1 January 2016

Despite fears and huge Dubai fire, New Year revelry rolls on

In this photo provided by Trevor Hale, smoke and flames pour out from a residential building as a fire runs up some 20 stories of the high rise in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015. Fire engulfed the luxury building near the world's tallest skyscraper in Dubai on Thursday as tens of thousands of people were gathering at its base for one of the world's largest New Year's fireworks displays.
On a New Year's Eve haunted by fears of terrorism, a spectacular fire in one of Dubai's tall towers captured the world's attention. With few exceptions, the celebrations rolled on, and while fire still raged, the Dubai Media office declared on Twitter: "New Year celebrations in Dubai will continue as scheduled."
As 2015 drew to a close, many people were bidding a weary and wary adieu to a year marred by attacks that left nations reeling and nerves rattled.
In Bangkok, site of a deadly bombing months ago, police flanked partygoers. In Paris, residents recovering from their city's own deadly attacks enjoyed scaled-back celebrations. And in Munich, police warned of the threat of a terror attack.
A look at how people around the welcomed the new year:

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
In the megacity of Dubai, a fire broke out two hours before midnight in The Address hotel, in the area where a massive fireworks display was being prepared.
The five-star hotel is near the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building. At least one person suffered a heart attack from the smoke and over-crowding during evacuation, and 14 suffered minor injuries.
Organizers said the Burj Khalifa had been fitted with 400,000 LED lights and 1.6 tons of fireworks would be used in the display.
Burning debris rained down from The Address building as firetrucks raced to the scene. It was unclear what caused the fire, which ran up the 63-story building. The Address has 626 luxury apartments and 196 hotel rooms, according to Skyscraper Center, which tracks skyscrapers.
FRANCE
Kashmir Mancilla, sleeps in her mother Mary Ann's chest in the recovery room of the baby-friendly Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital after being born in Manila, Philippines. Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. Kashmir becomes the first baby to be born in the hospital for the New Year.

The French are still recovering from the Nov. 13 attacks that left 130 people dead in Paris, and authorities prepared for a possible worst-case scenario on New Year's Eve. About 60,000 police officers and troops were deployed across the country, and revelers said that made them feel safer.
French President Francois Hollande used his traditional New Year's Eve speech to warn that the terrorist threat is still at its "highest level."
"2015 has been a year of suffering and resistance," he said. "Let's make 2016 a year of courage and hope."
Paris canceled its usual fireworks display in favor of a 5-minute video performance at the Arc de Triomphe just before midnight, relayed on screens along the Champs Elysee, where people chanted.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the show was aimed at "sending the world the message that Paris is standing, proud of its lifestyle and living together."
THAILAND
An Indian woman sells balloons by the road as others rush to welcome the New Year in New Delhi, India, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.

Less than six months after a pipe bomb killed 20 people at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, tens of thousands of people rang in the new year at the intersection with live music and a countdown.
Up to 5,000 police officers were in the area, with explosive ordnance disposal experts sweeping the area ahead of time.
MALAYSIA
Dr. Rica Ching teaches Mary Ann, mother of Kashmir Mancilla, as she sleeps in the recovery room of the baby-friendly Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital after being born in Manila, Philippines. Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. Kashmir becomes the first baby to be born in the hospital for the New Year.

Security was beefed up in Malaysia's biggest city, Kuala Lumpur, where fireworks greeted the new year at a historic square and at the Petronas Twin Towers, one of the world's tallest buildings.
PHILIPPINES
Concern in the Philippines on New Year's Eve focused on the use of illegal fireworks, which last year injured more than 850 people. Shopping malls and cities organized fireworks displays to discourage people from lighting their own firecrackers.
An annual procession of the Black Nazarene, a black wooden statue of Jesus Christ, was held a day earlier than usual Thursday to prevent injuries from mounds of trash and unexploded firecrackers that litter Manila's streets after New Year's revelries.
JAPAN
Police officers patrol at the Kremlin wall in the New Year eve in Moscow, Russia, in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015.

