Joe Biden sworn in as 46th president of the United States — as it happened | News | DW | 20.01.2021

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Joe Biden sworn in as 46th president of the United States — as it happened

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been sworn in during a ceremony with no public in attendance amid security and pandemic concerns. Donald Trump is the first modern president to skip the event. Follow DW for the latest.

Watch video 02:35

What will Biden do on trade with EU?

  • Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been sworn in as the next president and vice president of the United States
  • Outgoing President Donald Trump left the White House in the morning rather than attend any of the day's events
  • The inauguration comes just two weeks after deadly riots by Trump supporters at the US Capitol and amid the COVID pandemic
  • Vice President Harris has become the first woman, first African-American and first person of South Asian descent to hold the post
  • "Democracy has prevailed," Biden said in his inaugural speech

  • The National Mall, facing the US Capitol has been decorated with some 200,000 flags to represent the absent crowds

  • Biden has signed several executive orders, addressing the pandemic, the US economy, climate change and racial injustice

All updates in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC/GMT)

03:25 As Tom Hanks lays down his microphone, so do we. Thanks for joining throughout the inauguration of the 46th president of the United States and stay up to date with the DW news page, as Joe Biden gets to work on his first full day in office.

03:10 With the show coming to an end, check out this article on the reaction of leaders across the globe.

03:00 As "Celebrating America" comes to a conclusion, and with fireworks lighting the Washington sky, Joe Biden and his family give a wave from the balcony of the White House to herald a new beginning, both at home and abroad.

02:25 Vice President Kamala Harris has been speaking, in front of the reflecting pool, where yesterday she and Joe Biden stood to remember the 400,000 people who have died of the coronavirus in the US.

"It is my honor to be here, to stand on the shoulders of those who came before, to speak tonight, as your vice president," she began.

"In many ways this moment embodies our character as a nation. It demonstrates who we are, even in dark times. We not only dream, we do. We not only see what has been, we see what can be. We shoot for the moon, and then we plant our flag on it. We are bold, fearless and ambitious. We are undaunted in our belief that we shall overcome, that we will rise up. This is American aspiration."

02:05 Joe Biden has spoken once more, at the Lincoln Memorial, as part of the "Celebrating America" event to welcome in the new president. "I've never been more optimistic about America than I am this very day," he said. "Because of you, democracy has prevailed. That's why Jill and I, Kamala and Doug, wanted to make sure that our inauguration was not about us, but about you, the American people," he said, referencing both his wife, the vice president and her husband.

Biden continued: "America's story depends not on any one of us, not on some of us, but on all of us — on we, the people. That's the task before us, the only way we'll get through the darkness around us."

Watch video 01:27

'He's gonna bring everybody together'

01:50 A number of leaders across Asia have hailed the inauguration of the new president.

South Korean President Moon Jae-In even took a thinly veiled swipe at Biden's predecessor as he tweeted: "@JoeBiden, congratulations on your inauguration. America is back. America’s new beginning will make democracy even greater. Together with the Korean people, I stand by your journey toward 'America United'."

Meanwhile, the Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen said in a statement: "President Tsai wishes the new Biden administration smooth policy implementation, and looks forward to building on the strong foundation of the Taiwan-US partnership to further our bilateral collaboration, as well as the prosperity of, and friendship between, the people of both countries."

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has written a letter to the new president. "Strong American leadership will make a decisive difference to our collective recovery and the shape of the post-COVID-19 world."

"There is a deep reservoir of goodwill for the US in our region, because of the vital role the United States has played anchoring regional stability and economic prosperity for over half a century."

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga took to Twitter to say: "Congratulations to President @JoeBiden and Vice President @KamalaHarris on your inauguration. Japan and the United States are allies tied firmly by bonds and shared universal values. I look forward to working with you and your team to reinforce our alliance and to realize a Free and Open Indo-Pacific."

01:45  Tom Hanks followed Springsteen's performance with the words "In the last few weeks, in the last few years, we've
witnessed deep divisions and a troubling rancor in our land. But tonight we ponder the United States of America." The star of "Toy Story" is hosting the event that is available via a live stream.

