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55 Killed in Armed Clashes in South Sudan

Clashes between south Sudan's army and rebel militiamen killed at least 55 people, a government official said Sunday in the soon to be independent state gripped by a bloody wave of unrest.

The fighting raged for about three hours on Saturday in Jonglei state between the southern Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and gunmen led by former militia leader Gabriel Tang, also known as Tang-Ginye.

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Haaretz: Mideast Turmoil Boosts Iran's Regional Arms Smuggling

Iran has smuggled more weapons to Hizbullah, Syria, and Palestinian groups in recent months, taking advantage of the wave of unrest in the Middle East, reported the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Friday.

Because international attention is focused mainly on regime changes and local intelligence services are busy protecting their rulers, the Iranians have been able to act with greater impunity, it said

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Sudan Accuses Israel of Fatal Airstrike on Car

Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmad Karti accused Israel on Wednesday of carrying out an airstrike a day earlier on a car on Sudan's Red Sea coast that killed two people.

Karti's charge came as a number of Israeli newspapers spoke of the same thing, but the Israeli military and foreign ministry both declined to comment.

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Khartoum Demo Blocked by Heavy Security

Hundreds of baton-wielding riot police barred Sudanese opposition activists from demonstrating on Wednesday, arresting dozens and beating up others, an Agence France Presse correspondent reported.

Some 500 riot police were deployed in Abu Janzeer square, in the center of the Sudanese capital Khartoum, after an alliance of opposition parties announced plans to hold a demonstration there at 1:00 pm (1000 GMT).

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Bashir Meets in Cairo with Egypt Military Rulers

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir met with Egypt's new military rulers on Tuesday, the official MENA agency reported, marking the first visit to post-Mubarak Egypt by an Arab head of state.

Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, met with Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who heads the country's ruling military council.

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Party Official: Bashir Not to Stand in Next Election

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir will not stand for reelection, an official at his National Congress Party said on Monday, while insisting he was "not under pressure" from the wave of protests rocking the Arab world.

"I can confirm, 100 percent, that Bashir is not going to run for president in the next election. He will actually give a chance to different personalities to compete for the position," Rabie Abdul Ati told Agence France Presse.

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Sudanese Forget their Woes in Sufi Celebration

With flags flying, drums beating and incense burning, thousands of Sudanese faithful converged in Khartoum's Mulid square for the culmination of an Islamic festival that allowed them to leave their daily cares behind.

"Today is a very special day. The people, when they come here, they put all their problems behind them and remember the good things in life," said Ibrahim Ismaili, 40.

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Opposition Leader Detained, 16 People Killed in Rebel Attack on Sudan Troops

Sudanese security services on Thursday arrested prominent government critic Mariam al-Mahdi, daughter of the prime minister whom veteran President Omar al-Bashir ousted in a 1989 coup, a member of her Umma party said.

Mahdi was arrested as she went with a group of activists to petition the security forces for the release of protesters detained nearly two weeks ago, Habab Mubarak, the daughter of another leading Umma party member Mubarak al-Fadil, told Agence France Presse.

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South Sudan Minister Shot Dead in Juba

South Sudan's minister of cooperatives and rural development Jimmy Lemi Milla and his bodyguard were shot dead in Juba on Wednesday, the southern army's spokesman said, in what appeared to be a personal dispute.

"There was shooting at the ministries (complex), in which the minister of cooperatives and rural development was killed, as well as his bodyguard," the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) spokesman Philip Aguer told Agence France Presse.

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Southern Sudan Votes 98.83% to Secede

Southern Sudan was well on track to become the world's newest state Monday after final results of its historic independence referendum showed that 98.83 percent of its people had voted for secession.

The results -- displayed at an announcement ceremony in Khartoum -- revealed that, out of 3,837,406 valid ballots cast, only 44,888 votes, or 1.17 percent, favored the status quo of unity with the north.

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