Top of the Morning: 5 Polio Workers Killed in Pakistan; Philippines Passes Reproductive Health Bill; Cameroon Court Upholds Conviction of Gay Man

Top stories from the Development and Aid World News Service — DAWNS Digest.

5 Pakistani Polio Workers Assassinated

A series of well coordinated attacks targeted women working to end polio. “Gunmen killed five Pakistani women working on a U.N.-backed polio vaccination campaign in two different cities on Tuesday, officials said. The attacks were likely an attempt by the Taliban to counter an initiative the militant group has opposed. The attacks came a day after an unknown gunman killed a male volunteer for the World Health Organization’s anti-polio campaign in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi.The government is in the middle of a three-day vaccination campaign in the highest risk parts of the country, part of an effort to vaccinate millions of children under the age of five.” (ABC

Philippines Finally Approves Sweeping Reproductive Health Bill

After a very, very long battle between religious conservatives and the president is over. The president has won “The Philippines’ Congress passed on Monday a bill on promoting state-funded contraceptive, underscoring President Benigno Aquino’s influence on the legislature and his defiance of Roman Catholic bishops opposed to the measure. The legislature’s two chambers, dominated by Aquino’s allies, approved by solid margins on third and final reading the reproductive health bill two days before lawmakers adjourn for Christmas holidays. Aquino had certified it as an urgent measure. The legislation requires governments down to village level to provide free or low-cost reproductive health services. The law will not promote abortion, which is illegal.” (AlertNet

Cameroon Court Upholds Conviction of Gay Man

A setback for human rights in Cameroon. “An appeals court in Cameroon has upheld a three-year sentence against a man found guilty of homosexual conduct for sending a text message to another man saying: ‘I’m very much in love with you.’ Activists said the court’s ruling on Monday in Yaoundé, the capital, marked yet another setback for gays and lesbians in the west African country, widely viewed as the most repressive country in the continent when it comes to prosecuting same-sex couples.” (Guardian