01:40 Bruce Springsteen has kicked off the evening's proceedings, singing "Land of hope and dreams" as the "Celebrating America" event gets underway. 

01:10 Asked what it was like for Joe Biden to finally head into the White House more than 30 years after his first bid to become president, Press Secretary Psaki said he felt "an incredible sense of calm, some joy, and he felt like he was coming home."

01:00 Joe Biden will leave the "mechanics" of how to proceed with former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial to the US Senate, the newly installed White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

"We are confident that ... the Senate ... can do their constitutional duty while continuing to conduct the business of the American people."

00:30 Joe Biden's first telephone call to a foreign leader will be with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and it will happen on Friday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in her first media briefing.

Psaki said the pair will discuss bilateral issues as well as the new president's decision to revoke the permit needed to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

00:10 Swearing in some 1,000 appointees, Biden told his staff that if he ever heard them disrespect someone else he'd fire them "on the spot," the Washington Post has reported. "No ifs, ands or buts."

The president, who replaces someone known for his acerbic tone, told them: "We have a chance to change things."

Biden also said he'd be holding himself to high standards. "I'm going to make mistakes," Biden said. "And when I make 'em, I'll acknowledge 'em."

00:05 Further information is emerging on the actions Biden signed, including an order to establish a new White House office coordinating the response to the coronavirus and halting the process of withdrawing from the World Health Organization.

23:40 Wall Street has hit new records and stock markets across the globe climbed after Joe Biden's inauguration, with traders heartened by the new president's plan to inject even more stimulus into the economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dow and S&P 500 posted all-time highs, but none increased more than the Nasdaq, which gained 2% thanks in part to Netflix, which reported a share price surge in its quarterly update.

22:25 President Joe Biden has revealed that Donald Trump had left him a "very generous" letter in the Oval Office, in keeping with tradition of other outgoing presidents.

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Top US author: Biden is 'the person' to heal US

22:20 Joe Biden has signed a raft of executive actions to overturn some of Donald Trump's most controversial policies.

Biden put pen to paper on the first order which was regarding the coronavirus, including a proposal on wearing face masks for 100 days. He then signed an order on racial equality, before signing a third one — rejoining the Paris climate accord, reversing Donald Trump's decision to leave the international treaty.

22:15 Here's a review of today's events in pictures.

21:55 Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has offered his congratulations to Joe Biden, despite spending several weeks to recognize the US president's election victory.

"I congratulate Joe Biden, 46th president of the United States. The relationship between Brazil and the United States is old, solid and founded on high values, such as the defense of democracy and individual freedoms," tweeted Bolsonaro.

"I remain engaged and ready to work for the prosperity of our nations and the well-being of our citizens."

I addressed a letter to the President of the USA, Joe Biden, congratulating him on his inauguration and explaining my vision of an excellent future for the Brazil-USA partnership

The Brazilian president also said he has sent a letter to Biden explaining his "vision of an excellent future partnership" between the two nations.

21:40 An emotional Lady Gaga has already performed a dramatic version of the US national anthem, Garth Brooks has sung a cappella, and Jennifer Lopez gave a shoutout in Spanish but there's still plenty more to come.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga sings the National Anthem on the West Front of the US Capitol

The show will later see a two-hour special broadcast across six television networks, as well as social media, hosted by Hollywood actor Tom Hanks.

The evening will also include performances from Bruce Springsteen, Katy Perry, Tim McGraw, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Justin Timberlake, Demi Lovato, and John Legend.

21:10 Kamala Harris and her husband also arrived at the White House for the first time after being sworn in as vice president.

21:00 Following in the footsteps of the president, Kamala Harris and her family have also gotten out of their vehicles and are walking the remaining stretch to the White House.

When asked by a reporter what her first job of the day would be after arriving at the White House, Kamala  responded: "Walking to work."

20:52 Joe Biden and his family have walked into the White House for the first time since he was sworn into office as president.

Joe and Jill Biden stand in front of the White House

Joe and Jill Biden entering the White House for the first time as the president and first lady

20:45 Joe Biden and his family have gotten out of the presidential motorcade to walk the remaining distance to the White House. Biden walked to the sidelines to fist-bump reporters and the scattered few spectators. It was speculated that he would remain in the vehicle due to security concerns.

