New Year celebrations took place around the world to mark the start of 2014.
People in Auckland, New Zealand, were among the first to celebrate. In Australia, hundreds of thousands gathered for a spectacular firework display around Sydney’s Harbor Bridge.
Similar shows took place in cities across the world, with thousands lining London’s River Thames.
New York staged its traditional New Year’s Eve countdown and ball-drop over a chilly Times Square.
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a New York native, pushed the ceremonial button to drop the famous ball on a rooftop over the square.
Moscow also celebrated with a spectacular fireworks display over the Kremlin.
However, there was intense security in Red Square following recent suicide bombings in the southern Russian city of Volgograd.
Dubai – in the same time zone as Moscow – aimed for a world record with a fireworks extravaganza stretching along 30 miles of seafront.
Adjudicators from Guinness World Records were on hand to check proceedings, but it was not clear immediately whether the attempt was successful.
The world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, was the centrepiece of the display.
New Year celebrations took place around the world to mark the start of 2014
East Asian cities also rang in the New Year, with Beijing, Jakarta and Singapore all hosting celebrations.
In Hong Kong, tens of thousands of spectators watched the fireworks over Victoria Harbor.
The Chinese city of Wuhan had called off its display to avoid worsening a smog problem.
In Japan, Shinto priests gathered at shrines. Japanese people traditionally visit shrines and temples to pray for their families at this time.
In the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, an estimated 100,000 people sang the national anthem in the city’s Independence Square in support of further integration with Europe.
The square has been the focus of pro-European protests for more than a month after President Viktor Yanukovych ditched a key deal with the EU.
As midnight struck across Western Europe, Berlin and Paris were among the capitals staging spectacular displays.
In London, the chimes of Big Ben signaled what was billed as the world’s first “multi-sensory” firework show, with peach-flavored “snow” and edible banana confetti showering crowds packing the banks of the River Thames.
Cape Town in South Africa staged a free concert with lasers, fireworks and a special tribute to former President Nelson Mandela, who died on December 5.
In Brazil, organizers of Rio de Janeiro’s celebrations estimated that more than one million revelers packed the city’s famous Copacabana beach to watch fireworks light up the bay after midnight.
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Thousands of people are attending Sydney’s traditional pyrotechnic as Australia welcomes 2014.
Celebrations around the world are under way to mark the start of 2014
Earlier, Auckland in New Zealand was one of the first cities to ring in the New Year, at 11:00 GMT on Tuesday.
In Japan, Shinto priests gathered at shrines to prepare to usher in the New Year.
Other cities globally are also planning big displays, with Dubai attempting a world record for the largest display.
Thousands of people are attending Sydney’s traditional pyrotechnic as Australia welcomes 2014
The display will be streamed live on the internet and organizers say it will stretch over 30 miles of seafront, with the highest fireworks reaching more than one kilometer in height.
While celebrations are expected in major Chinese cities, the city of Wuhan called off its display in order to avoid worsening the city’s smog problem.
Later on, festivities will be held in European cities including Moscow, Paris and London.
Cape Town in South Africa is planning a free concert with lasers, fireworks and a special 3D tribute to former President Nelson Mandela, who died on December 5.
New York will mark the New Year with the traditional New Year’s Eve countdown and ball drop over Times Square, while Rio de Janeiro is once again expecting more than two million people to pack its Copacabana beach.
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Bad weather is expected to put a dampener on 4th of July celebrations in the south and mid-west with rain and threats of heavy flooding on Thursday.
The unsettled conditions could upset favorite holiday activities including firework displays, barbecues and days at the beach.
In the north-east, coastal areas will be mainly dry on Thursday following scattered showers and thunderstorms in West Virginia, upstate New York, northern Vermont and New Hampshire today.
Parties in the south may take a hit according to the Weather Channel. Rain and thunderstorms have been forecast from the eastern Gulf Coast to Tennessee, Kentucky and the southeast.
There is a danger of heavy flooding in northern Georgia, northern Alabama, eastern Tennessee, eastern Kentucky, the far western Carolinas and the mountains over the next 48 hours.
It is also expected to be a washed-out Fourth for the Midwest from eastern Ohio to the Great Lakes.
Bad weather is expected to put a dampener on 4th of July celebrations in the south and mid-west with rain and threats of heavy flooding on Thursday
However. there is better news for the Plains where Thursday will be dry with temperatures climbing to 90F.
There will be the odd thunderstorm on the Fourth from the Southwest to Northwest at higher altitudes.
Extreme heat and dry conditions are being forecast for Thursday in the southwest. Temperatures of 110F are expected from southern Nevada into the California and western Arizona deserts.
Although dry conditions are expected in the west, firework displays may be canceled because of droughts and fire bans.
However, most bans are only in place for private properties and towns will hold exhibitions.
It is expected to be the reverse on the east coast, where there will be scattered showers.
Meterologist Alex Sosnowski told Accuweather.com: “The pattern through Independence Day and the weekend beyond in some Eastern locations favors additional widely separated torrential downpours and conditions favoring fog in some locations.”
However he added: “A pocket of mostly rain-free weather will stretch from the coastal part of the Carolinas to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City and perhaps Boston on Thursday evening.”
The Plains looks likely to be the best region for Fourth of July firework celebrations with low humidity and gentle breezes forecast.