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Siegmund
Thursday, January 20th, 2005, 04:46 PM
How indescribably revolting.



US prepares for Bush inauguration

George W Bush is expected to stress the importance of freedom at home and overseas, at his inauguration for a second four-year term as US president.

"The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands," he will say.

Mr Bush, 58, has left the White House to go to the Capitol building where he is to take the oath of office at 1700 GMT using a family Bible.

An estimated 500,000 people have braved the snow and the cold to attend.

Those turning up for the $40m (21m) ceremony and parade include protesters against Mr Bush's policies.

The White House on Wednesday released excerpts of Mr Bush's 17-minute-long speech, which was reported to have undergone 21 rewrites up to the eve of the ceremony.

He will focus on the "power of freedom", the White House said, with "idealism and courage" as key themes.


"The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world," he will say.

Early on Thursday, workers checked microphones and lights on the podium where Mr Bush was to be sworn in.

Security measures for the inauguration are intense.

The entire area around Capitol Hill and the White House has been cordoned off, and more than 100 streets are off-limits to traffic, with the inauguration designated a national special-security event.

About 6,000 police and 7,000 military personnel are on duty for the inauguration, alongside an undisclosed number of secret service personnel.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
1630 GMT: Ceremony begins
1700 GMT: Bush takes Oath of Office, delivers speech
1740 GMT: Ceremony ends
1930 GMT: Parade begins
2130 GMT: Parade ends
Live coverage from 1630 GMT

Snipers have taken up positions on rooftops, bomb-sniffing dogs are on patrol and Patriot anti-missile batteries have been readied.

Manhole covers on Pennsylvania Avenue - the route of the parade - have been welded shut as a precaution.

"This is unprecedented when it comes to the level of security that will be in effect for the inauguration and those events that are surrounding it," Secret Service chief Ralph Basham said.

A number of "counter-inaugural" events have been planned, including an anti-war march through Malcolm X Park.

Protesters are planning to turn their backs on Mr Bush along the parade route.

The BBC's Rob Watson in Washington says that, unlike four years ago, the president begins his second term after a comfortable election victory, but he still faces many challenges.

The war in Iraq is increasingly unpopular and opinion polls suggest Mr Bush's overall approval ratings are lower than any other re-elected president in recent years.

That rating currently stands around the 50% mark - the lowest for a returning president since Dwight Eisenhower in 1957.

That is likely to make it harder for the president to carry out controversial reforms at home and may limit his room for manoeuvre abroad, our correspondent adds.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas/4190259.stm

Published: 2005/01/20 16:18:49 GMT

BBC MMV

Allenson
Thursday, January 20th, 2005, 05:22 PM
The whole thing is utterly appalling. (:o :stop