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International News Archive
July 07 - July 13, 2001


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This page contains news for the period July 07 through July 13, 2001.



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Friday, July 13, 2001

New Zealand study shows daughters of young single women likely to be single mothers too

A story released today by the Otago Daily Times reports that researchers from New Zealand discovered that daughters of young, single women are more likely to become young and often single mothers themselves.

The study, published in the latest New Zealand Medical Journal , reveals a wide range of personal and social factors are associated with teen pregnancy.

The researchers, from the Christchurch School of Medicine, analyzed data collected from 533 females from their birth in 1977 until age 21.

By that age, more than a quarter of the young women had become pregnant, with more than a third of that number pregnant twice or more.

Of the 188 pregnancies reported, just over half resulted in a baby kept by the mother.

Young women from socially disadvantaged families characterized by parental instability and early exposure to young, single motherhood were more likely to become parents at an early age, the study found.

The Medical Association said resources should be put into identifying at-risk families to break the cycle of teen parenthood.

"Simply trying to teach kids about contraception and telling them to abstain from sex doesn't work with this group. A broader approach is needed," NZMA chairman Dr. John Adams, of Dunedin, said.

"Resources should continue to be targeted at at-risk families and providing services to try and break the inter-generational cycle," he said.

Philippine lawmaker introduces divorce bill to house

A story published today by the Philippine Inquirer reports that Philippine Representative Aurora Bellaflor Angara-Castillo has filed a bill that would allow "absolute divorce" and grant the separated spouses the right to remarry.

Castillo filed House Bill 878, which seeks to amend the Family Code and provide absolute divorce as an alternative to a failed marriage. Her bill serves as a counterpart measure to a similar bill filed by Sen. Rodolfo Biazon in the Senate.

"This bill seeks to give spouses who are shackled by an irretrievably broken marriage the freedom to remarry and possibly succeed in attaining a stable and fulfilling family life," Castillo said.

In an argument that would surely draw debates in society, Castillo said that in this day and age, "not all marriages succeed as a permanent union."

Castillo said there has been an increasing number of married individuals who find themselves subjected to "physical violence, grossly abusive conduct and other acts or offenses" by their partners.

She said that divorce already "has its historical precedence in the country, thus making it an arrangement not exclusive to contemporary times."

Under her proposal, an aggrieved spouse may file a petition for divorce on any of the following grounds: repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct directed against the petitioner or a common child; physical violence or moral pressure to compel the petitioner to change religious or political affiliation; drug addiction or habitual alcoholism; lesbianism or homosexuality; contracting by the respondent of a subsequent bigamous marriage whether in the Philippines or abroad; sexual infidelity or perversion; an attempt by the respondent against the life of the petitioner; and abandonment without justifiable cause for more than a year.

Castillo also proposed that a petition for divorce might be filed upon showing that there is an "irremediable breakdown of the marriage relationship due to irreconcilable marital differences."

Thursday, July 12, 2001

British men remaining bachelors longer

A story published today by the Scotsman reports that according to a study released today by Britain's Office for National Statistics, men have increasingly relaxed their attitude towards marriage and are tying the knot considerably later in life.

The average age of bachelors in England and Wales getting married has increased from 23 in 1969 to 30 in 1999, the oldest since records began.

The report also revealed that the number of men getting married for the first time had fallen from 401,000 in 1970 to 205,000 two years ago.

While the percentage of men who thought it was all right for a couple to live together without intending to get married increased from 62 percent to 67 percent between 1994 and 1998, the figure for women over the same period fell from 67 percent to 59 percent.

Most men under 35 who were cohabiting in 1998 said they either planned to marry (30 percent) or "would get married at some point" (46 percent). 14 percent of those surveyed said they would probably continue living together without marrying.

With the decline in marriage has come a massive increase in births outside marriage, from fewer than 10 percent of all births in 1974 to almost 40 percent in 1999. The average age for unwed fathers in 1998 was just a few months younger than the 28 years it was in 1971.

The average age of all fathers at the birth of a child has increased, rising from 27 in 1971 to 30 in 1999.

British women having families without fathers

A story published today by the Daily Mail reports that more organizations are springing up in Britain that help middle-class career women get pregnant and bring up babies on their own. Donor insemination groups and clinics also report a massive rise in the number of single, heterosexual women in their mid-30s to early 40s who are desperate to have children.

Two London-based support groups are now offering help to women living a Bridget Jones-style existence who are determined to achieve their dream of having a baby -- without being in a stable relationship.

Ginny Russell,of Exeter, Devon, launched support group called, Time Of Life International UK after she and work colleagues discussed their desire for babies -- but could not find men willing to commit to marriage or a long-term relationship. 

"You've got a lot of Bridget Joneses out there who are failing to meet the right man but who are not prepared to wait. The group is aimed at these women, at helping them decide whether they want a baby, and if so, how they might achieve that on their own." said Russell, who is considering inseminating herself with a friend's sperm.

A second organization called, Single Women Insemination Group (SWIG), was created after the Donor Conception Network (DCN), which helps infertile couples, noticed an increase in thirty-something single women wanting to conceive.

"These women manage better than your average single parent because it is something they have really thought about; they are usually well-educated, independent and solvent. These are not man-haters, they just can't find the right man and don't want to risk waiting." said Olivia Montuschi, founder of DCN.  

Jack Scarisbrick of the Charity Life condemned the single mothers' attempts to get pregnant by any means. He said: "We are opposed to donor insemination. Creating a one-parent family means the child risks losing part of its identity, which comes through knowing the father."

