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February 23, 2020
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Happy New Year events, fireworks and celebration images from around the world – Sydney, London, Kiribati, China

Happy New Year events, fireworks and celebration images from around the world – Sydney, London, Kiribati, China
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Updated 5m ago

Pope frees hand from woman’s grasp in St. Peter’s Square

A woman grabs Pope Francis' hand and yanks him toward her at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican in this still image taken from a video December 31, 2019.
A woman grabs Pope Francis’ hand and yanks him toward her at St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican in this still image taken from a video December 31, 2019.

Vatican Media/Handout via Reuters


Pope Francis delighted tourists and Romans in St. Peter’s Square on Tuesday night when he took a stroll to admire the Nativity scene. Shouts of “Pope! Pope!” and “Happy New Year!” resounded as families rushed to catch a glimpse of him or thrust out their infant in hopes he would pat their heads or pinch their cheeks.

One woman grabbed the pope’s hand and pulled him toward her to shake it. Francis, 83, exclaimed and then struck the woman’s hand twice to free his hand.

Pope Francis slaps the hand of a woman who grabbed him, at Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican
Pope Francis slaps the hand of a woman who grabbed him at St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican in this still image taken from a video December 31, 2019.

Vatican Media/Handout via Reuters


At a New Year’s Eve Vespers service in St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis urged people to practice more solidarity and to “build bridges, not walls.” Since becoming pontiff in 2013, Francis has preached openness — a reform-minded agenda that has irritated a small but vocal group of ultra-conservatives in the church.

Associated Press

 


Updated 2:41 PM

Rain soaks revelers in Indonesia’s capital

People watch a water show at the National Monument complex during New Year's Eve celebrations in Jakarta, Indonesia, December 31, 2019.
People watch a water show at the National Monument complex during New Year’s Eve celebrations in Jakarta, Indonesia, December 31, 2019.

Reuters/Willy Kurniawan


Tens of thousands of revelers in Indonesia’s capital of Jakarta were soaked by torrential rain as they waited for New Year’s Eve fireworks. Festive events along coastal areas near the Sunda Strait were dampened by a possible eruption of Anak Krakatau, an island volcano that erupted in 2018 just ahead of Christmas Day, triggering a tsunami that killed more than 430 people.

The country’s volcanology agency warned locals and tourists to stay 1.3 miles from the volcano’s crater following an eruption Tuesday that blasted ash and debris up to 6,560 feet into the air.

Associated Press

 


Updated 2:41 PM

Hong Kong protesters carry demands into 2020

Hong Kong Protests
People raise their mobile phone lights as they form a human chain on New Year’s eve in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019. 

Lee Jin-man / AP


Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong held hands and formed human chains across the city on Tuesday. They carried their months-long movement and its demands into 2020 with midnight countdown rallies and a massive march planned for New Year’s Day.

The financial hub has been battered by more than six months of unrest that has seen peaceful marches attended by millions as well as violent confrontations in which police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets — and protesters responding with flurries of petrol bombs.

As the final day of the year drew to a close, police used water cannons to disperse small crowds of protesters gathering in the city’s Mong Kok district while in nearby Prince Edward neighborhood officers arrested several protesters staging a candlelight vigil.

Earlier, thousands of people linked arms in human chains that stretched for miles along busy shopping streets and through local neighborhoods. They chanted slogans, sang “Glory to Hong Kong” — a symbolic protest anthem — and held up posters calling for people to fight for democracy in 2020.

AFP

 


Updated 2:41 PM

Celebrating the new year with prayers in Japan

People offer their New Year's prayers at the Meiji Jingu Shinto shrine on New Year's Day 2020 in Tokyo.
People offer their New Year’s prayers at the Meiji Jingu Shinto shrine on New Year’s Day 2020 in Tokyo.

AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato


People flocked to temples and shrines in Japan, offering incense with their prayers to celebrate the passing of a year and the first New Year’s of the Reiwa era. Under Japan’s old-style calendar, linked to emperors’ rules, Reiwa started in May, after Emperor Akihito stepped down and his son Naruhito became emperor.

Although Reiwa is entering its second year with 2020, January 1 still marks Reiwa’s first New Year’s, the most important holiday in Japan. Stalls at Zojoji Temple in Tokyo sold sweet rice wine, fried noodles and candied apples as well as little amulets in the shape of mice, the zodiac animal for 2020.

Since the Year of the Mouse starts off the Asian zodiac, it’s associated with starting anew. Tokyo will host the 2020 Summer Olympics, an event that is creating much anticipation for the entire nation.

Associated Press

 


Updated 2:41 PM

New Zealand bids a rough year farewell

Auckland Celebrates New Year's Eve 2019
Fireworks are seen exploding from the Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour and Sky Tower during the Auckland New Year’s Eve celebrations on January 1, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand.

Steve Thomson/Getty


New Zealand’s major cities greeted the new year with traditional fireworks. In Auckland, half a ton of fireworks burst from the Sky Tower above the city center.

New Zealanders saw off the old year without regret.

On March 15, a lone gunman killed 51 people and wounded dozens at two mosques in the South Island city of Christchurch. In December, an eruption of volcanic White Island off the east coast of the North Island killed at least 19 tourists and tour guides. 

Associated Press

 


Updated 3m ago

NYC to be “safest place on Earth”

New Year’s Eve celebration in NYC will be “the safest place on Earth,” NYPD says

The New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square will be one of the most well-policed, well-protected celebrations on the planet, authorities said, as an estimated 1.5 million people prepare to end the 2010s there.

“We call it our Super Bowl,” NYPD Counterterrorism Chief Martine Materasso told CBS News correspondent Mola Lenghi. “This is it; this is the big show; this is what we wait for all year long.”

Ever since last year’s ball drop, the police department has been preparing for this year’s decade-ending celebration. Describing the security, Materasso called it “multilayered.”

“You will go through numerous steps of screening, from magnetometers to explosive vapor canines,” she said, adding revelers out Tuesday night would also see heavy weapons teams.

The chief said nearly the entire department — thousands of officers, both in uniform and in plainclothes — would help secure Times Square with forces on the ground and in the sky.

 


Updated 12:35 PM

Sydney fireworks go on despite bush fires

Australia fires not enough to cancel Sydney’s New Year’s fireworks display

Sydney, Australia, rang in the new year with its world-renowned fireworks, but as the country also faces an unprecedented wildfire crisis, many had questioned whether the fireworks should have happened at all. The city had to get an exemption from the total fire ban to hold the fireworks show.

Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he supports the decision to go ahead with the fireworks, saying the event shows his country’s resilience, reports CBS News correspondent Ian Lee.

Other supporters cited the money it generates for the economy, but thousands disagree. Amid the country’s worst wildfire seasons ever, more than 275,000 people signed a petition to cancel the show, saying cities like Sydney that are already choking in smog from fires didn’t need any more smoke in its air.

Australian sky turns apocalyptic red by raging wildfires

The petition also asked that the millions being spent on the fireworks should have gone toward the army of firefighters battling the flames that have destroyed 1,000 homes and to protect some of the country’s devastated wildlife, like some koalas who may have already lost up to 30% of their habitat.

 


Updated 12:38 PM

First countries to celebrate New Year 2020: Tonga, Samoa and Kiribati

The Pacific island nations of Tonga, Samoa and Kiribati were the first countries to welcome the new decade. Kiribati’s 3,200 coral atolls are strewn over more than 3 million square miles, straddling the equator.

As the new year begins, Kiribati finds itself on the front line of the battle against climate change, facing drought and rising sea levels.

In 2020, a project funded by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Green Climate Fund and Kiribati’s government brings hope of providing safe and climate-secure drinking water to the main island of Tarawa, which is home to most of the nation’s 110,000 people. 

CBS/Associated Press

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