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London welcomes 2016 with dazzling fireworks

In Dubai, a blaze ripped through a luxury 63-storey hotel, the Address Downtown, close to the world’s tallest tower where people had gathered to ring in the New Year.

Reports of thwarted terrorist attacks in Munich, New York, France, and other places marred celebrations of the New Year worldwide.

Security forces in many capitals were on raised alert after a year of militant attacks, including an attack on Paris in November that killed 130 and was claimed by Islamic State (IS).

Paris canceled its usual fireworks display in favor of a 5-minute video performance at the Arc de Triomphe just before midnight, relayed on screens along the Champs Elysee, where people chanted.

People take part in the New Years Day’s Whitley Bay dip in Northumberland.

Simultaneous fireworks displays erupted along Sydney’s famed harbour, where people crowded on to balconies, into waterside parks and on to boats as they jockeyed for the best view, clinking glasses and whooping with joy as the first pyrotechnics exploded.

Workers push a 2016 countdown clock into position during a rehearsal for a New Year’s Eve countdown celebration at the Imperial Ancestral Temple in Beijing, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015.

While pubs, clubs and restaurants here expect a busy evening, there are no civic events, free public concerts or firework displays to mark the start of 2016.

Australia is one of the first countries to welcome the New Year with spectacular fireworks from Sydney Harbor.

Two railway stations in the Bavarian city were evacuated after police were tipped off by a foreign intelligence service that Islamic State was planning attacks with up to seven suicide bombers, according to German media.

A spokesman said a man aged in his late teens was successfully resuscitated using a defibrillator after suffering a cardiac arrest outside a nightclub in Broad Street, Birmingham, shortly after 1am.

“Normally I go out to the bars on the Asian side of Istanbul but this year, because of the danger of ISIS (Islamic State), I will spend New Year’s Eve in my home”, said Seyda Yilmaz, a 26-year old IT expert.

Despite flames continuing to climb up the skyscraper, the celebrations went ahead.

Britain deployed around 3,000 officers across central London in a reportedly unprecedented security effort, while in Italy, fireworks were banned in towns and cities due to fears that the loud explosions could spark panic.

In at least two capitals – Turkey’s Ankara and Belgium’s Brussels – officials also said they had disrupted plots to strike at New Year’s celebrations that stretch into today.

In New York City, despite a pledge of tight security, one million people are expected to turn out to see the Times Square ball descend at 0500 GMT on Friday.

(160101) – BERLIN, Jan. 1, 2016 (Xinhua) – Fireworks light the sky over the Brandenburg Gate during the celebration for the New Year in Berlin, Germany, on Jan. 1, 2016.

More than two million people are expected to party the night away on the famous beach.

The metropolis of 1.2 million was abandoned 12 months in the past in the course of the worst Ebola outbreak ever recorded.

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