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Germany

Germany in Brief

German firm loses contract to U.S. rival for painting the Pentagon; German politician appeases conservatives by marrying; and Iraqi national team to train in Germany.

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The Pentagon now will get a Yankee paint job.

German firm loses Pentagon paint job

The Pentagon, the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense, will now get a new coat of paint from an American company and not from a German firm, as originally planned. Republican Congressman Steve LaTourette, who earlier this year strongly criticized handing the million dollar contract to the Keimfarben GmbH company from Diedorf in southern Germany in face of Germany’s strong opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq, announced the change in Washington on Thursday. U.S. company ChemMasters Specialty Construction from Madison in Ohio, who had complained of not being given a fair chance of competing with the German firm, will now receive the high-profile job. Keimfarben GmbH, whose paint also adorns Windsor Castle, the White House in Washington and the chancellor’s office in Berlin, is however not taking the rejection to heart. Company head Peter Neri told the Reuters news agency he was pleased over all the free publicity.

Politician silences critics by entering wedlock

Christian Democratic Union (CDU) politician Katherina Reiche married her long-time partner and fellow CDU politician Sven Petke on Friday. The 30-year-old Reiche caused a stir last year when she was made responsible for women, youth and family affairs by the conservatives' chancellor candidate Edmund Stoiber at a time when she was an unmarried mother. Reiche, who at the time had a young daughter together with Petke and was pregnant with her second child, shocked conservatives as well as the Catholic Church, which expressed strong moral reservations about an unmarried mother heading the job. Her marriage may now mollify some of her critics, but Reiche now finds herself in the throes of yet another controversy with her public support for the 23-year-old head of the youth group of the CDU, Philipp Missfelder, who created a furore by saying the country’s cash-strapped social security system favored the elderly at the expense of the younger generation.

Iraqi football team to train in Germany

The Iraqi national football team is to train in Germany for two weeks at the end of August, making it their first trip to Europe since the end of the war in Iraq earlier this year. The German Football Federation (DFB) announced on Thursday in Frankfurt the team comprising 23 players and ten officials would arrive at the training camp in Bad Wörishofen in Bavaria on August 27. "I’m very happy, that after the terrible events of the war, we can announce some good sports news, that is bound to trigger enthusiasm even among fans in Iraq," Iraqi national coach and German national Bernd Stange according to the German news agency DPA. Stange said the German trip was a chance for a new beginning for the team, though the largest goal remains qualifying for the Football World Championship 2006 in Germany. The DFB plans to bear the financial costs of the team’s stay till September 13 and will organize three or four test matches, though the rival teams haven’t been finalized.