(ROUGH CUT ONLY - NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. President Barack Obama thanked his supporters at an inaugural reception at the National Building Museum in Washington on Sunday (January 20). The President was joined on stage by First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden. Obama, who kept his remarks brief said the inauguration on Monday (January 21) was a very important celebration. "Make sure you know what we are celebrating is not the election or swearing-in of a President; what we are doing is celebrating each other and celebrating this incredible nation that we call home. And after we celebrate, let's make sure to work as hard as we can to pass on an America that is worthy not only of our past but also of our future," Obama said. Earlier, the President took the official oath for his second term at the White House in a small, private ceremony that set a more subdued tone compared to the historic start of his presidency four years ago. Obama, 51, will be sworn in publicly on Monday outside the West Front of the Capitol overlooking the National Mall in front of as many as 800,000 people, a much bigger ceremony replete with a major address and a parade.
Bushfires ravage the state of Victoria, in southern Australia. Several towns are threatened by a spreading inferno. Here, in the town of Aberfeldy, some 200 km east of Melbourne, flames came close to people's homes. Residents were forced to leave as the fire grew out of control. Several houses have been lost in the fire, which now covers an area of almost 50,000 acres in the state. Firefighters are battling numerous bushfires around southern and eastern Australia. Scientists say a creeping climate shift is to blame for hotter average temperatures globally - and for extreme fire conditions here in Australia this season. But cooler temperatures and rain are predicted across much of the southeast over the weekend.
This is where French motorcyclist Thomas Bourgin died after colliding with a police car in Northern Chile. The Friday crash happened as Bourgin made his way to the start of a special stage of the Dakar rally. Authorities are now investigating the crash. (SOUNDBITE)(Spanish) PABLO TOLOZA, ANTOFAGASTA GOVERNOR, SAYING: "We've provided all the help we can to speed up the [investigation] that the medical and legal services need to undertake." This latest crash comes on the heels of another deadly rally incident. On Wednesday, two died and several more were injured in Peru after two taxis and a support truck working for a Dakar rally team crashed. The rally began in Lima on January 5 and is scheduled to end in Santiago on January the twentieth.
The unmistakable voice of David Bowie - back after a nearly a decade. The legendary musician gave fans an unexpected surprise by releasing new single "Where Are We Now?" on his 66th birthday. Produced by long-term collaborator Tony Visconti, the track reflects on his time spent in Berlin in the 1970s. The song appeared on Bowie's re-launched website and will be followed by an album entitled "The Next Day" - his first since 2003. Shooting to fame with "Space Oddity" in 1969, Bowie went on to stratospheric success with his glam-rock alter ego Ziggy Stardust. Re-inventing himself many times over the years and experimenting with different musical genres, Bowie is considered one of the most iconic acts of the pop era.
Director Quentin Tarantino's unique take on the Western gets the red carpet treatment in Rome. Wild West set revenge tale "Django Unchained" is generating its fair share of Oscar buzz after gaining 5 Golden Globe nods. Tarantino hoped Italians especially would appreciate his tribute to the 'spaghetti' Western. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DIRECTOR QUENTIN TARANTINO SAYING: "If it doesn't do well here then we probably suck because it seems like this is the place they would appreciate it. So, fingers crossed. Cross your fingers! " Actor Jamie Foxx takes the title role of Django - a freed slave, turned bounty hunter in a pre-abolition United States. Regular Tarantino cast member Samuel L Jackson was also in attendance, along with actress Kerry Washington. Before the gala screening, Tarantino was given the Rome Film Festival's Lifetime Achievement Award, with composer Ennio Morricone on hand to bestow the prize.
An early morning fire has killed five people including a child in an apartment block in France. The blaze in a Paris suburb took hold around four o'clock. Eighteen people including two firemen were injured. Seven people were rescued from the flames....http://www.euronews.net/
(ROUGH CUT -- NO REPORTER NARRATION) A car bomb exploded on Sunday near a convoy of buses taking Pakistani Shi'ite pilgrims to Iran, killing at least 20 people and wounding 24, officials said, the latest attack on the minority sect. Witnesses said the blast occurred as the three buses were overtaking a car about 60 km (35 miles) near the Iranian border west of Quetta, capital of sparsely populated Baluchistan province, site of many sectarian attacks. New York-based Human Rights Watch has noted more than 320 Shi'ites killed this year in Pakistan and said the government's failure to catch or prosecute attackers suggested it was "indifferent" to the killings.
