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Auckland kicks off New Year celebrations to ring in 2018

Countries around the world are heralding the start of 2018 with elaborate fireworks displays
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  • Countries around the world are heralding the start of 2018 with elaborate fireworks displays
  • Auckland, in New Zealand, was the first major world city to welcome the start of the New Year
  • Sydney's celebrations featured a rainbow waterfall to celebrate recently-legalized gay marriage

By Chris Pleasance and Charlie Bayliss For Mailonline

Published: 06:24 EST, 31 December 2017 | Updated: 15:23 EST, 31 December 2017

Millions of people around the world are celebrating the start of the new year with elaborate fireworks displays.

Auckland, in New Zealand, was the first major world city to kick off the party followed by Sydney where 1million people were thought to have watched the display over the city's harbour.

A rainbow waterfall plunged off the Harbour Bridge to celebrate recently passed legislation legalizing gay marriage in Australia.

Not to be outdone, Melbourne boasted that it had splashed out to ensure the city's own fireworks display would not be beaten by Sydney.

Thousands of revellers took to the streets near Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong, where an impressive fireworks display lit up the night sky.

Dubai welcomed the New Year in at 20:00 GMT, although opted for a world-record breaking lights show on the Burj Khalifa as opposed to fireworks due to 'security reasons'.

Moscow's New Year will be at 21:00 GMT, while Athens sees in 2018 at 22:00 GMT.

A host of European cities, including Paris and Berlin, are expected to have extravagant fireworks displays at 23:00 GMT, while London is an hour later at 00:00 GMT.

Rio de Janerio's display is expected to commence at 02.00 GMT, while New York's display is scheduled for 05:00 GMT.

In London around 250,000 people are due on the streets amid tight security.

Dubai was the latest city to ring in the New Year although it did not opt for the conventional fireworks display due to 'security reasons', instead opting for an impressive world-record breaking laser show

Dubai was the latest city to ring in the New Year although it did not opt for the conventional fireworks display due to 'security reasons', instead opting for an impressive world-record breaking laser show

The world's tallest building was emblazoned with the 'Year of Zayed', who was the former president of the United Arab Emirates. He held onto the post for 33 years and passed away in 2004The world's tallest building was emblazoned with the 'Year of Zayed', who was the former president of the United Arab Emirates. He held onto the post for 33 years and passed away in 2004

The world's tallest building was emblazoned with the 'Year of Zayed', who was the former president of the United Arab Emirates. He held onto the post for 33 years and passed away in 2004

This year there was an impressive fireworks display which took a team of hundreds of experts months to prepareThis year there was an impressive fireworks display which took a team of hundreds of experts months to prepareThere have been fireworks displays on the Burj Khalifa in previous years to mark the turn of the New YearThere have been fireworks displays on the Burj Khalifa in previous years to mark the turn of the New Year

There have been fireworks displays on the Burj Khalifa in previous years to mark the turn of the New Year. Fireworks were also blasted from the side of the building to mark the opening of the world's tallest building on January 4, 2010 (right). This year there was an impressive fireworks display which took a team of hundreds of experts months to prepare (left)

Sydney kicked off 2018 with a bang with a rainbow themed firework display over the Harbour Bridge to celebrate recently-legalised gay marriage

Fireworks explode over Victoria harbour during New Year celebrations in Hong Kong on January. The year 2018 was lit up on the side of one of the buildings as fireworks lit up the skyFireworks explode over Victoria harbour during New Year celebrations in Hong Kong on January. The year 2018 was lit up on the side of one of the buildings as fireworks lit up the sky

Fireworks explode over Victoria harbour during New Year celebrations in Hong Kong on January. The year 2018 was lit up on the side of one of the buildings as fireworks lit up the sky

An aerial shot of the fireworks display from Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong, which has already welcomed in the New Year. The display was witnessed by thousands of onlookers who lined the streets of the cityAn aerial shot of the fireworks display from Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong, which has already welcomed in the New Year. The display was witnessed by thousands of onlookers who lined the streets of the city

