June 11th is the kick-off of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa -- the first time a global event like this will take place on the continent. Many critical eyes will be focused not only on the matches but also on the security measures and the overall organization for the 350,000 soccer fans expected.
The South African Emergency Management Services divisional chief, Sean Knoetze, told Associated Press they were prepared for everything: biological and chemical incidents, stadium collapses, aircraft crashes and flooding. “We never know what to expect,” he said. South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma, addressing the Ugandan parliament in a state visit on March 25th, said the country intends to “disprove skeptics out to “de-campaign” Africa.” Leave for all military personnel will be cancelled during the one-month long tournament to forestall any civil demonstrations, and patrol the country’s borders to prevent trafficking in drugs and humans.
One would think, given the current red alert about clerical child abusers, that the safety and innocence of children was pretty well number one priority with the media. But is it?
Not necessarily. When it comes to protecting children from harmful content on the internet it seems there has to be a trade off of interests. Proposals by Australia to filter internet content more thoroughly has brought an outcry from Google, Yahoo and outfits with names like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Centre for Internet Freedom (part of the Progress and Freedom Foundation). Even the US government has signalled its concern that the “free flow of information” and “open societies” may be threatened. And the big bogey is China: this will give China an excuse to persist in censorship for political reasons, some say.
It is what you would expect -- research showing that religious people are more likely to marry than merely cohabit with a partner -- but helpful to see the figures.
The US National Centre for Health Statistics analysed data on men and women aged 15 to 44 collected in 2002. Overall, 42 per cent of men and 46 per cent of women were married, and about 9 per cent of both were living together, unmarried, in a sexual relationship, reports New York Times.
Black Americans had much lower rates of marriage than whites or Hispanics. But that seems to have more to do with education -- and employment -- than religion.
One of the topics that came up at the Barcelona conference on low fertility was the question of whether parenthood brings happiness to adults; the evidence so far seems uncertain. This week, however, there is solid evidence reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in favour of motherhood, if not fatherhood.
Researchers followed 1,292,462 women in Taiwan for over 20 years to learn if the hypothesis postulated by sociologist Emile Durkheim in 1897 — that parenthood is protective against suicide — was accurate.
Investigators found a 39 percent decrease in suicide-related mortality among women with two live births and a 60 percent decrease among women with three or more births compared to women with one child.
The participants, who were followed until Dec. 31, 2007, gave birth between Jan. 1, 1978 and Dec. 31, 1987.
Sorry for the long gap in posts on this blog but following the two-day conference on demography that I attended in Barcelona on the 12th and 13th of March, I was travelling for another week with little access to the internet.
Barcelona is an impressive city and the conference equally so. I set out from my homely base in the South Pacific with some preconceptions which were quickly blown apart. For one thing, after 30 years of Fawlty Towers I thought I would at last meet Manuel; instead, I ran into Barcelona’s own Basil Fawlty, a hotel restaurant manager (NOT at the conference hotel, I hasten to add) who each evening would order myself and two companions into whichever dining area we were not already seated in, muttering to himself as he strode from one to the other. “Why are there so many people here?” I asked innocently on the first night…
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It is not everyone’s idea of an occasion to celebrate but a publisher named Alyson Books has brought out a twentieth anniversary edition of the famous child’s primer on same-sex relationships: Heather Has Two Mommies.
In full colour! gasps New Republic reviewer Ellen Handler Spitz delightedly. She observes:
This deceptively simple percept marks a two-decades-long saga of social change: when Heather first saw the light of day, it had been rejected by over fifty publishers, was eventually printed through donations, and the four thousand dollars that were raised proved insufficient to produce a coloured picture book.
Even now, though, this “passionate and brave story” of two women who “fall in love and decide to bring a child into the world and raise her together” has been produced minus eight “crucial” pages -- by an LGBT publisher, no less -- as was the tenth anniversary…
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When will young adults get the message that living together does not increase their chances of a lasting marriage? New analysis of US national data shows that, on average, cohabitation actually decreases by 6 percentage points the likelihood of marriage lasting 10 years or more.
Despite earlier research showing this same pattern, more and more young adults delay marriage and cohabit: nearly two out of three women in their late 30s have done so, according to this study of 2002 data by the National Centre for Health Statistics.
However, the effects vary by education:
Half of couples who cohabit marry within three years, the study found. If both partners are college graduates, the chances improve that they will marry and that their marriage will last at least 10 years.
Art imitates life and research imitates common sense, it seems. A new study has found that the more young people watch television, the poorer their relationships with both their friends and parents.
Evidently, some parents worry that their kids might feel excluded if they were not watching the same programmes as their friends. But lead researcher Dr Rose Richards of the University of Otago, New Zealand, says that limiting TV viewing “may result in stronger relationships between young people, their friends and their parents."
The study involved 3043 New Zealand adolescents aged 14 to 15 in 2004. The teens completed a confidential questionnaire about their free-time habits, as well as an assessment of their attachment to parents and peers.
The researchers also assessed interview responses from 976 members of the Dunedin study who were 15 years old between 1987 and 1988.
Spain may be floundering economically and its birth rate one of the lowest in Europe, but that has not stopped its government passing a law to eliminate more unplanned and imperfect babies before birth.
Last week the Senate approved a sweeping new law that, in the name of women’s rights, allows abortion without restrictions up to 14 weeks and gives 16- and 17-year-olds the right to have abortions without parental consent, AP reports. Abortions are also allowed in the first 22 weeks of pregnancy if the fetus has a serious or incurable disease.
The Socialist-led government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero went ahead with this liberalisation in spite of huge rallies against it, the opposition of the Catholic Church, and polls that showed the nation was split down the middle over the issue.
Good news about young adults in the United States: research shows that their top priority is being a good parent. In the latest Pew Report on the Millennials (18- to 29-year-olds) 52 per cent of them chose that over owning a home (20 per cent), having a high-paying career (15 per cent) and becoming famous (1 per cent) as the most important thing in their lives.
Unfortunately, some of the aspiring parents put it far ahead of having a successful marriage (only 30 per cent) -- not to mention living a very religious life (15 per cent). How do they think they can be good parents without a good marriage?
One explanation for their naivety is this: “Only about six-in-ten were raised by both parents -- a smaller share than was the case with older generations,” says the report. And they are not rushing to say “I do”:
Family Edge looks at news and trends affecting the family in the light of human dignity. Our focus is the inspiring, creative, humorous, annoying, ridiculous, and dangerous ideas in the evening news. Send tips and brainwaves to the editor, Tamara Rajakariar, at tamara.rajakariar@ mercatornet.com