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International News Archive
November 21 - November 28, 2001


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



<<   November 2001  >>

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Tuesday, November 27, 2001

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Malaysian government to form council for single mothers

A story published today by the Star (Malaysia) reports that the Malaysian government is planning to set up a single mothers council which will coordinate with existing single mothers groups in the country in order to protect the welfare single mothers.

Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said that through the council, the ministry could draw up effective programs towards helping 900,000 women who had become single mothers.

She said in the 2000 Statistics issued by the Statistics Department, 895,000 households in Malaysia are headed by women.

Shahrizat said various measures have already been taken to help single mothers in the county including coordinating support services like counseling and creating opportunities to secure jobs.

Entrepreneurial programs are also being arranged to identify business opportunities in which single mothers could venture in, she added.

Sunday, November 25, 2001

big-ben.gif (7777 bytes)British columnist says government should stop picking on single people

A newspaper article written by columnist India Knight for The Sunday Times (London) talks about how the government has painted a unsavory picture on single people. The text of her article appears below:

India Knight writes that single men are sometimes portrayed as micro-Norman Bateses, still living at home with their mommy, who lovingly irons their pants every morning. While single women are seen as increasingly desperate neurotics, pouring over self-help books, tormented by their biological clocks.

In her experience, single men more often than not live in glamorous lofts or huge apartments, and single women run around in sexy clothes having an enormous laugh. She doesn’t see Nicole Kidman weeping hot tears into her pillow every night, falling asleep clutching her copy of The Rules; nor does she see any of the single women she knows running around like headless chickens: they’re too busy having a good time.

UK 2002, the latest installment of the government’s annual portrait of the nation, says that one in 10 women and one in six men are likely to remain single all their lives, coinciding with the decline of marriage and the "traditional family".

Knight would love someone to explain to her what this deeply irritating phrase means. She believes that the truth is that single people are, in the main, perfectly happy to be so, and that the cartoon neurotics are a (boringly vocal and omnipresent) minority. Being single often gets confused with being friendless, and therefore lonely, which would indeed be horrible.

But being single she feels and having friends and racing about being self-indulgent is heaven, surely: what’s not to like? You can do as you please, dress as you please, eat as you please, go wherever the fancy takes you. You don’t have to suffer your spouse’s boring friends or colleagues — an important consideration at this party-ridden time of year.

Knight adds that if you’re female, you don’t have to go into agonies of leg waxing, eyebrow plucking and the rest if you don’t feel like it. You don’t have to explain to anyone that having a standing order at the florist is not, in fact, a waste of money. You don’t have to put up with snoring, or duvet theft, or the tiresome consequences of one pint too many down at the pub. You can wallow in your own PMT without having to answer irritating questions about the time of the month. There is no need for celibacy either, and variety, as they say, is the spice of life.

Knight still asserts that she doesn’t see a problem in singlehood. Children, she supposes, if one really yearned for them, are eminently borrowable: just get someone to lend to you some for an afternoon and send them back when you’re bored. Which leads her to the question of lie-ins: single people can have as many as they like.

Single people should be proud, not furtive and ashamed.

Apart from anything else, singlehood shows a commendable refusal to compromise, as so many married people do, by shacking up out of desperation with the only person who offers (very common in women over 35, this, and men too, she says). They get married because some not-very-thrilling character asks and nobody else has. They have babies, bring them up, and realize that the spouse is hideous and they are stuck, since being single at 45 is going to be even harder than being single at 35.

This disastrous kind of situation she believes can be avoided by understanding that being single is not an illness or a condition: it is simply another way of living out one’s life. Since one out of 10 of women — one out of six if you’re a man — is headed that way, it’s about time single people start living their life.


Friday, November 23, 2001

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Russia experiencing rise in out of wedlock children

A story released today by Itar-Tass reports that according to the Russian State Statistics Committee, every third Russian child is born out of wedlock, whereas nine years ago, every seventh child was born out of wedlock.

In 1992, the number of children born out of wedlock was around 272,000 against 400,000 out of wedlock children born in 2000, statistics reports said.

Russia is no exception as regards a general world tendency of women rejecting bonds of marriage. The average age at which Russian women decide to give birth to a child is 20- 24 years old (93 children per 1,000 women born in this age group), and 24-29 years old (65 children per 1,000 women).

The Caucasian region remains in the lead in birth rates. In Ingushetia, 19.9 births account for 1,000 population against 17.1 births in Dagestan and 8.7 births in Moscow. The worst birth rate has been reported in the Tula region where 1,000 population account for 6.9 births, which is the sign that the population of the Tula region are getting old.


Wednesday, November 21, 2001

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Nova Scotia’s population decreasing

A story published today by the Halifax Herald Limited reports that Nova Scotia's population is going to get older and smaller in the next 25 years.

People are having fewer children and waiting until later in life to have them, says the report by the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

By 2026, seniors will outnumber children almost two to one and the province's population will be in decline, says Family Matters, a compilation of statistics from several sources.

"We're going to have smaller families," said Brigitte Neumann, the council's executive director.

"People are going to have fewer family networks to call on. It's a very important issue to look at how people will be able to look after themselves."

The province's fertility rate dropped to 1.45 children per woman in 1997, the report shows. It takes 2.1 children per woman to maintain a steady population rate.

The report predicts Nova Scotia will have 3,700 more deaths than births in 2026. Births outnumbered deaths by 1,859 in 1999 - a big drop from 13,247 in 1961.

The report shows Nova Scotia has the highest percentage of single mothers in the country. Single moms head about 20.4 per cent of families with children.

Newfoundland has the lowest percentage of single mothers - 15.5 percent.

Nova Scotia had 39,680 single-parent families in 1996, all but 6,040 of those headed by women.

About 35 percent of babies born in the province in 1997 were born to unmarried moms, up from seven percent in 1961.

The report shows 57.5 percent of Nova Scotia children living in poverty come from single-parent families.

The province is going to have to take a serious look at how to meet the needs of its children and seniors, Ms. Neumann said.

Both the aging population and the changing state of families have a huge effect on women, since women live longer and tend to head single families, she said.

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Australia’s High Court to guide state IVF rules

A story released today by the Australian Associated Press reports that Victorian health authorities will defer changes to free up IVF treatment for single women and lesbians until the result of a High Court appeal is handed down.

The decision to delay the more open policy was made by the Infertility Treatment Authority yesterday after opponents of greater access voiced their concerns.

The High Court appeal seeks to overturn a landmark Federal Court decision last year which ruled that Australia’s Victoria province could not deny IVF to an unmarried woman.

Infertility Treatment Authority chairman Professor Jock Findlay said yesterday it would be wisest to await the court's final decision or "we could do a whole lot of work in terms of developing these guidelines - and find we're back where we started".

The authority's proposed guidelines would have allowed women, including single women and lesbians, who were unable to become pregnant because they could not have "normal" heterosexual sex, to use IVF treatment programs.

Meanwhile the state opposition said it intended to introduce a private member's bill into state parliament this week to ensure infertility treatment programs were not available to women unless they had a genuine physical infertility.


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