NYE Brings Big First in Burma

No fiscal cliff worries in Asia-Pacific...
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2012 6:27 AM CST
NYE Brings Big First in Burma
Workers prepare to set up a stage as preparations are underway for the country's first ever public New Year's countdown celebration, at Myoma grounds in Yangon, Burma, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012.   (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)

The looming fiscal cliff is putting a bit of a damper on New Year's Eve celebrations in the US, but not so in Asia, where many of the first countries to welcome the new year are enjoying buoyant economies and are planning huge celebrations. A sampling, per the AP: A massive street party taking over an eight-lane highway in Jakarta, a $1.6 million fireworks display in Hong Kong (the city's biggest to date), and the first public countdown ever in increasingly democratic Burma.

Even North Korea is celebrating "Juche 102," or the 102nd anniversary of the birth of the country's founder, Kim Il Sung. ("Juche" means self-reliance.) But in New Delhi, several planned parties were canceled as a way of expressing solidarity with the gang-rape victim who died Saturday. "Let there be no New Year celebrations across the country. It will be a major tribute to the departed soul," said the secretary-general of one business and trade group. (More New Year's Eve stories.)

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