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World celebrates arrival of 2012

world Updated: Jan 01, 2012 08:57 IST
IANS
Highlight Story

Fireworks-explode-over-the-Sydney-Opera-House-during-a-pyrotechnic-show-to-celebrate-the-New-Year-Reuters-Photo

People in different parts of the world took to revelry as they celebrated the end of 2011 and ushered in the New Year 2012 at midnight.

The first places to celebrate were Samoa country, which is a group of islands in Oceania, situated in the South Pacific Ocean, and Tokelau, an autonomous region of New Zealand, after they jumped across the international dateline.

As the clock struck midnight at the end of Dec 29, the two South Pacific island nations fast-forwarded to Dec 31, missing out Dec 30 entirely. Tourists and locals partied throughout Saturday as Samoa revelled in being the first country to ring in the new year, rather than the last, BBC reported.

In Australia, Sydney heralded the new year with a 15-minute multi-million dollar firework display at midnight (1.00 GMT).

Whereas thousands of people in Japan's capital city Tokyo released balloons carrying hand-written wishes for the New Year.

They released helium balloons in front of the Tokyo Tower at midnight with notes attached listing their hopes for 2012.

Many wished for a better year in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami that had brought devastation to the north-east of Japan in 2011.

Huge crowds in Hong Kong turned out to watch the countdown to 2012, which was made in giant illuminated numbers on the side of a skyscraper.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who commences his second term Sunday, said that he hoped the new year would continue the move towards democracy that protesters had started during the so-called Arab Spring in 2011.

A downbeat tone, however, was visible in German Chancellor Angela Merkel's new year message.

Merkel said 2012 would be more difficult than 2011, but hoped Europe's debt crisis would bring its member states closer.

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