IN PICTURES: Happy New Year! How the world welcomed 2018

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Dubai celebrated the New Year Sunday with a spectacular midnight laser show at Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world.

As the clock ticked to midnight the 828-metre (2,716-foot) tower was lit up with the green, white, black and red colours of the United Arab Emirates, a portrait of UAE founder Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan and "2018".

Hundreds of thousands of people watched the display amid tight security, with roads to the city centre sealed off. There were first aid stations in the area, but the festivities passed off without incident.

In previous years Dubai had organised spectacular fireworks displays to ring in the new year, but this time the authorities opted instead for a massive laser show, aiming to break a Guinness World Record.

One of the first countries to welcome the new year was Australia, where fireworks exploded over the iconic Sydney Opera House as people watched from boats in the harbor nearby.

Hundreds of couples took part in a mass wedding ceremony in Jakarta, Indonesia, on New Year's Eve designed to help the poor who were unable to afford a proper wedding.

Buddhists lit candles during New Year celebrations at Jogyesa temple in Seoul, South Korea.

In some other places, the tone was more somber. Just hours after a fireworks display over the Taedong River in Pyongyang, North Korea, leader Kim Jong Un said in a New Year's Day speech the country had achieved the historic feat of "completing" its nuclear forces despite U.S. opposition.

Some 100 people gathered outside the Reina nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey, to remember victims of a New Year's mass shooting a year ago. The group, holding carnations, observed a moment of silence for 39 people killed in the attack.

In Scotland, a torchlight procession began Edinburgh's famed Hogmanay New Year's Eve celebration.

A woman in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, threw flowers into the water to ask Yemanja, goddess of the sea, for good luck in the new year.

Revelers gathered for the annual ball drop in New York's Times Square bundled in several layers of clothes to keep warm in frigid temperatures.

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