An aerial shot of the fireworks display from Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong, which has already welcomed in the New Year. The display was witnessed by thousands of onlookers who lined the streets of the city

Fireworks explode over Victoria harbour during New Year's Eve celebrations. The impressive display saw a number of red fireworks light up the skylineFireworks explode over Victoria harbour during New Year's Eve celebrations. The impressive display saw a number of red fireworks light up the skyline

Fireworks explode over Victoria harbour during New Year's Eve celebrations. The impressive display saw a number of red fireworks light up the skyline

Dozens of boats floated in Sydney's iconic harbour to get the best possible view of the fireworks on New Year's eve

There were pyrotechnic displays to accompany the firework display across the Victoria Harbour as Hong Kong saw in the New YearThere were pyrotechnic displays to accompany the firework display across the Victoria Harbour as Hong Kong saw in the New Year

There were pyrotechnic displays to accompany the firework display across the Victoria Harbour as Hong Kong saw in the New Year

There is a focal point where the countdown is displayed, but fireworks can be watched from both sides of the Harbour. The display lasts around 10 minutes and is watched by thousands of peopleThere is a focal point where the countdown is displayed, but fireworks can be watched from both sides of the Harbour. The display lasts around 10 minutes and is watched by thousands of people

There is a focal point where the countdown is displayed, but fireworks can be watched from both sides of the Harbour. The display lasts around 10 minutes and is watched by thousands of people

Celebrations also took place in Melbourne, Hobart and Canberra at the same time as Sydney launched its fireworks

Millions of dollars were spent on pyrotechnics for the display, though Melbourne had bragged that it's show would be biggerMillions of dollars were spent on pyrotechnics for the display, though Melbourne had bragged that it's show would be bigger

Millions of dollars were spent on pyrotechnics for the display, though Melbourne had bragged that it's show would be bigger

Fireworks explode over the Yarra River as celebrations get underway in Melbourne, Australia. The fireworks light up the sky from the building rooftops and thousands of people gather along the bridge and banks of the riverFireworks explode over the Yarra River as celebrations get underway in Melbourne, Australia. The fireworks light up the sky from the building rooftops and thousands of people gather along the bridge and banks of the river

Fireworks explode over the Yarra River as celebrations get underway in Melbourne, Australia. The fireworks light up the sky from the building rooftops and thousands of people gather along the bridge and banks of the river

A group of partygoers make 2018 with sparklers art Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebration gets underway as thousands of revellers from across the globe descend on the Scottish Capital to see the New Years fireworksA group of partygoers make 2018 with sparklers art Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebration gets underway as thousands of revellers from across the globe descend on the Scottish Capital to see the New Years fireworks

A group of partygoers make 2018 with sparklers art Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebration gets underway as thousands of revellers from across the globe descend on the Scottish Capital to see the New Years fireworks

Despite the New Year being a number of hours away, dozens of fireworks were released over Edinburgh Castle for the annual Hogmanay celebrationsDespite the New Year being a number of hours away, dozens of fireworks were released over Edinburgh Castle for the annual Hogmanay celebrations

Despite the New Year being a number of hours away, dozens of fireworks were released over Edinburgh Castle for the annual Hogmanay celebrations

Green and red fireworks explode over the Scottish capital hours before the New Year is officially seen inGreen and red fireworks explode over the Scottish capital hours before the New Year is officially seen in

Green and red fireworks explode over the Scottish capital hours before the New Year is officially seen in

Newcastle New Years Eve Celebrations get underway with a Firework display on the Town Moor at 6pm this evening which was visible from all over Tyneisde as 2018 draws nearNewcastle New Years Eve Celebrations get underway with a Firework display on the Town Moor at 6pm this evening which was visible from all over Tyneisde as 2018 draws nearThe display lasts for 10 minutes and the structure which kept up the fireworks collapsed - although it is supposed toThe display lasts for 10 minutes and the structure which kept up the fireworks collapsed - although it is supposed to

