Sudan and South Sudan signed an agreement Friday to soon withdraw their respective military forces from a demilitarized zone between the two African countries, officials from both nations said.
Signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the deal was brokered by former South African President Thabo Mbeki. Defense ministers from both Sudan and South Sudan promised they'd implement the agreement later this month.FULL STORY
Sudan remained defiant and angry Thursday after a fatal late-night bombing of a weapons factory in that east African country - a sophisticated attack a Sudanese official continued to blame on Israel.
"This cowardly act makes Sudan now a confrontation state," said the government's information minister, Ahmed Bilal Osman.
Israel has declined comment on that attack, including Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Two people were killed when warplanes struck the weapons factory around midnight Tuesday, according to Osman.
Sudan says Israel bombed a weapons factory overnight, killing two people.
Sudanese officials originally said the explosion took place inside the facility near a residential area in southern Khartoum. But by afternoon, officials announced that the blast came after four airplanes flew overhead. A resident told CNN he saw two planes and a flash of light coming from them, followed by the sounds of rockets being fired.
Editor's note: Several protests stemming at least in part from an anti-Islam film produced in the United States are unfolding outside U.S. embassies around the world. Friday's protests follow ones Tuesday at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, where attacks killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.
In Tunisia, protesters have scaled a U.S. Embassy gate and set fire to cars on the property, a journalist there says. In Egypt, the influential Muslim Brotherhood canceled nationwide protests planned for Friday, but a running battle between police and protesters in Cairo continued into its fourth day.
Follow the live blog below for all of the developments around the world.
[Updated at 3:04 p.m. ET] A ceremony at Maryland's Joint Base Andrews for the returned bodies of the four Americans killed at the Benghazi consulate has ended, and the caskets are being carried to hearses. See the 2:59 and 2:51 p.m. entries for remarks by President Barack Obama, who said the four laid down their lives "in service to us all."
[Updated at 2:59 p.m. ET] President Barack Obama, at a ceremony at Maryland's Joint Base Andrews for the returned bodies of the four Americans killed at the Benghazi consulate, added:
"The United States of America will never retreat from the world. We will never stop working for the dignity and freedom that every (person) deserves. ... That’s the essence of American leadership. ... That was their work in Benghazi, and that is the work we will carry on."
At the beginning and toward the end of his remarks, Obama cited the Bible's John 15:13: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Obama said the four killed Americans laid down their lives "in service to us all."
"Their sacrifice will never be forgotten," Obama said.
[Updated at 2:51 p.m. ET] President Barack Obama, at a ceremony for the returned bodies of the four Americans killed at the Benghazi consulate, is now eulogizing the four at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.
Actor George Clooney was detained Friday morning during a protest in front of the Sudanese Embassy in Washington.
On Wednesday, Clooney testified before Congress about "a campaign of murder" under way in Sudan, where villagers run for the hills to hide from bombings on a daily basis.
"What you see is a constant drip of fear," Clooney said, a day after returning from a trip in which he and a small team of fellow activists managed to enter one of the most devastated areas, the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan.
"We found children filled with shrapnel, including a 9-year-old boy who had both of his hands blown off," Clooney told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Clooney said the attacks are being orchestrated by Sudan's government, led by President Omar al-Bashir, government official Ahmad Harun and Defense Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein - the same three men, he said, who previously orchestrated long-documented attacks in Darfur.
More than two dozen Chinese construction workers abducted in Sudan have been released, China's official Xinhua news agency reported Tuesday.
The 29 workers flew out of Sudan aboard a Red Cross plane bound for Nairobi, Kenya, Xinhua reported, citing an unnamed source with the International Committee of the Red Cross. They were to be turned over to Chinese officials there, Xinhua said.
Rebels abducted the workers January 28 from a camp run by China's Power Construction Corp. in volatile South Kordofan. Eighteen other workers in the camp escaped the raid, which the Sudanese military blamed on the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North - a rebel force in the border region with neighboring South Sudan.
One worker died in the raid, Xinhua said. Sudanese authorities handed over the worker's body Tuesday, according to Xinhua.FULL STORY
The fate of dozens of construction workers kidnapped in Sudan, including a group of Chinese nationals, remained unclear Tuesday amid conflicting reports on the situation.
Militants captured 70 workers - a mix of local and foreign staff - in an attack Saturday on a construction site in a remote area of Sudan's volatile South Kordofan state, the Sudanese military said. The military said it was pursuing the kidnappers.
