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A new era for America

US president Joe Biden with US vice president Kamala Harris
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US president Joe Biden (right) with US vice president Kamala Harris (left) 

Highlights

  • Joe Biden sworn in President
  • Kamala Harris creates history as first woman Vice President

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Washington: Joe Biden on Wednesday became the 46th president of the United States, vowing a "new day" for the country after four years of tumult under Donald Trump who in an extraordinary final act snubbed the inauguration.

Kamala Harris was sworn in as the 49th Vice President, the first woman to hold the seat. The ceremony took place amid heightened security concerns after a mob of pro-Trump extremists violently breached the Capitol two weeks ago.

Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office to 78-year-old Biden just after the clock struck 12 (local time) at the West Front of the Capitol - the traditional location for presidential inaugural ceremonies.

The historic inauguration was held under an unprecedented security umbrella of more than 25,000 National Guards, who have transformed the capital into a garrison city, mainly because of the threat of more violent protests by the supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump, who is skipping the event. Biden took oath on his 127-year-old family Bible, which will be held by his wife, Jill Biden.

The historic speech, with the theme of unity and healing, has been prepared by his Indian-American speech writer Vinay Reddy.

Harris, 56, sworn in as 49th Vice President of the United States by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, is the first Latina member of the Supreme Court. She makes history as the first female, first Black and first Indian American vice president of the United States. Harris was sworn in on two Bibles - one that belonged to a close family friend named Regina Shelton and another that belonged to Thurgood Marshall - the country's first African American Supreme Court justice.

In her first tweet as Vice President from her official Twitter handle, she said: "Ready to serve." Harris, the daughter of an Indian immigrant from Chennai, scripted history by becoming the first-ever woman Vice President of the United States. She is also the first female, first Black and first South Asian American Vice President. Her husband Douglas Emhoff, 56, is the first 'Second Gentleman' - the first male spouse of a Vice President in the US. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina member of the Supreme Court, administered the oath of office to Harris. She was sworn in on two Bibles - one that belonged to a close family friend named Regina Shelton and another that belonged to Thurgood Marshall - the country's first African American Supreme Court justice. M R Rangaswami, Indiaspora founder said:

"I had goose bumps when I saw an Indian American woman take the oath as Vice President of the USA! Only here can a daughter of an Indian immigrant achieve her dream and much more. She is such an inspiration for my daughters and so many other young girls across the country!"

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