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Germany in Brief

German tourist killed in fighting in Indonesia, woman seriously injured; country's longest-serving premier gives up his job and Schröder and his finance minister differ on Stability Pact.


A German couple became the victims of an Indonesian military maneuver Wednesday.

German tourist killed, another injured in Indonesia

Indonesian troops reportedly killed a German man and seriously injured his companion in Aceh on Wednesday, where heavy fighting between government soldiers and rebels has raged in recent weeks. An army spokesman told Indonesian radio that residents of the village Lhong Gayo alerted soldiers to "suspicious lights" in a house. When no one identified themselves on the soldiers' command they began firing. Luther Hendrick Albert, 54, there on a tourist visa, was killed. His companion, 49-year-old Elisabeth Margaret, was injured. Tourists have not been allowed in the Aceh region since troops parachuted in to fight back a separatist group on May 19. Since the offensive began, 100 people have been killed, among them 20 civilians.

East German premier retires

Germany's longest-serving state premier gave up his post Thursday, saying it was time for "his friends" to do the job themselves. Seventy-year-old Bernhard Vogel, of the Christian Democratic Union, had been the premier of the eastern state of Thuringia for 11 years. The former East German state has an unemployment rate of 16.7 percent but is also the home of internationally respected tech company, Jenoptik. "I am leaving now, because I am convinced that my friends can now do it themselves," Vogel told the state parliament. His successor is expected to be 44-year-old Dieter Althaus, who heads the CDU party in Thüringen.

Schröder, minister reportedly differ on savings course

Chancellor Gehard Schröder and his finance minister reportedly can't agree on whether Germany should stick to its savings course. Amid a sagging economy and zero-percent growth, Schröder reportedly wants to relax the savings course proposed by Hans Eichel in order to free up money for spending projects that could help stimulate the economy. But relaxing the course would put Germany in danger of violating an EU-wide pact that forbids Germany's budget deficit from exceeding more than 3 percent of its GDP. According to various media reports, Eichel wants to increase the already planned-for savings of €15 billion to €25 billion. A finance ministry spokesman said Thursday that there is no dispute between Eichel and Schöder.

Compiled with material from wire services.