World Welcomes 2015 With Spectacular Displays

The world has been welcoming in the New Year with spectacular celebrations. A look at how different places are bringing in 2015:

:: NEW YORK

Around a million people braved freezing temperatures, while an estimated TV audience of 200 million Americans tuned in for the country's New Year party in Times Square, which featured Taylor Swift.

Revellers wearing traditional red festive top hats snapped selfies as a giant illuminated crystal ball slid down a pole, touching ground at precisely the stroke of midnight.

:: RIO

An estimated two million people gathered on Copacabana Beach to enjoy a 17-minute fireworks display when midnight arrived.

The epic display was the focal point of the annual beach party - known as the Reveillon - which is expected to last until well after sunrise.

:: BERLIN

Revellers descended on Berlin's Brandenburg Gate and were treated to a colourful fireworks display, accompanied by Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins.

It finished with an elaborate light display emanating from the Brandenburg Gate and across the top of the crowd.

:: MOSCOW

Thousands of Muscovites brought in the New Year near the Kremlin, enjoying a fireworks display on the river embankment.

Those celebrating in Red Square counted down to 2015 on a video projection of a clock on Spasskaya Tower.

The iconic Kremlin chiming clock is currently out of action because of restorations taking place on the tower.

:: DUBAI

Some 70,000 LED panels were wrapped around the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, for the impressive fireworks display.

The Gulf Arab emirate was aiming to break the world record for the largest LED-illuminated facade and a team from Guinness World Records were on hand to monitor it.

Last year, Dubai won the title for the world's largest firework display.

:: SYDNEY

Australia's biggest city welcomed in 2015 with a tropical-style theme featuring shimmering gold and silver palm tree pyrotechnic effects.

More than 1.5 million revellers crowded along the shores of Sydney Harbour to watch seven tonnes of fireworks explode over the Harbour Bridge, Opera House and other locations in a 12-minute display.

The festivities came just two weeks after Iranian-born self-styled cleric Man Haron Monis took 18 people hostage in a cafe siege which ended with the deaths of him and two detainees.

A tribute to the killed hostages was displayed on the pylons of the bridge during the main display, and an extra 3,000 police officers were patrolling the city.

:: AUCKLAND

A giant clock on the New Zealand city's landmark Sky Tower counted down the minutes until the New Year.

There was then a huge fireworks display from the top of the building at midnight.

:: HONG KONG

The city also saw in 2015 in spectacular fashion, with the traditional pyrotechnics show over Victoria Harbour.

The waterfront was crowded with spectators who watched the eight-minute firework display above the iconic Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

:: BEIJING

China's capital has been working on its bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics and that was evident in its celebrations.

Thousands of people waited in the cold during the countdown celebrations at the Bird's Nest, one of the major venues of the 2008 Olympics.

The four-hour countdown event involved winter sports demonstrations and art performances.

:: JAPAN

Thousands of people gathered at the Zojo-ji temple in the capital Tokyo to bring in 2015.

People took turns to ring the huge bell in the Buddhist temple.

It is traditionally rung 108 times at New Year because, according to Buddhist belief, human beings have 108 sins and desires. Ringing the bell 108 times is supposed to absolve of all of them.

Nearby Tokyo Tower, the former broadcasting tower and city landmark, was lit up with a sign saying 2015.

:: PYONGYANG

Residents of the North Korean capital were treated to a lavish display of fireworks at midnight.

The country had its first grand New Year's Eve celebration in the city three years ago, after Kim Jong-Un came to power following his father's death.

Since then it has become an annual event.

:: BAGHDAD

Residents were allowed to stay out late on the streets after authorities in the Iraqi capital ordered a one-off lifting of the overnight curfew, which has been in force for more than a decade.

Commercial streets were closed to vehicles in the city centre as a precaution against possible bomb attacks.

:: INDONESIA

The AirAsia plane crash and a deadly landslide in Central Java muted celebrations in the country.

In the capital, prayers were held for the victims of the tragedies in addition to the annual Jakarta Night Festival.

Other cities in Indonesia opted to cancel or tone down their celebrations.