2009 draws to close with hugs, gunfire and a blue moon
Friday 01 January 2010
The new decade and the new year were ushered in around the world with spectacular fireworks displays, heightened security measures and a blue moon. Spontaneous hugging broke out in Tokyo, hundreds of Filipinos were hurt by celebratory firecrackers and gunfire, while revellers in Venice struggled to keep their feet dry as the New Year came in with a high tide.
An estimated 250,000 people joined the revelries in London, where they crammed into special viewing points to watch the firework display that began at the stroke of midnight along the River Thames. Elsewhere in Britain people braved plunging temperatures to join celebrations with up to 80,000 people estimated to have turned up at the Edinburgh street party. A special Hogmany street party in Inverness, however, was called off because of snow.
A blue moon, so-called because it was the second full moon of the month, coincided with New Year's Eve in Europe and other parts of the world. Blue moons occur every two or three years but the next time one takes place on New Year's Eve will be in 2028.
The new year was already more than 13 hours old by the time it reached Britain, with the people of first Kiritimati (Christmas island) and the Chatham islands in the Pacific being the first to welcome 2010.
Nor, said Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, will the last decade be much missed. In a New Year message he called the Noughties "terrible and gruelling" and a decade in which people had been tested by terrorism, wars, natural disasters and financial collapse. But he said people should look forward rather than lose hope."
Auckland, New Zealand, was the first major city to celebrate the new decade and the streets were closed and alcohol banned as thousands of people watched fireworks at the city's Sky Tower. In Australia revellers were told to learn to handle alcohol better as police lost patience with drunks. "People have had it up to here with drunken idiots who ruin other people's nights. If you're one of these fools that can't handle their grog, make yourself a New Year's resolution to grow up and behave yourself," said Michael Daley, police minister of New South Wales.
More than 1.5 million people are estimated to have turned out to watch the spectacular 12-minute firework display over Sydney Harbour in which five tonnes of explosives lit up the night sky.
One of Sydney's few rivals in terms of the size of the celebrations is Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana Beach, Brazil, where two million visitors were expected to watch a firework display.
In New York thousands of police officers were drafted in to ensure the annual New Year celebrations at Times Square, where backpacks and other bags were banned, passed peacefully. Similarly tight security was in place at Germany's Brandenburg Gate where about a million people faced searches.
Revellers in Russia were urged to remain sober in saunas. "Maybe this sounds funny... But many people die in saunas," said the emergencies minister Sergei Shoigu. Drinking in saunas is a popular way of seeing in the new year.
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
- 4 The Greece debt crisis explained in less than 100 words
- 5 Cristiano Ronaldo storms out of interview after being asked about possible sale of Manchester United target Sergio Ramos
Hilary Swank: Million Dollar Baby star says she turns down roles to care for elderly father
Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
The Greece debt crisis explained in less than 100 words
Bastrop: The Texas town where many fear a large military training exercise will be used by President Obama to take their guns and impose martial law
Bakery sends 'horrific' version of Frozen-themed birthday cake to unsuspecting customer
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
£12500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This accounting practice is looking for ...
£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: To work within the Visitor Experience Departm...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This online retailer of electronic acces...