South Sudanese security forces stand outside the control room of the Petrodar oil facility in Paloich, South Sudan. Sudan was once sub-Saharan Africa's third-largest oil producer, but much of that oil came from what is now South Sudan.
South Sudan, the world's newest nation, is still trying to find its feet, and private companies, international aid experts and diplomats have gathered in Washington this week to see if they can help.
The 5-month-old country is one of the most underdeveloped places in the world, and it still has many lingering disputes with its former rulers in Sudan — disputes that could scare off potential investors.
A picture released by the official website of Iran's Revolutionary Guard on Dec. 8 shows Iranian Revolutionary Guard Brig. Gen. Amir-Ali Hajizadeh (right) looking at a U.S. spy drone that crashed in Iran on Dec. 4.
Credit GeoEye via Google Earth/Digitalglobe/Reuters (top) / ISIS (bottom)/Landov
A combination of photos released by Institute for Science and International Security on Dec. 2 shows satellite images of a military base outside Tehran, Iran, on Sept. 9 (top), and the same base with extensively damaged buildings on Nov. 22 — 10 days after a mysterious explosion occurred at the missile base.
Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 7:12 pm
It's never easy trying to figure out just what is going on in Iran.
But it has been especially difficult of late — after an explosion that reduced a missile base to rubble, another blast that was heard but not seen, and the mysterious case of the downed American stealth drone.
These events have left a slew of questions and very few answers.
The huge explosion at the missile base outside Tehran on Nov. 12 was heard in the capital, about 30 miles away, and, satellite pictures show, it devastated the base.
Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 6:32 pm
Poll after poll shows Newt Gingrich with a commanding lead for the Republican nomination for president.
The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll is the gaudiest yet, giving the former speaker of the House 40 percent among Republicans across the country, nearly double the number for erstwhile front-runner Mitt Romney.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (left) shakes hands with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during an official meeting in Tehran last year.
Credit Mario Tama / Getty Images
Shiite worshipers march after cutting their scalps in a ritual display of mourning during an Ashura ceremony outside Kadhimiya shrine in Baghdad on Dec. 6. Shiite festivals such as this were prohibited under dictator Saddam Hussein, a Sunni. Shiite Iran is seeking greater influence in Iraq, and Iraq's Sunni neighbors are doing the same.
Earlier this month, a ceremony took place in Baghdad that was unthinkable under Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein: Ashura, the annual Shiite ritual marking the slaying of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad and one of the most revered figures in Shiite Islam.
As the trumpets sounded in Baghdad's notorious Shiite slum of Sadr City, boys and men wearing white shrouds brought swords down onto their shaven heads. Thick red blood gushed onto their faces. Hussein sacrificed for us, the belief goes, and devoted followers are ready to sacrifice for him.
There's been some consternation on the Web about what happened this weekend at a post office in Silver Spring, Md., when three Christmas carolers — all decked out in shawls, bonnets and a top hat (for the guy) — popped in and started singing.
It seems that one of the USPS managers on duty jumped into action, telling the trio that they couldn't do that because they were on government property.
Norwegians are suffering a butter shortage. The Nordic country has to go without, supposedly because of trade barriers imposed by the country's dairy cooperative Tine. And of course, this comes right as the holiday baking season is heating up. Lynn Neary talks with Lovisa Morling, of the Apent Bakeri in Oslo, about how the bakery is getting by.
The protests that have spread across Russia took a big political toll today, when the speaker of parliament announced his resignation. As the AP reports, the move appears to be tailored by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as an attempt to "stem public anger."
Tammi Warren has lived on the same winding street in the Detroit suburb of Inkster, Mich., all her life. But as she drives down the block in her Ford pickup, Warren points to several houses on her street that stand vacant, casualties of the housing market collapse.
Vacant houses mean less tax revenue for the city, and less revenue makes it harder for Inkster to provide basic city services.
"[The] city of Inkster has eliminated 38 positions," says City Treasurer Mark Stuhldreher. "It's about 25 percent, roughly, of the workforce."