Kylie gears up for New Year gig

The singer will play seven dates in London’s Wembley Arena

Kylie gears up for New Year gig   Thousands of British fans will welcome in the New Year with pop star Kylie Minogue as she stages her UK comeback. The Australian singer is launching the British leg of her Showgirl Homecoming tour at Wembley Arena in London.

Fans in Sydney were the first to see the tour last month as Minogue, covered in pink feathers, returned to the stage following treatment for breast cancer.

The pint-sized star, 38, has promised the £65 New Year show will be “the biggest party of all”. It kicks off at 2000 GMT, finishing as the clock strikes midnight and 2006 draws to a close.

A dancefloor with capacity for 3,500 people has been specially-built at the North London arena, allowing revellers to continue celebrating until 0100GMT.

Transport for London (TfL) has announced that Tube services will be free and run until 0430GMT, as well as normal night bus services.

Minogue has another six dates planned at Wembley in 2007, followed by a further six nights in Manchester.

It had been hoped she would also play at this year’s Glastonbury festival, after pulling out of a headlining slot in 2005 following her cancer diagnosis. But earlier this month festival organiser Emily Eavis told BBC 6 Music that Minogue was too busy to join this year’s line-up.

Minogue’s record company, Parlophone, has also said she is working on material which could be released in 2007.

Related Links > Kylie’s Official Website >

Thousands stream to Sydney Harbor to celebrate New Year in Australia

Posted On December 31, 2006

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One million people are tipped to crowd Sydney Harbour’s foreshore for the world’s biggest ever fireworks display this New Year’s Eve, despite predictions of showers and possible thunderstorms.

Revellers in Melbourne, Canberra and Darwin may also have to brave wet weather as they welcome 2007, with the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) predicting storms in all three cities. But partygoers farewelling 2006 in Brisbane, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth can expect clear skies.

Despite predictions of possible thunderstorms, huge crowds are expected to line Sydney Harbour’s foreshore for the $4 million celebrations dubbed a Diamond Night in the Emerald City. Two hundred tonnes of equipment will be used to launch pyrotechnics with 3000kg of explosive content.

Sydney’s fireworks display, dubbed the biggest in the world by organisers, will get underway with the first colourful explosion from the Fort Denison cannon at 1pm (AEDT) tomorrow. Every hour on the hour entertainment will follow, including flyovers by Tiger Moths and an indigenous smoking ceremony, a ritual of purification and unity.

A family show at 9pm (AEDT) is themed on the children’s classic The Wizard of Oz. And at midnight, the bridge will feature the largest ever illuminated icons, expected to be a diamond inside a 110 metre wide coathanger, commemorating the Sydney icon’s 75th birthday.

Despite forecasts of showers and possible thunderstorms and the mercury tipped to top just 22 degrees Celsius in Sydney, organisers of the New Year’s Eve celebrations are not concerned. International Fireworks director Fortunato Foti says the rain forecast could actually enhance the fireworks display over the harbour.

In Melbourne, Bollywood dance lessons and live bands will be part of official celebrations, with 450,000 expected in the city. The massive party will also include $145,000 in fireworks displays, masquerade-themed celebrations and free movie screenings.

Melbourne Lord Mayor John So said New Year’s Eve would be a chance for people to party after a big year in which the city hosted the Commonwealth Games. “On New Year’s Eve, we will have a party that celebrates the many great achievements of 2006,” he said.

Brisbane’s South Bank Parklands will be party central on New Year’s Eve, with up to 100,000 revellers expected. As well as the two fireworks spectaculars, launched from barges on the Brisbane River at 9pm and midnight (AEST), there will be fire performers, breakdancers, live bands, a DJ, ferris wheel and movies on the giant screen in Suncorp Piazza.

The Gold Coast has a similar entertainment line-up with fireworks on the hour from 9pm (AEST) until midnight from the beach at Surfers Paradise. South Australian police will deploy several hundred extra officers at potential trouble spots, including Adelaide’s central business district, seaside suburbs Glenelg and Semaphore, and the coastal township of Victor Harbor, south of Adelaide. The traditional Lord Mayor’s New Year’s Eve party will be staged outside the Adelaide Town Hall with other large gatherings tipped for the seaside suburbs and Victor Harbor.

In Darwin, thousands of people are expected to converge on the city’s wharf precinct, where live entertainment and fireworks displays will be held, accompanied by a large police presence. In Perth, the main celebrations will be at Northbridge with a free two-stage $100,000 concert expected to attract around 11,000 people. Eleven hundred police will be on duty in the metropolitan area and 600 more in regional areas.

