#GlobalNews: 6-12 Oct 16

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    6 -12 Oct 2016



    Affordable childcare scheme welcomed widely

    RTE News. 11 Oct 2016.



    [Ireland] Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe said that the €35m Single Affordable Childcare Scheme would be introduced in September 2017. It will provide parental means-tested subsidies towards the cost of childcare for children aged 6 months to 15 years and universal subsidies of up to €80 a month or €900 a year for all children aged between 6 months and 3 years. Mr Donohoe said the subsidies would be paid for "children and young people attending a Tusla-registered childcare provider, including centre-based providers and child minders". There has been a broadly positive reaction from children's groups to the new affordable childcare scheme, with the National Women's Council describing it as a breakthrough for the provision of childcare in Ireland.


    Children of absent parents more likely to smoke and drink – study

    Nicola Davis. The Guardian. 10 Oct 2016.



    [U.K.] A research has found that children who had experienced the absence of a parent during their first seven years, whether as a result of death, separation or otherwise, were more than twice as likely to have tried smoking and nearly 1.5 times as likely to have drunk alcohol by the age of 11. Rebecca Lacey, one of the authors of the study from University College London, said the research highlighted the impact of stressful events in early life. “Some children, perhaps, seem to be taking up smoking and alcohol as ways of coping with this,” she said, adding that children might need extra support should a parent become absent.




    Female workers in local governments unwilling to marry

    Choi Sung-jin. The Korea Times. 11 Oct 2016.



    [S. Korea] Of about 100,000 female employees in local governments, more than 30,000 remain single, with their unmarried rate twice that of their male counterparts. According to data from the Ministry of the Interior, the unmarried share of female workers at local autonomous bodies was 32.3%, compared with 15.9% for male employees.  "This is the first time the government has surveyed the marriage rate of female employees," a ministry official said. "Their high job security and economic stability after retirement seem to be behind their low rate of marriage." The official added that, "to make government offices, central and local, take the lead in jacking up the low birth-rate, we will provide additional incentives to multi-children families."




    More families living in poverty, warns charity

    Chan Ho-him. The Standard. 12 Oct 2016.



    [H.K.] Hong Kong's wealth gap has considerably widened over the past five years with the richest people earning 29 times more than the poorest, according to an Oxfam report. Based on government statistics, it showed that there were 1.15 million people living in poverty last year, among which more than half were working poor. The group annually assesses the number of poor families in Hong Kong - those earning a monthly household income of less than half the median income for all households.


    Oxfam also warned in its report that the widening wealth gap "has reached an alarming level," stating that the richest 10% earns 29 times more than the poorest 10%. It said the collective wealth of the 18 richest people amounts to HK$1.39 trillion - exceeding the government's HK$1.38 trillion reserves. Oxfam said the government should review the stringent requirements for the low-income working family allowance and the comprehensive social security assistance scheme.




    Working moms struggle to keep careers without reduced work hours

    Japan Today. 10 Oct 2016.



    [Japan] Working mothers in Japan often change their jobs and turn into contract employees after they become ineligible for shortened working hours at their workplaces, as many of them have a hard time managing child-rearing and long hours of work at the same time. The child care and family care leave law obliges employers to reduce working hours to six hours a day in principle for those taking care of children under 3 years old and offer them an exemption from overtime work upon request. Names of parties neglecting such obligations will be made public, according to the website of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. But there are no penalties for companies that breach the obligation. The law is doing little for working mothers. Long work hours remain a major obstacle for them to keep their careers on track.


    98% of companies already have action plan to promote women

    The Japan News. 9 Oct 2016.



    [Japan] 6 months have passed since a law to promote the active engagement of women in society. About 98% of target companies have drawn up an action program to promote women’s careers and have already implemented measures based on those programs. Experts say the public should become more interested in the issue and keep a watchful eye on companies’ actions. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry keeps sending reminders or issuing directives via prefectural labor bureaus nationwide to the companies that have yet to file their plans. “The new law is epoch-making in terms of having companies come up with goals and measures by themselves to narrow the pre-existing gap between men and women in the workplace,” said Masumi Minagawa, a part-time lecturer at Waseda University.




    Increase in youth suicide prompts states to act

    Michael Ollove. News Chief. 8 Oct 2016.



    [U.S.A.] Between 2006 and 2014, the suicide rate among Americans 19 and under rose from 2.18 to 2.75 per 100,000 people. Among the possible causes cited by suicide experts is a decline in the use of psychiatric medicines and the rise of cyber-bullying. A number of states, over the past five years, have adopted measures to try to reverse the trend.


    In Texas, for example, a 2015 law requires the state health department to identify and publicize the best practices used in all states for suicide prevention. All public school teachers, counsellors and principals in the state must receive training in how to recognize and address signs of suicide risk in students, and schools must notify parents if there’s a concern their child might be at risk for suicide. New York established an office to coordinate all state suicide prevention activities. The state also provides extensive training for teachers and staff, as well as student peer groups, in how to identify children who seem to be in distress and direct them to adults who can connect them to mental health services.

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