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Germany replaces Luftwaffe on planes

Berlin, July 2 (Reuters): The name “Luftwaffe” is being replaced on two official German government planes more than half a century after the Nazi air force terrorised Europe’s skies.

President Johannes Rau’s office said yesterday the head of state wanted to replace the German word for air force to avoid stirring up painful memories for people in many of the countries he and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder use the planes to visit.

“Obviously when the President flew to countries where there are certain historic resentments against the Luftwaffe, he didn’t exactly get off to a good start when the plane landed with that word dominating the aircraft,” said one government official who asked not to be identified. Rau has decided to have “Bundesrepublik Deutschland” (Federal Republic of Germany) painted on the planes instead.

Rau has travelled to 66 countries during his four years as President and officials said the Luftwaffe logo particularly raised eyebrows in eastern Europe. The German air force will continue to operate the planes and the word “Luftwaffe” will be painted in small print elsewhere on the aircraft.

Boy kills teacher

A 16-year-old boy killed himself with a handgun in a German school after shooting a teacher who tried to wrestle the weapon away from him, police said today.

The teenager took out the handgun during a biology class at his school in Coburg, south Germany sending his teacher and fellow students running from the classroom in panic, police said.

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