Police said the hotspots will be Northbridge, Fremantle, Rockingham, south of the city, Cottesloe and Scarborough beaches, where alcohol will be banned, and Rottnest Island off Perth’s coast.

And even the nation’s normally restrained capital is promising a big night. Two free outdoor events are being held in Canberra to be complemented by two fireworks displays through the night. The only potential dampener is forecast rain. “As desperately as we need the rain we’re hoping it buckets down at about 3am. It can rain as much as it likes for as long as it likes after that,” organiser Jeremy Lasek said.

Celebrations start in Asia as world rolls toward New Year

Sydney, Australia > Hundreds of thousands of revelers watched fireworks burst over Sydney Harbor for New Year’s Eve on Sunday night, while crowds scaled Japan’s Mount Fuji for the first glimpse of the 2007 dawn and the Philippines braced for firecracker carnage.

Sydney, one of the world’s first major cities to greet the new year, held a preliminary children’s fireworks display at 9 p.m. local time (1000 GMT), before the main event at midnight. Organizers have promised the largest fireworks display ever seen over the harbor in early celebration of the 75th anniversary, in March 2007, of the iconic Harbor Bridge’s opening.

Further west, Philippine police tried to curb annual New Year casualties by threatening to arrest anyone who sets off oversize firecrackers. TV networks were encouraged to show gory footage of fireworks accident victims. Despite the warning, the number of people injured by firecrackers and celebratory gunfire has risen by 75 percent, with 284 hurt, in the two weeks ahead of New Year’s Day compared to the same period last year, said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III. Many Filipinos believe noisy New Year celebrations drive away evil and misfortune.

Elsewhere in Asia, wild weather was curbing festivities. Thailand’s state news agency warned weekend vacationers of waves up to 3 meters (10 feet) high lashing coastal areas on the Gulf of Thailand. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has urged revelers to closely monitor weather forecasts before heading for beaches in the southern part of the gulf, it said.

In neighboring Malaysia, the Meteorological Department warned of waves up to 4.5 meters (15 feet) high off the eastern coast of peninsular Malaysia, and the states of Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo island.

Seasonal rains and storms have lashed large areas of Indonesia for several weeks. More than 140 people were killed and 13,000 houses destroyed on Indonesia’s Sumatra island in recent days. On Friday, 5-meter (16-foot) waves sank a passenger ferry off neighboring Java island, leaving more than 500 people missing. A day earlier, a ship went down off Sumatra, killing at least three and leaving more than 20 missing.

In Japan, police expected more than 15,000 people to go mountain climbing, some on the famed Mount Fuji, to greet the first dawn of the new year. The Japanese National Policy Agency said it anticipates the country’s major Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines will receive nearly 95 million visitors 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 partake.

Lifesavers issue New Year safety warning

Australians heading to the beach for New Year celebrations are being urged to keep between the flags when they are swimming in the surf.

The call comes after a 70-year-old man was pulled unconscious from the surf at Mudjimba Beach on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast yesterday. He is now in intensive care in Nambour Hospital.

Lifesaver David McLean says lifesavers will not be able to save swimmers if they cannot see them.

He says large beach-going crowds are not an excuse for people to swim outside the flags.

“We’ve got large crowds along the beaches and a lot of people still swimming beyond the flags, so if they can make sure they get back between the flags, never go surfing alone that’s a key one” he said.

“Don’t go at dusk or dark, don’t go in while having any alcohol and obviously don’t get beyond their depth”.

No firecrackers for New Year in Fiji

Posted On December 29, 2006

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Shoppers who were hopeful to buy firecrackers to boost their New Year celebrations have no choice but to crush their plans because the firecracker ban has not been lifted.

No one is allowed to use firecrackers during the New Year celebrations, said Director of Police Operations, Assistant Superintendent Jahir Khan last night. He said the use of firecrackers is totally banned during New Year because no approval had been given by the Mineral Resources Department.

“As far as I’m concerned people are not allowed to use firecrackers because no permission has been given by the department concerned,” ASP Khan said. “It is the Mineral Resources that give approval on the use of firecrackers and when it is given we are notified. We have not received any notification and this would mean that its use is forbidden, so people must not use any sort of firecrackers,” he said. He said the ban was imposed on all sorts of firecrackers and police would monitor the ban.

But the military yesterday said people would be allowed to use firecrackers to welcome the New Year. Military spokesman Major Neumi Leweni said that there would be no ban on firecrackers this New Year because a different government was in control. He said people would be allowed to celebrate the New Year as they wished and if it included firecrakers then so be it. Military checkpoints are also likely to remain in place around the country.

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New Year’s celebrations with a bang

Posted On December 29, 2006

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MELBOURNE is to host its biggest New Year’s Eve party on Sunday night.

