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Attacks, disasters mar New Year celebrations across the world

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Car ploughs into Tokyo revellers, man injures three in terror-linked UK stabbings, dozens die in Asian storms

Violent attacks and natural disasters marred New Year's Eve celebrations across the globe.

In Japan, nine people were injured, one seriously, when a man deliberately ploughed his car into crowds just 10 minutes after they welcomed the new year on a famous Tokyo street.

A police spokesman said yesterday that a man identified as Kazuhiro Kusakabe, who had an "intent to murder", drove a small rented vehicle into Takeshita Street in Tokyo's fashion district of Harajuku at 10 minutes past midnight.

National broadcaster NHK said Kusakabe, 21, told police that he was acting in "retribution for the death penalty".

But it was unclear whether he was making a statement against the death penalty in general or was targeting a specific execution.

NHK footage showed a small box vehicle with a smashed front and paramedics carrying people on stretchers into ambulances. Local media said a container with kerosene was found in the rental car.

One witness told NHK it was a "ghastly scene".

"I saw some guys collapsed on the street. As I walked closer towards the scene, many more people had fallen on the ground. By the time I reached the exact place, paramedics were already there helping people," he said.

There is no information so far to suggest foreign tourists were among the injured, the police spokesman said.

In Britain, a man armed with kitchen knife injured three people, including a police officer, in a "frenzied" attack at Manchester's Victoria train station.

The incident, which police have confirmed was terror-related, occurred around 8.50pm (4.50am yesterday Singapore time) when many people would have been out for New Year's Eve celebrations.

A 25-year-old has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, police said, adding that two knives were involved in the attack.

A man was filmed shouting "Allahu Akbar" as he was bundled into a police van, the Evening Standard reported.

Witness Sam Clack, 38, a BBC radio producer, said: "I just heard this most blood-curdling scream and looked down the platform. He came towards me. I looked down and saw he had a kitchen knife with a black handle with a 12-inch (30cm) blade."

"It was just fear, pure fear," said Mr Clack, who added that he heard the man shouting "Allah" during the attack.

He also quoted the suspect as saying: "As long as you keep bombing other countries, this sort of sh*t is going to keep happening."

Police officers used a stun gun and pepper spray on the man before "six or seven" officers jumped on him, Mr Clack added.

The Sun reported on New Year's Eve that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had flooded the Internet with "sick pictures calling for 'lone wolf' attacks" in New York, London and Moscow as the world welcomes 2019.

In Russia, a 10-storey building, which was home to 1,100 people, partly collapsed after a gas explosion in Magnitogorsk, in the Ural mountains about 1,700km east of Moscow, on Monday.

The blast, which destroyed 35 units, killed at least seven people and left hundreds homeless in freezing temperatures.

Rescuers were forced to postpone the search for dozens of missing people in the rubble as the building was in danger of collapsing further .

In the Philippines, at least 75 people were killed, with 16 missing, in heavy floods and landslides after a tropical depression made landfall on Dec 29.

The country's disaster agency said yesterday that nearly 192,000 people from 457 villages were affected.

In Indonesia, a landslide after heavy rain on Monday left at least nine dead in West Java. - AFP, REUTERS

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