New year celebrated enthusiastically around the world
BY SYLVIA HUI & ROD MCGUIRK Associated Press
Tuesday, January 01, 2013
1/01/13 at 6:33 AM
Lavish fireworks displays ushered in 2013 across the Asia-Pacific region on Tuesday, and Europe held somewhat scaled-back festivities in the hope of beginning a new year that will be kinder to its battered economies.
Asian cities kicked off New Year's celebrations in style and an atmosphere of renewed optimism, despite the "fiscal cliff" threatening to reverberate globally from the United States.
Huge fireworks lit up skylines in Sydney, Hong Kong and Shanghai, and even the once-isolated country of Myanmar joined the countdown party for the first time in decades.
In London, the familiar chimes of the clock inside the Big Ben tower counted down the final seconds of 2012 and a dazzling display of fireworks lit the skies above Parliament Square. People cheered as the landmarks were bathed in the light of the display, which included streamers shot out of the London Eye wheel and blazing rockets launched from the banks of the River Thames.
To the north in Scotland, 85,000 people gathered near the base of Edinburgh Castle for the wild Hogmaney celebration, helped by five soundstages featuring a number of top bands.
In Beijing, revelers celebrated a countdown at the Summer Palace.
Celebrations were planned around the world, including the traditional crystal ball drop in New York City's Times Square, where 1 million people were expected to cram into the surrounding streets.
In Russia, Moscow's iconic Red Square was filled with spectators as fireworks exploded near the Kremlin to welcome in the new year. President Vladimir Putin gave an optimistic New Year's Eve address.
In Australia, a balmy summer night was split by seven tons of fireworks fired from rooftops and barges in Sydney, many cascading from the city's Harbor Bridge, in a $6.9 million pyrotechnic extravaganza billed by organizers as the world's largest.
In Myanmar, after nearly five decades under military regimes that discouraged or banned big public gatherings, about 90,000 people experienced the country's first New Year's Eve countdown in the city of Yangon.
Tens of thousands of people lined Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor to view a $1.6 million fireworks display, said to be the biggest ever in the city.
In North Korea, cannons boomed at midnight in Pyongyang as people crowded the streets of the capital to watch a fireworks show over the Taedong River.
In austerity-hit Europe, the mood was more restrained - if hopeful. The year 2013 is projected to be a sixth straight one of recession amid Greece's worst economic crisis since World War II.
Celebrating New Year's Eve with a vespers service in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Benedict XVI said that despite all the injustice in the world, goodness prevails. Benedict said it's tough to remember that goodness can win when bad news - death, violence and injustice - "makes more noise than good."
Original Print Headline: 2013 Onset Cheered Around The World
Fireworks go off over Edinburgh Castle, Scotland, as part of the New Year Hogmanay celebrations Monday. DANNY LAWSON / Associated Press
Olga Lovchu of Chicago (center right) cheers in Times Square for the New Year's Eve celebration Monday in New York. It was to be the first Times Square ball drop countdown in decades without Dick Clark, who died in April and was being honored with a tribute concert. JOHN MINCHILLO / Associated Press