#2 -- HEADLINE: MINISTER MINNA ANNOUNCES $1.3 MILLION FOR FOUNDATION LED BY GRAECA MACHEL INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
CANADA -- Minister Maria Minna today announced that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) will contribute $1.3 million to a Mozambican non-governmental organization co-founded and headed by GraEca Machel. "GraEca Machel has devoted her life not only to raising awareness about the situation of children in developing countries, but also to inspiring global action to support them," Minister Minna said. "I am pleased to announce today that Canada is supporting Ms. Machel and her Community Development Foundation in their work to improve the quality of health and education available to the most vulnerable people in their country - women, and children and youth in Mozambique." Minister Minna made the announcement during an event today on Parliament Hill honouring the work of GraEca Machel, an international advocate for children.
CIDA is supporting the Foundation and its partner Mozambican organizations to work to improve girl-child education and preventative community health care (including HIV/AIDS), in Inhambane Province, one of the poorest and most vulnerable provinces in Mozambique.
During the event on Parliament Hill, Minister Minna also announced the launch of CIDA's Global Classroom Initiative, a program designed to engage Canadian school-age children and their teachers in active exploration of international development and cooperation issues.
#3 -- HEADLINE: FOCUS: TEENAGE RELATIONSHIPS: BOYS + SEX - EDUCATION = CRISIS: SUZI GODSON, A LEADING AUTHORITY ON SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR, SAYS LAST WEEK'S SURVEY INTO BRITAIN'S SEXUAL HABITS REVEALS A SAD DOWNSIDE TO LIBERATED ATTITUDES AMONG THE YOUNG
Sex, so the old joke goes, is what well-heeled ladies used to keep their coal in. No more. In the most revealing survey ever carried out into Britain's sexual habits, we are having more sex, more often and with more partners than at any time in our history. This does not trouble us. For a nation once regarded as the most sexually repressed in Europe, we are also increasingly relaxed about using prostitutes and open about experimenting with homosexuality.
This is not simply the talk of boys and girls in bars bragging about their conquests. The National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles 1999-2001, released last week, questioned 11,000 people over two years. The findings provide the most accurate cross-cultural picture of sexual behaviour to date. The average age for first sex is now 16, though 30 per cent of boys and 26 per cent of girls do not last out that long. Respondents filled in their answers on laptop computers in their homes, making the researchers confident about the levels of honesty. While the fact that there is more sex going on is good news for the hordes of young and not-so-young people prowling bars and clubs in search of a new sexual partner, there is, sadly, a downside. Although young Britons may be more at ease with themselves about sex, they are also less knowledgeable about how to prevent pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases than anywhere else in Europe.
The problem lies with boys, though it is not their fault. Sex education lessons at school are not stimulating enough, concentrating too much on biology and not enough on preventing disease and pregnancy. More than 90,000 teenagers get pregnant every year; last year 7,700 were under 16, and 2,200 were under 14.
Simon Blake of the Sex Education Forum believes the heavy emphasis on reproduction during sex education means 'boys are just switching off because it is difficult for them to see any of it as relevant or beneficial'. Nationally, male teachers are in short supply and men are less keen to teach sex education. Taught by women and focused on girls, the system perpetuates the idea that sex education isn't 'man's stuff'.
Nor will boys get told enough at home. They do not have the same obvious physical stages of development as girls, and mothers, who traditionally give most advice, often know less about male development too. Fear of pregnancy makes talking to daughters seem like a more urgent issue. Boys are often just left to 'sow their oats', with parents simply hoping they do it carefully.
Ollie is a typical example. The 17-year-old is in the lower sixth at a mixed private boarding school in Wiltshire. He was given leaflets when he was 13 and learnt about contraception in GCSE biology. He thinks it would be better if boys had information on sex when they were much younger. 'It would be less embarrassing than getting it at puberty when everyone is feeling so weird anyway,' he said.
He has tried to sort out his own protection. Like the 76 per cent of 15 and 16-year-olds who told a Durex survey that boys should always carry condoms, Ollie has some difficulties getting them. Vending machines in public toilets provide some discretion, though teenagers like Ollie who live in the country often have to rely on their parents to drive them into town. He has to sneak off and buy them furtively.
#4 -- HEADLINE: ABDULLAH REVIEWS STATUS OF SAUDI WOMEN
JEDDAH (Al-Hayat)--HRH Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, Deputy Premier and Commander of the National Guard, showed remarkable concern for the status of women in the Kingdom during a meeting with HRH Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General, and a number of education officials last Sunday.
