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New Year 2010 celebrations take place around the world

Countries around the world are beginning to hold celebratory events to welcome in 2010.

New Year arrived first in the South Pacific. At midnight local time (1100 GMT) fireworks were set off over Auckland's Sky Tower in New Zealand.

A massive fireworks display has taken place in Sydney, Australia, with some 5,000kg of explosives sent up around around the famous harbour bridge.

An estimated 1.5 million attended the city's dramatic show. Fireworks were launched from the bridge, from boats in the harbour and from buildings around the waterfront.

Crowds had been gathering since the early morning, some of them camping overnight to secure the best /vantage point for the 12-minute midnight fireworks display.

Police minister Michael Daley warned those attending to avoid excessive drinking.

"If you're one of these fools that can't handle their grog and likes to go out and ruin other people's nights, make yourself a new year's resolution to grow up and behave yourself and start practising that on New Year's Eve," he said.


The Sydney Morning Herald said the display would cost some A$264,000 (US$237,500; £147,000).
'Magical' display

The Japanese capital, Tokyo, was greeting the new year in traditional style, with bells rung in temples at midnight.

The city's Sensoji Temple has been draped with banners wishing visitors a happy new year.

No major events were planned on mainland China - which celebrates the change of the Lunar New Year instead - but a fireworks display will be staged over Hong Kong's waterfront skyline.

Despite heavy snowfall and temperatures down to -10C (14F), celebrations were planned for Red Square in Moscow.Thousands of people are also expected to gather at Indonesia's National Monument for a display.
"I wish everybody spiritual well-being in the coming year. I wish health to the children and all the best to all in the new year," said one city resident.

In the French capital Paris, the Eiffel Tower will be the scene of a "unique and magical" display, said city officials.

The creator of the show, Bernard Schmitt, told the AFP news agency that one one point the tower would "transform itself into a giant Christmas tree with tinsel".

London's show will focus around the huge London Eye wheel on the banks of the River Thames. Those attending have been warned to prepare for temperatures of around 0C (32F).

Further west, an estimated one million people are expected to be in New York's Times Square to join in the countdown to midnight and see the famous New Year ball descend from its flagpole.

Security is high in the square, with partygoers banned from taking rucksacks or large bags into the area.
"We assume here that New York is the No 1 terrorist target in America," the city's Police Commissioner Raymond W Kelly was quoted as saying by the New York Times.