World welcomes 2024 with New Year’s fireworks, reflection - GulfToday

World welcomes 2024 with New Year’s fireworks, reflection


Fireworks explode over the London Eye Ferris wheel as Britons across the country welcome the New Year in London. Reuters

Sydney sparkled under a shower of silver and gold fireworks commemorating the 50th anniversary of its iconic Opera House, while the mood in Gaza remained bleak, with residents more concerned with survival. In Europe, Denmark's Queen Margrethe II announced her abdication after over half a century on the throne.

Here's how places and people around the world bid farewell to 2023 and welcomed the New Year.

AUSTRALIA - Sydney hailed 2024 with a dazzling fireworks display featuring silver and gold pyrotechnics to mark the 50th anniversary of its famous Opera House.

Fireworks explode at the Erasmus Bridge during the New Year celebrations. AFP

DENMARK - Denmark's Queen Margrethe II used her annual New Year's speech on Sunday to announce that she will abdicate on Jan. 14 after 52 years on the throne and will be succeeded by her eldest son, Crown Prince Frederik.

RUSSIA - Russian President Vladimir Putin, facing an election in March, made only passing reference in his New Year address on Sunday to his war in Ukraine, hailing his soldiers as heroes but mostly emphasising unity and shared determination.

UKRAINE - President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a New Year address said Ukraine had become stronger in overcoming serious difficulties as the war against Russia is almost two years old. He mentioned the word "war" 14 times in a 20-minute address.

CHINA - China President Xi Jinping, speaking on Sunday in a televised speech to mark the New Year, said the country will consolidate and enhance the positive trend of its economic recovery in 2024, and sustain long-term economic development with deeper reforms.

People watch the New Year's fireworks from the water at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. AFP

TAIWAN - President Tsai Ing-wen said that maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is the responsibility of both sides.

NORTH KOREA - North Korea vowed to launch three new spy satellites, build military drones and boost its nuclear arsenal in 2024 as leader Kim Jong Un said U.S. policy is making war inevitable, state media reported on Sunday.

Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to further develop relationship of cooperation between the two countries in New Year messages exchanged on Monday, South Korea's Yonhap news reported, citing North Korea's state radio.

THE VATICAN - At his Sunday prayers, Pope Francis said: "I wish everyone a peaceful end of the year, and please do not forget to pray for me".

Fireworks light up the sky over Munich, Germany, on Monday. AP

FRANCE - French President Emmanuel Macron in a televised address ahead of New Year celebrations said 2024 would be "the year of our French pride" marked by the Paris 2024 Olympic Summer Games and the reopening of Notre-Dame cathedral after a devastating fire.

GERMANY - Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in his traditional year-end address that 2023 held "so much suffering and bloodshed," but promised "we in Germany will get through this."

Police on Sunday detained three more suspects in an alleged Islamist plot to attack Germany's famed Cologne Cathedral on New Year's Eve.

The alleged attackers had planned to use a car to attack the 800-year-old Gothic cathedral, Cologne police said.

An electronic light show with the sign "2024" during the New Year celebration in Amsterdam. AFP

BRITAIN - London ushered in the New Year with the bongs of its famous Big Ben bell, fireworks and a display of news highlights that featured King Charles' coronation.

UNITED STATES - In New York, tens of thousands of revellers gathered in Manhattan's Times Square to watch the lighted ball drop at midnight, after scheduled performances by musicians including Megan Thee Stallion and LL Cool J.

Japanese students visiting Edinburgh enjoy themselves in Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain. Reuters

President Joe Biden said in an interview ahead of the ball drop that he hoped celebrants realised "we're in a better position than any country in the world to lead the world."

BRAZIL - A dazzling fireworks spectacle lit up Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach where almost two million people gathered to welcome in the New Year.