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New Year's Eve 2012 Celebrations Around The World (PICTURES)

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NEW YEARS EVE
Sydney Harbour Bridge is being lit up by a £4m fireworks display | PA/Getty

New Year's Eve celebrations are well under way having kicked off on the other side of the world, with revellers in Australia and New Zealand the first to welcome in 2013.

Thousands of people thronged the streets in Sydney, Australia, to see singer and actress Kylie Monogue set off the city's famous firework display over the iconic Harbour Bridge as midnight struck.

Some 1.5 million people were predicted to watch the fireworks in Sydney, and an estimated one billion people around the world.

The Sydney extravaganza was preceded by an impressive fireworks display from Auckland in New Zealand. Crowds thronged the city cetnre to watch the event at the city''s Sky Tower.

new year celebrations

Spectators watch as fireworks light the Quezon Memorial Circle in Manila, Philippines

The revelry in Australia was soon followed by events in Hong Kong, where AFP reported 100,00 people watched an eight-minute display around Victoria Harbour. Firework shows also took place in Beijing and Shanghai.

For the first time under military rule, Burma enjoyed new year's celebrations with fireworks in the former capital Rangoon, while footage from North Korea showed public celebrations in the capital, Pyongyang.

However, celebrations were muted in India following the death of a woman who was gang-raped earlier this month.

Clubs, politicians and the armed forces called off celebations as a mark of respect for the 23-year-old, who died on Saturday, two weeks after the attack on a bus in Delhi.

Pope Benedict XVI celebrated New Year's Eve vespers by voicing solidarity with the poor and calling on believers to pause to reflect from time to time despite busy lives, AFP reported.

"We have to know how to stop and think. This way our soul can find healing for the inevitable wounds of everyday life," he said.

In spite of the scenes of blue skies, beaches and hot weather, the best place to celebrate New Year's Eve is not the land down under, according to a survey.

Social networking site Badoo.com found most people would like to see out the end of the year with Brazilians, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

In the capital, crowds have been steadily growing in anticipation of the fireworks display centred around the London Eye.

However, the celebrations were marred by the death of a Spanish tourist earlier in the day.

The 48-year-old woman, her daughter and son were all hit by a bus on Sunday afternoon and taken to hospital where she died on Monday, police said.

Her daughter, 18, remains in a serious but stable condition, and her son, 11, is in a stable condition.

The woman's husband was with them at the time of the incident but was uninjured.

Up to 250,000 people are expected along the banks of the Thames to watch the fireworks display organised by Mayor Boris Johnson, which is regarded as one of the highlights of the year in the city. Millions more will watch it on television across the UK and overseas.

Mr Johnson said: "From the Diamond Jubilee to that huge collection of Team GB medals, 2012 has quite literally glimmered with excitement and enthusiasm.

"A fantastic mood of community has percolated the entire population of our city and beyond.

"We are going to make sure we use the success of this year to deliver more jobs, more homes and more regeneration for London and build on that fantastic sense of togetherness and community to ensure a real volunteering legacy. It's been a wonderful year, but believe me, 2013 is going to be every bit as exciting."

A few hours before the UK's festivities, there were incredible scenes from Dubai where the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, was the centrepiece of a stunning fireworks display accompanied by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.

Click below to see how people around the globe are bringing in the new year, or send in pictures of your celebrations to ukpicturedesk@huffingtonpost.com.

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New Year's Celebrations Around The World
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