German minister loses doctorate after plagiarism row

German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg in Bundestag, 21 Jan 2011 Mr Guttenberg failed to name sources for parts of his PhD thesis

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Germany's defence minister has been stripped of his university doctorate after he was found to have copied large parts of his work from others.

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, an aristocrat who lives in a Bavarian castle, admitted breaching standards but denied deliberately cheating.

Analysis revealed that more than half of his thesis had long sections lifted word-for-word from the work of others.

So far the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has stood by the minister.

The University of Bayreuth decided that Mr Guttenberg had "violated scientific duties to a considerable extent".

It deplored the fact that he had lifted sections of text without attribution.

Last week Mr Guttenberg said he would temporarily give up his PhD title while the university investigated the charges of plagiarism. He admitted that he had made "serious mistakes".

His thesis - Constitution and Constitutional Treaty: Constitutional Developments in the US and EU - was completed in 2006 and published in 2009.

Chancellor Merkel insisted on Monday that she was standing by her defence minister, who was seen as something of a rising star in her conservative coalition.

"I appointed Guttenberg as minister of defence," she told reporters.

"I did not appoint him as an academic assistant or doctor. What is important to me is his work as minister of defence and he carries out these duties perfectly."

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