Christmas goodies to remind overseas troops of home

NZ Defence Force personnel and RSA volunteers have packed Christmas parcels for New Zealand troops posted overseas > Marmite and Bluebird potato chips will be among Christmas goodies for Kiwi forces overseas this Christmas.

In a tradition going back more than 90 years, 500 parcels have been packed with treats to remind military personnel serving overseas, of the small joys of home. The parcels, which also include Anzac biscuits, were packed at the Naval Reserve Base in Wellington earlier this week by defence force staff and Royal New Zealand Returned Services’ Association volunteers.

They will be sent around the world to 13 countries, including Afghanistan, Antarctica, East Timor, Solomon Islands and the Sinai. The RSA began the tradition of sending parcels to troops overseas during the First World War.

“Opening one of these parcels brings a small part of New Zealand to those troops who are away from their families at Christmas,” commander joint forces New Zealand, Rear Admiral Jack Steer said. “I am extremely proud of the work our personnel are doing overseas and I hope that seeing the reminders of home will bring them all a smile on Christmas Day,” he said.

One of the packers was New Zealand Army Captain Alistair Rankin who got Christmas parcels when he served in Singapore in the late 1970s and Cambodia as part of the mine action centre in 2004. “You go for months without the comforts of home so to receive parcels like these at Christmas is a real morale booster.”

New Zealand had 771 personnel deployed overseas and about 500 would be deployed over the Christmas period.

How to make your Christmas Wishes come true

“Conversations with Mrs Claus” Christmas themed podcast show visits Bluey Santa’s new recruit, a blue kangaroo originally from Australia.

Bluey exposes the steps in the Law of Attraction which is the key to making your wishes come true. This is one of the very first lessons Bluey learnt when he first arrived at the North Pole. This is a new show now released on ‘Conversations with Mrs Claus’. A podcast show on the http://www.TheFamilyYak.com channel part of Yaktivate.com global media network.

On this show Mrs Claus chats with Bluey who is the new hero and head of “Wish Communications” at the North Pole. Bluey exposes the first in a series of lessons he learnt from Head Elf WinterWhite and Santa Claus when first inducted at the School of Elves at the North Pole. As head of “Wish Communications” Bluey has the top tips and tools for listeners to discover how to make their wishes and dreams come true.

Bernadette Dimitrov (aka Mrs Claus) brings the spirit of Christmas to every podcast. She and her guests educate and entertain with traditions, contests, news, and interviews. Mrs Claus reveals this weeks ‘magic secret’ practiced at the North Pole that will show listeners how to transform their life. Christmas is revealed as being not just about one day of the year but about living and projecting the ‘spirit’ of Christmas every day for a truly fulfilled, happy, joyous and great life from the inside out. This week’s secret discovers empowering thoughts on materialism, making love more important than material things.

In the “Ask Mrs Claus a Question” segment, Dan from New Jersey asks Mrs Claus “Does Santa have a pet?” Mrs Claus reveals insights never exposed before and listeners are in for a surprise. Mrs. Claus reveals what really goes on at the North Pole and insights about Santa listeners will love to know. It’s a lot of fun.

Conversations with Mrs Claus podcast show visits fascinating guests and experts from around the world each week who reveal Christmas insights and transformational secrets about how to live a happy, healthy, fulfilled, fun, prosperous and loving life. Plus there are give-aways and prizes to be won each week.

Sponsors for this show are: ‘Bluey Santa’s New Recruit’ new children’s inspirational story series, ‘The HoHoHo Factor’ trivia, insights, symbols, meanings and history of Christmas http://www.HoHoHoChristmas.com , Health and wealth with Arbonne International http://www.agelessthinking.com/ BarkBusters business opportunity http://www.barkbusters.com

‘Conversations with Mrs. Claus’ podcast show is a family show that provides a weekly stream of inspiration, insight and connection to fascinating guests world-wide. It’s a fun show with something for both young and old. This is a family show that entertains from the heart. For additional information call: Melbourne, Australia +61 3 9778 3036.

World welcomes New Year

Hundreds of thousands of revellers flooded New York’s Times Square to watch the famed crystal ball as it dropped to mark the New Year.

