Ringing in the New Year around the world

03:32, Jan 01 2014
Auckland New Year's Eve
Fireworks shoot from the Sky Tower during Auckland's New Year's Eve celebrations.
Sydney New Year's Eve
Fireworks light up Sydney's Harbour Bridge after midnight.
Melbourne New Year's Eve
Melbourne's skyline is lit up by fireworks as the clock strikes 2014.
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Fireworks see the New Year in at New Year's Eve party in Christchurch's North Hagley park.
Picton New Year
Marlborough people celebrate with live music and fireworks at the Picton foreshore.
Sydney New Year's Eve
Fireworks light up Sydney's Harbour Bridge.
New Year's Eve
Revellers light up the night and bring in the new year with sparklers.
New Year's Eve
Fireworks explode over Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong.
New Year's Eve
The world record-breaking firework display attempt in Dubai.
New Year's Eve
New Year celebrations in Moscow's Red Square.
New Year's Eve
The Great Wall of China lit up for the celebrations at Badaling, near Beijing.
Trapped ship in Antarctica
The London Eye takes centre stage for fireworks in the British capital.
Trapped ship in Antarctica
London's Big Ben lit up for the party.

With fireworks shooting from the top of Auckland's Sky Tower, 2014 was welcomed in by New Zealanders.

In Australia two hours later, exploding fireworks sprayed from the sails of the Sydney Opera House and the harbour bridge as the world ushered in a new year.

"It filled up the whole sky," said Mona Rucek, a 28-year-old tourist from Munich, Germany.

Party in Picton
PARTY: Ignite Marlborough New Year's celebrations at the Picton foreshore. Live music followed by fire works over Picton harbour.
Selina Hamma
LOVING SELFIES: Selina Hamma and Christoph Eisemann from Germany at the Ignite Marlborough New Year's celebrations at the Picton foreshore.
Anahera Love
THUMBS UP: Anahera Love, 13, and Aaliyah Love, 13 at the Ignite Marlborough New Year's celebrations at the Picton foreshore.
Heather Dixon
GROOVING: Heather Dixon, Laura Westmacott, Roberta Douglas, Holly Turner, Steve Waite and Rick Turner at the Ignite Marlborough New Year's celebrations at the Picton foreshore. Live music followed by fire works over Picton harbour.
Ty Banton
SMILES ON: Ty Banton, Alan Harvey and Kaine Marsh at the Ignite Marlborough New Year's celebrations at the Picton foreshore.
Lynne Fitzpatrick
FAMILY TIMES: Katie Pugh, 5, and Lynne Fitzpatrick at the Ignite Marlborough New Year's celebrations at the Picton foreshore.
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FEET STOMPING: The Easy Hearts performing at New Year's Eve party in North Hagley park Christchurch.
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BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE: NZ Army Dance Band at New Year's Eve party North Hagley park, Christchurch.
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WARM FELLOWSHIP: The crowd having a fantastic time to the NZ Army Dance Band at New Year's Eve party in Christchurch.
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HIGH SPIRITS: The Wizard casts a spell of good fortune for the New Year at the New Year's Eve party in North Hagley park, Christchurch.
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GLEE: The crowd having a fantastic time at New Year's Eve in North Hagley park, Christchurch.
Fireworks
SPARKS: Fireworks light the sky over Lake Te Anau to bring in the new year. Thousands turned out despite the rain to celebrate at the towns Lion Park where a large bonfire and entertainment took place.
Chris Chilton
ROCKIN INTO 2014: Chris Chilton leads the Triple Shot band playing at the Gorge Road Country Club on New Year's Eve in Southland.
Woodlands Tavern
BUDDIES: Karen Mikkelsen, left, Vicki Ward and Susan Titchmarch, far right, are served by Woodlands Tavern, Invercargill. Owner Pauline Dermody (second from the right).
Scottish Hall
DROP OF CULTURE: Chieftan Bruce McNaughton dances the night away with St Andrew's Scottish Society chief Barbara Swain at the Scottish Hall for Hogmanay, in Southland.
Gorge Road
SOUTHERN ALES ON: Cor Aarts, Margot Earl, Barry Warnock, Melissa Perriam, Nicola Aarts and Brendan Payne celebrate New Year at Gorge Road Country Club, Invercargill with a few drinks from barman Rob Ashby.
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AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JANUARY 01: Fireworks are let off from the Auckland Sky Tower to celebrate the new year on January 1, 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand.
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AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JANUARY 01: Fireworks are let off from the Auckland Sky Tower to celebrate the new year on January 1, 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand.
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MUSO: Ignite Marlborough New Year's celebrations at the Picton foreshore. Live music followed by fire works over Picton harbour. Musician Midge McCleary.
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FIREWORKS: New Year celebrations at Caroline Bay, Timaru.
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STUNNING DISPLAY: New Year celebrations at Caroline Bay, Timaru.
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IT ALL ON: Revellers in the mosh pit at the Happy Nu Yeah party at Smith's Ford in the Maitai Valley, Nelson on New Year's Eve.
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IN THE MOMENT: Revellers in the mosh pit at the Happy Nu Yeah party at Smith's Ford in the Maitai Valley, Nelson on New Year's Eve.
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ROCK'N'ROLL: John Young throws Kaye Eden around the dance floor at the Disco Fever New Year's Eve Party at the Boathouse, Nelson.
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Among the thousands of visitors plenty of Queenstown locals were preparing for a big night out on New Years Eve. Georgia Walsh, Vicki Heath, Andrea Beck and Kathryn Ferrier.
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Among the thousands of visitors plenty of Queenstown locals were preparing for a big night out on New Years Eve. (at rear) Jon Davies and Olly Burgin, (at front) Matt Schreurs, Laura Pullen, Sarah Street and Kat Wadeson.
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Among the thousands of visitors plenty of Queenstown locals were preparing for a big night out on New Years Eve. (at rear) Steve Langton, Nigel Montgomery, G Morse and Jamarl Hansen with (at front) Rodney Langton, Gary and Shorty Montgomery.
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Among the thousands of visitors plenty of Queenstown locals were preparing for a big night out on New Years Eve. Garry McGovern, Sean McSparron, Ronnie Dunbar and Dave O’Meara.
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Among the thousands of visitors plenty of Queenstown locals were preparing for a big night out on New Years Eve. John Jones, Sarah Timlin and Kieran Young.
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Among the thousands of visitors plenty of Queenstown locals were preparing for a big night out on New Years Eve. Toni Bedingfield, Dan Browne and Lisa Healey.

