“Nursing home funding to be slashed.” By Mark Metherell. Sydney Morning Herald. June 22, 2012. The federal government will slash the growth in funding of nursing home care in a bid to stabilise surging costs that have flowed from the rising numbers of frail residents. The Ageing Minister, Mark Butler, said he proposes to limit increases in subsidies to rises of 2.7 per cent a year in real terms. This is a drastic cut from the 6 per cent growth rates that have been financed by the government over the past four years. His announcement follows widespread unease among nursing home providers about the impact of the recent reforms for aged care financing announced in the budget. One industry estimate was that the government would cut another $500 million out of aged care spending.
CATHOLIC SEX ABUSE SCANDAL
“Pa. monsignor becomes 1st US Catholic official convicted for covering up abuse complaints.” No by-line. Washington Post. June 22, 2012. A Roman Catholic church official was convicted of child endangerment but acquitted of conspiracy Friday in a landmark clergy-abuse trial, making him the first U.S. church official branded a felon for covering up abuse claims. Monsignor William Lynn helped the archdiocese keep predators in ministry, and the public in the dark, by telling parishes their priests were being removed for health reasons and then sending the men to unsuspecting churches, prosecutors said. Lynn, 61, served as secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004, mostly under Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. “Many in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia hierarchy had dirty hands,” Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said. “They failed to realize that the church is its people.” Williams said he did not have sufficient evidence last year to charge other officials, including Bevilacqua, who died in January at age 88. Lynn had faced about 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted of all three counts he faced — conspiracy and two counts of child endangerment. He was convicted of only a single endangerment count, which carries a possible 3 1/2- to seven-year prison term. The jury could not reach a verdict for Lynn’s co-defendant, the Rev. James Brennan, who was accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy in 1999. Despite Lynn’s acquittal on the conspiracy charge, the trial exposed how deeply involved the late cardinal was in dealing with accused priests.
“High-Level Catholic Priest Is Convicted.” Wall Street Journal. June 22, 2012.
“Philly Monsignor Guilty Of Child Endangerment.” All Things Considered/National Public Radio. June 22, 2012.
“Jury Is Deadlocked in Monsignor’s Trial.” Wall Street Journal. June 20, 2012.
“Jurors Report Split Over Church Abuse Charges.” New York Times. June 20, 2012.
“Progress on the Sidelines as Rio Conference Ends.” By Simon Romero and John M. Broder. New York Times. June 23, 2012. Burdened by low expectations, snarled by endless traffic congestion and shunned by President Obama, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development ended here as it began, under a shroud of withering criticism. The antipoverty organization CARE called the meeting “nothing more than a political charade,” and Greenpeace said the gathering was “a failure of epic proportions.” The Pew Environment Group was slightly more charitable. “It would be a mistake to call Rio a failure,” the group said, “but for a once-in-a-decade meeting with so much at stake, it was a far cry from a success.” But while the summit meeting’s 283-paragraph agreement, called “The Future We Want,” lacks enforceable commitments on climate change and other global challenges, the outcome reflects big power shifts around the world. These include a new assertiveness by developing nations in international forums and the growing capacity of grass-roots organizations and corporations to mold effective environmental action without the blessing of governments. The sheer size of the gathering — nearly 50,000 participants including more than 100 heads of state or government — may have raised expectations, in spite of the mixed record of previous such gatherings. The first Rio summit meeting produced two landmark treaties, on climate change and biodiversity, that have so far failed to live up to their promises.
“Hydel projects are closed at the instigation of US: NGO.” No by-line. Times of India. June 18, 2012. A Dehra Dun-based NGO spearheading a campaign for building hydel projects on the river Ganga in Uttarakhand, today alleged the projects are being shut down in India at the “instigation” of the US. “It is at the US instigation that hydel power projects are facing closure so that India buys uranium on their terms”. “Today, people in the state are facing severe shortage of power for which the state government, the Centre, saints and some foreign-funded agencies are responsible who are, in the name of Nadi Bachao (save river) campaign are hell-bent upon closure of these hydel power projects,” RLEK chief Avdhash Kaushal charged in a statement amid a protest meeting by Shankracharya Swami Swaroopanand in New Delhi today. “It is a well known fact that electricity and water are interrelated. This is not only a problem of Uttarakhand but a problem of entire North India of which Delhi too is a part. The acute water and power shortage being faced by the region is due to pressure created by the sadhus for stalling these hydel power projects by the agencies that are funded by the US and the UK”, Kaushal said. Stating that due to unscientific facts and superstitious beliefs given by a few people the work on Pala Maneri (480 MW). Bhaironghait (381 Mw) and Lohari Nagpala (600MW) projects were scrapped and the same people are trying to put roadblocks in the completion of 420 Mw Lakhwar-Vyasi project. He also claimed work on Alaknanda project (330MW) is also being hampered. “All these projects would have produced a total of 2441 MW of power which would have given tremendous relief to people of Uttarakhand as well as Delhi, Kaushal claimed.