New Year's Eve is Japan's biggest holiday, and millions of people crammed into trains to flee the cities for their hometowns to slurp down bowls of noodles, symbolizing longevity, while watching the annual "Red and White" song competition on television. As midnight approached, families bundled up for visits to neighborhood temples, where the ritual ringing of huge bronze bells reverberated through the chill.
Tokyo was on special alert for security issues, with posters in subways and other public spaces warning people to keep their eyes open for suspicious packages or activities.
KOREAS
South Koreans marked New Year's Eve with traditional bell ringing ceremonies, fireworks and outdoor music and dance performances. One celebration was organized at a town near the border with rival North Korea to watch one of the ceremonies and wish for peaceful Korean unification.
VATICAN CITY
Iraqi Christians pray during a New Year's Eve mass at the Anglican Church in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015.

In the final hours of 2015, Pope Francis encouraged humanity to hang on to recollections of good deeds so that gestures of goodness can be seen triumphing over evil.
Francis presided over a year's end prayer service Thursday evening in St. Peter's Basilica, where he mused about how people are sometimes driven by "insatiable thirst for power and by gratuitous violence." He said it was impossible to forget "so many days marked by violence, by death, by the unspeakable suffering of so many innocents."
NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand, the first nation with a sizable population to celebrate the New Year, counted down the seconds to midnight with a giant digital clock on Auckland's landmark Sky Tower. Horns blared and crowds cheered as the tower was lit up with fireworks, with colors shifting from green to red to white.
AUSTRALIA
Iraqi Christians pray during a New Year's Eve mass at the Anglican Church in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015.

Simultaneous fireworks displays erupted along Sydney's famed harbor, where people crowded onto balconies, into waterside parks and onto boats as they jockeyed for the best view, clinking glasses and whooping with joy as the first pyrotechnics exploded.
More than 1 million people had been expected to watch the glittery display, featuring a multicolored fireworks waterfall cascading off the Sydney Harbour Bridge and effects in the shapes of butterflies, octopuses and flowers.
CHINA
An official New Year's Eve celebration was staged near Beijing's Forbidden City with performances and fireworks, and one of China's most popular TV stations broadcast a gala from the National Stadium, known to most as the iconic Bird's Nest.
For safety reasons, Shanghai closed subway stations near the scenic waterfront Bund, mindful of a stampede last New Year's Eve that killed 36 people and blemished the image of China's most prosperous metropolis.
GAZA STRIP
People hold Bengal lights at Red Square during the New Year celebration in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016, with the Spasskaya Tower, left, and St. Basil's Cathedral, right, in the background. Putin is using his New Year’s message to commemorate both the country’s current fight in Syria and the battles of World War II seven decades ago. The recorded message was being televised just before midnight Thursday in each of Russia’s nine time zones.

Gaza's Islamist Hamas rulers banned New Year celebrations in the Palestinian coastal enclave. Police spokesman Ayman Batniji said hotels and restaurants were allowed to hold parties a day earlier or a day later.
"Celebrating the new year contradicts the instructions of Islamic religion," Batniji said. "It's a Western custom that we don't accept in Gaza."
EGYPT
In Cairo, people put aside fears of the growing number of militant attacks throughout the country to celebrate the new year. Engineering graduate Mohamed Youssef, whose military service begins in a few months, attended a house party.
"It doesn't matter if they deploy me to Sinai or throw me in the western desert," he said. "I don't care if I lose a leg or my life. Tonight, we drink and dance!"
At the Giza Pyramids, hundreds of people gathered for a fireworks and lighting display at the stroke of midnight.
KENYA
France's President Francois Hollande, right, and French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, left, speak to a police officer as they visit the security measures at the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, Thursday, Dec 31, 2015. French President Francois Hollande has told the nation that the terrorist threat is still at its "highest level."In his traditional New Year's Eve speech, Hollande said: "We just lived a terrible year."

