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new year

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Australia and New Zealand have said goodbye to 2018 as the world’s celebrations officially get underway.

The New Year begins with a bang in Sydney and Auckland.

Pope Francis has called for the world to unite against violence as a “community of brothers” in his first New Year blessing.

Addressing pilgrims in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis departed from his prepared text to vent frustration at the level of conflict in the world.

“What is happening in the heart of man?” he asked.

“It’s time to stop.”

Without referring to any specific conflicts, he urged people to accept each other’s differences.

Pope Francis has called for the world to unite against violence as a "community of brothers" in his first New Year blessing

Pope Francis has called for the world to unite against violence as a “community of brothers” in his first New Year blessing

“We belong to the same human family and we share a common destiny,” Pope Francis said, speaking from his studio window overlooking the crowds in the square at the Vatican.

“This brings a responsibility for each to work so that the world becomes a community of brothers who respect each other, accept each other in one’s diversity, and take care of one another.”

Pope Francis plans major reforms in Church organization this year and will soon announce the appointment of a new group of cardinals to replace those who have died or reached the age of 80 in recent years.

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While most people celebrated New Year’s Eve with parties and fireworks one French pensioner spent the night alone in a locked supermarket in Roubaix.

The 73-year-old woman felt faint at the store in Roubaix and went to the toilet. But when she came out later she found the shop deserted and locked up.

French media say she set off the alarm repeatedly and spent the night wandering the aisles, but nobody came.

A member of staff found her safe but exhausted on Tuesday morning.

While most people celebrated New Year's Eve with parties and fireworks one French pensioner spent the night alone in a locked supermarket in Roubaix

While most people celebrated New Year’s Eve with parties and fireworks one French pensioner spent the night alone in a locked supermarket in Roubaix

The local newspaper La Voix du Nord says the woman was taken to hospital for a health check. She had tried unsuccessfully to get some sleep in the Intermarche supermarket’s staff office, and had not helped herself to any New Year treats from the shelves.

Roubaix is near Lille and the Belgian border.

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Kim Kardashian and Kanye West certainly weren’t keeping a low profile in the wake of baby news as they spent New Year’s Eve partying in Las Vegas, reportedly earning a staggering $450,000 for their efforts.

Pregnant Kim Kardashian, who confirmed that she was expecting just hours before jetting to Vegas, hid her figure under a sheer lace dress by Welsh designer Julien McDonald as she posed next her boyfriend on the red carpet at the Mirage Hotel.

Clearly over-the-moon about her pregnancy, Kim Kardashian was happy to chat to press and pose for photographs ahead of the blow-out New Year’s Eve party.

The reality star – who is around three months pregnant and due at the end of June – shied away from her usual cleavage-baring outfit, instead opting for a more demure, black midi dress.

Even through the knee-length dress had sheer paneling, her curves were cleverly hidden under strategically placed lace, offering no hint of a bump.

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West weren't keeping a low profile in the wake of baby news as they spent New Year's Eve partying in Las Vegas

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West weren’t keeping a low profile in the wake of baby news as they spent New Year’s Eve partying in Las Vegas

Proving just how loved up the parents-to-be are, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West cosied up on the red carpet, clearly delighted that they’ve been able to share their happy news with the world.

Kim Kardashian wore her hair in a stylish side plait and added muted make-up, creating a wide-eyed look with large, false lashes.

Even though they’re going to be focusing on starting a family this year, that clearly doesn’t mean that the couple are going to be shirking their work commitments.

Instead of seeing in 2013 with an intimate evening, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West happily made their appearance at the pricey party at 1 Oak Nightclub, where tickets are $125 for women and $150 for men, while it’s $3000 to hire a table.

When the clock struck midnight, the loved up couple held each other close and had a passionate kiss in front of a sea of people.

Looking ecstatically happy, Kim Kardashian through her head back and laughed during the countdown, her arms wrapped around Kanye West.

The couple were joined by friends including John Legend and Lance Bass, who partied in the VIP area.

French President Francois Hollande says he still plans to raise the top rate of income tax after his 75% plan was struck down on technical grounds.

In a national address on New Year’s Eve, Francois Hollande said the law would be redesigned, adding, “we will still ask more of those who have the most”.

However, the president did not mention the 75% figure, leading some to speculate that the move would be watered down.

Francois Hollande also promised “all efforts” towards cutting unemployment.

The number of jobless broke the three-million barrier for the first time this year, prompting Francois Hollande to say the trend must be reversed.

He has been criticized for lacking direction, and his popularity levels have plummeted, since he took power in May.

Francois Hollande says he still plans to raise the top rate of income tax after his 75 percent plan was struck down on technical grounds

Francois Hollande says he still plans to raise the top rate of income tax after his 75 percent plan was struck down on technical grounds

Francois Hollande acknowledged the “serious and legitimate” concerns of the public, and that there had been “fits and starts” in his first six months.

But the president insisted France would emerge from the financial crisis “sooner and stronger” than expected because of action by his government.

“We’ve set the course – jobs, competitiveness and growth – and I will not deviate. It’s the future of France,” he said.

The Socialist president said he would resubmit his flagship policy of raising income tax for those earning more than 1 million euros ($1.3 million) a year.

It was rejected by the Constitutional Council on Saturday because, unlike other forms of income tax, it was to be applied to individuals rather than households.

Francois Hollande said while the law would be “redesigned” its objective would remain the same – that those who could afford to do so should pay more to France’s effort to tackle its deficit.

The policy has angered France’s business leaders and the right-wing opposition, who say it discourages entrepreneurship and wealth-creation. It has led to some wealthy citizens, like the actor Gerard Depardieu, to say they would emigrate.

While the measure is popular with Francois Hollande’s supporters on the left, some analysts think it may be dropped or watered down, possibly by raising the income level at which it is paid.

“I suspect this tax will be shelved,” Philippe Gudin, an economist for Barclays and a former French treasury official, told Reuters news agency.

“For the [low amount of] revenue it would raise, the outcry it has provoked and the damage it has done to France’s image, it would be more sensible if it were quietly buried.”

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Pope Benedict XVI has condemned “unregulated capitalism” for contributing to world tension, in 2013 New Year address to worshippers.

The Pope also thanked the world’s peacemakers and said humanity had “an innate vocation for peace”.

The Roman Catholic Church leader spoke at a Mass in the Vatican, then greeted a crowd outside St Peter’s Basilica.

Pope Benedict deplored “hotbeds of tension and conflict caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor”.

Those “hotbeds” also grew out of “the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated financial capitalism”, as well as “various forms of terrorism and crime”, he said.

Pope Benedict XVI has condemned unregulated capitalism for contributing to world tension, in 2013 New Year address to worshippers

Pope Benedict XVI has condemned unregulated capitalism for contributing to world tension, in 2013 New Year address to worshippers

The 85-year-old pontiff delivered a prayer for peace to the crowd in St Peter’s Square after his homily at Mass.

“The peacemakers are many, but they are not loud. As leaven in dough, they raise humanity according to God’s plan,” he said.

Comparing the new year to a journey, he prayed that it “may lead on a path to peace for every person and every family, for each country and for the whole world”.

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