Today’s top world news from The Washington Post:
-INSIDE LOOK: In Mali town, militants are gone but challenges for French remain-- Soon after French forces landed in Mali, radical fighters swept into this dusty hamlet of mud houses and red dirt, and for five days last week their presence stood as a potent symbol of defiance. The fighters went house to house, residents said, telling people not to fear. The militants insisted that they were targeting only “white guys and Malian soldiers,” though they later beat local Christians. At makeshift checkpoints, they searched anyone they suspected of being a spy. They occupied houses, both to sleep and to hide weapons. They looted medicine from the hospital and stole chickens from residents. By Sudarsan Raghavan
- With 2 percent inflation target, Japan signals new strategy to end deflation-- Japan’s central bank on Tuesday doubled its inflation target to 2 percent, a main pillar in the country’s drastic new strategy to break away from a two-decade economic stagnation. The Bank of Japan’s new commitment, coupled with the government’s splurge of spending on public works projects, represents a controversial rethink about the way developed countries should repair their crisis-battered economies. Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, elected last month, Japan has turned away from the well-worn practices followed by economies under duress — conventions that call for austerity and debt reduction. Japan, instead, is trying to spend its way out of a recession, rather than cutting back. By Chico Harlan
- Russian kids with cancer must make way for country’s top judges-- Russian health care is getting a jolt of Soviet-style management in the northern city of St. Petersburg. The prosaically named Hospital No. 31, once reserved for the Communist Party elite of Leningrad, is to be closed to the public again after more than 20 years, on orders from the Kremlin — this time, to become the exclusive medical center for the nation’s top judges. But doctors and supporters of the hospital are furious and are vowing to fight its closure every way they can. They point out that it is among the top hospitals in the city and that it is home to a children’s oncology unit that treats 40 percent of St. Petersburg’s pediatric cancer cases. By Will Englund
OTHER TOP NEWS:
-President Obama takes second oath of office at inauguration-- A self-assured President Obama on Monday used his second inaugural address to lay out a bold liberal vision of the American future, drawing direct links between the origins of the republic and some of the most vexing political issues of the day. The usual inauguration choreography of prayers and poems and crowds became a powerful demonstration of history’s arc: The first African American president was taking his second oath of office on a day named for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on the Mall where King thundered almost 50 years ago about the United States’ unfulfilled promise, reports David A. Fahrenthold.
-ANALYSIS: Obama speech reveals a different leader-- President Obama has never lacked for confidence, but rarely has that attribute been on display as clearly as on Monday in an inaugural address that underscored the distance he has traveled after four contentious years in office. This was not the politician who campaigned in 2008 on themes of transcending the divisive politics of the past, though there were ritual calls for the country and its political leaders to seize this moment together. Instead, it was a president who has accepted the reality of those divisions and is determined to prevail on his terms. By Dan Balz
-EZRA KLEIN: A speech that shows how Obama has changed-- In 2009, Barack Obama came to change Washington. Today’s speech showed how much Washington has changed him.
-CHRIS CILLIZZA: The President liberals were waiting for is (finally) here-- Today in his second inaugural address, President Obama became the progressive leader that many liberals thought they were getting when they voted him into office four years ago.
-OPINION: Preaching to the choir--- What followed was less an inaugural address for the ages than a leftover campaign speech combined with an early draft of the State of the Union address. Obama used the most visible platform any president has to decry global-warming skeptics who “still deny the overwhelming judgment of science.” By Dana Milbank
- Loyal understudy Biden becomes target of speculation on presidential bid-- So close to that presidential microphone . . . yet so far away. As President Obama delivered his 2,000-word inaugural address Monday outside the Capitol, his chief governing partner, Vice President Biden, looked on from his chair just to the left, always the loyal and supportive cheerleader. But for Biden, who mounted two unsuccessful bids for the White House, Inauguration Day served as another reminder of all that he has achieved and what has eluded him after 40 years in public life. And his prominent role in so many of the administration’s recent high-profile initiatives has raised questions about whether Biden has plans to try to be in Obama’s place on the podium four years from now. But Biden, 70, was not complaining. By David Nakamura
- With Obama, not a post-racial nation, but something more complex-- On the day the nation witnessed the second swearing-in of the first black president, race mattered, as it has at every turn throughout American history. But blacks and whites along the Mall and the parade route, as well as others across the land, say it matters in different ways at the midpoint of this historic presidency. Suspicions and animosities, stereotypes and fears, they’re all still there, but they’re more out in the open now, as if Obama’s presence in the White House has liberated some people to say what until now they felt constrained from speaking aloud. At times, those words have been healing in their candor or empathy; sometimes, they have been ugly, provoking pain or anger. But for an optimistic few in the crowd Monday, the mere fact that they are being said has kindled a fragile hope. By Marc Fisher
- First lady Michelle Obama serves as fashion icon-- First lady Michelle Obama stood on the steps of the U.S. Capitol during President Obama’s second-term swearing-in, holding the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s black leather Bible in her magenta-gloved hands. The smaller Lincoln Bible rested atop it. Michelle Obama said nothing during the hour-long inaugural ceremony. But in the sea of black topcoats and C-SPAN stodginess, she stood out — statuesque bearing, new bangs accentuating her cheekbones, and grooming attuned to both the history books and high-definition TV. By Robin Givhan
-IN ONE BILLION PIXELS: Explore the scene outside the Capitol, tag yourself: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/local/inauguration-2013/pano/d/?hpid=z4
- In inaugural address, Obama outlines second-term economic plans-- In the rich oratory of an inaugural address, President Obama sketched out a vision Monday for addressing the problems that have been afflicting the American economy — not just since the financial crisis and recession but for long before. Obama said the government must play a bigger role in ensuring that the middle class benefits from the nation’s economic growth, after many years when middle-class wages stagnated. He argued that the country needs better railroads and highways to make it more attractive to businesses and better schools and colleges to train students for the jobs of the future — which often demand math and science skills. By Zachary A. Goldfarb
- Nominee to lead Treasury values social safety net-- When Jack Lew became President Obama’s budget director, he removed from his new office a portrait of Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s first Treasury secretary and the father of American finance, and put up paintings of New York City by jobless artists who had been hired into the New Deal’s public works program. That small gesture, say people who know Lew, speaks volumes about the mind-set of the man Obama has nominated to serve as the 76th Treasury secretary — a sustained focus on protecting the nation’s social safety net over three decades of budget battles in which programs that support the poor and jobless have been targets for cuts. By Zachary A. Goldfarb
-WONKBLOG: For Obamacare, four more (uncertain) years-- If all goes as planned, 28 million more Americans will have health insurance by the end of President Obama’s second term. It will be an unprecedented expansion of private health insurance, the likes of which the federal government has never attempted. Over President Obama’s second term, the White House is likely to face significant challenges in implementing the Affordable Care Act. Overhauling the health-care system, after all, isn’t an easy task. By Sarah Kliff