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Germany

German Leaders Honor Tsunami Victims

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, President Horst Köhler and senior government officials paid solemn tribute on Sunday to the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunamis at an ecumenical church service in Berlin. "We are deeply saddened and so stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all who are mourning the loss of their loved ones," Roman Catholic Cardinal Karl Lehmann told a packed congregation at the service in Berlin's Protestant cathedral. More than 156,000 people have been killed by the tidal waves that crashed through almost a dozen Indian Ocean countries on Dec. 26 following an earthquake off northwest Indonesia. With the 2,000-seat cathedral full, people were able to watch the service on a large screen set up outside. It was also broadcast live on television. Several ambassadors and other senior politicians were present. The only cabinet minister not in attendance was Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer. Fischer was in the wave-struck region on Sunday, traveling to Wat Yanyao in Phang Nga, which suffered most of Thailand's casualties, before returning to the tourist island of Phuket to meet with Thai and international officials. Sixty Germans are confirmed dead and around 1,000 went missing in the disaster, and the government in Berlin as well as the public have been among the world's major contributors of aid and donations.

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