News ID: 236694
Published: 0329 GMT December 31, 2018

New Year's Eve celebrations: World welcomes 2019

New Year's Eve celebrations: World welcomes 2019

New Year's Eve is celebrated the world over, with fireworks and singing of traditional songs as the clock ticked down on 2018.

Australia and New Zealand welcomed 2019 with millions gathering to watch spectacular firework displays in Sydney and Auckland.

The party atmosphere is now set to sweep across major cities in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas as the world celebrates a new year, Daily Mail wrote.

A record amount of pyrotechnics, as well as new firework effects and colors, lit up Sydney's skyline for a full 12 minutes, dazzling the more than 1.5 million spectators who reportedly gathered on the shores of its famous harbor to watch.

The Sydney fireworks show featured more than 100,000 pyrotechnic effects accompanied by music.

Police said they were taking precautions to prevent any terrorist attack, but assured revelers there was no specific threat.

"We put obstacles between those large crowds and vehicles to ensure people can get in and out safely and enjoy their night in safety," police Acting Deputy Commissioner Mark Walton said.

People began gathering early in the day at popular vantage points, including the Opera House and the ends of the Harbor Bridge, and tens of thousands ended up drenched in a thunderstorm in the early evening.

In Melbourne, 14 tons of fireworks deployed on the ground and on roofs of 22 buildings produced special effects including flying dragons.

In Brisbane, an estimated 85,000 people watched as fireworks exploded from five barges moored on the Brisbane River.

In Britain, London usher in the New Year by celebrating its relationship with Europe amid turmoil over Brexit, with the fireworks display at the London Eye to feature music from the continent's artists.

A strong police presence has become a key element of the festivities, to protect crowds that could be targeted in terror and vehicle attacks.

Here are some of the plans for city's around the world:

Hong Kong: Glittering fireworks send skyward from five barges floating in Victoria Harbor in a 10-minute display watched by 300,000 people on the shore.

Jakarta: Hundreds of couples tie the knot in a free mass wedding, as those in the tsunami-hit Banten Province, where affected towns were popular holiday destinations, have been told to cancel party plans to show respect for the victims.

Tokyo: Japanese flock to temples to ring in the New Year, while US boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. take on local kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in a bout staged outside Tokyo.

Moscow: Concerts and light shows are held across the city's parks and more than 1,000 ice rinks have been opened for merrymakers.

Paris: A fireworks display and sound and light show under the theme 'fraternity' is set to go ahead on the Champs-Elysees despite plans for further 'yellow vest' anti-government protests at the famed avenue.

Berlin: Music lovers party at a concert at the Brandenburg Gate, but a popular German tradition of setting off fireworks to mark the occasion has been banned in some other cities over safety concerns.

London: Britain's capital usher in the New Year by celebrating its relationship with Europe amid turmoil over the Brexit referendum vote to leave the EU, with the fireworks display at the London Eye to feature music from the continent's artists.

Edinburgh: The Scottish capital's traditional Hogmanay celebrations also takes on a pro-European theme ahead of the year in which Britain is due to exit the union.

As the world parties, many also look forward to 2019 and wonder whether the turmoil witnessed during the previous year will spill over into the next.

The political wrangling in Westminster over Brexit was one of the key stories of this year, with a resolution yet to be reached ahead of the scheduled March 29 departure.

US President Donald Trump dominated headlines in 2018 as he ramped up his trade war with China, quit the Iran nuclear deal, moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem and met his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un in Singapore for a historic summit.

North Korea's commitment to denuclearization will remain a major political and security issue into next year.

The war in Yemen, which started in 2014 and has already killed about 10,000 people and left some 20 million at risk of starvation, could take a crucial turn after a ceasefire went into effect in mid-December.

Numerous countries go to the polls in 2019, with key elections in India, Afghanistan, Indonesia, South Africa, Argentina and Australia.


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