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World Welcomes In New Year

Fireworks are seen over the London Eye to celebrate the start of 2011.
Billions of people around the world have welcomed in the New Year.

At world-famous landmarks like the London Eye, the Champs-Elysees in Paris, New York's Time Square, and Red Square in Moscow, hundreds of thousands went out into the streets to bid farewell to 2010 and welcome in 2011.

The first to welcome in the New Year were the 6,000 residents of the tiny Pacific nation of Kiribati.

In Hong Kong, hundreds of thousands of people gathered along Victoria Harbor to watch fireworks explode from the roofs of the city's most prominent buildings.

Earlier, an estimated 1.5 million people gathered in the Australian city of Sydney to watch what organizers said was the greatest fireworks show on Earth.

In Europe, crowds thronged landmarks like London's Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

In his regular New Year's Eve address to the nation, President Dmitry Medvedev vowed to create a "powerful, open, and friendly" Russia.

Pope Benedict XVI marked the final hours of 2010 with public prayer and a word of concern for families struggling with economic troubles.

In New York City, some 1 million people crowded into the city's Times Square for traditional celebrations there.

In Myanmar, however, the military government banned all fireworks and warned severe action against anyone using them.

compiled from agency reports