The world responds

By now we've seen the photos of Barack Obama's grandmother celebrating his victory in her village in Kenya. But that's just the beginning. Here's just a quick selection of tidbits from the international media, covering the response to Obama's election:

A BBC round-up of responses from world leaders, in which, most notably, a spokesman for Ayatollah Khameini of Iran (he's the guy who really runs the country - not the much-discussed Ahmedinejad) says "there is capacity for the improvement of ties between America and Iran" because of hope that Obama will not be so belligerent as Bush has been. Also, a spokesman for the Taliban in Pakistan says he hopes the Obama will, "instead of using [Americans'] taxes to convert the world into a pile of dynamite, spend it on their welfare and well-being."

Al-Jazeera in English  has a similar selection, but with different choices of quotes: "Obama's victory is... evidence that Bush's policies have failed," said Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, a former speaker of the Iranian parliament and a close adviser (and relative by marriage) to Khameini. "Americans have no option but to change their policies to save themselves from the quagmire Bush has created for them."

Syria's information minister, Mohsen Bilal, said he hopes Obama "will help change US policy from one of wars and embargos to one of diplomacy and dialogue."

Al-Jazeera also has an analysis of what Obama will do once in office. Near the top of the list: closing Guantanamo because it is such an international embarrassment. Also, the analysis by Rob Reynolds says Obama "will have an opportunity to re-make the negative US image in many Muslim countries if he chooses to reach out to them. The same will be true of relations with Africa."

Moving to other nations, the Irish Times runs a commentary declaring that Obama "is of a different order to anybody who has attained the White House and because of that he brings to it hopes not just of the Americans, and particularly black Americans, who voted for him, but of hundreds of millions around the world, who, understandably, see in this remarkable man a hope of serenity, justice and fairness in the world.

And another town, in the Irish county of Offaly, celebrates its connection to Obama - he can trace his roots not only to Kenya and Kansas, but also to Moneygall.

The New Zealand Web site Stuff has a summary of the tasks before Obama, including picking cabinet members.

CNN reports that Afghan president Hamid Karzai has asked Obama to stop American killing of civilians in his country.

And let's close this admittedly abbreviated round-up with two things from the Guardian: one saying Obama's election offers promise for the world's environment, and another looking at how the US and the UK could again be a tag-team making the world a better place.

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