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International News Archive
August 21 - August 28, 2001


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



<<   August 2001  >>

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Monday, August 27, 2001

Celebrating Father's day in Australia without a dad

A story released today by the Australian Associated Press reports that according to the Angelicare, an Australian charity organization, almost a fifth of all Australian children would spend Father's Day without dad living at home with them. 

Quoting it's statistics based on a report released by Australia's Bureau of Statistics, Anglicare called for the community and the nation to remember single-parent families on Father's Day on Sunday, September 2.

After separation, children of all ages are most likely to live with their mothers, who make up 85 percent of all lone-parent households.

About 53 percent of divorces involve children, and Anglicare said more children than ever were facing the prospect of being deprived of having their father in the home.

But Peter Gardiner, general manager of Anglicare's welfare services, said it was not only children who would suffer this Father's Day. Figures gathered by Wesley Mission shows that the suicide rate of males between the ages of 25 and 44 is now the highest in Australia, and the trauma of having limited access to their children is now recognized as being one of the key factor in the alarming trend.

"Father's Day can open old wounds for some families," Mr. Gardiner said.

Sunday, August 26, 2001

Norway's royalty marries single mom

A story published today by the Los Angeles Times reports that Crown Prince Haakon of Norway married a former wild child and single mother Saturday at Oslo Cathedral, elevating Scandinavia's notoriously liberal lifestyle to the royal palace.

In nationally televised nuptials, Haakon and Mette-Marit Tjessem Hoiby held their countrymen spellbound as they exchanged rings and vows, the groom radiant and the bride in tears.

"You have not chosen the easiest path, but love has triumphed," Oslo Bishop Gunnar Staalseth told the couple as 300 guests and millions of TV viewers listened.   The bishop also praised Hoiby for her devotion as a single mother and her courage in "starting a new chapter by turning over a new page."

Haakon's love for the down-dressing commoner and his decision to live with her before marriage has inspired both celebration and soul-searching to most Norwegians. But they also have been forced to ponder the worth of a monarchy that behaves as they do. Although half of Norway's children are born out of wedlock and four out of 10 couples live together without benefit of clergy, Hoiby's 4-year-old son from a previous relationship marks the first time a European heir to the throne has acquired a stepchild.

Not since England's Edward VIII abdicated in 1936 to marry the U.S. divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson has a royal scandal moved a nation like Haakon's love for Hoiby, and Norwegians seem proud that their storybook royal romance enjoys a happier ending.

At a news conference three days before the wedding, Haakon said he would never have sacrificed a life with his beloved to attain the throne, and he thanked his countrymen and family for never making his bride's past a succession issue.

"I never faced that," he said of the kind of ultimatum that cost Edward VIII his reign. "I think that we together are stronger than I am alone."

Support for the royal family has eroded since Haakon's engagement and cohabitation, but the atmosphere on his wedding day was infused with empathy and adoration.

Friday, August 24, 2001

Australians will live a majority of adult life as unmarried

A story released by News.Com.Au reports that according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, children born in 2001 can expect to spend less than 30 years of their lives in wedded bliss. If they marry at all, it will be later in life with the ceremony more likely to be performed by a civil celebrant than a minister.

The same report also predicted that based on current figures, 17 percent of marriages is likely to end within five years.

The report on marriage and divorce released yesterday also shows that the number of people who will marry continues to decline.

Based on rates from 1997 to 1999, 29 percent of men and 23 percent of women will never marry.

The average man is expected to live to 77, spending 42 years single, 28 years married, two years widowed and five years divorced.

Women, on the other hand, are predicted to have a life expectancy of 82, can expect to be single for 40 years, married for 29, widowed for six and divorced for seven.

The report also revealed that the number of women seeking divorce outnumbered men by as much as two-to-one, except for those couples married more than 30 years, when more men than women filed for divorce.

The report also found that couples were more likely than ever to live together before marriage, with 71 percent of those married in 2000 having cohabited first. This was up from 29 percent in 1980.

Australia’s Attorney General disapproves of 'divorce tax' idea

A story released today by ABC News (Australia) reports that Australia’s Federal Attorney General Darryl Williams says he does not think financial penalties for couples with children who get divorced are a good idea.

Sydney Catholic Archbishop George Pell is calling for a 'divorce tax', saying the present no-fault divorce system makes it too easy for couples to give up on marriage.

"It already imposes not only emotional strain but significant financial strain," said Williams.

"If finance is to be brought in as a means to forcing people into or out of relationships then I don't think that's a very good idea at all."

