Home Latest News New Year’s Eve 2019 – live: Revellers descend on London to welcome...

New Year’s Eve 2019 – live: Revellers descend on London to welcome new decade, as Sydney fireworks display prompts fury amid wildfires – The Independent


The world is set to mark the end of the year, and the decade, as 2019 comes to a close – and while spectacular firework displays are expected to herald in the 2020s across the globe, some threaten to be overshadowed by ongoing events.

In Australia, New Year’s Eve celebrations have been marred by wildfires which have threatened to cause mass evacuations in population hubs including Victoria in the east of the country.

Meanwhile Hong Kong has braced for fresh protests over Chinese influence in the region to interrupt festivities.

Download the new Indpendent Premium app

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

Please allow a moment for the live blog to load



2019-12-31T22:33:59.240Z

Boris Johnson claims he will bring nation together in New Year address

Boris Johnson has claimed he will bring the nation back together as prime minister, telling Britons they were set for a “fantastic year and a remarkable decade” when Britain leaves the European Union.

Fresh from winning a large parliamentary majority in an election just over two weeks ago, Johnson said in a New Year’s message that his first job was to ensure Brexit was delivered, more than three years after Britain voted to leave the EU, and then to heal the wounds the vote had opened.

“As we say goodbye to 2019, we can also turn the page on the division, rancour and uncertainty which has dominated public life and held us back for far too long,” he said.

“Now we have a new parliament, elected by the people to deliver the people’s priorities, which will finally respect the referendum and deliver Brexit. So we’ll get Brexit done before the end of this month,” he added.

Johnson has already won initial approval for his EU divorce deal and the final stages of ratification will begin when lawmakers return after Christmas in time for a Jan. 31 exit.

He will then begin talks on forging a new trading relationship with the bloc, having said those negotiations would not be extended beyond the end of 2020.

With an eye on voters in northern and central England who broke their long tradition of backing the opposition Labour Party to support him in the election, Johnson also said the state-run NHS health service would be his top priority while vowing that extra funding for education and infrastructure would be spread “more fairly”.

“We will do all of this while keeping your taxes low,” he said.


2019-12-31T20:32:59.030Z

Harry and Meghan post 2019 recap


2019-12-31T20:19:29.206Z

Sadiq Khan promises ‘best London fireworks ever’

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has promised the “best fireworks London has ever seen” to ring in the new decade.

Mr Khan said the capital will “project confidence” on the world stage through an impressive display at the New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Speaking in the city centre ahead of the celebrations on Tuesday night, Mr Khan told the PA news agency: “Hand on heart, these are going to be the best fireworks London has ever seen.”

He added the “world” will be watching the display and he hoped it would show London was a “global city”.

He said: “Fairly or unfairly, people around the world saw the Brexit referendum vote as the UK somehow turning its back on the rest of the world, including Europe.

“The fear was, we would become insular, inward-looking, and what I’m keen to show is the opposite.

“Yes we may be leaving the EU, but very much as a city we are still a European global city. We will continue to be open to people’s trade and ideas.

“What tonight’s fireworks are about is demonstrating our confidence.

“And it’s really important that we show the world who will be watching our fireworks that we are a confident, global, outward-looking European city.”

The theme of this year’s display will look ahead to the capital hosting several key games in the Euro 2020 football tournament.

The pyrotechnics show will feature more than 12,000 fireworks, with the display being set to a soundtrack “inspired by London and Europe”, according to a spokeswoman for the mayor.

Big Ben’s chimes will sound the start of the display despite them being silent this year while renovation work is completed.


2019-12-31T20:04:32.626Z

Dubai celebrates 2020 with huge fireworks display

With the arrival of 8pm in the UK, 2020 has got to Dubai – and with it the Burj Khalifa, the tallest structure in the world. Each year, it gets a firework display befitting its massive size, and this year hasn’t disappointed.

You can watch live here:


2019-12-31T19:39:22.863Z

India hit by protests as New Year arrives

Thousands of Indians ushered in the New Year by demonstrating against a citizenship law despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attempts to dampen protests that have run for nearly three weeks.

The protests have rocked India since 12 December, when the government passed legislation easing the way for non-Muslim minorities from neighbouring Muslim-majority nations of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan to gain Indian citizenship.

Combined with opposition to a proposed national register of citizens, many Indians fear the law will discriminate against minority Muslims and chip away at India’s secular constitution.

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Citizens’ Register (NRC), which were part of the election manifesto of Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist party.

Protesters had planned at least three demonstrations in New Delhi, the capital, including the area of Shaheen Bagh, where hundreds of residents have blocked a major highway for 18 days.

