Countries around the world ring in 2023 after turbulent year

© Sarah Meyssonnier, Reuters

The world's eight billion people Saturday ushered in 2023, bidding farewell to a turbulent 12 months marked by war in Europe, stinging price rises, Lionel Messi's World Cup glory and the deaths of Queen Elizabeth, Pele and former pope Benedict.

Many were ready to set aside pinched budgets and a virus that is increasingly forgotten but not gone, and embrace a party atmosphere on New Year's Eve after a few pandemic-dampened years.

In New York, confetti rained down on crowds after the famous ball drop in Times Square, a tradition that dates back to 1907, with visitors from across the world waiting for hours in the chilly rain to take part.

Throngs of people packed Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana Beach -- up to two million were expected -- for music and fireworks, without the coronavirus safety measures of the past few years.

The festivities came only hours before Brazil inaugurates new president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Sunday, following his razor-thin win in October polls.

After the widely criticized pandemic policies of outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro, Copacabana partygoer Ana Carolina Rodrigues -- wearing the evening's traditional white -- says she hopes 2023 brings a new government that "looks more at people's health."

Across the Atlantic, Parisians -- and a "normal" amount of tourists, comparable to 2018 or 2019, according to officials -- took the opportunity to crowd together shoulder-to-shoulder for a fireworks show along the Champs-Elysees.

The global population surpassed the historic milestone of eight billion people in November.


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