The World

10 ESSENTIAL STORIES

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More than a third of China's wheat crop is at risk

[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

5.16 MILLION HECTARES

The drought affects man and beast

2.57 MILLION PEOPLE

2.79 MILLION LIVESTOCK

SOURCE: U.N. FAO

6 | Sudan

IT'S OFFICIAL

Ninety-nine percent of the nearly 4 million southern Sudanese voted in last month's referendum to secede from Sudan. Sudan's President, Omar al-Bashir, accepted the final results, but disputes remain over oil rights and political boundaries. In recent clashes, some 50 people were killed in a border region. The new nation, likely to be called South Sudan, is expected to declare its independence July 9.

7 | Russia

Chechen Terrorist Emerges

Doku Umarov, a Chechen warlord whom Russian state news had previously reported dead, appeared in two Internet videos in which he claimed to be the mastermind of the Jan. 24 suicide bombing of Moscow's largest airport, which killed 36 people. Sitting next to him in one of the videos is the man Russian investigators suggest may have carried out the airport attack. Umarov styles himself as a protector of Muslims in Russia, particularly those living in the restive republics of the North Caucasus, where Chechnya is located. He is said to have tenuous links with al-Qaeda.

8 | Indonesia

Wave of Islamic Anger

Hundreds of Muslims in central Java set fire to two churches and attacked a court, claiming that a five-year prison sentence given to a Christian who had allegedly blasphemed Islam was too lenient. The attacks followed an incident in which a mob assaulted members of a minority Islamic sect deemed heretical by more orthodox Muslims. Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, often promotes its pluralism and diversity as an example for the Islamic world.

9 | Brazil

Carnaval Costumes Ablaze

A month before Rio de Janeiro's streets are due to be filled with the dancers, drummers and glittering floats of the annual Carnaval, a fierce fire burned through a warehouse complex known as Samba City, destroying a year's worth of festival preparations, including 8,400 costumes. At least three samba schools may no longer be able to participate, but officials say the show must go on.

10 | Washington

Electronics Not to Blame in Toyota Probe

A 10-month U.S. government investigation concluded that mechanical problems and in some cases user error, not electronics flaws, may have caused the sudden unintended acceleration of some Toyota vehicles. The defects plunged the automaker into international crisis and led to the recall of millions of cars and trucks last year. While the findings offer Toyota some consolation, they do not repair the damage done by the recalls, which hurt the once peerless company's prestige as well as its sales.

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