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.



 







Charities & NFP

Our charities are struggling more than ever to cope with the donations of a well-meaning but under-educated public


Eamonn Duff - SMH





For 35 years, Noi Kameraniya has sifted through the goods that everyday folk push into charity bins. It has always been messy, mundane work but in recent times, it has become worse. In the past hour alone, she's fished out soiled underwear, a stained pillow and a bag of fusty socks with more holes than your average tea bag. ''This is nothing,'' she warns. ''People throw food in our bins and used needles. We found an engine block once. Also a dead cat.''












Charity offerings down but people power out in force

Rachel Browne - The Age





The groups that support needy people at Christmas are doing it tough themselves this year with charity organisations saying donations have slumped compared with last December. But as financial donations dried up, more people were giving up their time to wrap gifts, prepare hampers and feed the disadvantaged on Christmas Day.












Children & Family

Connecticut school shooting: Troubled life of Adam Lanza, a fiercely intelligent killer


Telegraph





Set on the brow of a gently sloping hill, surrounded by two acres of woodland and well-tended lawns, the spacious property looked like any American family's dream home. Yet behind the front door in the affluent Connecticut community of Newtown, all was not well at 36 Yogananda Street. Three years previously, in 2009, Nancy and Peter Lanza had divorced after 28 years of marriage. The break up was traumatic, leaving the couple's sons devastated. Ryan Lanza was living away at university, meaning that his brother Adam, four years younger, was left at home alone with their mother at their £350,000 house.
















Drugs & Alcohol

Old drugs hit a killer new high


Clementine Cuneo - The Sunday Telegraph





It's the return of the retro high - and it comes at a deadly price. A resurgence of two drugs from the psychedelic '60s - LSD and Nexus - has added a dangerous dimension to the local party scene. Their appeal among the under-30s is they last longer than other drugs, are relatively cheap and are supposed to be safer than other drugs.














Education

Working together we can change our children's future


Peter Garrett - SMH





If there is one thing we can take from the latest international school testing results (''Australia's disaster in education'', The Age, 12/12), it's that we need to work together and rise to the challenge of improving our performance. In the wake of these sobering stats, education writers and experts have been quick to point out what they think makes the difference: it's parents, it's the teachers, it's the universities, it's not teaching phonics, it's not learning science or it's a broken funding model.


















Gambling

High Court to hear problem gambler's plea that Crown took advantage of his 'disability'


Pia Akerman - The Australian





A problem gambler suing Crown Casino for $20.5 million in damages will have his case heard in the High Court. Property developer Harry Kakavas has claimed he had the “special disability” of a pathological gambling condition when he made the staggering losses playing baccarat at Crown in Melbourne in 2005 and 2006. He alleges that Crown knew of his condition and took advantage of it by allowing him to gamble, despite an earlier interstate exclusion order which should have barred him from the casino.










Health

Matthew Mitcham talks diving, drugs and depression


ABC





When Australia produced its first gold medallist in diving in 84 years, Matthew Mitcham became the Golden Boy, but little was known of the struggle going on behind the scenes. Listening back to the audio of his near perfect dive to win the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, Matthew Mitcham gets goosebumps. Because, he says, as an athlete you rarely sit back and reflect on those moments.














Human Rights

UK: No end to human rights farce as new row breaks out


Patrick Hennessy - Telegraph





A major Government-sponsored report to be published on Tuesday was originally designed to set out how the United Kingdom’s human rights regime should be set apart from Europe’s following a series of controversies. A panel of legal experts was set up 20 months ago with both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats appointing its eight members. Mr Cameron wanted it to cut back on the rights and equality legislation that mushroomed under Labour.










No price on free speech

Lois Nowra - The Australian





At first I thought it was a joke, but it turned out to be true. Two women decided to take me to the Human Rights Commission, complaining about a play I had written. Set in Sarajevo, it was based on a beauty pageant held during the siege in the Balkan conflict. I wrote it because I was tired of films and plays that depicted the misery of the events, always portraying the besieged as victims. I was more interested in the beauty contestants symbolising the resilience of the human spirit.














Indigenous

Police arrest Brisbane tent embassy supporters


Francis Tapim - ABC





Three people have been arrested during an angry clash between police and Aboriginal protesters at the Brisbane tent embassy overnight. The council shut down the embassy site at Musgrave Park in South Brisbane yesterday afternoon, at the request of local Indigenous elders. The elders had expressed serious concerns to the council about the way it was being run.














Marriage

The myth of inevitability


Luis Tellez - Mercator Net





Many friends have said that same-sex marriage is inevitable. It is not. I have confidence that fence-sitters will enter the fray in support of traditional marriage. As we continue to debate this issue, three important forces can shift the outcome in favor of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Consider first, public opinion; second, the methods and the message of LGBT activists; and third, reality.












UK: Conservative grassroots rail against gay marriage

Michael Gove - Telegraph





David Cameron’s plans to legalise same-sex marriage have enraged Conservative grassroots supporters, with many members already quitting the party over the controversial policy. Local Tory activists have told The Telegraph that the policy may leave the party short of activists to drum up voters in the next general election campaign. They also say it is fuelling an exodus of Conservative members to the UK Independence Party.












