Nation e-Edition

Sydney welcomes 2013

Fireworks explode in the sky above Sydney Harbour during the New Year celebrations in Sydney, Australia.

Mon, December 31, 2012 - 1:42 PM

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Sydney's skyline erupted with tons of exploding fireworks as revelers cheered in the new year from the city's crammed harbor in the world's first major celebration for 2013.

The enthusiastic welcome to 2013 was continuing on a grand scale across Asia, with extravagant firework displays lighting up the skies in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai. Increasingly democratic Myanmar, ruled for almost five decades by military regimes that discouraged or banned big public gatherings, was preparing for a public countdown for the first time. Jakarta planned a huge street party befitting Indonesia's powering economy.

The buoyant economies of the Asia-Pacific were partying with renewed optimism despite the so-called fiscal cliff threatening to reverberate globally from the United States and the tattered economies of Europe.

Celebrations were planned around the world, with hundreds of thousands expected to fill Times Square in New York City to watch the drop of a Waterford crystal-studded ball.

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