Jack O'Sullivan of campaign group Fathers Direct reiterated his opposition to the emerging groups said: "It sounds as though many of these women are well-supported and it could work well for them, but there is an issue around identity of the child. Part of the foundation of the child's sense of well-being is that they are valued and supported by the people who gave them life. The father has to be not only identifiable but available for the child."

British lawmaker plans to crackdown on non-working single mothers

A story published today by the Independent reports that Britain's member of the parliament Duncan Smith is planning to unveil his proposal for a radical shake-up of the welfare state today. Mr. Smith's proposal would deny state benefits to single mothers who refuse work or undergo work training programs.

Mr. Smith, who has emerged as a serious contender in the Tory leadership race, says in an interview with The Independent that the Conservatives should tone down their attacks on lone parents but oblige them to work in return for welfare payments when their children reach a certain age. He is also calling for a "rebalancing" of the current tax system which he believes places too heavy a burden on couples with children and channels state help to single parents.

Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Single Australians believe marriage creates stronger bonds

A story released today by ABC News reports that a survey on relationships in Australia has found more than half of young people think marriage is an important way of cementing a relationship.

The survey involved interviews with 700 people across age groups to examine the role of relationships in people's happiness.

The research found around 35 per cent of men between the ages of 18 and 29 are in a partner relationship, compared with 55 per cent of women in the same age group.

Anne Hollards from Relationships Australia says she did not expect such a high proportion of young people to be in favour of marriage.

"They're children of the most divorced generation we've ever had in Australia... their parents divorced in higher numbers than anyone else, so in contrast many of them are actually saying that marriage is important to them... that they want something that marriage is giving them or represents to them," she said.

Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Australian survey shows single men are unhappy

A story published today by the Canberra Times reports that a national survey done in Australia on happiness and relationships has found that one hundred percent of young single Australian men said they were dissatisfied with life although their levels of happiness increased with age.

Women, however, were at their happiness peak until they got married and then it was all downhill.

Commissioned by Relationships Australia, the survey revealed that women started off with high hopes but became increasingly disappointed over time.

Relationships Australia chief executive Anne Hollonds said, "From a high of nearly 100 percent satisfaction when they step out of their wedding dresses, one in five [women] are unhappy by the time they're over 60."

But for men, the trend was reverse. "Young single men . . . 100 percent of them said they were dissatisfied with life," Ms Hollonds said.

Only 35 percent of young men were in a relationship compared with 55 percent of young women.

The research found about 60 per cent of Australians were "extremely" or "very satisfied" with life and that general happiness was strongly linked to relationships.

"Those who are in a couple relationship are clearly more likely to be extremely or very satisfied with life while single parents are the least satisfied," the report said.

Married and de-facto relationships were found to be equally satisfying.

And long-term couples those who've shared between 11 and 20 years together are less likely to be highly satisfied with their relationships.

"We were surprised at the very resounding message that people were linking satisfaction in life with good relationships at the same time as we know half of those people are going to end up divorced," Ms Hollonds said.

But 80 percent of those surveyed said it was becoming harder to juggle careers with families and relationships, contributing to a lack of time spent together and dissatisfaction with life.

The survey involved 700 participants across Australia.

Alberta, Canada's human rights chief appeals ruling on Widow's Pension Act

A story published today by the Edmonton Journal reports that the director of the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission is appealing a ruling made by one of the commission's human rights panels relating to the provincial Widows' Pension Act.

Marie Riddle is appealing the decision to Alberta Court of Queen's Bench on behalf of a group of women denied widows' pensions because they were divorced from their spouses or never legally married. The director of the commission may appeal when the complainants don't have the money to pursue the case.

In early June, the panel dismissed complaints from members of Single and Divorced Speak Out Association that the act discriminates on the basis of marital status against financially distressed divorced and single people who can't get the same benefits as widows.

The panel, which heard arguments from five female association members at a March hearing, found that only two of them qualified as widows. It found they were discriminated against on the basis of marital status, but ruled it was "reasonable and justifiable in the circumstances."

Riddle says in her written appeal which will be heard on October 23, states that the panel erred in law when it decided the discrimination was reasonable and justifiable. She says the panel also erred in its application of the fairness test.

"The government failed to show that it could not provide the widows' pension benefit to single and divorced individuals who may be in great or greater financial need than widows."

The widows' pension law provides up to $818 a month plus benefits for about 2,200 low-income Alberta widows and widowers between the ages of 55 and 65, whether the partner who died was married or common-law.

Malaysia's single women fear stigma of getting pap smears

A story released by the Star reports that Malaysian single women are too shy to go for pap smears although they are among the most vulnerable group to cervical cancer.

Johor Family Planning Association vice-president Datuk Dr. E.C. Pink said the perception that pap smears were meant for women with an active sexual life had partly deterred unmarried women from coming forward.

"There is a social stigma among single women to admitting they are sexually active for fear of being judged morally.

"In fact, they are the ones we hope to reach out to as married women would normally be tested when they go for family planning programmes or antenatal check-ups," he said after the opening of Summer's Eve campaign 2001 for healthy, empowered and responsible women on Sunday.

A pap smear is a way to identify irregularities in cervical cells that develop into cancer and is recommended for women between 20 and 65 who are or have been sexually active.

In Malaysia, about 3,000 cervical cancer patients are admitted to government hospitals annually, with an average of 90 deaths a year.


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