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

Abbott sidesteps attempt to revive abortion pill debate


Lenore Taylor - SMH





The Coalition has pledged not to change rules allowing the import of the abortion pill RU486, as Labor seeks to draw the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, into a debate about abortion. The Health Minister, Tanya Plibersek, said the Coalition needed to make its position on RU486 clear, as the approval last month for its importation had been possible because the applicant knew the Gillard government would not interfere in the process. A spokesman for the Australian Christian Lobby said there remain ''big question marks over the safety of RU486'' and evidence of a significant number of complications in women using it. The group said it would continue to lobby against it.












Bioethics

Groundbreaking stem cell research secures Nobel prize for duo


SMH





Shinya Yamanaka could have made bits of sewing machines for a living. Instead, his tinkering with the building blocks of life has made him a Nobel prize winner. Professor Yamanaka and his fellow Nobel prize-winner, the Briton Sir John Gurdon, were being celebrated last night for their work on how cells can be reprogrammed. ''Nuclear reprogramming'' uses an adult cell to create a stem cell - a kind of blank slate that has the potential to become any other kind of cell in the body.














We are all much more than the sum of our DNA

Stella Young - The Punch





As a disabled feminist, I’m often asked about my views on medical procedures like pre-natal screening and preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD (where IVF embryos are screened for genetic characteristics). Tests for some conditions, such as Down Syndrome, have become par for the course in recent years, and the list of conditions routinely screened for is growing all the time.










Should we decide what breed of humans to create?

Julian Savulescu - The Punch





Today it is possible to create designer babies – either by testing embryos, using pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, or fetuses, using prenatal testing. Legislation and National Health and Medical Research guidelines restrict the use of these techniques to testing for the presence of diseases. Sex selection and testing for non-disease characteristics, like intelligence, empathy, altruism, etc. are not allowed. That is, testing for diseases and disorders is ok; creating designer babies is not.












Designing babies to breed out disability

SBS





We have a moral obligation to have healthier children, an ethicist told SBS’s Insight. But how far should we go with genetic screening? We have a moral obligation to have healthier children, an ethicist tells SBS’s Insight. But how far should we go with genetic screening?
















Children & Family

Parent welfare cuts pass parliament


Lisa Martin - AAP





Single mothers are bracing for welfare cuts of up to $140 a week after Christmas, after legislation passed parliament shifting them onto the dole. The federal government wants 100,000 single parents, mostly mothers, moved onto the Newstart allowance when their youngest child turns eight under the plan that would save $728 million over four years.












Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu unveils plan to curb family violence

Anne Wright - Herald Sun





The State Government today launched a $7.9 million "action plan" to combat family violence. Under the plan, the government outlined key initiatives - including working with schools - to incorporate more respectful relationships into the curriculum and raising community awareness.












Put children first in custody disputes

Carol Nader - Big Pond News





They're scenes that have distressed and outraged. Four girls are dragged literally kicking and screaming into a waiting car, away from their mother, and back to their father in another country.














Drugs & Alcohol

Let communities decide on grog bans: Mills


Xavier La Canna - AAP





Northern Territory Chief Minister Terry Mills says alcohol bans imposed on remote Aboriginal communities should be decided by the people they impact on, not politicians. In a move that puts him at odds with the federal conservatives, Mr Mills from the Country Liberal Party (CLP) has said grog bans and other aspects of the federal intervention should be left to communities to determine themselves.










Drug worker hid cannabis outside court

Richard Noone - The Daily Telegraph





A youth worker and former drug and alcohol counsellor will be sentenced next month after he was busted hiding two bags of cannabis in bushes outside Gosford Court while visiting his solicitor on an unrelated matter. Peter John Cooper, of Dianne Ave, Lake Munmorah, pleaded guilty this morning to possessing a prohibited drug.










Ecstasy and synthetic drug use increases

Michelle Henderson - AAP





Ecstasy use is on the rise among recreational drug users while synthetic drug use is also climbing, a new report shows. A national survey of ecstasy and psychostimulant users found the number of people nominating ecstasy as their drug of choice jumped from 27 per cent in 2011 to 32 per cent this year, according to research by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at the University of New South Wales.














Education

Schools face more challenges than ever before


Pamela Medlen - ABC





Times have changed inside schools, there's no doubt about that. When I went to school my parents didn't have mobile phones, let alone my fellow students. I remember sitting in the library hearing about this new thing, the World Wide Web; I didn't even have an email address until I was 16, let alone constant access to Facebook and Twitter accounts.




















