New Year's celebrations get underway across world

 

Countries around the world have started seeing in the New Year with Australia's traditional fireworks spectacular in Sydney  drawing more than one million people to the harbour-front area.

Security was tight for the celebration, with close to approximately 1,700 police patrolling the streets and beaches.

Security of a different kind was in place in Beijing, where bells and drums sounded 108 times at midnight (4pm Irish time) in order to eliminate the world's troubles.

The arrival of 2006 has also been celebrated in the Japanese capital, Tokyo and in Hong Kong a massive light and sound show saw fireworks explode from 20 buildings around Victoria Harbor.

Generally jubilant celebrations planned across Asia were in sharp contrast with last year, when the devastation of the Indian Ocean tsunami led many countries and individuals to cancel festivities.

In London, Tube workers began a 24-hour strike just in time to cripple the transport system on a night when thousands of revelers were planning to celebrate New Year.

Guards and ticket office workers began leaving their posts from noon and the service was expected to slowly run down into the evening as others finished shifts and were not replaced.