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New Year tainted by deep sorrow

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(CNN) -- The rowdiness of New Year's Eve in Times Square, New York was interrupted by a moment of silence for the victims of the tsunami disaster in southern Asia.

Throughout Indonesia -- where massive earthquake-generated tsunamis killed more than 80,000 people, left millions homeless and ravaged islands -- New Year's celebrations were replaced by memorials, and people were urged to pray for the dead, injured and missing.

On the Thai resort island of Phuket, hard-hit by Sunday's tidal waves, there was a candlelight vigil Friday.

Faces showed the stress, shock and disbelief of the horrible events of the week, said CNN Correspondent Aneesh Raman.

Of the more than 138,000 people who died in the disaster, 4,800 died in Thailand, its government says.

In India, one government official said, "It does not feel right to host parties."

In Sydney, Australia, where authorities said it was too late to cancel the New Year's celebration in Sydney Harbour, there was a moment of silence before midnight.

Television coverage of the fireworks turned into a telethon for tsunami victims.

An announcer told the television audience, "The giant disco ball there, hanging from the Sydney Harbour bridge -- it doesn't get much better than that, ladies and gentlemen.

"Of course, tonight we are here to raising money for a very important appeal -- the 'lord knows' appeal. Tonight we ask you to dig deeply and give generously."

The event raised about $750,000.

The Asian tragedy also cast a pall over celebrations in Europe.

In Paris, black cloth draped the Champs Elysees.

In Berlin, flags on government buildings were flying at half-staff.

At the Vatican, Pope John Paul II prayed for victims of what he called "this huge tragedy." He urged the world community to rush aid to the survivors.

Many New Year's festivities in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland were canceled.

Back in New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg told a news conference Friday, "As a New Year's resolution this year, forget all the little things like "I'm gonna lose weight" and that sort of thing.

"Maybe we should all resolve that we are going to focus on doing what we can to prevent tragedies like that and respond to this one."

--Correspondent Maria Hinojosa contributed to this report.

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