More than 450,000 revellers are expected to gather in the city to bring in the new year, smashing last year’s record of 400,000 people. Most people will congregate at six free City of Melbourne parties along the Yarra River, from the Swan St bridge to Waterfront City in Docklands.

Two fireworks displays are to light Melbourne’s skyline: a special family display at 9.15pm and the main fireworks spectacular at midnight. The City of Melbourne has spent $145,000 on the fireworks displays, which will both be accompanied by a contemporary Australian soundtrack.

People looking for the best views of the 9.15pm display should head to Alexandra Gardens, Birrarung Marr, NewQuay and Waterfront City. The midnight fireworks will be clearly seen from any of the six venues. Families going into Melbourne should head to the Alexandra Gardens from 5pm to 12.45am, where a variety of activities have been arranged. A masquerade theme has been set for Southgate, with roving performers to keep the crowds entertained.

Young music fans are being encouraged to get to Birrarung Marr, where a statewide Battle of the Bands competition will be held on the main stage. Film buffs will also be catered for with latest release films showing on the big screen at the grassed amphitheatre. At Federation Square, Melbourne funk outfit the Josh Owen Band will hit the stage before a Bollywood dance workshop. A Latin theme will keep NewQuay revellers entertained, while Waterfront City will host a mix of bands and entertainment.

Those looking to escape the city streets will be well catered for at dozens of pubs, restaurants and clubs across Melbourne. Hot places to be seen at include L2 GPO in Bourke St, Honkytonks in Duckboard Place, Eve in City Rd, South Melbourne, Boutique in Greville St, Prahran, and the Point on Albert Park Lake.

Some venues have already sold out, but most Melbourne venues will be selling tickets at the door. Police have warned revellers to celebrate safely in the city and not to drink in public places. Supt Mick Williams said police would have a strong presence in Melbourne’s CBD, as well as Lorne and Phillip Island. Several “chill out zones” will help police deal with intoxicated people in the city. Supt Williams said up to four zones would be established to allow people to seek treatment for fatigue or intoxication from trained staff.

Drink-driving, drug dealing and unruly behaviour will all be the targets on the night. Sniffer dogs will again patrol New Year’s Day dance party Summadaze at the Myer Music Bowl, with police vowing to catch anyone who tries to bring drugs into the party event.

Up to 25,000 people are expected at the event. Police will also be testing drivers for drugs and alcohol at booze and drug buses across the state. Motorists planning to attend music festivals at Lorne and Phillip Island have been told to prepare for heavy traffic. Tens of thousands of revellers are expected to head to the coastal towns.

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Aussies celebrate white Christmas

Three states that have endured bushfires in recent weeks – Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania – have today seen snow.

Paul Koenig at Victoria’s Mount Buller Chalet has spent the last week watching as fire blackened the foothills around the mountain in the state’s north-east. But now he says the summit is covered in about two centimetres of snow.

“I didn’t actually believe it until it actually came last night,” he said. “It was great – it sort of makes you feel like it is Christmas.”

Mr Koenig says the snow has transformed the mountain.

“It’s put the white cover across the buildings and the white cover over the ground, so it looks beautiful,” he said.

Temperatures in alpine areas like Mount Baw Baw, east of Melbourne, have plunged below zero. Melbourne weather forecaster Ward Rooney says below-zero temperatures in alpine areas can mean snow, no matter what time of year.

“Certainly, the air is cold enough for further snow to fall not only on the mountain peaks but a bit further down the mountain slopes…” he said. “There is a web cam at Lake Mountain which shows snow on the ground and another one at Mount Buller which shows a little bit of snow on the ground. The atmosphere is such that you’d expect during today to see snow above about the 900-metre level in southern Victoria.”

Brisk south-westerly winds have already brought hail and thunderstorms to east Melbourne. Light snow also fell at Thredbo in the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales this morning.

But local resident Acacia Rose says there have now been heavier falls from Thredbo through to the Crackenback Ridge. “I would imagine that if people are thinking of walking out to [Mount] Kosciusko today to delay that walk,” she said. “It’s very cold conditions and quite windy, and the visibility is low. And by this afternoon, there should be a good cover up on the main range.”

Meanwhile, people in Hobart are still heading up to the top of Mount Wellington in droves to enjoy a white Christmas. Snow has been falling this morning on the mountain and it is still only about two degrees at the summit. Many tourists are enjoying the cold, including those who are not strangers to snow at Christmas. One tourist told the ABC: “We’ve come all the way from England for a warm summer and here we are in the snow in Hobart, but we’re still enjoying it”.

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