It was a scene repeated, with some variations, around the world as millions cheered impressive fireworks celebrations while others saw 2006 capped with bombings and death.

Preparations for the Times Square countdown had begun days in advance, complete with the cheering and the kisses. Partygoers, projected to reach a million, were in high spirits, cheering and joking in the unseasonably warm evening. The New York festivities include a star-studded line-up, including performances by singers Christina Aguilera and Toni Braxton, rap group Three 6 Mafia and country band Rascal Flatts.

Security was tight in and around Times Square and spectators passed through police checkpoints while bomb-sniffing dogs roamed the crowd. Texas band Radiant kicked off the event, when the famously flashy New Year’s Eve ball was raised to the top of a flagpole.

Across the globe, the countdown to the New Year was marked, in parts, with a combination of joy, tears, prayers and hopes.

In Rio de Janeiro, nearly 21,000 police officers fanned out across the Brazilian city, many patrolling impoverished slums ruled by gangs, to guarantee the safety of tourists and revellers at a huge New Year’s Eve bash on the famed Copacabana beach. The show of force comes after gang attacks left 19 dead last week in Rio.

In Sydney, fireworks exploded over Harbour Bridge as a million onlookers celebrated the New Year. The display was to celebrate the bridge’s 75th anniversary.

Hundreds of thousands of others cheered in London as Big Ben rang in 2007. The chimes were relayed by sound systems along the River Thames and the onlookers lined its banks near the Houses of Parliament to watch a light show countdown projected on to the 443ft London Eye wheel. The countdown was followed by a 10-minute fireworks display “big enough and loud enough to be seen … all over the capital”, mayor Ken Livingstone said.

In India, police arrested two suspected Islamic militants about half a mile from the site of New Delhi’s main public New Year’s Eve celebrations, a report said.

Pope Benedict XVI prayed at a New Year’s Eve service at the Vatican City in Rome that 2007 would bring the world “peace, comfort, justice”.

In Romania and Bulgaria, midnight marked a historic milestone, with the two countries becoming the newest members of the European Union. Fireworks thundered through the sky in the Romanian and Bulgarian capitals, which were decorated with the EU’s blue-and-gold flags.

Bad weather dampened celebrations in other parts of Europe. In Belfast, an outdoor concert that was to feature soul singer Beverley Knight and rock band The Thrills was called off because of the threat of gale-force winds. In Glasgow high winds and rain had forced officials to cancel traditional Hogmanay New Year’s celebrations.

No official celebrations were planned in Paris, but thousands were expected to congregate around the city’s most famous avenue, the Champs-Elysees, to welcome 2007.

In the Philippines, where many believe noisy New Year celebrations drive away evil and misfortune, police threatened to arrest anyone setting off oversized firecrackers.

In Japan, thousands climbed mountains, some scaling famed Mount Fuji, to greet the first dawn of the year. Police expected crowds at the summits to reach 15,000.

In Iraq, New Year’s Eve was another day marked by death, following the burial of executed former leader Saddam Hussein. The US military announced the death of a US soldier in Iraq, raising to 3,000 the American death toll in the country since the war began.

From Sydney to Bucharest, fireworks welcome new year

The world welcomed 2007 with skyrockets and rock concerts. But in some corners of the globe, the new year was marked by bombings.

Fireworks exploded over Sydney Harbour Bridge as a million onlookers greeted the new year. In London, thousands of revelers gathered to cheer as Big Ben rang in 2007.

But the Thai capital of Bangkok canceled the main celebration after nine bombs exploded across the city, many in crowded tourist areas. Two people were killed and 34 were injured.

In Sydney, one of the world’s first major cities to usher in the new year, people crammed the harbor shore for the lavish fireworks display celebrating the 75th anniversary of the iconic bridge. 

Thousands of would-be revelers who had gathered at Bangkok’s Central World Plaza shopping mall complex for the event were sent home, officials said. Festivities continued in other parts of the city, though, including the famous Patpong Road red light district. Police and army troops with assault rifles, meanwhile, guarded some tourist sites, mass transit stations and traffic circles.

In India, police arrested two suspected Islamic militants about 1 kilometer, half a mile, from the site of New Delhi’s main public New Year’s Eve celebrations, a report cited police as saying.

