Sat, Jan 02, 2010 - Page 1 News List

Millions shrug off security worries to greet New Year

GREAT GLOBAL SHINDIGThousands of police officers, including snipers, were deployed around Times Square in New York as revelers ushered in 2010

AFP , NEW YORK

“Sushi,” portrayed by female impersonator Gary Marion, dangles high above New Year’s Eve revelers in a giant reproduction of a high-heel shoe at the Bourbon Street Pub in Key West, Florida, on Thursday. The “Red Shoe Drop” has become a Key West tradition to herald the arrival of the New Year.

PHOTO: AFP

New Yorkers greeted the New Year under the protection of snipers in Times Square and millions worldwide shrugged off security fears to usher in 2010 with massive celebrations.

Russians were treated to a surprise cartoon caricaturing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Parties to bid farewell to the “Noughties,” which saw the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and a disastrous economic crisis, brought out millions in the world’s major cities, but strict security measures were taken across the globe after the Christmas Day attempt by a Nigerian suspect to blow up a US airliner bound for Detroit.

Fireworks burst into the night sky in Auckland, New Zealand, the first major city to see in the New Year.

Australian Police Minister Michael Daley urged revelers to keep a lid on their drinking.

“If you’re one of these fools that can’t handle their grog and likes to go out and ruin other people’s nights, make yourself a New Year’s resolution to grow up and behave yourself, and start practicing that on New Year’s Eve,” he said.

Thousands crammed into Hong Kong’s harbor, where 9,000 fireworks were unleashed from the city’s tallest skyscraper and other buildings.

Such spectacles, however, were banned in Thailand, after fireworks caused a New Year’s Eve blaze at a Bangkok nightclub a year ago, killing 65 people.

Huge parties were held at iconic European sites, including the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Scores of cars were burnt in French cities, but authorities said the number was lower than the hundreds witnessed a year ago.

Russians gathered on Moscow’s Red Square to toast 2010 and were later treated to a surprise cartoon on state TV gently mocking Medvedev and his strongman prime minister.

Thousands of police officers were deployed in New York City, backed by surveillance cameras, rooftop snipers and devices able to detect radiation or biological agents.

Partygoers in Times Square were not allowed to carry backpacks or alcohol.

“We assume here that New York is the No. 1 terrorist target in America,” city police commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

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