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.



 



Abortion

Sick ad celebrates abortion: “Happy 40th anniversary baby"


Jill Stanek - LifeNews





At first I thought this must be some sort of spoof. But the following video is supposedly intended to promote abortion, posted today by the Center for Reproductive Rights, with the intro: To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade we didn’t buy a ruby. Instead, the Center for Reproductive Rights asked Mehcad Brooks of the USA Network’s “Necessary Roughness” and HBO’s “True Blood” to prepare a special video message just for you.






















Charities & NFP

Compassion Australia sought to reduce its phone bill and answer employee demand for iPhone and Android


Adam Bender - Computerworld





Compassion Australia has saved thousands of dollars since shifting to a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) mobile strategy, according to the non-profit organisation's systems administrator of projects, Blessing Matore. Compassion is a Christian non-profit devoted to child development and advocacy. In August, the organisation met a 10-year goal of reaching 100,000 children living in poverty around the world. The non-profit has about 130 staff in Australia with a head office in Newcastle and regional offices in Sydney, Queensland, Perth and Melbourne.
















Classification

'Parents to blame' for underage use of Facebook: Social media network admits it is powerless to stop children signing up


Becky Evans - Daily Mail





Parents are responsible for the rise of young children using Facebook, an executive from the website warned yesterday. Simon Milner, policy director for Facebook in the UK and Ireland, was joined by Sonia Livingstone, professor of social psychology of the London School of Economics, in warning that parents were flouting the site’s age restrictions by either helping their children create accounts or failing to be firm with them and stop them from signing up. As a result youngsters who use Facebook risk being exposed to porn and online grooming.










Cyber safety program targets Years 3 and 4

Damir Govorcin - Catholic Weekly





The Catholic Education Office (CEO), Sydney, has welcomed a targeted cyber safety education program for students in Years 3 and 4 aimed at helping them become safe and respectful digital citizens. The new online cyber safety module, developed by Life Education and McAfee, will be accessed by more than 600,000 students in 3500 schools across Australia from February. The campaign bCyberwise aligns wonderfully well with existing digital citizenship programs running in archdiocesan schools, according to Dr Doug Ashleigh, director of knowledge management and ICT at the CEO Sydney.
















Drugs & Alcohol

Why Caroline won't be boozing on Australia Day


Caroline Marcus - The Daily Telegraph





My name is Caroline and I'm a non-drinker. Many a week goes by without a drop passing my lips. I can't even remember the last time I was drunk. And that's why I'm dreading Australia Day this weekend, not because I don't want to celebrate this wonderful country but because it's now considered un-Australian not to get wasted in doing so. This confession is not an easy one to make. In a culture whose identity is inextricably linked with grog, admitting you're not really into the stuff raises more eyebrows than glasses.










No needle exchange program in WA prisons

AAP





A needle exchange program trial in a Canberra prison will be looked at by the West Australian government but that does not mean a similar trial will be implemented in WA, the state's mental health minister says. Mental Health Minister Helen Morton was speaking at an alcohol and drug forum in Perth on Thursday when she acknowledged that there was a high percentage of inmates at Bandyup Women's Prison with blood borne viruses such as Hepatitis C.




















Smokers lose 10 years

John Johnson - Newser





Lifetime smokers can expect to lose about 10 years off their lives, according to one of the most comprehensive studies ever done on the subject. Other highlights from the research in tomorrow's New England Journal of Medicine.










Education

Private fees mount as education costs soar


Jewel Topsfield, Craig Butt and Lara O'Toole - The Age





A parent whose child is born this year faces half a million dollars in school costs if they choose an independent school in Melbourne from pre-school to year 12. The projected cost, which is likely to make parents question whether they can afford a private education, is roughly equivalent to the city's median house price. A public education in Melbourne, while by no means free, is considerably cheaper, costing parents an estimated $65,484 by the end of 2030.










Queensland the most expensive state to educate a child in Catholic or other religious schools

Tanya Chilcott - The Courier-Mail





Queensland is the most expensive state to educate a child in a Catholic or other religious school in Australia, according to a survey just released. The Australian Scholarship Group (ASG) survey also found Queensland has the most expensive private education in regional Australia, but Brisbane’s private school costs are significantly cheaper than those in Sydney and Melbourne.














Euthanasia

Elderly should ‘hurry up and die’: Japanese minister


Hilary White - Life Site News





The recently-elected government of Japan has made itself heard on the life issues. Finance minister Taro Aso, said on Monday that elderly and financially dependent Japanese have a duty to die quickly to take pressure off the government-funded social service system. “Heaven forbid if you are forced to live on when you want to die,” Aso said. He described elderly people in need of care as “tube people” and complained that it costs “several tens of millions of yen” a month to care for a patient in the final stages of life.


















Health

It’s a serious mental health issue no one takes seriously


Petra Starke - The Punch





In Monday’s Advertiser I wrote a story about an Adelaide mother whose teenage son is addicted to the online video game Runescape. This 17-year-old plays an average of 16 hours a day, sometimes doing marathon stretches of up to 25 hours at a time, often foregoing showers, proper meals and sleep to get his fix. When his mother took his computer away in an attempt to curb his habit he flew into a frenzy, smashing up her bedroom and her mobile phone, ripping down curtains and cutting electrical cords with scissors. He even cut the laces off her shoes, she says.
