20:07 German Chancellor Angela Merkel has congratulated Biden and Harris, saying she looks forward to a new chapter in bilateral relations. 

"Congratulations Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on your inauguration, which was a celebration of American democracy. I look forward to a new chapter of German-American friendship and cooperation," she said in a statement shared by her spokesman Steffen Seibert.

And German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has also welcomed the new administration, voicing hope for a change in Washington's foreign policy approach after Trump.

"Over the last four years we saw what 'America First' meant: no coordination, no consultations," Maas told public broadcaster ZDF. 

He said he was "very glad" that Biden has vowed to take a different foreign policy course than his predecessor.

"Because we need the United States in order to get a handle again on the big challenges, on the crises of this time."

19:45 Three former presidents —Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush — and their spouses are watching on as Biden and Harris pay their respects to the US military dead during a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

 U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala D. Harris attend a wreath laying ceremony

Biden and Harris paid tribute to fallen troops and US military veterans at a wreath laying ceremony

19:20 Pope Francis offered his "cordial good wishes and the assurance of my prayers" to Joe Biden, urging for him to be a unifying force in the United States.

"Under your leadership, may the American people continue to draw strength from the lofty political, ethical and religious values that have inspired the nation since its founding," he said.

"At a time when the grave crises facing our human family call for far-sighted and united responses, I pray that your decisions will be guided by a concern for building a society marked by authentic justice and freedom," the pope said in a statement. 

Biden is the second Roman Catholic to become US president since John F. Kennedy.

19:15 President Joe Biden reviewed US troops for the first time as president before heading to a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

Ceremonial troops and military bands marched by the new president and vice president, in a tradition that dates back to the first US President, George Washington.

19:00 "Europe is ready for a fresh start," said European Council President Ursula von der Leyen in a congratulatory message on Twitter.

"Thank you for your inspiring inaugural address and for the offer to cooperate," she wrote.

18:44 French President Emmanuel Macron has welcomed US President Joe Biden's intent to rejoin the Paris climate accord in a post on Twitter.

"Best wishes on this most significant day for the American people! We are together. We will be stronger to face the challenges of our time. Stronger to build our future. Stronger to protect our planet. Welcome back to the Paris Agreement," Macron wrote.

The European Commission has echoed Emmanuel Macron's statements, saying it welcomes the US return to the Paris climate accord.

"We are ready to fight climate change together again," it said in a statement on Twitter.

Biden's team has said he will sign an order to rejoin the Paris climate accord late on Wednesday and set a new path on the environment. He plans to enact a $2 trillion (€1.65 trillion) climate plan, which he says will prioritize green action in the economy and the country's recovery from COVID-19.

18:30 Joe Biden has signed his first orders as president, signing documents officially designating his Cabinet nominees, as well as an Inauguration Day order.

Later in the day, Biden is due to sign nearly a dozen executive orders addressing the coronavirus pandemic as well as rolling back several Trump-era policies, including the travel ban on Muslim-majority countries and rejoining the Paris Climate Accord.

18:00 Chinese state media outlet CCTV is reporting that China has imposed sanctions on 28 US nationals, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

They and their families are reportedly barred from entering China, Hong Kong and Macau. Their associated companies and institutions are also reportedly restricted from doing business with Chinese entities

The list includes appointees from the Trump administration including Peter Navarro, Robert C. O'Brien and Matthew Pottinger, according to CCTV.

17:55 Joe Biden has taken over the official @POTUS Twitter account, telling users he is heading to the Oval Office in the White House to start work.

"There is no time to waste when it comes to tackling the crises we face. That's why today, I am heading to the Oval Office to get right to work delivering bold action and immediate relief for American families."

Kamala Harris has likewise taken over the vice presidential Twitter handle, posting a short message: "Ready to serve."

All Trump's tweets under that handle have been archived under @POTUS45, but his infamous @realDonaldTrump remains suspended and inaccessible.

17:50 Standing on the steps of the US Capitol, Kamala Harris and her husband Douglas Emhoff officially said goodbye to Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence.

