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Learning English - Words in the News
05 January, 2005 - Published 14:50 GMT
Three-minute silence for victims
People in London observing the three-minute silence

European countries have observed a three minute silence in tribute to the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster. It's a tragedy that has touched the hearts of people all over the world. This report from Dan Isaacs:

Listen to the story

A time for reflection. To share a few moments in silent memory. Across Europe, flags have been lowered to half mast; in shops and offices the silence is being observed the frantic energy of the continent's stock exchange trading floors have been brought to a rare brief moment of calm; a time for some to pray to a god who's role in such a tragedy is hard to understand, but who provides comfort and solace for many of the survivors.

This is a disaster that has reached into the homes of families across the world, the inescapable images of death and suffering almost unbearable. And the response has been overwhelming. Tens of millions of dollars in donations have come from private individuals and now many hundreds of millions from European governments towards the relief efforts across southern Asia. Europe is mourning its own dead, and showing its solidarity and support for those still in desperate need on the shores of the Indian Ocean.

Dan Isaacs, BBC News, London

Listen to the words

deep and careful thought

half mast
a point near the middle of a flag pole where a flag flies as a sign of sorrow

carried out

almost out of control

lessening of trouble in the mind

too painful for someone to continue the experience

very large

money which is given to help people

relief efforts
food, money and services given to people who are in need after a disaster

expression of deep sorrow because someone has died

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