- Title: VARIOUS: New Year celebrated across Europe
- Date: 1st January 2007
- Summary: (BN02) PARIS, FRANCE (DECEMBER 31, 2006) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SHOTS) EIFFEL TOWER PEOPLE LOOKING AT TOWER EIFFEL TOWER LIGHTS UP PEOPLE CHEER AND OPEN BOTTLES AT MIDNIGHT (SOUNDBITE) (French) THREE PARISIANS REPLYING TO QUESTION 'WHAT DO YOU WISH FOR?' "Lots of new projects, lots of good things, lots of choice, lots of happiness -- and an end to war in the world and lots of love all around for everybody" EIFFEL TOWER, A FEW ILLEGAL FIREWORKS SEEN
- Reuters ID: LVA8GWN48R81NT0MO8TZFBXUV1E6
- Duration: 00:00:40
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- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment / Showbiz
- Story Text: Hundreds of thousands of people gathered to see in the New Year overnight on Sunday (December 31/January 1) in London and watch a spectacular fireworks display over the River Thames.
As Big Ben chimed in 2007, rockets erupted over the famous London Eye Ferris wheel and the Houses of Parliament.
Some 250,000 people are believed to have braved the cold and windy weather to watch the 10-minute show from London's river banks.
French President Jacques Chirac gave his annual New Year's Eve television address from the Elysee Palace on Sunday (December 31) -- for the 12th and probably final time.
In his speech, which lasted 10 minutes and was set against a backdrop of the French and European Union flags, Chirac told the French they should not listen to the "evil voices of extremism", adding that "France is strong and beautiful when she manages to simultaneously enforce her rules and open her arms".
As was expected Chirac, who is 74-years-old, did not mention whether he will be running in the 2007 Spring election.
He recently said that he will make his intentions known regarding a run for a third term during the first trimester of the new year. Chirac did, however, mention the elections and told citizens: "France needs each and every one of you; she is counting on you."
2006 has been a mixed year for the president, who saw his prime minister and close political ally Dominic de Villepin sink in opinion polls.
As the time approached midnight, thousands of people congregated in central Paris to watch the spectacular light show at the Eiffel Tower.
Warm weather and an end to the afternoon's rain added to the festive ambiance. Due to past incidents of violence, fireworks were forbidden in Paris; nonetheless a few amateurs sent off firecrackers shortly after the stroke of midnight. 4,500 police were on duty around the capital in an effort to thwart the vandalism of past years, which included burning cars and smashing shop windows.
Wet weather in Berlin couldn't dampen the atmosphere at the Brandenburg Gate as thousands of people celebrated New Year's Eve at Germany's biggest outdoor party.
The police said several hundred thousand people from all over the world had gathered beneath the historic landmark to celebrate the arrival of 2007; the organisers said there were more than one million.
With temperatures of almost 10 degrees Celsius, one of the warmest New Year's Eves on record, people crowded the two kilometre party zone between the capital's trademark tourist sights, the Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column (Siegessaeule).
The stretch of sealed-off road is still being referred to as the 'Fan Mile' because it was here that even more people had watched the football and celebrated together during the World Cup in June.
Russia welcomed 2007 with celebrations that stretched the country's 11 time zones from the easternmost regions on the Pacific Ocean to Kaliningrad in Europe on the Baltic Sea.
Russia's New Year celebrations began on Sunday (December 31) in the Far East province of Kamchatka at 1200GMT. By 2100 GMT, celebrations had made their way to Moscow, the nation's capital.
Amid high security, tens of thousands packed Red Square, just under the Kremlin walls and listened to President Vladimir Putin greet the nation in a three minute speech, giving a brief wrap-up of 2006 and setting goals for 2007.
He talked about the need to fight poverty, especially to help the elderly, and called for people to have more children.
Russian revellers paid little attention to his social message and were entirely caught up in the merriment of the moment. Many were boisterous and full of energy.
At midnight, just as Putin finished his address, the Kremlin tower clock began to chime, which was followed by a dazzling firework display.
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