World welcomes 2013 with firework spectaculars

 

Revellers around the world welcomed 2013 with dancing, singing and firework spectaculars.

In London, thousands flocked to the Thames to witness the display of pyrotechnics and lights.

Another huge crowd descended on Edinburgh for the world-famous Hogmanay celebrations with rock band Simple Minds headlining a concert and the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle forming the backdrop for the fireworks.

There were similar scenes around the world as cities competed to put on the most spectacular shows.

London's looked back, with the 2012 Olympic Games and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations featuring in a display over the London Eye which Mayor of London Boris Johnson described as "an amazing end to an incredible year".

Asian cities kicked off New Year's celebrations in an atmosphere of renewed optimism, despite the "fiscal cliff" economic impasse threatening to reverberate globally from the United States.

Huge fireworks lit up skylines in Sydney, Hong Kong and Shanghai, and even the once-isolated country of Burma joined the countdown party for the first time in decades.

In Dubai, the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, was lit up with hundreds of fireworks.

In Russia, Moscow's Red Square was filled with spectators as fireworks exploded near the Kremlin to welcome in the new year.

In austerity-hit Europe, the mood was more restrained - if hopeful. The year 2013 is projected to be a sixth straight one of recession amid Greece's worst economic crisis since the second World War.

In fact, the new year was starting with a 24-hour strike by subway and train workers in Athens over salary cuts that are part of the government's austerity measures.

Still, in his televised New Year's Eve message, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras promised Greeks that the worst of the crisis is past, and declared 2013 a "year of hope" that will see the beginning of the country's rebirth.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's New Year's message warned her country to prepare for difficult economic times ahead.

It was a busy night for the emergency services, with some reporting a huge spike in the number of calls they received.

South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb), which handles 999 calls from Kent, Sussex and Surrey, took 1,544 calls between 10pm yesterday and 4am this morning - a rise of more than 20% on the same period last year.

Yesterday, Secamb officials urged people to use the service wisely and only call when absolutely necessary.

Last year a large number of calls were due to people falling over, suffering breathing difficulties or being injured in fights.

West Midlands Ambulance Service saw its peak for 999 calls between 1am and 4am.

The service said it handled 1,291 calls between midnight and 5am, a 9% increase on the same period last year, while 638 calls were taken in the four hours leading up to midnight - a 15% rise on the same period the previous year.

A spokeswoman said a large proportion of this year's calls were for alcohol-related incidents including fights, assaults, falls and overdoses.

One incident in Stourbridge saw four people rescued from a river after three friends tried to help a drunken teenage girl from the water after she fell down a bank just after 8pm.

PA

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
Pepper, the 3ft 11in shiny box of circuits who can tell jokes and respond to human emotions
techDavid McNeill tests the mettle of one of the new generation of androids being developed in Tokyo
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Data Migration Consultant

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...

Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Linux Systems Administrator

£33000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly successfu...

(Junior) IT Systems Administrator / Infrastructure Analyst

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly ...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice