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The World Sees Obama's Victory As a New Beginning for America

"This is an important victory for all of us. Mostly, of course for America, but also for everyone else in the world who's tired of a U.S. in the likeness of George Bush," says a gleeful 25-year-old named Clémence, returning to her Parisian apartment after a night watching the results with friends. "Tell your readers France says 'Thank you, America, for giving the world Barack Obama!'"

That sentiment is reverberating around the world, but there are dissenters. A majority of Israelis would have felt more comfortable with a Republican President. Bush gave Israel generous military aid, supported the government during the controversial 2006 Lebanon war, and didn't press too hard for the closure of illegal Jewish settlements inside the Palestinian territories.

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World celebrates Barack Obama victory

There had never been any doubt that if the outside world had been eligible to vote in the US presidential election, Mr Obama's victory would have been virtually absolute. But electoral etiquette prevented foreign leaders from getting caught up in the fever until the ballots were in and it became clear that the young Illinois senator had sold his message of change to voters back home.

European nations applauded Mr Obama's victory and expressed hope that it would lead to a “new deal” and energise relations still strained after the US-led invasion of Iraq five years ago and eight years of the Bush Administration. 

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Call to investigate leaked call between Rudd and Bush

Details of the call to discuss the global financial crisis were reported last week in The Weekend Australian.

During the call, Mr Bush reportedly responded to Mr Rudd's suggestion of a G20 summit to deal with the crisis by saying: "What's the G20?''.

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Massive UN vote in support of lifting US embargo on Cuba

The UN General Assembly on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly for the 17th year in a row in favor of lifting the 46-year-old US trade embargo on communist-ruled Cuba, as Havana hoped for better ties with a new US administration.

Some 185 of the assembly's 192 members approved a resolution, which reiterated a "call upon all states to refrain from promulgating and applying laws and measures (such as those in the US embargo) in conformity with their obligations under the Charter of the United Nations and international law."

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Germany's highest court: Are election computers unconstitutional?

A software expert is making a case before Germany's highest court (the "federal constitutional court") against election computers: They violate Article 38 of the constitution, as elections were no longer free, equal, secret (in casting) and public (in counting).

The Chaos Computer Club (hackers turned security experts) is arguing against election computers as well, because of their vulnerability: They easily replaced the vote-counting program in an election computer with a chess-playing program.

The trial starts today.

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Diplomats keen for an Obama victory

An informal survey of more than two dozen UN staff members and foreign delegates showed that the overwhelming majority would prefer that Senator Barack Obama wins the presidency, saying they think that the Democrat would usher in a new agenda of multilateralism after an era marked by Republican disdain for the world body.

William Luers, the executive director of the United Nations Association, said: "It would be hard to find anybody, I think, at the UN who would not believe that Obama would be a considerable improvement over any other alternative. It's been a bad eight years, and there is a lot of bad feeling over it."

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World Bank says West Bank land prices rocketing

The price of property in the West Bank is rocketing beyond the reach of most local businesses and home buyers, pushed up by a weak dollar and Israeli control of large chunks of the territory, a World Bank report said Thursday.

Israel, citing the need to prevent Palestinian attacks inside Israel and on Jewish settlers in the West Bank, has kept large swaths of Palestinian land and roads off limits to Palestinians.

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