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.



 









Flying solo: more women abandon search for Prince Charming and opt to have IVF baby

Cosima Marriner - Sun-Herald





Single women in their late 30s are increasingly giving up waiting for ''Mr Right'' and turning instead to IVF or assisted reproductive technology (ART) to fulfil their dream of having a baby. IVF clinics in Sydney and Melbourne report the number of women using donor sperm to conceive a child has jumped 10 per cent over the past three years. An IVF Australia fertility specialist, Michael Chapman, said that, while lesbian couples accounted for some of the increase, the real growth was occurring with older, single heterosexual women.








Drugs & Alcohol

Racing's dirty secret: New drug scandal to hit tracks


Andrew Rule - Sunday Herald Sun





Australian racing faces a drug-cheating scandal to rival the Lance Armstrong revelations that have rocked world cycling. Several of the nation's top stables are using the same illicit performance-boosting drug that has riddled bike racing since the 1990s, according to angry trainers and veterinarians.














Education

Leap of faith as Red Frog volunteers tackle schoolies week


Amy McNeilage - SMH





Paying $300 each, the guardian angels of schoolies week are preparing to care for your teenagers, walk them home, clean up their rooms and cook up batches of pancakes. They'll even take the phone calls from worried parents to keep watch over errant offspring. The 1300-strong volunteers, better known as the Red Frogs, comprise Christian volunteers who minister to teenagers at the annual festivals of post-Year 12 debauchery around the country.












Greens back down on private schools

Christian Kerr - The Australian





The Greens will dump their most hostile policies regarding private schools as they seek to lift their flagging poll numbers and reposition the party. The draft education policy prepared at last week's national conference and circulated to party members for approval - obtained by The Australian - ends plans to freeze commonwealth funding for private schools at 2003-04 levels.
















Gambling

Advisers reject bet limits on Woolies' poker machines


Colin Kruger





A campaign pressuring Woolworths to place bet limits on its 12,000 poker machines faces a setback with proxy advisers recommending investors reject the resolutions at a meeting later this month. The extraordinary meeting, coinciding with Woolworths' annual meeting in Adelaide on November 22, will pit shareholders associated with activist group GetUp! - which requisitioned the meeting - against Woolworths' board.














Stolen money used for gambling

Heath Aston - Sun-Herald



The former wife of Roosters great Kevin ''Horrie'' Hastings went on a $10 million poker-machine binge with money she stole from her family's real-estate business, leaving a string of landlords in the Illawarra out of pocket. Megan Harrod, who is being ''supported'' by scandal-prone NRL player manager Sam Ayoub, siphoned up to $1 million from trust accounts held at J&M Harrod estate agents in the Wollongong area.














Indigenous

Aitken sued over alleged slur


Ewa Kretowicz - Canberra Times





Former University of Canberra vice-chancellor and former chairman of the National Capital Authority Don Aitkin is being sued for $6 million for alleged racial discrimination. Ngambri Aboriginal elder Shane Mortimer alleges the adjunct professor's blog contravenes Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act and has lodged an application for damages in the Federal Magistrates Court. But Professor Aitkin said the application was preposterous.














'Grog' hits indigenous babies

Russell Skelton - SMH





The nation's first comprehensive study of the impact of excessive drinking on unborn Aboriginal children has revealed devastating rates of intellectual disability. The study, conducted in Western Australia's Kimberley region, found that half of babies there are born with disabilities from foetal alcohol spectrum disorder. The research, undertaken by the Lililwan Project, found that one in two Aboriginal children attending school in the region's Fitzroy Valley has the disorder, a condition that ranges in severity from severe learning and behavioural problems to acute intellectual impairment.












Marriage

Vatican digs in as gay marriage advances


Nicole Winfield - Associated Press





The Vatican is digging in after gay marriage initiatives scored big wins this week in the US and Europe, vowing to never stop insisting that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. In a front-page article in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, the Holy See sought to frame itself as the lone voice of courage in opposing initiatives to give same-sex couples legal recognition. In a separate Vatican Radio editorial, the pope's spokesman asked sarcastically why gay marriage proponents don't now push for legal recognition for polygamous couples as well.












Religious Freedom & Persecution

Pakistani Christian pastor jailed for 'blaspheming' against Islamic feast


Stoyan Zaimov - Christian Post





A pastor in Pakistan has been denied bail after he was accused of blasphemy and arrested by police, who protected him from a mob of angry Muslims. Karma Patras was originally arrested on Oct. 13, after he held a prayer meeting at a Christian family's house in Sanghla Hill in central Punjab province, where he was asked about the meaning and relevance of the Muslim feast of sacrifice, Eid-al-Adha. The festival, celebrated by Muslims throughout the world, honors the sacrifice to God Abraham was willing to make by offering his first-born son Ishmael, as found in the Book of Genesis.










Brussels bans ‘offensive’ Christmas tree for Muslims

The Right Perspective





The traditional Christmas tree will no longer be lit in downtown Brussels. Government officials in Brussels, Belgium banned Wednesday a popular Christmas tree exhibit out of concerns that the local Muslim population found it “offensive.” An “electronic winter tree,” will take the place of the traditional Christmas Tree and Nativity scene at the city center of Grand Place, reports Brussels News.


















Other

At just 15, Malala Yousafzai could earn a Nobel Prize


Anna Edwards - Sunday Herald Sun





Sitting by her hospital bed and reading books and cards from well-wishers, Malala Yousafzai is a symbol of courage. The 15-year-old girl was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in Pakistan, after she defied them by writing about the importance of education for girls and women.












Shady shoppers stealing millions using scanner tricks at Coles and Woolworths self-serve checkouts

Linda Silmalis - Sunday Mail





Unscrupulous shoppers are stealing millions of dollars of goods from supermarkets by scanning expensive personal products as "carrots and onions" at self-serve checkouts. The situation has become so critical that Woolworths has installed a locking and lights system to alert staff when "suspicious" quantities of cheap items are being bought. A recent data check by the supermarket of its self-serve checkouts revealed more than 1000 transactions involving more than three bags of carrots in one week. This included a lone shopper scanning 18 bags of carrots.










National scrutiny of child abuse 'a must'

Pia Akerman - The Australian





Stephen Woods would be among the first volunteers to give evidence at any royal commission into child abuse within the Catholic church. As a Catholic school student in Ballarat in the 1970s, he suffered 3 1/2 years of abuse at the hands of Christian brothers, including Robert Charles Best, who has been convicted of numerous child-sex offences and now awaits the outcome of an appeal.