Even in the poorest nations the flags fly at half-mast

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The Independent Online
For some, thousands of miles from the scene of the Princess's death, the burden of grief was just too much. In Pakistan, a 39-year-old man who had had his photo taken with Diana when she visited his village in May, killed himself. He took up a few minutes of her life, but Shehnaz Shafi swallowed poison in the eastern city of Gujrat when he heard of her death - his precious picture of himself and the princess in his pocket.

And in Hong Kong, a man jumped to his death from a 33rd-storey window yesterday. Behind him he left his pile of newspaper reports of the Princess's death. Outside, avid collectors rushed to snap up old stamps featuring her as dealers jacked up prices. In many of the world's poorest countries there was real grief for the Princess who both dazzled and comforted them, and fears that her work might now be forgotten.

In Angola, which Diana visited in January as part of her campaign against the sale and manufacture of landmines, some of those who saw her feared the cause she championed would be abandoned. "She was genuinely interested in our suffering," said Jose Sarita, a 35-year-old former soldier with the government army, who had his leg blown off by an anti-tank mine. "Now that she is dead we don't know who will take up the fight."

In Sierra Leone, the country's military rulers ordered flags to fly at half-mast until the funeral service in London on Saturday. Kenya's president, Daniel arap Moi, ordered flags to be flown at half-mast for five days.

Australia's Prime Minister, John Howard, the Queen's representative in Australia,and other politicians and diplomats, packed the tiny St John's Anglican Church in the Canberra suburb of Reid for a memorial service. Memorial services will be held in cities around the country to coincide with the funeral service.

In Germany the tabloid newspaper Bild Zeitung, which published a photograph of the Princess of Wales's crashed car with bodies still in it on Monday, and The Scotsman, which reprinted the front page of Bild, tried to extricate themselves from widespread international condemnation.

Bild defended its actions, claiming that only the dead bodies of Dodi Fayed and his driver were left in the car when the photograph they published was taken. It claimed Diana and the bodyguard had already been taken to hospital.

Bild's deputy editor, Paul Martin, claimed that there were no photographs on the international paparazzi market of the Princess while she was still in the car, despite reports by the News of the World, the United States' National Enquirer and a number of photo agencies and photographers that such shots exist. "The National Enquirer is running a PR gig," Mr Martin claimed. "Photos are usually offered to us because we are a big player, usually we will see what is on the market, but we haven't seen anything with the Princess in the car."

Martin Clarke, editor of the Scotsman, said the details of the picture were deliberately blurred. "The reason we used the front page is the whole story accompanying it is about the foreign market. It mentions Bild by name as having run this picture. I think it's important that people see the context pictures are used in too, without obviously offending them with the content. I don't see that anyone could possibly be offended by the content of that picture because you can't see the thing," he said.

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