click from the heart of europe, this is the world news from dw in berlin. but thank you for joining us at this hour. after 10 days behind his law mistake -- behind islamic state lines, a journalist tells us it is the most brutal moment he has seen. click thousand also marketing counter demonstrations. >> and on wall street, the dow climbs to new highs, up above 18,000 the first time in its history. ♪ class we begin with testimony from a german author and
journalist who said the terrorist group islamic state is even more ruvell -- more brutal than previously thought. click thanks to a -- >> thanks to a safety guarantee, 74-year-old juergen was allowed to spend 10 days in northern syria and iraq, including muscle --mosel. there he got a lot -- a look at life under the islamic state and spoke to the fighters about what motivates them to carry out acts of extreme brutality. >> he joins us now from munich. you are just back from 10 days in is controlled territory. the juicy anything that positively shocked you? -- did you see anything that
positively shocked you? >> everything shocked me, but it is amazing to see such a terrorist group, the islamic state, has conquered an area which is bigger than great britain. that is an incredible effort and an incredible success. and at the same time, every day, hundreds again people come from western countries to join this organization. i was always [no audio] of victory. i've never seen something in war zones. and i've been -- i'm never seen something like this in war zones. and i've been in many war zones. >> what major realize and think people are incredibly fanatical and enthusiastic about what they are doing? collects first of all, i spent with these people 10 days.
we lived together. i thought in the same rooms as they slept. and i saw a new fighters arriving from western countries. in their eyes, they were happy to arrive and they had the feeling to do something historical. and i said, it is not historical. it is brutal what you are doing. but they think it is right, and we have to do it. they think what they have to do is to conquer the middle east and to have the biggest religious cleansing mankind has ever witnessed. in -- >> sorry to interrupt you. we have this image of a fanatical music -- fanatical movement, a movement with no respect for human life, that abuses women and spreads death and destruction wherever it goes. from what you saw during your days behind is lines, can you confirm that image of what we
have? >> yeah, i can confirm it. it is extremely brutal, and they say, yes, we are brutal, but we show it openly, and you do the same and you make it secretly. you have killed 500,000 people in iraq. nobody knows. if we kill somebody, everybody will know, because we show it. they accept their brutality. they say, we need it, and it is a part of their strategy to frighten their enemies, and the enemies are very often running away. like the soldiers in multiple --in mosul. >> do you think that by allowing you behind enemy lines that they are trying to use you to give an image of strength that is exaggerated?
>> no, five times i has met president aside. -- president assad. i have met the leaders of the taliban. i did the same in iraq during the invasion of the americans. i spent time with the iraqi government and i spent a week with the resistance. i've never met somebody who was able to instrumental eyes -- instrumentalize me. i say what i think. i know you have to speak with both sides to have good judgment at the end. >> it was at -- was that your personal motivation to do what some people consider crazy, to go behind is lines? what major do that and how did you manage to guarantee your safety? -- what made you do that at how
did you manage to guarantee your safety? >> i had a so-called guarantee from the so-called colleagues -- the so-called caliph of the islamic state. and of course, i did not know if this guarantee was true. if it was really signed by the office of the colleagues -- the caliph. but i had several discussions and in these 14 or 20 hours that i discussed on skype with these people in syria, i got the end impression that they wanted to give me the opportunity to see the country, to see the bad things, and also to see what they think is a success. in their eyes, it is a success to conquer an area that is greater than big -- that is bigger than great britain. >> thank you very much for joining us.
>> now time to catch you up with other stories making headlines this hour. france says it will step up security following a spate of attacks on public laces. the prime minister says soldiers will be deployed nationwide, but stressed the incidents were isolated. >> on monday, a man drove into a market at christmas. the driver was mentally ill in the attack and it was not terror related. it came after another motorist plowed into pedestrians and -- and shouting "a lot is great" in arabic -- "allah is great" in arabic. tony abbott has warned of more possible attacks and called on australians to be vigilant.
>> funerals have taken place for two of the hostages who were killed. public memorial service was also held at sydney university for lawyer katrina dawson, the mother of three, hailed as a hero for trying to take away the gun from the iranian born hostage taker. but he managed to kill her and a cafe manager tony johnson went armed police stormed the cafe to end the siege. ukraine's parliament has voted to pass a law that brings it closer toward seeking membership of the western military alliance nato. >> lawmakers in tf voted to abandon -- in kiev voted to abandon ukraine's status. it was 77 more votes than the required minimum. russia quickly slammed the move saying it will increase tensions in eastern ukraine. russia has successfully test launched its newest heavy class rocket.
