Month in review:
Pakistan's upper house of parliament backs a bill (Niswan bill) to amend an Islamic law on rape and adultery on November 23. Under the Islamic law known as the Hudood Ordinance a woman who claims she has been raped is required to produce four witnesses, making it virtually impossible to prosecute rape. Under the new law, later approved by President Pervez Musharraf, rape will be tried by civil courts and will allow DNA and other scientific evidence to be used in prosecution. Islamist MPs boycott a lower house vote in protest at the bill.
Rwanda recalls its ambassador to France on November 24 in a row over arrest warrants issued by a French judge for President Paul Kagame. Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere wants President Kagame and nine aides to face a UN tribunal for their alleged role in the killing of former President Juvenal Habyarimana. Habyarimana's plane was shot down in 1994. It sparked the Rwandan genocide in which 800,000 people were killed. Kagame accuses Hutu extremists of killing the former president and says France was complicit in the genocide.
The UN Security Council agrees on November 23 to investigate the assassination of Lebanese industry minister, Pierre Gemayel. Gemayel was shot in his car on November 21, a day before Lebanon's Independence Day. Many people in Lebanon accuse Syria of being behind the killing although Syria strongly denies the accusations. The same commission looking into the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri will take on the case.
The Dutch government wants to impose a complete ban on wearing Muslim niqabs and burqas in public. Last December the Dutch parliament voted in favour of criminalizing the face coverings, saying it was a security measure. Dutch Muslim groups fear the ban could alienate Muslim women. About 50 women in the Netherlands are estimated to wear the niqab or the burqa.
Iraq's health minister estimates 150,000 civilians have been killed in the war, about three times more than previously thought. Previous reports have put the death toll at between 45,000-and 50,000. In October, British medical journal, The Lancet, published a controversial study claiming nearly 655,000 Iraqis had been killed. No official count has ever been available.
A high level probe into the killing of pro-democracy demonstrators in Nepal blames the country's monarch King Gyanendra on November 20. The panel also names top officials from the ousted royal regime. At least 21 people were killed and thousands others injured when security forces clashed with protesters in April. The protests forced the king to end his direct rule and reinstate parliament. Under Nepal's present constitution the monarch cannot be punished.
Joseph Kabila is declared winner of the Democratic Republic of Congo's presidential election run-off on November 27. Kabila wins with just over 58 percent of the vote to almost 41.9 percent for his rival, Jean-Pierre Bemba. Poll officials reject claims of fraud by Bemba's supporters. International monitors say, despite some disruption in the northeast of the country, the vote was well run.