Asian nations giving enthusiastic welcome to 2013

31 Dec

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Fiscal cliff? Recession? Not in Asia, where the first countries to see 2013 dawn will enthusiastically welcome the new year.fireworks

Increasingly democratic Myanmar will have a public countdown for the first time. Jakarta plans a huge street party befitting Indonesia’s powering economy.

In Sydney, eager revelers camped over Sunday night on the shores of the harbor to get the best vantage points as 1.5 million are expected to see the fireworks show centered on the Sydney Harbor Bridge.

In Hong Kong, this year’s 12.5 million Hong Kong dollar ($1.6 million) fireworks display was being billed by organizers as the biggest ever in the southern Chinese city. Police expect as many as 100,000 people to watch, local news reports said.

Jakarta’s street party will center on a 7-kilometer (4-mile) main thoroughfare closed to all traffic from nightfall until after midnight. Workers were erecting 16 large stages along the normally car-clogged, 8-lane highway through the heart of the city. Indonesia’s booming economy is a rare bright spot amid global gloom and bringing prosperity — or the hope of it — to Indonesians.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said about 1.5 million spectators were expected to line the harbor to watch the 6.6 million Australian dollar ($6.9 million) fireworks display, while another 2 million Australians among a population of 22 million would watch it on television.

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