Barack Obama to be sworn in as new president of the United States

Washington: Barack Obama is poised to fulfil the classic 'American Dream' by being sworn in as the 44th president of the United States of America, and also, as the country's first African- American president. Born of a Kenyan father and a white mother from Kansas, Obama, 47, will be sworn into office at midday 0500 GMT (2215 IST) on the steps of the US Capitol.

Barack Obama At Obama's request the Bible used by Abraham Lincoln at his first inauguration in 1861 will be at hand for his swearing-in.

Obama sweeps into the White House riding on a wave of optimism of millions of people who have been galvanized by his calls for 'change.' In particular, his ascendancy into power will be a very emotional moment for millions of African-Americans who have seen generations of their forbears struggle to emancipate themselves from slavery and segregation.

On a less buoyant note, Obama also inherits a recession and two wars which are bound to test the skills of his administration. A gradual toning down of his rhetoric has already been in evidence with his ringing calls for 'change' morphing into warnings that the path ahead would be tough.

Obama comes into power when Americans have seen their financial system collapse and hundreds and thousands of jobs disappear.

It is estimated that at least a million people have swept into the capital Washington DC to witness the pomp and ceremony of the occasion.