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Sunday, March 07, 2021

Highlights: Joe Biden, Kamala Harris sworn in amid tight security

Joe Biden took oath as the 46th president of the United States last night. Weeks after the Capitol Hill siege, there are extraordinary levels of security in place for the inauguration ceremony.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: January 22, 2021 9:36:08 am
Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts as Jill Biden holds the Bible during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.(Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)

Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on Wednesday. His deputy, Kamala Harris, the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, also took oath as the new Vice President, becoming the first woman, Black person, and first Asian-American to serve in the position.

In his first remarks, Biden said, “Here we stand days after a riotous mob thought they could silence the will of the people. It will not happen, not today, not tomorrow, not ever.” He pledged to be honest with the country as it continues to confront difficulties, saying leaders had an obligation to “defend the truth and defeat the lies”.

Saying there was “no time to waste”, Biden signed a slew of orders to “change the course” of the Covid-19 pandemic, combat climate change and advance racial equity. Undoing Donald Trump’s legacy, he lifted the travel ban on 13 Muslim-majority and African countries; halted construction of the US-Mexico border wall; and directed officials to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), among other things.

Meanwhile, Biden disclosed that Trump had written him a “generous” letter before departing from Washington. “The president wrote a very generous letter. Because it was private, I won’t talk about it until I talk to him. But it was generous,” he said.

In his final address before leaving the White House, Trump had told the nation, “We love the American people and again it has been something very special. And I just want to say goodbye, but hopefully it’s not a long term goodbye. We’ll see each other again.”

Live Blog

Joe Biden takes oath as 46th President of United States, Kamala Harris as Vice-President of the US; Biden gets straight to work, signs 17 orders to undo Donald Trump's legacy.

01:24 (IST)22 Jan 2021
Congress poised for quick action on Bidens Pentagon nominee

The Democraticcontrolled Congress is moving quickly to install retired Gen Lloyd Austin as President Joe Bidens secretary of defense brushing aside concerns about his retirement inside the sevenyear window that safeguards civilian leadership of the military The House is voting Thursday on a waiver that would exempt Austin from the sevenyear rule

All signs point to quick action in the Senate after that putting Austin on track to be confirmed as secretary by weeks end Austin a 41year veteran of the Army has promised to surround himself with qualified civilians and include them in policy decisions He said he has spent nearly his entire life committed to the principle of civilian control over the military. AP

20:55 (IST)21 Jan 2021
US inauguration turns poet Amanda Gorman into best seller    

The president's poet woke up a superstar on Thursday, after a powerful reading at the US inauguration catapulted 22-year-old Amanda Gorman to the top of Amazon's best-seller list. Hours after Gorman's electric performance at the swearing-in of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, her two books - neither out yet - topped Amazon.com's sales list. (Reuters)

18:41 (IST)21 Jan 2021
Explained: Role and responsibilities of Kamala Harris, the new US Vice President

Kamala Harris made history when she was sworn in as the 49th Vice President of the US. She is the first woman to hold the country’s second-highest office. In her inaugural address, Harris referred to “American aspiration” and called on people to “do what is good, to unite, to believe in ourselves, believe in our country, believe in what we can do together.”

The transition period is now over, which means that Harris and the 46th President of the US, Joe Biden can resume their responsibilities in what is being called the tensest moments in American history. Click here to read more.

Kamala Harris, US Vice President

16:34 (IST)21 Jan 2021
Joe Biden to sign 10 executive orders to combat coronavirus pandemic

President Joe Biden will sign 10 executive orders on Thursday to fight the coronavirus pandemic, including directing that disaster funds be used to help reopen schools and requiring that people wear masks on planes and buses, news agency Reuters reported citing officials.

Biden, a Democrat who took over from Republican President Donald Trump on Wednesday, has promised a fierce fight against the pandemic that killed 400,000 people in the United States under Trump's watch.

16:03 (IST)21 Jan 2021
Biden-Harris inauguration in pictures: 10 standout moments from the ceremony

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in as President and Vice President of the United States on Wednesday in a ceremony that was unlike any the country has witnessed before. Under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic and the recent siege on Capitol Hill, the ceremony took place under the watchful eye of nearly 250,000 National Guard soldiers and without the usual cheering crowds gathered along the National Mall. Click here to see some standout moments from the ceremony.

