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Independent breaks front-page mould again with earthquake appeal coupon

LONDON - The Independent has once again taken a radical approach to its front page by including a coupon for its Asian earthquake appeal at the centre of editorial on its cover.

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Under the headline "Why this is no time for compassion fatigue", the newspaper outlines the series of natural disasters that have occurred this year and urges readers, as "prosperous citizens of the Western world", to donate.

It is raising funds to help victims of the earthquake that hit Kashmir on Saturday and may have killed up to 40,000 people, including thousands of children who were in their schools when the quake hit.

The newspaper is backing the Disasters Emergency Committee with its appeal, and makes its front-page plea for donations amid fears that the British public is suffering from compassion fatigue.

However, the editorial says it is confident that this is not the case.

"You have shown that your willingness to give is dictated not by personal whim but by the scale of the emergency. You showed this during our Darfur appeal last summer. You showed it during the Christmas appeal for Africa, and in the tsunami appeal," the paper says.

Since relaunching in tabloid format in September 2003, The Independent has maintained its own editorial agenda, with a heavy focus on environmental issues and the war in Iraq.

It frequently dispenses with traditional front-page formats for lists and graphics. It famously cleared its front page when the Hutton Report was published in January 2004 and ran the simple headline: "Whitewash?"

Other national newspapers have largely relegated the earthquake disaster from the front page, although The Times and The Scotsman each carry news of the ongoing crisis and charity appeals.

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