Thailand orders donation halt for monks and sale of holy objects at temples...and more zedlines

Image source: Pexels In an attempt to overhaul a religion recently marred by controversy, Buddhist in Thailand monks are launching reforms to impose tighter checks on the finances of the thousands of temples in the country.

There have recently been a host of rape, drugs, and embezzlement charges laid against Buddhist monks, which prompted the government to devise a smart ID card that would carry information of drug and criminal offences for monks instead of paper documents.

The new written instructions for temples tell monks to stop asking for donations and temples to stop selling holy objects inside temple grounds, appearing to be aimed at making temple finances more transparent and to counter criticism about commercialisation, as well impose tighter control on “inappropriate use of social media” to prevent “criticism from the public”.

Buddhism is Thailand’s dominant religion, and is followed by more than 90 per cent of the population, with around 300 000 monks in the country.

Debt bondage for workers in Australian horticulture akin to slavery

Australia is urged to stamp out farm labour conditions described as being akin to modern slavery, with the horticulture industry believed to be the most ripe for exploitation.

An Australian Parliamentary inquiry has been informed that consistent cross-border regulation of labour hire contractors should be adopted across industries.

Both Victoria and Queensland are reporting a big shortage of workers in the horticulture industry, with onions in south-east Queensland rotting on the ground after heavy rain.

Chief advocate of Growcom Rachel Mackenzie says labour hire should be regulated at the national level, and consistent across all states.

Queensland charities fail to meet obligations

Yesterday the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission named 339 Queensland charities which did not file annual information statements for 2016.

This means nearly five per cent of Queensland’s 7670 charities have failed to meet their legal obligations.

Among the named and shamed were Coral Sea Australian Navy Cadets and History Queensland, with many non-compliant groups being churches or church-related charities.

Acting Commissioner David lock warns organisations they can cop fines of more than $5 000 or even be stripped of their license.

Sunscreen safety myths fuel fears against usage among Australians

Daily applications of sunscreen are avoided by many Australians, as people are concerned that it is unsafe to use it frequently.

A study conducted by the Cancer Council Australia stated only 55 per cent of Australians recognised it was safe to wear sunscreen everyday, and 17 per cent believed sunscreens contained ingredients that were harmful for their health.

Public health committee chair of Cancer Council Australia Craig Sinclair says too many Australians were unreliant on sunscreen at a period when the evidence has strongly highlighted the safety and effectiveness of such usage.

Mr Sinclair adds that sunscreen has been proven to prevent skin cancer like melanoma, and that individual sensitivities to sunscreen were very rare.

Assisted dying legislation passed in Victoria

Following last hour’s zedline on the Victorian Parliament's overnight debate, the proposed euthanasia bill has been approved by the lower house in a 47-37 margin vote.

The 25 hour long session discussed 140 amendments proposed by opponents attempting to delay the bill, but all were defeated.

The legislation will now head to the Parliament’s upper house to be voted on in a fortnight, and if it goes through Victoria will be the first state to offer assisted dying options to terminal patients.

Terminally ill patients, over the age of 18 with 12 months or less to live and suffering severe pain, will be able to request lethal medication from doctors, if the bill passes the upper house.

Rio Olympics head charged with corruption

Prosecutors in Brazil have formally charged the former head of the country’s Olympic committee with corruption over the Rio games.

Carlos Nuzman was arrested on October 5 and has been released but will not be allowed to leave Rio until the conclusion of the trial, is being alleged to have made a payment of $2m to secure votes for the Rio bid.

The indictment states that Mr Nuzman and the former governor of Rio state, Sergio Cabral, "directly solicited" the payment from Brazilian businessman Arthur Soares, who allegedly paid the money three days before the IOC voted on which country would host the 2016 Summer Games.

Mr Nuzman denies running a criminal organisation, money laundering and violating currency laws.