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World bids adieu to a year of turmoil

Paris—With glittering fireworks and celebrations from New Zealand to Times Square, the world eagerly welcomed a new year and hope for a better future, saying goodbye to a year of hurricanes, tsunamis and economic turmoil that many would rather forget. Revelers in Australia, Asia, Europe and the South Pacific island nation of Samoa, which jumped across the international dateline to be first to celebrate, welcomed 2012 with booming pyrotechnic displays. Fireworks soared and sparked over Moscow’s Red Square, crowds on Paris’ Champs-Elysees boulevard popped Champagne corks at midnight, and up to a million revelers were expected to jam New York’s Times Square for the famed crystal-paneled ball drop. But across the world, people battered by weather disasters, joblessness and economic uncertainty hoped the stroke of midnight would change their fortunes. “What I see is that prices are going up, and all I hope for is to keep working and for my family to enjoy good health,” said Joaquin Cabina, 53, a car mechanic in Madrid. In Times Square, Fred Franke looked forward to saying goodbye to 2011. “2012 is going to be a better year. It has to be,” said Franke, 53, who was visiting New York with his family even after losing his job in military logistics this month in Jacksonville, Florida World leaders evoked 2011’s events in their New Year’s messages. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said dealing with Europe’s debt crisis would bring its countries closer. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wished well being and prosperity to all Russians. Greg Keller With AP  
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