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Germany

Germany in Brief

A tarnished politician gives up his job in parliament; the opposition Christian Democratic Party is ordered to pay millions in fines over a slush fund scandal and more.

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A beleaguered politicians throws in the towel.

Tarnished Politician Loses Parliament Job

Jürgen Möllemann, a German politician accused of anti-Semitism and questionable campaign finances, said on Tuesday he would give up his seat in Germany's national parliament, the Bundestag. The former vice chairman of the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP) acted in the face of efforts by the party's leadership to remove him from its parliamentary group in the Bundestag. FDP leaders said Möllemann's decision would not affect the effort and the group voted in the afternoon to throw Möllemann out. Last week, Möllemann survived a move to remove him from the parliamentary group in the state parliament in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Christian Democrats Fined Millions

Germany’s opposition Christian Democratic Party (CDU) has been ordered to pay back 21 million euros ($22.4 million) of parliamentary party funding to the German Bundestag, a Leipzig federal administrative court ruled on Tuesday. The decision came following an appeal by the CDU of an earlier court decision in Berlin in favor of Bundestag President Wolfgang Thierse, who had ordered sanctions against the party. The suit stemmed from a 1999 CDU slush fund scandal in the state of Hesse. The party admitted it failed to list €18 million euros in illicit party donations in its federal budget court.

First German Patriot Missiles Arrive in Israel

Two German Patriot anti-missile batteries have arrived in Israel, a German Defense Ministry spokeswoman said on Tuesday. The batteries are being loaned to Israel for two years under an agreement signed last month for 128 missiles and auxiliary equipment. The arrival of the two new batteries raises the number deployed in Israel to seven. The new generation Patriots will form part of Israel's anti-ballistic missile defense system, which uses both Patriot and homegrown Arrow missiles, ahead of a possible U.S.-led strike on Iraq. During the 1991 Gulf War, the Iraqis launched 39 Scud missiles at Israel, killing two and injuring hundreds.

Black Market Blamed for Unemployment

A tumerous black market for labor has exacerbated Germany's sluggish economy -- the slowest growing in Europe -- a prominent management organization said on Tuesday. The Federal Association of Management Consultants (BDU) said it expected the black market for labor to grow to more than €100 billion ($107 billion) in the next five years, hindering the creation of much-needed above-the-board jobs. The association estimated that the black market economy already accounts for as much as 20 percent of Germany's gross domestic product.

Compiled with material from wire services.