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

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
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

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk / Trainee Application Support Analyst - Hampshire

£25000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor