Several Arab countries have shelved New Year's Eve celebrations in solidarity with Palestinians in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip who have suffered a fifth straight day of Israeli bombardment.
Egypt, Jordan, Dubai and Syria have all cancelled festivities including concerts by popular Arab singers which had been billed for Wednesday night.
Egypt's state-owned Al-Ahram daily newspaper reported that official events planned for New Year's Eve had been called off.
"In solidarity with the painful events in the Palestinian territories and the massacres which Gazans are faced with ... the ministries of culture and information have decided to cancel New Year's festivities," it said.
Cancelled events include a special concert by Egyptian singer Mohammed Munir set for Cairo's Opera House, and a variety performance due to be broadcast on state television. Continue reading here