(ROUGH CUT -- NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama visited soldiers and their families at a Marine Corps base in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, on Tuesday (December 25). During a short speech Obama thanked the hundreds of service members as they ate an early Christmas dinner. "Obviously we are still in a war-time footing. There are still folks as we speak who are overseas in Afghanistan risking their lives each and every day. Some of you may have loved ones who are deployed there," Obama said. "You have the entire community and country behind you and all of us understand that we would be nowhere without the extraordinary service that you provide," he added. Obama is cutting short his Hawaiian holiday to leave for Washington on Wednesday (December 26) to address the unfinished fiscal cliff negotiations with Congress, the White House said on Tuesday.
The Queen will pay tribute to the inspiring athletes who took part in the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics in her 3D Christmas message. Report by Barnesj. Like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/itn and follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/itn
The wake of a deadly car bomb in a Shi'ite neighbourhood of northern Baghdad. The blast killed at least 11 people and wounded more than 44. The attack came on a second consecutive day of violence across the country that has killed at least 26 people, mostly in northern Iraqi towns and villages. A resident at the scene said such attacks aimed to divide Muslims. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED RESIDENT OF NEIGHBOURHOOD, SAYING: "It (bomb) targeted civilian people who work to earn a living. This act cannot be accepted either by God nor by his prophet. Also Islam cannot accept such act. We are all Muslims, we believe in one prophet and our Qibla (the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca in which Muslims face in prayer) is one. There is no difference between Sunnis and Shi'ites. This is a sabotage work against the country and humanity as a whole." Violence in Iraq has eased since the carnage of 2006-2007, but sectarian strife persists.
TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~**NO ACCESS USA/AOL/CNN/YAHOO/WIRELESS** Pope Benedict expresses his sorrow following a shooting rampage in the U.S. that killed 26 people - including 20 children - at a Connecticut school. During his weekly address in Vatican City, the pontiff said he was "deeply saddened" by what he called the senseless violence. He also delivered a message to the parents of the victims. "May the God of consolation touch their hearts and ease their pain," he said. The message came two days after a lone gunman shot his mother and then methodically killed 20 students and six teachers at this elementary school in Newton, Connecticut. The gunman, Adam Lanza, killed himself following what was one of the deadlinest mass shootings in the U.S. history.
Gay rights activists celebrate a legal victory in the streets of the city of Oaxaca, Mexico. Last week Mexico's Supreme Court ruled that a law banning gay marriages in Oaxaca was unconstitutional. The law paves the way for same-sex couples to marry in that state and elsewhere in the country. The tribunal dismissed a law that declared the purpose of marriage was to "prolong the species." The court also said in its ruling that conditioning marriage unions to those between a man and a woman "violated the principle of equality." Luna Violeta, an indigenous gay and transvestite from Oaxaca, was pleased with the ruling. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) INDIGENOUS GAY AND TRANSVESTITE, LUNA VIOLETA, SAYING: "It's a very important resolution that the supreme court recognises our civil rights as people and Mexican citizens." The ruling by the court stems from a lawsuit filed by three gay couples against Oaxaca state. Alex Ali Mendez Diaz, from the Oaxacan Front for the Respect and Recognition of Sexual Diversity, helped the couples file the lawsuit. He said the ruling only protects those three couples who requested the appeal, and further legal action is necessary. In 2010, Mexico City became the first capital in mainly Catholic Latin America to pass a law allowing gay couples the same marriage and adoption rights as heterosexuals.
Semi-naked Santas have participated in a Christmas fun-run through the streets of Budapest in Hungary for a children's charity. Report by Hayeska. Like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/itn and follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/itn
The European Union's three presidents are in Oslo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize on Monday for its transformation from a continent in war to one in peace.There has been much criticism of the Nobel committee's decision because of the economic crisis the bloc is currently mired in but the European Council President's is confident that positive change is coming....http://www.euronews.net/
Software guru, John McAfee, who is on the run from police in Belize, speaks shortly before his arrest for entering Guatemala illegally. Report by Gillettr. Like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/itn and follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/itn