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Last Updated: Monday, 3 January, 2005, 07:04 GMT
Papers recall tsunami heroism
The Asian tsunami disaster once again dominates the newspapers.

Many carry photographs of the smiling face of a young Sri Lankan girl - described by the Daily Express as the "most remarkable survivor" of the Indian Ocean disaster.

For the Independent, the courage of 11-year-old Sylvia Lucas also stands out among the many tales of endurance and heroism.

The Daily Star describes how the girl clung to a piece of wood for 24 hours after she was swept out to sea, before finally being airlifted to safety.

Sylvia later played down her ordeal. "I was confident I would be saved", she tells the Independent.

"I am always playing by the beach and in the water - so being in the sea didn't really scare me".

'Magnificent response'

The Times also notes how the disaster has brought out the best in human nature - reporting that French firemen, British holidaymakers, elephant trainers and a members of a Thai girls' choir have all volunteered to join the search for bodies along Thailand's beaches.

The Sun is impressed by what it calls the "magnificent" response of the British people.

It tells the tale of five children from Bristol, who sold their Christmas presents to raise money for the disaster appeal - an act, it says, which sums up the generosity of the nation.

While many papers praise the global financial response, the Guardian introduces a note of caution, predicting that much of the money pledged by rich governments may not materialise.

There's definitely double accounting going on - a spokesman for the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs tells the paper - much of the money will be swallowed up by the military, or will be diverted from existing loans.

The Daily Mail takes the Foreign Office to task, reporting that some British families trying to trace missing relatives have complained of a lack of help from embassy staff.

Dale Hurren, from Great Yarmouth, says he had to put the body of his son, James, into a plywood coffin and commandeer a truck to take it to the airport, when British officials in Thailand denied him any help.

"You expect the British government to do more for its people, in a crisis such as this", he tells the paper.

Away from the tsunami disaster, and the Daily Telegraph reports that the Pentagon is considering building a prison where al-Qaeda suspects, currently being held at Guantanamo Bay, could be held without trial for the rest of their lives.

Another option, apparently being discussed, would be to transfer Afghan, Saudi and Yemeni detainees to new US-built jails in their own countries.

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