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Air Force Intercepts Civilian Plane over Camp David

Two Air Force fighter jets intercepted a civilian aircraft over Camp David, Maryland on Saturday, according to a statement released by North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

"The civilian aircraft, which was out of radio communication, was intercepted and departed the Temporary Flight Restricted area, it landed without incident," NORAD officials said in a press release.

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S. Sudan’s President: A Day Forever Engraved on Our Hearts

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir on Saturday told thousands of jubilant southerners that their martyrs had not died in vain and that the newborn nation's Independence Day would always be engraved on their hearts.

"Our martyrs did not die in vain... We have waited for more than 56 years for this day. It is a day that will be forever engraved on our hearts and minds," Kiir said in a speech that was met with roars of approval.

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Turkey Wants Cyprus Referendum in Early 2012

Turkey hopes that accelerated peace talks in Cyprus will lead to a referendum on reunification early next year; Anatolia news agency quoted Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu as saying Saturday.

"We expect and hope that a comprehensive settlement is found to the Cyprus problem by the year-end, a referendum is held in the beginning of 2012 and a united Cyprus takes over the EU presidency in July 2012," Davutoglu said in the Turkish sector of Cyprus' divided capital Nicosia.

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Nations Welcome World's Newest State South Sudan

World leaders on Saturday hailed the birth of the world's newest nation, the Republic of South Sudan, as a historic event bringing to a close 50 years of conflict in northeastern Africa.

U.S. President Barack Obama led official recognition of the country, calling it "another step forward in Africa's long journey toward opportunity, democracy and justice."

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Bashir: South Sudan Success Will be Our Success

Sudan's Omar al-Bashir said on Saturday that the newly independent Republic of South Sudan's success "will be our success," and renewed his call for an end to U.S. sanctions against his country.

"We fulfill our commitment to help the new state of South Sudan in its first steps, because we want it to succeed, and because its success will be our success," Bashir said in a conciliatory speech to tens of thousands of southerners at the official independence ceremony in Juba.

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Panetta: Strategic Defeat of Qaida 'Within Reach'

The "strategic defeat" of al-Qaida is "within reach", U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Saturday as he arrived on a surprise visit to Afghanistan as the U.S. prepares a gradual drawdown of troops.

Panetta, who took office on July 1 to replace the outgoing Robert Gates, arrived in Kabul for a trip to include talks with President Hamid Karzai over the transition of some NATO-held areas to Afghan control starting mid-July.

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South Sudan Becomes World’s Newest Nation

Celebrations erupted in South Sudan on Saturday as the world's newest nation proclaimed formal independence and turned the page on five decades of devastating conflict with the north.

"Our martyrs did not die in vain... We have waited for more than 56 years for this day. It is a day that will be forever engraved on our hearts and minds," President Salva Kiir told tens of thousands of jubilant southerners at the official ceremony in Juba.

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Merkel Up for Third Mandate in 2013

German Chancellor Angela Merkel intends to run for a third mandate in the 2013 elections, she said on television on Saturday.

"I have high hopes that the Social Democrats will find me an adversary before the next election," the 56-year-old Christian Democrat leader, who has been in her job since 2005 and was re-elected in October 2009, told the SAT1 television channel.

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Afghan Spy Agency Guard Shoots Dead 2 NATO Troops

An Afghan spy agency guard opened fire and shot dead two NATO troops accompanying a reconstruction convoy traveling in a northern province on Saturday, the Afghan police said.

The shooting took place in the Darah district of Panjshir province, about 99 kilometers north of the capital, Kabul, according to provincial police chief Gen. Mohammad Qasim Jangalbagh.

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Gunfire Rattles Karachi as Death Toll Rises

Gunshots rattled Pakistan's largest city Saturday as authorities scrambled to bring an end to political and ethnic violence that has claimed at least 93 lives in five days.

The fighting in Karachi, a southern port city of 18 million people, has added to the instability in this nuclear-armed nation and U.S. ally already bedeviled by Islamist militancy.

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