By Jack Turner
Terror plots in Germany
In a major police operation, 11 terrorist suspects were arrested, with investigators checking possible connections to Islamic State. This prompted police searches in ten different cities in North Rhine-Westphalia and Ulm in Baden-Württemberg, however no explosives or weapons were found, and the suspects were subsequently released. However, 6 of the group are still being investigated on suspicion of preparing a serious act of violence which endangers the state.
Austrian authorities say an alleged Iraqi terror "cell" planned and unsuccessfully attempted to derail German trains. He is accused of placing steel wires across the tracks of the high-speed rail lines between Nuremberg and Munich in October and in Berlin in December, and is suspected of a terrorist motive, after an "Islamic State" flag and Arabic writings were found near the scene.
Up in arms
The Federal Government voted on Thursday for the extension of the export embargo of military equipment against Saudi Arabia for another six months, in a move that has been criticized by France and which will significantly impact both them and the UK. This is due to the fact the embargo stops them selling military equipment to Saudi Arabia that was developed jointly, or shipping arms that contain German components. See here for an interesting opinion piece.
Hard Rock band Rammstein released a nine-minute music video for their new song "Deutschland", which has sparked controversy after the band members dressed up as Nazi concentration camp prisoners. The video and promo video have been subsequently condemned by Jewish groups and politicians, who claim that the band went too far with the use of Holocaust imagery. The leader of the German government's anti-Semitism office, Felix Klein, said that if the Holocaust imagery in the video was just used to promote sales, then "it is a tasteless exploitation of artistic freedom", while Israel's Foreign Ministry slated the promotional clip for being "shameful and uncalled for”.