Irshad Alam, a 25-year-old resident of Shaheen Bagh, stood with his one-year-old in his arm and his wife by his side. He said he’d been participating in the protest every day.

“It’s freezing here,” he said, “But we are still here because we care about this movement.”


2019-12-31T19:37:52.183Z

Hogmonay celebrations begin in Edinburgh

Hogmanay celebrations have begun in Edinburgh, as crowds gathered to witness the New Year’s Eve fireworks set to illuminate the skies above the city’s street party.

The streets of Edinburgh are filling up as Hogmanay revellers prepare to welcome in the start of a new decade and enjoy the UK’s biggest street party.

Performances from Idlewild, Rudimental and Marc Almond will take place on stages throughout the city centre, while DJ Mark Ronson will usher in the new year, creating a new soundtrack ahead of the clock striking 12.

Approximately 100,000 visitors are expected to attend the event, according to organisers who billed the Hogmanay celebrations as the UK’s biggest New Year’s Eve street party.

TV stars Ant and Dec took to the stage in Princes Street Gardens early on Tuesday evening as crowds gathered, playing music and introducing the first firework display of the night.

Street theatre, circus acts and musical performances also took place up across more than a dozen streets, including the city’s main throughfare Princes Street and its adjacent gardens, while ceilidhs danced their way into the night in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle.

There had been criticism of the event’s organisation, amid uncertainty around how many passes residents were allowed, with Underbelly – which also runs the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – accused of creating “unnecessary confusion” by the council leader.


2019-12-31T19:37:14.640Z

Macron asks for a ‘solid relationship’ with post-Brexit Britain in New Year’s address

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday he wanted a strong relationship with post-Brexit Britain.

Speaking in his traditional televised New Year’s eve address to the nation, Macron said: “The United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union is a test for our country. I will strive to maintain a solid relationship between our two countries.”

He also said he would push through an overhaul of the pension system, after weeks of nationwide strikes by trade unions.

In the same speech, he said he expected his government to quickly find a compromise with unions on the reform, but without departing from the principles laid out by ministers.

Unions are trying to force the former investment banker to abandon his overhaul of France’s pension system with nationwide strikes since 5 December that have crippled public transport.


2019-12-31T18:51:48.713Z

Somber celebrations in Samoa

In Samoa, New Year’s Eve was more somber than usual. While fireworks erupted at midnight from Mount Vaea, overlooking the capital, Apia, the end of the year was a time of sadness and remembrance.

A measles epidemic in late 2019 claimed 81 lives, mostly children under 5.

More than 5,600 measles cases were recorded in the nation of just under 200,000. With the epidemic now contained, the Samoa Observer newspaper named as its Person of the Year health workers who fought the outbreak.​


2019-12-31T17:32:53.353Z

Waitress left ‘happy New Year’ $2020 tip

The restaurant bill was $23. But the tip at a small-town restaurant in Michigan was much larger: $2,020.

“Things like this don’t happen to people like me,” server Danielle Franzoni told The Alpena News.

Franzoni, 31, got the tip while working Sunday at Thunder Bay River Restaurant in Alpena. The credit card receipt said “Happy New Year. 2020 Tip Challenge.”

Franzoni, a single mother, couldn’t believe the number, but her manager assured her the tip was legitimate.

She said she was living in a homeless shelter a year ago. Franzoni plans to use the money to reinstate her driver’s license and build savings.

“They don’t know nothing about my story. They don’t know where I’ve come from. They don’t know how hard it’s been,” Franzoni said of the couple who left the tip. “They’re really just doing this out of the kindness of their heart.”

Franzoni later went to a restaurant and left a $20.20 tip.

“That was my pay-it-forward,” she said, smiling. “I couldn’t do the other one.”​


2019-12-31T17:32:52.046Z

Waitress left ‘happy New Year’ $2020 tip

The restaurant bill was $23. But the tip at a small-town restaurant in Michigan was much larger: $2,020.

“Things like this don’t happen to people like me,” server Danielle Franzoni told The Alpena News.

Franzoni, 31, got the tip while working Sunday at Thunder Bay River Restaurant in Alpena. The credit card receipt said “Happy New Year. 2020 Tip Challenge.”

Franzoni, a single mother, couldn’t believe the number, but her manager assured her the tip was legitimate.

She said she was living in a homeless shelter a year ago. Franzoni plans to use the money to reinstate her driver’s license and build savings.

“They don’t know nothing about my story. They don’t know where I’ve come from. They don’t know how hard it’s been,” Franzoni said of the couple who left the tip. “They’re really just doing this out of the kindness of their heart.”

Franzoni later went to a restaurant and left a $20.20 tip.

