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Pervez Saleem


Fireworks, war and quakes as world tumbles into 2024

Courtesy: Dawn News/AFP

NEW YORK: Fireworks lit up skies across the world to welcome 2024, but airstrikes marred the year’s earliest hours in Gaza, Israel and Ukraine, and a major earthquake hit Japan triggering tsunami warnings.

Many around the world may wish to shake off high living costs, global tumult and extreme weather in 2024, which heralds elections for half the planet’s population of more than eight million.

Yet with the new year barely started there were already ominous signs. Hours earlier in Sydney, the self-proclaimed “New Year’s capital of the world”, more than a million partygoers had packed the harbour to cheer in the new year.

In New York City, thousands watched the annual dropping of a giant illuminated ball in Times Square. Revellers danced in the streets in Greece and bathed in the nude in southern France.

In Italy, New Year fireworks killed one person and injured 274, police said. A dozen police officers were hurt in clashes in the German capital, Berlin, and more than 230 people were arrested.

On Rio’s Copacabana beach, a three-dimensional firework show was accompanied by a live orchestra.

“Today we have positive thoughts so that we have a wonderful 2024, in which we make our dreams come true and with health,” Francielle Marinho, 39, said.

In Rome, Pope Francis prayed for the victims of conflicts around the globe, including the people of Sudan and the “martyred Rohingya” of Myanmar.

“At the end of a year, have the courage to ask how many lives have been torn apart in armed conflicts, how many deaths?” the 87-year-old pontiff said.

1- Header image: NEW YORK: Revellers get ready to celebrate the New Year’s Eve Ball drop in Times Square, on Monday.—AFP

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