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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday

National holiday, environmental activism against a new road in Vienna, Donauinselfest line-up announced, and more news on Thursday.

donauinselfest Danube island festival
After years in a reduced format, the Donauinselfest is back in Vienna ((c) Thomas Peschat)

Stores closed, and warm weather for the bank holiday in Austria

Austria commemorates Christi Himmelfahrt, or Ascension Day, this Thursday, 26th. The holiday means most stores and supermarkets will be closed. However, restaurants, bars, and establishments inside train or gas stations remain open.

READ ALSO: Warm weather and bad traffic: What to expect in Austria this Ascension Day

Austrians will enjoy warm weather and sun for the extended holiday, though traffic can be expected in and out of major cities, as The Local reported.

95 arrested after an environmental protest in Vienna

The police made 95 provisional arrests as officers cleared the site of a protest in the north of Vienna, the police said. Several climate activists had occupied the construction site for a planned street, Stadtstrasse, which has been the focus of criticism by environmental groups.

According to the Viennese authorities, about 100 activists occupied construction containers and blocked equipment. The area was cleared by early afternoon, but more protests are planned for the coming days.

Donauinselfest line-up announced

Europe’s largest free open-air concert will take place again in full and without restrictions after the pandemic years, and the line-up has been announced, highlighted broadcaster ORF.

READ ALSO: Here are over 20 things you can do in Vienna for free

Headliners include German singer Nico Santos, Italian musician Umberto Tozzi, Stefanie Werger, and hip-hop artist Jan Delay. The festival will take place on Danube Island from June 24th to June 26th.

The city of Vienna presents a memorial to victims of homosexual persecution in the Nazi era

Vienna unveiled a Monument to the Men and Women Who Were Victims of Homosexual Persecution in the Nazi Period in Resselpark.

READ ALSO: Austria to end blood donor discrimination based on sexual orientation

“It is important and necessary that a monument manifests the memory of the homosexual victims of National Socialism in public space and calls on us to decisively oppose any form of homophobia and discrimination”, said Vienna’s City Councilor for Culture, Veronica Kaup-Hasler.

Series of robberies in Vorarlberg

The police in Vorarlberg have announced a €1,500 reward for anyone who can give them information on a series of robberies in gas stations in Austria’s Western state.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What rules does Austria have on gun ownership?

The authorities say the crimes have been happening since March by an armed man. There have been no injuries, but he has allegedly robbed at least four gas stations so far.

Eleven convicted in Graz beer case

Eleven people were convicted of a large-scale beer theft at the Puntigam brewery, Die Presse reported.

READ ALSO: Austrian brewery workers charged with stealing beer worth €1.7 million

The men had declared unspoiled beer as “broken goods” from 2009 to 2017, taken it with them, and resold some of the product. They were sentenced to partial prison sentences of 15 to 24 months as well as fines for commercial theft and embezzlement. Four men were acquitted.

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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday

Floods and mudslides, changes to red-white-red (Rot-Weiß-Rot) employment card, bike theft falls and more news from Austria on Wednesday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday

Flooding in Carinthia overnight

There have been bad floods in central Carinthia – especially around Feldkirchen and the districts of Villach and Villach-Land area, following storms during the night. Mudflows have damaged houses and interrupted power to houses in the Treffen am Ossiach community.

The villages of Winklern, Afritz, Äußere Einöde, Klamm and Töbring have been particularly affected by flooding. People have been instructed to go to safety on the first floor of their homes and wait for the situation to calm down. In Arriach people have been told to stay indoors after as much rain fell in one night as normally falls over the course of a month, leading to torrential streams. The area is currently cut off and cannot be reached by the emergency services, broadcaster ORF reports. 

Heavy thunderstorms also swept over Upper Austria yesterday evening and during the night. The Hausruckviertel was particularly affected, but fire brigades also came out in Linz and in the districts of Linz-Land, Schärding and in the Mühlviertel.

Parliament votes to make it easier to get red-white-red employment card

It’s going to be easier to get a red-white-red (Rot-Weiß-Rot) card to allow qualified workers from third countries to find work, the Wiener Zeitung newspaper reports. In future, recipients of the RWR card can qualify with a minimum gross salary of 50 percent of the ASVG maximum contributions, (EUR 2,835 gross per month). There is no longer a minimum wage requirement for graduates from local universities and technical colleges, though the salary must correspond to the local salary of domestic graduates with comparable work and professional experience. Knowledge of English is equated with knowledge of German if the language in the company is English. The recognition of professional experience is to be made easier, language certificates and other evidence will  remain valid for longer. There will be easier applications for family members. In addition, regular seasonal workers are to be given permanent access to the labor market in the future and the approval process is to be accelerated.

READ MORE: Jobs in Austria: What types of jobs are in demand and where?

Doctor closes surgery due to death threats

A general practitioner in Upper Austria is temporarily closing her surgery after receiving online death threats from the anti-vaccination movement for more than seven months. Despite police protection and spending around 100,000 euros on security measures, she said it was no longer possible to continue operating her surgery safely. Her website explains that the security measures are costing more than profit from her practice.

Bike thefts fall in Austria, but are still common in Vienna

The number of bicycle thefts in Austria fell for the seventh time in a row last year. According to the Verkehrsclub Österreich, 17,595 reported bicycle thefts were the lowest in the 21st century. Two thirds of bicycle thefts happened in the provincial capitals, with most happening in Vienna. The most bike thefts were in Leopoldstadt (750), Donaustadt (711) and then Favoriten (531). The lowest number of thefts were in Hietzing. Here “only” 98 bikes were stolen in 2021, the Krone newspaper reports.

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