The New Year started with a bang today as theÂ first countries to toast 2013 did so in style.
The central Pacific Ocean island ofÂ Kiritimati (Christmas Island) and the eastern-most island in the island nationÂ of Kiribati were the first to usher in the New Year at 10am GMT.
And Sydney was the first major world city toÂ see in 2013 at 1pm GMT, with some 1.5 million people attending the city’sÂ events.
Eager revellers camped over Sunday night onÂ the shores of the harbour to get the best vantage points to see the fireworksÂ show centered on the Sydney Harbor Bridge.
In Hong Kong, this year’s 12.5 million HongÂ Kong dollar ($1.6 million) fireworks display was being billed by organizers asÂ the biggest ever in the southern Chinese city. Police expect as many as 100,000Â people to watch, local news reports said.
The buoyant economies of the Asia-Pacific areÂ prepared to party with renewed optimism despite the so-called fiscal cliffÂ threatening to reverberate globally from the United States and the tatteredÂ economy of Europe.
One day after dancing in the snow toÂ celebrate the first anniversary of leader Kim Jong Un’s ascension to supremeÂ commander, North Koreans were preparing Monday to mark the arrival of the newÂ year, marked as ‘Juche 102’ on North Korean calendars – the number referring toÂ 102 years since the birth of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung.
‘Juche’ means self-reliance, the North KoreanÂ ideology of independence promoted by Kim, who was born in 1912. His grandson nowÂ rules North Korea.
In New Delhi, the festive mood was marred byÂ the death Saturday of a young rape victim.