The world begins celebrating 2013
Australia and Asian nations are celebrating the New Year in style, from fireworks in Sydney and Hong Kong to a street party in Indonesia. Around the world, people are greeting 2013 with optimism.
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One day after dancing in the snow to celebrate the first anniversary of leader Kim Jong Un's ascension to supreme commander, North Koreans were preparing to mark the arrival of the new year, marked as "Juche 102" on North Korean calendars. Juche means self-reliance, the North Korean ideology of independence promoted by national founder Kim Il Sung, who was born 102 years ago. His grandson now rules North Korea.Skip to next paragraph
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In New Delhi, the festive mood was marred by the death Saturday of a young rape victim.
Hotels, clubs and residents' associations in the Indian capital decided to cancel planned festivities and asked people to light candles to express their solidarity with the victim whose plight sparked public rallies for women's safety.
"Let there be no New Year celebrations across the country. It will be a major tribute to the departed soul," said Praveen Khandelwal, secretary-general of the Confederation of All India Traders, an umbrella group of operators of shops and businesses across the country.
Arranged by local Forever Media group and Index Creative Village, a Thai event organizer, the celebration is the first public New Year countdown in Myanmar, a country ruled for almost five decades by military regimes that discouraged or banned big public gatherings.
"We are planning this public New Year event because we want residents of Yangon to enjoy the public countdown like in other countries," said Win Thura Hlaing, managing director of Forever Blossom company, a subsidiary of Forever Media.
With live music performances by celebrities, light shows, food stalls, fireworks and other activities, the countdown is expected to draw 50,000 people, Win Thura Hlaing said.
Jakarta's street party centers on a 7-kilometer (4-mile) thoroughfare closed to all traffic from nightfall until after midnight. Workers erected 16 large stages along the normally car-clogged, eight-lane highway through the heart of the city. Indonesia's booming economy is a rare bright spot amid global gloom and is bringing prosperity — or the hope of it — to Indonesians.
Spirits in the capital have been further raised by the election of a new, populist governor who is pledging to tackle the city's massive infrastructure problems.
The Sydney crowds were undiminished by Australian government warnings that the Washington deadlock on the U.S. debt crisis was partly to blame for a slowing Australian economy.
Australian pop singer Kylie Minogue hosted the event.
Florida tourist Melissa Sjostedt was among the thousands gathered near a southern pylon of the bridge. She said before the event that seeing the fireworks would fulfill an ambition that began a decade ago when she read about them in National Geographic magazine.