Dubai, a Persian Gulf city known for glitz, glamour and over-the-top achievements like the world's tallest skyscraper, sought to break another record by creating the largest fireworks show.

In Ukraine, anti-government protesters hoped to set their own record for the most people to sing a national anthem at the same time.

Crowds heading to New York City's Times Square could expect the traditional ball drop but no mayor this year. The new year was to be rung in by US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor instead.

The Dubai skyline was a canvas for a dazzling 30-minute capping off with six minutes of fireworks that engulfed the city's man-made, palm-shaped island, with its fronds and trunk shimmering in thousands of lights.

Organisers had promised that the fireworks would form a flying falcon, sunrise and United Arab Emirates flag over another Dubai invention: artificial islands in the shape of the world. It was not immediately clear if the promised designs or world record had been achieved.

In total, the extravaganza was slated to include half a million fireworks from 400 firing locations synchronised by 100 computers, said Barrett Wissman, co-chairman of IMG Artists, which was managing the event.

The spectacle erupted at midnight at the world's tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa, and moved to the city's sail-shaped Burj Al-Arab hotel before ending at the Palm.

"It is really mind-blowing the size of this," Wissman said of the display.

The fireworks display was slated to surpass the current world record held by another Gulf Arab state in just the first 60 seconds. Kuwait has held the record since last year, when it fired more than 77,000 fireworks in a display lasting more than an hour.

Guinness World Record officials were on hand to measure the scale of Dubai's event, which needed to be longer than five minutes to qualify.

Britain planned to welcome 2014 with a mixture of futuristic fireworks and torch-lit tradition. For people in London, the New Year offered the opportunity to taste the fireworks.

The city's mayor - in conjunction with telecommunications company Vodafone - said this year's explosive display would come packed with peach-flavoured snow, edible banana confetti and orange-scented bubbles, allowing people to feast with more than just their eyes. The multisensory display will also include scratch-and-sniff programs, LED wristbands and fruit-flavoured sweets.

In Tokyo, five priests at the Zojoji temple used ropes to swing a wooden pole against a large bell, sounding the first of 108 gongs to mark the new year. Simultaneously, "2014" lit up in white lights on the modern Tokyo Tower in the background.

Juji Muto said he was curious to hear how the bell sounded. The 75-year-old retiree said he wishes every year for good health.

China planned light shows at part of the Great Wall near Beijing and at the Bund waterfront in Shanghai. The city of Wuhan in central Hubei province called off its fireworks show and banned fireworks downtown to avoid worsening its smog.

Pope Francis used his year-end prayer service of thanksgiving to urge people to ask themselves: Did they spend 2013 to further their own interests or to help others?

The pontiff asked people to reflect if they used the past year to make the places where they live more livable and welcoming. Citing Rome as an example, Francis said the city is full of tourists, but also refugees.

More than 260 people had been injured by firecracker blasts and celebratory gunfire in the Philippines, a nation marking the end of a year of tragic disasters, including a Nov. 8 typhoon that left more than 6,100 dead and nearly 1,800 missing.

"Many here are welcoming the new year after losing their mothers, fathers, siblings and children so you can imagine how it feels," said village chief Maria Rosario Bactol of Anibong community in Tacloban, the city worst hit by Typhoon Haiyan. "I tell them to face the reality, to move on and stand up, but I know it will never be easy."

In New York City, outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who hobnobbed with celebrities during past Times Square celebrations, was sitting out this year's festivities to spend time with family and friends. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio was to be sworn in at 12:01am Wednesday local time at his Brooklyn home.

Sotomayor, a New York City native, will lead the final 60-second countdown and push the ceremonial button to drop the ball.

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AP