Europe bows in silence to tsunami victims

5th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

5 January 2005 , BRUSSELS - Public transport came to a halt, stock exchanges paused and some media programming was interrupted as Europeans paid silent tribute on Wednesday to the victims of the tsunami tragedy in South Asia. In capitals around continental Europe, work came to a stop and in some cases, public transport was halted at noontime (1100 GMT), while the British observances - flags flown at half mast at British government buildings and Buckingham Palace - were set for 1200 GMT. Berlin, Amsterdam a

5 January 2005

BRUSSELS - Public transport came to a halt, stock exchanges paused and some media programming was interrupted as Europeans paid silent tribute on Wednesday to the victims of the tsunami tragedy in South Asia.

In capitals around continental Europe, work came to a stop and in some cases, public transport was halted at noontime (1100 GMT), while the British observances - flags flown at half mast at British government buildings and Buckingham Palace - were set for 1200 GMT.

Berlin, Amsterdam and Rome were among cities where public transportation was being halted.

Citizens in Warsaw stood silent after the Polish parliament earlier observed a minute of silence.

In Berlin, the four huge German flags on the 19th century Reichstag housing parliament flew at half mast under a leaden sky. Around Germany, church bells tolled at the stroke of noon.

The German government said work at all its ministries came to a halt for three minutes, interrupting meetings and talks with visitors as Berlin paid tribute to the memory of the tsunami victims.

In a related development, German President Horst Koehler announced that national memorial services were to be held on 20 January at the Reichstag parliament building.

In Dublin, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern asked the business community to observe the period of silence in shops, factories and offices.

In Spain, state television interrupted its programme for three minutes, showing black-and-white images of the disaster, while the radio played mourning music. The stock exchange stopped trading for three minutes.

Many Spaniards stayed indoors while political leaders and members of the public observed a moment of silence on Madrid's Puerta del Sol square.

In France, students in schools throughout the country stood at their desks and bowed their heads while workers gathered in factories and offices to stand in silence.

In Paris, government functionaries and ministers joined President Jacques Chirac at the Elysee Palace for more than five minutes of silent homage to the tsunami catastrophe victims.

Earlier on Wednesday, Chirac had met with Foreign Minister Michel Barnier, Health Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy and representatives of various NGOs to discuss French aid to the affected areas.

DPA

Subject: German news

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