13:37 (IST)21 Jan 2021
‘Your continued faith in me has brought me to this moment’: Harris credits Indian mom

"Your continued faith in me has brought me to this moment," Vice-President Kamala Harris said, paying tribute to her Indian mother.

"My story is the story of millions of Americans. My mother Shyamala Gopalan arrived in the United States from India. She raised my sister Maya and me to know that though we may be the first, we should not be the last," Harris said at the Presidential Inaugural Committee's official Asian American inaugural ball on Wednesday. Read more here

12:25 (IST)21 Jan 2021
Joe Biden revamps Oval Office
President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo: Evan Vucci)

With the departure of Donald Trump, Joe Biden has redone parts of the Oval Office. Now, there's a bust of Cesar Chavez, the labor leader and civil rights activist, on the desk behind him. There are also sculptures of civil rights icons Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks. A portrait of Benjamin Franklin hangs from a nearby wall. Biden has rolled out a dark blue rug to replace a lighter colored one that Trump had chosen.

The one thing the two presidents have in common: They will both use the Resolute Desk, which was built from oak used in the British Arctic exploration ship HMS Resolute, the AP reports.

12:18 (IST)21 Jan 2021
Joe Biden's first call will be to Canada's Justin Trudeau

Joe Biden's first call with a foreign leader as President will be to Canada's Justin Trudeau, the White House says. Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the call will be made Friday, and the two leaders would discuss bilateral issues amd Biden's decision to formally revoke the permit needed to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline, reports Reuters. Read about the Keystone oil project here

11:27 (IST)21 Jan 2021
China sanctions Trump officials, Biden administration calls it 'unproductive' move

As Donald Trump left Washington, China announced sanctions against "lying and cheating" outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and 27 other top officials of the Trump administration for having "planned, promoted and executed" moves that had interfered in its internal affairs.

The new Biden administration has reacted, saying, "Imposing these sanctions on Inauguration Day is seemingly an attempt to play to partisan divides. Americans of both parties should criticise this unproductive and cynical move. President Biden looks forward to working with leaders in both parties to position America to out-compete China." Read more here

09:59 (IST)21 Jan 2021
For Kamala Harris, an influential voice and a decisive vote

As Vice-President, Kamala Harris plays an important and decisive role in the US Senate, which is currently divided 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats. Harris' tiebreaking vote will help push Joe Biden's proposed legislations on the pandemic, the economy, climate change and other policy matters. 

In her first role as Vice President, Harris will swear-in three newly elected Democratic senators, two who were elected in the recently-held Georgia special election. Read more here

09:03 (IST)21 Jan 2021
Trump wrote me a generous letter, says President Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden has disclosed that Donald Trump wrote him a “generous” letter before departing from Washington. “The president wrote a very generous letter. Because it was private, I won’t talk about it until I talk to him. But it was generous,” he told reporters.

08:25 (IST)21 Jan 2021
Biden signs 17 orders to undo Trump’s legacy

President Joe Biden unleashed a full-scale assault on his predecessor’s legacy Wednesday, acting hours after taking the oath of office to sweep aside former President Donald Trump’s pandemic response, reverse his environmental agenda, tear down his anti-immigration policies, bolster the sluggish economic recovery and restore federal efforts aimed at promoting diversity. 

Read here

06:13 (IST)21 Jan 2021

Watching Kamala’s big day from Delhi: ‘Just keep doing what your mother taught you’

Sitting at his Malviya Nagar home in Delhi, Gopalan Balachandran had his schedule clear for the night ahead: he would tune into CNN at 10:30 pm to watch his niece Kamala Harris being sworn in as the first woman Vice-President of the United States. Speaking to The Indian Express hours before the historic ceremony, he said: “I would have loved to be at the inaugural. But I did not want to risk it at this point. I will only go to the US after I have been vaccinated (against Covid). My daughter Sharada, who is very close to Kamala, is present at the ceremony.” Read Full Report 

05:04 (IST)21 Jan 2021
As DC turns page on Trump, Delhi works on reopening chapter

Promising to “repair our alliances and engage with the world once again,” Joseph Biden, sworn in as the 46th President of the United States Wednesday, signalled he was turning a troubled page on the Trump era. For the establishment in New Delhi, along with Indian Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu — who was attending the inaugural — the task is cut out. Sandhu’s predecessors in Washington, External Affairs minister S Jaishankar and Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, all are banking on their significant experience of dealing with Washington DC’s Beltway politics – and its key interlocutors. Read Full Report

01:52 (IST)21 Jan 2021
Biden, Harris pay respects to vets at Arlington

President Joe Biden has spent a few of the first moments of his term at Arlington National Cemetery, honoring fallen veterans, with three former presidents and their families. The president and first lady Jill Biden, and newly sworn-in Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff, presided over a wreathlaying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider on Wednesday.

