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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 January, 2005, 05:32 GMT
New Year begins as world mourns
People remember the victims of Sunday's tsunami, on New Year's Eve in East Timor
For many New Year's Eve was not a time to celebrate, but to remember
Nations around the world have been marking the start of 2005 but celebrations have been restrained because of the Asian earthquake.

Festivities were cancelled in some of the countries struck by the disaster.

Along the coast of Thailand, locals and tourists held candles and white roses in vigils marking the tragedy.

In Paris, strips of black cloth hung along the central Champs-Elysees, and other European cities donated their fireworks fund to the relief effort.

Lights put out

In Indonesia, the worst-hit country, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono cancelled official celebrations in the capital, Jakarta, and used his annual address to call for national unity.

"Let's welcome the New Year without a party because now we are filled with concern and sadness," he said, according to AP news agency.

"We are still mourning. Let's pray together and hopefully God will not give us another disaster."

In resorts on Thailand's Phuket island, staff and customers broke off their parties for a candlelight vigil at midnight.

The shadow of a relief worker drinking champagne for the New Year is cast on a wall posted with pictures of the Tsunami victims at the relief centre on January 1, 2005 in Phuket, Thailand
For some, New Year's Eve provides brief respite from the crisis
One bar, the Tiger Discotheque roared back into life within sight of the shore where waves crashed in six days before.

In Sydney spectacular fireworks on the famous Harbour Bridge were preceded by a minute's silence.

Only hours before, an Australian navy ship began a journey from the harbour laden with aid for Indonesia's Aceh province.

Official celebrations were cancelled in India and Sri Lanka. In Delhi the lights in the presidential palace were extinguished, and Sri Lanka called a national day of mourning.

China's state broadcaster cancelled its New Year gala programme, while in Malaysia people packed churches and mosques for special prayers.

'Heavy step'

In Turkey, a country frequently hit by earthquakes, plans to hold a huge party in Istanbul's Taksim square were called off by the city's mayor

Parties went ahead in London and Berlin but many European nations flew flags at half-mast.

In London, a two-minute silence preceded a huge fireworks display attended by an estimated 150,000 people along the River Thames.

Goran Persson, the prime minister of Sweden, from where as many as 2,500 tourists are still missing, said: "Never has the step into a new year felt heavier."

In New York, a minute's silence was observed in Times Square to honour the earthquake victims. The city's mayor, Michael Bloomberg said the start of the new year was a time "to recognise how lucky we are".

Muted New Year marked around the world


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