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New Year: Hope, Amid Tragedy

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New York's mayor saw the start of the new year as a time to "recognize how lucky we are," while in Sweden, the country's premier said celebrating New Year's after the Asian tsunami felt "completely wrong."

Even as New Yorkers ushered in 2005 with traditional fanfare - like other revelers around the world - it was with a heart troubled by the devastation in Asia. Moments of silence interrupted celebrations. In Paris, a black cloth was draped along the street famed for lovers, the Champs-Elysees. Elsewhere, prayers substituted for parties.

"I think we all have to look in the mirror tonight before we go to bed and recognize just how lucky we are and that not everyone else is so lucky," said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. A moment of silence was observed by the crowd in Times Square in memory and tribute to the over 121,000 people killed as giant waves crashed into Asian and African shores. Twelve Americans were among those killed, and 600 others are missing.

In Europe, that toll ran deeper. While the confirmed death toll for many European countries was still only in the double digits, many officials were warning the final tally would be in the hundreds or even thousands. For Sweden alone, 2,500 tourists were still missing, while Switzerland was waiting to hear from some 700 and the French reported at least 118 disappeared.

"Never has the step into a new year felt heavier," said Goeran Persson, Sweden's premier who urged Swedes to light candles in their windows as a vigil. "We should have celebrated with fireworks and festivities. Now that feels completely wrong."

Many of the estimated 1 million revelers around the glittering, firework-lit harbor in Sydney, Australia, marked a moment of silence for the disaster's victims.

"You could tell people were a little more reverent tonight; it was kept in people's thoughts," said British tourist Mark Stiles.

In Australia's tropical state of Queensland, "The crowds were very well behaved and seemed a lot quieter this year," a police spokesman said. At South Bank Parklands in Brisbane's city, about 100,000 people gathered to watch the fireworks and observe a minute's silence to show respect for the tsunami victims.

Stores in major German cities said sales of fireworks were down, in some cases by a third. Some retailers attributed the restraint to appeals from Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and others for Germans to donate money they usually lavish on pyrotechnics.

Germany's main party at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin was going ahead, but the revelers were urged on big screens to donate to UNICEF. TV stations turned their New Year's Eve galas into charity events for tsunami victims.

Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel of Austria also urged people there to forgo fireworks, and Innsbruck canceled its display in a silent vigil for 40 residents of the western Austrian province of Tyrol who remain missing in Asia. Mayor Hilde Zach called the move "a sign of solidarity" to mark "the great loss of human life."

The southern city of Graz also was donating its fireworks fund to tsunami victims.

Revelers in London's Trafalgar square and on the banks of the River Thames paused for a sombre reflection. Crowds of thousands fell silent for two minutes from 1155 GMT in memory of the lives lost in Asia. Then as Big Ben struck midnight and the clock ticked into 2005 a spectacular fireworks display burst into the sky above the Thames, casting a brilliant glow over Westminster houses of parliament.

There was a slightly subdued mood also on the streets of Edinburgh, where more than 100,000 coverged to celebrate Scotland's traditional New Years Eve Hogmanay festival.

In Russia, a nation wearied by economic scandals and terrorist attacks, caution prevailed. Revelers filed through metal detectors as they made their way into Moscow's Red Square to watch the Kremlin's Spassky clock tower strike midnight and to see the fireworks display over St. Basil's Cathedral.

"This year ... ended very badly. The natural disaster in Asia, terrorist attacks everywhere - in Beslan," said Lena Suyedinya, 26, referring to the September terrorist raid on a school in the town of Beslan which ended in a hail of gunfire and explosions, leaving more than 330 hostages dead, nearly half of them children. "I hope next year will be calmer - more peaceful."

Even in the distant Caribbean, one of the region's largest New Year's Eve celebrations on the British territory of Jost Van Dyke was to be punctuated by silence.

In Paris, France, 480 cotton, scarf-like strips of black cloth hung along the Champs-Elysees and on lamp posts at the nearby Place de la Concorde, as a deliberately discreet but poignant memorial to tsunami victims.

"This night cannot be ordinary because of this mourning affecting the entire planet," said Deputy Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

Parisians still stocked up on champagne and foie gras for feasting, but said the tragedy weighed on their minds.

"Our hearts will be in it a little less this year, when we think about all the victims," said Marie-Caroline Lagache, 34.

Nevertheless, thousands of people still streamed into the heart of Paris to mark the New Year with a crescendo of car horns and fireworks at midnight. Some sipped champagne out of the bottle on the Champs-Elysees.

Back in New York, outgoing Secretary of State Colin Powell, a native New Yorker, was given the honor of pressing the button to send the New Year's "ball" - this year, a 1,000-pound Waterford crystal-covered creation - on its final 60-second descent into the new year.

Despite the tragedy in Asia, Powell expressed optimism, saying: "Indeed, 2005 can be a great year for humankind if only we capture the same feelings of goodwill, unity and hope that fill Times Square on New Year's Eve."

Many Asians were too busy counting the dead, feeding survivors and combating disease to even think about partying.

Most government agencies in Indonesia, where the death toll on New Year's Eve stood at 80,246, cancelled fireworks and urged people to pray. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said: "Let's welcome the New Year without a party because now we are filled with concern and sadness."

"We are still mourning. Let's pray together and hopefully God will not give us another disaster."

CBS News Correspondent Barry Petersen reported from Phuket, Thailand, on a rush to

before the New Year began. And for many in the coastal area, a lifestyle built around fishing was also at end. Those fishermen who still had boats were unable to sell their fish because people feared the fish had eaten the bodies washed out to sea, reports Petersen.

Thailand, with at least 4,560 dead, canceled a countdown party in Bangkok which was to have featured Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and tennis stars Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams. Officials urged people to attend religious services instead.

On southern Thailand's tsunami-ravaged Phuket island, Rene Vander Veen, from Waiblingen, Germany, said: "Too many people died here. I cannot celebrate New Year."

China's state-run CCTV broadcaster announced the cancellation of its live New Year's Eve gala programming.

But celebrations went ahead unaffected in Taiwan. The Philippines, which escaped the tsunami, also was in celebratory mood, with cacophonous fireworks and gunfire before midnight.

Hundreds of thousands of Malaysians flocked to mosques, temples and churches for special prayers. Government officials in the mostly Muslim country banned firework displays and canceled public concerts and celebrations in mourning for at least 66 Malaysians confirmed killed.

The Islamic sultanate of Brunei also scrapped New Year's Eve festivities and held prayers at mosques.

Hotels and clubs in most Indian cities, except those in Madras, the capital of southern Tamil Nadu state where tsunamis claimed more than 6,000 lives, went ahead with celebrations, although some toned down programs and others decided to donate part of the money raised for relief work.