- 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
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
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
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 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 city
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 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 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 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 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 fireworks
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 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 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 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 year
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 2018
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 Year
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 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 weather
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 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 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 lake
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 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 streets
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 others
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
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 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, 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 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 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 misbehaved
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 active
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 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 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.
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, 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 keris
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 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 day
Jakarta local government personnel conduct a mass wedding to welcome and celebrate the New Year 2018 in Jakarta
The post Auckland kicks off New Year celebrations to ring in 2018 appeared first on News Wire Now.
Australia resists calls for tougher climate targets
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has resisted pressure to set more ambitious carbon emission targets while other major nations vowed deeper reductions to tackle climate change.
Addressing a global climate summit, Mr Morrison said Australia was on a path to net zero emissions.
But he stopped short of setting a timeline, saying the country would get there “as soon as possible”.
It came as the US, Canada and Japan set new commitments for steeper cuts.
US President Joe Biden, who chaired the virtual summit, pledged to cut carbon emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by the year 2030. This new target essentially doubles the previous US promise.
By contrast, Australia will stick with its existing pledge of cutting carbon emissions by 26%-28% below 2005 levels, by 2030. That’s in line with the Paris climate agreement, though Mr Morrison said Australia was on a pathway to net zero emissions.
“Our goal is to get there as soon as we possibly can, through technology that enables and transforms our industries, not taxes that eliminate them and the jobs and livelihoods they support and create,” he told the summit.
“Future generations… will thank us not for what we have promised, but what we deliver.”
Australia is one of the world’s biggest carbon emitters on a per capita basis. Mr Morrison, who has faced sustained criticism over climate policy, said action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would focus on technology.
The prime minister said Australia is deploying renewable energy 10 times faster than the global average per person, and has the highest uptake of rooftop solar panels in the world.
Mr Morrison added Australia would invest $20bn ($15.4bn; 11.1bn) “to achieve ambitious goals that will bring the cost of clean hydrogen, green steel, energy storage and carbon capture to commercial parity”.
“You can always be sure that the commitments Australia makes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are bankable.”
Australia has seen growing international pressure to step up its efforts to cut emissions and tackle global warming. The country has warmed on average by 1.4 degrees C since national records began in 1910, according to its science and weather agencies. That’s led to an increase in the number of extreme heat events, as well as increased fire danger days.
Ahead of the summit, President Biden’s team urged countries that have been slow to embrace action on climate change to raise their ambition. While many nations heeded the call, big emitters China and India also made no new commitments.
“Scientists tell us that this is the decisive decade – this is the decade we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis,” President Biden said at the summit’s opening address.
Referring to America’s new carbon-cutting pledge, President Biden added: “The signs are unmistakable, the science is undeniable, and the cost of inaction keeps mounting.”
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-56854558
Sydney seaplane crash: Exhaust fumes affected pilot, report confirms
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
Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official
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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