In his first order after taking the oath of his office, US President Joe Biden removed the travel ban on some Muslim and African nations placed by his predecessor Donald Trump. Biden returned to the White House from the swearing-in ceremony, laying a wreath on the grave of the unknown soldier in Arlington and inspecting a parade. And right away he started signing the orders that sweep aside Trump’s pandemic response, and reverse his environmental agenda and anti-immigration policies. He also took steps to boost the American economy and promote ethnic and religious diversity across the nation. In one afternoon, Biden signed 17 executive orders, memorandums and proclamations from the Oval Office, including orders to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and end the Muslim ban. In a tweet from the official Twitter account for the US president, Biden simply said, “We’re back in the Paris Climate Agreement.” Meanwhile, Biden’s point-man for fighting the pandemic, Jeff Zients, said the US would also rejoin the World Health Organisation, reversing his predecessor’s decision. He added that top US expert Anthony Fauci would lead a delegation to the WHO executive board meeting on Thursday. While efforts aimed at ending his legacy may hurt Trump, the coup de grâce came from a 22-year-old poet, Amanda Gorman whose words rekindled the hope for a better future in millions of hearts across the globe. “We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it, would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy, and this effort very nearly succeeded. But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated,” said Gorman while referring to the Jan 6 mob attack on the US capitol. “For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it,” said the young poet while reciting her poem “The Hill We Climb”. Gorman, the youngest person ever to recite a poem at a presidential inauguration, “delivered her piece with grace, the words it contained will resonate with people the world over: Today, tomorrow, and far into the future,” the BBC commented. In the poem, Gorman described herself as “a skinny black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother [who] can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one”. Every time it is recited, it will also remind people of the attack on the Capitol earlier in January, that former president Trump instigated, which almost derailed American democracy. As Gorman finished her poem, four US presidents and first ladies, two former vice presidents and their spouses, dozens of lawmakers and scores of diplomats gave her a standing ovation, some struggling to hide their tears. Meanwhile, China said it wanted to cooperate with US President Joe Biden’s new administration, while announcing sanctions against “lying and cheating” outgoing State Secretary Mike Pompeo and 27 other top officials under Donald Trump. The move was a sign of China’s anger, especially at an accusation Pompeo made on his final full day in office that China had committed genocide against its Uighur Muslims, an assessment that Biden’s choice to succeed Pompeo, Anthony Blinken, said he shared. In a striking repudiation of its relationship with Washington under Trump, the Chinese foreign ministry announced the sanctions in a statement that appeared on its website around the time that Biden was taking the presidential oath. Pompeo and the others had “planned, promoted and executed a series of crazy moves, gravely interfered in China’s internal affairs, undermined China’s interests, offended the Chinese people, and seriously disrupted China-US relations,” it said. The other outgoing and former Trump officials sanctioned included trade chief Peter Navarro, National Security Advisers Robert O’Brien and John Bolton, Health Secretary Alex Azar, UN ambassador Kelly Craft and former top Trump aide Steve Bannon. The 28 ex-officials and immediate family members would be banned from entering mainland China, Hong Kong or Macao, and companies and institutions associated with them restricted from doing business with China.