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South Sudan: The Newest Nation in the World

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Last Saturday, the Republic of South Sudan declared its independence, creating the newest nation in the world -- the 193rd nation to join the United Nations. The new country has been in the making since a referendum last January, when nearly 4 million southern Sudanese voted to secede from Sudan by a margin of more than 98 percent. The region has been involved in civil wars for at least the past 50 years, and the days-old nation is already battling several armed groups within its new borders. Many issues still remain unresolved -- the oil-rich region continues to rely on pipelines that run through Sudan, and a revenue-sharing agreement has not been reached. The new nation, which is comprised of more than 200 ethnic groups, has a largely rural economy, and poverty, civil warfare, and political instability will be the biggest of many challenges for the new administration. Gathered here are scenes from South Sudan as it made its debut on the world stage this weekend. [35 photos]

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A Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) soldier stands in line during a rehearsal for the Independence Day ceremony in Juba, on July 5, 2011. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)
A Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) soldier stands in line during a rehearsal for the Independence Day ceremony in Juba, on July 5, 2011. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)
A man runs through the streets waving a South Sudan national flag in celebration of the country's independence in Juba, South Sudan, late Friday, July 8, 2011. South Sudan became the world's newest nation at midnight. (AP Photo/Andrew Burton) #
People celebrate South Sudan's independence day in Juba July 9, 2011. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) #
A man dances with fireworks during South Sudan's independence day celebrations in Juba July 9, 2011. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) #
Southern Sudanese celebrate independence from northern Sudan at midnight in Juba, Saturday, July 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Pete Muller) #
A woman holds a candle during South Sudan's independence day celebrations in Juba July 9, 2011. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) #
A girl from the Dinka Rek sub-tribe poses for a portrait in a remote cattle camp in Wunlit County, southern Sudan. Few women stay in cattle camps as the responsibility of grazing and protecting cattle often falls to young men. The role of cows to pastoral tribes like the Dinka is paramount. They are used for marriage dowries, currency and serve as the foundation of social status. The desire to possess large numbers of cattle for social purposes leads many young men to take part in violent cattle raiding, during which tribes or sub-tribes use modern weaponry to steal cows from neighboring communities. The prevalence of large scale cattle raiding remains of the major security challenges in newly-independent South Sudan. Photo taken on April 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Pete Muller) #
A group of internally displaced people from Abyei, huddle round a fire in a makeshift refugee camp in the village of Mayen Abun, southern Sudan on Thursday, May 26, 2011. Heavy fighting in neighboring Abyei earlier this week, had forced some thousands of people to abandon their homes and flee to Mayen Abun, from heavy fighting between northern and southern Sudanese forces which erupted earlier. (AP Photo/Pete Muller) #
Deng Choul Padol, a senior Dinka chief, poses for a portrait in the town of Khorfulus, Jonglei state, Southern Sudan. Photo taken April 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Pete Muller) #
People gather during independence celebrations in Juba, South Sudan, on Saturday, July 9, 2011. South Sudan raised the flag of its new nation for the first time on Saturday, as thousands of South Sudanese citizens swarmed the capital of Juba to celebrate the country's birth. (AP Photo/David Azia) #
Salva Kiir, the President of the freshly declared Republic of South Sudan, waves to supporters prior to declaring independence in the capital city of Juba on Saturday, July 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Pete Muller) #
South Sudan President Salva Kiir arrives at the independence ceremony in Juba, South Sudan, on Saturday July 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Andrew Burton) #
Members of the Sudan People's Liberation Army band arrive for the start of independence celebrations in Juba, South Sudan, Saturday, July 9, 2011. (AP Photo/David Azia) #
A red carpet, rolled out during the independence ceremony of the Republic of South Sudan, in Juba, South Sudan, on Saturday July 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Andrew Burton) #
A South Sudanese riot policeman bearing tribal markings on his face stands guard during celebrations marking South Sudan's independence in Juba on July 9, 2011. (Phil Moore/AFP/Getty Images) #
Colin Powell arrives at Juba airport for the Independence Day celebrations in South Sudan's capital Juba, July 9, 2011. (Reuters/Benedicte Desrus) #
A man waves South Sudan's national flag as he attends the Independence Day celebrations in the capital Juba, July 9, 2011. (Reuters/Thomas Mukoya) #
