ACL compiles a daily media monitoring service of stories of interest to the Christian constituency relating to children, family, drugs and alcohol, marriage, human rights, religious freedom etc. Visit the ACL’s website each day to see what’s of interest in the news. Please note that selection of the articles does not represent ACL endorsement of the content.



 







Children & Family

Turns out, Dads are good for something after all


Richard Marles - The Punch





With all the exhaustion of a middle aged man, my five-year-old son declared that he was struggling to get to sleep. He didn’t know precisely why. He was forlornly resigned to his fate. But it would surely be nice if slumber was an easier bedfellow. Amen to that brother. I know exactly what you mean. Leaning over, seizing an opportunity to impart fatherly wisdom, I told him the answer was lists.










U.S. birth rate hits all-time low; 40.7% of babies born to unmarried women

Terence P. Jeffrey - CNS News





The birth rate in the United States hit an all-time low in 2011, according to a report released this month by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The 2011 preliminary number of U.S. births was 3,953,593, 1 percent less (or 45,793 fewer) births than in 2010; the general fertility rate (63.3 per 1,000 women age 15-44 years) declined to the lowest rate ever reported for the United States,” said the report.


















Drugs & Alcohol

Anti-smokers hit spend


Elizabeth Lord - The Mercury





Health experts have called for increased funding to help tackle Tasmania's high smoking rates. New figures showing the proportion of smokers is still higher than the national average prompted state Quit Services and the Heart Foundation to lobby for more money for anti-smoking marketing on social media. New Australian Health Survey results show the state's proportion of smokers is 23.2 per cent, compared with the national average of 18.1 per cent.
















Education

No touching: Girl, 12, gets detention for hugging classmate at WA school


Chris Paine - news.com.au





A mother in Western Australia is demanding an apology from her kids' school after her 12-year-old daughter was given a detention for hugging a classmate. Heidi Rome's daughter Amber was punished at the Adam Road Primary School in Bunbury, south of Perth, for giving her friend a quick hug after the school bell rang. Apparently that violated the school's no-hugging policy, a "blanket rule" which was brought in last year.


















Environment

Liberal MP accused of taking gifts from coal seam gas company


Ben Cubby - SMH





NSW Liberal MP Scot MacDonald will be referred by the NSW Greens to the Independent Commission Against Corruption for allegedly accepting gifts from gas company Santos, after praising coal seam gas drilling in NSW. Mr MacDonald had been a member of a state government inquiry into the industry, and made many statements about the benefits of the industry during the inquiry hearings.














Euthanasia

Ethics Poll: Euthanasia


St James Ethics Centre

Poll : Should euthanasia be legalised? and Debate - 7 November








Gambling

ACL welcomes federal gambling reform


International News





The Australian Christian Lobby welcomes the introduction of gambling reform legislation which will require all poker machines to be fitted with pre-commitment technology by 2016, and will introduce ATM withdrawal limits of $250 from next year. ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said the legislation establishes the important precedent of federal intervention in poker machine regulation.










It's a safe bet the urge to take a punt cannot be legislated away

Graham Richardson - The Australian





I have bad news for all those well-meaning anti-gambling crusaders. The horse has well and truly bolted. Unless you have been living under a rock, you would have to be aware that the number of activities you can now place a bet on is for all intents and purposes limitless: at the races you can bet on the losers, at the football you can bet on who will score first or what points start teams might get (and the odds are revised at half-time), in cricket the sky's the limit on the betting options available and so it goes on.


















Homelessness & Poverty

Deadbeat tenants send neighbours to counselling


Noel Towell - The Canberra Times





Antisocial behaviour by Canberra public housing tenants is forcing neighbours to seek psychological help for trauma, according to the ACT Ombudsman. The watchdog says the tortuous process of getting deadbeat tenants evicted from taxpayer-owned homes is making their victims' suffering worse. In her annual report, acting Ombudsman Alison Larkins says the bureaucracy surrounding the evictions process can be lengthy and ''intractable''.
















Human Rights

Creepy cyberstalking just got a whole lot easier


Dan Svantesson - The Punch





Imagine that you are sitting on a bus. A few seats ahead of you, you see a person you think you recognise. Perhaps it is an old classmate? Using your mobile phone camera, you take a photograph of her. Using off-the-shelf face-recognition software combined with substantial processing power accessed cheaply through cloud computing, you search for publicly available images (such as on Facebook) matching the image you captured of the woman on the bus.
















Indigenous

My people must grow up: Alison Anderson


Amos Aikman - The Australian





One of the nation's most senior indigenous politicians yesterday rebuked those of her people who rely on welfare, saying they need to grow up and stop resorting to the "dangerous conversation of endless complaint". Northern Territory Indigenous Advancement Minister Alison Anderson told the Territory's Legislative Assembly that she "despaired at the reluctance" of some of her brethren to take available jobs.






