President Hollande's Plane Hit By Lightning On Way To Meet Merkel

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HOLLANDE
PA

Newly-elected French president Francois Hollande was forced to return to Paris after the plane carrying him to a meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel was hit by lightning.

Hollande boarded his presidential jet on Tuesday to head for Berlin just hours after he was sworn in as France's new leader.

The socialist president is said to have never met his German counterpart, and the summit is expected to be a difficult one as the two leaders differ on how best to tackle the crisis in the eurozone.

While Merkel favours austerity and fiscal discipline, Hollande has said there needs to be a compromise with more focus put on creating growth.

Merkel said she would welcome Hollande to Berlin with "with open arms", however there could be a few awkward moments over dinner as she publicly supported his rival Nicolas Sarkozy in the election.

In spite of the setback, Hollande, possibly still dripping wet from the downpour that caught him during his inauguration, was able to hop onto a second plane in Paris in order to make another attempt to reach the German capital.

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