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Germany

Having His Cake and Eating It

The somewhat hapless half-brother of German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has a new job: He's selling fruitcake, in return for co-operating on a book about his famous sibling.

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Vosseler's cake is full of goodness -- according to him, at least

Unfortunately enough for a man his position, Gerhard Schröder's family has always seemed hell-bent on embarrassing him. Back in 2002, Schröder's sister, Ilse Brücke, publicly attacked her brother's withdrawal of tax benefits for single parents like herself. And his half-brother Lothar Vosseler, 57, is even more of a black sheep.

Last spring, the former lifeguard at a thermal springs, sewer inspector and tour guide on the Spanish island of Mallorca, proved he lacked his brother's diplomatic skills by leaping at the opportunity to join the Big Brother house.

Lothar Vosseler

Lothar Vosseler

But now, Vosseler has done Gerhard a favor by proving that it's possible to get back on the unemployment ladder.

Out of work for five years, Vosseler, who has the same mother as Schröder, recently started work for the company "Fly 24" in a €2400-a-month ($3000) sales representative's job….. extolling the virtues of Obernkirchener Stiftsbrot fruitcake.

Tabloid Bild reported Tuesday that Berlin-based author Ernest Buck fixed Vosseler up with the new job. Buck is writing Vosseler's autobiography, entitled The Chancellor, unfortunately my brother, and I, due out in December. The author told the paper: "Lothar Vosseler really suffered while he was unemployed."

Chancellor Schröder's father died during World War II and Vosseler was born after his mother married a second time. The two were brought up by their mother Erika in the northern German state of Lower Saxony.

And that, fittingly enough, is where the traditional fruitcake comes from.

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