Big welcome to 2013

2012-12-31 22:46
Spectator boats in Sydney Harbour look on as New Year's Eve fireworks erupt over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. (Greg Wood, AFP)

Spectator boats in Sydney Harbour look on as New Year's Eve fireworks erupt over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. (Greg Wood, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Canberra - Sydney's skyline erupted with tons of exploding fireworks as revellers cheered in the new year from the city's crammed harbour in the world's first major celebration for 2013.

The enthusiastic welcome to 2013 was continuing on a grand scale across Asia.

Increasingly democratic Myanmar is having a public countdown for the first time. Jakarta plans a huge street party befitting Indonesia's powering economy.

The buoyant economies of the Asia-Pacific are prepared to party with renewed optimism despite the so-called fiscal cliff threatening to reverberate globally from the US and the tattered economies of Europe.

Celebrations were planned around the world, with hundreds of thousands expected to fill Times Square in New York City to watch the drop of a Waterford crystal-studded ball.

Budgets

Major cities across austerity-hit Europe were to burn off part of their battered budgets in spectacular fireworks displays, although some municipalities - including the Cypriot capital, Nicosia - cancelled their celebrations in light of the economic crisis.

Nicosia said €16 000 ($21 000) saved from the cancelled event will be given to some 320 needy schoolchildren.

Sydney's balmy summer night was split by seven tons of fireworks fired from roof tops and barges, many cascading from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, in a A$6.6m ($6.9m) pyrotechnic extravaganza billed by organisers as the world's largest.

Eager revellers camped on Sunday night to get the best vantage points.

In Hong Kong, this year's 12.5 million Hong Kong dollar ($1.6m) fireworks display is said to be the biggest ever in the southern Chinese city. Police expected as many as 100 000 people to watch.

One day after dancing in the snow to celebrate the first anniversary of leader Kim Jong Un's ascension to supreme commander, North Koreans were preparing to mark the arrival of the new year, marked as "Juche 102" on North Korean calendars.

Juche means self-reliance, the North Korean ideology of independence promoted by national founder Kim Il Sung, who was born 102 years ago. His grandson now rules North Korea.

Countdown


In New Delhi, the festive mood was marred by the death on Saturday of a young rape victim.

Hotels, clubs and residents' associations in the Indian capital decided to cancel planned festivities and asked people to light candles to express their solidarity with the victim whose plight sparked public rallies for women's safety.

"Let there be no New Year celebrations across the country. It will be a major tribute to the departed soul," said Praveen Khandelwal, secretary-general of the Confederation of All India Traders, an umbrella group of operators of shops and businesses across the country.

In a field in Myanmar's largest city, Yangon, workers were testing a giant digital countdown screen with the backdrop of the revered Shwedagon pagoda.

Arranged by local Forever Media group and Index Creative Village, a Thai event organiser, the celebration is the first public New Year countdown in Myanmar, a country ruled for almost five decades by military regimes that discouraged or banned big public gatherings.

"We are planning this public New Year event because we want residents of Yangon to enjoy the public countdown like in other countries," said Win Thura Hlaing, managing director of Forever Blossom company, a subsidiary of Forever Media.

With live music performances by celebrities, light shows, food stalls, fireworks and other activities, the countdown is expected to draw 50 000 people, Win Thura Hlaing said.

Sombre mood

Jakarta's street party centres on a 7km thoroughfare closed to all traffic from nightfall until after 00:00. Workers erected 16 large stages along the normally car-clogged, eight-lane highway through the heart of the city. Indonesia's booming economy is a rare bright spot amid global gloom and is bringing prosperity - or the hope of it - to Indonesians.

Spirits in the capital have been further raised by the election of a new, populist governor who is pledging to tackle the city's massive infrastructure problems.

The Sydney crowds were undiminished by Australian government warnings that the Washington deadlock on the US debt crisis was partly to blame for a slowing Australian economy.

Australian pop singer Kylie Minogue hosted the event.

Florida tourist Melissa Sjostedt was among the thousands gathered near a southern pylon of the bridge. She said before the event that seeing the fireworks would fulfil an ambition that began a decade ago when she read about them in National Geographic magazine.

"Ever since that, I've always wanted to see this for real, live, in person," she said.

Despite a sombre mood in the Philippines due to devastation from a recent typhoon, a key problem for authorities remained how to prevent revellers from setting off huge illegal firecrackers - including some nicknamed "Goodbye Philippines" and "Bin Laden" - that maim and injure hundreds of Filipinos each year, including many children.

A government scare tactic involving doctors displaying brutal-looking scalpels used for amputations for firecracker victims has not fully worked in the past so health officials came up with a novel idea: Go Gangnam style.

Gangnam style

A government health official, Eric Tayag, donned the splashy outfit of South Korean star PSY and danced to his Youtube hit Gangnam Style video while preaching against the use of illegal firecrackers on TV, in schools and in public arenas.

"The campaign has become viral," Tayag said. "We've asked kids and adults to stay away from big firecrackers and just dance the Gangnam and they're doing it."

Hong Kong feng shui master Raymond Lo predicted 2013 would be less turbulent than 2012 because the Chinese New Year in February will usher in the year of the snake, bringing an end to the year of the dragon, which was associated with water.

Water is one of the five elements in feng shui theory, the Chinese practice of arranging objects and choosing dates to improve luck.

"Water is fear. So that's why we have had so much turbulence especially in the winter months," such as doomsday prophecies, school shootings and concerns about the fiscal cliff, said Lo.

"But the good news is that the coming year of the snake is the first time that fire has come back since 2007. Fire actually is the opposite to water, fire is happiness. So therefore the year of the snake is a much more optimistic year. So you can see signs of economic recovery now," he added.
- AP
Read more on:    kylie minogue  |  australia  |  myanmar  |  india  |  indonesia
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
5 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

The truth about painkillers and exercise

Many of us use painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicines to mask pain so they can continue with their training.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

This all-terrain vehicle is badass!
Where were you when you last felt alive?
Watch: Fishing under ice
This is why you need to get fit in your 20's

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on electronics!

Get mind blowing savings on top electronic products. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be spending too much time organising and trying to control things to make sure everything is perfect instead of just...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.