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

School talk tackles abortion debate


Kathy Sundstrom - Sunshine Coast Daily





Abortion - and whether it is morally and ethically right - has been debated for decades. Now Matthew Flinders Anglican College Year 12 students will be equipped to take part in that conversation. The students were encouraged to consider the 'Philosophy of the Embryo' at a conference by world-renowned ethicist and speaker, Dr Julie Arliss.
















Children & Family

Penny Wong defends gay marriage, parenting


Patricia Karvelas - The Australian





Finance Minister Penny Wong has written a strong personal defence of gay marriage, pleading that we should not "doubt parents' love for their child simply because they're gay". Senator Wong, who recently became a parent, took on the argument that marriage is about children, and that same-sex couples can't, or shouldn't, have children. Senator Wong and Liberal Senator Nick Minchin offered their views on same-sex marriage in the latest issue of SALife magazine.












Drugs & Alcohol

Liqour restrictions proposed for the Pilbara


Lucy Martin - ABC





A plan to impose liquor restrictions across the Pilbara has raised the ire of local businesses, supermarket chains and powerful industry groups. But, health campaigners say tighter rules are needed to combat a host of alcohol-related problems plaguing the region. Publicans and licensees in the Kimberley are used to restrictions when it comes to selling alcohol.










Drug in workout drinks to be illegal

Amy McNeilage - SMH





A number of popular workout supplements will become illegal from next week, following a decision by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. DMAA (1,3-dimethylamylamine) - found in popular pre-workout drinks like Jack3d - was recently banned in Canada and New Zealand after reports of adverse health effects.










Education

Kids learn greatest life lessons about anti-violence from grown-ups


Lucy Kippist - news.com





Some of life's most important lessons are learned outside the classroom. On the playground and the sports field, out in the fresh air, that?s where we make friends, get fit, develop a sense of humour and better understand ourselves. Unfortunately, these places can also be where we first experience bullying, violence or aggressive behaviour. For this reason, a big part of news.com.au's Real Heroes Walk Away campaign is focused on education programs that can catch these kinds of behaviours at school.










Quantity improves quality of teachers

SMH





We welcome the discussion paper Great Teaching, Inspired Learning, an initiative of the NSW Minister of Education. The paper acknowledges the high quality of teaching in NSW. It does not focus on pre-service teacher education but looks broadly at teaching quality across the lifespan and the critical role stakeholders play in improving it. Nevertheless, media reports have homed in on contentious matters including the reported low ATAR entry scores for a small minority of students. The paper also raises the possibility that practicum places might be limited to equate teacher education intake with predicted workforce needs, which is not without risk.












Gambling

Senator slams proposed ACT gaming laws


Ewan Gilbert - ABC





Independent Senator and gambling campaigner Nick Xenaphon has slammed the ACT Government for what he calls a sell-out on pokies reform. The Government says its latest changes to gambling machine laws are in line with their commitment to reduce problem gamblers. The original Gaming Machine Bill in 2011 sought to pass a number of strict controls over the local gaming industry, including limiting the number of poker machines and ATM withdrawals in gaming venues.










Packer's Crown to wager $568m on Perth upgrade

Colin Kruger - Brisbane Times





James Packer’s casino operator Crown, announced plans to spend $568 million building a six-star hotel at its Perth casino - soon to be renamed Crown Perth - and expand its gambling facilities as part of a deal with the West Australian Government. The luxury hotel, to be known as Crown Towers Perth, adds to the $2.2 billion that Crown has spent on its Australian casino resorts in recent years as big investments in Singapore and Macau intensify the regional competition to lure Asian VIP gamblers.












Homelessness

Fears funding row will hit work with homeless


Adele Horin - Sydney Morning Herald





The national goal of halving homelessness by 2020 is unlikely to be achieved if state and federal governments fail to renew an historic funding agreement that is running out, community leaders say. They fear the homeless will be victims of rancorous relations between the federal government and non-Labor states demonstrated in negotiations over the National Disability Insurance Scheme, an issue with much wider community support.














Elderly locals - some in their 90s - fear homelessness as Qld Government flags caravan park sales

Harry Brumpton - Courier Mail





Residents of a Cannon Hill caravan park - some in their 80s and 90s - fear they will be left destitute and without a home after the latest belt-tightening by the State Government flagging their home for sale. Housing minister Bruce Flegg yesterday announced that three government-owned commercial caravan parks including Cannon Hill's Monte Carlo caravan park, along with Woombye Gardens Caravan Park at Woombye and Lazy Acres Caravan Park will be offered for sale as part of the state's government's widespread slashes.
















Human Rights

Rights Watch slams Burma ‘atrocities'


AAP





Burma government forces have been accused of taking sides against Muslim Rohingyas in violence that killed dozens of people last month. In a 56-page report, New York-based Human Rights Watch on Wednesday called for strong international reaction to "atrocities" committed during fighting between Rakhine Buddhists and Muslim Rohingya. At least 78 people died in the violence, which has subsided. Tens of thousands of people remain homeless - mostly Rohingya in need of food, shelter and medical care.
















Indigenous

Calls for tailored alcohol programs for Indigenous prisoners


ABC





Research shows Indigenous prisoners in Queensland are twice as likely to have alcohol-related problems than other inmates. The study published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health found more than half of all Indigenous prisoners were drinking in a high risk or dependent way before entering jail. Senior researcher Stuart Kinner from Melbourne University says specific support programs are needed after they are released.














