January 1, 2013

U.S., Europe hope the new year brings better times

The Associated Press

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Katy Saunders, left, Alex Mueller, center left, Rebekka Frank and Arina Motamedi, right, play with sparklers ahead of welcoming in the new year during the 2013 Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations, Scotland, Monday December 31, 2012. See PA story SOCIAL NewYear. (AP Photo/PA,Danny Lawson)

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Olga Lovchu, of Chicago, center right, cheers in Times Square for the New Year's Eve celebration, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, in New York. This will be the first Times Square countdown in decades without Dick Clark, who died in April, and will be honored with a tribute concert and his name printed on pieces of confetti. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

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There were impromptu fireworks displays throughout much of London as people remembered a year that saw Olympics glory, the queen's diamond jubilee and the announcement that Prince William and the former Kate Middleton are expecting their first child — welcome news that offset some of the economic gloom.

To the north in Scotland, 85,000 people gathered near the base of Edinburgh Castle for the wild Hogmaney celebration, helped by five soundstages featuring a number of top bands.

Elsewhere, the atmosphere of celebration was muted with concern.

Hotels, clubs and other sites in New Delhi, the Indian capital, canceled festivities after the death of a rape victim on Saturday touched off days of mourning and reflection about women's safety. In the Philippines, where many are recovering from devastation from a recent typhoon, a health official danced to South Korean rapper Psy's "Gangnam Style" video in an effort to stop revelers from setting off huge illegal firecrackers, which maim and injure hundreds of Filipinos each year.

And even in Times Square, some revelers checked their cellphones to keep up with news of lawmakers' efforts to skirt the fiscal cliff combination of expiring tax cuts and across-the-board spending cuts that threatened to reverberate globally. And the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn., and Superstorm Sandy mingled into the memories of 2012.

"This has been a very eventful year, on many levels," Denise Norris said as she and her husband, the Rev. Urie Norris, surveyed the crowd seeking to jam Times Square for a countdown show with Ryan Seacrest as host and musical acts including Taylor Swift, Carly Rae Jepsen, Neon Trees, Flo Rida and Pitbull.

About a block away, Army Sgt. Clint Evanoff waited in a black suit, red vest and red tie to get into Times Square with a couple of his friends from his unit at Fort Drum, N.Y. Evanoff, 20, is scheduled to leave for Afghanistan, his first deployment, in about two weeks.

Looking ahead to the new year, "I'm just hoping to make it back," he said.

Elsewhere, too, hopes for 2013 were a mix of personal and political. In Boston, communications writer and editor Colin O'Brien, 25, said he was optimistic that the nation had realized it was time to make tough decisions about its finances and policy and that there might be "more common ground than people are willing to admit or accept." In Harrisburg, Pa., warehouse worker Adam Gassner, 43, had more internal goals: "hoping to continue to get myself back on my feet."

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Additional Photos

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Fireworks explode in the sky over St. Basil Cathedral as Russians celebrate New Year on Red Square in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

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Merry makers cheer as they welcome the 2013 New Year, at the first ever public New Year Countdown cerebration at Myoma grounds in Yangon, Mayanmar, Monday, Dec.31, 2012. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)

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Fireworks explode at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre over the Victoria Harbor to celebrate the 2013 New Year in Hong Kong Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013 (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)



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Today's poll: Outlook for 2013

Do you believe 2013 will be better than 2012 for you and you family?

Yes

No

View Results