“That was my pay-it-forward,” she said, smiling. “I couldn’t do the other one.”​


2019-12-31T17:32:43.416Z

Waitress left ‘happy New Year’ $2020 tip

The restaurant bill was $23. But the tip at a small-town restaurant in Michigan was much larger: $2,020.

“Things like this don’t happen to people like me,” server Danielle Franzoni told The Alpena News.

Franzoni, 31, got the tip while working Sunday at Thunder Bay River Restaurant in Alpena. The credit card receipt said “Happy New Year. 2020 Tip Challenge.”

Franzoni, a single mother, couldn’t believe the number, but her manager assured her the tip was legitimate.

She said she was living in a homeless shelter a year ago. Franzoni plans to use the money to reinstate her driver’s license and build savings.

“They don’t know nothing about my story. They don’t know where I’ve come from. They don’t know how hard it’s been,” Franzoni said of the couple who left the tip. “They’re really just doing this out of the kindness of their heart.”

Franzoni later went to a restaurant and left a $20.20 tip.

“That was my pay-it-forward,” she said, smiling. “I couldn’t do the other one.”​


2019-12-31T16:49:56.526Z

Hong Kong welcomes in the new year with unrest

Thousands of Hong Kong revellers welcomed in 2020 on neon-lit promenades along the picturesque Victoria Harbour, breaking into pro-democracy chants as the clocks struck midnight after more than half a year of often violent unrest.

Protesters briefly blocked Nathan Road, a key artery leading through Kowloon to the harbour, after forming human chains across the Chinese-ruled city and marching through shopping malls, urging people not to give up the fight for democracy in 2020.

The protesters fled when police came to clear the road of umbrellas, street furniture and debris and a three-metre-tall skeleton of a metal Christmas tree. Several arrests were made.

Authorities had cancelled the popular new year fireworks for the first time in a decade, citing security concerns. A “Symphony of Lights” took place instead, involving projections on the city’s tallest skyscrapers after the countdown to midnight.

There were small-scale pyrotechnics on waterfront rooftops, but the grandiose fireworks launched from vessels in the centre of the harbour, broadcast around the world every year, were absent.

The carnival atmosphere on the harbour was interrupted as parts of the crowd of thousands watching the show began chanting protest slogans, such as “Liberate Hong Kong! Revolution of our times” and “Five demands, not one less.”

The latter refers to the goals of the anti-government movement, which include universal suffrage and an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality.

The protesters are angry at what they see as creeping Beijing influence in the city which was guaranteed wide-ranging autonomy when it returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997. Beijing denies interference and blames the West for fomenting the unrest.


2019-12-31T16:46:10.086Z

Warren warns ‘democracy hangs in the balance’ in New Year’s Eve speech

Democratic presidential contender Elizabeth Warren sought to reenergize her White House campaign in a New Year’s Eve speech on Tuesday, warning that “democracy hangs in the balance” five weeks before nominating contests begin in early February.

In her home state of Massachusetts on the first anniversary of her campaign launch, Warren said President Donald Trump would “try to cheat his way through yet another election” if he is not removed from office after his impeachment by the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives.

“In the past 12 months, the president has become bolder with his lies and more brazen in his law-breaking,” said Warren, who as a U.S. senator will vote on whether to convict Trump of improperly pressuring Ukraine for political favors. “Meanwhile, the Republicans in Congress have turned into fawning, spineless defenders of his crimes.”

The race for the Democratic nomination remains fluid as the calendar turns to 2020, with 15 Democrats still in the running and a majority of voters telling pollsters that they have yet to settle on a final choice. The nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire in early February will be critical tests of candidates’ viability.

Warren’s address took place at a church in downtown Boston known as a gathering place for revolutionary colonists in the 1770s.

“We are a nation that fights back,” she said. “Fighting back is an act of patriotism.”

Warren remains a top Democratic candidate in national opinion polls but saw her standing slip since early autumn after a months-long surge that briefly vaulted her to front-runner status.


2019-12-31T16:31:37.870Z

Indonesian celebrations marred by torrential rains and threat of volcanic eruptions

Tens of thousands of revelers in Indonesia’s capital of Jakarta were soaked by torrential rains as they waited for New Year’s Eve fireworks. 2020 will arrive in Indonesia at 5pm UK time.

Festive events along coastal areas near the Sunda Strait were dampened by a possible larger eruption of Anak Krakatau, an island volcano that erupted last year just ahead of Christmas Day, triggering a tsunami that killed more than 430 people.

The country’s volcanology agency has warned locals and tourists to stay 2 kilometers (1.3 miles) from the volcano’s crater following an eruption Tuesday that blasted ash and debris up to 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) into the air.​


2019-12-31T16:27:55.003Z

First of UK’s straight civil partnerships celebrated on New Year’s Eve

A heterosexual couple who were among the first to enter into a civil partnership have hailed the law change for young people who “don’t have to go up the aisle if they don’t want to”.

