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Merkel using emojis, YouTube to reach out to young voters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, campaigning Wednesday for the youth vote on YouTube ahead of September 24 elections, said her favorite emoticon was the “smiley” and dismissed fears about a potential World War III.

The 63-year-old leader, in power for nearly 12 years, also said she hoped to appoint equal numbers of male and female ministers from her conservative party if she wins a fourth term, though she could not speak for possible coalition partners.

In interviews with four young German YouTube personalities, including beauty, technology and politics video-bloggers, she spoke about issues ranging from refugees to climate and the importance of casting one’s ballot.

She said her government would push on with the promotion of environmentally friendly electric cars, revealing that her main media spokesman drives one but that she could not because no automaker had yet manufactured an armored model.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the European Parliament, David McAllister (L) and Lower Saxony’s CDU prime minister and candidate Bernd Althusmann (C) make a selfie during an election campaign event of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party in Cuxhaven, western Germany, on August 15, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

She confided that her favorite emoticon was the smiley, sometimes with a heart attached.

Asked about the more serious issue of whether North Korea tensions and other international conflicts threatened to escalate into “World War III”, she responded with a firm “no”, adding that “we can avert such catastrophes”.

Speaking about North Korea and the role of US President Donald Trump, Merkel said “we must be very careful with language, generally.

“Language can be the precursor to an escalation that, somewhere down the road, could lead to violence.”

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