“Care system sanctions child sex with adults, report finds; Teenagers in care who were used for sex by men were viewed as making a ‘lifestyle’.” By Andrew Norfolk. Times of London. June 18 2012. A belief that it is acceptable for adults to have sex with children who “consent” to their abuse is ingrained in the child protection system, a damning report into children’s homes claims today. Vulnerable children are being failed by the professionals charged with protecting them, MPs from across the political spectrum will say. They are demanding an urgent independent investigation into a care system that is “not fit for purpose”. The Times understands that an official review into children’s homes is likely to be announced by the Government in the near future. The report, from a joint parliamentary inquiry into children who go missing from care, identifies flaws in the way that agencies record, share and respond to information about those at risk of sexual abuse and exploitation. Multiple failings exposed in Greater Manchester last month when nine members of a sex-grooming network were jailed for sex offences against teenage girls are found to be “happening all over the country”. Today’s report, by two all-party parliamentary groups, says that “a scandal involving children going missing from care” went “pretty much unnoticed until the recent cases of child sexual exploitation in Rochdale and other places”. It notes that although £1 billion is spent each year to care for the 5,000 residents of children’s homes in England — an average of £200,000 per child — it has become “easy for predators to sexually exploit them”.
“Live Q&A: How does your charity use social media?” By Kate Hodge. Guardian. June 21, 2012. Join our experts from 1pm to 3pm on June 26 to discuss how your charity uses social media and how this could be improved. New research suggests that social media is becoming an integral part of people’s daily lives and charities should be making more use of this. The voluntary sector has often been considered a great proponent of social media. From the nfptweetup to global tweet chats, charities are constantly challenging the boundaries of social networks. But are they doing enough? New research suggests that charities should be expanding their use of social media, away from just fundraising and communications to service delivery. The survey, conducted by the social enterprise Connect Assist, found that social media is an essential source of support and information for people – particularly younger generations. The sector is, however, “worryingly behind the curve” when it comes to using this potential. With this in mind, our next live Q&A will consider: • Examples of innovative uses of social media; • How to expand your charity’s social media function; • The common pitfalls to avoid; • What help and support is available.
“Why charities should create bespoke volunteering opportunities; Creating tailor-made volunteering opportunities allows charities to be driven by volunteers’ passion not just propped up by it.” By Sally Higham. Guardian. June 21, 2012. Volunteers are no longer ‘one size fits all’, older and available for years on end – they are now often young, seeking work experience, studying and job-hunting, and therefore increasingly transient. Organisations need to address this and consider moving away from traditional job placements. Instead they should seek volunteers with the appropriate range of skills who fit into the charity ethos and develop their own roles – with help of course. Not all volunteers want to be perceived as high value to an organisation, nor want the responsibility of a role specially shaped for them. But there are many more out there who would thrive on that. After all, our spare time is so precious, perhaps organisations should be thinking more creatively about volunteers than some of them are doing. Most of us wouldn’t work our regular jobs unpaid, which really says something about the passion of volunteers. Shouldn’t we encourage and reward that passion for everyone’s benefit and create organisations that are driven by volunteers rather than propped up by them?
“Gangs steal millions from charities.” By Mazher Mahmood. Times of London. June 24, 2012. Gangs are making tens of millions of pounds from selling second-hand clothes donated by the public in the belief that they are helping good causes, an investigation has found. The gangs exploit lax rules that allow them to collect clothes from doorsteps by linking up with a charity. The system is subject to widespread abuse. The Sunday Times has uncovered evidence of gangs misleading charities about the amount of clothes they collect and creating complex networks of companies to evade payments. The gangs then make millions by shipping the clothes abroad to be sold. During a secretly filmed meeting, one boss said: “If you promise them [the charity] a million [pounds] a year, you might have to give £10,000 maybe . . . There were 100 tons and you write that there were 10 tons. You know, there are three zeros and you have taken two away [sic].” He offered to sell 4 tons of clothing to the reporter without telling the Tree of Hope children’s charity in East Sussex, which should have received the cash. Police estimate that the scam is worth more than £50m a year. Clothes Aid, which collects clothing for some of Britain’s biggest charities, is so concerned by the fraud that it has identified 150 collection firms it suspects of acting improperly. Michael Lomotey, business manager for Clothes Aid, said: “It is a highly organised racket. People deliver leaflets and bags that are designed to make people believe that they are donating to charity when none of the money goes to charity.”
“Return of the nasty party.” No By-line. Independent. June 24, 2012. David Cameron will signal today the end of “compassionate Conservatism” with plans for a crackdown on welfare spending for the young, the jobless and those with large families.In a speech which will appeal to the Tory right, Mr Cameron will demand an end to what he calls Britain’s “culture of entitlement”. He will propose:
* Removing or restricting some benefits from out-of-work families with large numbers of children. This could include cuts to child benefit; * Scrapping housing-benefit payments to 380,000 under-25s, worth an average of £90 a week, forcing them to support themselves or live with their parents and saving the Government £2 bn a year; * Making the long-term unemployed carry out full-time community work or lose all their benefits. Conservative sources suggested that some of the benefit changes could be brought in ahead of the next election. However, this was disputed by the Liberal Democrats, who said that they would not allow measures penalising the vulnerable to pass during the lifetime of this Coalition Government. The proposals have also been attacked by charities, which have warned they could lead to a significant rise in homelessness amongst the young.