Angela Merkel fractures pelvis in ski fall

German Chancellor Angela Merkel - file pic Chancellor Merkel has only just started work in a new coalition with the centre-left

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has fractured a bone in her pelvis in a cross-country skiing accident in Switzerland, her spokesman says.

She will have to remain lying down as much as possible in the next three weeks and several visits will be cancelled, Steffen Seibert said.

She also suffered heavy bruising in the accident, in the alpine Engadine region of eastern Switzerland.

Ms Merkel was not skiing fast at the time, the spokesman added.

He called the injury "severe bruising linked with a partial fracture on the left, rear part of the pelvis".

Immediately after the accident, during the Christmas holiday in December, Ms Merkel was not aware that part of her pelvis had been fractured, the spokesman said. It was a visit to her doctor on Friday that revealed the exact injury.

He did not give details about how it happened. She was skiing near the resort of St Moritz.

Ms Merkel still intends to chair a cabinet meeting on Wednesday - the first gathering of all her coalition ministers. She is now walking with the aid of crutches.

But mostly she will be working from home. She has cancelled a trip to Poland this week and will not receive Luxembourg's new prime minister Xavier Bettel in Berlin, the spokesman said.

Ms Merkel's injury comes just days after fellow German Michael Schumacher's life-threatening skiing accident in France.

The Formula One motor racing star, who retired in 2012, is in a medically-induced coma and has had brain surgery after slamming his head on a rock while skiing off-piste at the French alpine resort of Meribel.

His injury has sparked much debate about speed on the slopes and the risks some skiers take.

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