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Silence before subdued New Year celebrations in Europe

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Silence before subdued New Year celebrations in Europe

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Much of Europe rang in the New Year with fireworks and parties but festivities in many cities were subdued, overshadowed by the Asian tsunami tragedy.

In Madrid, thousands celebrated the beginining of 2005 in Puerta del Sol -marking the turn of the year with the tradition of eating 12 grapes, one on each chime of the clock. In Germany, thousands braved the cold to wish each other a Frohes Neus Jar at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. There were fireworks but not as many as usual as a mark of respect. There were muted celebrations in London as well, where the chimes of Big Ben were preceded by a two minute silence for the victims of the Indian Ocean tidal waves. In Edinburgh there was a minute’s silence before Hogmanay celebrations got underway. In the capital crowds gathered in Trafalgar Square and along the banks of the River Thames to see London light up at midnight.