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

US abortions fall 5%, biggest drop in a decade


Associated Press





US abortions fell 5% during the recession and its aftermath in the biggest one-year decrease in at least a decade, perhaps because women are more careful to use birth control when times are tough, researchers say. The decline, detailed today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, came in 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are available. Both the number of abortions and the abortion rate dropped by the same percentage.


















Children & Family

A popular Premier needs to intervene to spare a foster family more pain


The Courier-Mail





When Campbell Newman stepped from local government into State Parliament, he was moving to a level in which he would confront more serious issues. One of those emerged yesterday when The Courier-Mail revealed a gut-wrenching case involving a foster family and the Child Safety Department. The foster mother is suing the department after it failed to tell her the sexual history of a 15-year-old foster child who allegedly raped her eight-year-old son. But, in a stunning move, the Child Safety Department is pursuing the mother with lawyers arguing that she was negligent in not supervising her son.
















Classification

Thai man dies playing video game


AFP





A Thai video game addict died in front of his computer after a string of marathon all-night sessions, police said Thursday. The body of the 24-year-old man was found slumped in his chair in his room in Samut Songkhram province southwest of Bangkok, according to authorities.












Video games as addictive as gambling: study

Penny McLintock - ABC





A Canberra psychology researcher has confirmed what many have long suspected - video games can be just as addictive as gambling or alcohol. As part of her PhD at the Australian National University, Olivia Metcalf found excessive gamers were unable to stop thinking about gaming when they tried to focus on other tasks.












It's complicated: why our Facebook romance is fading

Laura Demasi - SMH





We're still online but the message is clear: the gloss has come off our relationship with the social-networking behemoth.














Drugs & Alcohol

Alcohol a real age-old issue


Cosima Marriner - Newcastle Herald





It is called the ''silver tsunami'', the wave of ageing baby boomers about to hit the health system with alcohol and drug problems. Preliminary findings from a UNSW study at the Prince of Wales Hospital suggest almost one in five people over 60 presenting at aged care services may be substance abusers. The study, presented at the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and Other Drugs conference this week, found that of the 240 patients aged 60-plus who were screened, 47 were classified as substance abusers. Alcohol accounted for two-thirds of cases, with other patients testing positive for misuse of sedatives and painkillers.
















Education

Former principal sues Jewish school for millions


The Age





A former principal of one of Melbourne's top Jewish schools, Bialik College, is suing the school for millions of dollars over his abrupt and mysterious sacking last year. Joseph Gerassi - believed to be the first openly gay principal of a Jewish school in Australia - was called into a meeting on August 24 last year and told the school council had ''lost confidence'' in him.
















Politics

LNP vote slumps further in Queensland


ReachTEL





In conjunction with 7 News Brisbane, ReachTEL conducted a five-question survey of 1,123 Queensland residents on the night of 23rd November 2012. This is the third in a series of monthly polls to be to be released exlusively on 7 News Brisbane.














All in with the Obeids

Anne Hyland, James Freed - AFR





It was November 2010 and about a dozen professional investors from Sydney’s tightly knit moneyed circles were hoping to cash in on the coal boom. The coal price had dropped from its peak of almost $US200 a tonne in 2008, but there was still plenty of money to be made in the sector. It’s one reason why these investors jumped at the chance to take part in a capital raising of $28?million in Cascade Coal, in return for a stake in the private company. Little did they know that two years later this investment would end up under the spotlights of an inquiry by the NSW government’s Independent Commission Against Corruption.












Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

A feminist revolution that cruelly backfired - and why Amsterdam's legal brothels are a brutal lesson for Britain about telling the truth on sex gangs and race


Sue Reid - Daily Mail





Thousands of other young Dutch girls, some only 11 or 12 years old, are still in the power of the prowling gangs after a controversial social experiment to legalise brothels. In a chilling parallel to the scandal sweeping Britain’s towns and cities, where a multitude of girls have been lured into sex-for-sale rings run by gangs, the Dutch pimps search out girls at school gates and in cafes, posing as ‘boyfriends’ promising romance, fast car rides and restaurant meals.














Refugees

Boat tragedy claims 33 asylum seekers


Michael Bachelard - SMH





Another 33 would-be asylum seekers have drowned on their way to Christmas Island in a boat tragedy that would have gone unreported if one man had not survived. Mr Habib Ullah, 22, has told Fairfax Media how he survived three days in the water while watching his shipmates, all ethnic Hazara men from Afghanistan and Pakistan, drown one by one. Mr Habib Ullah said that, during the ordeal, the men had seen two or three passing vessels, including an oil tanker and a container ship, which had not stopped to help. He was convinced the crew of the container ship saw them.














ACL urges Coalition not to scrap Labor’s increased refugee intake

Ben Williams - International





The Australian Christian Lobby has urged a future Coalition Government not to scrap the Houston panel’s recommended increase to the humanitarian intake of refugees to 20,000. ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said he understood the need to find savings in the budget but believed it was in our national interest to be generous to refugees.










