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Judged bashes Probation Department for gender bias in favor of leniency for girls
BY Simone Weichselbaum and Thomas Zambito
Wednesday, December 1st 2010, 4:00 AM

A Queens judge is blasting the city's Probation Department for going easier on teenage girls than boys - even when they commit the same crimes.

Family Court Judge John Hunt accused probation of gender bias for trying to spare all but the most violent girls from prison time and the scarlet letter of the juvenile delinquent.

Hunt analyzed the cases of eight teenagers who had come before him - four boys and four girls - and found that probation routinely recommended tougher treatment for boys.

Take Queens eighth-graders Stephen C. and Jennifer S.

The teens took part in the robbery of a boy who was punched, kicked and choked before having his iPod wrested away. Probation recommended that Stephen be put on supervised probation while Jennifer should have her case eventually dismissed.

Judge Hunt disagreed Monday and ordered both teens put on probation for 18 months.

"The court could find no cogent reason why Jennifer S. should be treated differently than her accomplice, Stephen C.," Hunt wrote.

Hunt blamed a "seemingly bizarre, sterile and largely impersonal system" for the disparate treatment.

In an effort to trim the number of locked-up juveniles, the city partnered with the Vera Institute of Justice in 2003 to develop a computer-generated program that would take the guesswork out of probation officers' recommendations.

A higher score on the Probation Assessment Tool (PAT) means a recommendation that could lead to eventual dismissal of charges. A lower score means probation or lockup, not to mention the juvenile delinquent tag.

Hunt claims PAT routinely rewards girls with 14 extra points for gender alone, while boys get 0.

"The system contains a built-in gender bias in favor of female delinquents," Hunt writes.

Probation officials say the computer tool predicts the likelihood of a juvenile being rearrested based on a study of 763 similar cases.

"It is an assessment tool," said Ryan Dodge, a probation spokesman. "The court can always go against it. It is not set in stone."

Hunt said probation offered up no statistics to suggest boys were more likely to get in trouble again.
'Sexist' tax cut would benefit Ireland as a whole

IMF plan to cut women's income tax rate by five percentage points could raise Ireland's GDP as well as tackle inequality

The revelation in the news yesterday of an IMF proposal to lower the income tax rate of Irish women returning to the workforce by five percentage points, was greeted with bemusement swiftly followed by derision.

A number of angry men were quick to cry foul, branding the initiative "sexist". One popular daytime radio presenter described it as a "tax cut for the girls" and went so far as to speculate that any additional take-home pay resulting from what he branded a "sexist law" would be spent on "shopping and hair". A secondary, more measured, debate arose between women with children, who tentatively suggested that there might be some merit in a measure that counteracted the prohibitively high cost of childcare in Ireland, and women without children, who felt that they would be disadvantaged.

It is clear that this is intended purely as an economic rather than an equality measure. Its source, an IMF staff position note entitled Lifting Euro Area Growth: Priorities for Structural Reforms and Governance, recognises that the implicit tax on the gross income of second earners in Austria, France, Ireland and the Slovak Republic tops 70% and creates a barrier to re-entry into the workforce. The IMF estimates that "cutting labour income taxes paid by women by five percentage points would increase the GDP level by 1¾ percentage points, for a fiscal cost of ½ percentage point of GDP", a cost benefit analysis that is difficult to ignore.

The document also recommends better childcare support, although no specific details are given. A similar economic argument was used by the Norwegian government in 2004 when it introduced very effective gender quotas for the boards of publicly quoted companies. Arguing that diversity creates wealth, Ansgar Gabrielsen, then the Norwegian trade and industry minister, wrote a law requiring private firms to have at least 40% women on their boards into the Public Limited Companies Act rather than the Gender Equality Act, reasoning that Norway could not afford to ignore the talent inherent in half its population.

Leaving aside economic justification, any proposal that goes some way towards reforming the unequal employment environment that prevails in Ireland deserves serious consideration. Lowering income tax by five percentage points would go some way towards closing the gender pay gap of 8% that persists even when equivalent educational qualifications and responsibility are taken into account. Significant enactment of equality legislation has failed to achieve this.

The difficulties that undoubtedly exist in persuading productive women back into the workforce after childbirth have contributed to a situation where women account for just one in five management positions in Irish SMEs. The family unfriendly nature of the workplace spills over into the political and public service arenas too. Just 14% of elected representatives in the Irish parliament are women and women account for less than one quarter of Irish senior civil servants.

Blunt instruments such as gender quotas and differentiated rates of taxation are often decried as unfair or discriminatory. Yet decades of progressive equality legislation and cultural change have failed to remove the barriers that prevent women from realising their true potential. To effectively tackle the endemic under-participation of women at every level, and benefit from resulting societal and economic progress, we need radical step changes. There is evidence of an increasing political will to introduce the more equitable childcare and parental leave models pioneered by Nordic countries but this will take time. An instantly implementable policy such as the proposed tax break may prove to be a worthwhile and widely beneficial short-term measure.
Juvenile Court May Order Retroactive Child Support If Parentage Action Filed by Child's 23rd Birthday

2003-2116 and 2003-2183. Carnes v. Kemp, 2004-Ohio-7107.
Auglaize App. No. 2-03-10 , 2003-Ohio-5884. Judgment reversed and cause remanded.
Moyer, C.J., Resnick, F.E. Sweeney, Pfeifer and O'Connor, JJ., concur.
Lundberg Stratton and O'Donnell, JJ., dissent.
Opinion: Adobe PDF

Please note: Opinion summaries are prepared by the Office of Public Information for the general public and news media. Opinion summaries are not prepared for every opinion released by the Court, but only for those cases considered noteworthy or of great public interest. Opinion summaries are not to be considered as official headnotes or syllabi of Court opinions. The full text of this and other Court opinions from 1992 to the present are available online from the Reporter of Decisions. In the Full Text search box, enter the eight-digit case number at the top of this summary and click "Submit."