#5 -- HEADLINE: GENDER IMBALANCE IN GP, VET ROLES HURTS RURAL AREAS
AUSTRALIA -- Anti-discrimination laws and the academic superiority of girls have combined to cause shortages of doctors, dentists and veterinarians in rural Australia. Many health professionals are aware of the problems being caused by such gender imbalance - and if it wasn't such a serious issue, we could all go on being politically correct and ignoring the facts.
#6 -- HEADLINE: MINISTERS' EDUCATION PLEDGE TO AFGHAN GIRLS
AFGHANISTAN -- Birmingham Cabinet Ministers Estelle Morris and Clare Short promised to help to rebuild Afghanistan by educating girls' after meeting women who fled from the Taliban yesterday. Ms Morris, the Secretary of State for Education, said techniques used to improve standards in Britain's schools could be transferred to the streets of Kabul. International Development Secretary Ms Short stressed the United Nations would enforce equality in Afghanistan - even if the Northern Alliance resisted.
And she risked embarrassing the Government by condemning Saudi Arabia, one of the West's closet allies in the Middle East, for denying women full rights. Also at the meeting in 10 Downing Street was Cherie Blair, wife of the Prime Minister and a top lawyer. The Afghan women included a former headteacher who gave her name as Wahida. Her school of 2,500 girls and 200 teachers was closed when the Taliban came to power.
She said: 'For the last five years the Taliban turned Afghanistan into a hell, for Afghan people and in particular for Afghan women.' By banning women from teaching the regime had also ensured many boys were denied an education because there were no staff for the schools, she said. Ms Morris paid tribute to these women and others she had met, saying: 'I admire their tenacity and their achievements.' Asked how she viewed other countries where women do not have full rights such as Saudi Arabia, Ms Short said: 'In Saudi Arabia women cannot vote. That is a breach of the UN Convention on Human Rights. All over the world, women are denied their rights.' (Birmingham Post)
#7 -- HEADLINE: WOMEN AND SCIENCE WOMEN HOLD LESS THAN ONE THIRD OF POSTS IN HIGHER EDUCATION TEACHING AND PUBLIC RESEARCH
EUROPE -- While the proportion of female students is slightly higher than that of males in tertiary education in the EU (52% of women in 1999), a strong disparity exists in higher education teaching and public research. Women make up only one quarter of higher education professors and represent less than one third of public researchers.
#8 -- HEADLINE: BOYS LAG BEHIND BECAUSE IT IS NOT COOL TO BE SMART
BRITAIN -- Girls do better than boys from the age of four, when they start preschool nursery classes, according to a report to be launched tomorrow. It says there is evidence of peer pressure on some boys not to be seen to be trying too hard or doing too well at school.
Boys who are academically successful are regarded as "uncool" and could suffer for it among their peers. This creates an "achievement ceiling" beyond which it is risky to go. Teresa Tinklin and Linda Croxford, of Edinburgh University's centre for educational sociology, will tell a conference on gender and pupil performance that, from the earliest stage of schooling, more girls than boys are rated highly by their teachers.
The range includes personal, social, and emotional development, physical co -ordination, expressive communication, listening and talking, reading and writing, mathematics, and understanding the environment. It is a trend which continues through primary school, particularly in reading and writing (although in mathematics the pattern of performance is less clear), and throughout secondary, where girls consistently outperform boys in virtually every subject.
However, St. Ninian's High School in East Renfrewshire has bucked the trend. In its most recent examination results, boys did better than girls - although as James McVittie, the school's head teacher is keen to stress, it was not a case of the girls doing badly but the boys pulling their socks up. St. Ninian's was one of six secondaries and associated primaries across Scotland which Ms Tinklin and Dr. Croxford studied for their report commissioned by the Scottish Executive.
Their main findings are that average levels of attainment have increased for both boys and girls over the past three decades but the gain in attainment by boys has not kept up with that of girls. Also, girls have been outperforming boys in school examinations since the mid-1970s but the gap has really been recognised only in the last five years, since the government's target-setting initiative gave a breakdown of results according to gender. The ratio of boys to girls assigned to learning and behaviour support ranges from two to one to five to one; and social background is a greater source of inequality and under-achievement than gender.