Police in Kenya, which has been repeatedly attacked by al-Shabaab militants from neighboring Somalia, urged vigilance as many people prepared to celebrate the new year in hotels and watch midnight fireworks displays. Unauthorized fireworks were banned as safety hazards "in view of the elevated threat of terrorism," police said.
GERMANY
Rainy weather dampened the New Year celebrations in Berlin, where security was tighter than in previous years. Several hundred thousand people still turned out for several minutes of fireworks at the Brandenburg Gate, wishing each other "Froehes neues Jahr" and expressing their hopes for a peaceful 2016.
In Munich, police warned about an hour before the New Year of a "serious, imminent threat" of a terror attack. Despite the call by police for people to stay away from crowds, thousands of people were still on the streets to meet the new year with fireworks.
BRITAIN
Major celebrations marked by fireworks spectaculars were planned in London, Edinburgh and other big cities despite a terror threat judged to be severe. Police advised revelers not to go to the fireworks displays without tickets and to be ready to have their belongings searched.
BRAZIL
The Great Pyramids are illuminated for New Year's Eve in Giza, near Cairo, Egypt late Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015.

Rio de Janeiro kicked off its Olympic year with a fiesta on Copacabana Beach attended by more than 2 million people, according to police estimates. Brazil's most popular New Year's Eve show was illuminated by 24 tons of fireworks fired off over almost 16 minutes. To celebrate Rio's hosting of the 2016 Summer Games in August, the soundtrack for revelers included music from previous Olympics and songs paying homage to samba on its 100th anniversary.
Rio authorities said they weren't as worried about terrorism as other cities. Police used two monitoring trucks to follow suspicious movements during the party. That equipment also will be used in security operations during the Olympics.
NEW YORK
Around 1 million people converged on Times Square for the annual New Year's Eve celebration. An 11,875-pound Waterford crystal ball descended as revelers counted down to 2016 before sharing hugs and their first kisses of the year under a blanket of confetti.
The glitzy party included musical acts including Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas and Carrie Underwood.
This year's festivities were attended by nearly 6,000 police officers, including members of a specialized counterterrorism unit.
LAS VEGAS
Revellers take souvenir selfies at the end of the 5-minute video performance displayed on the Arc de Triomphe as part of New Year's Eve celebrations on the Champs Elysees Avenue in Paris, France, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.