Human Rights

Catholic Church fires salvo at draft anti-discrimination laws


Ross Peake - The Canberra Times





The Catholic Church says the draft anti-discrimination laws fail by not recognising religious freedom is a fundamental human right, not a special permission to discriminate granted by government. The church also maintains it should be allowed to refuse to employ a teacher who argues publicly against church teachings or ''lives in such a way to challenge'' those teachings. The views will be put to Thursday's hearing of a Senate committee holding its first public session in an inquiry into the government's draft of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012. The draft legislation aims to amalgamate five existing statutes covering age, disability, race, sex and other forms of discrimination into a single statute.
















Aged still at risk of injustice, say critics

Harriet Alexander - SMH





A ban on religious organisations from discriminating against aged care residents on the basis of their sexual identity will not protect the elderly unless it is extended to all health and community services, say critics of the federal government's draft anti-discrimination bill. The proposed laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity but allow religious bodies to discriminate if it is necessary ''to avoid injury to the religious sensitivities of adherents of that religion''.


















Marriage

UK: Hammond breaks ranks over fears on gay marriage saying it might threaten religious freedom


Tamara Cohen - Daily Mail





A senior cabinet minister has broken ranks over gay marriage by raising concerns that it may threaten religious freedom. David Cameron has fast-tracked the bill which would allow same-sex marriages as early as next year – with exemptions for the Churches of England and Wales, and other faiths, to opt out. The bill is due to be published tomorrow, the Mail has learned.
















MP wants child of ‘royal gay marriage’ to get crown

Christian Institute





A child of a ‘royal gay marriage’ should be an heir to the throne, even if the child is not genetically connected to the royal line, an MP says. Labour MP Paul Flynn wanted to change the Succession to the Crown Bill so that an adopted child or one conceived using insemination would become monarch.










MPs to plan for gay royals marrying same-sex partners and their children becoming king or queen

National Organization for Marriage





MPs look set to debate a change in the law to allow royals in same-sex relationships to marry or be in civil partnerships and for their children to be recognised as the heir to the throne. Parliament is due to pass legislation shortly to allow for the first child of Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge to rule as monarch regardless of whether they are a boy or a girl. Now Labour MP Paul Flynn is gathering support for an amendment that will extend the protection to include the eventuality that the child is gay or lesbian.










Action needed: Rhode Island House votes on marriage

National Organization for Marriage





Yesterday, the Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee voted to send to the floor of the House of Representatives a bill redefining marriage. With the Supreme Court hearing cases on same-sex marriage in just a few short weeks, the eyes of the nation will be on the Rhode Island legislature to see how they decide this issue.
















Politics

Labor MPs fearful after Julia Gillard dumps Senator Trish McCrossin for Nova Peris


Gemma Jones - News Limited





Nervous Labor MPs say anxious caucus members fear Julia Gillard may dispose of them before the election in the same way Senator Trish Crossin's career was terminated. There are concerns within Labor ranks the tactic used to put Nova Peris into the NT's top Senate spot would be used to "entrench'' the leadership of the party. Several MPs said they regarded the use of the National Executive to oust Ms Crossin, a supporter of Kevin Rudd, as an unprecedented use of power by Ms Gillard to remove a representative.















Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

Sex slavery monument planned in Singapore


The Korea Herald





Singapore is expected to be the first Asian country other than South Korea to have a monument built for Korean women forced into sexual slavery by Japanese troops during World War II, a Seoul civic group said Wednesday. The Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery said it is pushing forward with setting up another “Peace Monument,” which would be a bronze statue of a young girl that symbolizes the Korean victims, euphemistically called “comfort women,” in the Southeast Asian country. The move is part of the group’s so-called “butterfly project” to erect similar monuments in places throughout Asia where young Korean victims were taken to service the Japanese military, the civic group said.
















Refugees

Government faces asylum lawsuit


Michael Bachelard - Fairfax Media





Police and the federal government face a massive lawsuit for damages from up to 48 under-age asylum boat crew from Indonesia, some of whom say they were abused when locked up in adult prisons in Australia. Sydney lawyer Penelope Purcell is working with Indonesian lawyers and human rights organisations to take statements from the young fishermen who say they were tricked into crewing asylum boats to Christmas Island.
















Religious Freedom & Persecution

Muslims attack Christians in Egypt


Christian Today







Thousands of Muslims from Marashda and surrounding villages attacked eight Coptic homes and businesses, including five pharmacies, which were looted and torched. Coptic-owned cars were also torched. According to a story by Mary Abdelmassih of the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA), the attacks were caused by rumors that a 55-year-old Coptic man, Nader Masoud, sexually assaulted a 6-year-old Muslim girl. The attacks on the village, which has a mostly Christian population, started with several Coptic businesses being torched and the Church of Abu Fam having its cross demolished and glass smashed.