Canadian judge orders father to pay daughter's college tuition

A story published today by the Toronto Star reports that an Alberta judge has ruled that a father must financially support his adult daughter through university because students are unable to work and go to school at the same time.

Justice Jack Watson found that, because the woman could not work while attending university, she was "destitute" and required support.

Under the federal Divorce Act, estranged parents mostly men are required to support financially children pursuing post-secondary education.

Her parents never married but the father did pay child support until she turned 18, at which time he was no longer legally obliged to do so. Support groups for divorced men have long complained this action is discriminatory. They argued that parents who are not divorced have no such legal obligation to help pay for the post-secondary education of their adult children.

The father said that he will appeal to the Alberta Court of Appeal.

Thursday, August 23, 2001

British study shows single men die younger

A story released by the BBC News reports that the latest figures from Britain's Office of National Statistics found that single men age 45 and over are at a 23% greater risk of death. The same report also revealed that within this age group, men who get divorced are at a 30% greater risk.

Being widowed also increased the risk of death by 20%, although remarriage improved a man's survival chances.

The research ties in with other studies which discovered the health benefits of being married.

One US study found that men who were married were 70% more likely to engage in physical exercise than widowers, and much less likely to smoke.

Married couples were more likely to eat breakfast and have their health regularly checked.

The number of people living on their own in the UK has increased over the past few decades.

In 1971, 18% of people were living alone, compared with an estimated 28.5% last year.

"Whilst many older people have been able to make the necessary adjustments required for living alone, some older people find it quite difficult coping on their own." said a spokesman for the charity Age Concern. "It is easy to see how such isolation can have a detrimental affect on a person's mental well-being."

"A long term permanent relationship with one person where you actually get on and enjoy it is good for you." said  Dr. Adrian Rogers of the pressure group Family Focus. "On that basis a happy marriage is definitely good for you."

Marriages in Australia continue to decline

A story released today by the Australian Associated Press reports that according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Australians opting for marriage continues to decline with 113,400 marriages registered in 2000, a decreased of 3,500 from 1990. More significantly, the rate of marriage has declined noticeably, from 43 per 1,000 unmarried population in 1990 to 33 per 1,000 last year.

ABS figures also show a fluctuating divorce rate, ranging from 11 to 13 per 1,000 over the period 1990-2000. A total of 49,900 divorces were granted in 2000.

The figures point to an ongoing change in the composition of the population with a decline in the proportion of those never married.

However, Australians are still more enamoured of marriage than those in the United Kingdom or New Zealand, but less so than the United States.

Internationally, Americans are more inclined towards wedlock with a rate of 8.9 per 100,000 in 1997, compared with 5.9 in Australia but 5.4 in the United Kingdom and 5.3 in New Zealand.

The report also noted that the trend towards getting married older continued in 2000.

Median marriage age for men was 30, up from 26 in 1980, and 28 for women, up from 23 in 1980.

With people marrying older, it followed that they were also divorcing older.

The ABS said the median age for divorce was 41 for men (up from 35 in 1980) while for women in was 39 (up from 33).

Wednesday, August 22, 2001

Britain's divorce rate lowest in 20 years

A story published today by the Daily Telegraph reports that according to the latest figures released by Britain's Office for National Statistics, the number of couples opting for divorced has fallen to its lowest level in more than 20 years.

The latest data shows that there were 141,135 divorces in England and Wales last year, compared with 144,556 in 1999 and 138,706 in 1979. At the same time, the divorce rate per 1,000 of the married population dropped to its lowest since 1984. Last year, 12.7 people in every 1,000 of those married got a divorce, compared with 13 in 1999. It was 12 in 1984 and 11.2 in 1979.

Experts attributed the fall to a decline in marriage and the growing popularity of cohabitation, as well as to greater efforts by couples to salvage their relationships.

Figures published last year showed that the number of couples getting married had fallen by around a quarter over 10 years. There were 263,515 marriages in England and Wales in 1999, the latest year for which figures are available, compared with 346,697 in 1989 and 368,853 in 1979.

"Cohabitation is increasingly an alternative to marriage rather than preparation for it. We find this very worrying because for us marriage offers the best environment to bring up children." said Robert Whelan, director of Family and Youth concern.

But Denise Knowles, of the marriage guidance group Relate, said it was too simplistic to blame a drop in the number of marriages. "People are marrying later in life so perhaps are more aware of what they want from marriage," she said. "People are also now of a generation that has seen the effects of divorce."


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