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

Spotlight on dodgy charities


Helen Pow - The Sunday Telegraph





Charities will be banned from making house calls in the evenings and on Sundays, and workers will have to wear name badges, so any dodgy dealings can be traced back under new fundraising proposals. In a widespread overhaul of current charity regulations, bringing states and territory rules into line, organisations will have to disclose how they spend donations and those found to be using the cash inappropriately will be banned from asking donors for money.
















Children & Family

Drunk, drugged children rounded up in Sydney


SMH





A 14-year-old boy found drunk and drug-affected at Sydney's central station was one of 13 children detained by police in the inner city overnight. The boy's carer thought he was in bed asleep. Nine boys and four girls, mostly aged 14 or 15, were picked up by police on Oxford Street, George Street and around Cental Railway Station because they were unsupervised, intoxicated, under the influence of drugs or in situations that put them at risk. But when police phoned their parents, not one of them came in from the suburbs to collect their child.


















Conviction rates continue to rise

Jilienanne Strachan - The Canberra Times





ACT police have been praised for adopting a ''pro-arrest pro-charge'' approach to domestic violence in recent years, leading to improved results in court case outcomes. The Commonwealth Parliamentary Library background paper titled Domestic Violence in Australia - An Overview of the Issues said that there had been substantial increases in the arrest rate for domestic violence, from 6 per cent in 1993 to 30 per cent in 2003-04. ''The ACT Family Violence Intervention Program (FVIP) is a proactive, multi-agency approach to family violence in the ACT,'' it said.












The heartache of family rifts

Cowra Community News





About one in 25 Australian adults have cut off contact with a family member, says a researcher studying the effects of estrangement. Kylie Agllias from the University of Newcastle says her research suggests that around 4 per cent of adults have stopped contact with at least one family member for months or years. “I think that’s a conservative estimate. There is very little research into this topic,” Dr Agllias has told Sydney media.




















Donor Conception & Surrogacy

China’s Octomom highlights a booming surrogacy business


Michael Cook - BioEdge





These babies are allegedly the children of one wealthy couple in Guangzhou. The wife had twins and two surrogate mothers each had triplets. Although the story made national headlines in China late last year, the couple has not been identified – with good reason, for gestational surrogacy is illegal there. However, the "eight baby scandal" has highlighted the increasing popularity of the black market surrogacy in China. This is the lunar year of the Dragon, which is said to be an auspicious year for births, as the mythical being is associated with power and intelligence.
















Drugs & Alcohol

Police to work with DoCs on drunk kids found in inner Sydney


AAP





The Department of Community Services (DoCS) has been informed about several children who police found drunk and drug affected in Sydney. A 14-year-old boy under the influence of drink and drugs was among 13 children detained by police in the inner city overnight. The boy's carer thought he was in bed asleep.
















Education

Education funding may get shake-up


Samantha Maiden - Adelaide Now





Parents will learn how much money the states are spending directly on students under proposed reforms. The Sunday Mail can reveal the long-awaited Gonski report, led by businessman David Gonski, suggests the Government boosts funding for struggling public and private schools. In what is expected to lead to the biggest shake-up of public and private school funding in decades, the report calls for the Commonwealth to force the states to publish a more detailed breakdown of how much money is being spent inside the school gate - or miss out on additional funding.














Gambling

Pokies loyalty rewards plan 'encourages gambling'


Farrah Tomazin - The Age





Gambling addicts could get loyalty rewards or ''cashless gaming'' incentives to entice them to use the state government's pre-commitment pokies scheme when it is rolled out by 2016. The government is considering the idea as it works out how to encourage people to take up voluntary pre-commitment, under which players can set limits on how much they are prepared to lose and how long they want to play. Critics say not enough gamblers will use the technology to make it effective.














Marriage

Free vote on same-sex marriage for Lib back bench


Christian Kerr - The Australian





Liberal backbenchers will be free to support same-sex marriage legislation when it comes before the parliament later in the year. While the opposition front bench will be bound by the policy the Coalition has taken to the last two polls not to change the Marriage Act, The Australian understands others will be free to back the bill. Senior Liberals said Tony Abbott had privately conceded some Liberals wanted to vote for marriage equality. "He seems to be quite relaxed at backbenchers exercising their will if they so choose," one said yesterday.










