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Sudan Unseen

A search of the Nine Network news site for Saddam Hussein and Iraq scored 36 hits. A search for Sudan scored 1 hit, and then only a reference in the bio of newsreader Hugh Rimminton. In the News and inroduction to today's Sunday program on channel nine, the number of references to World Refugee Day were?? - zero! Today is UNHCR sponsored World Refugee Day (http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/refugee/) and you might have thought Sudan rather than Saddam might be more in the news – but why should today be any different in what passes as “news”? Here’s a brief catch up for the unseen news items on Sudan these past few years.

* Population 39 million. Located in Northern Africa on the Red Sea with two Nile rivers flowing through it, bordered clockwise from the sea by Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Congo, C.A.R., Chad, Libya and Egypt. Life expectancy is 58 years.

* President is Lt. Gen. Umar Hassan Ahmad al-BASHIR. Military regimes favouring Islamic-oriented governments have dominated national politics since independence from the UK in 1956. Wars have been going on for 21 years linked to northern economic, political, and social domination of non-Muslim, non-Arab southern Sudanese. For some years prior to 1996 Osama bin Laden lived in Sudan and developed the Al Qaeda group, financed by a network of small businesses in Sudan.

* In Southern Sudan 95,000 children under five have died over the past year out of a population of 7.5 million. 125,000 refugees are in camps along the border and an estimated 1 million are displaced from their homes. World Vision is actively involved in aid programs (http://www.worldvision.com.au/appeals/sudancrisis/).

Posted Sunday, 20 June 2004

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