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IN BRIEF

Moment of silence planned in Europe

AMSTERDAM -- Europeans from Riga to Rome will observe three minutes of silence today to remember the 150,000 people killed by the Asian tsunami and contemplate the millions of other lives devastated by the disaster. EU public buildings will fly flags at half-staff and governments will call for silence at noon. Luxembourg, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, has called on all 25 member states and EU institutions to observe the silence to ''show solidarity and mourn the victims of the disaster," a European Commission spokesman said. (Reuters)

THAILAND

Top forecaster fired for lack of warning

BANGKOK -- Thailand's top forecaster was removed from his job yesterday for failing to issue a warning as huge waves barreled toward tourist resorts. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said Suparerk Thantiratanawong, director general of the Meteorological Department, had been removed from his post for the failure. The Meteorological Department has said that it knew about the huge earthquake that struck off the coast of Sumatra on Dec. 26 -- and that it might produce a dangerous surge of water along Thailand's southwest coast -- about an hour before waves began slamming ashore. But officials said they had no way to determine the size of the waves and the threat they posed. (AP)

Rescuers try but fail to free dolphin, calf

KHAO LAK, Thailand -- Singing, clapping, and banging their boats with paddles, rescue workers tried unsuccessfully yesterday to herd a humpback dolphin and her calf into nets so they could be rescued from a small lagoon where the Asian tsunami dumped them nine days earlier. The effort failed when the older dolphin apparently sneaked through a tear in the net. The dolphins, spotted Monday by a man searching for his wife, have become a symbol of hope amid the death and destruction. ''I'm sure that everyone is happy to see at least some life after the tsunami," said Suwit Khunkitti, Thailand's minister of natural resources and environment. (AP)

UNITED STATES

Tax extension bill aims to spur giving

WASHINGTON -- Taxpayers would be able to deduct donations for tsunami relief made through January on their 2004 returns under a bill introduced yesterday by the Finance Committee chairman, Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, and Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana. The senators said they hoped the extension would bolster support for a relief effort led by former presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. (AP)

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