Top of the Morning: Zimbabwe’s new constitution; Philippines back-track on contraception; UN in Syria

Zimbabwe Overwhelming Votes for New Constitution

The draft constitution that was supported by both major parties passed with nearly 95% of the vote, though only just over half of all eligible Zimbabweans turned out to vote. “Some observers have expressed their concern on whether there is enough time to synchronise the existing laws with the new constitution in time for elections. McDonald Lewanika, an observer from the Crisis Coalition, said that it is ‘almost certain’ that elections would be held this year, but said that it was unlikely that all the constitutional changes would be implemented in time for the elections.” (Al Jazeera

Philippine Court Freezes Disputed Contraceptive Law

It took years to pass a law that would provide free contraceptives to the poor in the Philippines, and now people will have to wait another 120 days. The Philippine Supreme Court overwhelmingly ruled for the delay giving opponents to the law time to make their case against the law on June 18th. “Opponents, principally Catholic organizations, have argued that the bill promotes a culture of promiscuity that offends the country’s values and would lead to abortion, which remains illegal in the Philippines.” (NYTimes

UN defends aid work in Syria – Humanitarian appeal only 20% funded

The United Nations defended its humanitarian work in Syria on Monday, saying it deals with all parties in a “neutral and transparent manner” and offers assistance to all those affected by the conflict.
Radhouane Nouicer, the regional coordinator for the UN’S OCHA humanitarian affairs office, said the organisation was working under tough conditions and repeated a call for additional funding.
But he brushed off allegations that the body has delivered little aid to rebel-held areas, focusing its work in regions still under regime control. He said just over 20 percent of the $519 million dollars the UN was seeking to fund its work had been pledged so far.
“It is difficult to apply an assistance programme with this modest sum,” he said, warning “the resources are minimal and the needs are enormous.”
“The international community accords more importance to the political and military side than to resources intended for humanitarian aid,” he added. (ReliefWeb

Photo credit: Asian Media UN monitors in Baba Amr – Homs