Bite-sized briefing: World

The Iraqi election will not be held in January, as the country's constitution requires. Vice-President Tariq al-Hashemi, a Sunni Arab, has indicated he will oppose a draft of the election bill agreed on 23 November that would allocate more seats to Kurds and fewer to Sunnis.

The US agreed to set a target for reducing emissions before December's UN climate summit. A drop from 2005 levels of about 17-20 per cent by 2020 is expected - smaller than the EU's pledge, and less than developing countries are demanding. Barack Obama, and the Chinese and Indian leaders are yet to commit to attending the summit.

Two southern Philippine provinces declared a state of emergency after more than 50 people were killed in pre-election violence. The victims had been travelling to file nomination papers for next May's elections. Poll-related violence is relatively common, but this is one of the worst cases in recent years.

Irish public workers went on strike ahead of the 9 December budget. The government plans to cut the public-sector pay bill by €1.3bn to reduce the country's deficit. Nurses, teachers and other employees say they cannot take any more wage cuts after this year's emergency budget.

Deaths from HIV have dropped by 10 per cent in the past five years, report the World Health Organisation and UNAIDS. The number of new infections has also fallen significantly - by 17 per cent in the past eight years - but 33.4 million people worldwide are still infected with HIV.

Nearly half of all Tajik women are physically and sexually abused by their families, says Amnesty International. Violence against women is widespread in central Asia, where most societies are patriarchal. Amnesty has called for laws and support services to tackle domestic violence.

The war crimes trial of the Cambodian prison chief known as Comrade Duch came to a close. Prosecutors demanded a 40-year sentence for Kaing Guek Eav's part in the deaths of 15,000 Cambodians.

Spanish police arrested at least 36 people in an operation targeting a banned youth group, Segi, linked to the separatists Eta. Documents seized earlier this year indicated that the group was seeking to enlist new followers.

Jordan's parliament has been dissolved by King Abdullah (right) halfway through its four-year term. No reason was given in the royal edict, but the lower house had been accused of handling legislation ineptly. This is the second time King Abdullah has dissolved parliament since he acceded to the throne in 1999.

Two alleged warlords from Congo went on trial at The Hague. Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui are accused of directing an attack on a village in 2003 in which more than 200 people were killed. They face charges of ordering attacks on civilians, rape, and enlisting child soldiers. Both deny the charges.

At least four out of five children in orphanages have a living parent, Save the Children reports. Poverty is usually the reason children end up in institutions, which can be very lucrative for those who run them. Many "orphans" face rape, trafficking and beatings. About eight million children worldwide are known to live in orphanages.

Germany is drawing up an "integration contract" requiring immigrants to learn German and uphold values such as freedom of speech and sexual equality. About 15 million immigrants live there, in a population of 82 million.

China and North Korea pledged to strengthen their long-standing military alliance. But analysts note China seems increasingly willing to support talks with North Korea's neighbours and the US over ending Pyongyang's nuclear programme.

Operations against Hutu rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo have failed, experts report. The UN and Congolese troops have failed to halt the illegal mineral trade, inflaming the humanitarian crisis.