Newcastle New Years Eve Celebrations get underway with a Firework display on the Town Moor at 6pm this evening which was visible from all over Tyneisde as 2018 draws near. The display lasts for 10 minutes and the structure which kept up the fireworks collapsed – although it is supposed to

New Zealand kicked off worldwide celebrations for the start of 2018 as more than 3,000 fireworks were launched into the sky above Auckland as the clock struck midnightNew Zealand kicked off worldwide celebrations for the start of 2018 as more than 3,000 fireworks were launched into the sky above Auckland as the clock struck midnight

New Zealand kicked off worldwide celebrations for the start of 2018 as more than 3,000 fireworks were launched into the sky above Auckland as the clock struck midnight

The Sky Tower was the focus of celebrations in Auckland (pictured), while fireworks displays also took place in Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin

Ferry passengers watch the fireworks from Auckland's harbour as the world welcomes in the new yearFerry passengers watch the fireworks from Auckland's harbour as the world welcomes in the new year

Ferry passengers watch the fireworks from Auckland's harbour as the world welcomes in the new year

Residents light fireworks to welcome 2018 during New Year celebrations in Paranaque city, metro Manila, PhilippinesResidents light fireworks to welcome 2018 during New Year celebrations in Paranaque city, metro Manila, Philippines

Residents light fireworks to welcome 2018 during New Year celebrations in Paranaque city, metro Manila, Philippines

Dozens of people gathered at an amusement park in Pasay, Manila, to take pictures of the fireworks lighting up the night sky as the Philippines enters 2018Dozens of people gathered at an amusement park in Pasay, Manila, to take pictures of the fireworks lighting up the night sky as the Philippines enters 2018

Dozens of people gathered at an amusement park in Pasay, Manila, to take pictures of the fireworks lighting up the night sky as the Philippines enters 2018

Confetti in the shape of stars rains down on Filipinos enjoying the New Year's Eve celebrations in Manila, the country's capital cityConfetti in the shape of stars rains down on Filipinos enjoying the New Year's Eve celebrations in Manila, the country's capital cityPeople celebrate New Year at Eastwood mall in Quezon City Metro Manila in the Philippines, January 1People celebrate New Year at Eastwood mall in Quezon City Metro Manila in the Philippines, January 1

Confetti in the shape of stars (left) and balloons (right) rain down on Filipinos enjoying the New Year's Eve celebrations in Manila, the country's capital city

Clowns entertain the crowd during a New Year's eve countdown party at Eastwood mall in Quezon City, Manila. The Filpino capital is the world's most densely populated capital city and thousands of partygoers took to the streets to welcome in the New YearClowns entertain the crowd during a New Year's eve countdown party at Eastwood mall in Quezon City, Manila. The Filpino capital is the world's most densely populated capital city and thousands of partygoers took to the streets to welcome in the New Year

Clowns entertain the crowd during a New Year's eve countdown party at Eastwood mall in Quezon City, Manila. The Filpino capital is the world's most densely populated capital city and thousands of partygoers took to the streets to welcome in the New Year

The night sky over Seoul is lit up with fireworks during South Korea's celebrations to mark the start of 2017The night sky over Seoul is lit up with fireworks during South Korea's celebrations to mark the start of 2017

The night sky over Seoul is lit up with fireworks during South Korea's celebrations to mark the start of 2017

The top of the Lotte World Tower is lit up with explosions as South Koreans herald the start of 2018The top of the Lotte World Tower is lit up with explosions as South Koreans herald the start of 2018

The top of the Lotte World Tower is lit up with explosions as South Koreans herald the start of 2018

Crowds brave the rains in Singapore in order to mark New Year at Marina Bay. People resorted to covering themselves with umbrellas and wearing ponchos to avoid the worst of the weatherCrowds brave the rains in Singapore in order to mark New Year at Marina Bay. People resorted to covering themselves with umbrellas and wearing ponchos to avoid the worst of the weather

Crowds brave the rains in Singapore in order to mark New Year at Marina Bay. People resorted to covering themselves with umbrellas and wearing ponchos to avoid the worst of the weather

