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International News Archive
January 29 - Janurary 31, 2002


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This page contains news for the period January 29 through January 31, 2002.



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Thursday, January 31, 2002

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Study shows more babies are born outside of marriage in Britain

A story released today by BBC News reports that according to a research done by Britain’s Office for National Statistics, a large number of British couples think starting a family is more important than getting married.

In Great Britain, two in five babies are born outside wedlock. This compares to one in ten children born outside marriage, 20 years ago.

The Family Planning Association (FPA) said the survey shows serial monogamy is more popular than marriage.

An FPA spokeswoman said: "The idea of the nuclear family as we know it is in the minority now.

"The average lifetime of a marriage is nine years.

"I don't see why children born out of wedlock should be an issue for concern as long as they are brought up safely by adults who love them.

"Society is evolving and we need to find ways of supporting these new kinds of families."

The National Family and Parenting Institute said the survey findings confirmed society had seen a major shift in recent decades.

"In the 21st century, the family comes in many shapes and sizes and it is important to remember this diversity in planning and policy-making for the needs of families." said NFPI’s Chief executive Mary MacLoed.

The survey found more than seven million people live on their own, accounting for a third of all households, compared with just two million in 1961.

It also concludes the population is becoming older, with predictions that a fifth of Britons will be aged 65 or over by 2025.


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A new tolerance to unmarried fathers

An article written by Bettina Arndt for the Sydney Morning Herald tackles the new acceptance by society to unmarried fathers. The complete article can be viewed by clicking on the newslink below:



Wednesday, January 30, 2002

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Are parental rights available to unmarried British dads?

An article written today by Louisa Young for the British paper The Guardian tackles the issue of parental rights of an unmarried father. In her quest to write a novel, she stumbled into a fact that a number of unmarried British fathers may have come to overlook; the reality that they do not have an automatic right as a parent. The full text of her article can be read by clicking on the link below:



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Italian papers criticize papal plea on divorce

A story released today by Agency France Presse reports that the attack on divorce by Pope John Paul II has sparked an angry response in Italy's press and put officials in Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's conservative government on the defensive. The head of the Roman Catholic Church called on lawyers to become conscientious objectors to marriage break-up and to refuse to represent clients seeking divorce.

The secretary of the Italian bishops conference, Giuseppe Betori today said the appeal, which called divorce "an evil" and "contrary to justice", was not only directed at Italy where divorce became legal in 1970.

Italy's lawyers' federation was equally critical of the pontiff's remarks, with its president Emilio Nicola Buccino remarking that it was "inconceivable" for lawyers to betray the law.

But Italy's most influential broadsheet Corriere della Sera compared the 81-year-old pontiff to the Taliban and criticized him as fundamentalist.

"With all due respect due to a great pope ... his appeal for conscientious objection against divorce ... can be compared to the Taliban's extreme resistance in Afghanistan," said the paper in an editorial.

La Stampa argued that many Catholics who do not see family life as "an obligation or a prison, but a choice of love and responsibility" could take offence and said the plight of children facing quarreling parents who refuse to separate was not even being considered.

The paper said that rather than go back 30 years, Italy's legislation needed updating.

In 20 years the number of divorces has more than doubled, mostly in more affluent northern Italy, jumping from 30,000 in 1980 to 65,000 in 1999, according to the latest statistics.

Equal Opportunities Minister Stefania Prestigiacomo, a Catholic member of Berlusconi's Forza Italia married to a Catholic divorcee, also took a soft line, interpreting the papal plea as "an appeal supporting the family and an invitation to reflect on the meaning of marriage".

"With divorces continuously on the rise, something must be basically wrong with our society and we should see what that is," she added.

On the other hand, Francesca Martini, family expert from the formerly separatist Northern League, a junior partner in Berlusconi's coalition government, welcomed the papal admonition, calling "divorce a move which is being abused".


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Unmarried fathers to protest discriminatory Irish laws

A story released today by Online.ie reports that the Unmarried Fathers of Ireland group is going to mount a protest outside the Dail to bring attention to what they say is the blatant discrimination against male parents by Irish laws.

UFI, which claims to have 20,000 men aligned to it, said the constitution focuses on safeguarding the family while ignoring the rights of fathers who choose not to marry.

It said the government must implement UN conventions on the issue of separations and child access.


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