This article titled “Munich police warned of attack by ‘five to seven suicide bombers’ – live” was written by Martin Farrer in Sydney (now), David Batty and Ruth McKee in London, and Amanda Holpuch in New York, for theguardian.com on Friday 1st January 2016 05.55 UTC
The blog has come to natural end with the climax of the festivities in New York. So I will say goodnight to those of you who might be reading in the US and elsewhere, and good afternoon or good morning to everyone everywhere else. And, of course, happy new year.
But before that, here is a summary of the night, terror warnings and all:
- Millions of people have ushered in the new year across the world
- Police in Munich are hunting up to seven suspected Isis suicide bombers after the city went into lockdown with a warning of a ‘serious and imminent’ attack
- Two main railway stations were closed and people urged to stay away from the centre. The stations have now been reopened.
- A tip-off from foreign intelligence led to the terror alert, German police said
- Details are sketchy but it has been reported in Germany that the suspects were living in Munich and are Iraqis
- Fireworks were cancelled in Brussels and Paris amid fears of attacks. Six people were arrested in the Belgian capital.
- An estimated one million people gathered in Times Square, New York, to welcome in 2016 under tight security.
A full story from Ben Knight, our correspondent in Berlin, is available here.
So that means it’s also 2016 in eastern Canada, parts of the Caribbean where it wasn’t already 2016, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Panama.
A big feliz año nuevo to you all.
Updated at 5.12am GMT
2016 in America (and other places)
Happy new year America! – and other places in that time zone.
Updated at 5.02am GMT
There are reports giving more details about the Munich plot. According to the Munich broadcaster Bayerische Rundfunk, the suspects were Iraqis who were living in Munich and their names are known to the security forces.
BR reports that the suspects planned to attack in pairs, blowing themselves up “one behind the other”.
We must emphasise that this is not confirmed information but BR is a very reputable broadcaster.
More joy. Some amazing pictures from the celebrations in Rio.
Back to the joyous side of this New Year’s Eve. The focus is on New York now with only 40 minutes to go before the end of 2015.
One couple, Rick and Debbie Milley, have travelled to the city from Boston to complete a long-held ambition, Associated Press reports..
“This is the center of the world on New Year’s Eve,” said Rick, 60
“This was on our bucket list,” Debbie said.
Updated at 4.31am GMT
Munich railway stations reopened
Police in Munich say the railways stations closed after the terror warning – the central station and Pasing in the city’s west – have been reopened.
They also said on twitter that they would reamin “watchful”.
They’ll keep us informed of any further developments.
German police tipped off by French intelligence – reports
German media are reporting that the French authorities tipped off their German colleagues about the planned attack.
According to Süddeutsche Zeitung, the Munich-based newspaper, the French intelligence services passed the tip on to Germany’s federal intelligence (BND), who then passed it to the German police.
There are now 550 police deployed in Munich to find the suspects, according to Agence France-Presse, with officers guarding train stations which were shut down in the wake of the alert.
Updated at 4.15am GMT
It won’t be so warm in Las Vegas though where more than 300,000 folks are expected to crowd the car-free Strip to bring in the new year in a little under five hours from now.
Apparently it will be close to freezing by the time midnight comes in Sin City. But security will be tight there as well. People have been asked to leave bags and baby strollers at home or cooperate when asked to have their bags searched throughout the night, Associated Press reports.
2016 has arrived in Argentina where people are celebrating in the capital Buenos Aires in temperatures of 27C (81F).
Updated at 3.18am GMT
The party’s building up in New York where performers of various stripes have been on stage in Times Square in front of a crowd expected to reach close to one million.
Quite a show in Rio tonight.
The full story on the Munich terror threat is here.
Happy new year to everyone in Brazil where it’s just turned midnight. Big year for Brazil where one of the highlights of 2016, the Olympic Games, will take place between August 5-21 against a backdrop of political turmoil.
Updated at 2.08am GMT
In New York, where there is just over three hours to go before midnight, people are packing into Times Square amid very tight security.
More than a million people are expected to gather for the traditional dropping of the New Year’s Eve crystal ball.
