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January 1, 2009
Celebrating the New Year
New Year's Eve celebrations around the world welcomed 2009 in many ways. In the US, many New Year's Eve traditions were in place, but the nation's economic troubles made many people less interested in giving 2008 an expensive send-off. Public celebrations were canceled in communities from Louisville, Ky., to Reno, Nev., and promoters in Miami Beach, Fla., reported slower ticket sales than expected for celebrity-studded parties that they said would have sold out in past years. Sydney, Australia, was the world's first major city to ring in 2009, showering its shimmering harbor with a kaleidoscope of light that drew cheers from more than a million people. (28 images)

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Confetti fills the sky at the New Year's Eve festivities, Thursday, Jan. 1. 2009 in New York's Time's Square.AP / Stephen Chernin


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Students from Taiwan cheers as the ball drops at the New Year's Eve festivities, Thursday Jan. 1. 2009 in New York's Time's Square.AP / Stephen Chernin



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Donna Stefans of Melville, N.Y., lies on the ground covered with confetti in Times Square moments after midnight during New York Eve's celebration Jan. 01, 2009 in New York City. The Times Square Alliance estimates that one million people will attend the festivities in Times Square. Getty Images / Hiroko Masuike



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Sarah Kherdouche, left, and Karine Maillot, both from Toulouse, France, left, try to keep warm as they take part in the New Year's Eve festivities in New York's Times Square Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008. AP / Tina Fineberg



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Revelers participate in the first night parade, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008 in Boston. AP / Lisa Poole



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People celebrate New Year as fireworks illuminate the sky at Universal City in Calif. early Jan. 1, 2008. Revellers rang in the New Year in the US, hard on the heels of celebrations in Europe and Asia, as global economic jitters, conflict in the Middle East and tragedy in Thailand cast a long shadow on the dawn of 2009. AFP / Getty Images / Jewel Samad



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US soldiers hug as they celebrate the arrival of 2009 during a New Year celebration at their camp in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009. AP / Musadeq Sadeq



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A Bangkok, Thailand, resident, along with others gathers to offer prayers and during a New Year's Eve candle light procession Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008. Thailand is facing continuing political unrest and possible recession. AP / David Longstreath



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Palestinian youths celebrate the new year during a candlelight vigil in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Dec. 31, 2008 to show their solidarity with the people of Gaza, as Israel's massive bombing campaign was set to enter its sixth day. Hamas vowed to fight "until the last breath" if Israel makes good on threats to send ground troops into Gaza after rejecting calls for a truce and pressing on with its air assault that so far killed at least 393 Palestinians. AFP / Getty Images / Musa Al-Shaer



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Fireworks light up the sky near the Malaysia's landmark Patronas Twin Towers during New Year's Eve on Jan. 01, 2009. AFP / Getty Images / Saeed Khan



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Peoples set balloons free in the air to celebrate the New Year at Zojoji Buddhist temple in Tokyo, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009.AP / Katsumi Kasahara



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Burning candles form the likeness of a 2009 at the Southwest University campus to see in the New Year on Dec. 31, 2008 in Chongqing, China. Chinese welcome 2009, bidding farewell to the eventful year 2008. Getty Images / China Photos



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A security guard takes a photo of fireworks set off to celebrate the New Year at a Buddhist temple on Jan. 1, 2009 in Kunming of Yunnan Province, China. Cities around the world are celebrating the New Year with fireworks. Getty Images / China Photos



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The annual New Year's Eve midnight fireworks display is seen from below the Sky Tower as New Year is welcomed on Dec. 31, 2008 in Auckland, New Zealand. Getty Images / Phil Walter



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Fireworks light the sky above the Cathedral Square in Vilnius shortly after midnight, greeting the New Year, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009. Thousands of people celebrated the beginning of the New Year 2009 in the Lithuanian capital. Berlin's light artist Gert Hof, who also showed his work during the opening of the Sydney Olympics 2000 and during a show in New York's Central Park, created this light show.The light performance by Gert Hof opens programme Vilnius-European Capital of Culture 2009 and celebrates the Millennium of Lithuania's Name. AP / Mindaugas Kulbis



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Fireworks explode behind the quadriga of Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate to celebrate the New Year on Jan. 1, 2009. AFP / Getty Images / Clemens Bilan



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Malaysian people dance in front of a laser and water show reading "2009" during New Year Celebrations in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009. AP / Lai Seng Sin



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Revelers celebrate the New Year on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, France, Thursday Jan. 1, 2009. The Arc de Triomphe is visible in background.AP / Remy de la Mauviniere



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Fireworks explode over the Acropolis Hill in Athens during the New Year's celebrations in Athens, Greece, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009. AP / Milos Bicanski



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Police constable Lee Dingsdale receives a kiss from Aiden Cooper as revellers take to Princes Street to celebrate New Year on Dec. 31, 2008 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Around 100,000 people are expected to brave freezing temperatures to see in the bells in the Scottish capital. Getty Images / Jeff J Mitchell



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Fireworks explode over the London Eye on the bank of the River Thames in London to mark the start of the New Year, Thursday Jan. 1, 2009. AP / Matt Dunham



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Fireworks light up the London skyline and Big Ben just after midnight on Jan. 1, 2009 in England. Five hundred thousand people braved freezing conditions to see in the New Year on the River Thames next to the London Eye observation wheel and Big Ben. Getty Images / Peter Macdiarmid



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Fireworks light up the London skyline just after midnight on January 1, 2009 in England. Five hundred thousand people braved freezing conditions to see in the New Year on the River Thames next to the London Eye observation wheel and Big Ben. Getty Images / Oli Scarff



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Muscovites celebrates the New Year at the Red square in Moscow on Jan. 1, 2009. AFP / Getty Images / Alexey Sazonov



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The pre-midnight New Year's Eve fireworks based on the Aboriginal theme 'Creation Storm' explodes over Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House on Dec. 31, 2008. Over 1.5 million Sydneysiders and tourists lined the harbour foreshores to watch the 120,000 pyrotechnics usher in the new year. AFP / Getty Images / Torsten Blackwood



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Stuart Mellan, a member of the Loch Lomond water ski club, takes to the chilly waters for their annual fancy dress New Year's Day event at Loch Lomond on January 1, 2009 in Glasgow, Scotland. This year's event was being run in aid of Robin House children's hospice. Getty Images / Jeff J Mitchell



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Italy's Marco Fois dives into the Tiber River from the 18 meter (59 feet) high Cavour Bridge in Rome, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009, to celebrate the New Year. AP / Pier Paolo Cito



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A man takes the traditional new year swim in sub-zero temperatures in Oranke Lake on Jan. 1, 2009 in Berlin. AFP / Getty Images / Clemens Bilan



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