LONDON (AP) — People around the world have been ushering in 2013, with hopes of a better year ahead.
In Russia, Moscow's iconic Red Square was filled with spectators as fireworks exploded near the Kremlin. President Vladimir Putin gave an optimistic New Year's Eve address, making no reference to the anti-government protests that have occurred in his country in the past year.
In austerity-hit Europe, the mood was more restrained — if hopeful. The year 2013 is projected to be a sixth straight one of recession amid Greece's worst economic crisis since World War II. In fact, the new year was starting with a 24-hour strike by subway and train workers in Athens to protest salary cuts that are part of the government's austerity measures.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's New Year's message warned her country to prepare for difficult economic times ahead. Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, decided to cancel celebrations in light of the economic crisis.
Celebrating New Year's Eve with a vespers service in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Benedict XVI said that despite all the injustice in the world, goodness prevails.
In Spain, where a recession has left unemployment at a staggering 25 percent, people are hoping for a better new year.
The traditional crystal ball drop will take place at midnight in New York City's Times Square, where 1 million people are expected to cram into the surrounding streets.
222-q-12-(Nelson Peres (PURR'-ehz) and Veronica Legria (LUH'-gree-uh), tourists from Puerto Rico, in AP interview)-"of our lives"-Times Square tourists Nelson Peres and Veronica Legria of Puerto Rico were asked why they are in Times Square. (31 Dec 2012)
<<CUT *222 (12/31/12)>> 00:12 "of our lives"
221-q-06-(Dave Dean, tourist from Newfoundland at Times Square, in AP interview)-"in Times Square"-Tourist Dave Dean was asked why he is at Times Square with his wife. (31 Dec 2012)
<<CUT *221 (12/31/12)>> 00:06 "in Times Square"
220-w-31-(Warren Levinson, AP correspondent with New Year's Eve reveler Ryan Drawbridge Harding)--People are getting ready at Times Square for the dropping of the ball. AP correspondent Warren Levinson reports. (31 Dec 2012)
<<CUT *220 (12/31/12)>> 00:31
APPHOTO LON809: Fireworks go off over Edinburgh Castle, Scotland, as part of the New Year Hogmanay celebrations Monday Dec. 31, 2012. (AP Photo/PA, Danny Lawson) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE (31 Dec 2012)
<<APPHOTO LON809 (12/31/12)>>
APPHOTO XIAS102: Fireworks explode in the sky over St. Basil Cathedral as Russians celebrate New Year on Red Square in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev) (1 Jan 2013)
<<APPHOTO XIAS102 (01/01/13)>>
APPHOTO AJM211: Pope Benedict XVI holds the ostensory as he presides a New Year's Eve vespers service in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. Pope Benedict XVI has marked the end of a difficult year by saying that despite all the death and injustice in the world, goodness prevails. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) (31 Dec 2012)
<<APPHOTO AJM211 (12/31/12)>>