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New Year's Celebrations Ringing in 2014



Fireworks are crackling through the night skies across the globe as revelers celebrate the first moments of 2014.

Crowds gathered in public spaces in major cities across the Asia-Pacific region to ring in the new year with music, fireworks and revelry. As clocks marched toward midnight around the world, crowds massed in Moscow, Dubai, London, New York and other major cities ahead of their celebrations.

Dubai created what it called the world's largest fireworks show. About a million people are expected to gather in New York's Times Square to watch a giant ball drop at the stroke of midnight, the best known of the American New Year's Eve rituals.

Fireworks erupted from Auckland's Sky Tower as people danced in the streets of New Zealand's biggest city. In Sydney, Australia, more than a million people watched fireworks launched for the first time in more than a decade from the sails of the city's famed waterfront opera house. Billowing fireworks soared over Hong Kong's skyscrapers.

In Japan, some celebrators ate noodles and seafood -- thought to bring good luck in 2014 -- and offered prayers at Buddhist shrines and temples.

Celebrations were somewhat muted in the Philippines, where officials say about 260 people were injured by fireworks or stray bullets in the days leading up to New Year's Eve. The mood also was somber in areas still recovering from Haiyan, a November typhoon that killed thousands of people.

Cape Town, South Africa, was set for a particularly poignant celebration to include a tribute to anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, who died December 5.

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