Done deal: Paris climate pact to enter into force
A hard-fought climate rescue pact concluded last December in the French capital will enter into legal force next month, earlier than expected, after record-fast country ratifications hailed by observers.
The Paris Agreement to curb planet-warming greenhouse gases from burning coal, oil and gas, had required ratification from 55 countries responsible for 55 per cent of emissions.
It was pushed over this threshold, the UN said, when the European Union, which signed as an individual party, and seven of its member states added their official sanction to the deal on Wednesday.
US President Barack Obama called the ratification a "historic day" in the fight against climate change.
Portugal's Antonio Guterres poised to be next UN secretary-general
Portugal’s former prime minister Antonio Guterres is poised to become the next secretary-general of the United Nations following a decisive vote by the Security Council.
Guterres, who led the UN’s refugee agency for a decade, won backing in the straw poll from 13 of the 15 council members while none of the five veto-holding powers blocked his candidacy.
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin emerged from the council chamber along with the 14 other ambassadors to declare that Guterres was on course to succeed Ban Ki-moon as the world’s diplomat-in-chief. “We have a clear favourite and his name is Antonio Guterres,” he said.
Indonesian faces 20 years in 'poison coffee' murder
Indonesian prosecutors demanded that a woman accused of murdering her friend by slipping cyanide into her coffee spend 20 years behind bars for the high-profile case.
Jessica Kumala Wongso, an Australian permanent resident, denies the premeditated murder of college friend Wayan Mirna Salihin, who collapsed and died after drinking the coffee at an upmarket Jakarta cafe in January.
Prosecutor Melanie Wuwung said the 27-year-old design graduate was determined to kill Salihin and had carried out her plan "meticulously".
Human lifespan has a 125-year 'ceiling' - study
No one might ever challenge the 122-year record of the longest-living person in documented history, said a study on Wednesday that claimed to have found a "ceiling" to maximum human lifespan.
Sifting through demographic data from more than 40 countries around the world, New York-based researchers found that an end to the long-running rise in maximum lifespan "has already been attained", in the 1990s.
The plateau was reached in about 1997 - the year that Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment died at the unbeaten age of 122 years and 164 days. "The trend since then has been for the oldest person in the world to be around 115 years old."
Thriller songwriter Rod Temperton dies aged 66
The British songwriter behind Michael Jackson's icon hit Thriller, Rod Temperton, has died at the age of 66, his music publisher announced.
Jon Platt, chairman and chief executive of Warner/Chappell, said Temperton died last week following a "brief aggressive battle with cancer".
"His family is devastated and request total privacy at this, the saddest of sad times," Platt said in a statement. A private funeral has already been held.