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Revellers Ring in 2006 in Familiar Style

New Year's celebrations were peaceful in most parts of Finland, with rain and sleet dampening celebrations in many areas. However police, fire-fighters and health care workers were kept busy in line with previous years.

About 20 people suffered eye injuries from fireworks, seven in the Helsinki area. As usual, most of those injured were young men.

Police say the night was somewhat busier than last year, but not out of the ordinary. They were kept busy with calls regarding domestic disturbances and brawls. The most serious incident took place in Pudasjärvi, near Oulu, where one man was stabbed and two others struck with an axe.

The Meteorological Institute warned of poor road conditions throughout the country all weekend. On Saturday, a man was killed when his car slid off a road in Pori, while a tractor-trailer accident near the Nuijamaa border crossing point backed up border traffic for hours. Rovaniemi Becomes Europe's Biggest City Fire brigades extinguished blazes set off by fireworks and bonfires. Two houses burned down in Kannus and Honkajoki in western Finland. New Year's celebrations got off to a quiet start on Saturday. Authorities say fewer than usual fireworks were set off, and not as many beforehand. They can only legally be shot off between 6 pm and 6 am. Several towns and municipalities, including Tampere, Lahti and Rauma, banned fireworks in downtown areas this year. The most lavish fireworks display was in Rovaniemi, capital of Finnish Lapland, where locals celebrated the merger of Rovaniemi city and the surrounding rural district. Thousands feted the formation of Europe's largest city in terms of land area, with more than 8,000 square kilometres. Finland's newest city has some 58,000 inhabitants. YLE24, Finnish News Agency

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