Pope Benedict XVI prayed at a New Year’s Eve service at the Vatican City in Rome that 2007 would bring the world “peace, comfort, justice.”

In London, Big Ben’s chimes were relayed by sound systems along the banks of the great, gray River Thames. Crowds flocked to the banks near the Houses of Parliament to watch a light show countdown projected onto the 443-foot London Eye Ferris wheel, followed by a 10-minute fireworks display “big enough and loud enough to be seen … all over the capital,” Mayor Ken Livingstone said.

At least a million revelers were expected to flood Times Square in unseasonably warm New York City to see performances by singers Christina Aguilera and Toni Braxton. The crowd will also cheer and watch a 1,070-pound Waterford Crystal ball fall at midnight. 

In North Korea, an editorial carried in all three state-controlled newspapers celebrated the new year by boasting that the country’s possession of nuclear weapons “serves as a powerful force for defending peace and security… and guaranteeing the victorious advance of the cause of independence.” The editorial exhorted North Koreans to “mercilessly defeat any invasion of the U.S. imperialists.”

Meanwhile, two former Communist Eastern bloc states, Romania and Bulgaria, took another step toward the West as they became the newest members of the European Union at midnight. Fireworks thundered through the sky in the Romanian and Bulgarian capitals, which were decorated with the EU’s blue-and-gold flags. 

Bad weather dampened celebrations in other parts of Europe. In Belfast, Northern Ireland, an outdoor concert that was to feature soul singer Beverley Knight and rock band The Thrills was called off due to the threat of gale-force winds. Glasgow officials said high winds and rain had forced them to cancel traditional Hogmanay New Year’s celebrations in the Scottish city. Edinburgh at the last minute also canceled its Hogmanay party, which was to be headlined by the Pet Shop Boys.

In Belgium, several fireworks displays were canceled after two party tents set up for celebrations in northern Belgium blew away on Saturday. No official celebrations were planned in Paris, but thousands were expected to congregate around the city’s most famous avenue, the Champs-Elysees, to welcome 2007.

In the Philippines, where many believe noisy New Year’s celebrations drive away evil and misfortune, police threatened to arrest anyone setting off oversized firecrackers. Despite the warning, 284 people were injured by firecrackers and celebratory gunfire in the two weeks before New Year’s Day, a 75 percent rise from last year, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

In Japan, thousands climbed mountains, some scaling famed Mount Fuji, to greet the first dawn of the year. Police expected crowds at the summits to reach 15,000. Many Japanese, ranging from families with children to elderly couples, usually start climbing at night so they can reach the top in time for sunrise. Police anticipated 95 million visitors to the country’s major Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines over the first three days of the new year, as people offer prayers for peace, health and prosperity in one of the few religious rites in which most Japanese regularly take part.

The South African city of Cape Town prepared to celebrate New Year’s Eve with a show by the Cape Minstrels.

Celebrations were well-attended around the world

Police estimated that a million people crammed the shore in Sydney, one of the world’s first major cities to greet the New Year, for the fireworks and daylong festivities.

Thousands of Japanese climbed Mount Fuji and other peaks to watch the first sunrise of the year.

Thousand of revelers gathered around London’s Big Ben in stiff winds to watch the fireworks, and large crowds congregated around Paris’s most famous avenue, the Champs-Elysées, to welcome 2007.

Aussies kick off New Year party

Posted On January 1, 2007

Filed under News Australia, News Europe

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New Year’s celebrations have got off to a great start as people in Australia welcomed in 2007.

Fireworks showered from Harbour Bridge, which turns 75 years old in 2007, at midnight in the city of Sydney as a million onlookers cheered on.

Sydney is 12 hours ahead of the UK, so they’re the first people to reach 2007.

Celebrations in Britain could be a bit tricky, as very strong winds and lots of rain are forecast for many parts of the country.

In Belfast, an outdoor concert has been called off because of the wind, and a firework display in Liverpool has been put off till 5 January.

But lots of other parties are still going on, including a Hogmanay party in Edinburgh and a light display on the banks of the River Thames in London.

Birmingham and Newcastle are also holding mass celebrations, while DJ Fatboy Slim is to host a New Year’s Day party on Brighton beach.

