Middle East

No Independence Day for South Sudan; it says can't afford it

The world's youngest country has cancelled its Independence Day celebrations, saying what little money it has would be better spent elsewhere.

South Sudan's information minister told reporters this week that the nation's fifth anniversary on July 9 will be observed with a presidential speech instead.

He said the celebrations usually cost 10 million South Sudanese pounds, or more than $450,000.

The East African country gained independence from Sudan in 2011, but civil war broke out two years later. A peace deal was signed last year after tens of thousands of people were killed.

South Sudan remains fragile. The International Monetary Fund says its currency has depreciated by almost 90 percent since December. Its oil economy has plunged.

And the government this week announced the rise of a new rebel group.