FireWorks, Parties and Festivities mark New Year 2017 across the Globe

New Zealand, nearby Pacific islands, Australia and Russia were among the first to ring in the new year

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Fireworks explode over Victoria Harbor to celebrate the New Year's Eve in Hong Kong, Jan. 1, 2017. (VOA)

Dec 31, 2016: Much of the globe has celebrated the beginning of 2017 with fireworks, parties, and other festivities, though many are somber in reflecting on the politics and popular culture of the past tumultuous year.

New Zealand, nearby Pacific islands, Australia and Russia were among the first to ring in the new year.

One of the first prominent New Year’s celebrations to start 2017 was the annual fireworks show in Sydney, which drew a crowd of over a million people who lined the waterfront to watch a show dedicated to the late entertainers David Bowie and Gene Wilder — just two of an unusually large number of celebrities who died in 2016.

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Many countries were focusing on security while anticipating big crowds at New Year’s events.

Celebrations in Istanbul, Turkey, were interrupted by an armed attack at a nightclub. Istanbul’s governor said 35 people were killed when at least two gunmen attacked the club, which was packed with New Year’s revelers.

Added security was in place in many cities because of the December 19 truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market that killed 12 people and other attacks during 2016.

The German capital added concrete barriers and armored cars near the traditional Brandenburg Gate celebration venue to protect crowds from vehicles.

In Dubai, hundreds of thousands of people watched fireworks launched from the Burj Khalifa, at 828 meters the world’s tallest building. The fireworks show was also streamed online.

Private security guards were stationed every 50 meters, and streets were blocked off from sidewalks to keep the roads clear for roaming emergency vehicles.

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In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin said each person “may become something of a magician on the night of the New Year,” by treating family members, co-workers, friends and those in need with respect and mercy. “This is the whole secret,” he said, speaking in an address broadcast close to midnight, in turn, in each of Russia’s 11 time zones.

French President Francois Hollande used his televised New Year’s message to warn against the risks of rising nationalism.

Many countries were focusing on security while anticipating big crowds at New Year’s events.

Celebrations in Istanbul, Turkey, were interrupted by an armed attack at a nightclub. Istanbul’s governor said 35 people were killed when at least two gunmen attacked the club, which was packed with New Year’s revelers.

Added security was in place in many cities because of the December 19 truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market that killed 12 people and other attacks during 2016.

The German capital added concrete barriers and armored cars near the traditional Brandenburg Gate celebration venue to protect crowds from vehicles.

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In Dubai, hundreds of thousands of people watched fireworks launched from the Burj Khalifa, at 828 meters the world’s tallest building. The fireworks show was also streamed online.

Private security guards were stationed every 50 meters, and streets were blocked off from sidewalks to keep the roads clear for roaming emergency vehicles.

In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin said each person “may become something of a magician on the night of the New Year,” by treating family members, co-workers, friends and those in need with respect and mercy. “This is the whole secret,” he said, speaking in an address broadcast close to midnight, in turn, in each of Russia’s 11 time zones.

French President Francois Hollande used his televised New Year’s message to warn against the risks of rising nationalism. (VOA)