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International News Archive
November 07 - November 13, 2001


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



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Saturday, November 10, 2001

Nigerian teenage pregnant girl sentenced to 100 lashes

A story released today by Agence France Presse reports that an Islamic court in northern Nigerian state of Katsina has sentenced a pregnant teenage girl and her lover to 100 lashes each for pre-marital sex.

The girl, identified only as Rabiatu, was convicted by a Sharia court in the town of Funtua after confessing to having sex with 24-year-old Balarabe Tela before marriage. The report also added that the girl, who is seven months pregnant, will receive her lashing in January after she delivers her baby.

The court found Tela had impregnated Rabiatu on the pretext that he would marry her. In addition to the lashes, he will be jailed for a year.

Pre-marital sex is an offense under the Islamic or Sharia law in operation in the state. A dozen northern states have introduced the Sharia in the past two years in Nigeria despite opposition from the federal government, Christians and rights bodies.

Thursday, November 8, 2001

Out of wedlock babies have a higher mortality rate in Britain

A story released today by Reuters reports that according to the Office for National Statistics, out-of-wedlock babies in England and Wales are much more likely to die before their first birthday than those born to married couples.

The figures released today by the government agency shows that infant death rate for births out of wedlock in 2000 was 45 percent more than for those born within marriage.

The figures also showed that the average infant mortality rate for babies whose parents were married was 4.8 per 1,000 births, compared with a rate for babies of unwed parents of 6.6 deaths per 1,000 births.

The figure was 45 percent higher (8 deaths per 1,000) for babies born to parents who were not living together at the time of the birth, and 38 percent higher -- 7.6 deaths per 1,000 births -- for infants whose birth was registered by one parent.

A total of 604,420 babies were born in England and Wales last year. Of these 60.5 percent (365,840) were born within marriage, 24.7 (149,493) percent to unmarried parents living together, 7.2 percent (43,310) to unmarried parents living at different addresses, and 7.6 percent (45,777) to a single parent.

Number of singles in Japan on the rise

A story published today by Japan Today reports that according to a survey by the Minister for Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications, the proportion of single people in Japan is growing remarkably.

From 25 to 29 years of age, 69.3% of men are single and 54.0% of women are not married. From 30 to 34 years, the rate for men and women remains relatively high at 42.9% for men and 26.6% for women. And even between 34 and 39, 25.7% of men and 13.8% women haven't married.

Several people responded to the following question posed by the publication:   "Why are there so many single people?"

Here is what they said:

"There's lots of young people living with their parents rent free, even when they have jobs. No wonder they're single."
- Nobuyuki Matsumoto, 60

"Living on your own is comfortable but it's impossible to live like this forever and its necessary to learn the importance of mutual support by marrying."
- Noriko Suzuki, 46

"I actually divorced once in the past since economically it was hard for me to support my wife. Perhaps, like me, young people don't marry for economic reasons."
- Seiji Kuwabara, 25

"I have 28-year-old son who hasn't married yet and as a father I want him to get married soon. I think today it's harder for men and women to meet."
- Masanori Yamaguchi, 54

"People are afraid of losing their freedom after marriage. I'm not married yet and don't particularly want to which worried me in my early 30s but not now."
- Keiji Kojima, 36

"Living as a single is easy economically and because the high cost of living in Japan it's hard for men to look after their wives like they did in the past."
- Miyoshi Fujino, 53

Wednesday, November 7, 2001

Malaysians remaining single longer

A story published today by The Star (Malaysia) reports that more Malaysians are marrying at a later age or are remaining single, a dramatic increase over the past 10 years.

Puteri Umno head Azalina Othman said it was not a cause for concern because this did not mean they were against marriage.

"Many women prefer to work hard first so that their children will have the best of everything. They want to structure a well-developed family. They do not marry for the sake of marriage and they do not have to struggle with buying pampers and going to job interviews at the same time." she said.

Azalina, who is single, said this was the trend in most developed countries.

MCA Cupid Club chairman and Petaling Jaya Utara MP Chew Mei Fun, who is also single, said that she was not surprised by the findings.

"This sort of trend is expected as the Malaysian lifestyle is slowly changing. People are now busier than ever, and that is a major obstacle in finding a mate."

"Young people in the 20 to 34 age bracket tend to prioritize their careers soon after graduation, which leaves them very little time to socialize. This makes it difficult to look for a partner," she said.

Consultant psychiatrist Tan Sri Dr M. Mahadevan said young people should take their time before plunging into marriage.

"The main thing is that couples should take time to see whether their personalities are compatible. It does not matter when they get married," he said.

He added that the reason why there could be more singles now was because women are choosy and want the best in their lives with all the economic and technological changes.

British government to fight forced marriages of citizens

A story published today by the Times (U.K.) reports that the British government has called for a significant change in Asian attitudes towards forced marriage. At the same time it has disclosed plans for an educational video dealing with the practice.

The video will emphasize that forced marriage is an abuse of human rights and can in some cases be a criminal act. It will be distributed next summer, and is intended for schools in areas with a large ethnic minority from the sub-continent.

Baroness Amos, a Foreign Office Minister, told a press conference yesterday: "What we are trying to do is to bring about a sea change in attitudes."

"This is not about arranged marriages, this is about forced marriage when young people are quite often taken overseas, told they are going on holiday and realize when they get there that they are expected to get married."

Angela Eagle, junior Home Office Minister, said that the Government’s strategy was not an attack on Muslim tradition. But she added that forced marriage could no longer be a taboo subject. "We should not keep silent because we are worried that some might take offense."


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