The world’s eight billion people on December 31 prepared to usher in 2023 and farewell a turbulent 12 months marked by war in Europe, stinging price rises, Lionel Messi’s world cup glory, and the deaths of Queen Elizabeth, Pele and former Pope Benedict.
Many will be looking to cut loose this New Year’s Eve after a few pandemic-dampened years, setting aside pinched budgets and a virus that is increasingly forgotten but not gone.
Sydney will be among the first major cities to ring in 2023, restaking its claim to be the “New Year’s Eve capital of the world” after two years of lockdown and coronavirus-muted festivities. Australia’s borders have reopened and the crowds gathering at Sydney’s sparkling harbour to watch 1,00,000 pyrotechnics illuminate the southern sky were expected to number more than one million.
In Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city, a family-friendly fireworks display along the Yarra River as dusk fell preceded a second session at midnight.
The Pacific nation of Kiribati was the first country to greet the new year, with the clock ticking into 2023 one hour ahead of neighbors including New Zealand.
In Auckland, large crowds gathered below the Sky Tower, where a 10-second countdown to midnight preceded fireworks. The celebrations in New Zealand’s largest city were well-received after COVID-19 forced them to be canceled a year ago.
Meanwhile, dozens of cities in Croatia, including the capital Zagreb, cancelled New Year fireworks after pet lovers warned about the damaging effects of noise and gases on animals and people, calling for more environmentally-aware celebrations.
Mumbaikars let their hair down on New Year’s Eve
Mumbaikars on Saturday stepped out of homes in large numbers to celebrate New Year’s Eve with joy and abandon after a gap of two years.
As dusk fell, thousands of people gathered at the Gateway of India, Marine Drive and the Girgaum Chowpatty beach in South Mumbai. New Year celebrations were muted in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19-related restrictions. In the suburbs, many people flocked to the beaches of Bandra, Madh Island and Marve.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on Saturday specially illuminated important structures and buildings in the city such as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and Gateway of India. Hotels, bars and restaurants were full while many revellers also patronised street food sellers.
More than 11,000 police personnel were deployed on the streets for security, a senior official said. - PTI
Heavy security deployment in Delhi for New Year celebrations
Traffic congestion was witnessed in parts of central Delhi, including Connaught Place and India Gate, on New Year’s Eve, officials said on Saturday.
The Delhi Police has deployed over 18,000 personnel from district and traffic units across the national capital to keep a strict vigil on any kind of violation and ensure security during New Year celebrations, they said.
A total of 125 spots in the city have been identified to check drunk driving, the officials said.
Kartavya Path resembled a picnic spot as hundreds thronged the national capital landmark with family and friends to celebrate New Year’s eve after a two-year COVID-induced gap. - PTI
New Year in Cairo
New Year Eve in Dubai
New Year in Beijing
Thousands gathered in central Wuhan on Saturday night to count down to the start of what many hoped would be a much better year after a “tough” 2022 filled with lockdowns and in December a major new outbreak of the coronavirus.
Many released balloons into the sky when the clocks struck midnight, as per tradition in the central Chinese city where the pandemic began three years ago, before grabbing selfies with their friends. - Reuters.”
Manila on New Year Day
Bengaluru on New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve celebrations in Seoul
Tokyo celebrates start of New Year’s Day at midnight
Seoul celebrates New Year’s Eve
Gulmarg on eve of New Year 2023
New Year’s Eve in Bandra
Police use catchy social media posts, videos to warn against drunk driving on New Year’s Eve
The police in Chhattisgarh’s Raipur are using catchy social media posts and videos to caution people against drunk driving during the new year celebrations on Saturday.
Posts on the Raipur police’s social media handles, including Twitter and Facebook, in the last couple of days, have gone viral. In one of the posts in Hindi, the police warned that citizens speeding on roads will have to usher in the new year inside a police lock up.
