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08:28 Christmas Island, first place on Earth to celebrate New Year
 
Lima, Dec. 31 (ANDINA). Kiritimati or Christmas Island - a Pacific Ocean atoll in the northern Line Islands and part of the Republic of Kiribati- is the first inhabited place on Earth to experience the New Year. Festivities continued in New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga and Australia.
New Year celebration in New Zealand. Photo: ANDINA/ARCHIVE.
New Year celebration in New Zealand. Photo: ANDINA/ARCHIVE.

Kiritimati Islan -part of the Republic of Kiribati- was discovered by Captain James Cook on Christmas Eve (24 December) 1777 and has the largest 642 square kilometers (248 sq mi) of Coral Atoll area in the world.

The island has a population of 5.115 inhabitants concentrated in four villages: London, Tabwakea, Banana and Poland.

The entire island is a Wildlife Sanctuary; access to five particularly sensitive areas is restricted.

New Year celebrations continued in Suva (Fiji), Auckland (New Zealand), Nukualofa (Tonga), Wellington (New Zealand), Christchurch (New Zealand), Rawaki (Kiribati - Phoenix Islands) 15:00 UAE time.

In Sydney some 1.5 million people were expected to attend the city's dramatic show, with fireworks sent up from the bridge, boats in the harbour and from buildings around the waterfront.

Crowds had been gathering since the early morning, some of them camping overnight to secure the best vantage point for the 12-minute midnight fireworks display. Police minister Michael Daley warned those attending to avoid excessive drinking.

The Japanese capital, Tokyo, will greet the new year in traditional style, with bells rung in temples at midnight.

The city's Sensoji Temple has been draped with banners wishing visitors a happy new year.

Thousands of people are also expected to gather at Indonesia's National Monument for a display.

Despite heavy snowfall and temperatures down to -10C (14F), celebrations were planned for Red Square in Moscow.

In the French capital Paris, the Eiffel Tower will be the scene of a "unique and magical" display, said city officials.

London's show will focus around the huge London Eye wheel on the banks of the River Thames. Those attending have been warned to prepare for temperatures of around 0C (32F). 

Further west, an estimated one million people are expected to be in New York's Times Square to join in the countdown to midnight and see the famous New Year ball descend from its flagpole.

(END) Agencies/RES/RMB

Date: 31/12/2009
MULTIMEDIA
Video - Celebraciones por Año Nuevo en Australia. Fuente: Canal N
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