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US Welcomes 2006


The world has welcomed the arrival of the New Year with joyous celebrations, fireworks and hopes for greater peace and prosperity during 2006.

The turmoil of nature, which put its mark on so much of the world during the past 12 months, was felt in the western United States Sunday, where torrential rains and high winds brought flooding and landslides across much of California.

Large New Year celebrations in the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco were canceled due to severe weather.

Strong winds threatened a mammoth fireworks show in the city of Las Vegas, Nevada, known for its exuberant and flashy atmosphere, but the gusts eased in time for the launch of 40,000 skyrockets along the Strip, the world-famous street lined with glittering hotels and casinos.

Hundreds-of-thousands of party-goers in New York braved freezing temperatures to watch the final seconds of 2005 slip away in Times Square, marked by the descent of a huge, illuminated crystal ball high overhead.

New Orleans observed the start of 2006 in a similar manner but with a unique twist, a giant gumbo pot replaced the illuminated crystal ball. Gumbo is a spicy soup popular in local Cajun cooking in the region. The flood-ravaged city staged a traditional jazz funeral procession to mourn the victims of Hurricane Katrina, which inundated New Orleans four months ago.

Some information for this report provided by AP.

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