday, February 28, 2001

Plan to block IVF use by single women in Australia is questioned by Senate committee

A story published today by the Australian Associated Press reports that Prime Minister John Howard's bid to prevent single and lesbian women from accessing IVF was ripped apart by a Senate committee, which found it would erode human rights.

Yesterday, a Senate committee found the legal arguments put forward by the government to amend the Sex Discrimination Act would contravene an international treaty on human rights.

It suggested the issue be revisited in the Senate to consider whether or not the controversial plan should proceed.

Last August Mr Howard moved to amend sex discrimination laws to allow for the ban, condemned by Labor and a host of lobby groups.

His move followed a court decision that Victoria's ban on single women accessing IVF (in-vitro fertilisation) programs breached federal laws.

At the time Mr Howard said the rights of children in society, with other things being equal, was to have the affection and care of both a mother and a father.

Tuesday, the committee said it reached its conclusion based on legal arguments.

"The committee finds the arguments advanced during the course of its inquiry, especially the legal arguments, that passage of the Bill would contravene an international treaty to which Australia is a party," the report said.

"And (it would) undermine Australia's strong record in advancement and protection of human rights, as embodied in the Sex Discrimination Act 1984.

"The committee suggests that if the Senate, after reviewing the arguments and the evidence, is similarly persuaded, it should consider whether it wishes the Bill to proceed."

Labor said the finding confirmed its view that the government's amendments were simply bad law.

Australian Democrats Leader Meg Lees challenged coalition women to cross the floor when the Bill came to a vote, saying the committee's report had shown what most people had long known.


Tuesday, February 20, 2001

Singles spending less in Japan

A story published today by EFE via COMTEX reports that the average monthly spending by single people in Japan fell 2.7 percent last year, to 182,310 yen ($1,558), officials said Tuesday.

While single people spent less on activities like dining out last year, spending on items such as cell phones and Internet service actually rose 14.1 percent in 2000.

Average monthly spending among salaried single people slipped 2.9 percent in 2000, to 203,958 yen ($1,743), mostly due to lower wages.

The decline in spending by singles is attributed to widespread corporate layoffs.



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