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Germany

Berlin Gets New Christmas Tree

A sad-looking Christmas tree erected next to Berlin's shopping boulevard Kurfürstendamm will be elephant food come Tuesday. In an emergency meeting, the western German town of Winterberg decided to swap the sharply-criticized specimen they sent to Berlin for another more comely tree. The Winterbergers had insisted on replacing the tree because they feared it would cast a pall on tourism in their region, a spokesman for the Berlin event organizer Schaustellerverband said. The 18-meter (59 feet) high tree will be cut up and fed to elephants in the zoo, he said. Some Berliners will be disappointed after having come up with such flattering names for the tree as "plucked duck," "scrawny fishbone" and "hunger rake." Last year's tree, which came from Berlin, survived the capital's fussy populace, but the two previous trees -- that were not 'born and bred' in the city -- were also sacrificed after suffering from local mockery.