Raids on Islamic group: German police have carried out nationwide dawn raids on more than 200 mosques, apartments and offices associated with a newly banned Islamic campaigning group, DWR. Members of DWR (which stands for Die Wahre Religion, meaning “the true religion”) have been a familiar sight in German town centres for the past ten years, handing out Islamic literature – including millions of copies of the Koran – to passers-by. Normally, religious groups are protected in Germany, and interior minister Thomas de Maizière said there was no evidence that DWR had been planning any kind of terrorist attacks. However, de Maizière claimed that DWR, which has several hundred members, was “propagating extremist ideologies”, and using its activities as a front for radicalising people; some 140 Germans who have gone to fight for Daesh are believed to have had connections with DWR.
New candidate: The front runner in France’s presidential election race, the conservative former PM Alain Juppé, suffered a blow this week when Emmanuel Macron declared his own candidacy. Macron, 38, served as a reforming business minister in François Hollande’s Socialist administration until August, when he resigned to concentrate on his own centrist movement, En Marche. Polls had suggested that Juppé, a centrist, would defeat the more right-wing former president Nicolas Sarkozy in the Republican primaries, which are about to begin; Juppé was then expected to be propelled to the presidency by voters from all sides who were anxious to keep the National Front’s Marine Le Pen out of the Elysée Palace. But he was already being chased in the polls by François Fillon, a former PM under Sarkozy. The election will take place in April and May 2017.