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New Year's Day dawns with prayers and run

Tuesday, Jan 01, 2013 - 01:02

Jan 1 - Millions of Japanese mark New Year's Day with temple prayers, while NATO troops hold a 5-km race in Kabul. Jessica Gray reports.

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Japanese flock to Meiji Shrine in Tokyo to pray for a prosperous 2013. Worshippers typically visit during the first three days of the New Year-period and toss coins in exchange for temple blessings. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 23-YEAR-OLD SELF-EMPLOYED SUZUKA YAZAKI, SAYING: "I want Japan to be a place where people can have space to breathe, where people can smile and be nice to each other." Shrine goers ritually bow, clap and ring bells to get the gods' attention as they pray for health and good fortune. This shrine is Japan's most popular and will likely see around 3 million people visit in the next few days. Meanwhile, 12 NATO troops stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan kick off the New Year with a run, despite the wintery weather. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NATO SOLDIER, SHELLY SANDERS THAXTON, SAYING: "This event was very fun, very cold, but it is great to start off the new year with a run." The U.S. and its NATO allies plan to continue scaling down operations here, and will eventually hand over security power to Afghan authorities by the end of 2014.

New Year's Day dawns with prayers and run

Tuesday, Jan 01, 2013 - 01:02

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