Fireworks explode over Marina Bay in Singapore as the clock strikes midnightFireworks explode over Marina Bay in Singapore as the clock strikes midnight

Fireworks explode over Marina Bay in Singapore as the clock strikes midnight

People wait to watch the New Year fireworks in the rain at Marina Bay in SingaporePeople wait to watch the New Year fireworks in the rain at Marina Bay in Singapore

People wait to watch the New Year fireworks in the rain at Marina Bay in Singapore

Fireworks light up the night sky at Marina Bay for the New Year celebration in Singapore Fireworks light up the night sky at Marina Bay for the New Year celebration in Singapore 

Fireworks light up the night sky at Marina Bay for the New Year celebration in Singapore

Fireworks illuminate the sky near Malaysia's Petronas Twin Towers during New Year celebrations in Kuala LumpurFireworks illuminate the sky near Malaysia's Petronas Twin Towers during New Year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur

Fireworks illuminate the sky near Malaysia's Petronas Twin Towers during New Year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia's Petronas Twin Towers were the focal point of where the fireworks display is, with people choosing to watch the display at a number of vantage points across the city, including Taman Tasik Titiwangsa, as it gives onlookers unobstructed views of the fireworks overlooking the lakeMalaysia's Petronas Twin Towers were the focal point of where the fireworks display is, with people choosing to watch the display at a number of vantage points across the city, including Taman Tasik Titiwangsa, as it gives onlookers unobstructed views of the fireworks overlooking the lake

Malaysia's Petronas Twin Towers were the focal point of where the fireworks display is, with people choosing to watch the display at a number of vantage points across the city, including Taman Tasik Titiwangsa, as it gives onlookers unobstructed views of the fireworks overlooking the lake

Visitors watch the fireworks display during a New Year event at an amusement park south of Tokyo, in JapanVisitors watch the fireworks display during a New Year event at an amusement park south of Tokyo, in Japan

Visitors watch the fireworks display during a New Year event at an amusement park south of Tokyo, in Japan

Balloons are released in central Tokyo as people say goodbye to 2017 amid celebrations around the worldBalloons are released in central Tokyo as people say goodbye to 2017 amid celebrations around the world

Balloons are released in central Tokyo as people say goodbye to 2017 amid celebrations around the world

A brave Londoner braves the rain ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations in the capital, where at least 250,000 people are expected to be out on the streetsA brave Londoner braves the rain ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations in the capital, where at least 250,000 people are expected to be out on the streets

A brave Londoner braves the rain ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations in the capital, where at least 250,000 people are expected to be out on the streets

Children don 2018 glasses in Hong Kong as they wait for the clock to strike midnightChildren don 2018 glasses in Hong Kong as they wait for the clock to strike midnight

Children don 2018 glasses in Hong Kong as they wait for the clock to strike midnight

People walk along the popular Istiklal Street near Istabbul's main Taksim Square as people remember the victims of a deadly New Year's attack a year ago. A gunman entered the Reina nightclub in Istanbul during New Year's Eve celebrations last year and killed at least 39 people and injured 70 othersPeople walk along the popular Istiklal Street near Istabbul's main Taksim Square as people remember the victims of a deadly New Year's attack a year ago. A gunman entered the Reina nightclub in Istanbul during New Year's Eve celebrations last year and killed at least 39 people and injured 70 others

People walk along the popular Istiklal Street near Istabbul's main Taksim Square as people remember the victims of a deadly New Year's attack a year ago. A gunman entered the Reina nightclub in Istanbul during New Year's Eve celebrations last year and killed at least 39 people and injured 70 others

Fireworks are launched in Pyongyang, North Korea, as the Kim regime rings in the New YearFireworks are launched in Pyongyang, North Korea, as the Kim regime rings in the New YearPeople living under the oppressive regime were seen gathering out on the streetsPeople living under the oppressive regime were seen gathering out on the streets

Fireworks are launched in Pyongyang, North Korea, as the Kim regime rings in the New Year. People living under the oppressive regime were seen gathering out on the streets (right)

