Abortion

Activists seek new ways to have UN push abortion on pro-life nations


Stefano Gennarini - LifeNews



Activists and governments that promote abortion and sexual rights see a new global scheme on development as an opportunity to change national policies.




US: States are passing hundreds of new abortion restrictions

Lydia DePillis - Washington Post



This week, the Guttmacher Institute released an analysis showing a dramatic increase in the number of antiabortion measures enacted by states across the country. Several states have gone from being “friendly” to “hostile” to abortion over just the last five years, including Arizona, which passed a slew of restrictions in 2011.




Classification

Payday lender Nimble Money under fire for ads offering help to people struggling to pay utility bills


Clare Rawlinson - ABC



A new wave of advertising from a payday loan scheme has come under fire from the consumer and social services sector. Nimble Money is pulling one of its ads, after criticism it exploits people in financial hardship.




Donor Conception & Surrogacy

India ban on Australian surrogacy visits


Sky News



Some Australians will no longer be able to enter India to make surrogacy arrangements. The decision affects women in NSW, Queensland and the ACT where overseas commercial surrogacy is illegal.




Black market surrogacy heightens illegal pregnancies in China

CCTV - America



Surrogate pregnancies are illegal in China, but many women have been finding ways around the ban. There’s a whole new market for surrogacy clinics, and it’s thriving thanks to online resources.




Drugs & Alcohol

NSW Labor supports medicinal cannabis


News Ltd



The law should be changed as soon as possible to make it legal for people suffering terminal illness to be treated with medicinal cannabis, NSW opposition leader Luke Foley says.




Education

Abbott government spends $8 million on higher education media blitz


Matthew Knott - SMH



The Abbott government has splashed more than $8 million of taxpayer money on a media blitz promoting its stalled higher education reforms. Fairfax Media can reveal the government has spent $5.4 million on media bookings for the campaign, which has infuriated key Senate crossbenchers.




Euthanasia

Euthanasia activist Philip Nitschke loses legal battle to practice medicine


Julia Medew - SMH



Prominent euthanasia campaigner Philip Nitschke has lost a legal battle to protect his registration to practice medicine after a tribunal ruled he posed a serious risk to the public and could undermine confidence in the medical profession.




Should a Belgian murderer be allowed euthanasia?

Frank Van den Bleeken - BBC



A murderer serving a life sentence in a Belgian jail, who asked to be allowed to die by lethal injection, was told in September that his wish would be granted. This week the Justice Ministry reversed that decision.




Homelessness & Poverty

Caring for poor is not communism: Pope


AAP



Fighting for social justice and the rights of the poor has always been the mission of the Catholic Church, long before communism was invented, Pope Francis said in an interview.




Marriage

Marriage the key to middle-age happiness


Christopher Ingraham - AFR



Researchers have shown that over the course of a lifetime, happiness generally follows a U-shaped curve.




Foley gay marriage stance may hurt Labor in Newtown

Nicole Hasham - SMH



Openly gay Labor MP Penny Sharpe has defended party leader Luke Foley's indecision on the issue of same-sex marriage, even as his stance threatens to hurt her chances in the progressive seat of Newtown.




Politics

Newman resumes Qld campaign with a boost


News Ltd



Queensland's premier will begin the second week of campaigning with a bounce in his step thanks to a boost from two opinion polls. Campbell Newman has been criticised for his tightly stage-managed election campaign, but voters do not seem to mind at all.




Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

Up to 8,000 Nepali girls trafficked to Dubai


Neeraj Chauhan - Times of India



The investigation has revealed that nearly 6000-8000 Nepalese girls aged between 20 to 30 years have been trafficked to Dubai via Delhi till December 2014. A multi-agency international operation, led by Central Bureau of Investigation, has stumbled upon an organized racket of trafficking of young Nepalese girls to Dubai for alleged prostitution and Delhi's IGI airport is the transit point for their travelling to the gulf country.




Refugees

ASIO reverses finding refugees pose a threat


Daniel Flitton - SMH



A group of 10 refugees assessed by ASIO as threats to national security have been freed to live in the Australian community after the agency quietly reversed its decision.




Religious Freedom & Persecution

Christian persecution on the rise worldwide according to new report


Amanda Casanova - Religion Today



Christians are reportedly being attacked and persecuted for their faith in many different areas of the world. "The persecution of Christians is real, it is horrifically violent often, and it is spreading at unprecedented rate in modern times," said Dr. David Curry, president of Open Doors, a group that monitors religious freedom worldwide.




Aceh teacher who took students to church is accused of proselytising and threatened

Mathias Hariyadi - AsiaNews



Islamic extremists in the Indonesian province of Aceh have "recommended" a Muslim teacher leave the country, after accusing her of "proselytizing" among her students. Rosnida Sari, who is Muslim, is in the eye of the storm after she brought some youths to visit, voluntarily, a local Catholic church and talk to the priest.




Other

Will we have a new gay aussie drama TV in 2015?


Rod Gardiner - QNews



For many students coming to grips with their sexuality it’s often a rocky road when it comes to love and inclusion in the final years of high school. The pilot episode of a new Aussie coming-of-age drama follows three same-sex attracted students as they deal with their complex and conflicting emotions. Subject to Change shows a real world of high school where some boys like boys and some girls like girls.






After Charlie Hebdo, could European churches be next?

Philip Jenkins - Aleteia



Yet again, a hideous terror attack forces Europeans to confront basic political and cultural realities. The massacre at the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo raises fundamental and troubling questions about free speech, and the delicate balance between civil rights and effective policing.