Proposal for junk food ad ban takes shape

The Age

JUNK food advertising would be banned during popular shows for children such as Junior MasterChef, advertisers would be stopped from using free toys to promote fast food and school chocolate fund-raising drives would be phased out under a proposal to combat obesity. Advertisers' self-regulatory codes aimed at reducing children's junk-food marketing are not working, health groups claim. They argue that the federal government should adopt tougher measures restricting unhealthy food advertising, which campaigners believe is a major factor in rising childhood obesity rates.

Gates calls for more foreign aid

The Age

BILLIONAIRE philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates has weighed in to Australia's budget debate, urging the Gillard government to hold firm on its plan to double Australia's foreign aid in the next five years. Speaking from Seattle, Mr Gates said Australia had been exemplary in its approach to aid, but "we're in a period where a lot of the richest countries are tightening up their budgets".

MP outrages gay constituent with child molester analogy

The Age

ONE of Premier Ted Baillieu's newly elected MPs, Geoff Shaw, has deeply offended a young gay man by suggesting that his desire to love who he wanted was as illegitimate as a dangerous driver wanting to speed or a child molester wanting to molest. Mr Shaw, the member for Frankston, is active in his pentecostal church, Peninsula City. In his maiden speech to Parliament, Mr Shaw acknowledged ''the original owner of the land on which we stand - God, the Creator, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of the Bible''.

General Pants 'I love sex' campaign backfires

Herald Sun

GENERAL Pants has been flooded with complaints after young staff at its retail stores were asked to wear ''I love Sex" badges as part of a new campaign to lure teen shoppers. The campaign - to launch the company's new clothing range - has already sparked a huge backlash from shoppers and has been partly censored, with more than 40 complaints, mostly from parents, received by the company's head office during the campaign's launch week starting on April 28.

Breaking up: it's not me, it is you

The Australian

COUPLES feuding over the custody of their children after separation often have reached the lowest point in their lives. For some, the legal system seems to block access to their offspring and becomes a natural target for their pain.  Fathers groups have a political target as well this year because the agonising process of resolution could be made longer and more hazardous, especially for men. The Gillard government is introducing sweeping changes to the Family Law Act after three inquiries found the act does not give sufficient protection to victims of family violence. Providing it could mean longer proceedings.

The Korean Dads’ 12-Step Program

New York Times

A soft-spoken electrical engineer named Edmond Rhim sat in a packed gymnasium with his wife, Hanna, gripping her tiny hand in his. It was the last of four five-hour-long sessions of Father School, and by the end of the night, 70 men — all of them Korean, and almost all of them Christian — would be declared more emotionally adjusted dads. They would even get a certificate, a group photo and a polo shirt to prove it.

Israel: Celebrating 63 years of independence

The Punch

On 10 May, that little slither of land, Israel, about one third the size of Tasmania but burdened with decades of unremitting attacks on its very legitimacy and existence, celebrates her 63rd year of independence. There are good reasons why many Australians should celebrate that. We could talk about the historical bond between our two nations dating back to the ANZACS. A bond that is underpinned by our shared commitment to freedom and democracy, and respect for women’s rights, gays, minorities and the rule of law. We could celebrate that we are both thriving multicultural states that have successfully absorbed and integrated millions of refugees and immigrants from around the world.

Religion, heritage and the culture wars

On Line Opinion

Over the past nine years as a parent and now as school council president I’ve observed the problems schools and families face with our system of Special Religious Instruction. Rob Ward, Australian Christian Lobby’s (ACL) Victorian Executive Director, makes the accusation that three politically correct families are unhappy therefore attempting to deny others what he claims is their heritage. I refuse to submit to the culture war bullying that defines ACL’s politics. My first hand knowledge of the inequity of the current Special Religious Instruction (SRI) system, has motivated me to Chair the Fairness in Religions in School (FIRIS) campaign. Among our stated aims are the reform of our outdated system and the adoption of an objective, fair and balanced comparative syllabus for education about religions and beliefs.