After cannon fire rumbled in the distance, Biden saluted as a military band played the national anthem. Biden and Harris later briefly touched the wreath before bowing their heads in prayer. AP

00:25 (IST)21 Jan 2021
Pope tells Biden he prays God will guide reconciliation in US

Pope Francis told US. President Joe Biden on Wednesday that he was praying that God would guide his efforts to bring reconciliation in the United States and among the nations of the world.In a message sent shortly after the second Catholic U.S. president was sworn in, Francis also said he hoped Biden would work towards a society marked by true justice, freedom and respect for the rights and dignity of every person, especially the poor, the vulnerable and those with no voice.

"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," Francis said."I likewise ask God, the source of all wisdom and truth, to guide your efforts to foster understanding, reconciliation and peace within the United States and among the nations of the world in order to advance the universal common good," he said. Reuters

00:11 (IST)21 Jan 2021
Empty streets, thousands of troops in Washington as Biden becomes US president

Joe Biden became the 46th US president on Wednesday in a barricaded city, guarded by more than 25,000 troops and emptied of the spectators who usually throng to the quadrennial ritual. The unprecedented precautions, which fenced off much of downtown Washington, ensured that Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took their oaths of office at 11:48 a.m. EST free of incident. Some right-wing extremist groups had vowed to disrupt Biden's inauguration in the wake of a Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol that left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer. Reuters

23:46 (IST)20 Jan 2021
'Work begins', tweets White House under President Biden

Shortly after Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the US, the White House tweeted a video, titled, 'Today, the work begins'.  'It may seem like we've never been more separate from each other, but we can change that, because we are united by the love for this country and the desire to make it better,' the video said.   

https://twitter.com/WhiteHouse/status/1351941074806337546?s=20

23:21 (IST)20 Jan 2021
'No time to waste in tackling the crises we face,' says President Biden

In his second tweet shared since taking over the official President of the United States (@POTUS) Twitter handle, President Joe Biden wrote, "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."

23:16 (IST)20 Jan 2021
'I look forward to working with Biden,' says British PM Boris Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined world leaders in congratulating Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th US President. 

Final preparations are made ahead of the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. (AP Photo: Carolyn Kaster)

Joe Biden, Kamala Harris inauguration ceremony

Due to the pandemic, Wednesday's celebrations have been dialled down. The event, which is expected to begin at around 8.30 am IST, will feature a first ever live stream for "young Americans".

After the live stream, Biden and Harris will oath of office, following which the newly-elected President will deliver his inaugural address. Biden will lay out the vision for his administration over the next four years. He will elaborate on his plans to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, strengthen the economy and unify the nation.

The ceremony will be followed by America’s long standing tradition of the ‘Pass in Reviews,’ where the military will reflect the peaceful transfer of power to a new Commander-in-chief. President-elect, First Lady, Vice President-elect, and Second Gentleman will participate in this event.

Joe Biden is set to receive a Presidential Escort to the White House, which will represent all branches of the American military.

The official ceremony will conclude with a “Parade Across America,” that features communities from across the nation and their performances. The parade will be televised at all the major American networks.

Bonus celebrations

The day will come to an end with a bonus 90-minute prime time programme, “Celebrating America,” hosted by Tom Hanks that will include interactions with Biden and Harris. This would also feature John Legend, Ant Clemons, Jon Bon Jovi, Eva Longoria, Demi Lovato, Bruce Springsteen, Justin Timberlake and Kerry Washington.

How you can watch Joe Biden inauguration ceremony

The inauguration ceremony will be aired at all the major US networks, including ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, MSNBC, and PBS. It can also be streamed live on https://bideninaugural.org/watch/ and Amazon Prime.

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