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Slothful Germans

Berlin, June 19: “Lazy Germans” might seem like an oxymoron, but not to Germany’s economics minister, who said yesterday his compatriots take too many holidays and are damaging the country’s prospects, reports The Daily Telegraph.

Wolfgang Clement called for an increase in working hours and a cut in the number of holidays, saying Germans take an embarrassing number compared with other European workers. “With regards to holidays, public days off and working hours we have without a doubt reached our limit,” he said. “Anyone who compares our holiday calendar with that of other countries can really start to worry.”

Germany's economy is one of the worst performing of all industrial countries and it has the lowest growth rate in Europe. Unemployment, at 10.4 per cent, is at the highest level since German reunification, and Germany tops the table for freizeit, or free time.

The nation with a reputation for hard work has on average 43 days off a year — 13 public holidays, the rest annual leave. It is followed by Austria and Spain which each have 37.

Norah shape

New York (AP): Norah Jones won’t be taking exercise equipment on tour with her this summer because she doesn’t have any. “I’ve never worked out. In fact, I need to lose a few pounds,” said the Grammy-winning singer, although her slender shape contradicts her. “I don’t care if I’m a little chubby. I love to eat way too much.” Actually, Jones says she has worked out once. “I’m just not good at it,” the 24-year-old said in an interview. Instead of exercise, she likes to dine out with friends and watch television when her schedule allows. Her favourite shows' Sitcoms. “I’m like a zombie. My boyfriend, he makes fun of me, because I’m always talking about what’s going on with Rachel and Chandler,” she laughed, referring to two of the characters on NBC TV’s Friends.

Royal fever

Amsterdam (Reuters): Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and his Argentina-born wife Princess Maxima announced on Wednesday they were expecting their first child, sparking a bout of royal fever in the Netherlands. The baby, due in January, would be second-in-line to the Dutch throne. Willem-Alexander is Queen Beatrix’s eldest son and heir-to-the-throne. Willem-Alexander, who married Maxima Zorreguieta in Amsterdam in February 2002, told Dutch television he was overjoyed. “I threw my arms around her,” he said. “I was so happy. I couldn’t believe it,” said Maxima.


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