Obama awards Merkel the Medal of Freedom

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President Barack Obama has awarded German Chancellor Angela Merkel the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States, the White House said Wednesday.

Merkel is among 15 recipients of the award named by US President Barack Obama, who also named former president George H.W. Bush, legendary investor Warren Buffett and poet Maya Angelou.

"These outstanding honorees come from a broad range of backgrounds and they've excelled in a broad range of fields, but all of them have lived extraordinary lives that have inspired us, enriched our culture, and made our country and our world a better place," Obama said in a statement.

Obama noted that Merkel "is the first woman and first East German to serve as chancellor of a unified Germany" and "has often said that freedom is the happiest experience of her life."

© 2010 AFP

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