The former US first couple, Bill and Hillary Clinton, got festivities underway in one of the world’s landmark New Year events – the party in New York’s Time Square.
Hours earlier, the big bongs of Big Ben bade farewell to 2008 as Londoners partied late in to the night. Around the planet people marked the turning of the year with open-air extravaganzas. In Berlin the Brandenburg Gate was the focal point of celebrations in the German capital. While in Moscow the city centre thronged with huge crowds welcoming in 2009. It may prove to be a difficult 12 months for many, but there were few signs of anxiety here or elsewhere.