Manilla Bay at sunset

Manilla Bay in the Philippines is one place where natural capitol accounting would help. Credit wikimedia

The Philippines made contraception widely available and you’ll never guess what happened next

In 2013 the 12th most populous country in the world passed a hotly debated reproductive health law that vastly expanded access to modern contraception. The result three years later? This: “The Philippines’ annual population growth rate has slowed as more people in the predominantly Roman Catholic country use contraception. Results of the 2015 census show the population grew 1.72 percent last year, down from 1.9 percent during the previous census in 2010, the Commission on Population said. The population of 100.98 million was half a million lower than what was forecast in 2010, the commission’s Executive Director Juan Antonio Perez III said…Its population will reach 103.48 million by the end this year, under calculations using the same growth formula, Perez said. Perez said the use of modern contraceptives has increased, with 45 percent of couples using modern contraceptives as of last year, up from 38 percent recorded by a national survey in 2013.” (ABC

After Massive Flooding, Sri Lanka Seeks Aid...Sri Lanka appealed on Wednesday for foreign aid to recover from massive floods that caused an estimated $2 billion worth of damage and claimed more than 100 lives. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said 35,000 homes were damaged in last week’s floods triggered by the heaviest rain for early 25 years, with the capital Colombo the hardest hit. ‘We are looking at the maximum possible support,’ the minister told reporters, adding, though, that he expected foreign countries would foot about 75 percent of total reconstruction costs. He blamed rampant construction in low-lying parts of Colombo that had been designated as stormwater collection points, as reasons for the flooding which hit about one third of the city’s residents. (AFP

Caught on Camera…Images captured by the Italian navy show a boat of refugees as it capsized. At least 7 people were killed. But 562 were rescued. (BBC

Quote of the Day...“I like daughters,” — President Obama, in Vietnam, in a not-so-subtle nod to the importance of elevating women’s social status in Asian countries. (WaPo )


More than 8 million people in Malawi need food aid as a result of a drought that has decimated crops, the minister of agriculture said on Wednesday. (TRF

Gunmen in Burundi killed three people including a retired army colonel, in continuing violence associated with President Pierre Nkurunziza’s extended time in power. (AP

Rwandan Senators called for renewed efforts to address the problem of brain drain in the public health sector. (New Times

French development agency PROPARCO will provide an 18-year $39.54 million loan to finance the construction and operation of a solar energy plant in Senegal, which it says will be the largest of its kind in West Africa. (Reuters

Kenya’s main opposition coalition said on Wednesday it would suspend its weekly protests against the election commission to give calls for dialogue a chance. (Reuters

Tens of thousands of Robert Mugabe supporters marched in Zimbabwe’s capital on Wednesday in a show of unity as divisions are widening within the president’s party over who might succeed him. (Reuters


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has renewed rejection of a French peace initiative, telling the visiting French prime minister that peace cannot be forged through international conferences but only through direct negotiations. (Al Jazeera

An Egyptian appeals court cancelled five-year prison terms handed to 47 people earlier this month for protesting a government decision to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, judicial sources said. (Reuters

The UN envoy said Wednesday that Yemen’s warring parties were closer to agreement at peace talks in Kuwait as he prepared to brief the Security Council on progress in negotiations. (Yahoo


Japan’s prime minister has met with President Barack Obama — and expressed “profound resentment” about the death of a young Japanese woman on Okinawa and the arrest of a former U.S. Marine. (AP

This summer, the pattern responsible for extensive drought and heat in southeastern Asia will break down enough to bring relief to some nations. Meanwhile, the tropics will spring to life for a time. (AccuWeather

The Americas

Chile will use renewable energy in its metro system from 2018, according to an ambitious plan highlighted by the President of the Republic, Michelle Bachelet. (Prensa Latina

Protesters seeking to drive Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro from office have vowed fresh street rallies on Wednesday and Thursday, a test of their strength in a tense political crisis. (AP

Brazil’s congress early Wednesday approved a deficit spending plan proposed by the interim government of President Michel Temer after 16 hours of debate. (AP

Roughly one million women each year seek abortions to end unwanted pregnancies in Brazil, where abortion is illegal except in cases of rape or incest or if the life of the mother is in danger. Brazil has raided and closed down hundreds of secret abortion clinics across the country over the last decade. Once tolerated, the clinics have become the target of a clampdown which human rights groups say is due to a rising numbers of evangelical Christians in the Brazilian Congress. (Reuters

…and the rest

Refugees and other migrants boarded buses Wednesday on the second day of an operation to evacuate the sprawling, makeshift Idomeni refugee camp on the Greek-Macedonian border. (AP

Leaders of the Group of Seven rich nations plan to voice unity over fighting terrorism, pandemics and tax evasion at their summit in Japan this week. Finding a consensus on how to breathe life into their sluggish economies is proving more elusive. (AP

France’s top security official says authorities have turned away more than 18,000 people at the country’s borders for security reasons since extremist attacks in November. (AP

The World Humanitarian Summit has reinforced the urgent need for people hit by conflict and disasters to receive better help, but the first meeting of its kind may not trigger the changes necessary to fix their plight, aid officials and experts say. (Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday she was not worried about the fate of a migrant pact between the European Union and Turkey, but said more time was needed to overcome differences with Ankara over visa-free travel for Turks. (Reuters


How the Sustainable Development Goals Drove the Conversation at the World Humanitarian Summit (UN Dispatch

Coastal flooding: a sign of the damage our economy is wreaking on our fragile environment (Guardian

Eritreans still denied freedom 25 years after independence (The Conversation

Thoughts on Angelina Jolie and WPS (Carrie Reiling

Everybody talks about “Big Data” – what about “Good Data”? (Innovations for Poverty Action

WHO Aims To Reform Itself But Health Experts Aren’t Yet Impressed (Goats and Soda

World Humanitarian Summit: political breakthrough or fringe festival? (ODI

The IMF has not lived up to its own hype on social protection (Guardian

Kenya’s Refugee “Problem” (Africa is a Country

The importance of partnerships in humanitarian response (Devex