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.



 







Classification

More Rs than a pirate convention - Seven R18+ rated games in five weeks


SMH





The Australian Classification Board certainly didn't waste any time getting some ink on their brand new R18+ stamp. After classifying four games adults-only during January, the first month the rating was available, they have added another three in just the first week of February. While God of War: Ascension is the highest profile game to be granted the new rating, the other two are less well-known. Chivalry: Medieval Warfare is a bloody online first-person brawler, a commercial release of what was originally a Half-Life 2 mod. Ride to Hell: Retribution is an interesting case, as the real-world biker drama from Deep Silver was reported to have been cancelled, until our Classification Board reported it had been submitted for a rating.
















Drugs & Alcohol

Customs investigation leads to five more arrests


AAP





Five Sydney men have been arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged drug importation and corruption involving customs employees. Australian Federal Police (AFP) commissioner Tony Negus said 15 search warrants were executed across Sydney from 7am today. Those arrested included a 40-year-old man from Kingsgrove and a 38-year-old from Blacktown. Both are serving customs officers, who worked at Sydney Airport.














Education

No places for children in ethics classes


Amy McNeilage - SMH





Children are being turned away from ethics classes in public schools because there are not enough volunteers or funding to meet demand. Schools such as Gosford Public School on the central coast can offer classes only to those attending non-scripture classes. The school has no space to allow children learning scripture to opt out and study ethics. Others have placed students on waiting lists until vacancies arise or new volunteers are appointed. The provider, Primary Ethics, said more than 4000 volunteers were needed to meet demand - seven times the existing number.
















Environment

Burke to block super trawler floating freezer plan


ABC





Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke has announced he will knock back Seafish Tasmania's latest application to use its super trawler as a floating freezer. Seafish Tasmania announced last month that it wanted to use the Abel Tasman a floating freezer.
















Insulation dud scheme bills roll in

Jessica Marszalek - The Daily Telegraph





The bungled home insulation program is still costing the taxpayer, with the federal government deciding not to recoup $24 million in suspect claims. Nearly $14 million owed by companies believed to have wrongly claimed subsidies under the failed scheme has been written off, a senate estimates hearing was told yesterday. The government has also decided to reverse $10.2 million in "potential debt", ruling it would have difficulty proving and collecting it.
















Gambling

No need to leave the room: Bet by TV at NJ casino


Wayne Perry - SMH





Guests at one New Jersey casino won't even have to get out of bed in order to place a bet. The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City said it will become the first casino in the United States to let guests gamble over hotel room TV sets, starting Feb. 18. Its E-Casino program will let guests with player's cards set up electronic accounts and risk up to $2,500 a day. Slots and four kinds of video poker will be the first games offered.










Bookies swift to move on Pope's resignation

SMH





British and Irish bookmakers are ranking Nigeria's Cardinal Francis Arinze, Peter Turkson of Ghana and Canadian Marc Ouellet as favourites to lead the Roman Catholic Church, setting odds swiftly after Pope Benedict's shock resignation. William Hill, Britain's largest bookmaker, offered odds of 3/1 against for Arinze, or a probability of 25 per cent, while Ouellet and Turkson were priced at 7/2 against, meaning successful punters would win seven pounds for every two staked.












Health

Profits before health, say experts


Amy Corderoy - Sydney Morning Herald





Alcohol and processed food companies are employing the same tactics as Big Tobacco to increase their profits at the expense of people's lives, health experts say. The tactics used include industry-funded biased research, political donations, ghost-writing of public policy and campaigns blaming individuals for their choices, an article in The Lancet said on Tuesday. Trusting multinational companies with the public's health is like "having burglars install your locks", one of the authors, the University of Melbourne's Rob Moodie, said. "You think you are safe but you are obviously not."
















Homelessness & Poverty

Report shows homelessness on rise in Qld


AAP





The number of homeless people in Queensland has increased, putting the state at risk of missing promised targets. The state and federal governments agreed in 2008 to reduce homelessness by seven per cent, and the number of people sleeping rough by 25 per cent by 2013, through the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH). They threw $280 million at the cause.














