Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve: World welcomes 2015

Updated January 01, 2015 12:29:09

GALLERY: The world welcomes 2015

Millions of people around the world are continuing to gather to welcome 2015 with fireworks and celebrations across major cities.

When is it 2015 in other countries?
CityTime in Sydney (AEDT) Wednesday 31st
Apia, Samoa 9:00pm
Auckland 10:00pm
Thursday 1st
Tokyo 2:00am
Beijing 3:00am
New Delhi 5:30am
Moscow 8:00am
London 11:00am
Rio de Janeiro 1:00pm
New York 4:00pm
Los Angeles 7:00pm
Honolulu 9:00pm
Pago Pago, American Samoa 10:00pm

Samoa, which used to be among the last countries to see the new year, was one of the first to ring in 2015, after jumping the International Date Line three years ago.

Celebrations also took place across New Zealand and parts of the Pacific before Australia's festivities.

In Auckland, a giant clock on the landmark Sky Tower counted down the minutes until midnight when a huge fireworks display was launched from the top of the tower.

January 1 also brought parties and fireworks to major cities across east Asia, despite the Lunar New Year being one of the most prominent holidays there.

In Tokyo, hundreds of balloons were released to usher in 2015.

Residents of Pyongyang were treated to a lavish display of fireworks at midnight as part of North Korea's celebrations.

North Korea had its first grand New Year celebration in the capital three years ago, after Kim Jong-un came to power.

Since then, it has become an annual event.

However, in Indonesia, all celebrations in East Java province were cancelled, in the wake of the AirAsia plane crash.

It was also a solemn marking of the new year in war torn Syria, where activists lit candles next to photos of war victims in Salah al-Din neighbourhood of Aleppo.

PHOTO: Candles were lit in memory of those killed in the Syrian conflict in Aleppo. (Reuters: Hosam Katan)

Dubai rang in the new year by setting a record for the largest display of fireworks.

The Guinness World Records said the display features 500,000 fireworks and was 10 months in the planning.

While the fireworks centred on the 830-metre Burj Khalifa skyscraper, the display spans the Unites Arab Emirates' 94-kilometre coastline.

Turkish revellers gathered in Istanbul's Taksim Square to see fireworks launch from buildings after a night of concerts and entertainment.

In the German capital, the eight-minute-long new year firework display, which were centred on the Brandenburg Gate and Victory Column, was viewed by an estimated 3.5 million.

Officials organised two hours of festivities counting down to midnight with entertainers as diverse as David Hasselhoff and the Russian State Ballet, who performed on stages along a 2-kilometre stretch in front of Brandenburg Gate.

PHOTO: An eight-minute-long fireworks display at the Brandenburg Gate ushered in 2015 in Germany.(AFP: Tobias Schwarz)

In Paris, the Arc de Triomphe was laden with fireworks and lasers and displayed goodwill messages in different languages.

Parisian authorities usually reserve fireworks for the Bastille Day in July, but have invested more money this year to attract people to the Champs-Elysees for new year.

London's Big Ben chimed to signal the arrival of 2015 in the United Kingdom followed by fireworks being launched from the London Eye wheel and barges on the River Thames.

Cities in South America and the United States will also each hold their own celebrations as the clock strikes midnight for their time zone.

In Brazil, more than one million people are expected to makeup the crowd on Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach.

American Samoa will be among the last to farewell 2014, a full 25 hours after its close neighbour.

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