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Saturday, 1 January, 2000, 18:08 GMT
Bug absent as world parties
New Year's Day swimmers raise a glass in Nice
The world has been enjoying the first day of the new millennium, 24 hours of celebration as midnight struck around the globe.

Welcoming a new dawn at Kiribati
The final midnight of 1999 came to Samoa in the Pacific, just as it had done a day before for nearby Kiribati on the other side of the international date line.

The US west coast and Hawaii were among the last to join the year 2000.

What Kiribati had started, with a conch shell being sounded and a boy being paddled out to sea, ended with several hundred people partying on a white sand beach in Samoa.

Bug-free world?

Into 2000
So far, there have been no serious signs of the millennium computer bug, although some warn that the real test will be when the world returns to work after the holiday weekend.

France's Syracuse II military satellite detection system was hit, but it had no operational effect, the defence ministry said.

And the US Naval Observatory in Washington's website appeared to jumped more than 17 millennia to give the date as 1 January 19100.

US President Bill Clinton spoke of the importance of international co-operation during the new millennium.

Fireworks over Big Ben in London
"It's clear that our fate in America increasingly will be tied to the fate of other nations and other people around the world," he said.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he wanted to hold on to the excitement of the day.

"What struck me both last night and again today is this real sense of confidence and optimism. You just want to bottle it and keep it," said Mr Blair.


There were many memorable moments as the millennium encircled the globe.

In Tonga, the 81-year-old king Tafa'ahau Tupou IV, led his country in prayer before choirs sang Handel's Hallelujah Chorus.

In New Zealand, the first baby - a boy - was born at one minute past midnight, the first child of the new millennium.

Sydney harbour
The morning after by Sydney harbour
In Australia, more than 20 tonnes of fireworks were exploded in Sydney harbour, as lights spelt "Eternity" - the word written on the city's pavements for more than 40 years by a reformed criminal.

In Japan, temple bells were rung by monks, warding off evil spirits.

In China, the country which gave the world fireworks, an immense display vied with Sydney's to be recognised as the world's biggest.

In India prayers were held as the sun rose over the River Ganges.

A Moscow Father Christmas
Muscovites break open the bubbly in Red Square
In Moscow, enormous crowds gathered in Red Square, in the shadow of the 16th Century St Basil's Cathedral, built by Ivan the Terrible.

In the Holy Land, pilgrims led a religious contemplation of the day with prayers in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, for Christians the place where the story started.


In a profoundly moving and understated ceremony, the former and current South African presidents, Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki visited Robben Island, the place of Mr Mandela's imprisonment during the apartheid period. Mr Mbeki, passing a candle of peace to children, said it was a good day to be an African.

Street sweeper
A worker cleans up in Paris' Place de la Concorde
European capitals were awash with people. In Rome, the Pope briefly addressed Christians throughout the world, saying he wished for a year of peace for all.

And in London, the home of the Greenwich meridian, the much awaited 758m Millennium Dome opened. The Archbishop of Canterbury led prayers and the Queen sang Auld Lang Syne with the Prime Minister, Tony Blair. Three million people were estimated to be on the streets of the city.

On Sunday 150 road sweepers were removing 150 tons of rubbish - four times the normal amount for New Year's Eve.

Empty champagne bottles accounted for 15% of the rubbish.

In Peru, 60,000 people in Cusco held a "festival of the moon", an Andean cosmic vision to represent the staging of ancestral rites.

Ticker tape

A Californian couple see in the new millennium a few hours earlier in New York than they would have at home
New York led the US with a ticker tape and fireworks extravaganza. At the stroke of midnight, the city witnessed its latest new year "ball" lowered down a 77ft flagpole, an event which has taken place every year since 1907.

Midnight came to the US west coast - the last major urban area to welcome the year 2000. Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan and comedian Jay Leno lit the icon of the world's entertainment capital - the Hollywood sign - in a blaze of colours.

Click here to tell us how you celebrated the new millennium

The UK marks the millennium
London's Big Ben chimes midnight
The BBC's Graham Satchell
"The east coast of America has said hello to the 21 century"
The BBC's Gavin Hewitt
"London greeted the new millennium with an explosion of noise and light"
The BBC's Nicholas Witchell
"In 2000 years the world has never shared an experience to match"
See also:

31 Dec 99 | Science/Nature
01 Jan 00 | UK
01 Jan 00 | In Depth
31 Dec 99 | In Depth
01 Jan 00 | Americas
31 Dec 99 | Americas
31 Dec 99 | Asia-Pacific
31 Dec 99 | Asia-Pacific
31 Dec 99 | Asia-Pacific

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