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Worldwide hopes soar for Obama inauguration

A world made weary by war, recession, joblessness and fear shed its collective burden today to celebrate the arrival of a new American president.

world Updated: Jan 21, 2009 11:50 IST

A world made weary by war, recession, joblessness and fear shed its collective burden on Tuesday to celebrate the arrival of a new American president. Bulls and goats were slaughtered for feasts in Kenya and caterers prepared for black-tie balls in the capitals of Europe.

From Kenya and Indonesia, where Barack Obama has family ties, to areas around the world, Obama represented a volcanic explosion of hope for better days ahead.

The ascendance of the first African-American to the presidency of the United States was heralded as marking a new era of tolerance and possibility.

It was a reflection of Obama's sprawling, complex family tree that villages in places as diverse as Ireland and Kenya held special parties to celebrate their link to the new president.

An Irish village called Moneygall covered itself in red, white and blue bunting today in honour of Obama's connections, via a great-great-great grandfather named Fulmouth Kearney who emigrated to the United States in 1850. Road signs read "Moneygall welcomes our President, Barack Obama."

They also baked a special round fruitcake, locally called a "brack," to sell for the occasion -- and put pictures of Obama on the wrapping.

In Kenya, feasts were being prepared, beer with Obama's name on it put out and movie screens erected so neighbours could join together for the moment, a year after their own elections were marred by ethnic violence.

"Our election in Kenya really had problems with ethnicity ... America has shown that this doesn't have to be that big a problem," said Dr Joseph Osoo, who runs a clinic in one of Kenya's biggest slums.