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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)
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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.

NewsGram brings to you current foreign news from all over the world.

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)

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USA: Everything you want to know about Security Clearance; Find out here!

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas.

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Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA
Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan. We take a look at what that means.

What is a security clearance?

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas after completion of a background check. The clearance by itself does not guarantee unlimited access. The agency seeking the clearance must determine what specific area of information the person needs to access.

What are the different levels of security clearance?

There are three levels: Confidential, secret and top secret. Security clearances don’t expire. But, top secret clearances are reinvestigated every five years, secret clearances every 10 years and confidential clearances every 15 years.

All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA
All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA

Who has security clearances?

According to a Government Accountability Office report released last year, about 4.2 million people had a security clearance as of 2015, they included military personnel, civil servants, and government contractors.

Why does one need a security clearance in retirement?

Retired senior intelligence officials and military officers need their security clearances in case they are called to consult on sensitive issues.

Also Read: Governments Across The World Request Apple for 30,000 Device Information

Can the president revoke a security clearance?

Apparently. But there is no precedent for a president revoking someone’s security clearance. A security clearance is usually revoked by the agency that sought it for an employee or contractor. All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance, which can include criminal acts, lack of allegiance to the United States, behavior or situation that could compromise an individual and security violations. (VOA)