July 17, 2011
1. China In Pingyao, a 2,700-year-old city in Shanxi Province, history is a thing of the present. Within the last two years, a luxury hotel, a culinary tour and nearby high-speed rail access have added modern comforts to its traditional charm. An important financial center during the Qing Dynasty, Pingyao has long been known in China for its historic banks, courtyard homes and Ming Dynasty city wall. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. The city joined the luxury tourism circuit in 2009 with the opening of Jing's Residence, an 18-room, Relais & Chateaux-listed boutique hotel in the former home of a Qing Dynasty silk merchant.
July 12, 2011 |
Facing increased scrutiny at home and a war crimes indictment abroad, Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir stood before his National Assembly on Tuesday and promised a freer, more inclusive government. Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court in connection with massacres in Darfur, spoke just days after attending ceremonies marking South Sudan's independence from his own Khartoum-based government. Sudan is entering a "second republic" comprising mainly Muslim Arabs, and people will be able to vote on a new constitution crafted with widespread participation, he said.
July 11, 2011 |
On the day after independence in South Sudan, the modest clock tower in downtown Juba read "Free at Last," and the dirt roadsides were littered with countless paper flags bearing the colors of the new republic. Most of the dignitaries in town for Saturday's big ceremony had flown home, and streets that had been jammed for days — bristling with checkpoints and the machine guns of security forces — were easier to navigate. But the city was far from quiet Sunday, the second official day of South Sudan's sovereign existence, as celebrations continued.
July 10, 2011 |
The countdown clock ran out, the flag ascended over the fledgling capital and a new nation born from Africa's longest civil war and the deaths of 2 million people joined the world. The mood in Juba was euphoric Saturday as the Republic of South Sudan formally declared its independence from the north, its bitter antagonist for generations. For the day, at least, a people weary of conflict were willing to ignore that their nation came into being as one the world's most troubled states.
July 8, 2011 |
Expect the world to change overnight. Africa's battle-scarred South Sudan on Saturday is poised to become the newest country on Earth despite renewed attacks launched by Sudan last week as independence day approached. In case you don't know where South Sudan is, the British newspaper the Guardian has created a brilliant downloadable, printable color map featuring the newest country, which is sandwiched between the Central African Republic and Ethiopia in northern Africa.
June 30, 2011 |
His nation on the verge of shrinking, and trouble unfolding in every direction, Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir is playing warrior and diplomat in efforts to keep his supporters loyal and his economy from collapsing under huge debt. Bashir's northern troops unleashed weeks of bloodshed and remain massed in the Abyei oil region near the soon-to-be independent southern Sudan. His soldiers further stunned the international community when they swept into nearby South Kordofan state and the Nuba Mountains to attack tribesmen accused of fomenting insurrection.
June 28, 2011 |
Sudan's President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir showed up 24 hours late Tuesday for a meeting with his most important ally, an embarrassing example of what might happen when you host a head of state who is also an alleged war criminal. Bashir missed a summit meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao scheduled for Monday, and offered as a belated explanation that his plane had to turn around because it did not have permission to fly over Turkmenistan. He was en route from Iran, where he attended an anti-terrorism conference.
June 21, 2011 |
Leaders of northern and southern Sudan agreed Monday to demilitarize the disputed border region of Abyei after an incursion by northern forces, which still occupy the region. The two sides signed a pact in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, where former South African President Thabo Mbeki acted as a mediator. He told reporters that Ethiopian peacekeepers would be dispatched under the U.N. flag to patrol the oil-rich area. The exact number will be decided at a U.N. meeting in New York, he said.
June 13, 2011 |
Fears of another civil war are playing out in Sudan as troops led by President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir have overrun towns and attacked tribesmen loyal to the south around a contested border region of oil reserves and well-armed militias. Bloodshed and streams of refugees are a dangerous prelude to July 9, when southern Sudan, after decades of conflict that left more than 2 million dead, gains independence. The south will inherit the bulk of the nation's oil supplies and the incursions by northern forces appear to be part of Bashir's strategy to press the south for last-minute concessions.
June 4, 2011
On Jan. 9, after a half-century of violence and strife, the people of southern Sudan voted overwhelmingly to secede from the north. In the joyous aftermath of the historic referendum, formal independence was set for July 9, when, for the first time in nearly 20 years, a new, sovereign, self-governing African nation is scheduled to come into being. Secession makes sense. The two regions, north and south, had been shoehorned into one nation by the British in 1956 despite their glaring linguistic, cultural, racial and historical contradictions — a colonial mismatch that led to one of the longest civil wars in Africa.