Despite the overall higher attainment of girls in school, they still tend to be disadvantaged in the labour market. The researchers believe the differences cannot be explained simply by biological make-up but take in attitude and behaviour of peers, teaching styles, teacher-pupil relationships, curriculum content and assessment methods, attitudes and roles of parents, cultural expectations of men and women, post -school opportunities, and gender inequalities in the workplace.
Their report says: "In the 1960s, girls and boys had very different post-school expectations, whereas our data shows that in the year 2000 both girls and boys hoped for a worthwhile and successful career and saw childcare as a joint responsibility. This marks a change in attitudes and, we would argue, is linked to rising levels of female attainment at school." (The Herald (Glasgow)
#9 -- HEADLINE: ABOUT 10 MILLION ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS LIVE IN RUSSIA
RUSSIA -- According to experts, up to 10 million illegal immigrants are currently living in Russia, said Deputy Interior Minister Vladimir Vasiliyev at a conference called the World Community Against Globalization of Crime and Terrorism.
Among illegal immigrants are casual workers from the Commonwealth of the Independent States member-countries; tourists, mainly Chinese who cross the border and stay in Primorye; and a large number of citizens of the third countries, who came to the Soviet Union to get an education and did not return to their home countries after the breakup of the USSR. According to Mr. Vasiliyev, one of the reasons of illegal immigration is the fact that Russia practically lacks state boundaries with the CIS countries. In addition, over many years, the visa application process for those coming to Russia from CIS remains overly simple.
Mr. Vasiliyev also addressed the issue of the "brain drain" from Russia. In 2000, about 100,000 Russians left Russia for European countries. In particular, 56 percent of them went to Germany, 23 percent to Israel, and 7 percent to the United States. (Russian Economic News)
#10 -- HEADLINE: EDUCATION INTERNATIONAL - THE WORLD'S LARGEST UNION OF TEACHERS - UNANIMOUSLY OPPOSED THE INCLUSION OF EDUCATION IN THE GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TRADE IN SERVICES (GATS) AND EXPRESSED CONCERNS THAT GLOBALIZATION WAS TRANSFORMING EDUCATION INTO A COMMODITY RATHER THAN A HUMAN RIGHT.
THAILAND -- In a harsh condemnation of what it termed a globalization trend of introducing a "neo-liberal model to dismantle the welfare state and move to a competitive state by privatizing education" the E.I. called upon its 24.5 million members worldwide to oppose efforts to include education under GATS, a move reportedly backed by certain industrialized countries such as the United States.
Educational International (E.I.), established in Stockholm in 1993, represents 24.5 million teachers - 50 per cent of the profession worldwide - from 155 member countries. The organization hold congresses every three years to discuss key global challenges facing teachers and education systems.
Some 1,100 delegates showed up to attend the Jomtien congress, where the key topics of discussion included the global goal to assure "quality" education for all children by the year 2015, the impact of Information Technology (IT) on education and the perceived threats of globalization trends on the teaching profession and education policies.
The congress's resolution of globalization urged all members "to oppose the inclusion of education in the GATS and to ensure the policies of the World Trade Organization, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) acknowledge public education is a right."
E.I., while not opposed to privatization of education as such, has argued that governments have the social responsibility to assure their populations a "quality education", and should not shift this burden to the private sector which is driven by profits. "We are fighting against privatization of education to avoid public responsibility being given up, and the responsibility of society to provide quality education being handed over to private companies," said Christoph Heise, international secretary of the German Education Union.
Concerns were expressed at the congress that if education was privatized, and treated as a commodity rather than a public service, multinationals would enter the field to help market their products, especially in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector. It was therefore not coincidental that the congress also adopted a resolution that highlighted teachers' concerns about the advent of ICT in education systems.
While noting the benefits of ICT, the teachers congress called for more research into its benefits in the classroom, and stressed the dangers of the so-called "digital divide," separating those with access to "e-learning" and those without. "The use of new information and communications technologies in traditional systems of education and training, outside these systems, generates inequality in terms of access, not only between industrialized and developing countries, but also between the privileged and the disadvantaged in all countries," the congress concluded in one of its main resolutions.
Organizers admitted that the first Jomtien-based world congress on education, which pledged to assure "education for all" by the year 2000, had obviously failed in reaching its objective. Last year the more modest target of 2015.
#11 -- HEADLINE: WOMEN GETTING PAID TO BE AROUSED BY PORN - AT A UNIVERSITY
USA -- She sits in the chair with the television just a few feet away. Her left hand is free; her right hand holds a lever that can be forced forward, like the throttle on a motorboat. A probe about four inches long is sitting in her vagina, attached to a clear cord that dangles between her legs like a plumber's snake.
