German minister in plagiarism row

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German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg denied copying sections of his doctoral thesis (AP)

Germany’s defence minister said he is dropping his academic title amid an investigation into allegations that he copied part of his doctoral thesis.

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said the work “no doubt contains mistakes”, but he strongly rejected all plagiarism accusations.

He said he would refrain from using the title of Doctor until the outcome from a review of his thesis by Bayreuth University.

Reports emerged earlier that Guttenberg had copied tracts of his 475-page thesis from other sources without credit.

Polls regularly rate the 39-year-old as Germany’s most popular politician, but the plagiarism row has prompted calls for his resignation.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has backed her minister.

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