Heavy rainfall and flash floods have killed 62 people in Sudan and left 98 others injured, the official SUNA news agency reported on Sunday.

Sudan has been hit by torrential rains since the start of July, affecting nearly 200,000 people in at least 15 states across the country including the capital Khartoum.

The worst affected area is the White Nile state in the south.

Flooding of the Nile river remains “the biggest problem”, SUNA said, citing a health ministry official.

On Friday the United Nations said 54 people had died due to the heavy rains.

It said more than 37,000 homes had been destroyed or damaged, quoting figures from the government body it partners with in the crisis response.

“Humanitarians are concerned by the high likelihood of more flash floods,” the UN said, adding that the rainy season was expected to last until October.

The floods are having a lasting humanitarian impact on communities, with cut roads, damaged water points, lost livestock and the spread of water-borne diseases by insects.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said an extra $150 million were needed from donors to respond to surging waters, in addition to the $1.1 billion required for the overall humanitarian situation in Sudan.


Sudan’s new prime minister says in an interview that ending his country’s international pariah status and drastically cutting military spending are prerequisites for rescuing a faltering economy.

Abdalla Hamdok, a well-known economist, told The Associated Press on Sunday that he has already talked to U.S. officials about removing Sudan from Washington’s list of countries sponsoring terrorism and portrayed their reaction as positive. He says that “a democratic Sudan is not a threat to anybody in the world.”

He also hopes to drastically cut Sudan’s military spending which he says makes up a large chunk of the state budget.

Hamdok was sworn in last week as the leader of Sudan’s transitional government. His appointment came four months after the overthrow of autocratic leader Omar al-Bashir, who ruled for nearly three decades.


 Two members of an Iran-backed Iraqi paramilitary force say that a new drone attack has killed one commander and wounded another near the border with Syria.
 
Officials from the Hezbollah Brigades, separate from the Lebanese groups of the same name, said the drone attack occurred Sunday near the Qaim border crossing. 
 
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists about the matter. 
 
Iraq’s Hezbollah Brigades operate under the umbrella of the state-sanctioned militias known collectively as the Popular Mobilization Forces. Many of them are supported by Iran. 
 
If confirmed, it would be the latest in a series of attacks that have targeted PMF bases and weapons depot in Iraq. U.S. officials have said that Israel was behind at least one of them.

 


Two years ago, Myanmar’s army drew international condemnation for driving more than 750,000 Muslim Rohingya into neighboring Bangladesh. This week the Myanmar and Bangladesh governments announced the beginning of a voluntary repatriation plan for many, however not a single person volunteered to go back. Steve Sandford spoke to refugees and rights workers about the prospect of returning home amid security and rights concerns.
 


Will Russia join next year’s G-7 summit? The question is being considered after U.S. President Donald Trump raised the idea ahead of the group’s annual summit this week in France. The group voted to suspend Moscow’s membership in 2014 after it annexed Crimea, which Russia continues to hold. Trump says it’s time for them to rejoin. Anna Rice reports on whether that’s likely to happen.
 


President Donald Trump has abandoned his fight with Congress over slashing $4 billion in foreign aid and will allow the appropriated funds to be spent. But the State Department says it agreed with the White House to “redirect all funding that does not directly support our priorities.” VOA Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine has more from Washington.
 


The three Baltic countries on Friday marked the 30th anniversary of the 1989 “Baltic Way,” a historic anti-Soviet protest that involved nearly 2 million people forming a human chain more than 600 kilometers (370 miles) long.

On Aug. 23, 1989, as the Soviet Union was weakening, the gesture was a powerful expression on the part of Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians that they were not giving up on their independence even after decades of Soviet occupation.

“People holding hands can be stronger than people holding guns,” said Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas in a tweet.
 
The celebrations come as the inhabitants of the three nations _ and many beyond _ worry about Russia’s renewed ambitions to influence the region.

“We must remember the courage and dreams of the participants. But let it also be a reminder that freedom and democracy can never be taken for granted,” Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said in a statement.

The Baltic News Service recalled Friday that then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said Moscow “started realizing very clearly that the three Baltic nations were moving toward political independence.”

The main commemorations are taking place in Vilnius, the capital of the southern-most Baltic country, and along the Lithuania-Latvia border, with a relay-race and an exhibition. In the evening, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda will host a concert in central Vilnius.

In the Latvian capital of Riga, the three Baltic prime ministers will lay wreaths at the foot of a freedom monument.
 
The chain has inspired others, including a 2008 human chain in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, where a crowd of at least 100,000 people jammed Tbilisi’s main avenue.

In Hong-Kong, protesters planned Friday to form a 40-kilometer (25-mile) human chain to demand more freedoms from China, saying it was inspired by the “Baltic Way.”

The Baltic countries declared their independence from Russia in 1918 but were annexed to the Soviet Union in 1940. Friday’s events also marked the 80th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, a secret agreement between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany that led to the occupation of the Baltic states and Poland.

The Baltic nations remained part of the Soviet Union until 1991.


President Vladimir Putin has ordered the Russian military to find a quid pro quo response after the test of a new U.S. missile banned under a now-defunct arms treaty.
 
In Sunday’s test, a modified ground-launched version of a Navy Tomahawk cruise missile accurately struck its target more than 500 kilometers (310 miles) away. The test came after the U.S. and Russia withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
 
The U.S. has explained its withdrawal from the treaty by Russian violations, a claim Moscow has denied. Speaking Friday, Putin charged that the U.S. wanted to untie its hands to deploy the previously banned missiles in different parts of the world.''<br />
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He ordered the Defense Ministry and other agencies to
take the necessary measures to prepare a symmetrical answer.”