BEACH parties and spectacular fireworks were how the first revellers welcomed in 2015 around the world..
Fiji, New Zealand and Australia were the frontrunners with Sydney stealing the show with a tropical-style fireworks display featuring shimmering gold and silver palm trees set off over the world-famous Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
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For the first time ever drones were used to livestream the fireworks as more 1.6 million people gathered on the harbour’s shores to watch the display. Crowds cheered as over seven tonnes of fireworks – including 25,000 shooting comets – were launched from the Harbour Bridge, Opera House and barges, filling the skies with bursts of colour, noise and light.
The festivities, however, come just two weeks after an Iranian-born self-styled cleric took 18 people hostage inside a downtown cafe in the city’s Martin Place.
A tribute to two hostages, Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson, killed in the siege was displayed on the pylons of the Harbour Bridge during the main fireworks display, and an extra 3,000 police officers were patrolling the city.
In New Zealand, a giant clock on Auckland’s landmark Sky Tower structure counted down the minutes until the New Year, with a huge fireworks display launching from the tower at midnight.
In Beijing, the Chinese capital, the countdown to 2015 was held in the Olympic Park ahead of the city’s bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Skaters performed and Olympic medallist figure skater Zhao Hongbo, Paralympics gold medallist swimmer Yang Yang and pianist Lang Lang also entertained the crowds.
In the Phillipines, acting national police chief Leonardo Espina warned police officers they would lose their jobs in they fired their weapons during the country’s raucous celebrations.
And in Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city, people in the Hillbrow district were told to refrain from the dangerous tradition of throwing unwanted goods, including items such as refrigerators and cookers, from high-rise apartments.
In Tokyo more than 2,000 people released balloons beside the Tokyo Tower to celebrate the New Year.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people in South Korea gathered at the Imjingak Pavilion near the border village of Panmunjom which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul.
Celebrations were muted in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, following the loss of AirAsia Flight 8501 and a deadly landslide in central Java.
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