Saudi gang rape sentence 'unjust'
Women in Saudi Arabia (file pic)
Saudi women are subject to strict sex segregation laws
A lawyer for a gang-rape victim in Saudi Arabia who was sentenced to 200 lashes and six-months in jail says the punishment contravenes Islamic law. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7098480.stm
Madagascar death penalty defended
Madagascar's justice minister has personally defended the death penalty after a UN draft resolution called for member countries to end the practice.
Her comments also come several days after 12 people were sentenced to death for murder and rebellion on the island.
The case centred on a deadly land dispute in which a village revolted against attempts to evict residents.
Correspondents say no executions have been carried out in Madagascar since independence in 1960.
Justice Minister Bakolalao Ramanandraibe told the BBC that her views on the death penalty were personal and should not be taken as the Indian Ocean island's official line.
She added that she was not prepared to comment on the land dispute case which saw 12 death sentences being handed down on Wednesday.
The BBC's Jonny Hogg in the capital, Antananarivo, says in total 92 people were charged in the case.
Besides the death sentences, some were jailed for five years, others were sentenced to hard labour, he says.
The dispute began five years ago when a businessman bought the land around Analovary village, 90km west of the capital, for a tourist development.
In August 2006, police from the capital were dispatched to the village to remove the residents but were met with fierce resistance.
The villagers rose up en masse and two policemen were stoned to death and a villager was shot dead in violence.
The villagers claim they had been living on the land for generations.
The court upheld the prosecution's view that their actions constituted both murder and rebellion. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7098253.stm
IPCC to warn of 'abrupt' warming
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website, Valencia
Drought-hit river bed (Getty Images)
The IPCC says more heatwaves are very likely in the future
Climate change may bring "abrupt and irreversible" impacts, the UN's climate advisory panel is set to announce.
Delegates to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) agreed a summary of its landmark report during negotiations here.
Discussions were said to have been robust, with the US and other delegations keen to moderate language.
The summary will be officially launched by UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon on Saturday.
It brings together elements of the three reports that the Nobel Prize-winning IPCC has already released this year, on the science of climate change, impacts and adaptation, and options for mitigating the problem.
Among its top-line conclusions are that climate change is "unequivocal", that humankind's emissions of greenhouse gases are more than 90% likely to be the main cause, and that impacts can be reduced at reasonable cost.
Probable temperature rise between 1.8C and 4C
Possible temperature rise between 1.1C and 6.4C
Sea level most likely to rise by 28-43cm
Arctic summer sea ice disappears in second half of century
Increase in heatwaves very likely
Increase in tropical storm intensity likely
Climate change: The evidence
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The synthesis summary being discussed here in Valencia strengthens the language of those earlier reports with a warning that climate change may bring "abrupt and irreversible" impacts.
Such impacts could include the fast melting of glaciers and species extinctions.
"Climate change is here, it's impacting our lives and our economies, and we need to do something about it," commented Hans Verolme, director of the climate change programme with the environmental group WWF.
"After this report, there are no politicians left who can argue they don't know what climate change is or they don't know what to do about it."
At a news conference, WWF presented testimonies from "climate change witnesses" in various parts of the world.
Speaking by video link, Australian scientists and fishermen spoke of the changes they were seeing on the Great Barrier Reef. And Olav Mathis Eira, a Sami reindeer herder from Norway, said that his communities are seeing weather patterns unprecedented in their oral history.
"Winter is one and a half months later than it used to be," he said. "We observed birds and insects that do not have a name in Sami."
The 20-page IPCC synthesis summary is due to be accompanied by a longer, more detailed document, following discussions here.
The findings will feed into the next round of negotiations on the UN climate convention and Kyoto Protocol, which open in Bali on 3 December. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7098902.stm