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Text 1: New Year Celebrations in London

English translation of an article on the Al Jazeera Arabic website. Short Url to the original Arabic article on the Al Jazeera website:
http://goo.gl/7C8wwh

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London welcomes the New Year with a huge celebration

The British capital, London, experienced the bustling New Year festival yesterday, which it embraces at the start of every year. The festival is considered a main landmark of the capital and the largest event of its kind in the world.

 

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Large cars — decorated with roses and coloured figures, and carrying traditional music bands — set off from the famous Piccadilly Circus, where the parades travelled a distance of approximately 3.5km passing through Trafalgar Square, the residence of the prime minister at 10 Downing Street and Whitehall, with the parade ending at Britain’s Parliament Square.

 

 

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More than 8,500 members of participating groups, who came from twenty countries, travelled for three hours during which they gave spectacular performances after the commencement of the traditional parade which was headed by the Lord Mayor of Westminster and prominent personalities on horse-drawn carriages moving to the beat of drums, music and dancing in the historic streets of central London, where a speech was delivered on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II at the start of the festivities.

 

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The huge parades went past in front of tens of thousands of spectators who lined up on the sides of streets despite bad weather conditions and heavy rain whilst tens of millions watched the events of the show via live broadcast from all over the world, not to mention the thousands of spectators who filled theatre auditoriums and open areas to watch the festival shows, performances, orchestra music and thrilling artistic displays.

 

 

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Families were keen on bringing their children along to watch these spectacular displays by colourful street parades wherein dancers donned colourful and humorous costumes and wore masks, after they had formed a wonderful human chain that cut through the historic streets like a storm of music which clowns, who presented acrobatic entertainment, danced together to.

 

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The executive director of the festival, Bob Bone, stressed to Al Jazeera Arabic’s website that the spectators interacted with the “marvellous and exciting exhibitions,” and further said: “Just imagine the amount of enjoyment and stimulation by participating in this great event.”

Bone estimated the number of those enjoying the festival in the streets to be around two thirds of a million. Furthermore, over 700 television stations took part in broadcasting this event. He added: “This brings satisfaction that part of this event, which brings tens of thousands of pounds, is for charity works every year.”

He also mentioned that during yesterday’s celebration a series of concerts was performed in halls and theatres.

 

 

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On a historical note, this annual tradition began more than 26 years ago and became the largest celebration of its kind in the world. It brings together a street audience [1] and gets a large amount of media and international coverage, since it has a squad of officers who are much higher in rank [2] than the police [3] that take care [of the event] [4]. The event also enjoys recognition and support from the British queen.

In addition, this exhibition contributes annually to around 21 million pounds sterling (about 33 million dollars) towards the local economy, where tourists and shoppers are attracted from all over the world.

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[1] Literally: side-street audience.

[2] Literally: who represent much higher levels.

[3] Literally: the official authorities.

[4] The words in square brackets were added by the translator.