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Revelers start ringing in 2014 with fireworks

Associated Press . Canberra

Fireworks explode over Sydney Harbour at midnight, ushering in the new year, in Sydney 
on Wednesday. — Reuters photoFireworks explode over Sydney Harbour at midnight, ushering in the new year, in Sydney on Wednesday. — Reuters photo

Exploding fireworks sprayed from Sydney’s iconic opera house and harbour bridge at midnight Tuesday as the world began ushering in a new year.
More than 1 million people crammed the Sydney Harbor foreshore on a warm summer night to watch Sydney’s renowned annual pyrotechnics show, which appeared to live up to its billing as the city’s most extravagant. Fireworks launched from four sails of the Sydney Opera House for the first time in more than a decade.
Dubai will later try to create the world’s largest fireworks show to ring in 2014.
Closer to the edge of the International Dateline, New Zealand bid farewell to 2013 two hours before Sydney with fireworks erupting from Auckland’s Sky Tower as cheering revellers danced in the streets of the South Pacific island nation’s largest city.
Dubai, home to world’s tallest tower, is known for its glitz, glamour and over-the-top achievements, and this New Year’s Eve the city is planning to break another record by creating the largest fireworks show ever.
Organisers plan to light up the city’s coastline with a flying falcon made out of fireworks that moves across a massive man-made palm-shaped island alongside a countdown in fireworks. Organisers say they will also create a burst of light out of fireworks to imitate a sunrise and dazzle spectators with a United Arab Emirates flag that could also break records for being the largest ever made out of fireworks.
The 6-minute extravaganza will include 500,000 fireworks from 400 firing locations, all synchronised by 100 computers from stations across the city, said Barrett Wissman, co-chairman of IMG Artists that is managing the event. Guinness World Record officials will be on hand to measure the scale of the event.
In the Philippines, more than 260 people had been injured by firecracker blasts and celebratory gunfire ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations, one of Asia’s most violent revelries. China was planning to count down to the New Year with light shows at two spectacular and historic locations — part of the Great Wall near Beijing and at the Bund waterfront in Shanghai.
In Japan, thousands of visitors, some donning kimono, will pray, ring a bell and toss coins as offerings at shrines, wishing for health, wealth and happiness. Temple bells will ring the customary 108 times, for the 108 causes of suffering according to Buddhism, and welcome in the Year of the Horse.
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 specialising in travel to North Korea.
In Hong Kong, tens of thousands will turn out to watch the fireworks display over the southern Chinese city’s famed Victoria

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on Wednesday. — Reuters photo
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