Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Obama and Bush in White House meeting


Obama and Bush in White House meeting

President George W. Bush and President-elect Barack Obama meet in the Oval Office of the White House Monday, Nov. 10, 2008. White House photo by Eric Draper

Bush and Obama, who routed the incumbent's fellow Republican and chosen successor John McCain in the November 4 election, met privately for about an hour in the chamber from which the US president makes world-shaping decisions.

Obama and wife Michelle Obama had arrived about 10 minutes early for their two-hour visit and got a warm welcome from Bush and First Lady Laura Bush at the mansion's South Portico, a gateway to the mansion for many world leaders.

As their wives took a tour of the 132-room White House's residential areas, the 43rd president and his successor strolled along the Rose Garden and into the Oval Office, Obama's first ever visit to the storied seat of power.

Bush guided Obama into the room for private, one-on-one talks 71 days before the Democrat formally becomes the first black US president and inherits two wars and a global economic crisis that some compare to the Great Depression.

The outgoing leader described the talks as "good, constructive, relaxed and friendly," said spokeswoman Dana Perino.

New Maldives president sworn in

New Maldives president sworn in

A former political prisoner Mohamed Nasheed who defeated Asia's longest-serving ruler in the first multiparty election in the Maldives, took his oath today to become president of the Indian Ocean archipelago.

"No other citizens in the world in modern times have changed a 30-year-old regime so peacefully. I congratulate the Maldivian citizens," Mohamed Nasheed, 41, said shortly before signing his presidential oath to thundering applause in parliament.

A one metre rise in sea levels would almost totally submerge the country's 1,192 coral islands scattered off the southern tip of India. According to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a rise of at least 18cm is likely by the end of the century.

"I don't want Maldivians to end up as environmental refugees in some camp," Nasheed told reporters after his October 28 election win.

"We are talking about taking insurance - if the islands are sinking we must find highland some place close by. We should do that before we sink."Nasheed told Britain's Guardian newspaper that he had already broached the subject of finding a new homeland for Maldivians with several countries and found them to be "receptive".