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Germany

Germany in Brief

Six Germans were killed Saturday in a bus accident in the northern Italian city of Vicenza; Germany's steelworkers union averts strike after deal reached over 35-hour work week.

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A holiday ends in hell for a German tour group.

Bus crash kills 6

A tour bus crash near the northern Italian city of Vicenza claimed the lives of 6 Germans, including two children and injured 38 passengers on Saturday morning. Most of the passengers were Russian immigrants who had booked a trip to Venice through the Gladbeck, Germany, based budget travel company Urban Reisen. Around 6 a.m., the bus swerved off the road and slammed into the entrance to a highway tunnel. Increasing attention has been focused on the safety of bus tour companies in Germany following a series of deadly accidents in recent weeks. Three weeks ago, 28 people were killed in a similar accident near Lyon, France, and 33 Germans died when a bus was struck by a train in Hungary in May.

Eastern German steelworkers avert strike

After threatening for weeks to go on strike, the IG Metall union said late Friday night it had reached an agreement with employers to cut the current work week of 38 hours for eastern German steelworkers to the 35 currently required of workers in western Germany. Under the deal, the 35-hour week will be implemented in phases, with the first scheduled for April 2005 and the second for April 2009. The deal also includes a clause that allows employers to delay introduction of the shorter work week if the economic situation deteriorates. The union said it was a compromise the 9,000 employees in the eastern German steel industry could live with.

Compiled with information from wire services.