(Dec. 30, 2004) The Supreme Court of Ohio ruled today that a juvenile court has jurisdiction to award retroactive child support payments to an adult emancipated child if a parentage action is filed prior to the child's 23rd birthday.

In a 5-2 decision written by Justice Francis E. Sweeney Sr., the Court held that the Auglaize County Juvenile Court was acting within its jurisdiction when it ordered Barrett Kemp II to pay more than $52,000 in retroactive child support to Jessica Schaefer, his biological daughter.

In 2001, after her 18th birthday, Schaefer located Kemp through an Internet search and provided information about him to the Auglaize County Child Support Enforcement Agency. Subsequent DNA tests established a 99.99 percent probability that Kemp was Schaefer's father. In February 2003, when Schaefer was 20 years old, the juvenile court ordered Kemp to pay her more than $52,000 in retroactive child support for the years prior to her 18th birthday.

Kemp appealed that order to the 3rd District Court of Appeals, which reversed the lower court's ruling on the basis that a juvenile court lacked jurisdiction to award retroactive child support to Schaefer because she did not seek support until after she turned 18, the age at which Kemp's legal obligation to provide child support had terminated.

Schaefer appealed the 3rd District's decision to the Supreme Court, which accepted jurisdiction to resolve divergent rulings by several courts of appeals on this issue.

Writing for the Court in today's decision, Justice Sweeney considered but rejected the rationale of the 3rd District in this case and its reliance on a 1997 appellate decision from Hamilton County, Snider v. Lillie , which held that "(t)here is no provision in R.C. Chapter 3111 that provides for retroactive child support to an adult child. Since the legal duty to support exists only during the child's age of minority, the support action must be commenced before the child turns 18."

Instead, Justice Sweeney cited with approval decisions by five other courts of appeals which found that, when R.C. 3111.05, which extends the statute of limitations for filing parentage actions to age 23, is read in conjunction with R.C. 3111.13, which gives juvenile courts authority to order retroactive child support, "it appears that the legislature envisioned an award of retroactive child support to an adult emancipated child under R.C. 3111."

"R.C. 3111.05 expressly provides that a paternity action may be commenced up to age 23, five years after the child has reached age 18. R.C. 3111.13(C) provides that a juvenile court has the authority to make a support order once a parentage determination is made. Thus, R.C. 3111.05 extends the length of time in which to bring a parentage action, while R.C. 3111.13(C) is couched in broad language and does not limit a juvenile court's jurisdiction in a parentage action to award retroactive support to minor children only," Justice Sweeney wrote.

"Not only does the statutory language dictate this result, but we also believe that since the law specifically allows a child age 18 to 23 to file a paternity action, noncustodial parents should be accountable to their children up until the child's 23rd birthday and should not be able to shirk their responsibility as parents simply because the child may not have contacted or found the parent during the child's younger years," he concluded.

Justice Sweeney's opinion was joined by Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer and Justices Alice Robie Resnick, Paul E. Pfeifer and Maureen O'Connor.

Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton entered a dissent in which she disputed the majority opinion that a juvenile court has the authority to award retroactive child support to a child who files after reaching the age of majority. She recognized that the parentage statute analyzed by the majority expressly provides that an adult can seek his or her parentage. However, she also recognized that the parentage statute is silent regarding the right of an adult to collect retroactive child support. and said she believes that the majority reached its conclusion by improperly interpreting the parentage statute in pari materia (by reading it together with) child support statutes.

"Juvenile courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and their powers are created by statute. R.C. 2151.23 defines that jurisdiction but refers only to a support order for a 'child,' which is defined as 'a person who is under eighteen years of age,' R.C. 2151.011(B)(5), while an adult is defined as 'an individual who is eighteen years of age or older.' R.C. 2151.011(B)(2)," Justice Stratton wrote. Therefore, Justice Stratton said she believes that these statutes provide no right for an adult to seek retroactive child support.

Justice Terrence O'Donnell joined Justice Stratton's opinion and also entered a separate dissent in which he disputed the majority's interpretation of the General Assembly's intent when creating R.C. 3111.05 and R.C. 3111.13(C). "The different views expressed among appellate districts recognize the difficulty of determining legislative intent and suggest to me that this is a matter of state policy better left to the legislative branch of government for resolution," Justice O'Donnell wrote.

Byron Bonar, 937.325.5991, for Jessica Schaefer.

Max Kravitz, 614.464.2000, for Barrett Kemp II.
Top judge says mothers should have children taken away if they don't let fathers see them
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 1:26 AM on 27th November 2010

Mothers who refuse to let separated fathers see their children should have them taken away, a senior family court judge said yesterday.

The children should be handed over to the full time care of the father if the mother persistently defies court orders, Mr Justice Coleridge said.

He called for a 'three strikes and you're out rule' by which children would be taken away if mothers ignored three court orders.

The judge said that family courts are losing their authority because so many people take no notice of their judgments.

Around 5,000 new cases a year come before the family courts in which parents - almost always mothers - defy orders to let the other parent have contact.

Judges are extremely reluctant to jail such mothers because of the damaging effects on the children, so many continue to get away with it.

Mr Justice Coleridge, 61, said: 'If I were to call it three strikes and you're out it sounds insensitive but something like it perhaps should be the norm.'

He added that occasionally it might be necessary to send a mother to jail.
Main / Damsel in distress Treatment
Nov 26, 2010, 11:29 PM
Would-be glamour girl who cried rape to clear drug debt is jailed for 18 months
By Andrew Levy
Last updated at 3:00 PM on 20th November 2010

A young woman who had ambitions of becoming a glamour model falsely accused a man of raping her as part of a 'wicked' scam to clear her £3,000 drug debt.

Samantha Merry, 21, claimed that she had been sexually assaulted by the man in a brutal attack which allegedly happened in front of a group of people.

Her victim was arrested in front of his partner and their children at 4am and driven to a police station where intimate swabs were taken and he was held in a cell for 23 hours.

He remained on bail for 15 weeks with the threat of a lengthy jail term hanging over him while officers investigated the allegations.