We have the capacity here to take a celebration like this and to make sure it’s exceedingly safe. You’ll see lots of police officers in regular uniforms and regular weaponry but you’ll also see the heavily armed officers.
Munich police ‘warned of attack by five to seven suicide bombers’
The authorities in Munich have just given an update about the situation there.
Bavaria’s interior minister Joachim Herrmann and Munich police president Hubertus Andrae have said that police were warned of a “serious, imminent threat” by Islamic State group suicide bombers intending to strike on New Year’s Eve.
According to German news agency dpa, Andrae said German authorities had been tipped off by a foreign intelligence service that IS was planning attacks with five to seven suicide bombers. No one has been arrested so far.
Police spokesman Werner Kraus told Associated Press that “after evaluating the situation, we started evacuating the train stations and also asked partygoers to stay away from big crowds outside”.
Good morning/good evening, wherever you are. It’s Martin Farrer in Sydney to take you through the rest of the new year celebrations. Happy new year to you if it’s already 2016 where you are; if not, I hope you’re enjoying the buildup to midnight.
Given what has happened in Munich tonight and the scaling back of festivities in other parts of Europe, we’ll try to keep you up to date with serious developments as well as keeping any eye on the time.
British astronaut Tim Peake has wished “beautiful planet Earth” a happy New Year in a special message from space that was beamed on to screens at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay event just before midnight.
Even astronauts need a bit of a party to welcome in the New Year.
Updated at 12.59am GMT
Scotland refuses to let storm Frank dampen spirits as Hogmanay is celebrated in style.
Updated at 12.32am GMT
Fireworks light up London skyline as 2016 welcomed with a bang.
Updated at 12.42am GMT
With just minutes to go before the UK rings in 2016 pictures from the Isle of Lewis show the island’s own, natural display of lights.
Updated at 12.42am GMT
There were no fireworks at the Eiffel Tower in Paris tonight as a year in which the French capital was battered by two terror attacks drew to a close.
Updated at 11.43pm GMT
New Year celebrations pass off peacefully in Germany despite earlier terror alerts in Munich.
Updated at 11.43pm GMT
Revellers on London’s South Bank have posted on Twitter to express admiration for the changing hues of the London Eye as the Unicef campaign to highlight the plight of Syrian children lights up iconic buildings in London and Edinburgh.
Updated at 11.32pm GMT
Police in Munich have warned of a “serious and imminent” threat of a terror attack tonight and have asked people to avoid two of the city’s train stations as the clock nears midnight in Germany.
Updated at 10.51pm GMT
The Guardian has the latest from witnesses to the Dubai skyscraper fire.
David Moran, a Dubai-based businessman who was dining in the hotel:
We were immediately shown where to leave. They were very good. They knew their jobs and people escaped without panic.”
Another witness told Dubai television of a crush to get out:
They evacuated us into a shopping mall. There were so many people running.”
Kenneth Flynn told Sky News about his escape from the burning building:
We had some dinner at about nine o’clock or 8.45pm. We ordered one drink and my partner noticed something falling from the building. She said ‘What’s that?’ and I said ‘I don’t know but I’ll have a look’. By the time I walked out the whole building was just ablaze. It was unbelievable. By the time I came back in I had lost her because the whole place was in panic. People were crushing each other trying to get out and get down the stairwell.
I’ve never experienced anything like it, it was surreal.
The heat was so intense outside it was unbelievable. Then it was panic stations. People started to panic, crushing each other trying to get downstairs and jumping over railings.
Updated at 9.43pm GMT
From Dubai, where a skyscraper quickly caught fire just before the midnight fireworks celebration.
The Guardian’s Martin Chulov and Kareem Shaheen have just filed their latest report on the skyscraper fire in Dubai.
The massive fireworks display later went ahead at the world’s tallest tower in Dubai, while plumes of smoke still billowed from the nearby fire.
Tens of thousands of people whistled and cheered at the display taking place at the Burj Khalifa.
Maj Gen Rashed al-Matrushi, general director of the Dubai civil defence, reportedly told the television channel Al Arabiya earlier: “There are no injuries, thank God … Of course, it will not affect the celebration.”
