Fireworks were cancelled in Brussels and Paris as November's terror attacks cast a pall. At the stroke of midnight the skies still lit up with pyrotechnics in Sydney, traditionally the first to host a major New Year's bash, as crowds thronged to waterside vantage points.
    
Tens of thousands of revellers gathered on either side of Hong Kong's iconic Victoria Harbour, which was bathed in a dazzling fireworks display.

   
In Dubai, a huge fire ripped through a luxury hotel, the Address Downtown, near the world's tallest tower where people were gathering to watch New Year's Eve celebrations. All residents were safely evacuated, police said, and the emirate's government said celebrations would go ahead as planned.
    
The chimes of midnight will move across Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and finally the Americas. In the heart of Europe, more than 100,000 police were to be deployed throughout France to guard celebrations that come six weeks after the jihadist attacks in Paris.
    
Annual festivities and fireworks in Brussels were cancelled as the Belgian capital -- home to NATO and the European Union -- remains on high alert. "It's better not to take any risks," Brussels mayor Yvan Mayeur said.

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