Merry, of Great Baddow, near Chelmsford, Essex, is believed to have made up the allegation after her drug dealer offered to cancel the debt if she took action against the man because he had a grudge against him.

It was only after CCTV footage came to light that proved the man could not have attacked Merry that he was cleared, Chelmsford Crown Court heard.

Merry, an office junior, admitted perverting the course of justice and was jailed for 18 months yesterday.

Judge Anthony Goldstaub, QC, told her: 'Your motivation was entirely for your financial benefit in exchange for the victim's imprisonment.

'As a result, your victim's life became the stuff of which nightmares are made. He remained under suspicion and on bail, expecting prosecution and fearing imprisonment for this crime.'

Judge Goldstaub told her that her lies could stop genuine rape victims coming forward for fear they would not be believed.

The court heard that Merry claimed she was attacked on March 3 this year.

She made a detailed 13-page statement, leading to a case that cost Essex Police thousands of pounds, including 235 man hours and £3,700 on forensic tests.

CCTV footage later revealed that she had lied and on June 14 she was arrested.

Richard Stevens, prosecuting, said: 'She said she had a drugs debt of £3,000 involving crack cocaine. The dealer had told her to accuse the victim of rape and it was her hope that doing so might wipe her debt.'

Paul Donnegan, defending, said his client had no previous criminal record and had suffered abuse in the street since she admitted to lying.

But the judge turned down pleas to spare her prison, saying it was a 'careful and wicked deception'.

He added: 'Some might say if you try to send someone to prison for five or six years you really deserve to go to prison yourself. The effect on the victim is appalling. It was premeditated and mercenary.'

Merry uses the nickname Sexy Sam on her Myspace page on which she writes: 'Before I met my boyfriend I wanted to get in to some kind of modeling [sic]'.

She adds that her ambition is to meet Katie Price.

After the case, Chief Inspector Joe Wrigley said: 'Justice has been done and I hope it serves as a warning to anyone who would want to make a false allegation.'
Ruby Ann Ruffolo's seven-year murder trial ends in guilty verdict and life in jail
By Louise Dickson, November 19, 2010

After seven years of legal wrangling, Ruby Ann Ruffolo of Saanich was found guilty of the first-degree murder of her husband Thursday and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 25 years.

The Victoria courtroom, filled with John Ruffolo's extended family and friends, burst into applause after B.C. Supreme Court Justice Mary Humphries took her seat and immediately announced she had found Ruffolo guilty of killing John by sedating him with amitriptyline and injecting him with a lethal dose of heroin on Oct. 19, 2003.

Ruffolo, 54, who appeared nervous and teary-eyed as she sat in the prisoner's box before the verdict, gasped and lowered her head. Behind her, in the front row, the couple's 20-year-old daughter, Jovanna, sobbed in the arms of a friend.

During her trial, which was plagued by delays over two years, the Crown argued that Ruffolo loathed her husband and wanted him dead. John had asked her for a divorce and she was worried she would never get her share of the money the couple had invested in four rental properties. The Crown also believed Ruby blamed John for her son's suicide in 2002.

The court heard that Ruffolo tried to hire two people to kill her husband. When that failed, she mixed amitriptyline into his protein shake, then injected him with a fatal overdose of heroin. Ruffolo and her tenant, Vivian Kirkland, dragged John's body out to the driveway but could not lift him into a car. Ruffolo then drove to Victoria and asked painter Robert Johnson to help her with some "heavy lifting." But when Johnson saw John's body in the driveway, he backed away, refusing to help.

Ruffolo and Kirkland asked another tenant, Doug Murray, to help load the body in the car. Ruffolo, with Kirkland in the passenger seat, drove off, with John's feet sticking out the window. They drove to Humpback Road in Langford and rolled his body into a broken culvert. The body was discovered by a hiker on Oct. 25.

Ruffolo testified that she had nothing to do with her husband's death. She denied all the evidence of Johnson, Kirkland and Murray. Defence witness Randolph Whitman testified that Kirkland and Murray told him John had gone into hiding from drug dealers on Oct. 19. At a party later that week, he asked Kirkland to inject him with heroin and died.

After reviewing the evidence, Humphries decided that although there were frailties and inconsistencies in the testimony of Johnson, Kirkland and Murray, their evidence was credible.

"I am satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that John Ruffolo died on Oct. 19, 2003 at his home. Ms. Ruffolo had a motive to kill her husband and the opportunity to inject him with heroin," said Humphries.

Prosecutor Scott Van Alstine read out victim impact statements, describing the great sadness felt by John's mother, Lois, his father, Mario, and his sisters, Sarina and Mena.

"The accused's act of killing John Ruffolo was evil and motivated by hatred and greed," said Van Alstine. "The penalty about to be pronounced is fit and just. John Ruffolo lost that which was most valuable and irreplaceable, his life."

Both Ruffolo and her lawyer, David Lyon, turned down an opportunity to address the court.

Ruffolo was allowed to hug her distraught daughter, then placed in handcuffs and led out of the courtroom to begin her sentence.

Jovanna, who is estranged from her father's family, left court with her friend.

Outside the courthouse, Lois Ruffolo described the last seven years as a nightmare.

"There's no win for our family. We've still lost John," said his sister Mena Westhaver. "John was a loving person, an exceptional person. He had his whole life ahead of him. He didn't deserve to die at 36."

Although the wheels of justice moved slowly, Ruffolo's life is going to be served in prison, said Van Alstine. "It's a strong penalty. It's harsh, perhaps. But does it equal the life of John Ruffolo? No."

Saanich police Sgt. Glen MacKenzie, the lead investigator, described the process as a long and arduous journey.

"At the end, it's a lose-lose situation. A daughter lost her father. Sisters lost their brother and parents lost their son because one person was evil and out for her own personal gain, be it greed or jealousy. She took it upon herself to take a life. She planned it out. She bought heroin. It was an evil act."
Ad campaign targets men who prey on drunken women
By Andrea Sands, November 20, 2010 6:42 AM

EDMONTON -- A bold new advertising campaign will warn young men that extremely drunk or unconscious women can't consent to sex.

