Bringing in 2016 around the world
As the earth completes yet another orbit of the Sun, people across the world are celebrating, ushering in the new year. In most parts of the world, the scars of terrorism, natural disasters and war are still fresh from 2015, and celebrations took place under tight security. From Times Square to the Tokyo tower, to the Sydney Harbor, fireworks and cheers brought in 2016.
There was a muted feel to New Year celebrations in many mainland cities, as the nation reflected on a year of tragedies and security concerns. At venues across the country, events were canceled, or security tightened, though official celebrations went ahead in Beijing. Shanghai has scrapped all but one celebration following a stampede that killed over 30 people on New Year's Eve last year.
An estimated 1.6 million people flooded into central Sydney to watch the country's largest New Year's Eve fireworks display against the backdrop of the Sydney Opera House. Celebrations also took place at the iconic Bondi Beach, with revelers gathering to watch the first sunrise of 2016. In Melbourne, about half a million people packed the city to watch 10 tonnes of fireworks.
President Vladimir Putin addressed the nation on New Years with special praise addressed to the military servicemen who at the moment were on duty away from home. Moscow shut the Red Square for celebrations amid heightened security tensions in the region. Millions of revelers gathered on the streets of Moscow to witness a massive fireworks display to usher in the new year.
Thousands of party-goers across Israel flooded the country's cities to celebrate New Year's Eve 2016. However parts of Israel remained in the grip of a winter storm that dumped 30 centimeters of snow on the lower plateau of Mt. Hermon. There were massive fireworks displays in Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv amid heightened security concerns over intelligence inputs about possible terrorist strikes.
Egypt brought in the New year with celebrations in front of the iconic pyramids in Cairo. As per tradition, the Pyramids were brightly lit, surrounded by over 10,000 revelers. Celebrations aimed to give the country's ailing tourist industry a boost which took a major blow after the Russian plane tragedy in 2015. Alexandria brought in the new year amid mild showers and low temperatures.
Paris defiantly celebrated the arrival of the new year despite the scars of the 2015 terror attacks, marking 2016 an hour earlier than the UK with a spectacular fireworks show. However tensions remained high throughout Europe in light of terror threats issued in Munich. In keeping with annual tradition, the Eiffel Tower in was lit up, symbolic of the City of Light.
In London, armed police officers were called in to monitor the New Year's Eve celebrations taking place at the London Eye. Authorities stated that Europe is on alert as there have been specific intelligence inputs warning of terror attacks on New Year's eve. Celebrations were peaceful, with 3000 police officers deployed in Central London, culminating with the Mayor's fireworks show at South Bank
Times Square in New York City was the hub of excitement for bringing in 2016 in the US. Events in Times Square kicked off at 5pm amid high security with over a million revelers gathering to celebrate. Grammy Award nominee Jesse J performed some of his hit musical numbers, and as per tradition, John Lennon's 'Imagine' was played just before midnight.
Brazil brought in the new year amidst high tensions over the outbreak of the Zika virus. Security was tightened at many places and most of the country did not celebrate the new year due to the state of emergency declared recently. However, celebrations took place in Rio as revelers packed onto the famous Copacabana beach dressed in white to watch an incredible fireworks display.
The inconspicuous pacific island nation of Samoa, was the first country in the world to bring in 2016, a full fourteen hours before celebrations began in Europe.