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Revellers around the world ring in 2018 with New Year’s Eve festivities – World

Revellers are ushering in 2018 today with major celebrations around the world.

CBC News is live streaming New Year’s Eve festivities as they happen in select locations throughout the day, every hour on the hour. 

Some parts of the world have already passed into the new year, while others are just gearing up. 

Australia

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

The massive fireworks display included a rainbow waterfall cascade of lights and colour flowing off Harbour Bridge to celebrate recently passed legislation legalizing gay marriage in Australia.

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

Sydney officials said the event would generate some $170 million US for the city and “priceless publicity.” Nearly half the revellers were tourists.

Fireworks explode over Sydney Harbour during New Year’s Eve celebrations in Sydney. (Davoid Moir/Associated Press)

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 centres and harbours, 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.

But on nearby Waiheke Island, 30 kilometres away, authorities cancelled the planned fireworks display because of drought conditions and low water supplies for firefighters.

China

Those willing to brave the cold in Beijing were joining a countdown at the tower at Yongdingmen Gate, a rebuilt version of the Ming dynasty-era landmark gate at the southern end of the city’s north-south axis.

Bells will be rung and prayers offered at temples in Beijing, but the Gregorian calendar’s New Year’s celebrations are typically muted in China compared to the Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, a time of fireworks, feasts and family reunions.

Authorities throughout China were also on high alert for stampedes or terror attacks at large public gatherings. Police in the central city of Zhengzhou put 3,500 officers on duty across the city while residents gathered to watch a light show and cultural performance in a public square.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported that President Xi Jinping sent a New Year’s greeting to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, saying Beijing is ready to boost cooperation with Russia in 2018.

NEW-YEAR/CHINA

The Gregorian calendar’s New Year’s celebrations are typically muted in China compared to the Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, a time of fireworks, feasts and family reunions. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

South Korea

After spending an exhausting year that saw a presidency toppled by a corruption scandal and nuclear-armed North Korea firing missile after missile, South Koreans enter 2018 in need of a happy distraction. The upcoming winter Olympics just might do it.

Thousands of people filled the streets near Seoul’s City Hall for a traditional bell-tolling ceremony to usher in the new year. The group of dignitaries picked to ring the old Bosingak bell at midnight included Soohorang and Bandabi — the tiger and bear mascots for the Pyeongchang Winter Games and Paralympics in February and March.

Tens of thousands of people were expected to flock to eastern coastal areas, including Gangneung, the seaside city that will host the Olympic skating and hockey events, to watch the sun rise on 2018.

NEW-YEAR/SOUTHKOREA

People enjoy as fireworks explode over the 123-storey skyscraper Lotte World Tower during New Year celebration in Seoul, South Korea on Monday. (Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)


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