Editor's note

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has been forced out of office after 30 years in power. His resignation comes after days of sustained protest that saw hundreds of thousands of Sudanese stage a sit-in at the military headquarters in the capital, Khartoum. Andrew Edward Tchie examines the factors that led to Bashir’s ouster and looks ahead to what might lie ahead for a country that hasn’t had democratic leadership in decades.

But who was Omar al-Bashir, and how did he stay in power for three decades? Martin Plaut outlines the autocrat’s rise from the son of a peasant family from North Sudan, through the ranks of the army - and through skilful manoeuvring to the seat of power in Sudan.

Not even light can escape black holes, which makes taking photos of them pretty difficult. So much so, in fact, that it’s never been done before – until now. In an unprecedented global collaboration, which included two South Africans, researchers turned the Earth into one giant telescope to measure the dark heart of a galaxy far, far away. 500 billion billion kilometres away, to be precise. Kevin Pimbblet explains how the project put Einstein’s theory of gravity to its most extreme test yet.

Julie Masiga

Peace + Security Editor

Top Stories

Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir has resigned after three decades in power. AHMED YOSRI/EPA

How Sudan’s protesters upped the ante, and forced al-Bashir from power

Andrew Edward Tchie, University of Essex

Sudanese protesters against al-Bashir's regime have scored an important victory. But there's a long way to go before democracy is restored.

Omar al-Bashir seems to have reached the end of his long political road. EPA-EFE

Omar al-Bashir: a military autocrat with a shrewd sense of politics

Martin Plaut, School of Advanced Study

Al-Bashir's ability to play a skillful combination of internal and external balancing acts, plus ruthless repression and a divided opposition, kept him in power for three decades.

Science + Technology

First black hole photo confirms Einstein’s theory of relativity

Kevin Pimbblet, University of Hull

Scientists turned Earth into one giant telescope to capture the uncapturable.

How microscopic ocean organisms and the earth’s temperature are linked

Kolisa Yola Sinyanya, University of Cape Town

Phytoplankton are tiny, but they do important work.

Politics + Society

Ramaphosa’s presidency is drawing voters back to the ANC: new study

Leila Patel, University of Johannesburg

South African voters are more likely to vote for the African National Congress led by Cyril Ramaphosa than they were when Jacob Zuma led the party.

Cape Town’s taxi violence is rooted in attempts to govern competition

Fiona Anciano, University of the Western Cape; Laurence Piper, University of the Western Cape

Violence is very common on South Africa's various taxi routes.

From our international editions

Why boycotts against Brunei’s new anti-gay laws won’t be effective, but regional pressure might

Paula Gerber, Monash University

Brunei's new anti-gay laws have shocked the world. So, why haven't governments, including Australia's, taken a stronger stand against the sultan?

A happy ending for ‘Game of Thrones’? No thanks

Anthony Gierzynski, University of Vermont

The vast majority of stories told in movies, in books and on television conclude with happy endings – and this has real-world political consequences.

Why giant statues of Hindu gods and leaders are making Muslims in India nervous

Indulata Prasad, Arizona State University

Colossal public monuments to Hinduism are going up across India, sending an ominous message to the country's 260 million religious minorities.

Explainer: trial of alleged perpetrator of Christchurch mosque shootings

Kris Gledhill, Auckland University of Technology

The alleged perpetrator of the Christchurch terror attacks faces 50 charges of murder and 39 of attempted murder. His court appearance raises several issues, including whether media should name him.


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