BBC news 2013-12-13

BBC News with Jonathan Izard.

The Bangladeshi Islamist opposition leader Abdul Kader Mullah has been executed at Dhaka central prison. He was hanged hours after an appeal against his death sentence for crimes against humanity during the 1971 war of independence was rejected by the Supreme Court. Anbarasan Ethirajan explains why Mullah was condemned to death. “He was accused of carrying out mass murder and rape in the suburbs of Dhaka in the 1971 war when Bangladesh was trying to get off from Pakistan. At that time, the Jamaat-e-Islami opposed to the independence of Bangladesh because it said going away from Pakistan will not do any good to Muslim, said only to strengthen India. So this tribunal was set up in 2010 by the present government headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. It was one of thee election pledges that they will try all those Bangladeshis are accused of carrying out atrocities.” Abdul Kader Mullah's son said his father had told him he was proud to be a martyr for the Islamic cause.

The Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said that he guarantees an independence referendum announced by the northeast region of Catalonia will not happen because it would be unconstitutional. Speaking at a news conference, Mr. Rajoy said that any discussion or debate about staging the vote was out of the question. The Catalan government has set a date for a referendum in November next year. It said voters will be asked two questions. Should Catalonia be a state? And should that state be independent? Under the Spanish constitution, a referendum can only be called by the national government.

The South African government has denied the controversial sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial service has caused a security risk or that the affair was an embarrassment for the government. A Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu blamed the company that provided the interpreter for the incident. “We've managed to get hold of them and then we spoke to them wanting some answers and they vanished into the air because it's a clear indication that over the years they have managed to get away with this. And it looks like they have been cheating all along.” There has been no comment from the company, but the interpreter said he had a Schizophrenic episode and had been violent in the past.

The Mexican Congress has approved controversial legislation that opens the state-controlled oil sector to foreign investment. The new energy law allows private companies to drill for oil and gas with the state-run firm Pemex in exchange for a share of the profits. Our Mexico correspondent Will Grant has more. “After more than 24-hours it has been passed, the time's violent debate in Congress, the biggest reform of Mexico's energy industry in 75 years has been approved by the country's deputies. The move which required a constitutional reform opens the state-run energy sector to private investment. It is a deeply controversial move as Mexico state ownership of its natural resources has been enshrined in its constitutions since the late 1930s.” Will Grand.

World News from the BBC

Security officials in Egypt say one policeman has been killed and more than 35 others wounded in a car bomb attack on a base in the east of the country. The bomb was detonated outside a camp in Ismailia by the Suez Canal. There were reports of intense gunfire following the blast.

Officials in Yemen say that at least 13 people have been killed in what’s believed to have been a US zone strike. The victims were travelling to a wedding in the city of Radda, south of the capital Sanaa. The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has signed a peace deal with the M23 rebels. A government spokesman said the rebels had signed a declaration confirming the end of its rebellion. The government in Kinshasa has signed a separate document agreeing to reintegrate rebels into the army and giving an amnesty to all except they are accused of war crimes. The rebel surrendered last month after an offensive by the Congolese military.

American scientists say the weather is a key contributing factor to the size of the hole in the Earth's protective ozone layer. The findings were presented at a meeting of experts in San Francisco, from where Rebecca Morelle reports. “Ozone damaging substances, such as CFCs, began to be phased out 20 years ago. Since then, the hole in the ozone layer stopped getting bigger. However, there haven't yet been signs of a full recovery and damaging UV rays from the Sun are still streaming through. Now, scientists from NASA believe that the weather also plays a key role. Satellite images show that fluctuating air temperatures and winds change the amount of ozone that sits above Antarctica. This means the size of the ozone hole changes year on year.

A newlywed bride accused of pushing her husband of eight days of a cliff in America's Montana National Park has agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder. Prosecutors alleged that 22-year-old Jordan Graham was having second thoughts about her marriage to Cody Johnson, who was 25, and intentionally pushed him into his death. Mr. Johnson was reported missing in July.

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