Despite fears and huge Dubai fire, New Year's celebrations roll on

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.

See Full Article

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. And in Paris, residents recovering from their city's own deadly attacks prepared for scaled-back celebrations.

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

The French are still recovering from the Nov. 13 attacks that left 130 people dead in Paris, and authorities were preparing for a possible worst-case scenario on New Year's Eve. About 60,000 police and troops were being deployed across the country.

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 cancelled its usual fireworks display in favour of a 5-minute video performance at the Arc de Triomphe just before midnight, relayed on screens along the Champs Elysee.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the show was to be aimed at "sending the world the message that Paris is standing, proud of its lifestyle and living together."

------

THAILAND

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

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

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 neighbourhood 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

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 colours shifting from green to red to white.

------

AUSTRALIA

Simultaneous fireworks displays erupted along Sydney's famed harbour, 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

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."

------

KENYA

Police in Kenya, which has been repeatedly attacked by al-Shabaab militants from neighbouring 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.

------

BELGIUM

In Brussels, 2016 was to be rung in without the customary fireworks display and downtown street party. The festivities were cancelled by Mayor Yvan Mayeur, who said it would have been impossible to administer adequate security checks to all 100,000 people expected to attend.

On Thursday morning, forklifts and trucks removed generators and other equipment from the Place de Brouckere, the broad square in central Brussels where the fireworks show was supposed to happen. Some people called that knuckling under to the extremist threat.

------

GERMANY

Up to a million revelers were expected at Berlin's annual New Year's Eve party at landmark Brandenburg Gate. Traditionally, Germans welcome the new year with fireworks, jelly doughnuts and lots of champagne and sparkling wine.

------

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

Rio de Janeiro's main soiree on Copacabana Beach was to have dual themes: the 100th anniversary of samba music and the kickoff to the Olympics, which the city will host in August. More than 2 million people were expected on the beaches Thursday.

------

NEW YORK

Around 1 million people were expected to converge on Times Square for the annual New Year's Eve celebration. The party was to begin with musical acts including Luke Bryan, Charlie Puth, Demi Lovato and Carrie Underwood and end with fireworks and the descent of a glittering crystal ball from a rooftop flagpole.

This year's festivities will were being attended by nearly 6,000 police officers, including members of a specialized counterterrorism unit.

------

LAS VEGAS

Officials urged revelers to leave bags, backpacks and strollers at home as police readied for hundreds of thousands of partiers to flood the Las Vegas Strip. It's wasn't a first-of-its-kind request, but it got extra emphasis following deadly attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.

Nearly 1,000 uniformed officers and an undisclosed number of undercover officers were to be posted along the popular 4-mile-long, casino-filled corridor.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman lamented the prospect that fear might keep people from celebrating New Year's Eve.

"We cannot let that rule," she said.

------

Corbet reported from Paris. Gelineau reported from Sydney. Gambrell reported from Dubai.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Naked protesters kill sheep, chain themselves together near Auschwitz gate

    World News Toronto Sun
    WARSAW, Poland — Officials say a group of some 10 Polish-speaking people took off their clothes, killed a sheep and chained themselves together by the main gate of the former Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz before being detained by police. Source
  • Nova Scotia boy, 14, charged with sharing child pornography on Facebook

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- A 14-year-old Nova Scotia boy has been charged with sharing child pornography on Facebook. Const. Lindsey Donovan said RCMP officers arrested the young teen at home in Kingston, N.S., on Thursday after Facebook informed them that the image had been shared. Source
  • How moving to Canada helped Amy Jo Johnson, the first Pink Power Ranger, reinvent her career

    Canada News CBC News
    For a young Amy Jo Johnson, Hollywood fame was more daunting than the evil monsters she regularly fought on television. Shortly after moving to Los Angeles in the early 1990s at the age of 21, the young actor was cast in a new kids' show. Source
  • U.S. coalition investigating reports of deadly Mosul airstrike

    World News CTV News
    BAGHDAD -- The U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group is investigating reports of an airstrike in a western neighbourhood in the Iraqi city of Mosul that allegedly left more than 100 civilians dead last week, according to a statement given to The Associated Press on Friday. Source
  • Video shows Tulsa cops running down gun-toting, wanted Oklahoma woman

    World News Toronto Sun
    Cops in Oklahoma have released dashcam video showing the final moments of a gun-toting woman’s life. Newly released video of Madison Dickson being run down by a Tulsa police cruiser shows the crazed 21-year-old waving a handgun before falling under the vehicle. Source
  • 'Pizzagate' gunman pleads guilty to shooting

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — A man who police said was inspired by false internet rumours dubbed “pizzagate” to fire an assault weapon inside a Washington pizzeria pleaded guilty Friday to two charges. Edgar Maddison Welch of Salisbury, North Carolina, said during a hearing in U.S. Source
  • Urinating on police cruiser nets charges for man in Ridgetown, Ont.

    Canada News CTV News
    RIDGETOWN, Ont. - A southwestern Ontario man is facing charges after allegedly relieving himself on a police cruiser. Chatham-Kent police say an officer was sitting in his fully marked cruiser in Ridgetown, Ont., early Friday morning when a man came out of a nearby bar. Source
  • Calgary WWI soldier's remains identified 100 years after his death

    Canada News CBC News
    A First World War soldier, whose remains were discovered four years ago in a field outside Arleux-en-Gohelle, France, has been identified as a Scottish-born Calgary solider who died nearly 100 years ago. Sgt. James Alexander Milne was just 34 when he died on April 28, 1917, during an operation against a German position known as Arleux Loop. Source
  • Donald Trump: I've approved Keystone XL pipeline

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — Canada’s hotly debated, long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline received its elusive U.S. presidential permit from Donald Trump on Friday, eight years and six months after it first applied to cross the American border. The president made the announcement at the White House. Source
  • Heimlich hero: Video captures student calmly saving friend's life

    World News CTV News
    LA CROSSE, Wis. - A Wisconsin high school student is being called a hero for using the Heimlich manoeuvre to rescue a choking friend in the school cafeteria. Video of the incident shows several students at La Crosse's Central High School eating lunch when one of them, Will Olson, begins to choke on a cheese curd. Source