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Ashraf Shazly

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PROTECTION MODE
PROTECTION MODE: A woman protected a child during a demonstration in Aisén, Chile, Thursday. Aisén leaders are holding meetings with government representatives in order to help residents attain a better quality of life. (Felipe Trueba/European Pressphoto Agency)

ON THE RUN
ON THE RUN: A man competed in the United Nations-sponsored Gaza Marathon Thursday. Some 2,200 children and 300 adults traversed the Gaza Strip north to south. The children ran segments of one kilometer (0.6 miles), while some of the adults ran full marathons, a spokesman said. (Ali Ali/European Pressphoto Agency)

HEADED HOME
HEADED HOME: Ethnic South Sudanese people prepared to board a train home from Khartoum, Sudan, Thursday. They have until April 8 to return home or acquire documents that allow them to stay in the north. (Ashraf Shazly/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

HUMOR IN TRAGEDY
HUMOR IN TRAGEDY: Alli Ferrell and Christian Murray waited as Lindsey Murray painted ‘For sale! Fixer upper’ on the side of their grandmother’s tornado-stricken home in Harrisburg, Ill., Wednesday. Their grandmother wasn’t at home at the time of the tornado. (Stephen Lance Dennee/Associated Press)

PEEKABOO
PEEKABOO: A woman peeked around a corner as casino owner Milton McGregor, behind his attorneys, walked to a courthouse in Montgomery, Ala., Thursday. The jury began deliberations in a gambling-corruption trial against Mr. McGregor and five others, including a state senator. (Amanda Sowards/Montgomery Advertiser/Associated Press)

PILEUP
PILEUP: Men tussled for a leather ball during an annual event in Jedburgh, Scotland, Thursday. The event, which started in the 1700s, involves ‘Uppies’ and ‘Doonies,’ residents from the upper and lower parts of Jedburgh, trying to get the ball to a part of town. (Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)

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The world has a new nation. The Republic of South Sudan officially seceded from Sudan on July 9, ending a 50-year struggle marked by decades of civil war. After a referendum earlier this year on independence passed with the support of 99% of the population of southern Sudan, events were set in motion that led to Saturday's celebration. Joy marked the festivities, but South Sudan faces steep challenges. Although the country has oil reserves and fertile soil, there is much poverty and little infrastructure. Collected here are images from the last several months, showing scenes of daily life, portraits of South Sudanese, and the celebration of independence. -- Lane Turner (36 photos total)
Thousands celebrate their country's independence during a ceremony in the capital Juba on July 9, 2011. South Sudan separated from Sudan to become the world's newest and 193rd nation. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images)

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