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World Looks to Obama's Inauguration


Everyday citizens and world leaders are looking to Washington, DC, Tuesday where President-elect Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th U.S. president.

A BBC poll of more than 17,000 people in 17 countries indicates that people throughout the world are optimistic about Mr. Obama's presidency. Two out of three people surveyed (67%) said they believe Mr. Obama will strengthen U.S. relations abroad.

Jubilant Kenyans are singing and dancing in the village of Kogelo, where Mr. Obama's father was born. Kenyan officials have set up a giant television screen in Nairobi's main convention center so people can watch the man many Kenyans call "one of us" take the oath of office.

Hula dancers are shaking their hips in Obama, Japan, to celebrate the inauguration of a man who coincidentally shares the name of their city.

And parties are planned in Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, where Mr. Obama attended school as a child.

Former classmates of the president-elect are gathering to watch the boy they once knew assume the highest office in the United States. And a photographer in Jakarta who bears a striking resemblance to Barack Obama says he is getting plenty of attention these days.

On the political front, world leaders are already offering their congratulations to Mr. Obama.

At the Vatican, Pope Benedict said in a message that he is praying for God to grant Mr. Obama "unfailing wisdom and strength."

Officials in Britain and Japan Tuesday offered statements of support and pledges to work closely with his administration.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.


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