The screen flicks on. The experiment has begun. The first clip lasts a few minutes. To start, it's a man and woman having sex. As the viewer gets turned on, she pushes down on the lever. The tampon-shaped probe between he legs shines a light, and then measures how much of it is reflected back. As she gets excited, the blood starts to pulse. The dark fluid flows in and the vaginal photo-plethysmograph picks up less and less light. The first clip ends. Landscape scenes breeze by on the screen. The mind is refreshed. Then, more porn. Before she's done, the subject has watched video clips of penetrative and oral sex, performed by both a man and a woman, then a woman and a woman.
Penetrative sex performed by two women? "Dildo," Prof. Michael Bailey says. He and graduate student Meredith Chivers masterminded the test that is designed to study if straight women react differently to straight porn and lesbian porn. The experiment was performed on a sample of 29 female Northwestern students in a Cresap lab. Bailey and Chivers hope to show whether a woman's sexual orientation is reflected by her response to different displays of eroticism.
This is science at its steamiest. And the results were interesting. No matter the pairing, the women reacted similarly. The same was not true for the opposite sex. Last spring, Bailey and Chivers were involved in a similar study that tested Chicago-area men for their reaction to straight and gay porn. The results were fairly definitive =97 straight men reacted to watching a man and a woman have sex; gay men reacted to watching two men have sex. Neither had much crossover.
But when Chicago-area women showed arousal to both stimuli, Bailey got interested. He and Chivers wanted to follow-up on the research by looking at a more homogenous community of women. He didn't have to look too far beyond his lecture stand to find one. They concluded that women attending NU fit a sharp average profile =97 young, heterosexual and sexually inexperienced.
But gathering a sample of women willing to be monitored while watching skin flicks was not an easy task. First, he needed permission from the Instructors Review Board, a group that places ethical restrictions on research, to ask students to participate. Regulations said he had to invite them to another classroom to talk about the study. There, he asked them to fill out a questionnaire about their willingness to participate. They would be paid $75, compared to the $25 to $30 dolled out to the Chicago women. Those that followed up on his inquiry and then answered his questions were accepted. "It wasn't a high percentage," Bailey said.
Chivers is excited to compare the data from her stimulating tests. Though Bailey has not started the lengthy process of analyzing and composing the data, he said the results were similar to what was found in the citywide sample. "It appears that women, regardless of sexual orientation, respond to everything," Bailey said.
It's a subject Bailey is familiar with. He's taught the popular course Human Sexuality since he first came to NU in 1989. In fact, his expertise is the reason why Chivers wanted to study at Northwestern. "I did come to NU to work with Dr. Bailey because of my interest in sexual orientation research," she said.
For Bailey's doctoral dissertation at the University of Texas, he researched a "cool" new study of homosexuality he had recently read. Bailey knew he could find his niche in the relatively untouched topic that everybody found interesting. "As a clinical psychologist, I preferred working with gay guys to working with crazy guys," Bailey said.
At NU, he also has taught Intro. to Psychology and statistics, but he made his reputation studying sex. His publications have gained positive and negative attention =97 sometimes from his own students. But through thick and thin, Bailey has been proud to call NU his home. "Northwestern has impressed me from the beginning for its tolerance of serious teaching and scholarship, no matter how controversial," Bailey said. And his work is frequently controversial. Bailey knows his recent study is certain to come under fire for some of its procedures. For example, women willing to watch dirty movies might not reflect a typical sample, a possibility that could skew some of Bailey's results.
But Chivers notes that these women reacted positively to the study. "The women who did participate in the study found it very interesting and important research because so little is known about women's sexual arousal patterns," she said. Bailey knows sexual arousal isn't easily quantifiable. His assistants tried hard to find arousing video clips ("not too cheesy," Bailey said), but he knows that certain people might be more attracted to some actors than others. "Hopefully, nobody was reminded of someone," Bailey said.
But no science is an exact science, and Bailey is pleased with his experiment. Without boasting, he said he looked forward to seeing how his study would be received by the public. "I'm excited by the results, and I hope to see them published in a good journal." (http://www.dailynorthwestern.com/daily/issues/2001/11/29/nyo u/m-bailey.shtml By Jaclyn Bertner and Matt Donnelly)