December 31, 2013

Revelers start ringing in 2014 with fireworks

New Zealand, Australia get the party started with Dubai promising the world’s largest fireworks show.

By Rod Mcguirk
The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Fireworks explode near the Harbor Bridge and the Opera House during New Year’s Eve celebrations in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013.

The Associated Press

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Japanese are hopeful about the economy for the first time in years after some signs of revival under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose easing lending policies and pump-priming measures have been dubbed “Abenomics.”

Among those upbeat about what the new year might bring is Junya Sakata, a 23-year-old Tokyo waiter looking forward to taking sommelier classes next year so he can move up in his career.

“I hope the economy will keep improving, building up to the 2020 Olympics,” he said, which will be held in Tokyo. “So many things happened this year, but I was able to grow. Maybe next year I will find a girlfriend.”

In North Korea, a group of tourists, including Americans, planned to watch fireworks in Kim Il Sung Square and watch the Pyongyang Bell strike midnight, said Andrea Lee, CEO of Uritours, a tour group specializing in travel to North Korea.

“There were a lot of people out on the streets today for an outdoor dance event, and cars filled the streets,” Lee said.

In Hong Kong, tens of thousands will turn out to watch the fireworks display over the southern Chinese city’s famed Victoria Harbor.

Pyrotechnics will be fired off near the Kowloon peninsula and from the tops of seven skyscrapers on Hong Kong Island. A British colonial-era canon will be fired at midnight in a tradition dating from the end of World War II.

In Indonesia, New Year’s celebrations are widespread except in the city of Banda Aceh where Islamic clerics prohibit Muslims from celebrating New Year’s Eve.

In the capital, Jakarta, tourism authorities estimate 2 million people will take part in street parties in 162 locations.

Indonesian police deployed at least 92,000 policemen to safeguard the celebration across the country.

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