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World Welcomes 2007

The world is celebrating the new year.

In a traditional event in New York, a giant Waterford crystal-encrusted illuminated ball has dropped in the city's famed Times Square, marking the beginning of 2007 in the United States.

An estimated 1,000,000 people jammed Times Square to watch the large crystal sphere make a three-minute journey down a flagpole that ends with the ball reaching the base at the stroke of midnight.

New Year's celebrations began earlier Monday as midnight arrived across Asia, west toward Europe and Africa, and to the eastern tip of South America.

In China, President Hu Jintao extended New Year wishes, and called for social harmony.

A series of bombings in Thailand forced the cancellation of New Year's celebrations in Bangkok and other cities.

In Sydney, up to 1,000,000 Australians gathered for a spectacular fireworks display centered around the city's harbor bridge.

In Europe, Romania and Bulgaria celebrated their new status as members of the European Union.

In Belfast, Northern Ireland, Glasgow, Scotland, and some cities in northern England, fireworks and outdoor concerts were canceled because of dangerous winds.

In Brazil, extra security forces patrolled the streets of Rio de Janeiro to prevent a recent upsurge of gang violence from ruining the city's famed new year's celebrations at Copacabana and Ipanema beaches.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.