Across Europe three minutes silence for the near 150 000 victims of the Asian is held today at midday. Public buildings will fly their flags at half-mast, and many stock markets will cease trading. Some Italian shops will also close, and Dutch public transport workers will also stop their vehicles in respect. Governments are calling on ordinary people to join in and mark the occasion as well to show their solidarity.
Most of the 10 000 foreign victims are European, with Sweden the worst affected, and early this morning the first six coffins returned to Stockholm where they were met by the Swedish royal family, leading politicians, and Archbishop Hammer.
There was brief ceremony before the coffins, draped with the Swedish flag, an honour normally reserved for state or military funerals, were handed over to the families.
For the moment 52 Swedes are confirmed dead, but Prime Minister Persson has warned the public to brace themselves for a much higher number, perhaps even 1000 fatalities.