Germany shortens compulsory military service
The German government Wednesday decided to reduce compulsory military service from nine months to six months, ending a bitter political squabble within the country's ruling coalition.
The pro-business Free Democrats, junior partners in the coalition, had argued for military service to be abolished entirely, whereas Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives wanted to keep the status quo.
The stint of the civilian version of military service was also cut by three months, although it can be voluntarily extended by up to six months.
© 2010 AFP