The camp belonged to China's Power Construction Corp. - an example of the willingness of Chinese companies to push into unstable regions of the world in search of resources to help fuel the country's fast growing economy.
The official Sudan News Agency reported Monday that the Sudanese army had freed at least 14 of the kidnapped Chinese nationals, citing Ahmed Haroun, the state governor.
But that conflicted with information from Xinhua, the state-run Chinese news agency, which said later Monday that the 29 Chinese workers abducted by the rebels were still being held captive.FULL STORY
A U.N. peacekeeper died in an attack launched by "unidentified armed persons" in the south Darfur region of Sudan, the global body said Monday.
The attack Sunday targeted an African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur patrol near Nyala, the mission said in a statement. One soldier was killed and two were wounded. All three were from Sierra Leone, the statement said.
After the incident, peacekeepers searched the area and apprehended a suspect, the statement said. The suspect was handed over to Sudanese police.FULL STORY
[Updated at 7:48 a.m.] Two United Nations peacekeepers and a police officer were killed in an ambush in a camp for displaced people in Sudan's Darfur region, a U.N. representative told CNN Tuesday.
The two peacekeepers were armed; the police officer was not, said Kemal Saiki, a spokesman for the joint U.N. and African Union mission in the troubled region. Another five people were injured in the incident, three seriously.
They came under attack in North Darfur while the security unit was on patrol in the camp at about 11 p.m. Monday, Saiki said. One of the assailants was also killed.
It was unclear why the attack occurred.
The joint peacekeeping mission in Darfur is the world's largest at 20,000 authorized troops. Since it began in 2008, 33 peacekeepers have been killed.
Darfur is among the most dangerous areas of operation for U.N. personnel. The region remains a tinderbox. At least 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million others driven from their homes as a result of fighting between Sudanese rebel groups and the Khartoum government and its allied armed militia.
– CNN's James Partington contributed to the story.
On his first visit to Khartoum since his fledgling nation declared independence, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir agreed with his Sudanese counterpart to hold talks to "reach final solutions" to address continuing differences between their countries.
"My government is ready to discuss and reach final solutions on all outstanding issues - mainly the economy, security, borders and Abyei status," Kiir told reporters Sunday.
"We shall work on all these outstanding issues and make sure we sign a final agreement on all of them as soon as possible."
After years of violent strife and a January referendum paving the way for a new state, South Sudan separated from Sudan in July.FULL STORY
The United States recognizes South Sudan as a sovereign and independent state, U.S. President Barack Obama said Saturday.
"After so much struggle by the people of South Sudan, the United States of America welcomes the birth of a new nation," Obama said in a statement. "Today is a reminder that after the darkness of war, the light of a new dawn is possible. A proud flag flies over Juba and the map of the world has been redrawn."
Three things you need to know today:
South Sudan: Final preparations are being made Friday in what on Saturday will be the world's newest county, South Sudan.
In January, voters in predominantly Christian southern Sudan overwhelmingly approved a referendum to split with the Muslim north. The referendum was part of a 2005 peace deal that helped end a decades-long civil war.
That war created a class of refugees who drifted in and out of neighboring countries - many on foot - to flee violence and famine that left about 2 million people dead.
Now scores have returned to witness the birth of a nation.
"I cannot believe this day is finally here," says Victoria Bol, a resident of Grand Rapids, Michigan, who has returned to the new capital of Juba for independence day. "It is very emotional. I'm excited, but I'm also thinking of all the people who died for this to happen."
Royals in California: Prince William and his wife, Catherine, will land in Los Angeles on Friday evening for the last leg of their whirlwind North American tour that started in Canada last week.
Gov. Jerry Brown and his wife will welcome the royal couple.
After arriving at the Los Angeles International Airport, the couple will make their way to their first event at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.
The conference draws British and American venture capitalists, and leaders from the technology industry looking for new investment opportunities and ways to create jobs in both countries.
New FDIC chief: Sheila Bair, who shepherded the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. through one of the worst financial shocks in history, steps down on Friday.
Bair emerged as a central figure in the government's response to the banking crisis that dominated her five years in office. She was lauded for broadening the FDIC's power to take over large financial institutions that pose a threat to the economy and pushing banks to modify home loans for troubled borrowers.
Bair's successor is Martin Gruenberg, the FDIC's vice chairman, who was nominated in June by President Obama. He will become acting chairman on Monday, pending Senate approval.
Representatives of Sudan and Southern Sudan have signed an agreement calling for the immediate withdrawal of Sudanese troops from the disputed Abyei region.
