No kids and in your 40s? Beware the 14-year itch

By Amelia Wade

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Juanita Theron and Stephen Harrison are determined their relationship will suceed. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Juanita Theron and Stephen Harrison are determined their relationship will suceed. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Most New Zealanders getting divorced are in their mid-40s and don’t have kids, and the “seven-year itch” is a myth.

In fact, Statistics New Zealand figures show, couples are most likely to call it quits after about 14 years.

Figures from 2014, the latest year reliable statistics are available, show that couples most commonly filed for divorce just before the 14-year mark. The average age of men breaking up was 47 and the women were 44.

Experts say it’s an age when people start to reflect on where they are in life and what they want.

And for those couples who have children it might be a time when they are about to fly the nest.

At that point they find they no longer have anything in common and want to “do their own thing”, says divorce lawyer Jeremy Sutton.

By law, couples have to separate for two years before they can file for divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable difference.

Sutton, a divorce lawyer for 24 years, said that meant divorces were usually well considered.

“I think it’s there to give people time out before the next one; to give them some breathing space.

“Society probably doesn’t think it’s a good idea to divorce one person and move on to the next one straight away. I think it’s a conservative English attitude.”

Data from the Department of Internal Affairs shows dropping divorce rates — tied to lower rates of marriage.

In 1984, there were 28.15 marriages for every 1000 citizens, but by 2014 that had dropped to 11.57 marriages.

Peter McMillan, co-founder of the Imago Institute for Relationships, said the time of year couples found most difficult and sought his help the most was mid-January after Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

“It’s two things, from mid-November until Christmas, things get pretty stressful. And secondly, it’s also a time when people stop and reflect on what they want. Then they realise that perhaps things aren’t as good in their relationship as they were hoping they would be.”

The second peak for relationship counsellors is mid-winter when it’s darker, colder and people get “weighed down” more easily, he said.

McMillan said if relationships were to survive, communication was important. “If you’re struggling, get some help,” he said.

Couples should also identify their top values and make sure their partner knows and respects them. It was also important not to leave it too long before confronting issues.

Third time a charm for lovebirds

Stephen Harrison knows his third marriage will stick because of what he’s learned from his past failed relationships and the work he and his wife, Juanita Theron, have put into their marriage.

The 53-year-old met Theron, 49, four-and-a-half years ago and they decided to make it legal after 18 months.

Harrison’s first marriage lasted 13 years and he has three children from that relationship.

His second lasted seven years. Theron has also had other marriages and has a child. However, none of the couple’s children still live in the Wellington couple’s home.

Before they married, the couple went to counselling to learn how to communicate.

Harrison said he’d also learned from his previous marriages and brought those lessons to his new relationship.

“Now I’m in a relationship where we are able to bring up things and work through the issues.”

Source : – Herald on Sunday

Reclaim Australia Rally drowns out counter protesters

February 6, 2016 – 10:32PM

Georgina Connery

Canberra Times and Chronicle reporter

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Reclaim Australia national rally on Parliament House Lawns was the first in a series of globally coordinated Anti-Islam ...

Reclaim Australia national rally on Parliament House Lawns was the first in a series of globally coordinated Anti-Islam protests Photo: Graham Tidy

Reclaim Australia protesters held their largest rally yet on Saturday in Canberra kicking of a wave of Anti-Islam demonstrations in cities across the world.

Canberra organiser Daniel Evans labelled it “preservation of Australia Day” and at the podium congratulated 250 “fellow patriots” for making the journey to the capital.

Saturday’s protest was the first in a series of global rallies against the Islamisation of the West co-ordinated by German anti-immigration movement the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA).

As the crowd marched up Federation Mall and flooded onto a Parliament House Lawn, split in two by barricades, a dubbed version of John Lennon’s track Imagine came over the PA featuring the lyrics “Imagine there’s no Islam”.

Crowds cheered as Mr Evans shouted “we outnumber them and our voice is louder”

And on the day he was right.

Reclaim Australia member and Canberra resident Daniel Evans.

Reclaim Australia member and Canberra resident Daniel Evans. Photo: Graham Tidy

Under the watchful eye of close to 50 AFP special response, canine and general duties officers there were less than 40 counter protesters facing the swollen crowd of Australian flag-clad Anti-Islamists.

The number of “Don’t stop the boats, stop the racists” t-shirts paled in comparison to dozens of placards reading “Islam denies freedom” and “Anti-racist is a code word or Anti-White.”

In his speech South Australian lawyer John Bolton warned of the risks of “Islamic barbarity” and fervently encouraged protesters to openly “insult and vilify Islam five times a day if you want to”.

Arabella McKenzie protests dressed as a suffragete,

Arabella McKenzie protests dressed as a suffragete,Photo: Graham Tidy

He called for a ban on “Islamic face-masks” and stated mosques were a threat to Australian national security.

“I want more terrorism powers to our squads to do random searches of mosques,” he said. “I want an Islamic Schools watchdog. There must be random searches of Islamic Schools to make sure they’re not teaching Sharia.”

Born and bred ACT resident and father of three Mr Evans said the position of Reclaim Australia was broadly misunderstood by the greater community.

“We are a multi-ethnic country but we have one culture, Australian culture,” he said.

“I’m not against Muslims. I’m against the ideology of Islam. We have extremists here preaching hate. These are the ones we need to get rid of.”

Arabella McKenzie, dressed as a Suffragette complete with parasol, said she felt compelled to “roll out of her grave” and protest with Reclaim to stand up for women’s rights.

“Women’s right to vote was nothing compared with what women are facing today in Sharia run countries,” she said.

“A lot of people say “what culture in Australia are we defending?” but there is a culture here where woman can be free, have rights and are considered equal human beings. That’s a good culture to preserve.”

