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

Personhood amendment proposed


Doug Erickson - Wisconsin State Journal





Wisconsin abortion foes are cheering the introduction of legislation that would amend the state constitution to extend personhood to the moment an egg is fertilized, although the state's two largest anti-abortion groups are at odds over the approach. The legislation is patterned after a similar measure that Mississippi voters rejected earlier this month.










Healthy twin dies in abortion bungle

Stephen Drill - The Daily Telegraph





Doctors accidentally ended the life of a healthy 32-week-old unborn twin during a botched procedure to terminate his brother. The mother-to-be had made the agonising decision to terminate one of the babies on doctors' advice after she was told he had a congenital heart defect that would require years of operations, if the baby survived at all. But just after 2.30pm on Tuesday the wrong baby was injected, terminating the healthy pregnancy at Melbourne's Royal Women's Hospital.










Bioethics

Researchers use stem cells to create nerve-muscle junctions


news-medical.net





University of Central Florida researchers, for the first time, have used stem cells to grow neuromuscular junctions between human muscle cells and human spinal cord cells, the key connectors used by the brain to communicate and control muscles in the body. The success at UCF is a critical step in developing "human-on-a-chip" systems.










Children & Family

Parents to pay child support to relatives


Josephine Tovey - SMH





THE parents of children who live with their grandparents or other family members will be compelled to pay child support in the same way as divorced parents under a new state government initiative.

The Community Services Minister, Pru Goward, will today announce that birth parents will be expected to make a financial contribution to the upbringing of their children who are in long-term out-of-home care with a relative.










Classification

Protecting children from mobile porn gets push from National Governments


ITWire





National governments, including those in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia, are promoting legislation to protect children from pornography and other unsuitable Web content. The ability for mobile device users, many of whom are minors, to freely access the Web, has made this an especially critical issue for telecom operators. If implemented, legislation would require operators to actively block undesirable content and make certain types of content available only if users opt-in to receive it. The Mobixell/Commtouch solution solves this problem, enabling telecom operators to block access to Web sites deemed unfit for children and comply with even the strictest child protection regulation.










Drugs & Alcohol

Australia seen most likely to win lawsuit vs Philip Morris


ibtimes





It seems that the Australian government will most likely win the legal battle filed against it by cigarette- manufacturing giant Philip Morris as experts predict they have the legal edge because intellectual property rights agreements give governments the right to pass laws to protect public health, reports said. The Australian government is still determined to keep fighting the tobacco industry and the legal impediments now hurled by global tobacco firm Philip Morris.










Crackdown on 10 new venues over violence

Sean Nicholls - SMH





Ten new pubs and nightclubs have been added to the NSW government's violent venues list, forcing them to comply with tougher licence restrictions following a spike in incidents at their premises. However, the state's two most violent venues - Penrith Panthers and the Mean Fiddler at Rouse Hill - have each managed to cut their number of incidents by almost half compared with the previous audit period.










Indigenous

Indigenous university staff face racism - survey


The Australian





A new survey shows racial discrimination continues to occur even among highly-educated university staff. The National Tertiary Education Union found 71.5 percent of its surveyed indigenous members had experienced direct discrimination and racist attitudes at work. Only about one in five said their employer had taken action to address the issue.










Marriage

California court rules in favor of same-sex 'marriage' opponents


National Catholic Register





Opponents of same-sex “marriage” in California gained a legal victory in their ongoing battle to uphold Proposition 8. That’s the referendum passed by the state’s voters in 2008 that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. The California Supreme Court’s Nov. 17 decision that the plaintiffs in Perry v. Brown/Coleman v. Brown have legal standing to defend Prop. 8, ruled unconstitutional last year by a U.S. District Court judge in San Francisco, represents a significant step in an ongoing legal battle that many experts predict will ultimately reach the U.S. Supreme Court.










Danish gays to be allowed to marry in church

AAP – The West





Danish homosexuals will soon be allowed to marry in the state Evangelical Lutheran Church, Denmark's gender equality and ecclesiastical affairs ministry said Wednesday. "The Danish government has decided that same-sex couples are to be able to marry in church on equal terms with heterosexual couples, and that they will be able to call themselves spouses," the ministry said in a statement. The ministry will submit a bill to parliament on the issue soon.












