Calendar, day 1 - photo by dhester via morguefileLavish fireworks displays ushered in 2013 across the world.

Huge fireworks lit up skylines in Sydney, Hong Kong and Shanghai, and even the once-isolated country of Myanmar joined the countdown party for the first time in decades.

“We believe that we can change the life around us and become better ourselves,” President Vladimir Putin told the nation in a New Year’s Eve address. “We can become more heedful, compassionate, gracious.”

(READ the story, w/ photos, in the Monitor)

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