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Saturday, December 31, 2016

++ New year 2017 - live updates ++

WORLD

++ New year 2017 - live updates ++

Since 2012 Samoa has been among the first in the world to celebrate the new year after shifting the date line. New Zealand and Australia were next in line to celebrate the end of 2016.
Australien Sydney Jahreswechsel Feuerwerk (Reuters/J. Reed)
All updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC)
1500 Japan, South Korea, East Timor, part of Russia and part of Indonesia all clocked over to 2017.
Millions of people visited temples across Japan, including at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, which expected 3 million visits over the next three days. "Japan Today" reported up to 35 percent of the country's television audience will watch the annual four-hour "Kohaku Uta Gassen" variety show. 
People walk underneath ornaments as they visit the Sensoji temple in Tokyo on New Year's Eve (Getty Images/T.Yamanaka)
Millions of people in Japan make midnight temple visits to welcome the new year
In the Korean capital of Seoul, hundreds of thousands of people ushered in the new year with massive protests against disgraced President Park Geun-hye.
1440 US President-elect Donald Trump sent an unusual new year greeting to his Twitter followers. 
"Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don't know what to do. Love," he wrote.
1430 About 5,000 people gathered to welcome the new year in the northern Australian city of Darwin, according to national broadcaster ABC. The central city of Alice Springs was on the same schedule.
1400 The eastern Australian state of Queensland, including a reported 90,000 people in the city of Brisbane welcomed the transition with fireworks. The city's official Twitter account posted a picture of festivites.
Papuan capital Port Morseby, further regions of Anarctica and Guam, where surfers had reportedly enjoyed a final great swell of the year, entered 2017 at the same time, a Tweet from a local newspaper showed.
1330 Half an hour later, clocks in the southern Australian city of Adelaide ticked over. 
1300 Midnight celebrations in Sydney kicked off with more than one million people lining the shores of Sydney Harbor. The biggest fireworks display in the city's history paid tribute to many artists who had died in 2016, including a shower of purple fireworks as Prince's "Purple Rain" played and fireworks in the shapes of planets in a nod to David Bowie. A Tweet from the City of Sydney showed a snapshot of the display.
About 500,000 people in the Australian city of Melbourne, and the people of Vanuatu, Micronesia, the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, parts of Antarctica, and parts of Russia all gathered to welcome 2017 as well.
1200 The Republic of Nauru, the tiny island nation home to hundreds of refugees mandatorily detained by Australia immigration authorities, was next in line to celebrate the new year. The island's official Twitter account posted a picture of revelries in the country, which has all but banned foreign journalists.
Other areas to celebrate included some eastern parts of Russia, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands, which has recently suffered widespread internet blackouts.
1100 - Mainland New Zealand welcomed the new year with a midnight fireworks and laser display in Auckland. It launched a reported 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) of fireworks over five minutes from the city's iconic  328-meter Sky Tower in front of an estimated crowd of 30,000.
1000 - The people of Samoa,  Kiribati and Tonga were the first in the world to celebrate the New Year.
A total 400,000 residents of the Pacific islands, brought in 2017 with feasts and cheers.
Parts of Samoa including its capital Apia were flooded by continuing heavy rains, forcing celebrations under cover.
Almost straddling the international date line, the small country legally switched over their time zone in 2012 to avoid being 23 hours behind major trade partner New Zealand. 
Following the three Pacific Islands the 600 residents of New Zealand's remote archipelago of Chatham, about 680 kilometers southeast of the main islands  will pop the Champagne corks.
Half an hour later, mainland New Zealand and the population of Fiji will begin the countdown.
Early arrivals claim prime positions to watch fireworks in front of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge in Sydney, Australia (Reuters/J. Reed)
More than one million people are expected to gather for Sydney's fireworks display
 "This year, sadly, we saw the loss of many music and entertainment legends around the world," fireworks co-producer Catherine Flanagan said. "So celebrating their music as part of Sydney New Year's Eve fireworks displays is an opportunity to reflect on the year that has been and what the future may hold."
In Germany, people were preparing to welcome in the new year beginning with the ceremonial broadcasting of cult British TV classic Dinner for One.
Authorities in Germany placed bans on the right-wing extremist National Party of Germany (NPD) and the populist, anti-migrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) from holding rallies in Cologne, the sight of mass sexual attacks by immigrants on the evening of December 31st last year, citing safety concerns. The citybeefed up security  this year.
In Madrid thousands of locals and tourists celebrated one day early on Friday night thanks to a city clock that tests its bell early. 
In the square of Puerta del Sol revellers met each 12 strikes of the belltower with cheers and revelry at midnight, eating a grape with each chime to bring good luck.
This New Year's Eve December 31st will beone second longer than usual as keepers of the time add a leap second to compensate for the Earth's slightly slower rotation.
 
Watch video04:47

New Year's Eve traditions in Europe

aw/rc (EFE, dpa, AP)

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