Two gay marriage bills to enter Parliament

ABC





Two private members bills aimed at legalising gay marriage are due to be introduced into Federal Parliament today. Labor MP Stephen Jones signalled he would introduce a private members bill to legalise gay marriage at the ALP's conference in December. But late last week Greens MP Adam Bandt and Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie indicated they would put forward another bill designed to achieve the same outcome.












Much have I loved thee

Babette Francis - Mercator Net





So you thought I was joking when I wrote last year in MercatorNet that the Australian Human Rights Commission had recognized 23 genders. Well I underestimated the number of eligible genders because people are now marrying buildings. You probably thought I was joking too when I mentioned the start of this new style of marriage with the case of the woman who married the Berlin Wall and was devastated when the Wall came down and her husband was destroyed. Seriously, I think such marriages have great possibilities.






















Religious Freedom & Persecution

Muslim persecution of Christians: January 2012


Raymond Ibrahim Bio - Front Page





The beginning of the New Year saw only an increase in the oppression of Christians under Islam, from Nigeria, where an all-out jihad has been declared in an effort to eradicate the Muslim north of all Christians, to Europe, where Muslim converts to Christianity are still hounded and attacked as apostates. According to the Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, “The flight of Christians out of the region is unprecedented and it’s increasing year by year”; in our life time alone, he predicts “Christians might disappear altogether from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt.”
















Young Christian man murdered outside Mogadishu

Christian News Today





Islamic extremists from the rebel al Shabaab militia in Somalia beheaded a Christian on the outskirts of Mogadishu last month, sources said. The militants fighting the transitional government in Mogadishu murdered Zakaria Hussein Omar, 26, on Jan. 2 in Cee-carfiid village, about 15 kilometres outside of the Somali capital, they said. Omar had worked for a Christian humanitarian organization that al Shabaab banned last year.










Syrian Christians fear genocide if al-Assad falls to Muslim extremists

Bruce Walker - New American





Catholic bishops are warning that if the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria falls to Islamists, there may well be a mass genocide of Christians, such as seen in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Though Christians cannot support the brutality of the Assad dictatorship, few believe that rule by Muslim extremists will be any better. Syria — home to Damascus, one of the most important cities of the ancient world and of special religious significance to Christians — has long had a tolerant attitude toward religious minorities. Syria's Christians — estimated to be about 10 percent of the population, or 2.5 million — cherish this tradition of non-religious government.












Refugees

People-smugglers' scare tactic over political shutdown


Paul Maley - The Australian





People-smugglers are exploiting the political deadlock over border security policy by running a "closing down sale" and encouraging asylum-seekers to get to Australia while the door remains open. Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said smuggling syndicates knew that offshore processing had the potential to shut down the lucrative trade to Australia and they were seeking to capitalise on the failure of the major parties to reinstate it. "The intelligence that we're getting indicates that people-smugglers are telling people there's a 'closing down sale' on," Mr Clare told The Australian yesterday.














Sexualisation of Society

Teachers urged to address porn factor


Denise Ryan - SMH





Explicit online imagery is now the basis of sex education for many teens. Sarah, 18, was shocked by her first sexual experience. Her partner, who had seemed like a nice guy, treated her roughly and disrespectfully. She had not consented to some of what happened and did not enjoy it. In high school sex education classes, Sarah had learnt about contraception and sexually transmitted infections. There was also some discussion about intimacy and relationships, but nothing to warn her of a disturbing new trend: many young men are watching pornography and then replicating some of the aggressive behaviour they observe with their sexual partners.


















Other

Santorum’s surge means new strategy for Romney


Kasie Hunt - Associated Press





Staggered by Rick Santorum’s surge, Mitt Romney is trying to reset his presidential campaign by defining himself as a strict conservative. The former Massachusetts governor had focused on his business credentials and played down his ideology, four years after he failed in his attempt to win the GOP nomination by running as a social conservative.










Geelong porn teacher's horny herbs store

Hamish Heard - Herald Sun





The Geelong teacher on leave after filming an online pornographic movie with a former student is selling sex herbs and legal "smoking alternatives" in the city's main street. The man and his 23-year-old former student, who is now his live-in girlfriend, opened a shop called Happy High Herbs three weeks ago, with a brochure promoting "horny herbs" and "smoke for relaxation".