World rings in 2024 after devastating wars, bots and heat

Jubilant crowds bid farewell on Sunday to the hottest year on record, closing a turbulent 12 months marked by clever chatbots, climate crises and devastating wars in Gaza and Ukraine.

Much of the world's population — now more than eight billion — is hoping to shake off high living costs and global tumult in 2024, which will bring elections concerning half the world's population and the Paris Olympics.

Taksim, the central district of Istanbul, served as the focal point for New Year's Eve festivities this year, as before. The streets were decked out and illuminated.

Due to the PKK attacks that killed 12 Turkish soldiers a few days ago, numerous events and concerts in Istanbul were cancelled. Nevertheless, people who want to celebrate New Year's Eve outdoors prefer the thoroughfares, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

In Sydney, the self-proclaimed "New Year's capital of the world", more than a million partygoers packed around the harbour, with city officials and police warning that all vantage points were full.

Sydneysiders gathered through the day at prominent sites, defying uncharacteristically dank weather, and were not disappointed when the Harbour Bridge and other landmarks were garlanded in light and colour by eight tonnes of fireworks.

Pyrotechnics also illuminated the skies in Auckland, Hong Kong, Manila and Indonesia.

People wearing Santa hats waded into the mild Mediterranean waters of southern France, while revellers munched on skewers of meat and danced in the streets in traditional end-of-year celebrations in Greece's Thessaloniki.

The last 12 months brought "Barbenheimer" to the box office, a proliferation of human-seeming artificial intelligence tools, and a world-first whole-eye transplant.<...

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