A woman cries tears of happiness near the newly-unveiled statue of Dr. John Garang de Mabior, leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Army, before the independence ceremony of the Republic of South Sudan in Juba, South Sudan, on July 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Andrew Burton) #
Southern Sudanese celebrate their first independence day in front of a statue of the late John Garang, the former leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Army, in the capital city of Juba on Saturday, July 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Pete Muller) #
Southern Sudanese gather to celebrate their first independence day in the capital city of Juba, on Saturday, July 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Pete Muller) #
Southern Sudanese military helicopters fly over, carrying two South Sudan flags during a ceremony in the capital of Juba, on July 9, 2011. (Phil Moore/AFP/Getty Images) #
A woman waves the flag of South Sudan during independence celebrations in Juba, South Sudan, on Saturday, July 9, 2011. (AP Photo/David Azia) #
Three young cattle keepers from the Dinka Rek sub-tribe pose for a portrait in a remote cattle camp in Wunlit County, southern Sudan. This group of Rek had gathered along the area's only remaining river as the dry season in southern Sudan pushed into its final weeks. As pastoral groups consolidate their herds at scarce water points, the frequency of raiding by other groups increases. In this remote camp, hundreds of young, armed men stood guard over more than one thousand head of cattle. The morning after this photo was taken, these and other Rek repelled a violent raid on their herds by a neighboring sub-tribe. The fighting left at least three people dead and several more badly wounded. Photo taken April 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Pete Muller) #
A woman prays as she holds a South Sudan flag and cross at the base of a statue of Dr. John Garang de Mabior, leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Army, before the independence ceremony in Juba, South Sudan, on Saturday July 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Andrew Burton) #
Injured members of the Sudan People's Liberation Army, SPLA, march in a parade during the independence ceremony in Juba, South Sudan, on Saturday July 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Andrew Burton) #
Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) soldiers hold AK-47 rifles during a rehearsal for the Independence Day ceremony in Juba, on July 5, 2011. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) #
An extended family member of Martha Abiem Deng poses for a portrait in a makeshift camp in Turalei, southern Sudan on Friday, May 27, 2011. The family traveled by foot from Abyei to Turalei, a journey that took more than two full days. The family was taken in by residents of Turalei who feed them despite extreme food shortages in the town. According to local officials in Turalei, approximately 80,000 residents of Abyei have sought refuge in neighboring Twic County, of which Turalei is the administrative capital. The mass exodus was prompted by a massive northern Sudanese military offensive on the disputed Abyei. Days of heavy fighting and bombardment left the northern military in effective control. (AP Photo/Pete Muller) #
Southern Sudanese gather to hear the formal declaration of independence in the capital city of Juba on Saturday, July 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Pete Muller) #
A South Sudanese man attends the Independence Day celebrations in Juba, on July 9, 2011. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) #
A young cattle keeper from the Dinka Rek sub-tribe poses for a portrait in a remote cattle camp in Wunlit County, southern Sudan. He holds an AK-47 assault rifle, a common weapon among young cattle keeping males. This image was made at the border between southern Sudan's Lakes and Warrap states where cross-border cattle raiding is extremely common. Photo taken on April 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Pete Muller) #
A mother and her children who recently fled heavy fighting stand inside a schoolroom that has been transformed into a makeshift camp for displaced persons in the town of Khorfulus, Jonglei state, Southern Sudan. Photo taken on April 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Pete Muller) #
Southern Sudanese wave flags and cheer at the Republic of South Sudan's first national soccer match in the capital of Juba, on Sunday, July 10, 2011. The game, played against Kenya, took place just one day after South Sudan declared its independence from the north following decades of costly civil war. (AP Photo/Pete Muller) #
South Sudanese men sit on the wall of a soccer stadium in South Sudan's capital Juba during their country's first international football game against Kenya on July 10, 2011. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images) #
A crowd of spectators erupt cheer as they celebrate their national soccer squad scoring the first goal of the match against Kenya's soccer club team Tusker FC at a soccer stadium in South Sudan's capital Juba, on July 10, 2011. The joy was short lived as the Kenyan squad scored 3 goals and defeated the home team 3-1. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images) #
A South Sudanese man wears a shirt made of the new national flag during the Republic of South Sudan's first national soccer match in the capital of Juba, on Sunday, July 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Pete Muller) #

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