New Zealand has celebrated the New Year with thousands watching a spectacular firework display in Auckland.
The sky was lit up with colour as the clock struck midnight. The party atmosphere is now set to sweep across major cities in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas.
In Australia, Sydney is preparing to put on its biggest-ever fireworks display to welcome the New Year and kick off a wave of celebrations for billions around the world.
A record amount of pyrotechnics as well as new firework effects and colours will light up the harbour city’s skyline for 12 minutes and dazzle the more than 1.5 million spectators expected to be watching.
AUCKLAND: The New Zealand harbour town was the first major city in the world to see in 2019
AUCKLAND: Fireworks explode from the Sky Tower during New Year’s Eve celebrations in New Zealand’s largest city
AUCKLAND: New Zealand has celebrated the New Year with thousands watching a spectacular firework display in Auckland
AUCKLAND: The sky was lit up with colour as the clock struck midnight in New Zealand. The party atmosphere is now set to sweep across major cities in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas
AUCKLAND: The party atmosphere is now set to sweep across major cities in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas
At 9pm local time on Monday, Sydney’s traditional family-friendly fireworks spectacle turned the city’s gloomy skies into a kaleidoscope of colour.
Rain had drenched the more than one million revellers who packed the harbour foreshore just before 7pm but cleared in time for the display.
In Britain, London will usher in the New Year by celebrating its relationship with Europe amid turmoil over Brexit, with the fireworks display at the London Eye to feature music from the continent’s artists.
A strong police presence has become a key element of the festivities, to protect crowds that could be targeted in terror and vehicle attacks.
SYDNEY: Australia’s most populated city kicked off the celebrations with a family-friendly fireworks display at 9pm local time
SYDNEY: The sky above the world-famous Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge turned different shades as fireworks rained down on the harbour city at 9pm local time today
Here are some of the plans for city’s around the world:
Hong Kong: Glittering fireworks will be sent skyward from five barges floating in Victoria Harbour in a 10-minute display watched by 300,000 people on the shore.
Jakarta: Hundreds of couples will tie the knot in a free mass wedding, as those in the tsunami-hit Banten province, where affected towns were popular holiday destinations, have been told to cancel party plans to show respect for the victims.
Tokyo: Japanese will flock to temples to ring in the New Year, while US boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr will take on local kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in a bout staged outside Tokyo.
Moscow: Concerts and light shows will be held across the city’s parks and more than 1,000 ice rinks have been opened for merrymakers.
Paris: A fireworks display and sound and light show under the theme ‘fraternity’ is set to go ahead on the Champs-Elysees despite plans for further ‘yellow vest’ anti-government protests at the famed avenue.
Berlin: Music lovers will party at a concert at the Brandenburg Gate, but a popular German tradition of setting off fireworks to mark the occasion has been banned in some other cities over safety concerns.
London: Britain’s capital will usher in the New Year by celebrating its relationship with Europe amid turmoil over the Brexit referendum vote to leave the EU, with the fireworks display at the London Eye to feature music from the continent’s artists.
Edinburgh: The Scottish capital’s traditional Hogmanay celebrations will also take on a pro-European theme ahead of the year in which Britain is due to exit the union.
LONDON: The British capital will usher in 2019 by celebrating its relationship with Europe amid turmoil over Brexit, with the display at the London Eye to feature music from the continent’s artists. This was the spectacular display in London last year
As the world parties, many will also look forward to 2019 and wonder whether the turmoil witnessed during the previous year will spill over into the next.
The political wrangling in Westminster over Brexit was one of the key stories of this year, with a resolution yet to be reached ahead of the scheduled March 29 departure.
US President Donald Trump dominated headlines in 2018 as he ramped up his trade war with China, quit the Iran nuclear deal, moved the American embassy to Jerusalem and met his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un in Singapore for a historic summit.
North Korea’s commitment to denuclearisation will remain a major political and security issue into next year, as will Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s reassertion of control after Trump’s shock military withdrawal announcement.
The war in Yemen, which started in 2014 and has already killed about 10,000 people and left some 20 million at risk of starvation, could take a crucial turn after a ceasefire went into effect in mid-December.
Numerous countries go to the polls in 2019, with key elections in India, Afghanistan, Indonesia, South Africa, Argentina and Australia.
Major sporting events on the calendar include the Rugby World Cup in Japan, the cricket one-day international World Cup in England and the athletics World Championships in Qatar.