The Don't Be That Guy campaign, announced Friday by a coalition of groups fighting sexual assault, will target men aged 18 to 24 using print and transit advertising, as well as ads posted above the urinals inside bar washrooms, said police Supt. Danielle Campbell.

"The advertisements use graphic language, disturbing images to communicate one bottom-line message: Sex without consent is sexual assault," Campbell said.

"For those of you who choose to be That Guy, that opportunistic offender, know this -- the Edmonton Police Service has the subject-matter experts to investigate these matters and we will hold you accountable for the crime you commit."

In one ad, a man is helping a woman to a black car at night, and text underneath the photo reads: "Just because you help her home ... doesn't mean you get to help yourself." In another ad, a woman in a black dress is passed out, face down on a couch, with three liquor bottles lined up on the floor nearby. The text reads: "Just because she isn't saying no ... doesn't mean she's saying yes."

A third ad will be strategically placed only in men's bathrooms in 26 bars around the city. That one reads: "Just because she's drunk doesn't mean she wants to f***."

The three advertisements were chosen after focus-group testing showed the messages were clearly understood by, and resonated with, young men.

Campbell said she hopes the "graphic" and "blunt" messages make a real difference in educating young men and reducing sexual assaults.

In 2009, alcohol was a factor in half the cases investigated by the police sexual assault section, said Campbell. In the first six months of this year, 52 per cent of cases investigated, involving 153 victims, had alcohol as a factor, she said.

"In each of these cases, the victims were clearly intoxicated ... in some cases passed out at the time of the sexual assault. In each and every case, the offender was known to the victim," Campbell said.

"A person that is drunk or passed out cannot give consent."

A study out of the United Kingdom this month involving men ages 18 to 25 showed that 48 per cent did not consider it rape if the woman was too drunk to know what was happening, Campbell said.

The Don't Be That Guy campaign was designed after members of SAVE (Sexual Assault Voices of Edmonton) discovered a troubling trend among sexual assault cases in this city. SAVE is made up of various groups including the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton, Responsible Hospitality Edmonton and Edmonton police.

"Our organizations know that the vast majority of alcohol-facilitated sexual assaults are committed by young men between the ages of 18 and 24, and the vast majority of victims of this crime are young women," said Karen Smith of the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton.

Most sexual-assault campaigns focus on providing prevention tips for women, Smith said. "Tips just reinforce the myth that women are somehow responsible for anticipating and preventing sexual violence.

"This innovative SAVE committee believes that, as long as society directs prevention strategies at women, we all stop looking at what the real problem is -- the perpetrators."
Handball coach sentenced over teen love

A former handball manager has been given a suspended sentence for starting a relationship with a teenager.

Renata C. pleaded guilty and accepted the 22-month suspended prison sentence in Wiener Neustadt's Provincial Court yesterday (Weds).

The 42-year-old was sacked as coach of a local handball youth team after it emerged that one of the players was sleeping with her.

The teenager's stepdad Stefan U. informed police after his son admitted to him that he was having a relationship with the woman.

Prosecutors decided to take Renata C. to court since the boy was 13 years old when they started dating. The woman would not have faced a trial had they waited half a year since 14 years of age is the legal watershed for relationships with adults for young people in Austria.

The unnamed teenager, who was called to the witness stand yesterday, recently moved in with the former handball coach. His mother Judith U. accepts the relationship, according to reports.
Government drive for more women on company boards
#, Sunday 7 November 2010 18.46 GMT

Companies could be compelled to ensure that at least 40% of their directors are women under one option being considered by a government review, it has been revealed.

Lord Davies of Abersoch, a former trade minister who is drawing up proposals for ministers, said that imposing a quota was one of the options that he was examining and that the level would have to be set at 30% or 40% to make a real difference.

The Labour peer, who is a former chairman of Standard Chartered, was invited by the government in August to develop a strategy to increase the number of women on the boards of British companies. David Cameron raised this as an issue during the general election, and the coalition has highlighted research showing that in 2009 only 12.2% of FTSE 100 companies, and only 7.3% of FTSE 250 companies, were women.

Davies is still consulting on the issue, and his proposals are not due to go to ministers until the end of the year, but in the Sunday Times yesterday he said that compulsion would be one option.

"What we need is a fundamental change in the attitude of chairmen in terms of board representation," he said.

"There is a range of options. One of them is to bring in a direct quota or a timeline that leads to a quota. My view is that to say 20% of people on a board should be women is not enough. It has to be 30% or 40% to make a real change."

Davies said there would be no need for quotas if companies were to voluntarily increase the number of female directors they appoint. But he said that that would require "radical change" and that the pressure would have to come from shareholders. "They are the owners of the company and they should want the boards to represent their workforce and society."

Some countries already have a quota. In Norway it is set at 40%.

As part of his terms of reference, Davies was asked to consider the obstacles to women becoming company directors, as well as international practice in this area. His report will be presented to Vince Cable, the business secretary, and Lynne Featherstone, the equalities minister.

The coalition has said that its "aspiration" is for half of the new appointees to the boards of public bodies to be women by 2015.
Main / Voter Fraud...
Oct 30, 2010, 10:32 AM
Main / Caption this if you can...
Oct 30, 2010, 10:01 AM
Traditional marriage laws are swept aside in landmark decision by Supreme Court
By Steve Doughty and Vanessa Allen
Last updated at 9:10 AM on 21st October 2010

Judges yesterday tore up England's marriage laws to offer couples binding prenuptial contracts.

They used the test case of a German heiress worth £100million and her millionaire French  husband to bring a revolutionary change to the laws around  marriage and divorce.

Their Supreme Court ruling means that prenuptial agreements which set down a couple's divorce settlement before their wedding will have full legal status in England for the first time.

The deals will mean that brides and grooms will know they can keep their own cash and property in the event that their marriage crashes.

Only manifestly unfair contracts would be overturned by the courts.

In the case, paper industry heiress Karin Radmacher won the right to protect her fortune and hundreds of millions of pounds controlled by her family out of the hands of her former husband, a City banker turned academic.