Gambling

KT Lim's nephews buy online gaming company TwoWay


Carolyn Henshaw - The Australian





Members of the controlling family behind south-east Asian gambling company Genting is set to tap Australian investors for capital next year in a bid to fund expansion of casinos across the region. Nephews of Genting chief executive K.T. Lim, Lim Keong Yew and Benjamin Lim Keong Hoe, said their company, Donaco Singapore, has signed an agreement to buy ASX-listed online gaming company TwoWay. Subject to shareholder approval, the deal will be completed next month.














Homelessness

Slums of Sydney - vulnerable people living in filth of illegal boarding houses


Alicia Wood - The Daily Telegraph





They are homes where for $160-$220 a week, Sydney's most vulnerable get a room, a hole in the roof, and cockroaches crawling up the walls. The state government is cracking down on unregistered boarding houses in a bid to rid the city of "slums".














Human Rights

Migrant work abuse 'rampant'


Clay Lucas - The Age





Migrant workers are regularly being taken advantage of, intimidated and abused in Australian workplaces because they do not know their rights, migrant advocates and unions say. Staff at food plant allege years of extreme bullying. And the union that yesterday helped expose allegations of serious bullying at a gourmet food manufacturer in Brunswick said government agencies did not do enough to protect migrant workers effectively. The Fair Work Ombudsman said it had referred an investigation into Brunswick food manufacturer Glendal Foods to its serious non-compliance team for immediate attention.
















Indigenous

Youth crime making Queensland town 'hell'


Miriam Hall - ABC





Police are concerned about what they are calling a "significant rise" in youth crime in Far North Queensland. Officers say in the last three months, 95 children have been charged with more than 450 crimes ranging from assault, to breaking into homes and stealing cars.
















Overseas Aid

Hope for Afghanistan 'declining'


Ben Farmer - SMH





The Afghan conflict is getting worse for civilians and the country is facing a humanitarian crisis, the outgoing head of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Afghanistan has warned. Reto Stocker said he was "filled with concern" as he prepared to leave after seven years and hope for the future among Afghans had been "steadily declining".


















Politics

Federal Parliament Speaker Anna Burke calls for MPs to uphold dignity


Phillip Hudson - Herald Sun





Three of the most important positions in the federal Parliament are now held by Victorian women after Anna Burke was last night unanimously elected as the new Speaker. And, just like Ms Burke, Julia Gillard as Prime Minister and Nicola Roxon as Attorney-General were elected MPs in 1998.












Day of shame: Slipper resigns

Phillip Coorey - Sydney Morning Herald





Peter Slipper resigned as the Speaker of the House of Representatives last night when he came under pressure just minutes after surviving by one vote a motion to dump him. Mr Slipper quit his post after being told by the NSW independent MPs, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, that despite voting against yesterday's no confidence motion in the Speaker, they could not continue to support him and he must resign for his own good and that of the Parliament.














Religious Freedom & Persecution

The danger to religious liberty


Dr Snyder - Pondering Principles





In all my writing about politics and government, my greatest concern is the encroachments on religious liberty. I’ve often highlighted attacks, both direct and indirect, on the role of religious belief in our nation. The nation, by the way, is not synonymous with the government; the former is the whole people, the latter simply the representative of the voters that is supposed to carry out policies for the good of the whole. We have been too eager to elevate the government to the highest place of allegiance. When we do so, we dethrone God.














Other

The challenge of the gospel against the cult of the self


Peter Jensen - ABC





Yesterday, Archbishop Peter Jensen delivered his fin l Presidential address to the Anglican Synod in Sydney, on topic "Last Words." This is an edited version of that address. You can read the full version here.
















One in five Americans reports no religious affiliation, study says

Michelle Boorstein - Washington Post





One-fifth of U.S. adults say they are not part of a traditional religious denomination, new data from the Pew Research Center show, evidence of an unprecedented reshuffling of Americans’ spiritual identities that is shaking up fields from charity to politics. But despite their nickname, the “nones” are far from godless. Many pray, believe in God and have regular spiritual routines.












Data download grows with phone addiction

James Manning - SMH





If you have noticed more people than ever are wandering around distracted, noses buried in a smartphone, you are right. Australians' intensifying addiction to phones as an internet source has been underlined by statistics showing the amount of data downloaded skyrocketed by a third in just six months.