Despite new heavy sanctions being imposed on North Korea, the communist nation refused to let that hamper its New Year's Eve celebrations Despite new heavy sanctions being imposed on North Korea, the communist nation refused to let that hamper its New Year's Eve celebrations 

Despite new heavy sanctions being imposed on North Korea, the communist nation refused to let that hamper its New Year's Eve celebrations

Crowds of people were filmed waving and cheering as celebrations took place in North KoreaCrowds of people were filmed waving and cheering as celebrations took place in North Korea

Crowds of people were filmed waving and cheering as celebrations took place in North Korea

Fireworks explode from the Taipei 101 building during the New Year's celebrations in Taipei, Taiwan. The Taipei 101 tower displays a dog and the word 'GO' and the Chinese name of a man called Wu Jian-sheng who wishes Taiwan happiness before setting off firework to welcome 2018

Fireworks light up the Taiwan skyline and Taipei 101 during New Years Eve celebrations just after midnight on January 1, 2018 in TaipeiFireworks light up the Taiwan skyline and Taipei 101 during New Years Eve celebrations just after midnight on January 1, 2018 in TaipeiThe Taipei 101 was previously known as the world's tallest building in 2004 but was dethroned upon the completion of the Burj Khalifa in 2010The Taipei 101 was previously known as the world's tallest building in 2004 but was dethroned upon the completion of the Burj Khalifa in 2010

Fireworks light up the Taiwan skyline and Taipei 101 during New Years Eve celebrations just after midnight on January 1, 2018 in Taipei. It was previously known as the world's tallest building in 2004 but was dethroned upon the completion of the Burj Khalifa in 2010

Filipino revelers watch as fireworks light up the sky to welcome the New Year Monday, Jan. 1, 2018 at the seaside Mall of Asia in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, PhilippinesFilipino revelers watch as fireworks light up the sky to welcome the New Year Monday, Jan. 1, 2018 at the seaside Mall of Asia in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, PhilippinesHours before midnight, authorities had already reported dozens have been injured by celebratory firecrackers in the Philippines, which has some of the most raucous New Year celebrations in AsiaHours before midnight, authorities had already reported dozens have been injured by celebratory firecrackers in the Philippines, which has some of the most raucous New Year celebrations in Asia

Filipino revelers watch as fireworks light up the sky to welcome the New Year Monday, Jan. 1, 2018 at the seaside Mall of Asia in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines. Hours before midnight, authorities had already reported dozens have been injured by celebratory firecrackers in the Philippines, which has some of the most raucous New Year celebrations in Asia

Revellers take to the streets to celebrate the New Year countdown on the streets of Taiwan to see in the New Year in styleRevellers take to the streets to celebrate the New Year countdown on the streets of Taiwan to see in the New Year in style

Revellers take to the streets to celebrate the New Year countdown on the streets of Taiwan to see in the New Year in style

Best of the rest: Weird and wonderful New Year traditions around the world

Meanwhile parts of Germany marked the evening of December 30th with a bizarre parade involving Perchten, a god figure derived from pagan religions that is similar to KrampusMeanwhile parts of Germany marked the evening of December 30th with a bizarre parade involving Perchten, a god figure derived from pagan religions that is similar to Krampus

Meanwhile parts of Germany marked the evening of December 30th with a bizarre parade involving Perchten, a god figure derived from pagan religions that is similar to Krampus

Perchten is said to visit homes in the days after Christmas, especially on Twelfth Night, when she will reward children who have been good or disembowel those who have misbehavedPerchten is said to visit homes in the days after Christmas, especially on Twelfth Night, when she will reward children who have been good or disembowel those who have misbehaved

Perchten is said to visit homes in the days after Christmas, especially on Twelfth Night, when she will reward children who have been good or disembowel those who have misbehaved

Folklore says that Perchten will cut open the stomachs of children who have misbehaved and fill them with straw and pebblesFolklore says that Perchten will cut open the stomachs of children who have misbehaved and fill them with straw and pebbles

