World Leaders Wish For Happy New Year, Page Views

Guest host Ari Shapiro recounts the New Year greetings of various world political leaders delivered via blog and internet.

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(Soundbite of music, "Auld Lang Syne")

ARI SHAPIRO, host:

At the end of the decade that brought us blogs, streaming video and Twitter, world leaders used all three technologies to usher in 2010.

President BARACK OBAMA: It is always a hopeful time, as we celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another.

SHAPIRO: President Obama delivered this message on the White House blog.

President OBAMA: While 2009 was difficult for so many Americans, we must also look back on this year with the knowledge that brighter days are ahead of us.

SHAPIRO: British Prime Gordon Brown shared a similar message in 140 characters. The tweet from Number 10 Downing Street said: "Hope you have a very happy and healthy and prosperous New Year. Two thousand nine was a tough year but Britain has a lot to look forward to in 2010."

Then there was a link to a New Year's Podcast from the British prime minister.

Prime Minister GORDON BROWN (Great Britain): The last 18 months have been difficult, and too many people were hit by a crisis that originated in the U.S. housing market and then came rolling across the Atlantic towards us.

SHAPIRO: In Rome, the online Vatican TV channel updated viewers on Pope Benedict's New Years message, through a translator, of course. The theme: If you want to cultivate peace, preserve creation.

POPE BENEDICT XVI: (Through translator) The Holy Father reiterates this in his message for the World Day of Peace on January 1st, 2010. Benedict XVI noted that it is necessary to revive the models of development because the current rate of exploitation puts natural resources in jeopardy.

SHAPIRO: The Chinese New Year doesn't begin until January 26th. Still, President Hu Jintao went on China's Central Television to delivery his New Years wishes. On the CCTV English language Web site, a news anchor gave the headline of the president's speech.

Unidentified Woman: Well, this year's offering is titled: "Make Joint Effort to Build a Bright Future of World Peace and Development."

SHAPIRO: The Kremlin's Twitter feed posted three links to a New Years message from President Dmitry Medvedev. Two of the links were broken. The third led to the New Years address from the Russian president. It said in part, "The outgoing year was not the easiest in our country's life. Above all, I want to thank you for bearing up together. Together we have got through the difficulties and we can therefore start moving forward, to build a strong and modern country with a stable smart economy."

SHAPIRO: Coming up, predictions on the decade ahead from home and garden guru Martha Stewart, and a conversation with the man who wrote the book on conversation. Daniel Menaker is the author of "A Good Talk."

(Soundbite of music, "Auld Lang Syne")

SHAPIRO: This is NPR News.

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