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As the clocks struck midnight on December 31, people celebrated the new year around the world with fireworks, festivities and prayers. In New York, more than one million people packed into the streets of midtown Manhattan to welcome 2014 – and see the new year glittering ball drop over Time Square, a Big Apple tradition. Mexico City played host to a huge open air concert, rounding off 2013 to the sounds of merengue and cumbia. In Tokyo, thousands of people gathered at Zojoji temple to pray for the year ahead. Thai Buddhists in Bangkok also ushered in 2014 in reflective mood, paying homage to the Buddha and offering alms to monks. Pope Francis heralded the start of the new year with a Vatican address underlining the importance of strength, courage and hope.