Folklore says that Perchten will cut open the stomachs of children who have misbehaved and fill them with straw and pebbles

In a tradition dating back centuries locals dressed as Perchten, witches, devils and other demonic figures parade through the streets during the darkest week of winter, which such spirits were said to be most activeIn a tradition dating back centuries locals dressed as Perchten, witches, devils and other demonic figures parade through the streets during the darkest week of winter, which such spirits were said to be most active

In a tradition dating back centuries locals dressed as Perchten, witches, devils and other demonic figures parade through the streets during the darkest week of winter, which such spirits were said to be most active

The annual Joburg Carnival takes place in in Johannesburg, South Africa, to mark the arrival of the New YearThe annual Joburg Carnival takes place in in Johannesburg, South Africa, to mark the arrival of the New Year

The annual Joburg Carnival takes place in in Johannesburg, South Africa, to mark the arrival of the New Year

In Brazil the period between New Year and the Rio carnival, which will take place in early February, is treated as a prolonged holiday filled with parades and partying (pictured, celebrations in Johannesburg)In Brazil the period between New Year and the Rio carnival, which will take place in early February, is treated as a prolonged holiday filled with parades and partying (pictured, celebrations in Johannesburg)

In Brazil the period between New Year and the Rio carnival, which will take place in early February, is treated as a prolonged holiday filled with parades and partying (pictured, celebrations in Johannesburg)

In Sao Paulo, an estimated 30,000 people took part in the annual Sao Silvestre international raceIn Sao Paulo, an estimated 30,000 people took part in the annual Sao Silvestre international race

In Sao Paulo, an estimated 30,000 people took part in the annual Sao Silvestre international race

Hundreds of people also participated in the San Silvestre Swim at La Comandancia beach in northern SpainHundreds of people also participated in the San Silvestre Swim at La Comandancia beach in northern Spain

Hundreds of people also participated in the San Silvestre Swim at La Comandancia beach in northern Spain

An Indonesian bride waits for her turn to get married during a mass wedding ceremony as part of New Year's Eve celebrations in Jakarta, Indonesia. An Indonesian bride waits for her turn to get married during a mass wedding ceremony as part of New Year's Eve celebrations in Jakarta, Indonesia. 

An Indonesian bride waits for her turn to get married during a mass wedding ceremony as part of New Year's Eve celebrations in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Nearly 450 couples gathered in a large tent in the city center just hours before midnight to pray with their families before signing marriage certificates Nearly 450 couples gathered in a large tent in the city center just hours before midnight to pray with their families before signing marriage certificates 

Nearly 450 couples gathered in a large tent in the city center just hours before midnight to pray with their families before signing marriage certificates

A bride has her headdress adjusted while taking part in a mass wedding organised by the city government as part of New Year's Eve celebrations in Jakarta, IndonesiaA bride has her headdress adjusted while taking part in a mass wedding organised by the city government as part of New Year's Eve celebrations in Jakarta, Indonesia

A bride has her headdress adjusted while taking part in a mass wedding organised by the city government as part of New Year's Eve celebrations in Jakarta, Indonesia

Neni, 55 (left) and Cek Lie (right), 68, pose for photographs during a mass wedding ceremony as part of New Year's Eve celebrations in Jakarta, Indonesia. Many couples wore matching colors and colorful traditional Indonesian outfits, with some brides donning elaborate headdresses and grooms carrying traditional daggers called kerisNeni, 55 (left) and Cek Lie (right), 68, pose for photographs during a mass wedding ceremony as part of New Year's Eve celebrations in Jakarta, Indonesia. Many couples wore matching colors and colorful traditional Indonesian outfits, with some brides donning elaborate headdresses and grooms carrying traditional daggers called keris

Neni, 55 (left) and Cek Lie (right), 68, pose for photographs during a mass wedding ceremony as part of New Year's Eve celebrations in Jakarta, Indonesia. Many couples wore matching colors and colorful traditional Indonesian outfits, with some brides donning elaborate headdresses and grooms carrying traditional daggers called keris