the russian defense ministry says the angora a five was developed to expand the capacity for manned spacecraft. >> the rocket to go off in northern russia and is billed as the first rocket entirely held in russia since the end of the soviet union. president putin oversaw the launch from moscow by v.a. -- by video link. it is intended to make the country less dependent on other states. next, to a story that is dominating the headlines, the eastern german child -- town of dresden saw as many protests in his many weeks, and the biggest one yet when 17,000 illustrators to the streets on monday night to protest what they say is the rise of islam in europe. >> rallies have been organized by movement called pegita. they have attracted widespread condemnation from political and
business leaders, and also among your -- church leaders. they are unhappy with the group's references to the christian faith. >> the protesters saying christmas carols. around 17,000 people came to the square in front of the dresden opera house to demonstrate between -- demonstrate against what they call the islamisation of the western world. >> singing christmas songs is why i've come. >> islam is not a religion of peace. we have to come to terms with the fact that our way of life in germany is under threat because of it. they run around in veils with a slit for the eyes. that does not belong here. we have another culture and they should follow it. >> here in the state of saxony, muslims make up a tiny fraction of the population.
just 0.7 percent, but it's also the state where anti-muslim intimate is greatest. there is also opposition to the movement. as pegita gathered in dresden, 12,000 people gathered in munich for a tolerant and open germany. there have been much smallerpegita -- much smaller rallies and other cities, but also counter demonstrations. in dresden, about 4500 people took to the streets with a message that asylum-seekers are welcome. there were some heated exchanges and some scuffles broke out. >> it is inhumane. i think they are nazis, just in another form. >> most people in dresden are tolerant and we welcome asylum seekers and refugees. >> the mood was calm her at the
church of the holy cross. this service was also help -- held in opposition to the protesters and their christmas carols. it's the >> -- >> lawmakers increased have again failed to elect a new president. >> in the second of three possible boats, he fell -- of three possible votes, demas fell just short. the country may have to hold a snap general election. time for a round up of business news. the u.s. has seen a massive resurgence in growth. the economy grew at a yearly rate of five are sent. -- of 5%. the increase was due to strong consumer spending on health care and renewed business investment. while the news that the u.s.
economy is growing at its fastest pace in 11 years came as somewhat of a surprise and sent stocks soaring on the financial markets. here is a rundown -- a rundown of the markets. >> growth in the u.s. was stronger than expected, and that pushed the stock market to new record highs. for the first time ever, the dow jones industrial average climbed above 18,000 points and this helped inspire the european stock markets as well. many traders in the frankfurt are convinced that during the last few trading days of this year, investors will try to push the german dax above 10,000 points again. the forecasts are more reluctant. the stronger the economy in the u.s., the more probable it becomes that interest rates will be raised again in the u.s.. and this outlook is bound to put a damper on too much stock
market euphoria. >> conrad was in reporting from the trading floor. let's take a look at the markets now, as we just heard from conrad. the dow hit a milestone 18,000 and is still rising. day profitable and 9922. the euro stoxx also rose 1.2%. the dollar market is one dollar -- $1.23 -- $1.21. >> sony now says several independent cinemas in the united states will show the film "the interview" on christmas day. >> the movie, which lampoons north korea's dictator kim jong-un fell victim to a large-scale hacking attack. it was pulled from theaters. u.s. authorities have blamed north korea for the attacks. >> we're going to take a short
>> welcome back. with a day before christmas, christians all over are looking for peaceful celebrations. but in nigeria, the good nature is overshadowed by the recent past. x that is because militant group boko haram unleashed one of its deadliest attacks, attacking churches across the nation on christmas day. the bomb -- the bombing is still a fear of many residents, but many are also determined to make the most of christmas this year. > over the years, this has become a ritual, christians and muslims decorating the christmas tree together. despite the constant threat of terror attacks by boko haram, these neighbors and friends are determined not to be intimidated.
and yet, the pastor says people are scared. >> we have attacks on churches during the christmas celebration. we asked the government to do more of what they are doing now. with the government effort and our effort, with omega the security we need. -- we will make up the security we need. >> since 2011, more than 100 have been killed by boko haram over the holiday. the large christian minority makes it a target. >> it is a mixture of christmas joy and fear of terrorist attacks that the people are experiencing. the coexistence between christians and muslims has improved significantly in recent times, and everybody hosts -- hopes that they will not be able to destroy these promising developments. >> it is made up of mostly young men and women volunteers. they say the army is not doing enough to fight the terrorists.
the volunteers wear uniforms, but usually don't carry weapons. over christmas, they will guard the city's churches. >> all religions and ethnic groups are taking part. we have christians, muslims, and other religions. if someone worships stones, it will be ok with us. citizens militia accepts everyone. that is the only way we can make a difference. the children's choir is practicing hymns for christmas mass. the pastor is protected by the militia and he's thankful. despite the murders and kidnappings and answers again in nigeria in recent days, everyone here hopes that christmas can be a peaceful time for muslims and christians alike. >> time for an update from outer space.
