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

War rages in Europe over rights of the unborn


Alex Newman - WND





While abortion is legal throughout much of Europe, the public and elected officials in several countries – Ireland, Malta and Poland primarily – remain committed to protecting the right to life of unborn children. But they are in a war, having to fight off big-spending lobby groups and transnational quasi-governmental institutions such as the European Court of Human Rights and the Council of Europe, which are working to establish abortion-on-demand everywhere. That means, according to legal experts and policymakers who discussed the issue with WND, utilizing court rulings that draw a tighter noose around pro-life countries – forcing them to “clarify” laws regarding who may abort children and under what circumstances.
























Children & Family

Indian family demands Australian authorities return adopted girl


Michael Edwards - ABC





An Indian family is demanding the return of their daughter who was kidnapped then adopted to Australians, but the parents here respond on the topic in their first interview, while activists say there could be dozens more similar stories. Every year in India, hundreds of children are stolen from their mostly poor families and then sold to agencies who offer them for adoption abroad. 15 years ago, one of them was a girl named Zabeen. She was kidnapped from her Indian family and then adopted by an Australian couple. She's lived here since she was three. Now, the biological family wants her back and they're asking the Australian Government to order her return to India.


















Donor Conception & Surrogacy

Indian surrogate mums offer childless hope


Beatrice Le Bohec - AAP





As baby Lili celebrates her first birthday in Australia, far away in India her surrogate mother recalls the day the child was born - and on whom she has never laid eyes. "I averted my gaze," says Seita Thapa, recounting her experience of giving birth at the Surrogacy Centre India clinic in New Delhi last February on behalf of a gay male couple who used an egg donated by another woman. "Why would I want to see the child? I have my own children," said the mother of two teenagers aged 16 and 18, adding that the clinic gives courses that "prepare us mentally for the fact it's not our baby".


















Drugs & Alcohol

Punch Drunk


Janine Cohen and Karen Michelmore - 4 Corners ABC





Australians love a drink, and some see no problem at all with drinking to excess. But now doctors, police and paramedics have called "time", warning that alcohol-fuelled violence has reached crisis levels. "We are not facing a crisis, we're in a crisis. It's occurring right now." Read the statistics and it's hard to argue with these dire warnings. The latest figures show that each year as many as 70,000 people are involved in alcohol-related assaults. In all, it is estimated that alcohol-related violence costs the community $187 million each year. Four Corners also reveals there's a growing body of evidence that shows a link between binge drinking and brain damage.






















Judge calls for action on alcohol violence 'epidemic'

ABC





New South Wales's most senior magistrate has warned that alcohol-fuelled violence has reached "epidemic proportions" and the community is "fed up" with the perpetrators. The latest figures show that each year as many as 70,000 people are involved in alcohol-related assaults, which cost the community $187 million annually. The violence tends to be ongoing. It intends to involve knocking people to the ground. It intends to involve kicking and stamping on somebody who is curled up in a foetal position on the ground. Chief Magistrate Graeme Henson takes the view that education is as important as punishment in dealing with repeat offenders.










Byron Bay violence on par with worst parts of Sydney

Luke Mortimer - My Daily News





Police say that drunken violence in Byron Bay is on par with the most notorious areas of Sydney after another weekend of violence in the town. Revellers out for a good time are ruining the tourist town, with several people hospitalised as a result of alcohol fuelled violence every weekend. Last Saturday and Sunday were no exception, with seven separate incidents reported, all late at night or early in the morning after people have left packed clubs and pubs.










The true cost of cocaine

Mike Pottenger - The Conversation





According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, Australians are now the world’s eighth highest per capita users of cocaine. Cocaine use within the wealthier echelons of society is so unremarkable that when he was convicted of cocaine dealing in 2010, Richard Buttrose described it as being “much like having a glass of wine”. And studies of our cocaine market suggest that alongside hardcore users, there is a large group of casual users who share Buttrose’s attitude. The drug is being used widely by people on more moderate incomes (typically relatively well-educated and employed), usually in private with friends. Cocaine use is becoming more socially acceptable.












