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International News Archive
December 07 - December 13, 2001


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



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Thursday, December 13, 2001

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Irish dads to hold Christmas vigil

A story published today by the Irish Examiner reports that Ray Kelly, founder of the unmarried Fathers of Ireland will be holding a silent vigil in Dublin for fathers who won't see their children on Christmas Day.

Kelly expects to be joined by at least 50 men who will stand on O'Connoll Bridge and brave the chilly wind that blows from the River Liffey.

It has been six years since Ray, a father of three, enjoyed Christmas Day with his children.

Still, he counts himself luckier than most of those fathers, who, for one reason or another, have no access to their children.

"Taking the father out of Christmas has already proved too much for four of our members who committed suicide recently," he said.

"We'll be thinking of them on Christmas Day."

One of the biggest problems faced by men like Kelly is getting the judge to listen to their side of the story in child custody cases and accepting that fathers love their children too.

Kelly went to court 41 times in a bid to increase the time he could see his daughters from just six and a half hours a week.

Eventually, the court ruled that he could have 16 days a month with his children.

"I fought tooth and nail to be with my children because I love them unconditionally.

"It's been so difficult - I have only ever had them once for Christmas Day."


Wednesday, December 12, 2001

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Chinese university students must stay single at school or else

A story released today by the South African Press Association reports that many Chinese Universities in China are barring their students from getting married in hopes that they focus more on their studies rather than raising a family.

"Even though university students are mature in a biological sense, they are not yet mature members of society," said Peng Xiaohui, a professor at the city's Central China Normal University.

"Once they have married, they will face enormous economic problems," he said.

The issue emerged after the education ministry said early this month that in future it would be up to the universities themselves to decide if they allowed married couples on campus.

In the past, government rules dictated that Chinese university students who married should be expelled, but the ban had become obsolete after authorities decided this year to let people of all ages take degrees, the report said.


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Britain becoming a nation of ‘singletons’

A story published today by the Scotsman reports that according to a new British research, the proportion of people living alone in the United Kingdom has doubled in the past 30 years.

The findings are contained in a report by the Office of National Statistics called Living in Britain - the 2000 General Household Survey. The report showed the proportion of households containing just one person went from 17 percent in 1971 to 32 percent last year.

The report’s findings have far-reaching implications for the nuclear family in Britain, which appears to be slowly declining. The proportion of families with children, where both parents live together fell from 92 percent in 1974 to 74 percent last year.

At the same time, single parent families have more than tripled in number - from 8 percent to 26 percent.

Alison Walker, the editor of the report, said: "One of the most interesting things we found in the report concerns the living arrangements of those aged between 25 and 44. More and more of this age group are choosing to remain single and live alone, which has far-reaching implications for policy makers and planners."

The ONS report found that as well as an increasingly large section of the population choosing to remain single, the popularity of marriage has plummeted, with young men and women increasingly opting to cohabit.

Ms. Walker said: "There is much change to record over the last 30 years, most importantly in the way that families live."

"The majority of families are still headed by two parents who live together, with 74 percent of households existing like this, but the situation is going to keep changing and our policy planners and academics have to be ready for this."


Friday, December 7, 2001

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Japanese corporations focusing on single women to resurrect the housing market

A story published in Far Eastern Economic Review which is scheduled for release on December 13 issue reports that like thousands of other Japanese women, single Japanese women are turning to veteran real-estate consultant Hiromi Kojima for help. Kojima, who heads an organization dubbed "a study group designed to create comfortable homes for women," has been teaching women the ins and outs of the real-estate market for a decade. Her ее1,000 seminars now attract hundreds of potential buyers, who can also get free individual consultations.

Membership in the study group tops 20,000 women and grows by 100-200 a month, says Kojima, who is involved in designing and marketing the condos that are targeting single women as new homeowners. Most of the members live in Tokyo and are between 20 and 40 years old. More than 30% have actually bought a condo. That makes Kojima a hot property. As the recession bites and demand for housing from young families keeps falling, young, single women are becoming an increasingly important target for condo developers.

Tokyo was home to 724,300 single women between the ages of 25 and 49 in 2000, up 47% from a decade earlier. In 1998, some 14% of single women in that age bracket owned their own home or condo, well above the 10% of single men who did so, according to government data.

Kojima says many single working women are concerned about having to keep paying Tokyo's high rents after they retire and see owning a condo as a form of lifestyle insurance. "They don't reject marriage and want to have children," she says. "But they also think of living alone on pension pay-outs." With low interest rates and falling prices, Kojima thinks it's time to buy.

Developers are eager to meet the needs of women who value a convenient residential location and security. In recent years, a number of small, well-designed condos priced between ее25 million and ее40 million have sprung up in popular neighborhoods in Tokyo. "Developers are rushing to build condos catering to women," says Kojima. "They have a great influence on the market."

Sumitomo Corp. tapped Kojima's expertise in mid-October when it presented its condo building targeted at women. Units in the building, Jiyugaoka Heim Comforte, were first offered to members of Kojima's study group, and almost all condos designed for women in the building were sold immediately, says Satoshi Yamazaki, an assistant manager at Sumitomo's housing division. Kojima's network, he says, is quicker and more efficient than distributing flyers or the Internet.

"Kojima is very demanding on products and service," says Kensei Suzuki, a marketing manager at Daiwa House Industry. The Osaka-based homebuilder started consulting Kojima about six years ago when it began targeting female customers. Suzuki says Kojima taught him and other salespeople what women look for and how they want to be treated.

Kojima also helped Daiwa with design, suggesting large closets, plenty of shelves in the bathroom and boutique-like exteriors. So far, Daiwa has constructed eight condo buildings in conjunction with Kojima and Suzuki says the number of female customers in Tokyo and Osaka has quintupled in the past five years. "Women want to listen to viable points and persuasive talk that touches the heart. Only Hiromi Kojima can do that," he says.


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