you might remember back in november european scientists made history by landing a spacecraft on a comment. the comet lander was supposed to help uncover some of the mysteries of the universe and clean new insight into celestial objects. >> unfortunately, the spacecraft landing did not quite work out as planned and there have been problems ever since. for an update on progress, though, we sent our reporter to the mission control. >> back in november, and international group of scientists stunned the world by landing a spacecraft on a comet. the lander spent 10 years traveling to the comet. since completing his journey, it has been sending incredible images back to earth. >> i'm here the german aerospace center in cologne. behind me is the mission control that controlled the lander before it ran out of battery power. >> the crafts successful landing
was a proud moment for the men leading the project. -- the man leading the project. >> what does this mean for you as the director of the project? >> we have been working for this now for 20 years. it is certainly a highlight in my career and my personal life. >> stephan says the comet will get closer to the sun in the coming months, meaning that its solar panels will receive more energy. that should allow the lander to recharge its batteries. but experts need to work out its location on the comet to make sense of the data. the protons from the college are being analyzed and institute of research. he explains what is so hard to find the lander. >> it touched on the first time here, and it jumped away and nobody knows where it is now.
what do we know? >> the lander touchdown at the first point. there was the contact point, and after one second already, it left of the site. we have the impression we have seen the final resting position here. >> the search area 500 by 500 meters. it is one little. -- one little dot the meter by a meter, so quite challenging to find the lander. >> we have a hard time finding the lander here. it is hiding well in a gravel field. >> this could be the lander, perhaps most >> this could also be the lander, yes, but it is not very common. it is very hard to clean this is the lander. is this the lander or is that the lander?
we need more data. >> some of the scientists involved in the project cannot continue their work without knowing the lander's location. >> does the water on earth come from comments? -- from cometys? >> some theories say that it comes from asteroids and others that say there is another source. at the moment, we think it is highly unlikely that comment -- comets are the origin of the water that we use for drinking water. >> it could give information on the origin of life on earth. >> the question is, what kinds of amino acids, what kind of life-giving elements were given to us? i think you can expect the next couple of months [no audio]
described as groundbreaking, landing on a comet that is 500 kilometers away is a success in its own right. in the meantime, spectacular results reveal that space exploration is on the right path. >> the billion euro project has already provided scientists with vital information and they are hoping for more in 2015. >> and before we leave you, the countdown to christmas is well and truly underway here in germany. in many parts of the world, this time of year people -- like in many parts of the world, the sum of your people in berlin are out to do some frantic gift shopping. >> we went out to ask people about christmas wishes, people from all walks of life. >> millions of people flocked to germany's christmas markets every year, because this is the place to find a perfect present. and with the odd glass of wine
in hand, it's also a good place to discuss what people are wishing for next year. -- what people are planning for next year. >> peace on earth. >> i am pregnant, so i wish the best for my child. i'm excited to see what happens. >> i hope to see snow. >> the children of the choir gives a sing-along concert. we asked to young artists what they are hoping for. -- two young artists what they are hoping for. >> i hope that everyone's wishes and dreams come true this christmas. >> i wish for a white christmas. >> it may be a christian celebration, but that does not stop the turkish community in germany from joining in the festive season. >> i am also the christmas commissioner in my family. >> many turkish immigrants soon
found there was no point resisting the christmas enthusiasm of their kids. >> there is no turkish christmas, but in germany, there is the tradition. because the children see it in kindergarten or in the school and they want presence and to be with their families. many families -- they want a president and to be with their families. many families from turkey make it a christmas manner. >> i'm here at the railway station. these are shelters where people can come for a cup of tea who have often been outside all night, and people who seek help without any questions asked. we have an appointed with the woman who runs the place. -- an appointment with the woman who runs the place. eight people at a time can come into warm-up. on christmas eve, they can
squeeze to get -- they have to squeeze together a little bit and everyone gets a surprise. >> we have packed everything the guests need most. warm socks, something sweet, and the men always need shaving sets. and here is a bit of chocolate decoration. >> many here have only one simple wish. to get healthy again. >> if i could maybe get an apartment and residency. >> no more debt and a flat. >> a home. >> somewhere out until the very last moment to find that perfect present for their loved ones. >> i am at the department store
in berlin. more and more germans are wishing for simply money at christmas time. but who better to ask than santa himself? what are people wishing for this year? >> this year, certainly children mainly wish for classical things, like tall, games, coloring books, children's books. and sporting equipment like legends and skis. in addition to that, also smartphones. >> well, may all your wishes come true. >> you are watching dw. do stay with us. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
here is your host. >> welcome to "euromaxx highlights." we have put together the best reports of the week. let's have a look at our top three. how photographer martin schoeller gets amazing shots of celebrities. natural beauty -- why sicily is considered one of italy's most beautiful destinations and, mapping the body area why antony gormley is one of the most sought-after sculptors in the world. it is said that many a star is actually afraid of award-winning portrait photographer martin schoeller, because he tends to bring out a side the public rarely gets to see. he has photographed many celebrities and made a name for himself with his wacky shots. his most successful series is "close up" and now he is back