Fireworks dazzle from Sydney to Pyongyang as 2017 begins in the East

Iraqi displaced persons also marking a new year filled with uncertainty.

Fireworks explode over the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge as Australia's largest city ushers in the New Year (photo credit: REUTERS)
Fireworks explode over the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge as Australia's largest city ushers in the New Year
(photo credit: REUTERS)
AUSTRALIA
New Year's celebrations in Sydney
Australians celebrated the 2017 New Year with their annual fireworks display that erupted from the Sydney Harbour Bridge on Sunday.
More than a million residents and visitors lined the waterfront to watch brightly colored fireworks and laser lighting erupting into the night sky over the city's harbor.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the city also celebrated with a 9 o'clock. show prior to the midnight display. The two shows combined for a total of seven tons of fireworks, the newspaper said.
HONG KONG
Hong Kong lights up fireworks to brace new year (Reuters)
Hong Kong rang in the New Year on Sunday with a dazzling fireworks display.
The annual fireworks shone above the iconic cityscape as thousands of people celebrated the arrival of 2017.
NORTH KOREA
North Korea welcomes in 2017 with a fireworks display in the capital (Reuters)
North Korea put on a large fireworks display in Pyongyang early on Sunday to mark the start of the New Year.
The state-run television KRT showed people watching the 15-minute-long display at Kim Il Sung square in Pyongyang.
Tension on the divided Korean peninsula has been high during 2016 after the North's two nuclear tests and an unprecedented flurry of ballistic missile tests.
The North's tests have brought tighter UN Security Council sanctions but no indication North Korea and its young leader Kim Jong Un are willing to compromise on Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes.
IRAQ
Iraqi displaced persons celebrate New Year in song and dance
With beats booming in the Hassan Sham camp near Mosul, displaced Iraqi children are dancing away their troubles.
It's a new years celebration that organizers hope can lift spirits for those affected by months of fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State.
As children were entertained, some adults expressed hope for peace and stability.
"There has been pain, explosions, things that one finds hard to explain and talk about. We hope that God will protect these people, the children and the innocent, and save them from this destruction," displaced man Abu Hakim said.
Residents came here with few belongings.
Aid shortages have plagued the camp often.
And with winter here, life has become even more of a struggle, especially for those with an uncertain future.
JAPAN
Tokyo welcomes 2017
Tens of thousands New Years revellers gathered at Tokyo's iconic Shibuya crossing on Saturday (December 31) to join the mass countdown for 2017.
Organisers said about 67,000 Japanese and tourists packed the world's busiest crossing, where 13 electronic billboards displayed the final countdown of the year.
Hundreds of police lined the streets and patrolled to ensure the safety of people.
It was only the second time Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department has decided to make a temporary pedestrian zone at the crossing after Halloween 2016.
Once the clock struck midnight, crowds broke out in cheer, song and dance.
One participant hoped the New Year would bring a lesser threat from North Korea, which launched an unprecedented number of ballistic missile tests in addition to two nuclear tests in 2016.
Unlike other East Asian nations that celebrate the lunar New Year on January 28, Japan celebrates in accordance with the Georgian calendar.