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Indian protesters shout slogans during a protest against the death sentence of convicted bomb plotter Yakub Memon, a key plotter of the bomb attacks which killed hundreds in Mumbai in 1993, in New Delhi on July 27, 2015. India's top court on July 21, 2015 rejected a final appeal by Memon, a key plotter of bomb attacks that killed hundreds in Mumbai in 1993, paving the way for his execution. AFP PHOTO / MONEY SHARMA (Photo credit should read MONEY SHARMA/AFP/Getty Images)

By Jeffrey Howard, University of Essex The execution, by hanging, of Yakub Memon for his part in the 1993 Mumbai bombings invites us to revisit the vexed issue of capital punishment. Few topics incite such moral passion and controversy. The world’s religious communities are divided on the death penalty. Despite a seemingly unambiguous commitment to non-violence (or “Ahimsa”) in both Hinduism and Buddhism, scholars within those traditions continue to debate the permissibility of lethal punishment. The Old Testament enjoins us to take an “eye for an eye” – the principle of lex talionis – while the New Testament exhorts us

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Someone knit this young man a nice woolly hat. HBO By Alex Farnsworth, University of Bristol and Emma Stone, University of Bristol The climate has been a persistent theme of Game of Thrones ever since Ned Stark (remember him?) told us “winter is coming” back at the start of season one. The Warden of the North was referring, of course, to the anticipated shift in Westerosi weather from a long summer to a brutal winter that can last for many years. An unusual or changing climate is a big deal. George R R Martin’s world bears many similarities to Medieval

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India gate in the capital city of India on a summer day. Photograph by newdelhi2012.blogspot.co.uk By Liz Hanna, Australian National University India is currently in the throes of yet another extreme heat event, with the death toll rising past 1,100. The current heatwave began on May 21, and is forecast to continue until May 30, with temperatures in many regions exceeding 45C, and reaching 47.6C and beyond. Delhi has now endured seven consecutive days over 44C, the worst extreme heat event recorded in a decade, according to the India Meteorological Department. Even in the mountain town of Mussoorie close to

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European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg, France. Photograph courtesy: UNHCR By Marie-Bénédicte Dembour, University of Brighton As the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean continues, the public outcry against deaths at sea has forced the European Union (EU) into response mode. EU officials and member states have promised to do something about the situation. Alongside discussions about resettlement agreements, there are proposals to destroy the boats used by migrant smugglers before they can leave Libya. But this highly controversial use of force would be problematic and counterproductive on a number of levels. One of its many problems is that the destruction

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By Ivan Haigh, University of Southampton and Shari L. Gallop, University of Southampton Coastal floods are a major global hazard. In 2008, Cyclone Nargis generated a five-metre storm surge along the coast of southern Myanmar. This swept seawater 50km inland, killing a staggering 130,000 people. In 2013, Typoon Haiyan swept across the central Philippines, killing 8,000 people and destroying a million homes, with much of the damage due to high sea levels. The past decade witnessed two of the most costly natural disasters in US history: Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Sandy in 2012. Coastal flooding from these two events

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Group take. Children by Shutterstock   By Jonathan Bradshaw, University of York Children in European countries tend to report higher levels of satisfaction with their friendships while children in African countries tend to be happier with their school lives. These are just some of the findings of the Children’s Worlds study into child well-being, based on interviews with more than 50,000 children aged eight, ten and 12, in 15 countries. The study asked children in representative samples of schools in Algeria, Colombia, Estonia, Ethiopia, Germany, Israel, Nepal, Norway, Poland, Romania, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Turkey and England about key

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Britain’s labour leader, Ed Miliband (C) is greeted by supporters as he arrives to Labour Party headquarters in London, Britain, 08 May 2015. Miliband had earlier said his party had suffered a ‘difficult and disappointing night’, as the rival Conservatives won a resounding victory that gave it a likely parliamentary majority. EPA/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA By Steven Fielding, University of Nottingham If victors get to define the reasons for their victory, then losers just get told why they’ve lost. Within hours – minutes even – of the announcement of the shock BBC exit poll at 10pm on May 7, Ed Miliband was

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