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Around the World, Praise for Obama

People around the world spilled into the streets to celebrate the victory of U.S. president-elect Barack Obama, many saying the win was an inspiration for minorities and a powerful signal that the United States intended to change direction.

"Many people in the world recall the 1960s, and children read about segregation and slavery. American has just taken a historic step and moved that story in a tremendous way. Prejudice and discrimination has not won out over character, ideas and vision."

"Now black and white can raise their shoulders high and can turn a page on issues of inequality," he said, marveling at the "amazing image" of a black family living in the White House.

In Germany, Benjamin Becker, 25, who studies English and history in Cologne, flew to Berlin for a party celebrating Obama's victory -- which he said would brighten global perceptions of the United States.

Becker, who spent a year in Atlanta on a Fulbright scholarship, said he had been "saddened" by America's diminished standing in the world in recent years.

"I remember 10 years ago when the United States was my absolute dreamland," Becker said. "Now I still am partial to the U.S., but the Bush years were detrimental for the country. I hope it will be much different now."

Newspaper headlines around the world portrayed Obama's election in soaring language. "One Giant Leap for Mankind," said the Sun newspaper in London, which dumped its usual topless Page 3 girl in favor of a photo of Obama voting. Said the Times of London, which devoted its entire front page to a photo of Obama smiling before an American flag: "The New World."

"Senator Obama's message of hope is not just for America's future, it is also a message of hope for the world as well," said Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

"Barack Obama's remarkable personal story -- allied to his eloquence and his huge political talents -- sends a powerful message of hope to America's friends across the world," said Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen, who invited Obama to visit Ireland, where he has ancestral roots.

"On this day, we are all reminded of those who struggled for civil rights in America for so many years, as well as all of those who work for justice and peace around the world today," Cowen said. "At a time of immense global challenges, today is a day of hope for the world."

In Afghanistan, where Obama will confront one of his first challenges in office, President Hamid Karzai praised Obama's election as a "great decision."

"I hope that this new administration in the United States of America, and the fact of the massive show of concern for human beings and lack of interest in race and color while electing the president, will go a long way in bringing the same values to the rest of world sooner or later," Karzai said.

In Ukraine, where Obama will confront a region where Russia is playing an increasingly assertive role, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko called Obama's victory "an inspiration for us. That which appeared impossible has become possible."

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