Marriage

Why homosexual ‘marriage’ signals the end of heterosexual rights


Greg Quinlan - LifeSiteNews





The homosexual push for “equal marriage,” otherwise known as genderless marriage, can only lead to a ban on heterosexual rights. With a President in power who endorses gay causes and readily misuses executive orders, and emboldened by their numerous wins for gay rights at the legislative and judicial level, homosexuals have now moved beyond equal rights to the “more equal than you” level.










Overseas Aid

$8m for Manus for hosting detention centre


AAP





The Australian government has promised $8 million in aid for schools and medical equipment on Manus Island in exchange for hosting an asylum seeker centre. Australia is planning to give Manus Island $8 million in aid in exchange for building an asylum seeker detention centre there.












Politics

PM looks set for spring 2013 election


Malcolm Farr - Daily Telegraph





Get ready for an election campaign starting next August, with the nation deciding the next federal government in September or early October. That's the tip from experienced MPs following the release today of Parliament's sitting weeks in 2013.














Greens squabbling about Sheikh's Senate preselection

Chris Johnson - The Canberra Times





ACT Greens are fighting among themselves for the right to try to unseat Liberal senator Gary Humphries in next year's election. A bitter stoush has been sparked by the nomination of high-profile former GetUp! director Simon Sheikh and the apparent endorsement he received from federal Greens leader Christine Milne. Nominations for the party's ACT Senate preselection closed on Monday with two other Greens members putting up their hands.










ICAC told of treasurer's new car for 'a few favours'

Linton Besser, Kate McClymont - SMH





The son of the ALP kingpin Eddie Obeid told a car dealer and close friend that he needed to secure a top-of-the-line Honda CRV for the former NSW treasurer Eric Roozendaal because he ''had done a few favours for dad'', a corruption inquiry has heard. The Independent Commission Against Corruption was also told that Obeid Corporation paid $10,800 towards the $44,000 purchase, which had the effect of giving Mr Roozendaal a sweetheart deal on the car.












Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

Sex trafficking of children: Las Vegas’ deep, dark secret


Jackie Valley - Las Vegas Sun





Last year, Metro investigated 131 juvenile-prostitution cases, most involving female victims, according to department data. Of those, 74 percent were from Nevada — an increase compared with past years. Metro has investigated about 2,200 children exploited through sex trafficking in Las Vegas since 1994, the year the department began tracking the issue. The number peaked in 2004 when Metro detectives made contact with 207 children, police said. On average, 50 percent of all juvenile sex-trafficking victims police made contact with were from Nevada.






















Religious Freedom & Persecution

Muslims attack Coptic Christians in Egypt after Mass


Assyrian International News Agency





Yesterday Muslim Salafis assaulted Christians after Sunday mass, angry that Christians from neighboring villages who have no churches attend mass in the village of Tala, el Fashn, in the Beni Suef Governorate. The pastor of St Georges Church Father Cheroubim Chehab could not go out of church for hours after mass. Eyewitnesses reported that as Christians left the church, they found a huge mob of mostly young Salafi Muslims waiting for them, armed with batons. The assault lead to 5 Copts being hospitalized after suffering broken limbs, and the torching of two cars which transported the congregation from the other villages.














Christianity struggling to return to eastern Turkey

Deutsche Welle





Turkey is home to one of the oldest Christian populations in the world, the Suriyani, who fled during recent conflict. In the last few years they’ve been returning, but problems with their resettlement are apparent.














Case against 'Under God' heads to top Massachusetts court

Kevin Spak - Newser





The Massachusetts Supreme Court has agreed to hear what could be a landmark case against the Pledge of Allegiance. A family of secular humanists are arguing that the phrase "under God" in the pledge violates the state's constitutional ban on religious discrimination, the Religion News Service explains. A lower court has ruled that the phrase wasn't discriminatory because it didn't hold one religion over another, ut the court has agreed to consider the argument.














Freedom From Religion Foundation targeting more cheerleaders

Bob Kellogg - One News Now





The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has targeted another group of cheerleaders for making football banners with religious messages, this time in Alabama. The Kountze High School cheerleaders in Texas earlier waged a battle against the FFRF and won. Now, cheerleaders at Marbury High School in Deatsville, Alabama (about 20 miles north of Montgomery), are fighting a similar battle for their right to display religious messages at football games. Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel says the Kountze victory could be important.
















Sexualisation of Society

How street harassment alters the way we see ourselves: ‘Hollaback!’ launches in Australia


Melinda Tankard Reist





‘If we all speak of our experiences of street harassment, loudly and unapologetically, then we can begin to effect change’ I was so happy to learn that the US-based anti-street harassment movement Hollaback! was launching in Australia. I’d been wanting to get it started here myself, but with multiple commitments, it never happened.












Other

Church needs state help to deal with abuse


Frank Brennan - Eureka Street





These are not easy times for Catholic priests; and they have never been easy times for those children in our society who have been sexually abused, a disproportionate number of them by Catholic priests.