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.



Children & Family

New watchdog for online bullying 

Fran Foo - The Australian 

Australia's new commissioner for children's online safety will have a direct line to Facebook and Twitter to order them to act on cyber-bullying complaints. Nearly a third of teenagers in Australia say they have been victims of online harassment.


Drugs & Alcohol

Tony Abbott: 'I have no problem with the medical use of cannabis'

Daniel Hurst & Nick Evershed - The Guardian

Tony Abbott has backed the use of cannabis for medical purposes, saying “there should be no question of its legality”. The prime minister expressed his view in an email to the talkback host Alan Jones, who has publicised a petition signed by 196,000 people calling on the New South Wales parliament to allow cannabis use by the terminally ill and chronic pain sufferers.


Education

Principals dismayed to lose funding for poor families

Benjamin Preiss - The Age

A government decision to scrap an allowance for low-income families in favour of direct payments to needy schools has angered some principals who fear students will miss out on excursions and essential education materials.


Euthanasia

ACT Parliament to debate euthanasia with another call for repeal of Andrews Bill

Kirsten Lawson & Tom McIlroy - The Canberra Times



Euthanasia is back before the ACT Assembly, with Greens Minister Shane Rattenbury seeking backing for a call for the repeal of the "Andrews Bill", which prevents the territories from legalising euthanasia. The ACT has returned repeatedly to the issue of voluntary euthanasia, with the advocacy of Mr Rattenbury and Labor backbencher Mary Porter.





Health

Syphilis diagnoses rise as unsafe sex opens door to STIs

John Ross - The Australian 

Complacency about HIV has spawned a new epidemic of sexually transmitted infections with a death toll that has already overtaken AIDS. University of NSW health experts say a rise in unsafe sex, sparked by a realisation that HIV is no longer a death sentence, has reopened the door to STIs.


Indigenous

Noel Pearson, Greg Craven unite on indigenous constitutional reforms 

Patricia Karvelas - The Australian 

Cape York leader Noel Pearson and conservative academic Greg Craven have presented Tony Abbott with a joint proposal for constitutional change that includes a new section to establish an indigenous body that would scrutinise legislation and advise parliament but would not have veto power.


Marriage

Norfolk Island could legalise same-sex marriage by the end of 2014

Bridie Jabour - The Guardian 

Same-sex marriage could be legalised on Norfolk Island by the end of the year potentially triggering a tourism boom. A notice of intention to introduce the legislation was lodged with the Australian self-governing territory on Wednesday but there will not be a vote until next month at the earliest.


Religious Freedom & Persecution

Sydney church targeted by Islamic State death threats

SMH



Churchgoers in Sydney's west have been left shaken after a stranger shouted death threats from a car bearing the Islamic State flag. The car drove past Our Lady of Lebanon Church at Harris Park on Tuesday and witnesses claim it had a flag similar to those brandished by Islamic State jihadists hanging out the window.





Christians and Yazidis still facing harsh conditions in Iraq

Christopher Snyder - Fox News



As President Obama and U.S. lawmakers argue military strategies to fight the Islamic State -- also known as ISIS -- in Iraq, the widespread humanitarian crisis on the ground in the country’s north has only worsened.





Other

Natural disasters displaced more people than war in 2013, study finds

Suzanne Goldenberg - The Guardian 

Natural disasters displaced three times as many people as war last year – even as 2013 was a horrific year for conflict – with 22 million people driven out of their homes by floods, hurricanes and other hazards, a new study has found.