Marriage

Gay marriage: an argument against


Peter Sellick - Online Opinion





I would like to thank Ken Davis for his article "The gay marriage debate" because it makes some valid points about what the argument is really about. He debunks homophobia as the reason for opposition as well as the hysterical arguments about the slippery slope. Having said that I disagree with him in his conclusion that gay marriage should be introduced into our society.














Politics

Newman releases draft code of conduct


AAP





Queensland's ministers and assistance ministers will undergo random checks of their financial interests under a new code of conduct. Premier Campbell Newman tabled on Wednesday a draft ministerial code of conduct, prepared by the integrity commissioner David Solomon. According to the draft, MPs will be required to divest share holdings where there is or could be a conflict of interest, resign from public directorships, declare private directorships and declare interests held by their partners.










Chief Minister denies French deception

Anna Morozow - ABC





Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has confirmed she met the woman behind the Canberra Hospital data tampering scandal during a 2010 holiday in France. In April the staffer admitted changing data to make treatment times in the emergency department look better. She has since resigned. Ms Gallagher says while on leave she stayed with her her sister in France, who was also on holiday there. Ms Gallagher says the staffer, a friend of her sister, also visited.












What the Melbourne by-election tells the Greens

Ronan Lee - On Line Opinion





Labor's win and the Greens' loss at the Melbourne by-election was about much more than voters making decisions because of the impact of competing election campaigns. The real story about why the Greens could not capitalise on Labor's decline and national unpopularity is more to do with the political values and attitudes of the Parties and far less to do with campaign tactics.
















Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

Poverty forcing Solomons girls into prostitution


ABC





A national forum on violence against women in Solomon Islands has heard poverty is forcing girls as young as 13 into prostitution. Police say it is an increasing problem around logging camps in Makira, Malaita and Isabel islands. Sister Doreen, who runs Honiara's only women's shelter, the Christian Care Centre, told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat program that the money available in prostitution was often too much for families to resist.














Religious Freedom & Persecution

Iranian persecution: More Christians imprisoned for their faith


Anna Sekulow - ACLJ





Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who has spent 1022 days in prison for his faith under the threat of execution, is only one of many Christians persecuted in Iran for their faith. Recently, the ACLJ learned that Iranian Christian Pastor Farshid Fathi, who was arrested on December 26, 2010, lost his appeal and is now serving six years for his faith in the notorious Evin prison. In an attempt to avoid international scrutiny, the Iranian authorities have cast his Christian activity as “political offenses.” But do not be swayed by these tactics. Like Pastor Youcef, Pastor Fathi was arrested solely for his Christian faith. The regime argued that his Christian activities were equivalent to “actions against national security.”












Refugees

Australia to rescue boats in Indonesian waters under proposed deal as another asylum boat found


AAP





The Navy has intercepted another asylum seeker boat. Patrol boat HMAS Ararat intercepted the suspected irregular entry vessel north of Christmas Island this morning. Initial indications suggest there are 43 passengers and two crew on board. Th y have been transferred to Christmas Island where they will undergo initial security, health and identity checks and their reasons for travel will be established.














Sexualisation of Society

Teens negatively influenced by porn: survey


The Korea Herald





Most teens who watch pornography report negative responses, with some wanting to imitate what they see, according to a survey by the Ministry of Public Administration and Security. In the “Teenager Survey of Porn Usage” of 12,251 teens aged 12 to 18, most teens reported negative responses such as “being shocked” and “feeling sexual humiliation.” However, 14.2 percent said they “wanted to imitate it.” The older boys were, the stronger they showed a desire to imitate. More than 20 percent of high school boys said they wanted to try out acts that they saw. After watching porn, 16.5 percent of teens said “perverted acts seemed natural,” and 5 percent even said “they often feel an urge to sexually assault someone.”






















Other

Men can wear skirts at Oxford University as academic dress code is changed to 'meet needs of cross-dressing students'


Jonathan Petre - Daily Mail





For centuries, the sight of Oxford students in their distinctive academic gowns has been as familiar in the city as its dreaming spires. But the ancient university has been forced to rewrite its traditional dress code – to avoid upsetting transgender students. From next month, men will be allowed to wear skirts or stockings to exams while women can choose suits or white bow ties.










Eric Liddell, paralympians and great Olympic values

Mal Fletcher - On Line Opinion





There are probably few things that stir the human soul like the story of a winner against seemingly insurmountable odds. Public voting for the first inductees to the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2002 revealed that Eric Liddell was the most popular athlete Scotland has produced. Yet his story may have been lost to most of the rest of us had it not been told afresh in the movie Chariots of Fire, now digitised for a new cinema audience and running (no pun intended) as a London stage show. It was not the movie that made Eric Liddell, however. It was the courage of his human spirit, the supreme focus on something bigger and better than himself.












Expert finds Clinton's religious freedom report not backed by action

Michelle Bauman - Catholic News Agency





While a new report from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton uses strong rhetoric to back religious liberty, a former diplomat says more action needs to be taken to turn those words into reality. Dr. Thomas Farr, director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University, told CNA that although the report offers a "comprehensive catalogue of violations of religious freedom," it stops short of addressing them in a concrete and meaningful way.