“Creative flyers and videos are being issued by the Raipur police from time to time to make people aware about traffic safety rules. It attracts attention of the general public,” Raipur senior superintendent of police Prashant Agrawal told PTI. - PTI
Over 1 million people expected to crowd along Sydney’s waterfront for multi-million dollar celebration
India Gate on New Year’s Eve
Revellers all set to welcome New Year, police on alert
As citizens and the hospitality sector prepare to welcome the New Year in a big way across Gujarat, the police in the dry State have stepped up surveillance to curb the consumption of drugs and liquor along with drunken driving.
Hotels, clubs, cafes and party venues have been gearing up to offer a variety of foods and mocktails and have roped in DJs and popular Bollywood and local singers to rev up the night.
Organisers of midnight parties reported encouraging responses and said tickets are being bought online in large numbers. This will be the first time in two years that celebrations will be held without COVID-19 norms.
Anticipating heavy footfall in public places, the Gujarat police have made elaborate security arrangements and warned revellers against the use of drugs and alcohol. - PTI
Army in strife-torn Myanmar lifts curfew for New Year’s Eve
Authorities in military-ruled Myanmar announced a suspension of the normal four-hour curfew to allow New Year’s celebrations in three biggest cities, but opponents of army rule urge people to stay away and claimed security forces might stage an attack and blame it on them.
A leaked official letter that circulated on social media said the Yangon regional government was lifting the curfew from midnight to 4 a.m. for one night, when it would host a New Year’s countdown party with fireworks and music at the city’s People’s Park.
Residents of the country’s capital, Naypyidaw, and the second largest city, Mandalay, confirmed that the curfew had also been lifted in their cities, which would also host official celebrations. - AP
Troubles aside, Xi says China on ‘right side of history’
China “stands on the right side of history,” the country’s leader Xi Jinping said in a New Year’s address that came as questions swirl over his government’s handling of COVID-19 and economic and political challenges at home and abroad.
Speaking on national television from behind a desk in a wood-panelled office, Mr. Xi largely avoided directly addressing issues confronting the country, pointing instead to successes in agricultural production, poverty elimination and its hosting of the Winter Olympics in February. - AP
Putin says in New Year message West is using Ukraine to destroy Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on December 31 his country would never give in to the West’s attempts to use Ukraine as a tool to destroy Russia.
In a New Year’s video message broadcast on Russian state TV, Mr. Putin said Russia was fighting in Ukraine to protect its “motherland” and to secure “true independence” for its people.
Let’s rededicate ourselves to inclusive development of nation: President Murmu’s message on New Year’s Eve
President Droupadi Murmu greeted citizens on New Year’s Eve and called on them to resolve to rededicate themselves to the unity, integrity and inclusive development of the country.
“May the dawn of New Year, imbued with fresh energy, bring new happiness, goals, inspirations and greater achievements in our lives. On this occasion, let us resolve to rededicate ourselves to the unity, integrity and inclusive development of the nation,” Ms. Murmu said in her message released by the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
“On the occasion of New Year, I extend my heartiest greetings and best wishes to all fellow citizens and all Indians abroad,” she said.
The President further said, “I wish for the progress and prosperity of our glorious nation and the people in the year 2023.” - PTI
Last setting sun of 2022
World ushers in 2023; bids farewell to turbulent 12 months
The world’s eight billion people began ushering in 2023 on December 31, 2022, and bidding farewell to a turbulent 12 months marked by war in Europe, stinging price rises, Lionel Messi’s World Cup glory and the deaths of Queen Elizabeth, Pele and former pope Benedict.
U.K.’s problems won’t go away in 2023, warns PM Rishi Sunak in New Year message
Rishi Sunak struck a cautious note with his first New Year message as British Prime Minister on Saturday as he warned that the UK’s problems won’t go away in 2023, at the end of a “tough” 12 months.
Patiala teachers celebrate New Year
Cultural parade in Indonesia
New Year celebrations begin in New Zealand
New Year countdown celebrations in Thailand
Revellers throng to New Year’s parties after COVID hiatus
With countdowns and fireworks, revellers in major city centres across the Asia-Pacific region were ushering in the first new year without COVID-19 restrictions since the pandemic began in 2020.
