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Haaretz: Merkel Berates Netanyahu in 'Tense' Call

German Chancellor Angela Merkel berated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for failing to advance peace talks during a "tense" phone call, Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Friday.

Citing German sources, the newspaper said Merkel responded furiously when Netanyahu criticized Germany for supporting a Palestinian-drafted United Nations Security Council resolution against Israeli settlement construction.

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Berlin Says Ties with Iran 'Unchanged' after FM Met Ahmadinejad

Germany stressed Monday its policy towards Iran had not changed after its foreign minister held a controversial meeting with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over the weekend.

"Our international partners know perfectly well that nothing at all has changed in terms of our attitude to Iran," Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular government news conference.

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Germany's cross-eyed opossum to pick Oscar winners

Heidi, Germany's beloved cross-eyed opossum, is taking a page from Paul the Octopus' playbook: the marsupial will attempt to pick this year's Oscar winners.

Leipzig Zoo Director Joerg Junghold told Germany's RTL television on Friday that Heidi will be appearing on the "Jimmy Kimmel Show" alongside the Oscars on Feb. 27.

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VW to Create 40,000 Jobs by 2018

Germany's Volkswagen, Europe's biggest automaker, plans to boost its workforce from 250,000 to 290,000 by 2018, with most of the new jobs to be created in China, the German auto weekly Woche reported Sunday.

Citing internal and confidential documents, the weekly said that "the number of VW employees will rise from 250,000 to 290,000 by 2018," including 35,000 new posts in China.

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Egypt Overshadows Mideast Quartet Talks

Egypt loomed large over talks of the Middle East Quartet in Germany on Saturday, with fears that a change of regime in Cairo could throw into turmoil an already deeply troubled peace process.

"One of our big partners did not want the Quartet to meet at this stage, saying maybe it's not the moment to be discussing the peace process when the whole region is undergoing dramatic changes," a European diplomat said.

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Study Shows 'Tsunami' of obesity worldwide

A "tsunami of obesity" is unfurling across the world, resulting in a near-doubling of the numbers of dangerously overweight adults since 1980, doctors warned on Friday.

More than half a billion men and women -- nearly one in nine of all adults -- are clinically obese, according to research by a team from Imperial College London, Harvard and the World Health Organization (WHO).

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Lebanese-German Sues Macedonia over Alleged CIA Kidnapping

A Lebanese-German man who says he was snatched by the CIA in Macedonia and tortured at a secret prison after being mistaken for a terrorism suspect, will begin a legal battle against Macedonia Friday to demand official recognition of his ordeal.

Khaled el-Masri is seeking €50,000 ($69,000) in compensation — and an apology — from the government in Macedonia, where he says he was abducted while on a trip in 2003. His action follows failed attempts to have his case heard in court in the United States and Germany.

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In Israel, Merkel Urges Quick Restart of Peace Talks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to seek a swift revival of peace talks with the Palestinians citing regional unrest as cause for urgency.

At a joint press conference with Netanyahu on the first day of a visit to Tel Aviv that included a joint German-Israeli cabinet meeting, she spoke of "troubled times" against a backdrop of civil revolt in Egypt and Tunisia.

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10 Killed in German Train Collision

Ten people died when a regional passenger train collided with a goods train late Saturday in eastern Germany, police and firemen said.

Up to 20 other people were seriously injured in the accident which happened at Hordorf near Oschersleben, in Saxony-Anhalt, firemen and police said. They gave differing numbers.

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Britain, France, Germany Urge Mubarak to Avoid Violence

British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Egypt's Hosni Mubarak to avoid violence "at all costs" in a joint statement Saturday.

The three leaders called on Egypt's embattled president to commit to change in response to what they said were the "legitimate grievances" of his people.

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