Seven Saudi men convicted of theft have been beheaded, more than a week after rights group appealed to the king for clemency.
Japan has carried out three executions since its new prime minister was elected – a sign Tokyo will defy pressure to abolish executions.
Amnesty International says it fears Zimbabwe will resume executions after prison officials were quoted saying they have found a new hangman.
A South African woman who is due to be executed by China for drug smuggling is apparently unaware of her fate, as is the practice of the state.
As a teenager, Babul Miah was sent to prison for a murder he says he never committed but the promise of an early release turned him into a hangman.
China, Iran, North Korea, Yemen and the United States carried out the most executions last year.
Iran has hanged almost 50 people during the past three weeks, according to human rights groups.
A human rights group said on Wednesday that China retained its position as the world's top executioner in 2008.
A Khartoum court condemned four Islamists to death on Wednesday for the 2008 killing of a US diplomat and his Sudanese driver.
A US Army master sergeant convicted of murder in the 2007 killings of four bound and blindfolded Iraqis will be sentenced on Thursday.
Kenyan police are a law unto themselves and often execute criminal suspects and other individuals with impunity, a UN expert said on Wednesday.
Officials in Texas have defied the International Court of Justice to affirm the scheduled execution on Tuesday of a Mexican national.
The management at an Italian funfair has withdrawn an attraction allowing visitors to watch a dummy suffer a grisly execution in an electric chair.
Several productions at this year's National Arts Festival explore the dramatic potential of the time-space between crime and punishment.
Predictably, half of our most popular stories in the past week were about the hanging of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.