German education minister loses Ph.D. over plagiarized thesis
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1038 GMT (1838 HKT)
German education minister Annette Schavan arrives for a German government cabinet meeting on January 23 in Berlin, Germany.
- The university had awarded her the doctorate in 1980 with highest honors
- She is the second minister who is accused of plagiarism
- The German education minister has given no signal she will step down
- She is planning to sue the university
(CNN) -- Her doctoral thesis dealt with how we form our conscience. Turns out she plagiarized chunks of it.
A university stripped Germany's education minister of her Ph.D. on Tuesday, after a blogger caught the plagiarism and spent months vigilantly presenting the evidence to the public.
Annette Schavan is the second minister in conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet who has this embarrassing distinction.
Former defense minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg stepped down in May 2011, after large passages of his dissertation were found to have been directly copied from other sources.
At the time, Schavan sharply criticized Guttenberg publicly for his shortcomings, according to German media reports.
Since April 2012, the blog "schavanplag" (for "Schavan" and "plagiarism") has compared passages of Schavan's 1980 dissertation with sections of written works by other authors -- in multiple instances they match word for word, or nearly.
The blog alleges Schavan did not properly source her work and claimed others' work as her own.
Schavan, who studied education, philosophy and Catholic theology, received her doctorate with highest honors, including for the verbal section of her dissertation. She has spent her career in education roles in the Catholic church.
She denies wrongdoing and plans to sue the University of Dusseldorf for invalidating her degree, according to her lawyers.
She has been fighting the blog's allegations in public for months and has given no signs of stepping down as education minister.
The board of the department that awarded her the degree said that there are just too many borrowed passages in her dissertation entitled: "People and Conscience -- studies on the foundations, necessity and challenges in forming a conscience in our time."
The board found that she had "systematically and deliberately laid claim to intellectual achievements, which she in reality did not produce herself."
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
February 8, 2013 -- Updated 0718 GMT (1518 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
Today's five most popular stories