The Dubai police said the blaze started on the 20th floor of the building, which is also a residential address. Footage taken by witnesses and uploaded to the internet shows huge flames rapidly climbing the hotel’s exterior from what appeared to be a terrace or balcony.
The flames appeared to have soared to near the top of the building within seconds. More than one hour after the fire started, it still appeared to be out of control.
The Guardian’s US data editor Mona Chalabi made a lovely little chart on how long people keep their New Year’s resolutions.
If you’re in Africa, Europe, the Americas and parts of Russia and the Middle East, it’s not too late to prepare for what tomorrow may bring.
Here are three hangover guides selected from the Guardian’s extensive collection of post-drinking advice.
And the fireworks in Dubai are going off as planned.
A Twitter user named Artemi Suárez has been tweeting Happy New Years messages to countries across the globe when it turns midnight in their respective time zone.
Suárez, a university student in Spain, said in an email that he decided to send out the tweets this morning.
This morning I was thinking about the way to greet the New Year to everyone, and I was sitting at my desk and saw the Worldwide Map so then I decided to greet the people of all the Time Zones around the World. I started at 10:00 AM (UTC+1, from Spain where I live) with the UTC+14 zone including Samoa and Kiribati eastern islands and then time zone by time zone.
Suárez plans to celebrate by having dinner with his boyfriend and another friend. After midnight, they might go out or stay at home and watch movies.
Happy New Year Artemi!
Updated at 7.56pm GMT
Dubai’s media office is reporting that there were 15 people injured and one person suffered a heart attack in the skyscraper fire.
Updated at 8.30pm GMT
It is already 2016 in many parts of the world, like Japan.
Here’s video from celebrations there, as well as China, Taiwan and Australia.
It’s just after midnight in Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and parts of Russia.
The Dubai media office is reporting that New Years celebrations in the city will continue as planned.
Rory Reynolds, editor at Dubai news site 7DaysUAE, said on Twitter that Dubai police have not yet reported any casualties from the skyscraper fire.
Guardian Middle East reporter Kareem Shaheen reports on Dubai, where a fire has broken out at a building near the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper.
It is less than two hours to midnight in Dubai, where an elaborate midnight fireworks display was planned at the Burj Khalifa. More from Shaheen:
Reports identified the building as the Address Downtown hotel, which lies on a boulevard in central Dubai, a stone’s throw from the Burj Khalifa, and Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping mall. The hotel is 63 storeys high.
Dubai had planned to wow spectators with three separate firework displays. The show was to begin at the Burj Khalifa, which organisers said was fitted with 400,000 LED lights.
Updated at 7.47pm GMT
Dubai skyscraper fire
Fire has broken out in a residential building near Dubai’s massive New Year’s Eve fireworks display.
It is not immediately clear what caused the fire, but we’ll have more details soon.
Updated at 6.12pm GMT
Indonesia and Thailand have now welcomed in the New Year.
China, Hong Kong and Singapore are among the latest countries to welcome 2016.
Japan and South Korea have also welcome the new year. Hundreds of people in Tokyo let off balloons to celebrate the arrival of 2016.
Queensland has now welcomed 2016 with another glittering fireworks display in Brisbane.
Melbourne and Sydney have welcomed 2016 with lavish firework displays.
Around 1.6 million people are celebrating the new year in Sydney harbour.
Updated at 3.30pm GMT
New Year celebrations have begun around the world with the Pacific islands of Samoa and Kiribati the first to usher in 2016.
Samoa used to be one of the last countries to greet the new year until 2011 when the date line was shifted to the east of the island and it became one of the first.
New Zealand welcomed the new year an hour later with revellers in Australia enjoying New Year’s Eve fireworks as the countdown to midnight draws closer.
Updated at 1.06pm GMT
More than 1 million are expected to gather in Sydney to enjoy a display featuring a multicoloured firework “waterfall” cascading off the Harbour Bridge and pyrotechnic effects in the shapes of butterflies, octopuses and flowers.
While in Melbourne, the country’s second-largest city, people are expected to gather by the hundreds of thousands despite blistering temperatures to watch nearly 11 tonnes of fireworks light up the sky.
Updated at 12.23pm GMT
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