Happy New Year, world!

Published on Sunday, 31 December 2017 21:29
Written by The Associated Press

From spectacular fireworks in Hong Kong and Australia to a huge LED lightshow at the world’s tallest building in Dubai, a look at how revelers around the world rang in 2018:

United Arab Emirates

Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, has again served as the focal point of New Year’s Eve celebrations - though this year authorities decided against fireworks and chose a massive LED lightshow on the structure.

That was in part due to safety in the city-state in the United Arab Emirates, which saw a massive skyscraper fire on New Year’s Eve in 2015.

The display, running down the east side of the tower, showed Arabic calligraphy, geometric designs and a portrait of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE’s first president.

France

Tens of thousands of Parisians and tourists were heading to the Champs-Elysees to attend a firework show at Napoleon’s Arc de Triomphe monument, at the end of the famous avenue with its lines of trees sparkling with lights.

New Year’s Eve celebrations were placed under high security in France, which has been hit by a series of attacks by Islamic extremists in recent years.

Vatican

Bidding 2017 farewell, Pope Francis has decried wars, injustices and environmental decay which he says have “ruined” the year.

Francis on Sunday presided at a New Year’s Eve prayer service in St. Peter’s Basilica, a traditional occasion to say thanks in each year’s last hours.

He says God gave to us a 2017 “whole and sound,” but that “we humans in many ways ruined and hurt it with works of death, lies and injustices.”

But, he added, “gratitude prevails” thanks to those “cooperating silently for the common good.”

Australia

Fireworks lit up the sky above Sydney Harbor, highlighting the city’s New Year’s celebrations.

The massive fireworks display included a rainbow waterfall cascade of lights and color flowing off the harbor’s bridge to celebrate recently passed legislation legalizing gay marriage in Australia.

Over a million people were expected to gather to watch the festivities. Security was tight, but officials said there was no particular alert.

New Zealand

Tens of thousands of New Zealanders took to streets and beaches, becoming among the first in the world to usher in 2018.

As the new year dawned in this southern hemisphere nation, fireworks boomed and crackled above city centers and harbors, and party-goers sang, hugged, danced and kissed.

In Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city, tens of thousands gathered around Sky Tower as five minutes of nonstop pyrotechnics exploded from the top of the structure.



Posted in New Britain Herald, Nation-World on Sunday, 31 December 2017 21:29. Updated: Sunday, 31 December 2017 21:32.