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North-South Sudan Agree on Demilitarized Zone Along Border

North and south Sudan have agreed to set up a joint security mechanism to manage tensions along their disputed frontier once the country splits into two in July. The deal establishes a demilitarized zone to be jointly monitored under international supervision. Ethiopia is offering to send peacekeepers to act as a buffer between opposing forces.

Senior northern and southern military commanders signed the accord late Monday after three days of talks at an Addis Ababa hotel.

End Near for Zimbabwe's Last White Farmers

Zimbabwe's Supreme Court heard a case on behalf of three farmers who claimed the constitution excluded confiscation of their land because they bought their properties after the colonial era ended with independence in 1980.

The Supreme Court did not agree and quickly dismissed their application.

One of the farmers, Colin Cloete, a former president of the Commercial Farmers’ Union at the height of often violent land invasions seven years ago, was one of the applicants.

Observers Question Motives as Burmese, N. Korean Leaders Visit Beijing

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has returned to Pyongyang after a week-long visit to close ally and neighbor China. Also this week, Burma's new president, the ex-general Thein Sein, traveled to Beijing for talks with Chinese officials.

When he left Beijing Friday after a week-long visit to China, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il said in a letter to President Hu Jintao that ties between the two countries are "sealed in blood."

AU Summit Endorses Libya Peace Map, Demands Air Strikes Halt

An African Union summit has demanded an immediate end to NATO airstrikes on Libya, and backed a “Road Map” peace plan calling for a ceasefire and negotiations. A small but growing number of African nations are suggesting Moammar Gadhafi must be excluded from any peace deal.

The African Union Thursday endorsed its own peace plan for Libya.

Satellite Spots Large Build-up of Northern Sudanese Forces

Another satellite image of Sudan’s Abyei region shows an even bigger build-up of northern Sudanese forces than first thought.

The new image follows the release Wednesday of images showing the effects of fighting May 20 and 21. They showed Sudan Armed Forces positioned around Abyei, including warplanes on the ground in El Obeid, some 435 kilometers away.

New image

Monitors: North Sudan's Occupation of Abyei Was Planned

An international monitoring group says north Sudan's occupation of the contested Abyei region was likely a "premeditated and well-planned" operation.

The Satellite Sentinel Project, which uses satellite photos to observe developments in Sudan, says it documented a build-up of tanks, helicopters, and troops along roads near Abyei in the weeks before Saturday's occupation.

Nathaniel Raymond is director of operations at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative for the satellite Sentinel Project. To hear his interview with VOA's Joe De Capua on the latest images over Abyei, click below.

Could Muslim Brotherhood Take Over Egypt?

As political Islam grows as a force in post-revolution Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is forming its first political party and getting ready for a good showing in upcoming parliamentary elections. And this has liberal and secular parties scrambling.

The revolution that ended three decades of authoritarian rule by Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak has opened an unprecedented window for Islamists in country’s political life. The Muslim Brotherhood is considered the most organized, well-funded opposition movement in Egypt.

Difficult Fight Seen for Mogadishu’s Bakara Market

As international troops close in on Mogadishu's Bakara market, a stronghold of the militant group al-Shabab, an analyst from the International Crisis Group is warning that seizing the critical position could prove to be complicated and costly.

Much of the military campaign in Somalia's war-torn capital, Mogadishu, has been a battle for Bakara market. Sitting on top of a hill in the city's main business district, Bakara is a nerve center for much of southern Somalia, and has served as a stronghold for the al-Qaida-linked insurgent group al-Shabab for the past half decade.

Burmese Political Prisoners on Hunger Strike

Human-rights groups say more than 20 political prisoners being held in the country’s notorious Insein prison began a hunger strike last week protesting inadequate nutrition for all inmates and calling for fundamental rights.

Human-rights groups say at least 33 political prisoners in the notorious Insein prison near Rangoon began a hunger strike last week, when a group of women prisoners protested a government amnesty that reduced overall prison sentences by one year.

US: Sudan Peace Deal in Jeopardy After Abyei Seizure

The United States says Sudan’s seizure of much of the disputed Abyei region jeopardizes the country’s north-south peace accord and complicates efforts at normalizing U.S.-Sudan relations. The U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan is making a crisis visit to the country this week.

The State Department is condemning the May 19 attack on Sudanese troops by southern forces that apparently triggered the latest crisis.

China Presses US to Reassess Law on Taiwan Arms Sales

During a recent week-long visit to the United States, Chen Bingde, the chief of the general staff of China's People's Liberation Army, or PLA, pressed the United States to end arms to Taiwan. And he said some U.S. lawmakers agree with him that it is time to rethink legislation that obligates Washington to provide Taipei with defensive weapons.

Mexican Drug Boss Arrested at Birthday Party

Mexican police say they have captured a suspected drug kingpin.

Authorities say Gilberto Barragan Balderas was arrested Friday in the border town of Reynosa, across from McAllen, in the U.S. state of Texas, at what appears to have been his birthday party.

Police say Barragan was a leading member of the Gulf drug cartel who was in charge of defending some of the gang's main smuggling routes into the United States from the rival Zeta cartel.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration had offered a $5 million reward for information leading to Barragan's capture.

Dedication to Lao Veterans

May 13, 2011 at Arlington National Cemetery, Edmund McWilliams a retired senior US Foreign Service Officer having served 27 Years, many in service in South East Asia, offered the dedication below for those who served in the Lao theater of the Vietnam War. Mr. McWilliams also served in the US Army 1970 - 1073 including some 11 months in Vietnam. Below is his statement read at Arlington National Cemetery by Mr Philip Smith of the Centre for Public Policy Analysis.

NATO Strike Against Pro-Qadhafi Maritime Forces

Video by NATO Channel

USS ENTERPRISE

A GROUND-BREAKING SHIP
The supercarrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) is a futuristic-looking vessel. Although she has turned 50 years old, she is still a front-line combat vessel fighting the Global War on Terror.

Today, she carries four squadrons of multi-role fighters, along with specialist electronic-warfare and airborne early warning fixed-wing aircraft, and helicopters. USS Enterprise is one of 11 nuclear-powered carriers in service with the United States Navy, and is capable of rapid response to a crisis.