The Las Vegas Strip has begun to fill with some of the 332,000 people expected to attend New Year's celebrations on the boulevard and along downtown's Freemont Street.
As revelers await fireworks and other events, a wide-open Las Vegas Boulevard intersection is doubling as a wedding dance floor for a new bridge and groom.
As Frank Sinatra crooned in the distance, Bill and Christa Cooper of Kentucky danced their first dance at Flamingo Avenue surrounded by their family. 
(AP) 
Carrie Underwood performs during New Year’s Eve celebrations at Times Square in New York on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015.
Carrie Underwood performs during New Year’s Eve celebrations at Times Square in New York on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015. 
Palestinian youths wearing masks and 2016 Santa Claus caps take a selfie as they attend the New Year celebrations in a heavy rain along the street in Gaza City, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.
Palestinian youths wearing masks and 2016 Santa Claus caps take a selfie as they attend the New Year celebrations in a heavy rain along the street in Gaza City, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. 
Revellers take souvenir selfies at the end of the 5-minute video performance displayed on the Arc de Triomphe as part of New Year's Eve celebrations on the Champs Elysees Avenue in Paris, France, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.
Revellers take souvenir selfies at the end of the 5-minute video performance displayed on the Arc de Triomphe as part of New Year's Eve celebrations on the Champs Elysees Avenue in Paris, France, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. 
A child play in Copacabana beach during the last day of the year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Dec. 31, 2015.
A child play in Copacabana beach during the last day of the year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Dec. 31, 2015. 
People play football in Copacabana beach during last day of the year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Dec. 31, 2015.
People play football in Copacabana beach during last day of the year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Dec. 31, 2015. 
Confetti flies over New York's Times Square after the clock strikes midnight during the New Year's Eve celebration as seen from the New York Marriott Marquis hotel, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.
Confetti flies over New York's Times Square after the clock strikes midnight during the New Year's Eve celebration as seen from the New York Marriott Marquis hotel, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.  
A couple kisses while ringing in the new year at Times Square, early Friday, Jan. 1, 2016, in New York.
A couple kisses while ringing in the new year at Times Square, early Friday, Jan. 1, 2016, in New York.
Revelers celebrate as confetti flies over New York's Times Square after the clock strikes midnight during the New Year's Eve celebration as seen from the Marriott Marquis hotel, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.
Revelers celebrate as confetti flies over New York's Times Square after the clock strikes midnight during the New Year's Eve celebration as seen from the Marriott Marquis hotel, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. 
A couple kisses while ringing in the new year at Times Square, early Friday, Jan. 1, 2016, in New York.
A couple kisses while ringing in the new year at Times Square, early Friday, Jan. 1, 2016, in New York.
New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, center, and his wife, Rikki Klieman, walk through Times Square during the annual New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015, in New York.
New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, center, and his wife, Rikki Klieman, walk through Times Square during the annual New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015, in New York. 
Brian Peckbur, left, kisses his girlfriend Deobra Dubois, both from Tampa, Fla., as they ring in the new year at Times Square, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016, in New York.
Brian Peckbur, left, kisses his girlfriend Deobra Dubois, both from Tampa, Fla., as they ring in the new year at Times Square, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016, in New York. 
Omri Benzkry, left, kisses his wife, Margarita Gankin, both from Israel, as they ring in the new year at Times Square, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016, in New York.
Omri Benzkry, left, kisses his wife, Margarita Gankin, both from Israel, as they ring in the new year at Times Square, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016, in New York. 
Revelers ring in the new year at Times Square, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016, in New York.
Revelers ring in the new year at Times Square, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016, in New York. 
Confetti falls from the sky as revelers ring in the new year at Times Square, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016, in New York.
Confetti falls from the sky as revelers ring in the new year at Times Square, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016, in New York. 
The 2016 appears during the 5-minute video performance displayed on the Arc de Triomphe as part of the New Year celebrations on the Champs Elysees Avenue in Paris, France, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.
The 2016 appears during the 5-minute video performance displayed on the Arc de Triomphe as part of the New Year celebrations on the Champs Elysees Avenue in Paris, France, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.  
Fireworks light the sky over Copacabana beach during New Year's Eve celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.
Fireworks light the sky over Copacabana beach during New Year's Eve celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. 
Fireworks go off to mark the beginning 2016 during New Year's Eve celebrations held at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, Friday, Jan 1, 2016.
Fireworks go off to mark the beginning 2016 during New Year's Eve celebrations held at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, Friday, Jan 1, 2016. 
A police officer, right, walks past revelers playing with confetti in New York's Times Square after the New Year's Eve celebration as seen from the Marriott Marquis hotel, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.
A police officer, right, walks past revelers playing with confetti in New York's Times Square after the New Year's Eve celebration as seen from the Marriott Marquis hotel, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. 
In this photo taken with long exposure, fireworks light the sky above the medieval Mariendom or St. Mary's Cathedral, right, and St. Severi's Church shortly after midnight during the New Year celebrations in Erfurt, central Germany, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.
In this photo taken with long exposure, fireworks light the sky above the medieval Mariendom or St. Mary's Cathedral, right, and St. Severi's Church shortly after midnight during the New Year celebrations in Erfurt, central Germany, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. 
Soldiers patrol as people celebrate the New Year in the historic center in Brussels Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. The New Year's Eve fireworks display and all official events were canceled in the Belgium's capital due to threats of an extremist attack.
Soldiers patrol as people celebrate the New Year in the historic center in Brussels Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. The New Year's Eve fireworks display and all official events were canceled in the Belgium's capital due to threats of an extremist attack. 
South Koreans watch a TV news program showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's New Year speech, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. Kim said in an annual New Year speech that he's ready for war if provoked by "invasive" outsiders but stayed away from past threats centering on the country's nuclear weapons and long-range missile ambitions The letters read: " Kim Jong Un's New Year Speech."
South Koreans watch a TV news program showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's New Year speech, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. Kim said in an annual New Year speech that he's ready for war if provoked by "invasive" outsiders but stayed away from past threats centering on the country's nuclear weapons and long-range missile ambitions The letters read: " Kim Jong Un's New Year Speech."

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