DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — With fireworks, dancing and late-night revelry, millions around the world welcomed 2014 on Tuesday, gathering for huge displays of jubilation and unity as the new year arrived.
Dubai, a Persian Gulf city known for glitz, glamour and over-the-top achievements like the world's tallest skyscraper, sought to break another record by creating the largest fireworks show.
In Ukraine, anti-government protesters hoped to set their own record for the most people to sing a national anthem at the same time.
The Dubai skyline was a canvas for a dazzling 30-minute show capping off with six minutes of fireworks that engulfed the city's man-made, palm-shaped island, with its fronds and trunk shimmering in thousands of lights.
Organizers had promised that the fireworks would form a flying falcon, sunrise and United Arab Emirates flag. It was not immediately clear if the promised designs or world record had been achieved.
In total, the extravaganza was slated to include half a million fireworks from 400 firing locations synchronized by 100 computers, said Barrett Wissman, co-chairman of IMG Artists, which was managing the event. The company also organized the grand fireworks for the Atlantis hotel opening on Dubai's Palm island in 2008.
The spectacle erupted at midnight at the world's tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa, and moved to the city's sail-shaped Burj Al-Arab hotel before ending at the Palm.
"It is really mind-blowing the size of this," Wissman said of the display.
The fireworks display was slated to surpass the current world record held by another Gulf Arab state in just the first 60 seconds. Kuwait has held the record since last year, when it fired more than 77,000 fireworks in a display lasting more than an hour.
Guinness World Record officials were on hand to measure the scale of Dubai's event, which needed to be longer than five minutes to qualify.