Sudan has been in an increasing state of turmoil since its southernmost part broke off in 2011 and formed the Republic of South Sudan.
The government of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al Bashir is engaged in a crackdown against a nationwide, broad-front opposition movement.
In spite of efforts to get talks going, fighting continues between factions aligned with President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar.
Sudan's capital, Khartoum, and neighboring Omdurman, as well as Port Sudan and other parts of the country, are being rocked by mass protests and government repression, with the loss of at least 70 lives so far in Khartoum alone.
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Voters in southern Sudan, over a one-week period beginning this Sunday as scheduled, will be choosing between unity and separation.
Sudanese women's rights activists and allies protested the beating of a young woman by laughing police officers that was captured on video and circulated around the world.
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The elections in Sudan have meaning not only for its people but neighboring countries, multinational corporations and imperialist powers, as well. It's through the larger historic, regional, and global contexts that recent events in Sudan can be understood.
This week in World Notes: Brazil passes landmark climate legislation; Cuba rejects U.S. terror designation; Guadaloupe prepares for general strike; Spain's unemployment is highest in Europe; Sudan exports food, while country starves; Thailand's army deport Laotian Hmong; Yemen faces mass poverty, hunger