But in the process of deciding the case, the Supreme Court judges swept away hundreds of years of legal precedent that a married couple should be together for life and their property should be shared - something enshrined in the Church of England's marriage ceremony since 1662 when the groom says: 'With all my worldly goods I thee endow.'

Prenup deals have long held influence in courts in America and Europe.

But in England the courts have rarely enforced them and judges have usually chosen to ignore them.

Miss Radmacher, 41, had fought a four-year court battle to withhold the vast majority of her fortune from her ex-husband, former investment banker Nicolas Granatino after he claimed that the contract was unfair because he had not realised the true extent of his wife's vast fortune.

Mr Granatino demanded a £9.2million pay-out and was initially given £5.5million, but that was later reduced to £1million in the Court of Appeal.

Yesterday the Supreme Court told him he will receive just £70,000 a year from his ex-wife for the next 14 years, until their youngest child turns 22.

Court President Lord Phillips said that the law cannot prevent a couple deciding how to arrange their affairs should they come to live apart and that all English courts should follow the precedent.

'In future it will be natural to infer that parties who enter into an ante-nuptial agreement to which English law is likely to be applied intend that effect should be given to it,' he said.

But the decision came only after serious division among the judges of the country's new leading court.

One Supreme Court justice, Baroness Hale, called the ruling undemocratic and damaging to marriage, and added that it was wrong that it should have been made by a court comprising eight male judges and only one woman.

In a strongly-worded statement  of dissent, Lady Hale said there were six legal reasons why the ruling  was wrong, one being that it was 'inconsistent with the continued importance attached to the status of marriage in English law'.

She said her fellow judges were treating married couples in the same way as unmarried people and added that it was 'wrong to equate married with unmarried parenthood'.

'Marriage still counts for something in the law of this country and long may it continue to do so,' she said.

Lady Hale also said the ruling was unfair to the poorer partner in a marriage - 'usually, though by no means invariably, she'.

The controversy spread outside the court, with bishops warning that the decision undermines marriage and lawyers saying that judges have usurped the rights of Parliament and elected MPs to make the law.

Brenda Long, a partner at law firm Blandy & Blandy, said: 'This ruling means the judiciary has overstepped its prescribed role of interpreting law and actually created law instead,' she said.

Mr Granatino, 39, who attended court wearing scruffy jeans and a blue jumper refused to comment after the hearing.

But Miss Radmacher, who wore a white mini-dress with a plunging neckline, said: 'I'm delighted that Britain has upheld fairness.'

Prenups are commonly recognised in countries around the world.

In the U.S. all states now recognise prenups, but some judges have opposed them because they were seen as damaging to marriage.

They are also recognised in France and Germany.

Heiress who hangs on to her millions

For heiress Katrin Radmacher, a prenuptial agreement was the ultimate test of love.

Far from being an unromantic business contract, she insisted it was the only way she could know Nicolas Granatino truly wanted her and not just her £100million fortune.

The besotted groom, an investment banker, signed the deal and insisted he did not want a penny from his fiancee, who he had met just eight months earlier.

Later, he would claim that he had somehow failed to notice that his bride-to-be was one of Europe's wealthiest women.

Mr Granatino - himself the heir to a multi-million pound fortune - said he believed the Radmacher family were 'well off'.

But their vast fortune from a paper-making empire was not 'particularly evident' to him during visits to their family home in Germany, he said.

He said: 'At the time of signing the pre-nup agreement I didn't know even broadly about her wealth.

She was renting a perfectly nice single-bedroom flat in Chelsea, and I visited the family's chalet in Verbier.'

The couple met at London's Tramp nightclub in November 1997 and married a year later.

At the time Mr Granatino was an investment banker with JP Morgan, earning more than £120,000-a-year, and boasted he would soon be a billionaire.

But after four years of marriage he told his wife he was desperate to quit his job and wanted to return to university.

He began a doctorate at Oxford University, where as an academic his annual earnings were reduced to around £30,000.

The couple, who by then had two daughters, Chiara and Chloe, began to spend more time apart and eventually separated in August 2006, after eight years.

During the ensuing High Court divorce battle, Mr Granatino asked for £9.2million, despite the pre-nup agreement.

The judge ruled that Mr Granatino was entitled to £5.5million from his ex-wife, including £2.5million for a house, £25,000 for a car and £700,000 to pay off his debts.

But the Court of Appeal later reduced the pay-out to £1million. Mr Granatino's legal team, which included Sir Paul McCartney's divorce lawyer Fiona Shackleton, said he faced financial ruin and even bankruptcy if his divorce settlement was not increased, and took the case to the Supreme Court.

But Miss Radmacher's lawyers argued he could always return to banking if he was really facing 'financial catastrophe'.

More significantly, he can also expect to inherit millions from his tax exile father Antoine Granatino, the former vice-president of computer giant IBM.

The French industrialist has an estimated £30million fortune and lives in a luxury apartment in Kensington, next to Hyde Park, with a holiday villa in Antibes.

Miss Radmacher's solicitor said the Supreme Court ruling meant she would now pay him £70,000-a-year until 2024, when their youngest daughter turns 22.

The maintenance payments are tax-free, making them the equivalent of a £130,000
annual salary.

Mr Granatino will also live rent-free in one of her multi-million pound homes in London, and will have free use of a holiday home in France.

Study predicts women in power, Muslims heading West
By Karin Zeitvogel (AFP) - 1 day ago

WASHINGTON -- In the next 40 years, an unprecedented number of women will be in positions of power, Muslim immigration to the West will rise, and office workers will be unchained from their cubicles, a report released last week says.

South America will see sustained economic growth and the Middle East will become "a tangle of religions, sects and ethnicities," says the report by Toffler Associates, a consultancy set up by the author of the 1970s blockbuster "Future Shock."

Toffler Associates released its predictions for the next 40 years to mark the 40th anniversary of "Future Shock," in which author Alvin Toffler studied the 1970s to see what would happen in the future.

