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

Ohio senators hear 'heartbeat' abortion bill


Ann Sanner - Associated Press





An Ohio lawmaker on Wednesday touted the importance of the fetal heartbeat as an indicator of life as he urged a legislative panel to support a bill that would impose the nation's most stringent abortion limit. The measure would outlaw abortions at the first detectable fetal heartbeat. That's sometimes as early as six weeks into pregnancy.










Children & Family

Caring mums keep kids off drugs


Katrina Stokes - The Advertiser





A nurturing mum may help her kids resist the temptations of drug addiction later in life, a study has found. The $1.2 million study, by researchers from the University of Adelaide and Duke University in the US, showed how mothering might strengthen a child's immune system in the brain. With rats as models, the study found when babies were nurtured, it increased the production of a molecule in the brain which left them less susceptible later to drug cravings.










Classification

Sex triggers the most TV gripes


Jessica Leo - The Advertiser





Complaints about Australia's commercial free-to-air networks have more than doubled in just 12 months. There were 2816 complaints levelled at the nation's commercial free-to-air stations in the past financial year, Free TV's annual code complaint report shows. Last year there were 1292 complaints. A third were complaints regarding inappropriate program classifications, and leading the long list of gripes in that area were more than 300 complaints about the proliferation of sex and nudity on our screens.










Six hundred million gamers could be war criminals, Red Cross says

Claire Connelly - news.com





The Red Cross is investigating whether 600 million gamers are violating the Hague and Geneva conventions when they kill and blow stuff up for fun. Delegates at the 31st International Conference of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Red Crescent raised the concerns over the potential “International Humanitarian Law” violations – which can constitute war crimes - during a workshop in Geneva. Exactly how video games influence individuals is a hotly debated topic, but for the first time, Movement partners discussed our role and responsibility to take action against violations of IHL in video games,” the Red Cross wrote in its daily bulletin.










Education

Private schools get top report


Dan Harrison - Muswellbrook Chronicle





Private schools produce better results than government schools, even after differences in student background are taken into account, according to an analysis of data from the My School website.










Gambling

Church feud on poker machine reform


Probono Australia





The major Christian churches in Australia are at loggerheads with Australian of the Year Nominee, Fr. Chris Riley over poker machine reform. The major Christian churches in Australia have reaffirmed their commitment to the Government’s proposed poker machine reform in the face of Catholic priest Father Chris Riley’s apparent support for what the Churches describe as the inaccurate, well-funded industry campaign.










Pokie reform will help people know when to fold ‘em

Harry Herbert - The Punch





In the race for headlines and hysteria, the poker machine reform debate has fallen through the cracks of serious social progress. In their eagerness to beat back the Government’s agenda on poker machines, pushing their polished and focus tested ‘license to punt’ line, Big Clubs have churned out an astounding $20 million hoping to hit the jackpot.










Committee seeks sports gambling crackdown

news.com





Sports uniforms with gambling company logos and the promotion of live odds during event broadcasts should be banned, a parliamentary inquiry has recommended. But the Federal gambling reform committee did not specifically mention which sports broadcasts should be targeted, raising questions about whether horse racing would be included.










Pokies cash for Reverend Tim Costello's charities

Joe Hildebrand - The Daily Telegraph





Anti-gambling crusader Tim Costello, who has accused Father Chris Riley of being compromised by pokie industry donations, has accepted thousands from both clubs and hotels for his own charities. The Daily Telegraph can reveal Mr Costello accepted a $4000 speaker's fee from Clubs NSW and a $500,000 cheque from the hotel lobby group. The money went to charities headed by him.










Human Rights

Granny dumping – in a hospital near you this Christmas


Prwire





Elderly Australians are being dumped this holiday season as their relatives go on holidays. While it is the season to celebrate your love for your family, every year over the Christmas period elderly Australians are increasingly being dumped in hospital emergency departments, in a disturbing trend that has been dubbed ‘granny dumping’.










Indigenous

Suicide rate higher for indigenous people


SMH





The suicide rate among indigenous Queenslanders is 70 per cent higher than it is in the broader community, ground-breaking research shows. Griffith University Professor Diego De Leo has spent three years undertaking the first comprehensive study of suicide among indigenous Queenslanders. The results, released on Thursday, are that the suicide rate in Queensland's indigenous population was 25.7 per 100,000, compared with 15 per 100,000 for non-indigenous Queenslanders.










Marriage

Brown to fight for ACT same-sex Bill


Noel Towell - The Canberra Times





The Australian Greens have vowed to fight for the ACT's proposed new laws on gay partnership rights if they are challenged in Federal Parliament. The party's leader, Senator Bob Brown, welcomed the new legislation yesterday and said he and his colleagues would defend the Bill if either house of Parliament moved to impose its veto on the same-sex partnership laws.










Politics

Speculation grows PM plans a cabinet reshuffle


Phillip Coorey – SMH





Speculation is building inside Labor the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, will reshuffle her ministry before Christmas. Ms Gillard's office said yesterday there were ''no plans at this stage'' for any changes but speculation surrounds an announcement next week before she goes on leave.










Religious Freedom & Persecution

Iraq Christians struggle to have a merry Christmas


Luiza Oleszczuk - Christian Post





About 500,000 Christians remain in Iraq, down from an estimated 800,000 to 1.4 million in 2003, according to a report by Minority Rights Group International, a research body. Persecution makes the Christian community smaller each year, with churches as well as households being targeted and causing worshippers to flee. The Christmas holiday season has rarely been a happy one for Christians in the Middle East, where they are often not allowed to raise church buildings and house churches often experience raids and harassment. Experts on the region say the Christmas season is a particularly dangerous period for the Christian minority, when numerous acts of violence and vandalism take place.










Urgent prayer request from Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund

Barnabas Fund





On Friday (9 December), the UK House of Lords is holding an important and timely debate, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, about the situation of Christians in the Middle East. Barnabas Fund has been asked to produce a briefing paper for this debate, and I am now urgently seeking your prayers that the Lords will recognise the grave danger that Christian minorities are facing as a result of the “Arab Spring”. Please pray also that the Lords will exert their influence on our government so that it will press for the protection of Christians and other vulnerable groups in the region.










Refugees

Seventh boatload of aslyum-seekers in one week


Sarah Elks - The Australian





Border protection officials yesterday intercepted a boat carrying 78 suspected asylum-seekers northeast of Christmas Island, the seventh in a week. Yesterday morning, officers on HMAS Childers, operating under the control of the Border Protection Command, boarded the vessel, which was also believed to be carrying two crew members. The vessel, the 63rd of the year, was initially spotted by a RAAF maritime patrol aircraft.










Other

Christian vision of society puts economics and politics in their place


John Milbank - ABC





There has been a great deal of public debate in the UK recently about the Big Society and the Good Society, and the invocation of the word "social." In a sense, the church invented the social world. In pagan antiquity you had the familial, the tribal and the political communities. But the idea of having a space of free association - people coming together for all kinds of shared purposes of organisation and running their lives - was only vestigially present in the antique world.