World celebrates 2013 with joy
Fireworks over the iconic London Eye marking the coming of the New Year in Central London, Britain. Thousands of people across the world were on the streets counting down the end of 2012. EPA photo
From the glittering New Year’s ball dropping in New York’s Times Square to joyous fireworks in London and cheers in a once-isolated Asian country, the world did its best to ring in 2013 with hope for renewal after a year of economic uncertainty, searing violence and natural disasters.
“With all the sadness in the country, we’re looking for some good changes in 2013,” Laura Concannon, of Hingham, Massachusetts, said as she joined hundreds of thousands of revelers lined up for blocks through bustling Times Square on Dec. 31, the Associated Press reported.
Celebrations were also held around the U.S., from the family-oriented, alcohol-free first night event in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to expensive private parties and sold-out musical acts in Las Vegas, featuring Beyonce, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Black Keys.
Elsewhere, lavish fireworks displays lit up skylines in Sydney, Hong Kong and Shanghai. In the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai, multicolored fireworks danced early yesterday up and down the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.
60 dead in Ivorian celebration
Some New Year accidents cost lives. About 60 people were crushed to death in the Ivory Coast’s main city of Abidjan overnight after a New Year’s Eve fireworks display, an emergency official and state radio said. The head of military rescue workers, Lt. Col. Issa Sako, told public television that 60 people died and 200 were injured based on a preliminary toll, Agence France-Presse reported.
In Rome, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated New Year’s Eve with a vespers service in St. Peter’s Basilica to give thanks for 2012 and look ahead to 2013. He said that despite all the death and injustice in the world, goodness prevails.
In Russia, spectators filled Moscow’s iconic Red Square as fireworks exploded near the Kremlin. In Rio de Janeiro, revelers dressed head-to-toe in white as dictated by Brazilian New Year’s tradition flooded onto Copacabana beach for a concert. Organizers said about 90,000 people gathered in a large field Yangon, Myanmar, for their first chance to do what much of the world does every Dec. 31 – watch a countdown. The reformist government that took office in 2011 in the country, long under military rule, threw its first public New Year’s celebration in decades. Elsewhere, the atmosphere of celebration was muted with concern. Hotels, clubs and other sites in New Delhi, the Indian capital, canceled festivities after the death of a rape victim on Dec. 29 touched off days of mourning and reflection about women’s safety.
Parts of Europe held scaled-back festivities and street parties, the mood a bit restrained – if hopeful – for a 2013 that is projected to be a sixth straight year of recession amid Greece’s worst economic crisis since World War II.
The familiar chimes of the clock inside the Big Ben tower in London counted down the final seconds of 2012 and fireworks lit the skies.