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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.

Check out NewsGram for latest international news updates.

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)

Next Story

President of Taiwan Rebuffs China, Defends Self-Rule

Beijing has mounted an aggressive posture towards the self-ruled island, carrying out numerous military exercises in the Taiwan Strait

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Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen delivers a speech during a New Year's day press conference in Taipei, Taiwan, Jan. 1, 2019. VOA

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen says China must accept Taiwan ‘s status as a self-ruled island.

In a New Year’s Day address from her office, President Tsai said China had to “respect the insistence of 23 million people for freedom and democracy,” and for both sides to face the reality that there are fundamental differences between their “values and lifestyles” and political systems.

Afghanistan, China, Pakistan
Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, left, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, right, shake hands at the end of a joint press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, Jan. 26, 2016. VOA

Relations between Beijing and Taipei have been strained since Tsai, the leader of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, took office in 2016 and refused to accept the concept of China and Taiwan joined together as one China.

Also Read: Twitter Warns Unusual Activity From Hackers in China and Saudi Arabia

Beijing has mounted an aggressive posture towards the self-ruled island, carrying out numerous military exercises in the Taiwan Strait, blocking Taipei’s participation in international organizations, and persuading several nations to switch diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China.

President Tsai called on China to seek “peaceful” ways to sort out their differences. (VOA)