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Saturday, July 9, 2011

South Sudan gains independence as world's newest country


A South Sudanese man dances with fireworks celebrating their independence

JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — South Sudanese citizens, international dignitaries and the world's newest president are convening in the new country capital of Juba to celebrate the birth of a nation.

South Sudan became the world's newest country Saturday with a raucous street celebration at midnight.

Dignitaries including U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell will watch under a blazing sun as South Sudan President Salva Kiir hosts a noon-hour ceremony.

South and north Sudan battled two civil wars over more than five decades, culminating in a 2005 peace deal that led to Saturday's independence declaration.

Sudan President Omar al-Bashir, the former leader of the south, is also to attend Saturday's ceremony.


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