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.







 



 



Charities & NFP

Not for profit sector: (Give More) Time for change


Alex Malley - Probono Australia

While the Federal Government’s reform proposals for the Not for Profit sector are commendable, the manner in which the Government has set out to ‘operationalise’ these proposals is concerning, says Alex Malley the CEO of international accounting body, CPA Australia. Australia is one of the most charitable countries in the world, coming in at number three, according to a recently-released World Giving Index, which compares the ‘giving’ activities of people in 153 countries. This ‘giving’ score averages ‘giving money’, ‘giving time’ and ‘helping a stranger’ in arriving at the rankings.


Unholy row threatens to tear charity apart

Sarah Dingle - ABC

A charity working abroad to heal horrific childbirth injuries in Ethiopia is being financially crippled after its Australian executive went renegade, warning partner organisations they had to be Christian to participate. Australian gynaecologist Dr Catherine Hamlin - named a living national treasure for her pioneering medical work in Africa - has saved thousands of women from obstetric fistula. The debilitating condition afflicts women after childbirth when torn body tissue becomes infected, leaving weeping wounds that shame the victim in the eyes of her community and can ultimately kill them.


Children & Family

Marriage and a high socioeconomic level improve health


Canal

People with a high socioeconomic level have been demonstrated to have better health than the rest of people. Other protective factors against chronic diseases are having higher education, having a job, and the per capita income and welfare in the region of residence. The study also reveals the potential long-term effects that socioeconomic inequalities have on the health of the population at regional level, and the relevance of family when it comes to assess how social inequalities affect population's health.


Healthier by the dozen - having children can help you live longer

Amy Corderoy - SMH

''You kids will be the death of me!'' has long been the cry of frustrated parents, but it seems they may have spoken too soon. New Australian research has found women with children live longer than those without.


Donor Conception & Surrogacy

In a land where life is cheap, renting a womb is child's play for foreigners


Francis Elliott - The Australian

non-paywall version

Shame of the women who must fill West’s demand for babies

Francis Elliott - The Times via Anglican Mainstream





Mattresses on the floor, a television blaring soaps, a makeshift kitchen - there's not much in the way of furniture in the two-bedroom flat shared by five pregnant women on the outskirts of Delhi. Framed photographs of white couples lovingly cradling newborns are the only decoration. They are reminders, if any were needed, of why the women are spending nine months away from husbands and prying neighbours, but under the watchful eye of a team of "counsellors". Rihana Khan, 21, covers her face with her scarf as she explains the additional care she is taking with her second pregnancy. "The first time, with my own child, I didn't care at all what I was eating or about lifting weights. This time I am much, much more careful. There is a lot more at stake." She is carrying twins on the last leg of a journey that began on the other side of the world: the clinic that has paid her to be a surrogate mother services an agency in Israel that helps gay men become fathers. Their sperm is sent to the US, where egg donors, usually white women from South Africa or Ukraine, are waiting. The resulting embryos are frozen and flown to India, where wombs are cheapest to rent.


Drugs & Alcohol

One in three youths on drugs ‘try suicide' - study


Herald Sun

One in three young people receiving treatment for drug and alcohol abuse from a Sydney charity have also attempted suicide, new research has found. And three quarters of those receiving treatment are also suffering from mental health issues, the Noffs Foundation says. The findings have been released on the eve of National Youth Week - which starts tomorrow - in an attempt to secure more support services for adolescents.


Drugs ban for doctor over help to addicts

Paul Courts - Blacktown Sun

A Sydney doctor repeatedly prescribed inappropriately large doses of addictive medications such as morphine and diazepam to dozens of drug addicted or previously addicted patients, later claiming she had been ''over-compassionate''. So willing was Katherine Nemeth to prescribe ''excessive doses'' of pain killers and sleeping pills, the NSW Medical Tribunal has found, that a number of patients followed her from one medical centre to another so they could continue to see her.


Greens push for alcohol warnings

Peter Jean - SMH

The federal government should disassociate itself from international objections to a Thai plan to introduce mandatory health warning labels on alcohol bottles, the Greens say. Australia is one of a group of countries that have repeatedly raised concerns at the World Trade Organisation about a proposal by the government of Thailand to mandate health warnings on alcoholic beverages sold in its country.


Gambling

Safe gambling classes are a step too far


Illawarra Mercury

Some may think they’ve now heard it all, as registered clubs call for children to be taught about responsible gambling in schools. It’s not the first conflict between the need to educate and the need to protect. Sex education in schools, safe sex education, information on safe drug use - each has met resistance from parents and lobby groups at various stages, and each has proved its worth. Teaching kids how to gamble responsibly, however, before they are old enough to legally gamble, goes too far.


Marriage

Gay rights campaigner holds 'no hope' for bills


ABC

A north coast campaigner for same-sex marriage says today's public hearing in Sydney will achieve nothing in practical terms. Two marriage amendment bills will be discussed before the Federal Parliament's Social Policy and Legal Affairs Committee. Both seek to replace the words 'a man and a woman' with the phrase 'two people'. But Angela Pollard from the Equal Love lobby group says the bills are doomed in the current political landscape.


Gay marriage will confuse kids: bishop

SMH

Children will become confused about their identity if gay marriage is legalised, a parliamentary hearing has been told. Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Seventh Day Adventist and Sikh representatives spoke out against marriage equality, while a lone voice from Buddhism argued same-sex civil unions were an insufficient way to recognise love. Bishop Julian Porteous, representing the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, says children need male and female influences to develop a proper sense of identity.


