Even before rebels took to the bush in 1983, southern Sudan was one of the least developed regions in Africa. Now, after more than 20 years of war, vast swathes are virtually devoid of people. \nA landmark peace deal initialled Thursday gives the rebels a 50 percent share of Sudan's oil revenues to set up an autonomous administration -- or around US$1.5 billion a year on present earnings. \nBut rebel leader John Garang makes no secret of the herculean challenge his administration faces in winning the peace. \nThe UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that three and a half million out of southern Sudan's 10 million people have been displaced by the war, 500,000 of them beyond Sudan's borders. \nOf those, 223,000 have found refuge in Uganda, 88,000 in Ethiopia, 69,000 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and 60,000 in Kenya. \nThe UNHCR has said it hopes to assist 150,000 refugees and 80,000 internally displaced to return to their homes in the first 18 months of peace. \nIn June, the agency's assistant high commissioner, Kamel Morjane, appealed for US$90 million from UN member states to fund a two-year repatriation program. \nBut just getting the refugees home poses enormous difficulties. \nIn an area bigger than France and Italy combined, southern Sudan has hardly any paved roads, and most of the dirt tracks that do exist are heavily mined. \nIn September, South African sappers began work demining hundreds of kilometers of piste road from the Kenyan border to the rebel-held town of Rumbek. \nThe town is capital of El-Buheyrat state and is seen as a likely seat for the new regional government even though much of it is currently in ruins as a result of countless bombing raids. \n"We are literally starting from scratch," Garang said in an interview in the town earlier this year. \n"Our priority begins with infrastructures, because really if things cannot move, the economy cannot function. \n"We haven't had tarmac roads since creation. We have to open a waterway for navigation of the Nile so that we link with the north, and we must rehabilitate the only railway line we have." \nThe war also took a heavy toll on education in the south, where a mere 1,000 people out of 10 million are estimated to hold a university degree, creating a dearth of trained professionals. \nIn the vast tent cities that sprang up to accommodate the displaced, schooling was not the most pressing priority. \nThose inhabitants not dependent on aid handouts largely live by subsistence cattle-herding. \nPower supplies and telephone links are largely non-existent, while only the handful of garrison towns which remained under government control throughout the war escaped the devastation of shelling and air raids. \nThe Khartoum government hopes to boost its oil output to 500,000 barrels per day next year from 350,000 currently, raising the prospect of increased revenues for the regional government which is to administer the south up to a referendum on independence in six years' time. \nAnd ambitiously the rebels have already set up an embryonic central bank in Rumbek -- the Commercial Bank of the Nile.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
‘SUICIDE’: Media reports said Park Won-soon went missing on Thursday after a staff member filed a sexual harassment claim against him this week Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, viewed as a potential candidate for the 2022 presidential election, was found dead of an apparent suicide hours after he was reported missing, police said, adding that he was the subject of an undisclosed investigation. In a note he is thought to have left behind on his desk, Park offered his apologies. “I thank everyone who was with me in my life. I apologize to my family for only making them suffer from pain,” according to the note that was released by his office yesterday. Park, in his letter, asked to be cremated and have his remains spread