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Beirut New Year's Eve party ranks top 10 in the world

The fireworks over Nejmeh Square in the heart of Beirut make a spectacular scene [AFP]

Date of publication: 2 January, 2019

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The National Geographic ranked Beirut's New Year's Eve celebration held in the Lebanese capital's Nejmeh Square as one of the top 10 internationally.
Beirut's New Year's Eve celebration was ranked by the National Geographic magazine as one of the top ten in the world.

The city was named alongside New York, Las Vegas, Rio de Janeiro, London, Paris, Madrid, Tokyo, Christmas Island and Sydney as the top ten destinations for the celebration.

The fireworks over Nejmeh Square in the heart of Beirut make a spectacular scene, the magazine concluded.

"At midnight, couples kiss and fireworks burst, shining over a mix of floodlit church steeples and mosque minarets in this eclectic Levantine metropolis," it said.

Thousands of people gathered in Nejmeh Square on Monday, after the Beirut Municipal Council announced planned celebrations on their official social media accounts.

The celebrations continued after midnight, with some 11 singers and over 150 performers, local media reported.

Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri later joined the event.

The monthly National Geographic magazine, which publishes in 37 languages around the world, including Arabic, Turkish and Farsi, focuses on issues related to geography, history and culture.

Lebanon is currently reeling from political deadlock as political parties struggle to agree on a government since elections in May.

In mid-November, Hariri accused his main political rival - the Shia movement Hizballah - of obstructing the formation of a new cabinet.

A month later, he promised that Lebanon would have a government "by the end of the year".

The slow process has worried observers, as the economy is teetering on the brink of disaster, hit hard by the fallout from the conflict that has ravaged neighbouring Syria since 2011.

"The economic situation is difficult, but this is not to say it is impossible," Hariri said on Tuesday.

The international community pledged up to $11.5 billion in aid and loans for Lebanon at a conference in Paris in April.

But the promised funding is largely destined for infrastructure projects, which cannot be actioned without a new cabinet.   

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