Morning Brief: Obama’s big day

Top Story It’s the first day of a new era as the United States and the world await the inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama as the 44th U.S. president. International polling shows that immense popularity and daunting expectations await Obama throughout the world as he takes power.  Obama spent his last day before he moves ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
589361_090120_obama6.jpg
589361_090120_obama6.jpg

Top Story

Top Story

It’s the first day of a new era as the United States and the world await the inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama as the 44th U.S. president. International polling shows that immense popularity and daunting expectations await Obama throughout the world as he takes power. 

Obama spent his last day before he moves into the White House doing community service for Martin Luther King Day while outgoing president George W. Bush called to wish farewell to several world leaders.

Millions of spectators have packed the Washington Mall in anticipation of Obama’s speech. There’s high anticipation that Obama’s speech (crafted primarily by a 27-year-old speechwriter in a D.C. Starbucks) will take its place next to those by Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and King.

Obama is planning to quickly take a number of steps after taking office including lifting restrictions on abortion education and stem cell research, devising a plan to draw down troop levels in Iraq and closing the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo.

Middle East

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is visiting Gaza, where the Israeli pullout continues. 

Israli political leaders are quickly shifting focus from Gaza to upcoming elections.

An Iranian official warned the Obama administration not to spy on Iran. 

Europe

Russian gas is flowing to Europe again.

A prominent Russian human rights lawyer and a journalist were killed while investigating neo-Nazi activity.

The British government announced a second major financial bailout. 

Asia

India test fired a missile near Pakistan.

Six were killed in rioting in Seoul. 

China wants closer military ties with the U.S. under President Obama.

Africa

Rwandan troops entered Eastern Congo to take on Hutu rebels.

Power sharing talks collapsed in Zimbabwe in what opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai called “probably the darkest day of our lives.”

Kenya’s parliament is considering setting up a court to investigate violence from last year’s election.

Americas

Ballots are being counted in El Salvador’s parliamentary election. Leftists seem likely to pick up seats in parliament. 

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and a fellow accused 9/11 plotter were unrepentant in a court appearance at Guantanamo. 

Photo: Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images

Joshua Keating is a former associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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