Social acceptance of alcohol allows us to ignore its harms

Steve Allsop - The Conversation





Most of us forget that alcohol is a drug so when asked to name drug-related problems, we tend to think of illegal drugs such as cannabis or heroin. But most of us drink, and drinking is an accompaniment to a growing array of activities. People enjoy alcohol for a number of reasons, such as its symbolic meaning (celebration, commiseration, the end of the working day), its taste, the sense of identity and belonging we experience from drinking with our friends, as well as its physical effects – although we may not necessarily want to think we use it as an intoxicant.


















Education

Still time for Gonski reforms, says PM


Milanda Rout - The Australian





Julia Gillard says she still has time to implement the Gonski school reforms, denying her government has left it to the last minute to secure the cooperation of the states. The Prime Minister has vowed to keep the fight up with the states beyond the key COAG meeting in April and believes the funding changes will be delivered before the start of the 2014 year. Visiting a school this morning in Canberra, Ms Gillard also reminded the states they "are the adults with the responsibility for change" and accused the premiers of "argy-bargy and some carry-on.


















Gambling

Waterhouse leads pack in online betting ad splurge


Sally Jackson - The Australian





Television advertising for online bookmaking services has nearly quadrupled over the past two years alone in an unprecedented growth spurt, a study conducted for Media shows. The study by advertising monitoring firm Ebiquity shows that the value of television advertising by a burgeoning number of bookmaking sites jumped from about $12 million in calendar 2010 to $45m last year. News of the ad explosion will add to disquiet about the rapid growth of the local sports betting industry, on the heels of the Senate's move this month to launch a parliamentary inquiry into the advertising and promotion of gambling services in Australian sport.
















Homelessness & Poverty

Homeless services wait on funding


Rachel Browne - Sun-Herald





Welfare agencies supporting Australia's most disadvantaged people are in limbo following a delay to a critical funding agreement between federal and state governments. More than 80,000 people are at risk while the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness remains uncertain, according to new research by Mission Australia. Current funding for the $1.1 billion national partnership expires in June and a new agreement is yet to be finalised, casting a shadow over 180 services and 3400 community service jobs.














Marriage

Gay marriage ban upheld in court


Alex McKinnon - Star Observer





A Sydney judge has thrown out a challenge to the federal same-sex marriage ban after ruling that it does not amount to gender discrimination. Federal Court of Australia Justice Jayne Jagot ruled on Thursday, February 21 that the federal Marriage Act treated both genders equally since neither gay men nor lesbians enjoyed marriage rights. “A man cannot enter into the state of marriage as defined with another man just as a woman cannot enter into the state of marriage with another woman. The redress for these circumstances lies in the political and not the legal arena,” Jagot wrote in her ruling.










I'm still a Tory... but I wonder if Cameron is: Top donor Ashcroft drops his support for the party over PM's gay marriage 'obsession'

Gerri Peev - Daily Mail





The Tories’ biggest donor has stopped funding the party after privately questioning whether the Prime Minister is still a proper Conservative. Lord Ashcroft, who has given the Tories £10million, has withdrawn support after becoming dismayed with David Cameron’s obsession with ‘fringe issues’ such as gay marriage. The Tory peer also told friends he has given enough money and is not hopeful of the party winning a majority in 2015. A source close to the Tory donor told the Daily Mail: ‘Lord Ashcroft is still a Tory but, he wonders, is Cameron?’ He thinks Cameron is too easily distracted by fringe issues which only the metropolitan elite care about, such as gay marriage.










