Dubai’s fiery record lights up New Year

Dubai shattered the world record for the largest ever pyrotechnic display on New Year’s Eve with a show involving more than half a million fireworks, Guinness World Records said yesterday.

“Ten months in planning, over 500,000 fireworks were used during the display which lasted around six minutes, with Guinness World Records adjudicators on hand to confirm that a new record had been set,” the Guinness website said.

The display spanned 94km of the Dubai coast, which boasts an archipelago of man-made islands and Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, Guinness said.

Enough fireworks were launched in the first minute of the display to break the previous record, set by Kuwait in 2011 with an hour-long show of 77,282 fireworks.

The main displays took place at Burj Khalifa and the luxurious Atlantis hotel located in Palm Jumeirah, one of three palm-shaped islands.

US firm Fireworks by Grucci designed the display, Guinness said, using 100 computers and 200 technicians to synchronise the pyrotechnics at a reported cost of around €4.3m.

Meanwhile, from Sydney to London to San Francisco, revelers welcomed 2014 with extravagant fireworks displays, giant street parties and fruit-flavored mist.

In New York, hordes of people, many decked out in cartoonish hats, waving balloons or ringing bells, shrugged off freezing temperatures and heightened security in Times Square for the annual New Year’s Eve street party.

They heard musical performances by Miley Cyrus and Melissa Etheridge, who sang John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’, and then saw the ritual dropping of the New Year’s Eve ball.

However, not everyone partied in the streets. US president Barack Obama celebrated the end of 2013 with a low-key foray to buy a cherry and lemon-lime “shave ice” in his native Hawaii before retreating to a vacation rental.

In San Francisco, one of the last major cities in the world to see the clock strike midnight, thousands saw waterfront fireworks illuminate the Golden Gate Bridge.

Nineteen hours earlier, a massive fireworks display had lit up the sky around the Harbor Bridge and Opera House in Sydney, Australia.

In London, edible banana confetti and strawberry mist rained from the sky as fireworks along the River Thames lit up Big Ben, the London Eye, and other landmarks.

Across Britain, a mammoth clean-up operation got under way after millions of people across the UK celebrated the start of 2014 with fireworks, music, and late-night drinking.

Nearly 100 people were arrested as a quarter of a million people lined the banks of the River Thames as the chimes of Big Ben rang in the new year. Elsewhere, revellers committed a litany of typical night-out offences.

The Metropolitan Police said officers arrested 39 people for drunk and disorderly behaviour, 21 for assault, 16 for affray, six for drug-related offences, and six for public order offences.

The force had 3,800 officers on duty for fireworks alone, while London Ambulance Service received 1,100 calls between 7pm and midnight, and 469 in the first hour of 2014.

London mayor Boris Johnson said there was “no better way to celebrate the highs of 2013 and the start of an exciting new year” than enjoying “one of the world’s most dazzling fireworks displays”.

However, the festivities created an estimated 85 tonnes of waste, including up to 15,000 champagne bottles, in central London.

Westminster Council deployed 52 vehicles and 119 members of staff through the night to ensure the streets were cleared for the capital’s New Year’s Day parade at 12pm.

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