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.
Children & Family
Paranormal movie's supernatural, occult themes concern for parents
Gabrielle Devenish - Christian Today
"Paranormal Activity 3" topped box office charts this past weekend, according to figures released Sunday on boxoffice.com. The movie earned $54 million at the domestic box office. It was the top debut of all time for a horror film and the best October debut ever, the site reported. Horror movies are commonly released in October, catering to moviegoers who want to psych themselves up for Halloween. But as the new wave of horror films in recent years has hit theaters, parents are wondering what happened to Casper the friendly ghost.
Do we really need Halloween?
J.John - ASSIST News Service
As October comes to its end, children all across the UK focus their attention on dressing up as ghosts, witches, skeletons and zombies. Yet Halloween only started being a major event in the 1960s. It has grown dramatically ever since, largely because of commercialisation and the spread of American culture.
Donor Conception & Surrogacy
Surrogacy thrives in China, despite illegality
Jared Yee - Bioedge
While surrogacy is illegal in China, it is booming under lax oversight. The Shanghai Daily reports that shady surrogacy companies which only reveal their location after a down-payment, have developed “baby-selling packages”. Surrogacy agency daiyunzj.com promised an undercover reporter posing as a customer that for 1 million yuan (US$150,000), the company would enlist 5-7 surrogate mothers and impregnate them with the customer’s sperm all at once, solely to ensure that at least one baby is a boy.
Drugs & Alcohol
Mexican drugs found in beer shipment: AFP
Federal police say they've broken up an international drug syndicate after discovering 55kg of cocaine and methamphetamines in a shipment of beer from Mexico. The drugs, with an estimated wholesale value of up to $14 million, were concealed as liquid in 44 cartons of Cucapa beer in a shipment that arrived at the Port of Melbourne earlier in October.
Climate aid would cost nation $2bn
Tom Arup - The Age
Australia should contribute between $1.9 billion and $2.7 billion a year by 2020 to meet international commitments to help poor countries cope with climate change, new analysis has found. Researchers at the Australian National University will release a report today calculating Australia's share of a worldwide goal to deliver $100 billion of public and private financing a year by 2020 to help developing nations with the impacts of climate change.
Clean coal shambles as ZeroGen project collapses
Patrick Lion - The Daily Telegraph
These are the kimono-wearing carbon experts behind Australia's once-leading clean coal power project that has lost almost $50 million of taxpayer funds. The federal government has lost the cash after the controversial ZeroGen carbon-reduction project was put into liquidation.
Christian Lobby joins pokies row
Richard Willingham – The Age
The conservative Australian Christian Lobby has urged Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to rethink his opposition to mandatory pre-commitment on poker machines.
Christian lobby attacks Tony Abbott over poker machine reform
Lanai Vasek - The Australian
Tony Abbott has drawn rare criticism from the Australian Christian Lobby over his plan to axe Labor's poker machine reforms if he wins government. The influential lobby group today urged the Opposition Leader - a committed Catholic and former trainee priest - to rethink his rejection of the mandatory pre-commitment scheme and commit to a trial of the technology. ACL managing director Jim Wallace said Mr Abbott's stance was “disappointing”.
Abbott turns his back on problem gamblers
Tim Costello - ABC
John Howard admitted in 1999 that he was ashamed of pokies. This week Tony Abbott ignored his mentor's view and more than a decade of research into the reforms needed to address problem gambling. Mr Abbott announced that "everyone wants to do a better deal to help problem gamblers". Unfortunately Mr Abbott has fallen for the temptation of the pokies industry's political game, and played with the lives of thousands of problem gamblers.
Simon Crean hints at softening pokies stand
Ben Packham and Lanai Vasek - The Australian
Labor appears to be sending mixed messages on its poker machine pre-commitment scheme, with a senior cabinet minister suggesting the proposed reform could be watered down. As Treasurer Wayne Swan declared Labor would not back away from the mandatory pre-commitment plan, Regional Affairs Minister Simon Crean said it was not an all or nothing proposal.
Homelessness services 'failing Australian children'
Stefanie Menezes - ABC
Last year in Australia 84,000 children tried to get help from a homeless service, but more than half of them were turned away. A new report has found things are not getting much better, and advocates for children are urging the Federal Government to set up a national framework to get homeless children off the streets.
Aborigines risk 'cultural impoverishment', says Noel Pearson
Sarah Elks - The Australian
Noel Pearson has warned that indigenous Australians risk becoming as "culturally impoverished" as they are economically poor, and that Australia is a "graveyard" for traditional languages. Delivering the Griffith Lecture in Brisbane on Tuesday night, the director of the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership said that if indigenous languages and cultures were not saved, the "wellbeing of our people will never be achieved".
Christians say marriage is being diluted
Darren Cartwright - Nine Msn
A Christian lobby group says Deputy Premier Andrew Fraser has blindsided Queenslanders with his proposal to recognise same-sex civil unions. Australian Christian Lobby Queensland director Wendy Francis says the community should have been consulted before Mr Fraser introduced his Civil Partnerships Bill to parliament on Tuesday, after flagging it on the weekend.
Perth Christians back CHOGM events
Two years of planning, plus the prayers of Christians in more than 50 countries, has borne fruit. Shine, the Christian initiative in response to CHOGM 2011, is more than half-way through its scheduled events, and those involved are pleased with the results. Wendy Yapp, the driver behind Shine and the “Commonwealth Prayer Initiative” enthuses: “In 2009 the Premier asked the WA community to get behind CHOGM 2011. Well, the Christian community has certainly done that!”
Religious Freedom & Persecution
Iran attempts to convert Christian prisoners as crackdown on church intensifies
Michael Ireland - ASSIST News Service
A United Kingdom-based Christian human rights group has been informed that Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, who is currently in prison awaiting a final decision from the Supreme Leader of Iran regarding a death sentence for apostasy, was recently presented with Islamic literature, allegedly as part of an official campaign to convert Christian prisoners. Christian Solidarity Worldwide says local sources report that a renewed campaign of harassment of Iranian Christians is underway in Iran, and that several members of the Church of Iran denomination, to which Nadarkhani belongs, have recently been called in for questioning.
Sharia law grows with impunity in Denmark and elsewhere in Europe
Soeren Kern - The Cutting Edge
A Muslim group in Denmark has launched a campaign to turn parts of Copenhagen and other Danish cities into "Sharia Law Zones" that would function as autonomous enclaves ruled by Islamic law. The Danish Islamist group Kaldet til Islam (Call to Islam) says the Tingbjerg suburb of Copenhagen will be the first part of Denmark to be subject to Sharia law, followed by the Nørrebro district of the capital and then other parts of the country.
Bowen defends detention of refugees
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has defended the practice of detaining people found to be refugees but lacking security clearances. There are 462 confirmed refugees still awaiting the results of assessments by the domestic security agency ASIO. Some are in community detention but others remain in detention centres on ASIO's advice.
Payday lenders Cash Converters and City Finance fight Shorten reforms
John Rolfe and Rosemarie Lentini - The Daily Telegraph
The country's biggest payday lender has hired a lobbying firm chaired by a former federal treasurer as it seeks to prevent or at least tone down a looming law change. Cash Converters shares fell 40 per cent after Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten proposed capping charges at a 10 per cent up-front fee plus 2 per cent a month. At the moment some states, such as WA, don't have a cap. In NSW, it's 48 per cent a year. The market fall has reduced the 140-store chain's worth by nearly $100 million.