LONDON - The world welcomed in 2014 with a series of spectacular firework displays as a wave of pyrotechnic extravaganzas swept around the globe to celebrate the New Year.
Europe joined in the party with a giant salvo in London, after Dubai attempted to break the work record for the biggest-ever fireworks show and Sydney got the ball rolling ahead of Asia with a dazzling display.
In London, huge cheers went up as parliament's clock tower chimed in 2014, as people packed the banks of the River Thames to watch the pyrotechnics at the London Eye observation wheel.
About 50,000 took part in "the world's first multi-sensory fireworks display", when peach snow, edible banana confetti and orange-scented bubbles descended on a section of the crowd.
In Dubai, the Middle East hub was hoping to break the Guinness World Record by setting off more than 400,000 fireworks.
The glittering display lasted around six minutes and spanned 100 kilometres (60 miles) of the coast, focusing on the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower at 830 metres high.
People crowded in the streets below took pictures as the thundering display filled the skies.
"It's amazing," said May Hinnawi, a 35-year-old Syrian. "I will tell my children and grand children I was here to see this event."
Kuwait set the record in 2011 with an hour-long blast of 77,282 fireworks.
In Europe, Berliners partied at the Brandenburg Gate, while hundreds of thousands in Paris thronged the Champs Elysees.
"Paris is wonderful tonight," said Hu Lichu, a Chinese woman in her 60s who came with her husband.
Russians got two different versions of President Vladimir Putin's New Year address after a "technical glitch" meant its Far East watched an earlier pre-recorded tape that made no mention of the Volgograd suicide attacks.