The agreement, signed in Addis Ababa, Ethopia, also calls for the deployment of a brigade of that country's troops to serve as peacekeepers.
The agreement calls for joint adminstration of the area by Sudan and Southern Sudan, which is scheduled to become an independent country in three weeks.FULL STORY
Final results of last month's referendum show that an overwhelming majority of southern Sudanese voted to split from the north, a result that will lead to the creation of the world's newest nation, the referendum commission said Monday.
The chairman of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission, which organized the vote, said 98.83% voted for separation, while 1.17% voted for unity.
"It was a peaceful process," said chairman Muhammad Ibrahim Khali, in a ceremony in Khartoum attended by Sudanese politicians, international diplomats, U.N. staff, academics and others. "It was a transparent process."
He said "not a single person showed up to appeal the results."FULL STORY
It is the most important global story in the world right now and chances are... you aren't paying attention to it.
Africa's largest nation, Sudan, has been war-torn for almost the entirety of its post colonial history. Factions in the northern and southern regions of the country have been clashing for years and the south may soon be on the verge of taking an historic step towards independence.
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, former President Jimmy Carter and one-time sexiest man alive, George Clooney, are helping the effort to get the historic decision to a peaceful vote and resolution.
Kristof joins American Morning today to explain the situation in Sudan and clarify why a secession of the South would be an optimistic future for the region.
Thousands more people streamed to polling places in a historic referendum on independence for Southern Sudan on Monday even as violence flared in a disputed region between north and south.
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, meanwhile, said Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir told him that Southern Sudan should not have to shoulder Sudan's debt should it secede from the county. The question of how to split Sudan's debt is one of several issues that would have to be resolved if the south votes for independence, as is widely expected.
"I spoke with President al-Bashir. He said the entire debt should be assigned to north Sudan and not to the southern part," Carter told CNN Monday morning. "So, in a way, Southern Sudan is starting with a clean sheet on debt. They'll have to make some arrangement for other sources of income, of course."
The south would become independent in July if voters choose independence and no other obstacles emerge. Voting began on Sunday and will end Saturday.FULL STORY
Tens of thousands of people across Southern Sudan went to the polls Sunday in a historic referendum that an international election observer said appeared to have been well-handled.
"There were very, very large numbers from the early hours of this morning all day long," said David Carroll, director of the Democracy Program at the Carter Center, in a telephone interview from Juba. "They were waiting patiently, they were in a happy, celebratory mood. They went through the process in an orderly way, largely. We saw a very meaningful, important process that the southern Sudanese are engaging in with a lot of passion."
By the time polls opened at 8 a.m., many Sudanese had already been standing on line for hours to cast their ballots on whether the south should declare independence or remain part of a unified Sudan.
Those who were still on line at 5 p.m. were allowed to remain there until they were able to vote, he said. "It's something that is clearly very, very important to the people of Southern Sudan."FULL STORY
Doctor defends autism study – A physician accused of an "elaborate fraud" in a now-retracted British study that linked autism to childhood vaccines is defending himself, telling CNN his work has been "grossly distorted."
Speaking on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," Dr. Andrew Wakefield said Wednesday he has been the target of "a ruthless, pragmatic attempt to crush any attempt to investigate valid vaccine safety concerns." An investigation published by the British medical journal BMJ concluded that Wakefield misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study – and that there was "no doubt" Wakefield was responsible. The journalist who wrote the BMJ articles said Thursday he believes Wakefield should face criminal charges.
Sentencing in Anna Nicole Smith case – The psychiatrist and lawyer-boyfriend of Anna Nicole Smith are expected to be sentenced Thursday.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the United Nations Security Council Tuesday that it will take "courage and skill" for Sudan's leaders to implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, but stressed that no outsider can dictate events on the ground.
"The world expects these steps, and the courage to change will be rewarded by the international community and the United States," Clinton said.
Clinton's comments come in the midst of a massive voter registration effort for a January referendum that would allow the East African nation's autonomous southern region to secede from the north. The referendum is considered a possible make-or-break event in the 2005 peace agreement, which ended the two-decade conflict that lead to the deaths of 2 million people in Sudan.
The peace agreement also calls for a separate referendum for residents of Abyei, a border area that has oil reserves, to decide if they want to join the north or south. The southern region holds a majority of the nation's oil.
"Holding this referendum and resolving the status of Abyei represent the promise of self-determination made to the Sudanese people," Clinton said. "They are promises that must be kept."
The vote also could be a factor as U.S. officials decide whether to remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.