His prognosis 40 years ago was that technology and science would develop at such an accelerated pace that many people would be unable to process the enormous amounts of new information available and would disconnect from life.

Some of "Future Shock's" prognoses have come true, including that news would travel around the world instantly, that same-sex couples would wed and raise families, and that violence and environmental disasters would increase and have broad consequences -- like the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

So it might be worth paying heed to what Toffler Associates foresees for the next 40 years, including container ships getting larger to meet increasing demand for faster, cheaper delivery of goods, and the Suez and Panama Canals being "improved."

They envision more and more people growing their own food to reduce their dependence on large manufacturers and distributors, and the proliferation of high-speed Internet and low-cost video-conferencing freeing office workers from their cubicles and working from anywhere in the world.

Only a very small number of states will continue to behave as "rogue" nations, Toffler Associates says, naming North Korea and Iran.

"A true test for political leaders will be in how they handle relationships with these nations and to what extent they allow them to control geo-political agendas," the consultancy says.

China will position itself as a global economic power, allying with Brazil and India to influence currency use and with Venezuela and African nations to ensure its energy needs are met.

The United States, meanwhile, will depend on China for 17 rare earth metals that are essential to produce everything from weapons components to radars to wind turbines and hybrid cars.

The development of alternative energy forms will create "losers in a post-petroleum world" including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, several Gulf states, Russia and Venezuela, the report says.

Christianity will rise rapidly in the global South, while Muslims will migrate in increasing numbers to the West, where their presence will reshape public attitudes and government policies.

Climate change will fuel conflict as melting sea ice exposes mineral wealth and oil fields in the Arctic and as rising sea levels force large populations from their homes.

An aging population will cause spending on long-term care services for the elderly to nearly quadruple by 2050, and social security and Medicare, the US health insurance for the elderly, will cease to "exist as we know them," Toffler managing partner Deborah Westphal told AFP.

"We don't know what will replace them; we just know that we will be in a different type of society with different types of people and different needs," she said.

As for women, they will take on leadership positions around the globe at a never-before-seen rate, as countries realize "you can't be successful with just 50 percent of the population participating in decision-making," Westphal said.

And in the next 40 years, information-gathering will speed up even more as the world enters the Petabyte Age, Toffler Associates predicts.

Petabytes -- which are 10-to-the-15th-power bytes, or measures of computer files, hard disk space, and memory -- are used today only to measure the storage space of multiple hard drives or collections of data.

Between now and 2050, measuring data in petabytes will become the norm, and so will data saturation, Toffler Associates predicts.
Main / Shame list flagged for wife beaters
Oct 16, 2010, 10:22 AM
Shame list flagged for wife beaters
    * Liam Houlihan and Sue Hewitt
    * From: Sunday Herald Sun
    * October 17, 2010 12:40AM

VICTORIA will push for federal laws to allow police across the country to track domestic violence offenders.

The plan, to be considered at a meeting of the nation's attorneys-general in December, would help stop thugs who bash women going interstate and offending again.

"Victoria's domestic violence and sexual assault laws lead the nation and a national approach to intervention orders is an important next step," Government spokesman Stephen Moynihan said.

"A future Brumby Labor Government will work with the Commonwealth and other states to achieve this."

Thousands of offenders could be kept on a "shame list" as police and the courts struggle to cope with an increase in violent attacks on women by their partners.

Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland is working with states and territories to establish a scheme for the automatic nationwide registration of domestic and family violence orders against thugs.

"The working group is examining a range of measures including establishing a database to assist police to enforce domestic violence orders across state and territory borders," a spokesman for the Attorney-General said.

"This would provide law enforcement authorities in the new state with information about a victim's past vulnerability."

Domestic violence victim Emily Twigg said the register would be a step forward for women.

"This will help protect women from the worst kind of repeat offenders," Ms Twigg said.

"It is only right that thugs who abuse women don't get a chance to reoffend just by changing states.

"I applaud those pushing these reforms to empower police to monitor violent offenders and protect the community."

Domestic violence expert Prof Cathy Humphreys welcomed the move and said it would attract widespread support.

But she did not support women having access to the register to assess potential partners because it would complicate the issue.

"We have to get all the states to agree and with the issue of privacy it would make the proposal too cumbersome - we have to take it one step at a time," she said.

Justice advocate Steve Medcraft said if authorities allowed the public to check the register it could save lives.

"Wife beaters don't have a certain look and if women could check out men, it could protect them," he said.

He called for the proposal to go further and record reports, as well as convictions, for domestic violence.

"Some women never press charges, but it doesn't mean there isn't any domestic violence," Mr Medcraft said.

"But if suspicions or reports of incidents were also recorded, police could establish a pattern of behaviour and if an emergency call comes in about a suspected offender, they will realise it could be a dangerous situation."

Crime Victims Support Association president Noel McNamara said the register meant that if the offender moved interstate local authorities would known they were a serial offender.

He wanted to beef up the proposal by making it compulsory for people on the register to notify police if they dramatically changed their appearance or moved states.

The Victorian Centres Against Sexual Assault Forum convenor Carolyn Worth said that presently if an offender with an intervention order crossed borders, local police were unaware of the court order.

She did not support calls for the register to be public because it created a "lynch mentality" and offenders could change their behaviour.

With Laura Speranza
No old boys' club here: Quebec's push for gender parity
Ottawa-- From Friday's Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Oct. 15, 2010 2:38PM EDT

The suggestion that quotas be imposed to increase the participation of women in Canadian politics sparks a visceral response from those who label such measures as unwarranted and anti-democratic.

But Quebec has been setting targets to get more women into that province's legislature and senior administrative positions for several years. And Premier Jean Charest is proud of the strides that have been made. Mr. Charest spoke to The Globe and Mail this week to outline the steps he has taken.

What have you done to increase the number of women MPs sitting as Liberal members of the Quebec National Assembly?

