BBC news 2011-07-10

BBC News with Marion Marshall

World leaders have congratulated the Republic of South Sudan on gaining independence. The American President Barack Obama said it was a reminder that after the darkness of war, a new dawn was possible. Tens of thousands of people celebrated in the capital Juba as the flag of South Sudan was raised at the tomb of the rebel leader John Garang, who led the fight for nationhood. The speaker of the Legislative Assembly, James Wani Igga, caught the mood of the crowd.

"Southern Sudan, oh yeah. Freedom, oh yeah. Freedom, oh yeah."

Our correspondent Will Ross is in Juba. He witnessed the day's events and sent us this report.

The euphoria built as people here waved goodbye to the north of Sudan and the flag of South Sudan was raised. Tens of thousands watched, full of pride, the end of a long journey through decades of war. Wearing his trademark black cowboy hat, the President of the South, Salva Kiir, was sworn in and pledged better times ahead. The conflict with the north means this new nation starts out as one of the very poorest on the planet.

Speaking in Juba, the northern President Omar al-Bashir congratulated southerners on their new state, and he called on the United States to lift sanctions against his country. James Copnall reports.

President Omar al-Bashir told a crowd of tens of thousands and visiting heads of state from around the world that Sudan had fulfilled its promises. Many had believed Khartoum would never let oil-rich South Sudan secede. Now President Bashir said it was time for America to keep its word and remove its sanctions from Sudan. The sanctions cause considerable difficulty for the Sudanese economy, which with the South's independence has now also lost most of its oil.

The head of the United Nations refugee agency, Antonio Guterres, says he wants international agencies to go into Somalia to tackle the devastating effects of drought. In a BBC interview, Mr Guterres said he believed the UN was involved in discussions in Somalia to overcome security obstacles so that humanitarian assistance could be delivered. He said the drought in East Africa has been more severe in Somalia than anywhere else. Many Somalis, he said, were trapped in the country by conflict and couldn't reach refugee camps in neighbouring Ethiopia or Kenya.

Amnesty International has called for the former President of Chad, Hissene Habre, not to be returned to Chad by the Senegalese authorities since he's been sentenced to death in his absence. Mr Habre has been living in Senegal for many years, but on Friday, the Senegalese authorities agreed to return him to Chad to face justice. Mr Habre has been accused of killing and torturing thousands of civilians during his years in power which ended when he was overthrown.

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The new American Defence Secretary Leon Panetta says the strategic defeat of al-Qaeda is within reach. He made the comment to reporters during a visit to Afghanistan. Our correspondent Quentin Sommerville reports from Kabul.

Leon Panetta says that following the death of Osama Bin Laden, the United States would put "maximum pressure" on al-Qaeda in the hope of crippling the group and removing it as a threat to the United States. He said that there were between 10 to 20 key al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. "If we go after them, I think we can strategically defeat al-Qaeda," he told reporters travelling with him to Afghanistan. It's his first visit here as defence secretary. Officials in Kabul say it may be a chance to reset the deteriorating relationship between Washington and Afghanistan.

More than 1,600 people have been arrested in Malaysia at an unlawful rally held to demand electoral reform. Police used tear gas to disperse thousands of anti-government protesters. Several people were injured, including the Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

"We were attacked from both corners, but what was horrifying is that the police shot directly at the protesters, and some of them clearly aimed at me personally. So my security assistants had to cover me, and one was badly injured because the canister was shot direct."

Journalists in Britain have been working on the final edition of the best-selling Sunday newspaper, the News of the World, after more than 160 years in print. Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch's News International corporation is closing the paper after it was revealed its staff had unlawfully intercepted telephone messages. Politicians and celebrities have joined public outrage against the paper.

One of Latin America's most respected folk singers, Facundo Cabral, has been shot dead in Guatemala, where he'd been giving a concert. The Argentine singer-songwriter, who was 74, was on his way to the airport in Guatemala City when gunmen opened fire on his car. He died at the scene.

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