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In pictures: Revellers say hello to 2019, goodbye to an unsettling year

Party atmosphere set to sweep across major cities in Asia and other continents as the clock ticks past midnight.
Updated Jan 01, 2019 12:38am

Revellers around the globe are bidding a weary farewell on Monday to an unsettling year filled with challenges to many of the world's most basic institutions, including politics, trade, alliances and religion.

The Pacific island nation of Kiribati was the first in the world to welcome the new year, greeting 2019 with muted celebrations after spending 2018 on the front line of the battle against climate change. Kiribati is made up of low-lying atolls along the equator which intersect three time zones, the first of which sees the new year 14 hours before midnight in London.

Australia's largest city Sydney put on its biggest-ever fireworks display in a spectacular welcome to the New Year, kicking off a wave of celebrations for billions around the world.

The party atmosphere is set to sweep across major cities in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas as the clock ticks past midnight. A strong police presence has become a key element of the festivities, to protect crowds that could be targeted in terror and vehicle attacks.

As the world parties, many will also look forward to 2019 and wonder whether the turmoil witnessed during the previous year will spill over into the next.

Fireworks explode in front of Malaysia's landmark building, the Petronas Twin Towers, during the New Year's celebration in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. — AP
Fireworks explode in front of Malaysia's landmark building, the Petronas Twin Towers, during the New Year's celebration in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. — AP

High school students hold candles to welcome a new year in Lahore on Monday. — AP
High school students hold candles to welcome a new year in Lahore on Monday. — AP

Fireworks explode over Victoria Harbour during New Year celebrations in Hong Kong. — AFP
Fireworks explode over Victoria Harbour during New Year celebrations in Hong Kong. — AFP

Vendors sell balloons on New Year's Eve in Karachi on Monday. — AP
Vendors sell balloons on New Year's Eve in Karachi on Monday. — AP

Labourers ride a donkey cart during the last sunset of 2018 in Lahore on December 31. — AFP
Labourers ride a donkey cart during the last sunset of 2018 in Lahore on December 31. — AFP

New Year's Eve fireworks erupt over Sydney's iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House during the fireworks show on January 1. — AFP
New Year's Eve fireworks erupt over Sydney's iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House during the fireworks show on January 1. — AFP

A street vendor waits for customers during the last sunset of the year in Yangon, Myanmar on December 31. — AFP
A street vendor waits for customers during the last sunset of the year in Yangon, Myanmar on December 31. — AFP

Palestinian children play at a refugee camp in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. —AFP
Palestinian children play at a refugee camp in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. —AFP

Fireworks burst over the water of Marina Bay during the eve of the New Year before the main countdown celebration in Singapore. — AFP
Fireworks burst over the water of Marina Bay during the eve of the New Year before the main countdown celebration in Singapore. — AFP

A customer buys New Year decorations at a market ahead of New Year's day in Shenyang in China's northeastern Liaoning province. — AFP
A customer buys New Year decorations at a market ahead of New Year's day in Shenyang in China's northeastern Liaoning province. — AFP

Thousands of people gather despite low temperatures and rain showers to celebrate at Taipei New Year's Eve Countdown Party in the area near the Taipei 101 building in Taipei, Taiwan on January 1. — AFP
Thousands of people gather despite low temperatures and rain showers to celebrate at Taipei New Year's Eve Countdown Party in the area near the Taipei 101 building in Taipei, Taiwan on January 1. — AFP

A Palestinian man sells balloons ahead of New Year's celebrations in Gaza City on December 31. — AFP
A Palestinian man sells balloons ahead of New Year's celebrations in Gaza City on December 31. — AFP


Header photo: New Year's Eve fireworks erupt over Sydney's iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House during the fireworks show on January 1, 2019. — AFP