Dubai, United Arab Emirates • With fireworks, dancing and late-night revelry, millions around the world welcomed 2014 on Tuesday, gathering for huge displays of jubilation and unity as the new year arrived.
Dubai, a Persian Gulf city known for glitz, glamour and over-the-top achievements like the world’s tallest skyscraper, sought to break another record by creating the largest fireworks show.
In Ukraine, anti-government protesters hoped to set their own record for the most people to sing a national anthem at the same time.
Crowds heading to New York City’s Times Square could expect the traditional ball drop but no mayor this year. The new year was to be rung in by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor instead.
The Dubai skyline was a canvas for a dazzling 30-minute show capping off with six minutes of fireworks that engulfed the city’s man-made, palm-shaped island, with its fronds and trunk shimmering in thousands of lights. In total, the extravaganza was slated to include half a million fireworks from 400 firing locations synchronized by 100 computers, said Barrett Wissman, co-chairman of IMG Artists, which was managing the event.
On Kiev’s main square, at least 100,000 Ukrainians sang their national anthem in a sign of support for integration with Europe. The square has been the scene of massive pro-European protests for more than a month, triggered by President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to ditch a key deal with the European Union.
Britain planned to welcome 2014 with a mixture of futuristic fireworks and torch-lit tradition. For people in London, the New Year offered the opportunity to taste the fireworks.
The city’s mayor said this year’s explosive display would come packed with peach-flavored snow, edible banana confetti and orange-scented bubbles, allowing people to feast with more than just their eyes. The multisensory display will also include scratch-and-sniff programs, LED wristbands and fruit-flavored sweets.
In Sydney, Australia, fireworks organizers expected to set off 7.7 U.S. tons of pyrotechnics in 12 seconds in a display that sprayed from the sails of the Sydney Opera House and the city’s harbor bridge.
Closer to the International Dateline, New Zealand concluded 2013 with its own fireworks that erupted from Auckland’s Sky Tower while cheering crowds danced in the streets of the South Pacific island nation’s largest city.
In Tokyo, five priests at the Zojoji temple used ropes to swing a wooden pole against a large bell, sounding the first of 108 gongs to mark the new year. Simultaneously, "2014" lit up in white lights on the modern Tokyo Tower in the background.
China planned light shows at part of the Great Wall near Beijing and at the Bund waterfront in Shanghai. The city of Wuhan in central Hubei province called off its fireworks show and banned fireworks downtown to avoid worsening its smog.
Pope Francis used his year-end prayer service of thanksgiving to urge people to ask themselves: Did they spend 2013 to further their own interests or to help others?
In New York City, newly elected Mayor Bill de Blasio took the oath of office just after midnight at his Brooklyn home.
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