Crowds at New Year celebrations around the world have cheered the arrival of 2006, marking the occasion with fireworks and music as the year's final seconds wound down.

In Paris, thousands welcomed 2006 with champagne toasts along the city's famed Champs-Elysees avenue. Security was tight throughout the French capital on fears of renewed rioting, but police said the number of arrests and vehicle burnings was just slightly higher than last year's celebrations.

Berlin, London, Moscow and Kiev also held large-scale celebrations with tight security and brilliant firework displays.

In Beijing, some 6,000 people attended an annual New Year's concert. Chinese and Indian leaders also exchanged New Year greetings, reaffirming their declaration to mark 2006 as the "India-China Friendship Year."

And in the United States, where party-goers were among the last to see the start of 2006, hundreds of thousands turned out in New York, Atlanta and even hurricane-damaged New Orleans to ring in the New Year.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.