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Dec 31, 2012 11:37 PM by David Ortiviz

US, Europe hope the new year brings better times

From New York's teeming Times Square to a once-isolated Asian country hosting its first public New Year's Eve countdown in decades, the world is looking to 2013 with hope for renewal.

Fireworks, concerts and celebrations have unfolded around the globe to say goodbye to a year of economic turmoil, violence and natural disasters.

Security is tight in Times Square, where 1 million people are expected to see the dropping of the crystal ball at midnight Monday. The Newtown, Conn., school shooting and Superstorm Sandy are on people's minds.

Hours earlier, lavish fireworks displays lit skylines in Sydney, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Moscow.

Organizers say 90,000 people gathered in a field in Yangon, Myanmar, for their first chance to watch a countdown in decades. A reformist government took office last year after long military rule.

In London, the familiar chimes of the clock inside Big Ben counted down the final seconds of 2012.

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