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Water in Sudan!

Hidden Lake Deep Beneath Darfur Could Be Key to Stability for the Region

According to a story on Fox News yesterday a large reservoir of water has been discovered deep below the surface of Darfur in Sudan. If technologically accessible such an underground lake could provide some much needed relief to the region. The discovery came by way of remains of an ancient lake, which would have covered a section of the Darfur region roughly the size of Lake Erie. If all goes well, scientists will be able to identify the best drilling spots and Egypt has committed to begin the first 20 wells. Scientists expect to drill some 1000 wells before finishing the project.

Darfur has been in turmoil since the most recent internal conflict began in 2003. The African/Arab problems have brought about the deaths, rape and dismemberment of countless civilians, African tribesmen and Arab backed Sudanese militia members. Though the UN has not termed this conflict genocide, the U.S. State Department has and many celebrities have established relief funds and completed projects to raise world awareness of the horrors of this civil war. About a year ago George Clooney went to Darfur with his nephew, a journalist, and a cameraman to film a documentary, which was just released this week. A Journey to Darfur creates a unique record of the violence and it's aftermath, along with the hope and courage evident in the civilian population, the nearly 200,000 refugees and the aide workers who struggle to help them. All proceeds from the sale of the DVD will go to NOOW, the humanitarian relief organization founded by Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle and Jerry Weintraub.

Numismatically, Sudan has seen a bit of light lately as well, with four new coins issued for 2006. The profits from sale of these coins will not be going to relief efforts, but all are available on eBay in pairings of two and four, while some are available through new issue coin dealers like Lauren Benson Inc. These 5, 10, 20 and 50 piastres are all nice looking coins with the 50 being bi-metallic and displaying a lovely dove of peace. Let's hope it's a sign of things to come.