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Fireworks, parades worldwide celebrate the new year

By United Press International   |   Dec. 31, 2013 at 7:43 PM   |   Comments

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Fireworks filled the skies from Australia to Greece, Scotland and beyond Tuesday as the world celebrated New Year's Eve.

People partied on land and water in Sydney's harbor area Tuesday to watch 2014 ushered in with fireworks, a flotilla and a birthday celebration.

Revelers were dazzled by fireworks above the Parthenon in Athens, Greece, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, in Manila, Hong Kong, Taipei, Taiwan, Yangon, Myanmar, and Edinburgh, Scotland, to name just a few places -- with Dubai topping them all with what organizers expected would be a world-record pyrotechnic display, CNN reported.

Sydney's Opera House marked its 40th birthday, with fireworks shooting from its sails for the first time in more than 10 years, the Daily Telegraph in Sydney reported.

More than 50 boats joined the Harbor of Light parade, decked out in colored rope lights to help carry out the "Scintillating Sails" theme as a tribute to the Opera House's birthday. A special fireworks display, "Cranium Universe," by the artist Reg Mombassa, portrayed the inside of the artist's head filled with stars, planets, the sun and the moon.

The night turned dramatic for six partiers when their boat sank off Farm Cove, police said. All six aboard made it safely to shore.

In Double Bay, about 100 people were evacuated from their party boat when it began taking on water.

A man in his 20s was hospitalized after he was assaulted, police said. He had been reported arguing with another man who was arrested.

In Koolewong, a 23-year-old man suffered serious burns to one hand after a fireworks explosion, police said.

An estimated 1.1 billion people from around the globe watched as Sydney celebrated the start of 2014 and the end of 2013, the Telegraph said.

Ross Jollie traveled from Britain to see the show firsthand after having viewed it for years on television.

"They are the first fireworks you see on TV, so definitely it is the place to be," he told the Telegraph.

Australians were expected to send a record 101 million text messages from midnight and through the day, Australia's telecom giant Telstra said, marking the first time the 100-million mark was crossed.

In Aukland, New Zealand, police reported few problems as the sun set and revelers hit the streets, Stuff.co.nz reported.

Actor Tom Cruise, however, was creating a buzz in Northland, where it was whispered he would be welcoming 2014 aboard his yacht in the Bay of Islands. However, restaurant and vineyards owners reported no sightings.

Internet mogul-cum-musician Kim Dotcom joined party-goers at Rhythm and Vines in Gisborne, providing musical and magical entertainment.

Philippine health officials, meanwhile, expressed concern this year would see an increase in fireworks-related injuries because of the growing number of local governments banning the use of firecrackers, the Philippine Daily Inquirer said.

"We are afraid the figures this year will surpass previous records. So we are doing a last-minute campaign. We are appealing to the public not to light firecrackers this New Year's Eve," said Assistant Health Secretary Enrique Tayag, who also leads the National Epidemiology Center.

In Dubai, Palm Jumeirah, the World Islands, Burj Khalifa and Dubai Festival city joined fireworks forces to shoot off more than 400,000 shells from 400 locations with the help of a network of more than 100 computers, Gulf News reported.

In Newcastle, England, people lined streets to watch drummers parade through the city.

In Lahore, Pakistan, young people took to the streets to celebrate, and in Mumbai an Indian boy set fire to the effigy of an old man, symbolizing end of the old and start of the new year.

While New York is known for its New Year's Eve ball drop in Times Square, people in Bangkok witnessed the highest ball drop in the world at 266 meters (872 feet), CNN said.

Beijing was treated to a laser light show from towers at the Great Wall of China, the network said.

Even saber-rattling North Korea celebrated with fireworks reported in Pyongyang.

The light show was more modest at a Buddhist temple in Seoul, where monks held candles to mark the start of the new year, CNN said.

In London, people could literally taste the new year, when banana-flavored confetti rained down on them. Food artists Harry Parr and Sam Bompas also came up with floating oranges that give off a citrus smell when popped.

"We developed a special confetti that's actually biodegradable, and in the rain it will magically dissolve," Parr said. "Even better, it tastes amazing."

Topics: Tom Cruise
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