Charities & NFP

Mining downturn forcing more to turn to charities


Mackay Daily Mercury





An alarming number of people have sought help from charities as a result of financial difficulty in the face of the mining downturn. The Salvation Army reported reaching out to 1300 families in the past 12 months. This is a 30% increase on the previous year. Salvation Army emergency relief worker Amanda Greham said more than one-third of people seeking help had never used a welfare agency in the past.










Children & Family

I left so Cathy needn’t face her demons alone, says Andrew Stoner


Sharri Markson - The Australian







Former NSW deputy premier Andrew Stoner has revealed the reason he quit politics is to be there for his wife, Cathy, who is suffering from depression and anxiety. Deciding to speak publicly about her deeply personal issues for the first time, Cathy Stoner said her husband was the best she could ask for and she was grateful he had decided to put aside his ­career to focus on her and their six children.










Donor Conception & Surrogacy

Swedish feminists condemn surrogacy


Michael Cook - Bio Edge







Swedish feminists have issued a policy paper condemning commercial surrogacy and calling upon their government to ban the practice. The Swedish Women’s Lobby (Sveriges Kvinnolobby) argues that surrogacy is a health risk and violates poor women’s human rights.










Drugs & Alcohol

South Brisbane coffee shop a hub for 'exclusive' drug network: police


Kristian Silva - Brisbane Times





For three years a South Brisbane coffee warehouse was the hub for a "highly sophisticated" drug-smuggling syndicate linked to the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, police allege.




Men jailed over $34m of methamphetamine hidden in ceramic tiles

Joanna Menagh - ABC







Three men involved in the importation to Western Australia of up to $34 million of methamphetamine hidden in ceramic tiles have been jailed for between seven and 14 years.








Education

Graduate glut puts trainee teachers on the scrapheap


Anna Patty - SMH







Hundreds of millions of dollars in federal government funding is being spent on trainee teachers who have little chance of getting a job.










Euthanasia

I'm dying, too, Brittany, but suicide is not the answer


Kara Tippetts - Aleteia





My oncologist and I sat for a long time with hurting hearts for your story. We spoke in gentle tones discussing the hard path you are being asked to travel.












Gambling

Effective gambling regulation is not just ‘red tape’


Charles Livingstone - The Conversation











The Queensland government has recently implemented changes to poker machine regulation under the banner of “red tape reduction”. Some of these are relatively minor at first glance; others have more obvious prima facie impact. All are designed to reduce the burden on industry and allow for the expansion of the gambling industry.










Indigenous

Making a difference in indigenous education


Andrew Penfold - The Australian







The recent review of indigenous education in the Northern Territory by Bruce Wilson starkly highlighted the scale of the challenges for indigenous children in remote communities. By Year 3, indigenous students in very remote schools are, in terms of schooling, already two years behind indigenous students in other remote communities, and by Year 9 they are about five years behind their peers in other remote indigenous communities.










Marriage

US to recognise gay marriage in seven more states


9News







The US government has announced it will recognize same-sex marriages in seven additional states, after the Supreme Court declined to take up the debate. A total of 26 of the 50 US states, and the capital Washington, now legally recognize gay and lesbian marriages, giving them the same legal rights and federal benefits as married heterosexual couples.








Religious Freedom & Persecution

Pakistani Christian's death sentence upheld for blaspheming Islam


AsiaNews







After a hearing that lasted several hours, the Lahore High Court today upheld the death penalty sentence passed by a lower court against Asia Bibi, following her conviction in 2010 on blasphemy charges in 2010. Since then she has been on death row. In Pakistan, many civil society groups have expressed solidarity towards the Christian mother of five, as well as strong concern about the court's decision, which came after five postponements.




Nowhere to lay their heads: Christians in Iraq face uncertain future

John Burger - Malteser International





Tens of thousands of refugees in northern Iraq are facing a winter living in tents or unfinished concrete buildings. Humanitarian aid organizations, local governments and NGOs are doing what they can to keep internally displaced persons warm, healthy and well-fed, but the task is huge, and some people on the ground say a humanitarian crisis looms.








Other

I'll eat a page from my Bible if Jesus didn't exist


John Dickson - ABC







Contrary to recent atheist claims, Jesus did live. I will eat a page of my Bible if someone can find me just one full Professor of Ancient History, Classics, or New Testament in an accredited uni who thinks otherwise, writes John Dickson. There may be good reasons to give up on traditional Christian belief, but today's overreaching sceptics haven't yet stumbled onto them.






Vatican document on family revises language on gays

NBC News



The final version of a controversial Vatican document issued on Saturday radically revised its earlier wording on homosexuals, eliminating language that had talked more positively of them than ever before in church history. The document, called a “relation,” was issued at the conclusion of a two-week assembly, or synod, of some 200 Roman Catholic bishops from around the world.