Within the party, when I became leader, we actively sought to increase the number of women candidates. And I was very involved in that personally. The issue isn't so much whether or not we are able to attract them as whether we can actually offer them ridings in which they will get elected. Parties have had the bad habit of increasing their percentages of [female] candidates by putting women in ridings where they can't hope to get elected. And we did the reverse. And it did create some tension within the party. But it did allow us to increase substantially the number of women who ran for us as candidates.

Have you managed to do better than the federal Parliament where just 22 per cent of MPs are women?

At this point, in the Assembly in Quebec, close to 30 per cent of the elected members are women. We are at 29.8 per cent. That's close to the record we had in 2003, which was 40 women. We now have 37 out of 125. In my caucus, it's 32.3 per cent. In the Péquiste caucus it's 29.4 per cent. And in the ADQ they are at 25 per cent but there are only four members - one woman out of four. You have to be careful [looking at percentages of women in small caucuses]. I used to have parity. When I was in federal politics, there was Elsie Wayne and me [in the two-person Progressive Conservative caucus after the 1993 election].

What about the management of boards and provincial Crown corporations? I understand you have significantly increased the number of women in those jobs.

I very deliberately set out objectives to name more women and our people kept saying there were none and they were looking and, you know, they couldn't find any. And so I became frustrated with that and in 2006 I decided that we would legislate parity on Crown corporations. So we brought in the law that makes it mandatory, by 2012, that 24 of our Crown corporations have gender parity on the boards. We wanted more women but they could not be found. And when we brought in the law, all of a sudden, they were discovered.

What have you done to increase the number of women in your government?

In 2007, when we became a minority government, I brought in a cabinet with gender parity. And it had a very interesting life because when we became the government again in 2008 we weren't quite at parity. There was a majority of one man. At this point, I lost one of my ministers, Claude Béchard, who passed away recently. And now, because of that, we have a majority of women in cabinet, 12 women and 11 men. It makes a big, big difference.

What sort of difference has it made to policy?

It has had a big reflection on the policy frameworks in Quebec. Our family policies, for example, are very forward looking. The family policies we have cost us a lot of money [like] the universal daycare. The parental leave program that we negotiated with the federal government is the most flexible in North America and has put a very strong accent on men having access to parental leave, which is key to returning women into the labour market ... it has allowed us to increase the birth rate. We now lead Canada.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

Main / Why Women Still Won't Vote for Women
Oct 16, 2010, 10:18 AM
Why Women Still Won't Vote for Women
By Phyllis Chesler

It is 2010, ninety years after American women first won the right to vote, and nearly fifty years after Betty Friedan's influential work "The Feminine Mystique" was published, and women still do not want to vote for women.

And women definitely do not want to vote for Republican women.For example, in Connecticut, Republican Linda McMahon has only 34 percent of the female vote as compared to Democrat Richard Blumenthal who has 61 percent of the female vote. In Delaware, Republican Christine O'Donnell has only 25 percent of the female vote as compared to her Democratic opponent Chris Coons, who leads with 58 percent of the female vote; in Nevada, Democrat Harry Reid is beating Republican Sharron Angle by a 51-33 margin. According to pollsters, Sharron Angle is a "staunch conservative, something that tends to turn off female voters."

Possibly, women as a group may view the Democratic Party as better on certain issues such as women's reproductive rights and equal rights in the workplace. On the other hand, like men, many women have also lost their jobs, pensions, and homes, and will equally bear the consequences of a foreign policy gone wrong.

Whatever the reason, female candidates just can't seem to please the female electorate. Women criticized Hillary Clinton for craving power in a non-feminine and "emotionless" way--and liked her when she showed emotion, not when she discussed policy. Women judged her harshly for sticking by her man--and then just as harshly for doing so in order to further her own political ambitions. Women, including progressive women, wanted perfection in their first female Presidential candidate. No political or character "hair" out of place. Thus, Professor Susan J. Douglas had this to say about Hillary:

"Hillary, by contrast, seems to want to be more like a man in her demeanor and politics, makes few concessions to the social demands of femininity, and yet seems to be only a partial feminist. She seems above us, exempting herself from compromises women have to make every day, while, at the same time, leaving some of the basic tenets of feminism in the dust. We are sold out on both counts. In other words, she seems like patriarchy in sheep's clothing. If she's a feminist, how could she continue to support this war for so long? If she's such a passionate advocate for children, women and families, how could she countenance the ongoing killing of innocent Iraqi families, and of American soldiers who are also someone's children? If it would be so revolutionary to have a female as president, why does she feel like the same old poll-driven opportunistic politician who seems to craft her positions accordingly?"

Today, women describe Linda McMahon  as too "relentless" for a woman-- but certainly not for a politician. Women say they don't like McMahon because she is "buying her seat" with money (as if this is not exactly what men do), and because she is attacking her opponent in "needlessly personal and caustic ways" (ditto).

Until pollsters start asking Republican women if they, also, dislike and will not vote for a female Republican candidate, let me suggest that what may also be going on is some vast unfinished psychological business between women.

As the author of "Woman's Inhumanity to Woman," allow me to spell it out for you. Like men, women are also sexists. They still expect women to behave in "feminine" or maternal ways; this includes choosing a man as a protector, not as an opponent to publicly defeat in a very aggressive, "male" way.

Women and girls are more comfortable with expressing their aggression indirectly in less visible ways, through gossip, slander, and ostracism.

In addition, despite exceptions, women do not necessarily like, respect, or trust other women. Even more important, woman do not like another woman getting more attention than they themselves get; cheerleaders, beauty queens, gorgeous actresses are envied and ostracized more often than befriended by other girls and women. Female politicians are in the limelight; their female voters are not.

Psychologically, women do not like "difference." Women feel safe when their female intimates dress, think, and behave as they do. If a female candidate looks, acts, or thinks "differently" from the female majority, women feel that their own life choices are not being honored. Thus, tough Republican businesswoman, Carly Fiorina, who faces tough career politician Barbara Boxer in California, has been advised to soften her image, to literally pose in her kitchen and wear pink--something she has done.

Yes, feminist women have worked hard for both male and female feminist candidates, and some Republican women are now working hard for Republican candidates, both male and female. And yet, the problem of our collective sexism still remains and will continue to determine how campaigns are conducted and who wins.

