SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - Fireworks have been launched from four sails of the Sydney Opera House in Australia for the first time in more than a decade, and the Sydney Harbor Bridge was also illuminated by fireworks shooting skyward and raining from its decks to the water below.
It's among the ways the new year has already been welcomed in parts of the world where 2014 has arrived.
In Tokyo, five priests at a temple used ropes to swing a wooden pole against a large bell. That sounded the first of 108 gongs to mark the new year. At the same time, the number 2014 lit up in white lights on the modern Tokyo Tower in the background. Both Japanese and tourists were crowded into the temple grounds for the traditional ceremony.
In New York City, outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg is sitting out this year's festivities to spend time with family and friends. He had hobnobbed with celebrities during past Times Square celebrations. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio will be sworn into office at a minute past midnight at his home in Brooklyn.
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a New York City native, will lead the final 60-second countdown and push the ceremonial button to signal the descent of the Times Square New Year's Eve ball in front of an estimated 1 million celebrants.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)