High Court judge curbed over speaking out for marriage

The Christian Institute





A High Court judge who spoke out in favour of marriage has been warned to keep a “lower profile” after an official complaint was made against him. Sir Paul Coleridge, chairman and founder of the Marriage Foundation, was investigated by the Office for Judicial Complaints over his role in the charity. But the Office for Judicial Complaints did not consider his involvement with the Marriage Foundation to be “incompatible with his judicial responsibilities”.
















Politics

'Tea Party' to whip up a political storm


Linda Silmalis - The Sunday Telegraph





A proudly conservative group that wants to be the "Australian Tea Party" will push for corporal punishment, referendums to sack bad governments and tougher refugee policy at the federal election. CANdo, a group created by Liberal firebrand Cory Bernardi and loosely modelled on the right-wing faction of the US Republican Party, also claims gay marriage could lead to Muslim polygamy.












Abbott's handling of AWU backfires

Lenore Taylor - SMH





The AWU slush fund attack appears to have backfired on the opposition, driving Tony Abbott's popularity to historic lows. But the Coalition would still easily win a federal election, according to the latest Herald/Nielsen poll. The poll shows Labor holding, but not building on, its end-of-year political recovery - trailing the Coalition 52 per cent to 48 in two party-preferred terms.












Facebook and Twitter afford politicians more control

Katharine Murphy - SMH





For a backroom boy, John McTernan attracts a lot of column centimetres. There's a negative perception inside the government that the Prime Minister's senior communications adviser courts publicity. Possibly that's right. But I have a different theory. Given his sharp sense of irony, I wonder whether McTernan has simply cast himself in our reality TV show called The Meta is the Message.














A place built on the rock of ideas

Tony Abbott - The Australian





Like about a million other Australians, including Julia Gillard, who also came to Australia as a child, I was born in Britain. As well as people, the British Isles have given Australia our language, our system of law and our parliamentary democracy. As my former teacher, Father Ed Campion, used to say of our country: the English made the laws, the Scots made the money and the Irish made the songs.












Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

'Militants' threaten Pakistan church school for Malala support


BBC





Authorities in Pakistan have held three people over a threat to bomb a church school in Islamabad unless it paid them $51,000, officials say. A letter sent to the school, apparently by a little-known militant group, demanded cash for not bombing it. It accused the church school of offering prayers for Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, who was injured by a Taliban gunmen in October.














Refugees

Anger over Sri Lankans' deportation


Bianca Hall - The Age





The Refugee Council of Australia's chief executive has called on the government to urgently halt the forced deportation of Sri Lankan asylum seekers. Paul Power said there was compelling new evidence that members of the group were forcibly returned and denied the opportunity to have their claims for protection assessed.














Religious Freedom & Persecution

Group of Christian women banned from voting in Egypt’s referendum


Reuters





A group of Egypt’s Christian women voters were banned on Saturday in Cairo’s Nasr City from casting their ballot in a disputed constitutional referendum, a Al Arabiya correspondent and AFP reported. Nasr City was the scene of mass rallies last night as Islamists who support President Mohammed Mursi took to the streets. Details of banning Coptic Christians from voting are not immediately available, but earlier the opposition National Salvation Front was quoted by AFP as saying that a judge in Nasr City forbade Christians from casting their vote.










Coptic Christian fears for siblings in Egypt

Julia Spitz - Daily News





As reports from Cairo reach America, it's hard to ignore what Lila has to say. "It's not safe at all,'' said Lila, whose name has been changed to protect the brother and sister she hopes to get out of Egypt as soon as she possibly can. On Tuesday, an Associated Press story about recent clashes included accounts of "crowds of bearded Islamists proclaiming allegiance to Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi and chanting 'God is great' as they descended on tents set up by anti-Morsi protesters ... They set up a detention facility, interrogating and beating captured protesters.'' "If your last name is Christian,'' rather than a traditional Muslim surname, "they can beat you up but good,'' said Lila,a Coptic Christian.










Sexualisation of Society

Genital surgery on the rise: doctors


Kate Hagan - SMH





Hundreds of Australian women are mutilating their genitals each year by having cosmetic surgery driven by pornography, gynaecologists say. Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists vice-president Ajay Rane said labiaplasties and vulvoplasties to reduce the size of a women's genitals were ''the modern version of FGM (female genital mutilation)''.
















Other

Church hands out hampers


James Brady - The Examiner





Launceston's Door of Hope church today hosted 100 disadvantaged families for Christmas morning tea. The families also received a 10 kilogram box of produce to create their own delicious Christmas feast. Door of Hope spokeswoman Dorothy Roberts said it was about bringing joy back into the community.












Call for Gold Card to help sex victims

Pia Akerman - The Australian





A survivor of child sexual abuse has called for the Catholic Church to embrace a new style of compensating victims by paying for their medical treatment, in a scheme similar to the war veterans' Gold Card. Peter Blenkiron, who was 11 years old when he was abused by a priest at school in Ballarat, has put forward the idea as he prepares to give evidence next year to the Victorian government's inquiry into how organisations, including the church, have dealt with abuse claims against them.