"Humiliating": David Cameron's local Tory party chairwoman resigns over gay marriage vote

Mirror





The chairwoman of David Cameron’s local Tory association has resigned in protest at his support for gay marriage, the Sunday People has reported. Cicely Maunder, 64, “binned” her party membership card, and about half her Chipping Norton executive committee are thought to have walked out with her. The ex-mayor’s decision to quit is humiliating for the Prime Minis­ter as her town lies in his Oxford­shire constituency of Witney. About 140 Tory MPs this month voted against gay marriage and thousands of rank-and-file members – often dubbed the blue rinse brigade – resigned.


















Politics

Tony Abbott leads Julia Gillard as Labor mired at 31: Newspoll


Dennis Shanahan - The Australian





Tony Abbott has a clear lead over Julia Gillard as preferred prime minister for the first time since July last year, as Ms Gillard's personal support collapses and Labor's primary vote languishes at a seven-month low. Voter satisfaction with the Prime Minister has plunged to its lowest since August last year.
















Senator looks to the future

ABC





ACT Liberal Senator Gary Humphries has confirmed he will not attempt further Liberal preselection or contest this year's Federal election in any form. Senator Humphries was dumped at the weekend from the top spot on the Canberra Liberals' senate ticket, in favour of former ACT Liberal Leader Zed Seselja.










The Greens/Labor divorce

Don Aitkin - On Line Opinion





The way the two leaders spoke about the rupture in their relationship made you wonder how they had ever got together. And i deed I wondered from the beginning why Julia Gillard had thought it necessary to have a formal relationship with the Greens, since there was never any likelihood that they would prefer the Liberals, or support a no-confidence motion against a Labor Government. The independent MPs were a different issue, and the support of each needed to be bought, if it could.














Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

Eight charged in illegal brothel sting on Sunshine Coast


Peter Hall - The Courier-Mail





Asian prostitutes aged up to 50 but advertising themselves as "20-year-old bikini models" were among those arrested during a crackdown on illegal brothels on the Sunshine Coast. In a three-day operation, police targeted a Maroochydore townhouse and two motels being used by prostitutes of Chinese and Thai origin.


















Religious Freedom & Persecution

Nigeria Christians mourn their dead after massacre, attacks


Stefan J. Bos - BosNewsLife





Christians in central Nigeria could mourn their dead Sunday, February 24, after the massacre of a Christian family while sectarian clashes killed one person and left churches, homes and mosques burnt, officials said. In one the worst incidents since Thursday, February 21, suspected Muslim attackers used machetes and guns to murder 10 members of the same Christian family in Plateau state, with half the victims under the age of six, the military and government confirmed. "A [Christian Berom] family of 10 were ... murdered" by Muslim Fulani herdsmen said Pam Ayuba, the governor's spokesman, in published remarks. "Five little children including a two-month-old child were slaughtered."














Sexualisation of Society

Sexualisation of the young is becoming society's cancer


Steve Biddulph - SMH





Our overtly sexual environment is generating depressed, lonely people. Our earn-and-spend culture edges us towards seeing ourselves as a product. We modify our bodies to compete better in the marketplace. Advertising teaches our young to evaluate themselves merely by their looks. Unless we redirect ourselves to inner value - kindness, creativity, patience, loyalty, and passion - then we will have nothing to offer our young apart from our credit cards.
















Other

UK: Christian group challenges ban on gay poster campaign


The Telegraph





Boris Johnson this week will face claims in the High Court that he failed to respect a Christian group's right to free speech by banning their posters from the side of London buses. The mayor of London refused to run ads that promoted the group's view that homosexuals can be ''reoriented'' through therapy and prayer, saying the ads by the Core Issues Trust were offensive to gays and may spark retaliation against the Christian community.












Only nine per cent of Wikipedia editors are female

Staff Writers - News.com





Did you know that only nine per cent of Wikipedia editors are female? A crummy nine per cent. But public speaker and open culture advocate, Sarah Stierch wants to change that. The Wikimedia Foundation fellow said that the content of the online encyclopaedia is massively biased towards men - because it is written by men. While we can stereotype what we think women like to talk about or read about, there are subject areas that just happen to be popular with women that are severely lacking on the website," she told The Huffington Post.