“Now churches are targeted,” says The Oz. Four churches in
Sydney’s southwest have been attacked in 24 hours as the city’s riots
spread from race to religion. In response, members of the Arab
Christian and Arab Muslim
communities have called for a curfew for all Lebanese youths over the
weekend. A community hall linked to a Uniting church was burned to the
ground
early yesterday, carol-singers were spat on and church buildings
peppered with gunfire.

And NSW Premier Morris Iemma is imploring people
not to renounce their Australian identity in the face of intimidation
by Lebanese gangs, says the paper, even if it means being bashed. His advice came after victims of rioting in Sydney told how they were
asked if they were Australian before being attacked by large groups of
Middle Eastern men.
Mr Iemma said that if approached, people should say: “I’m
Australian and this is Australia and this is a country that is here to
be shared by all.”

Meanwhile, more Cronulla news overseas. The race riots have captured official attention in Asia, with the
Prime Minister revealing that regional leaders quizzed him on the
wave of violence on Sydney’s streets, says the SMH. John Howard said the issue had been raised “informally” by the
leaders prior to the first East Asia Summit, at which Australia is
pushing for a stronger regional presence. And “Qantas signals Pacific fare war … with itself” reports the paper, with Qantas yesterday vowing to slash fares to the United States,
announcing the planned expansion of its budget carrier Jetstar to
US routes and a massive $10 billion investment in 65 new-generation
Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft from 2008.

In Victoria, “dumbfounded” dad to fight charges, says The Age. Police have charged Robert Farquharson with the murder of his
three sons, who drowned when a car plunged into a dam near Geelong
on Father’s Day. Farquharson escaped from the car before it sank in the dam off
the Princes Highway near Winchelsea, but his children, Jai, 10,
Tyler, 7, and Bailey, 2, drowned. Homicide squad detectives went to Farquharson’s Winchelsea house
yesterday morning to arrest him but he was not home. He later went
to the Geelong police station with his solicitor.


“NRL foes unite to stop riots,” leads The Daily Tele. One was raised in The Shire and the other is a devout Lebanese Muslim
who grew up in Sydney’s southwest but spent every moment soaking up the
sun at Cronulla. But neither Bulldogs star Hazem El Masri, 29, or former Cronulla
Sharks frontrower Jason Stevens, 32, have the solution to what sparked
the anger and hatred on Sunday in the Cronulla riots.

With the public calling for peace – and readers rallying behind The Daily Telegraph‘s Stop the Violence campaign – these two stars of league yesterday met at South Cronulla beach in a special show of unity.

More woes for Steve Vizard who’s been burgled. He feared one of the three robbers
who raided his home was reaching for a gun during a struggle for
control of the getaway car, says The Hez.
Vizard said the burglar ran over his foot while speeding off in a
stolen Alfa Romeo. “I thought I’ll smash the window and stop him,” he
said. “And that’s when he tried to run me over.”
The former TV entertainer chased two men from his Toorak mansion in
bare feet after being awakened before dawn by his distressed teenage
daughter.

Foster children at risk, says the Courier-Mail.
More than 500 children in the care of the state were found to have been
abused or still at risk of harm last year. The Child Safety
Department’s second “performance report,” released
yesterday, showed that 509 children were abused or at risk of harm
while in care away from their home, 350 of them by approved foster
carers.
Another 112 were abused by carers who were relatives.

In Canberra, victims of the 2003 bushfires have an extra three years to sue the
Government after the Legislative Assembly amended legislation that had
prevented them from lodging civil actions after January, reports The Canberra Times. Shadow attorney-general Bill Stefaniak introduced the Bill to extend
the statutory limitation period for bushfire victims, allowing them six
years to begin legal action, rather than three. The ACT Government supported the Bill yesterday, but Chief Minister Jon
Stanhope put forward a unanimously accepted amendment to extend the
Bill’s reach beyond bushfire victims.

They’re killing the Christmas spirit, says The Mercury. A
Salamanca pub owner has slammed the Hobart
City Council over plans to fence off outdoor drinking areas, saying the
draconian measure would kill off a long-standing festive tradition for
Hobart. Pre-Christmas Friday drinks at Salamanca’s Knopwood’s Retreat
have become increasingly popular in recent years with all ages.
But licensee Kate Duffy says council plans to separate Knopwood’s
drinkers from BYO drinkers on Salamanca’s grassy areas – through the
use of security guards and 1.8-metre wire-mesh fencing – will quash
the festive tradition.

“Behave or live in the streets.” That’s today’s lead in theTiser where it’s reported that unruly Housing Trust tenants would be kicked
out of their properties under a “two strikes and you’re out” policy
pledged by the Liberal Party. Opposition housing spokeswoman Isobel Redmond said yesterday if tenants
didn’t have complex needs, such as a mental illness, and were “just
being so-and-so’s they need to pull themselves into line or they won’t
have a roof over their head.”

Who ya gonna call? Toadbusters. News in The West
today is that Aboriginals in the Kimberley are getting welfare money
for catching cane toads. Seventeen people from the Miniata and
Geeboowama communities in the
east Kimberley have already taken part in “toadbusting” trips into the
Northern Territory and another 14 east Kimberley communities will soon
sign up.

With the Falconio trial all wrapped up, the NT News reports that Bradley John Murdoch “had killed before.” It was 25 years ago, while employed at a lead
smelter, that he was blamed for the death of a motorcyclist in a road
smash in South Australia’s so-called Iron Triangle. Then just 21, Murdoch was convicted of causing death by dangerous
driving over the Port Pirie crash, and handed a suspended sentence.

And it’s not exactly a paper, but here’s what an SMS that’s doing the
rounds in Melbourne says: “Can this text spread as well as the race
riot ones did? Nonviolent protest against racist attacks Fri 16th 5pm
Bourke St Mall. Spread this like wildfire.”