The former and current vice presidents shared a laugh before the Pences got into a car and drove away.

17:45 The Russian Foreign Ministry has said that it hopes Biden's administration will be more constructive and work with Russia on principles of equality and mutual interests.

In a statement, it denounced the Trump administration for wrecking multiple treaties in a pursuit of dominance. It called for a five-year extension of the START Treaty, a bilateral agreement on the reduction and limitation of weapons.

17:30 The inauguration ceremony has concluded. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and their spouses will now go meet members of the military.

Later, they will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery along with former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. They will also be joined by former first ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Due to the pandemic and security concerns, many of the Inauguration Day traditions will not be taking place as usual this year.

Biden and Harris will still travel to the White House with a military escort. A televised "Parade Across America" will take the place of the traditional in-person inaugural parade, followed by another televised event in the evening (local time) called "Celebrating America."

17:25 Leaders of the world are offering their congratulations to the freshly sworn-in president and vice president.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent his well wishes to the Biden-Harris administration, saying they will work to fight climate change and curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Biden to strengthen the Israel-US alliance.

Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin says as an Irish-American, Biden is a "true friend of Ireland."

17:15 Biden concludes his first address as president, in a speech dominated by a message of unity and cooperation for a divided nation.

"May God bless America and may God protect our troops. Thank you America."

17:13 In a nod to the rest of the world and Washington's allies, Biden vows to return the US to the world stage.

"America has been tested and we've come out stronger for it. We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again. Not to meet yesterday's challenges but today's and tomorrow's challenges. And we will lead not merely by the example of our power but by the power of our example."

"We will be a strong and trusted partner for peace, progress and prosperity."

17:10 In his "first act as president," Biden asks those watching the inauguration to hold a moment of silence in remembrance of those who have lost their lives in the coronavirus pandemic.

"In the work ahead of us, we're going to need each other," he said. "Let's set aside politics and face this pandemic as one nation."

17:05 Biden continues to call for civility and for people to come together.

"We must end this uncivil war, that pits red against blue, or rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this, if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts. If we show a little bit of tolerance and humility, and if we are … willing to stand in their shoes."

17:00 Biden notes the tense political climate in the US, addressing both his supporters and the ones who did not vote for him.

"My whole soul is in this. Bringing America together, uniting our people uniting our nation. I ask every American to join me in this cause."

"Hear me clearly. Disagreement must not lead to disunion. I pledge this to you. I will be a president for all Americans. I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did."

16:55 Speaking after being sworn in, Joe Biden has appealed for national unity.

"My fellow Americans, this is America’s day. This is democracy’s day. A day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve."

"On this hallowed ground, where just a few days ago violence sought to shake the Capitol's very foundation, we come together as one nation, under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have for centuries."

16:50 Joe Biden has taken the oath of office, becoming the 46th president of the United States. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts swore him in.

16:42 Kamala Harris has been sworn in as vice president of the United States. She was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina member of the country's highest court.

16:40 Trump has arrived at his home in Mar-a-Lago, in West Palm Beach, Florida. His motorcade passed throngs of supporters waving American flags, according to a local reporter. He is the first US president in 150 years to skip the inauguration of his successor.

16:38 Holding a golden microphone and wearing a dove symbolizing peace, pop star Lady Gaga sang the US national anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner."

16:35 Republican Senator Roy Blunt, who took five weeks to acknowledge that Biden won the election, spoke at length on American democracy.

"Once again we renew our commitment to our determined democracy, forging a more perfect union."

16:30 Shortly after Donald Trump left Washington, DW's Ines Pohl reports that a small group of people progressed towards the White House, celebrating Joe Biden's inauguration. Unlike in years past, the ceremony is closed to the public out of safety and coronavirus pandemic concerns.

16:28 Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar delivered the opening address, recalling the attack on the US Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters.

"This is the day our democracy picks itself up, brushes off the dust, and does what America always does: goes forward as a nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all," she said.

16:19 President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden have also been formally introduced, with the ceremony to swear him into office officially kicking off.

16:11 Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has arrived on the platform of the US Capitol where she will shortly be sworn in as the first woman to hold the post. She will also be the first Black person and first person of South Asian descent to be vice president.

