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nullpointer exception in getAsString of tiles 3.0.4 with EL expressions  RSS feed

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I'm having an issue with configuring tiles 3.0.4 with spring 3.2.10

the following layout.jsp file succeeds to get the title which is set via value=, while the css and footer which is set via the el functionality fails
with a nullpointerexception..
but the footer only fails in getAsString, but not in insertAttribute, so i believe it should work in getAsString as well.
Am I missing something?

the error is:
DEBUG org.apache.tiles.template.GetAsStringModel - Ignoring exception
at org.apache.tiles.template.GetAsStringModel.renderAttribute(
at org.apache.tiles.template.GetAsStringModel.execute(
at org.apache.tiles.jsp.taglib.GetAsStringTag.doTag(
at org.apache.jsp.client.default_.layout.layout_jsp._jspx_meth_tiles_005fgetAsString_005f1(
at org.apache.jsp.client.default_.layout.layout_jsp._jspService(
at org.apache.jasper.runtime.HttpJspBase.service(
at javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(
at org.apache.jasper.servlet.JspServletWrapper.service(
at org.apache.jasper.servlet.JspServlet.serviceJspFile(
at org.apache.jasper.servlet.JspServlet.service(
at javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(

I have a tiles_en.xml of:

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