Top stories from DAWNS Digest.

Child Malaria Deaths Decline by 50%   

Yet more good news on the global health front. “Between 2000 and 2012, malaria deaths among under-fives fell by 51%, says the 2013 world malaria report, published on Wednesday. Across all age groups, global deaths fell by an estimated 45%. If the trend continues, deaths will fall by 63% for children under five and by 56% for all ages by 2015, big steps towards meeting global targets to reduce malaria cases and mortality rates. The report estimates that 3.3m malaria deaths have been averted since 2001, more than two-thirds in the 10 countries with the highest number of malaria cases in 2000. About 3m of those deaths would have been among children under five living in sub-Saharan Africa. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1dqiWNA)

 India Court Reverses Old Ruling and Renews Gay Sex Ban

A setback for human rights in the second most populous country in the world. “The Supreme Court reversed a four year old decision by the nation’s High Court that decriminalized consensual same-sex activity between adults. Amnesty International India described the news as a “black day for freedom in India.”…The law, known as Section 377, dates back to colonial era rule in India. “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished,” reads the law. It goes on to outline a punishment that can extend as long as life in prison.  (Humanosphere http://bit.ly/1dqkvLi)

The Plague Strikes Madagascar

Bubonic plague has killed 20 villagers in Madagascar in one of the worst outbreaks globally in recent years. Pasteur Institute of Madagascar revealed on Tuesday that tests taken from bodies in the village last week showed that they had died of bubonic plague. The institute added it was concerned the disease could spread to towns and cities where living standards have declined since a coup in 2009. The deaths are doubly concerning because the outbreak occurred both outside the island’s normal plague season, which runs from July to October, and apparently at a far lower elevation than usual – suggesting it might be spreading. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1gpvZnp)

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