16:05 Eugene Goodman, the Capitol Police Officer who was celebrated for leading rioters away from the Senate chambers on January 6, will take part in escorting Kamala Harris at the inauguration. CBS News reports that Goodman has been promoted to Acting Deputy Sergeant of Arms.

16:00 Prominent guests including former US presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have arrived on Capitol Hill for the inauguration. 

Although Donald Trump is absent from the ceremony, outgoing Vice President Mike Pence will attend, after skipping Trump's departure ceremony.

The participation of former presidents is part of a traditional show of unity and celebration of a new president.

15:45 Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg took one last jab at outgoing President Donald Trump.

"He seems like a very happy old man looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!" the 18-year-old activist posted on Twitter along with a picture of Trump leaving the White House.

The quote is almost an exact copy of what Trump wrote on Twitter in 2019 after Thunberg delivered an emotional speech at the United Nations.

15:28 Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, along with their spouses, have now arrived at the US Capitol ahead of the swearing-in ceremony.

15:15 Annalena Baerbock, co-leader of Germany's Green Party, tells DW that Joe Biden's presidency represents a chance to open a new chapter in transatlantic relations.

Europe should step up and engage more with issues of foreign and security policy rather than only wait for input from the US.

"The Obama administration called in the past for Europe to engage more, and I think it really has to face this challenge," she told DW.

Baerbock said Biden's signaling already ahead of taking office show he is committed to the key issue of fighting climate change.

"This is now the chance also for Europe, together with the United States of America, that we have a new coalition for climate neutral[ity] in the world," she said.

Shortly after being sworn in, Biden is expected to sign an executive order to have the US re-join the Paris Climate Accord.

Watch video 02:55

Germany's Greens see chance for 'new chapter' in transatlantic relations

13:30 Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, along with their spouses Jill Biden and Doug Emhoff, attended a mass at Saint Matthew's Cathedral in Washington, DC, in the first event of the inauguration festivities.

They were accompanied by Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress at Biden's encouragement, in a symbol of unity ahead of his swearing in. 

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, as well as Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell and House leader Kevin McCarthy, were all in attendance.

Joe Biden and Jill Biden at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle during Inauguration Day ceremonies

Joe Biden and Jill Biden at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle during Inauguration Day ceremonies

13:18 Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador urged President-elect Biden to grant legal status to Mexicans who are currently working in the US.

"We have been proposing that our compatriots who have been working for years should be regularized, contributing to the development of that great nation," Lopez Obrador told reporters at his regular news conference.

He also wished in the incoming US leader a peaceful inauguration.

12:45 Donald Trump addressed supporters at Joint Base Andrews. "We've accomplished so much together," the outgoing president said. "I will always fight for you."

Trump spent much of his goodbye address praising some of his administration's policies, including founding a new branch of the military called Space Force, appointing conservative judges to the Supreme Court and courts across the country, as well as his pandemic response.

The president claimed to have presided over great economic performance during his term, which in his view was only marred by the pandemic, calling it "the China virus." He also gave his administration credit for the COVID-19 vaccine and its historically fast roll out.

Trump did not mention Joe Biden by name and abstained from discussing the election, but he wished the incoming administration well. 

"I wish the new administration great luck and great success. I think they'll have great success, they have the foundation to do something really spectacular," he added.

"Have a good life, we will see you soon," Trump said, in his last words as president.

Donald Trump said goodbye to supporters at Joint Base Andrews and touted his record

Donald Trump said goodbye to supporters at Joint Base Andrews and touted his record

12:22 President Donald Trump left the White House for the final time and headed to Joint Base Andrews by helicopter, where he will say farewell remarks to supporters gathered there, before flying to Florida.

Trump will not attend the inauguration of Joe Biden nor meet with him, an extraordinary break with tradition. He is the first president to skip his successor's inauguration since Andrew Johnson, who did so in 1869.

"It's been a great honor, the honor of a lifetime. The greatest people in the world, the greatest home in the world," Trump told reporters gathered on the South Lawn of the White House before boarding the helicopter. "We accomplished a lot.''

