BBC news with Marion Marshall
President Obama has asked his Vice President Joe Biden to come up with concrete proposals for curbing gun violence by next month, following the mass shooting at a school in Connecticut. Mr. Obama said he would use all the powers of his office to tackle the problem, but would also need the support of the American people. From Washington, Paul Adams.
Barack Obama seems to be a man in a hurry. He has asked Joe Biden to report back in a matter of weeks on gun control. The president indicated that proposals might include banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as a more wide-reaching system of background checks. But he also emphasized other aspects of a complex problem, saying that access to mental healthcare should be at least as easy as access to a gun, and that the country is a whole needed to look at a culture, which he said, all too often glorified violence.
South Korea has elected its first female president. She's the conservative governing party's candidate, Park Geun-hye, whose father ruled the country for 18 years after seizing power in a coup. Ms. Park's liberal rival, Moon Jae-in, admitted defeat after a closely-fought contest. Addressing supporters, Park Geun-hye spoke of a new era of national happiness. A victory means both North and South Korea would be led by the children of former military rulers.
There has been strong condemnation at the United Nations after Israel approved the construction of a new Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem. Representatives from all U.N. Security Council members, except the United States, criticized Israel's plans, saying they threatened a two states solution. The U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also condemned the plans, saying they threatened the peace process.
When I heard this announcement, I said that this is a neo-fatal blow to very fragile Middle East peace process. This is clearly the violation of international law, and it is a violation of the Quartet guidelines, and it is obstructing the Middle East peace process.
A polio vaccination program in Pakistan has been suspended, after two more health workers were shot dead. A total of eight people helping to immunize Pakistani children against the crippling disease have been killed since the United Nations began a three-day vaccination drive. Aleem Maqbool reports from Islamabad.
Women health workers fearing more attacks staged a demonstration in Karachi, saying they couldn't work unless they were given protection. But the vaccination drive has been suspended. For years, the Pakistani Talibans spread rumors the polio campaign was a Western plot to harm people here. The Pakistani authorities need to come up with new strategies to catch those carrying out the attacks, to offer health workers security and to change the mindset of those putting their own children at risk of a debilitating disease.
World news from the BBC
United States army has said it will seek the death penalty for a soldier accused of killing 16 villagers in Afghanistan. Staff Sergeant Robert Bales is accused of gunning down civilians, including nine children in March. The date for his court martial hasn't yet been set. The shootings in two villages in southern Afghanistan provoked angry protests. No U.S. service member has been executed in more than 50 years.
The National Assembly in Senegal has adopted a long-awaited law, creating a special tribunal to try the former Chadian leader, Hissene Habre. He's been under house arrest in Senegal where he fled after being deposed. He denies charges of killing and torturing tens of thousands of his opponents.
The famous La Scala Opera House in the Italian city of Milan has canceled the start of its ballet season because of the strike by members of the chorals. As Alan Johnston reports, the singers had demanded more money after being assigned new duties.
Normally, the chorals performs offstage and sing. But for the particular ballet, the director had wanted some of its members on the stage. And given that they are being full view of the audience, they need to be moving their heads to the rhythm of the music. The chorals said that all these could be done but only at a price, but La Scala’s management said it just couldn’t cope with the extra cost and so the grand opening of Romeo and Juliet is off.
Romania's incoming Prime Minister Victor Ponta has announced that he and President Traian Basescu have agreed to end a long-running feud, in order to reassure the markets. Mr. Ponta's governing coalition attempted to remove President Traian Basescu from office earlier this year. Both men also agreed to stop comparing each other to animals. Mr. Ponta has called the president a pig and a scorpion and been called a kitten and a small monkey in return.