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan congratulated those taking the plunge and said the city would now host the event every New Year¿s EveJakarta Governor Anies Baswedan congratulated those taking the plunge and said the city would now host the event every New Year¿s Eve

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan congratulated those taking the plunge and said the city would now host the event every New Year’s Eve

Relatives take pictures with a newly wedd couple during the mass wedding ceremony. The city government raised donation funds to pay for token gold dowries for the couples to exchangeRelatives take pictures with a newly wedd couple during the mass wedding ceremony. The city government raised donation funds to pay for token gold dowries for the couples to exchange

Relatives take pictures with a newly wedd couple during the mass wedding ceremony. The city government raised donation funds to pay for token gold dowries for the couples to exchange

An Indonesian groom reacts as his bride put on his finger the wedding ring during the mass wedding ceremony. Grooms in Indonesia traditionally present gold jewelry or money to brides on the wedding dayAn Indonesian groom reacts as his bride put on his finger the wedding ring during the mass wedding ceremony. Grooms in Indonesia traditionally present gold jewelry or money to brides on the wedding day

An Indonesian groom reacts as his bride put on his finger the wedding ring during the mass wedding ceremony. Grooms in Indonesia traditionally present gold jewelry or money to brides on the wedding day

Jakarta local government personnel conduct a mass wedding to welcome and celebrate the New Year 2018 in Jakarta Jakarta local government personnel conduct a mass wedding to welcome and celebrate the New Year 2018 in Jakarta 

Jakarta local government personnel conduct a mass wedding to welcome and celebrate the New Year 2018 in Jakarta

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Australia

Sydney seaplane crash: Exhaust fumes affected pilot, report confirms

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The pilot of a seaplane that crashed into an Australian river, killing all on board, had been left confused and disorientated by leaking exhaust fumes, investigators have confirmed.

The Canadian pilot and five members of a British family died in the crash north of Sydney in December 2017.

All were found to have higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, a final report has found.

It recommended the mandatory fitting of gas detectors in all such planes.

British businessman Richard Cousins, 58, died alongside his 48-year-old fiancée, magazine editor Emma Bowden, her 11-year-old daughter Heather and his sons, Edward, 23, and William, 25, and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44. Mr Cousins was the chief executive of catering giant Compass.

The family had been on a sightseeing flight in the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver plane when it nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River at Jerusalem Bay, about 50km (30 miles) from the city centre.

The final report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) confirmed the findings of an interim report published in 2020.

It said pre-existing cracks in the exhaust collector ring were believed to have released exhaust gas into the engine bay. Holes left by missing bolts in a firewall then allowed the fumes to enter the cabin.

“As a result, the pilot would have almost certainly experienced effects such as confusion, visual disturbance and disorientation,” the report said.

“Consequently, it was likely that this significantly degraded the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.”

The ATSB recommended the Civil Aviation Safety Authority consider mandating the fitting of carbon monoxide detectors in piston-engine aircraft that carry passengers.

It previously issued safety advisory notices to owners and operators of such aircraft that they install detectors “with an active warning” to pilots”. Operators and maintainers of planes were also advised to carry out detailed inspections of exhaust systems and firewalls.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55862128

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Australia

Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official

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Australia is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021 even if most of its population gets vaccinated this year as planned, says a senior health official.

The comments dampen hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country could resume as early as July.

Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy made the prediction after being asked about the coronavirus’ escalation in other nations.

Dr Murphy spearheaded Australia’s early action to close its borders last March.

“I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.

“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said, adding that he believed quarantine requirements for travellers would continue “for some time”.

Citizens, permanent residents and those with exemptions are allowed to enter Australia if they complete a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Qantas – Australia’s national carrier – reopened bookings earlier this month, after saying it expected international travel to “begin to restart from July 2021.”

However, it added this depended on the Australian government’s deciding to reopen borders.

Australia’s tight restrictions

The country opened a travel bubble with neighbouring New Zealand late last year, but currently it only operates one-way with inbound flights to Australia.

Australia has also discussed the option of travel bubbles with other low-risk places such as Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.