Donald Trump and Melania Trump will travel to Florida

Donald Trump and Melania Trump will travel to Florida to begin a new life as private citizens

11:12 UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he looked forward to working with Joe Biden on their "shared priorities," ahead of the inauguration.

"As I said when I spoke with him on his election as president, I look forward to working with him, and with his new administration, strengthening the partnership between our countries and working on our shared priorities: from tackling climate change, building back better from the pandemic and strengthening our transatlantic security," Johnson said in Parliament.

11:00 Russia reacted to Joe Biden's inauguration by saying that relations between the two countries were up to his administration to determine. Moscow and Washington have been at odds since the US has accused Russia of meddling in the 2016 election in favor of Donald Trump and more recently, for a massive cyberattack on US government systems.

"Russia will live as it has lived for hundreds of years: seeking good relations with the United States," the Kremlin's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said. Whether Washington works towards achieving the same goal "will depend on Mr. Biden and his team," Peskov added.

In particular, the Kremlin hopes Biden will share Russia's commitment to extending the New START nuclear arms control treaty, Peskov said.

10:30 German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he felt relief on the day of Joe Biden's inauguration, calling it a "good day for democracy."

"I am greatly relieved that Joe Biden will be inaugurated as president today and move into the White House," Germany's head of state said. "I know this feeling is shared by many people in Germany." 

Steinmeier added that US institutions had proven their strength in the face of "great tests" and "hostility" during Trump's term.

09:20 Shortly after he is sworn in, Joe Biden is set to sign 17 executive orders and actions to reverse many of the policies of departing President Donald Trump. His administration hopes to immediately set new paths on immigration, the environment, fighting COVID-19 and the economy.

Among the executive orders are ending Trump's controversial travel ban on majority-Muslim countries, halting the construction of the US-Mexico border wall, rejoining the Paris Climate Accord and the World Health Organization, and revoking the approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Biden will also set a face mask mandate on federal properties, restore protections of nature reserves removed by Trump and seek freezes on evictions and protection for millions behind on their mortgage payments due to the pandemic.

Advisors of the president said in a statement that Biden sought to "take action, not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration, but also to start moving our country forward."

08:30 Global shares rose ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration, as markets were hopeful over the new US president's planned economic stimulus and the possibility for new measures to curb the pandemic in the country.

But Asian and European stock indexes only rose moderately, as concerns about the toll the pandemic is taking in Europe and the US still linger.

08:00 European Council President Ursula von der Leyen welcomed Joe Biden's inauguration, saying Europe now has a friend in Washington.

"This time-honored ceremony on the steps of the US Capitol will be a demonstration of the resilience of American democracy," Von der Leyen said. 

"And the resounding proof that, once again, after four long years, Europe has a friend in the White House," she added.

07:27 Residents in the tiny Indian village of Thulasendrapuram, near the southern coastal city of Chennai, cheered for Kamala Harris' inauguration as US vice-president. Harris' grandfather was from the village and moved to Chennai decades ago.

Special prayers for her success were held at the town temple during which the idol of Hindu deity Ayyanar, a form of Lord Shiva, was washed with milk and decked with flowers by the priest.

Harris' late mother was born in India and emigrated to the US to study at the University of California, where she married a Jamaican man, and they named their daughter Kamala, a Sanskrit word for "lotus flower.''

 A banner featuring US VP-elect Kamala Harris displayed in Thulasendrapuram

A banner featuring US VP-elect Kamala Harris displayed in Thulasendrapuram, India

06:45 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani welcomed Joe Biden's inauguration by urging his administration to return to the 2015 nuclear deal and lift crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

"The ball is in the US court now. If Washington returns to Iran's 2015 nuclear deal, we will also fully respect our commitments under the pact," Rouhani said in a televised cabinet meeting.

The Iranian president celebrated the departure of President Donald Trump, who had led a policy of "maximum pressure" on Iran.

Rouhani said a "tyrant's era came to an end and today is the final day of his ominous reign." 

"Someone for whom all of his four years bore no fruit other than injustice and corruption and causing problems for his own people and the world," the Iranian president added.

aw, rs, jcg, jsi/msh (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)

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