The New Year started with a bang today as the  first countries to toast 2013 did so in style.

The central Pacific Ocean island of  Kiritimati (Christmas Island) and the eastern-most island in the island nation  of Kiribati were the first to usher in the New Year at 10am GMT.

And Sydney was the first major world city to  see in 2013 at 1pm GMT, with some 1.5 million people attending the city’s  events.

Eager revellers camped over Sunday night on  the shores of the harbour to get the best vantage points to see the fireworks  show centered on the Sydney Harbor Bridge.

In Hong Kong, this year’s 12.5 million Hong  Kong dollar ($1.6 million) fireworks display was being billed by organizers as  the biggest ever in the southern Chinese city. Police expect as many as 100,000  people to watch, local news reports said.

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

One day after dancing in the snow to  celebrate the first anniversary of leader Kim Jong Un’s ascension to supreme  commander, North Koreans were preparing Monday to mark the arrival of the new  year, marked as ‘Juche 102’ on North Korean calendars – the number referring to  102 years since the birth of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung.

‘Juche’ means self-reliance, the North Korean  ideology of independence promoted by Kim, who was born in 1912. His grandson now  rules North Korea.

In New Delhi, the festive mood was marred by  the death Saturday of a young rape victim.


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