And Kylie is holding her first UK concert since she announced she had cancer at Wembley Arena in London.

From Sydney to Bucharest, fireworks welcome New Year

Fireworks exploded over Sydney’s Harbor Bridge as a million onlookers celebrated the New Year. In London, hundreds of thousands of revelers cheered as Big Ben rang in 2007, but the Thai capital canceled its main event after a series of deadly bombings.

In the Australian capital, one of the world’s first major cities to usher in the new year, people crammed the harbor shore for the lavish fireworks display celebrating the 25th anniversary of the iconic bridge.

But in Thailand, city officials canceled Bangkok’s main New Year’s Eve celebration Sunday after a series of bombs killed two people and wounded more than 30. Thousands of revelers who had gathered at the Central World Plaza shopping mall complex for the event were sent home, officials said.

In India, police arrested two suspected Islamic militants about 1 kilometer (half a mile) from the site of New Delhi’s main public New Year’s Eve celebrations, a report cited police as saying.

Pope Benedict XVI prayed at a New Year’s Eve service at the Vatican City in Rome that 2007 would bring the world “peace, comfort, justice.”

In London, Big Ben’s chimes were relayed by sound systems along the River Thames. Hundreds of thousands of people crowded the river’s banks banks near the Houses of Parliament to watch a light show countdown projected onto the 443-foot (135-meter) London Eye Ferris wheel, followed by a 10-minute fireworks display, “big enough and loud enough to be seen … all over the capital,” Mayor Ken Livingstone said.

At least a million revelers were expected to flood Times Square in unseasonably warm New York City to see performances by singers Christina Aguilera and Toni Braxton.

Police said everything was going according to plan, and there had been no reports of unruly onlookers. Security was tight in and around Times Square. Spectators, expected to number about a million by midnight, passed through police checkpoints, no big bags or backpacks were permitted and bomb-sniffing dogs roamed the crowd.

The Texas band Radiant kicked off the event, when the famously flashy New Year’s Eve ball was raised to the top of a flagpole.

Revelers practiced several countdowns to 2007 in the hours before the show, complete with cheers and New Year’s kisses.

In Romania and Bulgaria, midnight marked a historic milestone, with the two countries becoming the newest members of the European Union. Fireworks thundered through the sky in the Romanian and Bulgarian capitals, which were decorated with the EU’s blue-and-gold flags.

“Welcome to the EU,” EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn told a crowd of tens of thousands at a celebration in Bucharest, where he was joined on stage by Romania’s president and European foreign ministers from Germany, Denmark, Austria and Hungary. Officials were flying later Monday to Sofia for celebrations there.

Bad weather dampened celebrations in other parts of Europe. In Belfast, Northern Ireland, an outdoor concert that was to feature soul singer Beverley Knight and rock band The Thrills was called off due to the threat of gale-force winds.

Glasgow officials said high winds and rain had forced them to cancel traditional Hogmanay New Year’s celebrations in the Scottish city. Edinburgh at the last minute also canceled its Hogmanay party, which was to be headlined by the Pet Shop Boys.

In Belgium, several fireworks displays were canceled after two party tents set up for celebrations in northern Belgium blew away on Saturday.

No official celebrations were planned in Paris, but thousands were expected to congregate around the city’s most famous avenue, the Champs-Elysees, to welcome 2007.

In the Philippines, where many believe noisy New Year celebrations drive away evil and misfortune, police threatened to arrest anyone setting off oversized firecrackers.

Despite the warning, 284 people were injured by firecrackers and celebratory gunfire in the two weeks before New Year’s Day, a 75 percent rise from last year, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

“I have campaigned every day against firecrackers,” Duque said. “But this has become a deeply rooted part of our culture.”

In Japan, thousands climbed mountains, some scaling famed Mount Fuji, to greet the first dawn of the year. Police expected crowds at the summits to reach 15,000.

Many Japanese, ranging from families with children to elderly couples, usually start climbing at night so they can reach the top in time for sunrise.

Police anticipated 95 million visitors to the country’s major Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines over the first three days of the new year, as people offer prayers for peace, health and prosperity in one of the few religious rites in which most Japanese regularly take part.

The South African city of Cape Town prepared to celebrate New Year’s Eve with a show by the Cape Minstrels.

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