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New Year's Eve fireworks erupt over the Chao Phraya river during the fireworks show in Bangkok. Photo: Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty Images

People around the world on Thursday held celebrations to end the year and welcome a new — and hopefully better — one.

Why it matters: 2020, ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, economic upheaval and natural disasters, is finally behind us.

  • While fireworks erupted over major cities worldwide, the streets were largely deserted due to coronavirus restrictions.
Police officers walk in a nearly empty Times Square due to COVID-19 restrictions on New Year's Eve in New York City. Photo: Corey Sipkin/AFP via Getty Images
A group of young Palestinians hurl scintillants to celebrate the new year during curfew amid the coronavirus pandemic in Gaza City. Photo: Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
A drone photo shows empty view of Sihhiye Square in Ankara, Turkey, during a general curfew imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Mehmet Ali Ozcan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Fireworks and drones illuminate the night sky over London. Photo: Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images
Police patrols public spaces in Athens, Greece, on New Year's Eve to prevent people from gathering due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Milos Bicanski/Getty Images
People hold sparklers as they attend New Year's Eve celebrations in Kazan, Russia. Photo: Yegor Aleyev\TASS via Getty Images
People wear face masks while attending a public New Year's Eve countdown party in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo: Linh Pham/Getty Images
New Year's Eve fireworks erupt over Ras al-Khaimah, UAE, one of the world's largest fireworks shows. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP via Getty Images
People wearing face masks watch a drone show during New Year's Eve celebrations in Manila, Philippines. Photo: Ezra Acayan/Getty Images
A fireworks display is seen over the Sydney Harbour Bridge during New Year's Eve celebrations in Sydney, Australia. Photo: Wendell Teodoro/Getty Images

Go deeper

Jan 26, 2021 - World

Anti-curfew protesters clash with police in Netherlands for third night

Protesters set a car on fire during a protest against new coronavirus measures in Eindhoven, Netherlands. Photo: ROB ENGELAAR/ANP/AFP via Getty

A weekend of anti-curfew protests carried into Monday as crowds of residents rallied against new coronavirus restrictions and clashed with police in several Netherlands cities.

Why it matters: Dutch police have described the protests, many of which quickly turned into riots, as the worst unrest in four decades, the BBC notes. The country has confirmed nearly a million cases and over 13,500 deaths from COVID-19, per Johns Hopkins.

In cyber espionage, U.S. is both hunted and hunter

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

American outrage over foreign cyber espionage, like Russia's SolarWinds hack, obscures the uncomfortable reality that the U.S. secretly does just the same thing to other countries.

Why it matters: Secrecy is often necessary in cyber spying to protect sources and methods, preserve strategic edges that may stem from purloined information, and prevent diplomatic incidents.

28 mins ago - Politics & Policy
Scoop

White House plots "full-court press" for $1.9 trillion relief plan

National Economic Council Director Brian Deese speaks during a White House news briefing. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Biden White House is deploying top officials to get a wide ideological spectrum of lawmakers, governors and mayors on board with the president’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief proposal, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The broad, choreographed effort shows just how crucially Biden views the stimulus to the nation's recovery and his own political success.