South Sudan says the next few days will be very important to avoid an all out war with its northern neighbor, Sudan. During a visit to China, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir talked to Chinese President Hu Jintao about the situation. He said Sudan's bombings of the South, even after South Sudanese troops withdrew from a disputed oil town are a declaration of war. Mr. Hu called for restraint from both sides. Chinese state television later reported that Mr. Hu said he hoped both Sudans will end conflicts along their border and settle their issues through peaceful negotiations. The administration of President Obama condemned Sudan's military movements into South Sudan and called on the two governments to agree to a ceasefire.
A new study shows that sub-Saharan Africa is sitting on a huge area of underground water. Scientists who studied the area estimate that three hundred million people in Africa do not have safe drinking water. They say the new research shows that part of the srolution lies under their feet. The water under the ground is believed to be more than one hundred times the yearly renewable fresh water available in Africa and twenty times that which is stored in fresh water lakes. Maps produced by the British Geological Survey and University College London show that Libya, Algeria, Egypt and Sudan could be sitting on groundwater supplies tens of meters deep. Scientists predict the demand for water will grow very fast with the growth of the population.
The United States has confirmed a case of mad cow disease in the western state of California. Mad cow disease attacks the brains of infected cattle and can be spread to humans who eat meat from a diseased animal. The new case was found at a farm that sells milk. The chief animal officer for the Department of Agriculture said human health was not threatened. John Clifford said the cow's milk would not spread the disease to humans. He also said the laboratory results would be shared with the World Organization for Animal Health. Mr. Clifford noted that there were only twenty-nine cases of the disease in the world last year. There were thirty-seven thousand cases in nineteen ninety-two.
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The United States Justice Department says a former employee of the oil company BP has been arrested for destroying evidence about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in twenty ten. A Justice Department statement said that fifty-year-old Kurt Mix of Texas was charged with blocking justice. Investigators say that the former BP engineer removed more than three hundred written messages from his telephone. The messages dealt with the amount of pollution spilling into the water as BP struggled to stop the oil leak off the southern coast of the United States. He is the first person charged in an investigation of the worst underwater oil spill in American history. He could face up to forty years in prison and a half-million-dollar fine.
South Korean officials have increased security around nine media companies in the capital, Seoul. The increased security comes after North Korea said it would reduce to ashes in several minutes supporters of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. The North Korean threat included several broadcasters and a leading daily newspaper. South Korea's Foreign Ministry spokesman warned that any military action by the North would be answered. North Korea has a long history of terror attacks against the South, including attempts to kill President Li.
A local Chinese official says China is planning to develop holiday travel areas on several islands in the South China Sea. Those islands are also claimed by Vietnam. The Chinese call them the Xisha Islands. Others know them as the Paracels. Vietnam has not commented on the announcement. China's offical Xinhua news agency reports that Hainan's provincial vice-governor has said that Xisha must be open for tourism this year. The plan comes as tensions rise across Southeast Asia over competing claims to large areas of the sea thought to be rich in oil and gas. South of the islands, five nations claim parts of the South China Sea. They are the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan. China insists that the whole area is part of its territory.
Internet users in China were able to enter Facebook Tuesday even though the social communication website is usually blocked there. Internet users across the country reported they could get into the networking site. The China editor of techinasia.com told VOA that such temporary holes are common in what is often called “the Great Firewall of China.” The system restricts people from looking at popular websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Pakistani police say a bomb explosion at a railway station in the eastern city of Lahore has killed at least three people. Twenty others were injured. Several are severely wounded. Officials say the bombing took place Tuesday at the city's main railway station.
International diplomat Kofi Annan has expressed concern about news reports that Syrian security forces have launched attacks in civilian areas. South Sudan says the next few days will be very important to avoid an all out war with Sudan. And, the United States has confirmed a case of Mad Cow disease in the western state of California.
And, that's the news in VOA Special English, coming to you from Washington.