New Year's News 2009/2010
1 million revelers gathered at New York's Times Square Thursday night to witness the crystal ball drop and embrace the coming 2010 at this "Crossroads of the World." The Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg and 12 students from 12 top New York public high schools triggered the traditional ball drop one minute before the New Year.
Celebrations to bring in the New Year were cancelled in many parts of Scotland due to severe weather.
Spain took over the presidency of the Council of the European Union from the Czech Republic.
France introduced controversial new laws against internet piracy.
North Korea issued a New Year message calling for an end to hostile relations with the US, and peace on the Korean peninsula.
Fast food outlet Wendy's announced its withdrawal from Japan.
Essen in Germany became the European capital of culture, on behalf of the whole of the Ruhr Area, with Istanbul in Turkey and, Pécs in Hungary.
VAT went back up to 17.5% in the UK, but in Belarus, it went up to a whopping 20%!
Russia imposed a minimum price for the sale of vodka as part of a national campaign to reduce alcoholism. The cheapest bottle of vodka? 89 roubles ($3;£1.80) for half a litre.
A man shot and killed his ex-girlfriend and four other people in Finland before killing himself.
At least 93 people, amongst them women and children, were killed by a suicide bomb attack, when a Mitsubishi Pajero drove onto a volleyball court near Lakki Marwat in Pakistan. No one has claimed responsibility, but we all know what "pajero" means in Spanish.
In 2009 we said goodbye to:
Yves Rocher, French entrepreneur and mayor of La Gacilly, France. British musician, Tim Hart. English footballer, Albert Scanlon, survivor of the Munich air disaster. Irish born actor, Richard Todd. British film and television actor, Edward Woodward. Polish Olympic sprint canoer, Michał Gajownik. British novelist, J. G. Ballard. British broadcaster, writer and politician, Sir Clement Freud. American pop singer–songwriter, Michael Jackson. American actor and film director, David Carradine. American fantasy author, David Eddings. American actor, Karl Malden. American actor, Patrick Swayze. British musician, Jake Drake-Brockman.