Ann “Pee-Wee” Chamings and her partner John Eccles tied the knot in a civil ceremony on New Year’s Eve, marking the first day such unions became a legal alternative for mixed-sex couples.

The East Sussex pair were among those who took the fight for opposite-sex civil partnerships to the Royal Courts of Justice in London, pushing for a change in the law.

Ms Chamings said the ceremony at Hastings Town Hall, witnessed by their two children, was “just ideal” for the couple, who first met in 1975 and have been together for 43 years.

“Absolutely happy that we managed to get to this point, it’s not that I don’t believe in marriage, I think marriage is fine for some people, but it has connotations of patriarchal and religious associations that really didn’t suit us,” she said.


2019-12-31T16:10:45.563Z

Countries across Asia move into 2020

With the arrival of 4pm UK time, it’s not just China and Hong Kong that have entered 2020. The timezone is the world’s most populated, given it is shared right across China.

Countries across Asia and Australasia are now in the New Year: the eastern part of Mongolia, Brunei, Indonesia, part of Russia, Western Australia and many other cities and countries just switched over to the new year.


2019-12-31T16:05:49.320Z

Protests in Hong Kong continue

As the light show begins in Hong Kong, protests continue and activists report being sprayed with toxic liquid. (You can see the light show in the post below.)


2019-12-31T15:58:56.540Z

Hong Kong light display begins

The official live feed from Hong Kong – which will be lit up by a light show when midnight arrives in a couple of minutes – is here. Unlikely that will give much coverage to the expected protests… But it will be a spectacular light show.


2019-12-31T15:52:06.886Z

China and Hong Kong set to celebrate New Year amid tension

Both China and Hong Kong are set to ring in the new year following a speech from Beijing’s Xi Jinping urging calm in the semi-autonomous city state.

Hong Kong activists, who have protested against China’s control in the region for much of the year, have maintained protests throughout the day – hoisting neon signs that read “free HK” while vowing to “persist” in 2020.

It comes after Xi Jinping called for a “harmonious and stable environment” in the region as part of his New Year’s address.

He asaid: “The situation in Hong Kong has been everybody’s concern over the past few months.
 

“Without a harmonious and stable environment, how can there be a home where people can live and work happily? 
 

“We sincerely hope for the best for Hong Kong and Hong Kong compatriots.”
 

A prosperous and stable Hong Kong is the aspiration of Hong Kong compatriots, as well as the expectation of the people of the motherland, he added


2019-12-31T15:44:18.460Z

Where we’re going, we don’t need roads

Tokyo has just celebrated New Year’s – but a lucky few in the city who have decided to travel back in time won’t have to wait a whole year for a secondary celebration.

Flight tracker service Flightradar has found a plane that departed shortly after midnight – and is due to land in Los Angeles in time for 2019.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Must Read

Google’s ‘Hold for Me’ Assistant feature appears first on new Pixel phones – Engadget

When the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G arrive, they’ll include an early preview of Google’s new feature for the Phone app, the Duplex-powered “Hold for Me.” Mentioned during the Launch Night presentation and explained in a blog post, it lets Google Assistant wait around and wait for someone to pick up when a business…

Watch ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic Moderate Presidential Debate in ‘We’re All Doomed’ Video – Rolling Stone

“Weird Al” Yankovic teamed up with the Gregory Brothers for a comedic musical take on Tuesday night’s presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden with their video for the song “We’re All Doomed.” Yankovic and the Gregory Brothers’ satirical rendering accurately summed up the general consensus following the debate: “We’re all doomed,” Yankovic yells…

Previewing LeBron, Lakers taking on the Heat | NBA Finals | Hoop Streams – ESPN

Sorry for the interruption. We have been receiving a large volume of requests from your network. To continue with your YouTube experience, please fill out the form below.

Pixel 5, Chromecast with Google TV, Nest Audio: All of today’s Google announcements – CNET

Juan Garzon/CNET Last week Amazon dropped its annual armada of new products on us -- now it's Google's turn. The company's Launch Night In stream Wednesday follows its unveiling of the Pixel 4A budget phone in August. That event confirmed the existence of its next flagship phone, the Pixel 5, and the Pixel 4A 5G. They were launched today, along…

Disney World layoffs: 6,700 non-union employees are losing their jobs – Orlando Sentinel

About 6,700 Walt Disney World non-union employees are losing their jobs because of the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, according to an alert the Walt Disney Co. sent to the state. The notice is the first indication of how many Orlando employees are part of the massive layoffs the company announced Tuesday after the market…