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Learning English - Words in the News
31 December, 2007 - Published 11:03 GMT
Weather threatens New Year celebrations
Fireworks in Sydney in 2007
Fireworks in Sydney in 2007

Wild weather is threatening to disrupt New Year celebrations in Australia. Fireworks displays in parts of Queensland have already been cancelled because of strong winds. Treacherous conditions have also forced the closure of many beaches in Sydney. Phil Mercer reports

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There will be no official fireworks display on Queensland's Gold Coast after local authorities decided it would be too dangerous. The region south of Brisbane has been pounded by gale force winds and heavy seas.

Rough conditions have caused problems too on beaches in Sydney, where lifeguards have dragged a number of swimmers and surfers to safety.

The city's traditional New Year's Eve fireworks spectacular will go ahead. More than a million people are expected to cram onto vantage points around Sydney Harbour.

The focal point of this eagerly anticipated pyrotechnic show will be the famous Coathanger Bridge. Seventeen-hundred police officers will be on duty and have promised to crack down on drunks and troublemakers.

Phil Mercer, BBC News, Sydney

Listen to the words

fireworks display
show of coloured lights in the sky made by exploding powder (used for celebrations)

hit very hard

gale force winds
very strong winds

Rough conditions
bad weather

people whose job it is to protect people swimming

to cram
to gather tightly together in a small space

vantage points
positions where they can see what is happening

The focal point
the place where the most activity will be happening

eagerly anticipated pyrotechnic show
fireworks display which people have been looking forward to a lot

to crack down on
to put a stop to, to be tough with

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