Top stories from DAWNS Digest.

Tunisian Government Dissolves Following Assassination of Opposition Leader

This is a very tumultuous time in Tunisia. “Tunisia’s ruling Islamists dissolved the government on Wednesday and promised rapid elections in a bid to calm the biggest street protests since the revolution two years ago, sparked by the killing of an opposition leader. The prime minister’s announcement that an interim cabinet of technocrats would replace his Islamist-led coalition came at the end of a day which had begun with the gunning down of Chokri Belaid, a left-wing lawyer with a modest political following but who spoke for many who fear religious radicals are stifling freedoms won in the first of the Arab Spring uprisings. During the day, protesters battled police in the streets of the capital and other cities, including Sidi Bouzid, the birthplace of the Jasmine Revolution that toppled Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011.” (Reuters http://reut.rs/11MwSyV)

Global Health Funding Slows

The invaluable IHME releases a new report on global health funding. “Development assistance for health increased 2.5 percent to $28.1 billion last year after expanding at an average pace of 11 percent a year from 2001 to 2010, according to a report today by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, a research unit at the University of Washington in Seattle. Increased spending by the GAVI Alliance, a funder of vaccines backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the United Nations Children’s Fund, or Unicef, made up for lower contributions from the U.S., France and Germany last year, the institute said. ‘There were predictions that the sky was going to fall on global health funding, but that didn’t happen,’ Christopher Murray, the institute’s director, said in a statement. Still, ‘projections for further cutbacks in development assistance do not augur well for a return to the rapid growth that punctuated the 2001 to 2010 era,’ according to the report. (Bloomberg http://buswk.co/11MBdC9)

And for the full report:  http://bit.ly/11MBsNy

FGM on the Decline Worldwide

Yesterday was the International Day for Zero Tolerance on Female Genital Mutilation…and there was some good news to report. “Fewer girls are subjected to the life-threatening practice of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) according to new data from the United Nations, released on the International Day of Zero Tolerance of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting. The data shows that FGM/C is becoming less prevalent overall and the younger generation is less vulnerable to the practice. In the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East, where the practice of FGM/C is concentrated, on average, 36 per cent of girls aged 15-19 have been cut compared to an estimated 53 per cent of women aged 45-49. The decline is particularly sharp in some countries: in Kenya, for example, women aged 45-49 are three times more likely to have been cut than girls aged 15-19.” (UNICEF http://uni.cf/11MCGIO)