BBC news 2011-10-29

BBC News with David Austin

The International Criminal Court in The Hague says it's had indirect contact with Colonel Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi. He's believed to be interested in surrendering to the ICC. Anna Holligan reports from The Hague.

The chief prosecutor says he doesn't know where Muammar Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam is, but that he's in discussions about a possible surrender. Saif al-Islam was widely seen as the de facto prime minister during the uprising against the Libyan government. The court issued arrest warrants for Saif al-Islam, his father and their chief intelligence officer Abdullah al-Senussi in connection with the violent suppression of opposition protesters. Luis Moreno-Ocampo has also said there may be mercenaries offering Saif al-Islam refuge in countries like Zimbabwe that don't subscribe to the Rome Statute that underpins the ICC.

Human rights groups in Syria say at least 37 civilians were killed on Friday as protesters took to the streets to demand a no-fly zone over the country. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there were protests in Homs and Qamishli, in the north. Jim Muir reports.

Activist organisations said that despite the shooting and a heavy security presence in many areas, there was a marked increase in the number of demonstrations around the country after Friday prayers - their traditional time for protests. They said there were nearly 170 different demonstrations in various places. Most of the deaths were reported in or around the cities of Hama and Homs, to the north of Damascus. Protesters said the dead included an 80-year-old man shot near Homs as well as a young boy near Deraa, in the south.

The leader of the Islamist party that's won Tunisia's first free election, Rachid Ghannouchi, has called on all political groups to work together to write a new democratic constitution. Mr Ghannouchi, speaking in Tunis, promised that women would play a full role in the coalition government that his Ennahda party is hoping to form whether or not they wore a veil.

Ireland's former culture minister, human rights activist and poet - Michael D Higgins - is on course to win Thursday's presidential poll. The president who serves as a ceremonial head of state is elected for a seven-year term. From Dublin, Ruth McDonald.

The first results aren't in yet, but already tallies are showing that Mr Higgins is leading the field. His closest rival has already conceded victory and has called Mr Higgins to offer his congratulations. Michael D Higgins is a published poet, a former university lecturer and a long-serving member of the Irish parliament. He's set to become Ireland's ninth president, coming first out of a record number of seven candidates contesting the election.

A 6.9-magnitude earthquake has struck southern Peru. The quake was centred 50km south of the coastal city of Ica, which was devastated by another earthquake four years ago. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, but the quake could be felt some 300km away.

World News from the BBC

A Moroccan judge has sentenced to death a man found guilty of carrying out an April bomb attack on a tourist cafe in Marrakesh. Seventeen people died in the attack, including eight French nationals. Adil al-Atmani stood accused with eight other alleged accomplices. One was given a life sentence while seven others were sent to prison for up to four years. All denied the charges against them and said their confessions were obtained under threat of torture.

Officials in Mexico say 10 people have been killed in a shoot-out in the western state of Michoacan. The state prosecutor's office said a military patrol came under fire while investigating suspicious activity at a property near the city of Patzcuaro. The soldiers returned fire and killed nine men and one woman.

The British singer-songwriter Adele has cancelled all her remaining tour dates and live appearances for this year to undergo throat surgery. Earlier this month, the 23-year-old Grammy award winner had to pull out of 10 dates in the US. Here's Colin Patterson.

Adele suffered a haemorrhage on the vocal cords in May, and it never properly healed. Now she's been ordered by doctors to cancel all her remaining live dates and promotional appearances for the rest of the year. Adele will now undergo surgery and a full recovery is expected. All this comes in a week while she returned to the US albums chart No. 1 spot for a 13th week, the most by any album since the soundtrack to Titanic.

The world-famous Bolshoi Theatre has reopened in Moscow following a costly six-year restoration project to recapture the magnificence of the venue in Tsarist times. In the opening performance, stars of opera and ballet appeared before President Medvedev and an invited audience.

And those are the latest stories from BBC News.