While COVID-19 continues to cause death and dismay, particularly in China, which is battling a nationwide surge in infections after suddenly easing anti-epidemic measures, countries had largely lifted quarantine requirements, restrictions for visitors and relentless testing that had limited travel and places people can go to.
Celebrations are being held at the Great Wall in Beijing, while in Shanghai authorities said traffic will be stopped along the waterfront Bund to allow pedestrians to gather on New Year’s Eve. Shanghai Disneyland will also hold a special fireworks show to welcome 2023.
On the last day of the year marked by the brutal war in Ukraine, many in the country returned to capital Kyiv to spend New Year’s Eve with their loved ones. As Russia attacks continue to target power supplies leaving millions without electricity, no big celebrations are expected and a curfew will be in place as the clock rings in the new year. But for most Ukrainians being together with their families is already a luxury.
New Year Eve spurs hope in China even as censors target online COVID content
New Year’s Eve in China prompted an outpouring of reflection online, some of it critical, about the strict zero-COVID policy the country adhered to for almost three years and the impact of its abrupt reversal this month.
The sudden change to live with the virus has prompted a wave of infections across the country, a further drop in economic activity and international concern, with Britain and France the latest countries to impose curbs on travellers from China.
Three years into the pandemic, China this month acted to align with a world that has largely reopened to live with COVID, after unprecedented protests that became a de-facto referendum against the zero-COVID policy championed by President Xi Jinping.
The protests were the strongest show of public defiance in Xi’s decade-old presidency and coincided with grim growth figures for China’s $17 trillion economy.
On Saturday, people in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the pandemic, expressed hope the new year would bring better fortune.
Auckland one of the first cities to welcome 2023
In Auckland, large crowds are expected below the Sky Tower, where a 10-second countdown to midnight will precede fireworks display to welcome the new year. The celebrations in New Zealand’s largest city are expected to be well-received after COVID-19 forced them to be canceled a year ago. Authorities expect revelers to gather at several vantage points across the city including Devonport, which enables a view of the festivities across the harbor.
Other features include a laser light and animation show, which will take in several landmarks in Auckland. -AP
South Korea welcomes 2023
Kiribati is the first country to greet 2023
The Pacific nation of Kiribati will be the first country to greet the new year, with the clock ticking into 2023 one hour ahead of neighbors including New Zealand. -AP
Australia to welcome 2023 with a bang
Sydney will be among the first major cities to ring in 2023, staking its claim to be the “New Year’s Eve capital of the world” after two years of lockdown and Omicron-muted festivities.
Organizers have said a rainbow waterfall will be a prominent feature of the New Year’s Eve party. More than 7,000 fireworks will be launched from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and a further 2,000 from the nearby Opera House.
In Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, organizers have arranged for a family-friendly fireworks display along the Yarra River as dusk falls before a second session at midnight. -AP
Malaysia cancels its new year countdown
Malaysia’s government cancelled its New Year countdown and fireworks event at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur after flooding across the nation displaced tens of thousands of people and a landslide killed 31 people this month.
The country’s famous Petronas Twin Towers said it would pare down its celebration with no performances or fireworks. -Reuters
Russia will welcome 2023 in the backdrop of its conflict with Ukraine
In Vladimir Putin’s Russia, there seems to be a dulled appetite for grand celebrations.
Moscow has cancelled its traditional fireworks show after Mayor Sergei Sobyanin asked residents to vote on how to mark the occasion. -AFP
Security beefed up, special trains to run as Mumbai gets ready for New Year’s Eve revelry
As Mumbai gears up to ring in the new year without any COVID-19 restrictions after two years, the police on Saturday beefed up security across the city to prevent any untoward incident.
The police are anticipating large gatherings near the Gateway of India, Marine Drive, Girgaum Chowpatty, Juhu beach, Bandstand in suburban Bandra and other prominent locations, and security arrangements have been made accordingly, the official said.