Overseas Aid

Governor-General pledges Aust aid


Sky News

Governor-General Quentin Bryce has pledged Australia's help in times of need to Indonesia and other regional neighbours following two massive quakes off Sumatra that prompted a tsunami alert. The possibility of a repeat of the devastating tsunami of 2004 caused widespread panic across the archipelago on Wednesday. 'I join my fellow Australians today in thinking and praying for the continued wellbeing of those in Sumatra, and elsewhere in our region, who again are living with the anxiety of a possible tsunami,' Ms Bryce said in Manila on Thursday.


Build different new bridges

Alan Trudge - The Australian

Having just returned from leading a political delegation to Vietnam, I have a confession: I had no idea Australia had recently given $160 million to Vietnam for a new bridge. But then neither did the Vietnamese I met. In almost 20 meetings with senior Vietnamese leaders, Australia's funding of the Coa Lanh bridge - our largest aid project in Southeast Asia - was not raised once apart from on the single occasion when I prompted it. Our tertiary education support, however, was raised at almost every meeting. This is where more of our aid dollars should be directed.


Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

Sex slave conviction raises more questions - ACL


Herald Sun

The nation's first conviction for slavery highlights broader problems with the prostitution industry, the Australian Christian Lobby says. Watcharaporn Nantahkhum, 45, was found guilty in an ACT court of intentionally possessing a slave. The Thai victim, who cannot be named, came voluntarily to Australia to work in the sex industry but was then isolated and controlled as she worked to pay off a $43,000 debt.


Brothel 'slavery' case dropped

Maris Beck - The Age

A court case involving allegations of sexual slavery in Melbourne has collapsed, with charges against a woman accused of forcing Chinese women into prostitution in a licensed brothel withdrawn. Mao Ru Zhang, 31, was due to go on trial today in the Melbourne County Court but the charges have been withdrawn after prosecutors decided there were insufficient prospects of securing a conviction. Zhang is now expected to be deported over immigration breaches.


Mother jailed over child porn, sex abuse

ABC

A woman has been jailed for the systematic sexual abuse of her own children, including broadcasting live pictures of them to an international internet paedophile ring. The 31-year-old was sentenced to a maximum 18 years in jail with a non-parole period of 13 years.


Religious Freedom & Persecution

Losing your religion?: ‘NADRA should not be deciding people’s faith’


Aroosa Shaukat - Express Tribune

Human rights activists have criticised the (Pakistan) National Database and Registration Authority’s (NADRA) apparent policy to refuse to change ‘Islam’ as a person’s religion in their records. MPA Rana Asif Mahmood was recently summoned by the courts to answer a petition seeking his disqualification from his Punjab Assembly seat reserved for minorities on the grounds that NADRA identified him as a Muslim in its records. Mahmood told The Express Tribune that he was a Christian and NADRA had mistakenly identified him as a Muslim because of his name. He said NADRA had refused to rectify the error.


Pakistan: Christian mother of infant child accused of blasphemy and held in jail

Murad Khan - Compass Direct News

The mother of a 6-month-old girl has been wrongly jailed for more than a month, as Pakistani authorities have failed to file a charge sheet within the mandatory 14-day period against the young Christian woman falsely accused of “blaspheming” the prophet of Islam, her attorney said. Shamim Bibi, 26, of village Chak No. 170/7R Colony, in the Fort Abbas area of Bahawalpur district, was charged under Section 295-C of Pakistan’s “blasphemy” statutes after neighbors accused her of uttering remarks against Muhammad. She was arrested on Feb. 28.


Refugees

Asylum boat lost off Indonesia, 64 feared drowned


Peter Alford - The Australian

Indonesian water police were last night searching waters off Sumbawa Island for about 60 asylum-seekers, including seven children, whose Australia-bound boat is believed to have capsized in rough seas. Last night, more than seven hours after water police headquarters in Jakarta was notified of the incident, rescuers had not located the boat or passengers.


Was Hit er a Catholic?

John Muscat - Quadrant

Having said Hitler “was not” an atheist during his Q & A debate with Cardinal Pell, Richard Dawkins was more explicit the following morning on ABC Radio National’s Breakfast program.“Hitler was a Roman Catholic” he told an acquiescing Fran Kelly. A small publishing industry has grown around the question of whether Pius was indeed “Hitler’s Pope”. As many writers have explained, such assertions have no foundation.


Love thy neighbour? The church still does

Alistair Macrae - The Punch

It seems that churches and religion in general are everyone’s favourite punching bag this week. Peter Costello takes exception to Church leaders holding our banks and miners to account. 76 per cent of Q & A watchers who took part in a poll think that religious belief does not make the world a better place. I’m sure there are a few Church people out there wondering, “Why have you forsaken me?” The Q & A poll was a significant sample size – 20,000 people - greater than the sort of polls that predict the fortunes of our political leaders on a regular basis.


Web war rages over gays in online role-playing games

Mary Papenfuss - Newser

Electronic Arts is launching a brave new world of gay relationships in online role-playing games, and that's sparking an Internet armageddon. EA has been lambasted by religious right-wingers who fear the dangerous influences of an imagined transgendered "Darth VaPaula" in a Star Wars game, and have begun a boycott against the company. They're being slammed in turn by gay rights activists. Now AllOut.org has yanked its anti-boycott petition off the Web because the petition itself had become a target of an army of spambots apparently launched by anti-gay forces.