Overseas Aid

Rudd boosts foreign aid transparency


NineMsn





The federal government will make more information about its foreign aid program publicly available under a new transparency charter. Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd launched the charter with a statement to parliament on Wednesday. Under the charter, AusAID will publish detailed information about what the program is delivering in each of the countries in which it operates, beginning with Vanuatu and the Philippines.




Politics

Speaker's shock resignation may change balance of power

Phillip Coorey - SMH





The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Harry Jenkins has resigned, shocking the Parliament on its final sitting day for 2011. Mr Jenkins' resignation could change the fine balance of the hung parliament. If a Liberal is appointed, such as the Deputy Speaker and Liberal Peter Slipper, Tony Abbott could lose two numbers on the floor.












Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

Government to clamp down on forced marriage


SBS





The government has announced plans to make forced marriage and "slavery-like" practices prevalent in the sex industry illegal. Minister for the Status of Women Kate Ellis said the draft legislation was part of the country's response to combat people-trafficking and modern slavery.










Religious Freedom & Persecution

Egypt's Christians wary ahead of crucial election


Christian Bro - IOL





As Egypt prepares to elect a new parliament, the country's Christians are concerned about their fate if Islamic fundamentalists become widely empowered in a new Egypt. Islamists are expected to make sweeping gains at the polls between November 28 and January 10, in the first election since the government of Hosny Mubarak was forced from power in February.










Refugees

Boat arrivals exceed 600 a month


Kirsty Needham - The Age





The fourth people smuggler's boat in three days has carried the 701st passenger this month into Australian waters, fulfilling the Immigration Department's warning to the opposition of the consequences of the collapse of the so-called Malaysia solution.










Asylum boat numbers surge since failed Malaysian people swap deal was signed

Daily Telegraph



About 1400 asylum seekers have arrived in Australia by boat since the Government's failed Malaysian people swap deal was signed in July. A fourth boat in four days sailed into Australian waters late yesterday, carrying 98 suspected asylum seekers. They were intercepted near Christmas Island.










Sexualisation of Society

The pill’s 50th anniversary: do we have freer sex and better managed fertility?


Louise Keogh - The Conversation





Women are currently using contraception for longer periods then ever before. The average heterosexual Australian woman will spend at least 12 years having sexual relationships, from age 17 to 18, before she has her first child, at around 30 years of age. The pill and condoms are by far the most popular methods of contraception to achieve this extended period of non-reproductive sex. The 2003 Sex in Australia survey reported that of 16- to 29-year-olds, 60% used the pill, 40% used condoms (some used both) and the next most popular method was withdrawal, used by 5% of the respondents.










Other

Governor sounds death knell for executions


Kim Murphy – SMH





Saying he ''simply cannot participate in something I believe to be morally wrong'', the Oregon governor, John Kitzhaber, has declared a moratorium on the death penalty, granting a temporary reprieve for an inmate who has battled in the courts to hasten his own execution. ''The death penalty as practised in Oregon is neither fair nor just, and it is not swift or certain. It is not applied equally to all,'' Dr Kitzhaber, a Democrat, said.










The role of religious faith in modern society: a renewed vision

Frank Brennan – Eureka Street





The organisers of the conference state: 'In the wake of the Enlightenment in the West, a separation between the religion and society, faith and reason, has opened up.' They have asked me to address two questions from my faith perspective as a Catholic priest: To what extent can this be mitigated through a 'positive laicity', to quote Benedict XVI? How do politicians handle questions of conscience in public decision-making?Last month at the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, Patriarch Antonios Naguib of the Egyptian Coptic church observed that Freedom of conscience is 'not so much a right to be claimed for Christians. (Instead it's) a universal right, which Christians and Muslims defend together for the common good.' He went on to say 'A positive laicity would permit an effective and fruitful contribution of the church and help strengthen the idea of citizenship, founded on the principles of equality and democracy, for every person in the country.'