The New Year is upon us as Asia and Europe begin a tumultuous 2022Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Dec 31 (Reuters) – With fireworks in London, Paris and Berlin, hopes of an end to the war in Ukraine and a return to normality after COVID, Europe and Asia said goodbye to 2022.
It was a year marked by conflict in Ukraine, economic stresses and the effects of Global Warming. But it was also a year where we saw some dramatic football World Cupquick technological changeand efforts to meet climate challenges.
For Ukraine, there appeared to be no end in sight to the fighting that began when Russia invaded in February. On Saturday, Russia launched a barrage of cruise missiles which the Ukrainian human rights ombudsman described as “Terror on New Year’s Eve”.
The curfew remains in effect across the country, making celebrating the start of 2023 impossible in many public places. Several district governors posted messages on social media warning residents not to violate the restrictions.
In Kyiv, however, people gathered around the city’s central Christmas tree as midnight approached.
“We are not giving up. They couldn’t spoil our celebrations,” said Yarina, 36, who was celebrating with her husband wrapped around her in tinsel and fairy lights.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a video address to mark the New Year, Time Magazine 2022 Person of the yearsaid: “I want to wish us all one thing – victory.”
Shortly after midnight, air raid sirens blared again across the country.
Russian President Vladimir Putin dedicated his New Year’s address to rallying the Russian people behind his troops.
Celebrations in Moscow were quiet, without the usual fireworks on Red Square.
“We should not pretend that nothing is happening – our people are dying (in Ukraine),” said 68-year-old Elena Popova. A holiday is celebrated, but there must be limits. Many Muscovites said they hoped for peace in 2023.
The London Eye turned blue and yellow in solidarity with Ukraine as fireworks went off at midnight in the British capital.
The celebration, described by London’s mayor as the biggest in Europe, also referenced Queen Elizabeth II, who died in September, the red and white of the England football team and the rainbow colors of the LGBTQ Pride event, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022 .
Elsewhere in the region, fireworks went off over the Parthenon in Athens, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, where crowds gathered on the Champs-Élysées to watch the first New Year fireworks in the French capital since 2019.
Like many places, the Czech capital, Prague, felt economically constrained and therefore did not organize fireworks.
“It didn’t seem appropriate to hold celebrations,” said City Hall spokesman Vit Hofmann.
Heavy rain and strong winds forced fireworks in the Netherlands’ main cities to be cancelled.
But several European cities enjoyed record heat for the time of year. In Prague, it was the warmest New Year’s Eve in 247 years of records, with temperatures reaching 17.7 Celsius (63.9 Fahrenheit).
It was also the warmest New Year’s Eve on record in France, official forecaster Meteo France said.
“SYDNEY IS BACK”
Earlier, Australia kicked off the festivities with its first New Year’s Eve without restrictions after two years of COVID disruptions.
Sydney ushered in the New Year with a typically dazzling fireworks display that for the first time included a rainbow waterfall from the Harbor Bridge.
“On New Year’s Eve, we say Sydney is back as we kick off celebrations around the world and ring in the New Year with a bang,” said Clover Moore, the city’s mayor.
Pandemic-era restrictions on celebrations were lifted this year after Australia, like many countries around the world, reopened its borders and lifted social distancing restrictions.
In China, strictly COVID restrictions were only lifted in December when the government reversed its “zero COVID” policy, a change that saw infections skyrocket and meant some people were in no mood to celebrate.
“This virus should just go away and die, I can’t believe this year I can’t even find a healthy friend to hang out with,” wrote a social media user based in the eastern province of Shandong .
But in the city Wuhanwhere the pandemic began three years ago, thousands of people gathered to have fun despite an increased security presence, releasing balloons into the sky as the clocks struck midnight.
Barricades were erected and hundreds of police officers were on duty. Loudspeakers issued an announcement on the line advising people not to congregate. But the large crowds of revelers paid no attention.
In Shanghai, many people thronged the historic Bund riverside promenade.
“We all came from Chengdu to celebrate in Shanghai,” said Da Dai, a 28-year-old digital media executive who was visiting with two friends. “We already had COVID, so now we think it’s safe to have fun.”
In Hong Kong, days after restrictions on group gatherings were lifted, tens of thousands of people met near Victoria Harbor for a midnight countdown – the city’s biggest New Year’s Eve celebration in several years. The event was canceled in 2019 due to often violent social unrest, then scaled back in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.
Reuters 2022 Year in Review
Reports from Reuters bureaus around the world; Written by Neil Fullick, Frances Carey and Rosalba O’Brien; Editing by Hugh Lawson, David Holmes, Daniel Wallis and Kim Coghill
Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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