A vaccination scheme is due to begin in Australia in late February. Local authorities have resisted calls to speed up the process, giving more time for regulatory approvals.

Australia has so far reported 909 deaths and about 22,000 cases, far fewer than many nations. It reported zero locally transmitted infections on Monday.

Experts have attributed much of Australia’s success to its swift border lockdown – which affected travellers from China as early as February – and a hotel quarantine system for people entering the country.

Local outbreaks have been caused by hotel quarantine breaches, including a second wave in Melbourne. The city’s residents endured a stringent four-month lockdown last year to successfully suppress the virus.

Other outbreaks – including one in Sydney which has infected about 200 people – prompted internal border closures between states, and other restrictions around Christmas time.

The state of Victoria said on Monday it would again allow entry to Sydney residents outside of designated “hotspots”, following a decline in cases.

While the measures have been praised, many have also criticised them for separating families across state borders and damaging businesses.

Dr Murphy said overall Australia’s virus response had been “pretty good” but he believed the nation could have introduced face masks earlier and improved its protections in aged care homes.

In recent days, Australia has granted entry to about 1,200 tennis players, staff and officials for the Australian Open. The contingent – which has recorded at least nine infections – is under quarantine.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55699581

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Covid: Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown over single infection

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The Australian city of Brisbane has begun a snap three-day lockdown after a cleaner in its hotel quarantine system became infected with coronavirus.

Health officials said the cleaner had the highly transmissible UK variant and they were afraid it could spread.

Brisbane has seen very few cases of the virus beyond quarantined travellers since Australia’s first wave last year.

It is the first known instance of this variant entering the Australian community outside of hotel quarantine.

The lockdown is for five populous council areas in Queensland’s state capital.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the measure on Friday morning local time, about 16 hours after the woman tested positive.

Ms Palaszczuk said the lockdown aimed to halt the virus as rapidly as possible, adding: “Doing three days now could avoid doing 30 days in the future.”

“I think everybody in Queensland… knows what we are seeing in the UK and other places around the world is high rates of infection from this particular strain,” she said.

“And we do not want to see that happening here in our great state.”

Australia has reported 28,500 coronavirus infections and 909 deaths since the pandemic began. By contrast, the US, which is the hardest-hit country, has recorded more than 21 million infections while nearly 362,000 people have died of the disease.The lockdown will begin at 18:00 on Friday (08:00 GMT) in the Brisbane city, Logan and the Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands local government areas.

Residents will only be allowed to leave home for certain reasons, such as buying essential items and seeking medical care.

For the first time, residents in those areas will also be required to wear masks outside of their homes.

Australia has faced sporadic outbreaks over the past year, with the most severe one in Melbourne triggering a lockdown for almost four months.

A pre-Christmas outbreak in Sydney caused fresh alarm, but aggressive testing and contact-tracing has kept infection numbers low. The city recorded four local cases on Friday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has pledged to start mass vaccinations in February instead of March as was planned.

Lockdown interrupts ‘near normal’ life in Brisbane

Simon Atkinson, BBC News in Brisbane

At 8:00 today I popped to the local supermarket for some bread, milk – and because it’s summer here – a mango. I was pretty much the only customer.

When I went past the same shop a couple of hours later it was a different story – 50 people standing in the drizzle – queuing to get inside as others emerged with bulging shopping bags. “Heaps busier than Christmas,” a cheery trolley attendant told me. “It’s off the scale”.

Despite the “don’t panic” messages from authorities, pictures on social media show it’s a pattern being repeated across the city.

While shutdowns are common around the world, the tough and sudden stay-at-home order for Brisbane has caught people on the hop here after months of near normality.

But while such a rapid, hard lockdown off the back of just a single case of Covid-19 will seem crazy in some parts of the world, I’ve not come across too many people complaining.

And I don’t think that’s just because Aussies love to follow a rule. This is the first time the UK variant of the virus has been detected in the community in Australia.

And nobody here wants Brisbane to go through what Melbourne suffered last year. Even if it means going without mangoes.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55582836

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