Politics

Xenophon pushes for advertising overhaul


Michael Lallo - SMH





Commercial television networks could soon be forced to air political advertisements they had previously blacklisted. The proposed change to the broadcasting laws, to be announced on Tuesday by independent Senator Nick Xenophon, could also make political ads a permanent feature of our airwaves. It would compel commercial and community stations to air every approved ad, from any group or individual, at any time.
















Katter downplays same-sex marriage split

Kate Stephens - ABC





Queensland MP Rob Katter says Katter's Australian Party (KAP) will hold a management committee this week to discuss issues within the party. Suspended KAP candidate Bernard Gaynor says the party is split over gay rights issues and the party is on the verge of collapsing. Mr Katter, the Member for Mount Isa, says there is a lot of speculation and opinions regarding the future of the party at the moment.


















Refugees

Refugee budget climbs $1.3b


Bianca Hall - SMH





The Australian immigration budget has increased by $1.3 billion over four years, as the government prepares to expand the humanitarian visa program to 20,000 each year. A Senate estimates hearing on Monday was told the Immigration Department's budget for humanitarian arrivals will rise by $150 million this year alone, accounting for about $24,000 for each person resettled in Australia under the expanded humanitarian program.










Plan to 'shepherd' refugees on boats to NZ

AAP





New Zealand's deal to take refugees from Australia came on the back of the threat that a boatload of asylum seekers could be shepherded across the Tasman. Prime Minister John Key has revealed he has received advice that Australia was considering whether it would accompany a New Zealand-bound boat to these shores "on one occasion".














Religious Freedom & Persecution

After Muslim rebels seize two priests in Aleppo, there are fears for their life


Asia News





A group of rebels close to Muslim extremists on Sunday abducted an Armenian Catholic priest, Fr Michael, as well as a yet unknown Orthodox clergyman. Both were working in Aleppo. Sources, anonymous for security reasons, told AsiaNews that the city's Christian community is very concerned about the attack. "Extremist violence is getting worse day by day. Muslim militias are killing anyone suspected of ties with the regime, including women and children. People in the neighbourhoods are comparing these days to the Ottoman conquest five centuries ago."














Other

Religion in China


Fenggang Yang - RN ABC





Religion in China survived the most radical suppression in human history--a total ban of any religion during and after the Cultural Revolution. All churches, temples, and mosques were closed down, converted for secular uses, or turned to museums for the purpose of atheist education. Over the last three decades, however, religion has survived and thrived even as China remains under Communist rule. Christianity ranks among the fastest-growing religions in the country.














Stepping down

Robert A. Gahl, Jr - MercatorNet





A Pope who surprised the world with his gentleness and intellectual clarity had one last surprise up his sleeve. A few of the older cardinals knew something was up. Why a consistory of cardinals on a holiday? The Vatican was closed to celebrate the anniversary of the Lateran Accords and yet cardinals were called to meet with the Pope for the declaration of new saints to be canonized. Their surprise increased when the Pope began an extraordinary and personal pronouncement in Latin. Not all were able to follow the Pope's words and fully grasp the import of the unprecedented moment.














One billion rising against violence against women

Melinda Tankard Reist blog





Melbourne will join the international dance campaign ONE BILLION RISING this Thursday 14 February – dubbed ‘V-Day’ – as part of a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. This year will be the largest day of action in the history of the campaign and will mark its 15 th anniversary. The campaign has the support of Prime Minister Julia Gillard who last week released her video endorsing the One Billion Rising movement & the Australian events.














State's economic outlook 'anaemic'

Dinah Arndt - The Examiner





Economic conditions in Tasmania are being described as anaemic based on the latest survey of business expectations. Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief economist Phil Bayley said while the pre-Christmas period was busier than expected the chamber's quarterly survey showed that the economy was still pale and sickly. ``With few signs of improving confidence, as demonstrated by the 12 month outlook hovering at 27.1 index points, there are few emerging signs that conditions will improve in the short term,'' Mr Bayley said.