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

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

By REUTERS
December 31, 2016 21:03
2 minute read.
Fireworks explode over the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge

Fireworks explode over the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge as Australia's largest city ushers in the New Year. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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AUSTRALIA

Australians celebrated the 2017 New Year with their annual fireworks display that erupted from the Sydney Harbour Bridge on Sunday.

New Year's celebrations in SydneyMore 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 rang in the New Year on Sunday with a dazzling fireworks display.
Hong Kong lights up fireworks to brace new year (Reuters)

The annual fireworks shone above the iconic cityscape as thousands of people celebrated the arrival of 2017.

NORTH KOREA

North Korea put on a large fireworks display in Pyongyang early on Sunday to mark the start of the New Year.
North Korea welcomes in 2017 with a fireworks display in the capital (Reuters)

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

With beats booming in the Hassan Sham camp near Mosul, displaced Iraqi children are dancing away their troubles.
Iraqi displaced persons celebrate New Year in song and dance

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

Tens of thousands New Years revellers gathered at Tokyo's iconic Shibuya crossing on Saturday (December 31) to join the mass countdown for 2017.
Tokyo welcomes 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.

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