Phyllis Chesler, Ph.D. is professor emerita of psychology and the author of thirteen books including "Woman's Inhumanity to Woman" and "The New Anti-Semitism." She has written extensively about Islamic gender apartheid and about honor killings. She once lived in Kabul, Afghanistan. She may be reached through her website:
Politician''s remark irks Japanese women[/size]]Politician''s remark irks Japanese women

Tokyo, Oct 15(Kyodo) A senior politician's remark that Japanese women "find pleasure" in staying at home, made at an international conference earlier this month, has drawn criticism from various quarters, specially from the fairer sex.

Yoshikatsu Nakayama, vice minister of economy, trade and industry, made the remark during the Women's Entrepreneurship Summit, jointly hosted by Japan and the United States, on October 1 in the central Japanese city of Gifu, which was . "Japanese women find pleasure in working at home and that has been part of Japanese culture," Nakayama said during the conference attended by around 300 businesswomen and other participants from the 21 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. "That should be given more credit through (raising their husbands') salaries, but it has become impossible as the situation surrounding men became severe," he said.

The 65-year-old politician who holds the third-highest position at the industry ministry also said that Japanese women hold the power behind the throne, and repeated that it was part of Japanese culture for them to stay at home. The remarks surprised conference participants and appalled many others as they spread widely through Twitter and by word of mouth, said participants and members of a protest group created after the politician made the remarks which has caused a furore.

"I was embarrassed because his remarks revealed how backward Japan is," said a Japanese woman who runs her own business and attended the conference. A US participant told her that in the United States, no one would say such a thing in public even if he or she held sexist ideas, she said. Women angered by the remarks formed a protest group on October 7 to demand Nakayama, a House of Representatives member from the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, to retract the remarks and apologise. Some women said they were disappointed because they previously thought that the DPJ was positive about promoting women's social participation. The group, led by Fusako Okada, is soliciting protest e-mail messages to send to the industry ministry.

So far, women in Hokkaido, Aichi, Toyama, Kyoto, Kochi, and Nakayama's hometown in Tokyo's Taito Ward, have cooperated, the group said. Nakayama told Kyodo News on Thursday that he "regrets" what he said. "I would like to do what I can, albeit small, for women to play a greater role in business," he said. The Switzerland-based World Economic Forum said recently that Japan ranked 94th out of 134 countries in terms of gender equality. Last year, a United Nations committee recommended that the Japanese government deal with discrimination against women in laws, employment and wages.(Kyodo)EKA
Fathers set to win fairer family rights

COMPANIES will be forced to give fathers who request it flexible working hours so that they can play a greater role at home and in child-rearing.

Minister for the Status of Women Kate Ellis is set to launch a major campaign to change workplace equality laws and social attitudes to enable more men to share the parenting responsibility.

Ms Ellis said after creating an equal environment for women in the workplace, it is now time to give men the opportunity to be stay-at-home dads.

"I intend to pursue reform of our workplace equality legislation through the Parliament, to achieve greater choice and flexibility for Australians of both genders," she said.

Australian companies from blue-collar industries to corporate organisations are reluctant to let men work part-time. Ms Ellis said that more family-friendly working arrangements were already in place for women.

"Men can also be discriminated against in the workplace when it comes to caring for the kids," she said.

Under proposed amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act, companies will be forced to give working fathers more flexible hours so they can take greater responsibility for child care. Men, as well as women, will now be formally protected from discrimination based on their caring and family responsibilities.

Yet-to-be-released research into Australian families by the Department of Equal Education, Employment and Workplace Relations reveals there has been major shift from the traditional male breadwinner and a female caregiver to households where both parents are dual income earners and carers.

"Despite these shifts Australian women continue to do the greater share of unpaid caring and domestic work," Ms Ellis said.

Dr Graeme Russell is the author of First Time Father and a specialist on fathering. He said five years ago, his research showed that only two per cent of men opted to be primary caregivers, but that figure was now closer to five per cent.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, of the 1.5 million couple families, 95 per cent of mothers worked part-time compared to five per cent men.

When both parents were employed full-time, mothers spent 17 hours caring for the children, more than double that of men.

Leon Naufahu wanted to be there for his two sons and walked away from his marketing career four years ago to become a stay-at-home dad. His wife Monique continued her real estate career.

"I couldn't have asked for flexible hours, it's just not viewed as realistic for men, and still isn't," the 39-year-old from Rozelle said.

Ms Ellis said incentives like changes under the Fair Work Act meant men and women now had the right to request flexible work arrangements from employers.
2 Ferndale women are accused of violence[/size]

Two women are accused of attacking the men in their lives in separate incidents in Ferndale that authorities say could have had deadly results.

Police said one woman shot her husband in the neck, while another drove over a curb trying to run down her ex-boyfriend. Both incidents happened Thursday.

In the first case, police responded at 1 a.m. Thursday to a home on Alberta, where Carla McCrory, 41, said her husband, 26, was suicidal, Lt. William Wilson said.

"The man had been shot in the neck with a 9-mm pistol, but evidence did not coincide with an attempted suicide. Eventually, McCrory admitted to shooting her husband," Wilson said. The man was hospitalized and survived.

McCrory was charged with assault with intent to commit murder, punishable by up to life in prison, and use of a firearm while committing a crime, a two-year felony. She is being held on a $1-million cash or surety bond.

At 8 p.m., police went to 8 Mile and Fair, where a woman was accused of using another weapon: a 2010 Ford Focus.

A 29-year-old-man told police that his ex-girlfriend and the mother of his daughter -- Maria Missouri, 29, of Hazel Park -- tried to run him over after dropping off their daughter at his home, Wilson said.

"While he was partially in the car with the door open, Missouri drove off at a high rate of speed (until) he jumped out. Missouri then chased after him ... over the curb, a sidewalk and into a yard, where he hid behind a fence," Wilson said.

Missouri was charged with felonious assault with a dangerous weapon. She faces up to four years in prison if convicted.