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Britain's Queen Focuses on Year of Tragedies in Christmas Speech


Britain's Queen Elizabeth II used her annual Christmas day speech to praise those who provided humanitarian aid to victims of natural disasters and war over this past year.

She seemed to capture the mood of many who watched in disbelief and dismay over the past 12 months the natural disasters and man-made tragedies that shook the world.

In her recorded speech, delivered from the chapel of Buckingham Palace, the monarch recalled the Indian Ocean tsunami a year ago, the suicide bombing attacks in London, the earthquakes that shook Pakistan and India, and other disasters over the past year.

"This last year has reminded us that this world is not always an easy or a safe place to live in, but it is the only place we have," she said. "I believe also that it has shown us all how our faith, whatever our religion, can inspire us to work together in friendship and peace for the sake of our own and future generations."

She said those countless, selfless acts of helping others crossed all religious divides.

"Christianity is not the only religion to teach its followers to help others, and to treat your neighbor as you would want to be treated yourself," reminded Queen Elizabeth II. "It has been clear that, in the course of this year, relief workers and financial support have come from members of every faith and from every corner of the world."

While saying no one knows what 2006 will bring, the Queen urged her listeners in Britain and throughout the Commonwealth not to forget those major problems that came to define 2005, and she underlined that the big job of rebuilding still lies ahead in many regions of the world.