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  South Sudan set to become world's newest nation
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Last EditedIndyGeorgia  Jul 08, 2011 04:42pm
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AuthorMaggie Fick
MediaWebsite - Yahoo News
News DateFriday, July 8, 2011 10:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionJUBA, Sudan (AP) — South Sudan becomes the world's newest nation Saturday after a half-century struggle, although many residents enjoyed a last few hours of quiet before a much-anticipated noisy independence day celebration.

Juba's streets were mostly peaceful Friday as the clock ticked down toward history, with many awaiting the big moment with family and friends. An occasional siren blared from a convoy of international visitors. Some horns honked and there was some joyous shouting.

But many people were reflective — like John Kuach, who sat at a restaurant with his family Friday evening with the green, red, blue and black flag of South Sudan wrapped around his shoulders.

A former child soldier who joined the army after his father died in fighting with the north, Kuach recounted the towns of South Sudan where he wielded a gun: Juba, Kapoeta, Yei and Koric. He first fought at age 15.

"Tomorrow is a big day for the new nation, the Republic of South Sudan," said Kuach, 37. "But some people are not happy because we lost heroes, those who were supposed to be in this celebration.

"So we are thinking, 'Is this true? Is this a dream? A new country?'" he said.

At birth, South Sudan will be one of the poorest and least-developed places on Earth. Unresolved problems between the south and its former foe to the north could mean new conflict along the new international border, advocates and diplomats warn.

The internationally brokered 2005 peace deal that ended more than two decades of north-south war expires at midnight Friday. That's when Sudan — which South Sudan is breaking away from — officially recognizes the new country.

South Sudan becomes the 193rd country recognized by the United Nations and the 54th U.N. member state in Africa.

The young government faces the huge challenge of reforming its bloated and often predatory army, diversifying its oil-based economy, and deciding how political power will be distributed among the dozens of eth
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