New Year celebrations have taken place in Sydney after organisers decided to go ahead with the event despite the Asian tsunami disaster.
But the fireworks were preceded by a minute of silence to remember the 125,000 or more victims. Europe is home to a majority of the over 2,200 tourists killed and 7,000 missing. It is expected to be a sombre night. A fireworks display and concert planned for central Brussels has been cancelled. Authorities in Istanbul have taken the same decision. Black ribbons tied as a mark of respect now line the Champs Elysee, which is traditionally host to thousands of Parisians marking the New Year. In London there will be a two minute silence, and details of the aid appeal will be displayed on big screens in Trafalgar Square. Flags are flying at half mast in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Germany to remember those travellers who will not return. Berlin authorities are urging revellers to give some of the 100 million euros they would normally spend tonight to aid organisations. That call has been echoed across the continent. The response has been huge – one French charity says it received more donations in one day than it had in the entire previous year.