I only heard about the new country of South Sudan on July 9th, the day it declared independence and haven't had time to write about them until now. The United Nations should be recognizing them as an official world country in the next couple of days. Somewhere in the neighbourhood of eight million people
In some places, including on the government website the name of the country is written Southern Sudan, but the official seal styles it as the Republic of South Sudan. I think the Southern Sudan references are from material describing the area before independence. They have a flag, a national animal (the secretary bird), a coat of arms, a national anthem (link plays music), a capital city (Juba) and a president. They're still using the currency and postage stamps of their northern neighbour, so I think getting mail through to South Sudan is going to be a bit like communicating with a friend when you only have the mailing address of her ex. And they've fought for twenty years over the divorce.
They say that a what a country really needs to be official is a sports team, a beer and an airline. It looks like South Sudan is getting right on that. They already have a football team, and it's even played a match already. They lost 3-1 to Kenya but it's not an offical result as they are still waiting on FIFA membership. I thought that a beer would be a no-brainer but they have a good excuse for not having one quite yet. The construction of their new brewery is a big deal because under the former Muslim regime, alcoholic beverages were outlawed. And they even have the beginnings of an airline , complete with a webpage that doesn't actually link to a booking database, just a form. The date of the maiden flight has not yet been announced, but Juba does have an airport with a paved runway (13-31), which was apparently closed on Independence Day but airlines didn't receive a NOTAM, possibly because of that communications via Khartoum thing. The Republic of South Sudan will have to join ICAO, at which point I suspect it will go straight on the list of countries in which one should avoid boarding an airplane at all costs. They're a very poor state with terribly low education and healthcare.
I met a pilot/AME recently who says he started the war in the Sudan. He was there years ago, when the Sudan had nothing of value to the rest of the world, and nothing to fight over internally but camels and goats. He was there surveying for oil. He also made a positive contribution to the national infrastructure because they discovered that he could fix things. He would call for taxi clearance at the airport and then have the clearance rescinded because the airport firetruck wasn't working. They possibly were looking for a bribe the first time, but he solved the problem by restoring the firetruck to working order, and after that there was always something that needed fixing.
I hope South Sudan gets what needs fixing fixed faster than it gets itself into new conflicts and problems. I don't suppose there's anyone reading this blog from there. Few in that country can read let alone have access to communication technology, but if you are, know that I wish your new country well. South Sudan has apparently applied for the internet country code .ss but a regime that collapsed sixty years ago has such a lock on those letters in some people's minds that it may be denied.
P.S. Beda Otwari, the Director of Administration and Human Resources for Southern Sudan Airlines is a Canadian.