With the election just days away, Germany's traditional political partnerships could be fracturing.
Germany's opposition parties, outnumbered by some margin under Angela Merkel's grand coalition government, have gone on the offensive in the major budget debate in the Bundestag - not least on social and economic issues.
The small Balkan nation of Macedonia is due to elect a new president and parliament this month. Its new leaders will face a country plagued by political polarization, restricted press freedom and a poor economy.
German cabinet ministers have endorsed a draft bill to introduce a nationwide minimum wage. The government hopes the new rules will come into force in 2015.
Germany's Conservatives and Social Democrats have an overwhelming majority, but ruling in a coalition government has proven quite difficult. The opposition, meanwhile, lacks a clear profile.
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