|Hong Kong spectacle heralds new beginnings in Asia
Hong Kong, as it had done before, is seeing in the new year with the biggest countdown show so far, putting on a spectacle of fireworks from skyscrapers and a one-kilometer line of barges along Victoria Harbour in a “wish upon a star'' tourism board event.
Among other cities in the region, Seoul rings in 2014 with a ritual clanging of the city's 15th-century bronze bell 33 times, reflecting the ancient practice of marking a new year.
The Taipei 101, once the world's tallest skyscraper, stages pyrotechnics in Taiwan's capital, kicking off with a laser beam from a 4.5-meter statue of Spiderman.
Jakarta set up 12 city center stages for performances to showcase its culture.
Tonga, located near the international dateline, is among the first to greet 2014. The Pacific island is holding a week-long prayer festival that culminates with a blast from bamboo “cannons.’’
In the Middle East, Dubai readied a record-breaking explosion of more than 400,000 fireworks, the biggest the world has ever seen, stretching over 100 kilometers.
In Sydney, the Australian city also laid on fireworks in a show titled “Shine.’’
In Rio de Janeiro, authorities predict 2.3 million people – a third of them tourists – at Copacabana Beach for fireworks and pop music.
The theme is romantic.
An expected one million revellers gather in New York to mark the stroke of midnight and the traditional ball-drop over Times Square.
In Africa, Cape Town hosts a free concert with lasers, fireworks and a special 3D tribute to Nelson Mandela who died on December 5.
Images from the anti-apartheid hero's life will be projected onto City Hall where he gave his first speech after his release from 27 years in prison in 1990.—AFP