An ACT Police spokesman said there were no arrests or issues with the protest.

This is a stark change from last year’s rally where police arrested four at the scene, using capsicum spray to defuse ugly clashes that broke out.

Source : The Canberra Times

Changing face of Lunar New Year holiday in Korea

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A mass migration is underway this weekend as tens of thousands of Koreans travel home for the Lunar New Year, Seollal. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport estimates that a total of 36 million will be on the move, about 70 percent of the total population.

Early in the morning on Monday, Lunar New Year’s Day, families will dress in traditional hanbok for the ancestral rite, charye, during which they will pay respect to their late ancestors. Dozens of dishes will be laid out on the charye table for the rite, prepared by female family members over several days ahead of Seollal. There will be a big family breakfast, and of course the requisite sebae — deep bows offered to the family elders wishing them a happy, healthy new year. The elders, in return, offer some wise words, and the young ones get cash gifts as well.

A persimmon tree at Seonunsa Temple in Gochang, North Jeolla Province. (Korea Tourism Organization)

This typical Lunar New Year’s Day scene has been changing as the traditional Confucian values that have ruled Korean families for centuries are fading. Rather than abiding by traditional customs, an increasing number of people are using the long holiday as a chance to take a break from the hectic pace of modern life.

Travel figures show the changing face of the Korean traditional holiday.

A large number of Koreans will travel abroad during the long weekend this year. According to a survey released by the Korea Transport Institute on Feb. 2, some 634,000 Koreans are planning to travel overseas.

This year, Koreans have a five-day Lunar New Year holiday, stretching out from Saturday to Wednesday. An extra holiday was added to the usual three-day holiday as the official Seollal holiday begins on Sunday. Not surprisingly, many people are trying to make the most of the extra-long holiday.

Incheon International Airport expects the number of people flying in or out of Korea during the holiday to increase by 16 percent compared to the same period last year. It estimates that the largest exodus will take place on Saturday with 97,532 Koreans catching international flights.

“More people are taking advantage of the longer holiday to travel to destinations as far as North America and Hawaii,” said Oh Seung-hwan of Hana Tour, one of the country’s largest tour companies.

Hana Tour has seen the number of travel package bookings for Hawaii in February increase twofold compared to last year.

“But still many people go on a family trip to countries that are closer, such as Japan, China and Southeast Asian countries,” said Oh.

The traditional Lunar New Year faces a new trend as more Koreans now view the holiday as a good opportunity to travel overseas.

“I usually go on a trip abroad during traditional holidays. I have been to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Spain, Portugal, Prague, east and west coast of the United States,” said Lee Ko-eun, a 37-year-old office worker.

“It’s a time for me to unwind from my work,” she said.

This year, she will go to Boracay in the Philippines with her sister. “You can just take a couple of days off from work and enjoy a longer holiday this year,” she said.

Even those who do not go abroad might not necessarily stay at home. There will be plenty of events at national museums, royal palaces and public cultural places across the country. Not to mention family friendly and entertaining movies at movie theaters and relaxing packages at local hotels.

Kite flying is one of the traditional celebrations on the Lunar New Year holiday. (Korea Tourism Organization)

“Museums and royal palaces will be open throughout the holiday. When you see small food vendors setting up tents in front of our museum for the holiday period, we can predict that there will be many visitors this year,” said Cheon Jin-ki, director of the National Folk Museum. He expects to see around 100,000 visitors participating in more than 30 kinds of Seollal programs held during the five-day holiday.

“Museums are some of the places where you can see and experience traditional Seollal whose meaning has been fading in the modern society,” Cheon added. “Each year, more and more multicultural families and Chinese residents in Korea as well as tourists come to the museum to experience traditional aspects of Korean Seollal.”

By Lee Woo-young (


Source : The Korea Herald

Guidance system for blind gets nod at UAE robotics award

Angel Tesorero/Dubai
Filed on February 6, 2016 | Last updated on February 6, 2016 at 10.02 am
The prototype guidance system cost the team around Dhs4,000 to build but they are hoping it will go down to Dh1,500 to make it more affordable.
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A gaming console re-purposed as a smart guidance system for the blind topped the semi-final round in the national category of the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good held at the Dubai Internet City on Friday.

The team which developed Al Murshid Al Thaki (Arabic phrase for Smart Guidance System for the Blind) scored 83.9 points out of possible 100 to vie for the Dh1 million grand prize in the national category of the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good launched by Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, last year.

Joining Al Murshid Al Thaki in the Final round are B-Motion which developed a prototype of a brain-controlled electric wheelchair and Re-act Robot Team which created a tactile robotic system that is capable of aiding patients with neural diseases such as strokes to regain their motor control function.

Talking to Khaleej Times, Monther Al Shehabi, member of Al Murshid Al Thaki, said: “Robotics is fun and as we’ve demonstrated, a popular gaming console can be developed to get more features which can be more helpful to the public – in particular for the blind”

“We used the Xbox Kinect for our project – we utilised its camera and IR (infrared) sensor – to help the blind avoid obstables in their surroundings,” added Al Shehabi, an electrical engineering graduate from Ajman University.

The prototype guidance system cost the team around Dhs4,000 to build but they are hoping it will go down to Dh1,500 to make it more affordable.

Meanwhile, The B Motion team developed a Brain Controlled Electric Wheelchair, that employs non-invasive brain-computer interface based on electroencephalography (EEG) to detect user’s thoughts, feelings, and expressions and accordingly issue appropriate commands to the electric wheelchair motor controller.

The robotic wheelchair is suited for quadriplegia patients, amputees and patients with spinal cord injuries who cannot control a conventional wheelchair with stick but have a completely conscious and functioning brain.

The Final of the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good will take place today at the Dubai Internet City.

Source : Khalej Times