A referendum on independence for Southern Sudan — to determine whether the South should remain part of Sudan, or secede and become a separate country — has gone surprisingly smoothly, but tensions in Abyei are high, and violent battles have already begun that could cause another civil war to break out.

Russian natural gas corporation Gazprom was given the green light by the government of the north-central African nation Niger for the purpose of exploring the impoverished country for possible uranium mining opportunities. Gazprom subsidiary Gazprombank NGS, based in Moscow, was given a license to explore for uranium in the region of Agadez in northern Niger, reported Bloomberg World News.

So much has been reported but so little is understood of the events that have vacillated in the Middle East. The United States’ allies in the region have begun to fall like dominoes as protests ensue from the Suez in Egypt to Amman in Jordan, following the collapse of the rule of law in Tunisia. The question that looms on the minds of many is "What will happen next?" However, complete understanding of what is transpiring behind the scenes is not possessed by many — in particular the identity of some of the key forces behind the revolutions.

China has announced that it will step up its investment in various Sudanese infrastructure projects, according to reports in the state-run Xinhua News

Violent anti-government outbursts in Egypt have prompted the Egyptian government to take drastic actions, including implementing a curfew and cutting cellphone service.