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February 24, 2011 5:34 PM

How Southern Sudan's 'ticking time bomb' was defused

Southern Sudan's January referendum on independence had a lot of people around the world worried — and for good reason. If it were held properly, the Sudanese government in the north faced the certain loss of not just a third of its land but also 80 percent of its oil. If the vote were blocked, or even delayed, conflict probably would erupt. Yet on Jan. 9, exactly as scheduled, south Sudanese lined up patiently, casting their ballots.

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