Frigid night doesn't stop 2013 parties
Updated: 2013-01-02 07:39
Throngs of revelers in and around New York's Times Square bade farewell to 2012 and extended a raucous greeting to 2013 early on Tuesday.
The crowd in midtown Manhattan, which police said approached 1 million despite near-freezing temperatures, cheered and counted down the final seconds of 2012 as a large lighted crystal ball descended for the last minute of the old year - a tradition started in 1907.
Fireworks are seen over Times Square during New Year celebrations in New York Jan 1, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]
Thousands cheered as the new year officially began and a blizzard of colorful confetti fell on the famous square. But the cheers - and a spirited crowd rendition of the song New York, New York - were quickly drowned out by a fireworks show.
In addition to the crowd on hand in Times Square, another billion people were expected to watch on television, New York City officials said.
Celebratory gunfire in the Philippines killed a 4-year-old boy and more than 400 others were injured by powerful firecrackers in typically rowdy New Year celebrations, officials said on Tuesday.
A bullet hit the boy in the back as he was playing outside his home in Manila, police said.
Philippine officials say the number of people injured by powerful firecrackers and gunfire in New Year celebrations dropped by 17 percent to 413 compared to last year but it was still worryingly high and one of Asia's most violent welcomes to 2013.
Officials resorted to desperate acts this year to stop the violent tradition of setting off large firecrackers and firing guns into the air. A top health official danced in public to South Korean rapper Psy's YouTube hit, the Gangnam Style video, to get attention and preach against firecrackers.
In Italy, two people were killed by exploding fireworks and dozens more were injured in New Year's revelry.
A 49-year-old builder was killed by a rocket that flew into his face, and a 51-year-old restaurant owner died when a firecracker went off near his head as he was trying to ignite a firework battery just before midnight, local police said.
Both accidents occurred in the Campania region in southern Italy, where powerful illegal fireworks are widely available and popular among residents.
In Australia, a computer glitch during Sydney's New Year's Eve fireworks spectacular left thousands of harbor revelers wondering why a central barge had stopped firing pyrotechnics for a heart-stopping half-minute.
"The computer pretty much runs the fireworks and, of course, sometimes things with computers go wrong," said the event's fireworks director, pyrotechnist Fortunato Foti.
The barge was firing again after the pause and Foti said the hiatus had not detracted from the entertainment.
Times Square tradition
In New York City, people filled pens in the center of Times Square hours before the end of 2012. Police set up barricades to keep away the overflow crowd. Once people entered the police pens, they were not allowed to leave, no alcohol was permitted and there were no restrooms.
As part of the city's New Year's Eve celebration, more than one ton of confetti was to be released from the rooftops of surrounding buildings in Times Square.
At 6 pm the ball rose to the top to the top of its 21-meter pole and fireworks went off. The first version of the ball in Times Square descended in 1907 from a flagpole.
A few minutes earlier, the cheering crowd turned silent when the ceremony released balloons for each of the victims of the Dec 14 elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
"For me, 2013 is about leaving everything behind and starting from scratch," said Mara Trevin, a 26-year-old who moved from Buenos Aires to New York last week to start a new life.
"That's my resolution."
Confetti is dropped on revelers at midnight during New Year celebrations in Times Square in New York Jan 1, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]