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TMCNet:  Sydney welcomes 2014, celebrates 40th birthday of Opera House

[December 31, 2013]

Sydney welcomes 2014, celebrates 40th birthday of Opera House

(UPI International Top News Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Party-goers came by foot, vehicle and boat to Sydney's harbor area Tuesday to watch 2014 ushered in with fireworks, a flotilla and a birthday celebration.

The Opera House marked its 40th birthday on New Year's Eve, with fireworks shooting from its sails for the first time in more than 10 years, the Daily Telegraph in Sydney reported.

More than 50 boats joined the Harbor of Light parade decked out in colored rope lights to help carry out the "Scintillating Sails" theme as a tribute to the Opera House's birthday. A special fireworks display was "Cranium Universe," by the artist Reg Mombassa that portrayed the inside of his head filled with stars, planets, the sun and the moon.

The night turned dramatic for six partiers when their boat sank off Farm Cove, police said. All six aboard made it safely to shore.

In Double Bay, about 100 people were evacuated from their party boat when it began taking on water.

A man in his 20s was hospitalized after he was assaulted, police said. He reportedly was arguing with another man who was arrested.

In Koolewong, a 23-year-old man suffered serious burns to one hand after a firework blew up, police said.

An estimated 1.1 billion people from around the globe watched as Sydney celebrated the start of 2014 and the end of 2013, the Telegraph said.

Ross Jollie traveled from Britain to see the show first-hand after having viewed it for years on television.

"They are the first fireworks you see on TV, so definitely it is the place to be," he told the Telegraph.

Australians were expected to send a record 101 million text messages from midnight and through the day, Australia's telecom giant Telstra said, marking the first time the 100-million mark was crossed.

In Aukland, New Zealand, police reported few problems as the sun set and revelers hit the streets, reported.

U.S. actor Tom Cruise, however, was creating a buzz in Northland, where it was whispered he would be welcoming 2014 aboard his yacht in the Bay of Islands. However, restaurant and vineyards owners reported no sightings.

Internet mogul-cum-musician Kim Dotcom joined party goers at Rhythm and Vines in Gisborne, providing musical and magical entertainment Philippine health officials, meanwhile, expressed concern this year would see an increase in fireworks-related injuries because of the growing number of local governments banning the use of firecrackers, the Philippine Daily Inquirer said.

"We are afraid the figures this year will surpass previous records. So we are doing a last-minute campaign. We are appealing to the public not to light firecrackers this New Year's Eve," said Assistant Health Secretary Enrique Tayag, who also leads the National Epidemiology Center.

In Dubai, Palm Jumeirah, the World Islands, Burj Khalifa and Dubai Festival city joined fireworks forces to attempt a world record 400,000 fireworks shot into the sky from 400 locations, Gulf News reported.

At least 450,000 explosive shells, linked by a network of more than 100 computers, will be used to in the show, officials said.

Firework displays also will fill the skies in Madinat Jumeriah, Burj al-Arab, Burj Khalifa and Dubai Festival City.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.

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