Asylum seeker debate hits 'new low'

ABC





The Federal Government and the Opposition are both facing mounting criticism over the latest round of measures to curb the number of asylum seekers coming to Australia by boat. The UN's Refugee Agency is calling for legal principles and compassion to be returned to the debate, while churches, human rights groups and lawyers have slammed both sides of politics, saying the treatment of asylum seekers and policy debate have fallen to a new low.












Religious Freedom & Persecution

Eleven dead, 30 injured in Nigeria church attack


AFP





Two suicide attacks on a church in an army barracks in the northern Nigerian town of Jaji on Sunday left eleven people dead and 30 injured, the army said. "Eleven people, mostly worshippers, were killed while 30 are in the hospitals with various degrees of injuries," national army spokesman Brigadier General Bola Koleosho told AFP. A military officer who did not want to be named said the Protestant church was hit by two explosions. "The first blast caused no casualties and curious worshippers gathered around the scene looking at the debris... and that was when the second blast happened," he said.












Nigeria: ‘We lost 12 pastors to Boko Haram’

Yusufu Aminu Idegu - The Nation OnLine





The President of Church of Christ in Nations Rev. Soja Bewarang, yesterday said the church lost 12 pastors and several members to Boko Haram insurgence. Rev. Bewarang spoke in Jos, the Plateau State capital, when he presented his annual report to the General Church Council at COCIN headquarters.














Sexualisation of Society

AFL supports White Ribbon Day while ignoring Buddy Franklin degrading porn tees and company’s jokes about raping women

Melinda Tankard Reist Blog





"The AFL (Australian Football League) is committed to tackling the issues of violence against women. Their support of White Ribbon has been long standing with many AFL managers and players participating in White Ribbon’s Ambassador Program, and their commitment to driving change is also reflected through their respect and responsibility programs." - Really ? - The fact is that the AFL is neglecting its responsibility to address and discipline Buddy Franklin for depicting women in degrading and sexist ways in a clothing line he co-owns. It has been almost two years since the AFL have known about Buddy’s porn t-shirts, yet they have remained essentially silent, taking no effective action to uphold their own policy.














Other

Church still has strength and purpose


Cardinal George Pell - The Sunday Telegraph





The largest meeting of Catholic bishops since the Second Vatican Council (1962-5) finished three weeks ago in St Peter's Basilica, Rome. The theme was important: What progress are we making in presenting the person and message of Jesus Christ across the world? A major challenge is the increasing disinterest in the faith in European-culture countries. In broad outline the synod endorsed what we are trying to do in Australia in our parishes and schools, and across society.














Global toy chain goes gender neutral

AAP





Sweden's largest toy chain has pictured boys holding baby dolls and banished girls from the dolls pages of its Christmas catalogue. "For several years, we have found that the gender debate has grown so strong in the Swedish market that we ... have had to adjust," Jan Nyberg, director of sales at Top Toy, franchise-holder for US toy chain Toys R Us, told the TT news agency on Friday. The country's advertising watchdog reprimanded the company for gender discrimination three years ago following complaints over outdated gender roles in the 2008 Christmas catalogue, which featured boys dressed as superheroes and girls playing princess.












Pro-Palestinian protesters converge on Sydney

Esther Han - SMH





More than 600 pro-Palestinian protesters marched from Town Hall to the US Consulate in the city today, condemning the Israeli Government for “genocidal and apartheid practices” days after a ceasefire was brokered between Israel and Hamas-led militant factions. Demonstrators hoisted large flags of Palesti e and held placards saying “Stop Israeli Aggression, inflamed by eight days of conflict that left 166 Palestinians and six Israelis dead. City traffic was brought to a standstill, with police lining the route to the US Consulate in the MLC Centre at Martin Place and mounted police trailing what was largely a peaceful demonstration. Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon addressed the crowd saying they were working for lasting peace and justice for Palestinians.












Genital mutilation guidelines to help treat victims

Melissa Davey - SMH





Thousands of victims of genital mutilation live in NSW and experts say doctors are untrained in how to treat them, with many suffering from childbirth complications as a result of their condition. With an increased intake of refugees from countries in Africa, the Middle East and south-east Asia, more women with genital mutilation are living in Australia, with most in NSW. It has prompted the state Health Department to develop the first guidelines for clinicians treating women affected by the barbaric procedure, which involves partial or total removal of the genitalia.










Backlog of court cases 'spiralling out of control'

Ewa Kretowicz - Canberra Times





The ACT Law Society is concerned about a growing backlog of cases before the Supreme Court with hearings set for April and May 2014. Society president Noor Blumer said long waits placed stress on both the alleged victims and accused while significant delays between hearing and judgment were grounds for appeal.