5 Things to Know (5th March – 9th March)

Decrease in Child Marriage Cases: According to the United Nations children’s agency, the number of child marriages case are decreasing. In the past decade, over 25 million child marriages have been prevented. A decade ago, one in four girls were married before the age of 18, compared to one in five girls as of now. It is also evident that the most significant reduction is seen in South Asian countries. Particularly in India, this was achievable due to better education for females and by publicizing the harm child marriage causes. Although this issue is mainly impacting Africa, one third of the marriage rates have dropped. World leaders have also vowed to end child marriage by 2030 under the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Moreover, according to UNICEF, child marriages lead to huge societal consequences and a higher chance of inter-generational cycles of poverty.

1

North Korea wants “closer ties” with South Korea: Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, said that he wants to “vigorously advance” closer ties with South Korea. This fact was revealed after several South Korean officials visited Pyongyang and met Mr. Kim for the first time since he came to power in 2011. On the other hand, South Korea claimed that the visit was “not disappointing” because the two sides reached a “satisfactory agreement” regarding holding future talks. The delegation is also expected to visit Washington during this week in order to give US officials a brief account of their talks in the North. To this, the US has said that it feels optimistic about improving North-South relations, and would try to persuade North to abandon nuclear weapons. Mr. Kim also agreed on easing the acute military tensions on the Korean Peninsula through activation of versatile dialogue, cooperation, and exchange of ideas.

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Sad Ending of First Same-Sex Marriage in Australia: An ill woman and her partner were the first same-sex couple to marry in Australia. After the marriage law of the country was redefined in December, the couple obtained an exemption from an official waiting period of 30 days. Jo Grant, died from a rare type of cancer, on 30th January, which was 48 days after marrying Jill Kindt. It was revealed that the couple had been together for eight years. Their private marriage ceremony was held at their garden on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Moreover in 2013, the couple had held a commitment ceremony, also known as their “promise day” where they considred themselves as married. Grant’s mother claimed that the marriage was responsible for renewing Jo’s spirit, giving her one last chance to celebrate Christmas with her family. Ever since this law had been enforced, there have been 159 same-sex marriages in the country.

3

Strike in Spain on International Women’s Day: On March 8, Spanish women took part in the first national strike in order to combat wage inequality and gender discrimination, ending the “macho culture” of the country. They were urged to spend no money and ditch any domestic chores for the particular day, in order to protest. The strike has been approved by mayors of Madrid and Barcelona, Manuela Carmena and Ada Colau respectively. The largest unions of Spain, the Workers’ Commissions and the General Union of Workers have also been supportive of this. They have called workers to stage two two-hour strikes to protest these inequities between both genders. The feminist strike has been favored by 82% of all Spaniards, who believe that there is a clear motive behind this strike, as revealed by the Metroscopia poll. Currently, women earn 12.7% less per hour compared to male counterparts, despite the completion of the same task and job, as investigated by the Foundation for the Study of Applied Economics (FEDEA).

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India’s Supreme Court Allows Passive Euthanasia: The Supreme Court in India that had given the right to die with dignity, has allowed passive euthanasia, however making sure to set out strict regulations that will need to be accepted when it is permitted. The court has also allowed individuals to draft a “living will”, which signifies that they will not be put on life support if they slip into an incurable coma in the future. This enables people to make a statement in advance saying that their lives will not be prolonged by putting them on an artificial support system. The order was passed on March 9th by a five-judge Constitution, and though all judges had separate opinions. everybody was unanimous that a “living will” shall be allowed and an individual should not be allowed to continue suffering in a vegetative state if they do not wish to.

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