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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

German classes for refugees, vaccination, the weather for today and more news from Austria on Monday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
A man shelters from the rain under umbrella in Vienna. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Debate about German courses for refugees

Austria is debating the best way to provide German classes for refugees and promote integration, as Der Standard reports.

Firstly, refugees usually have one single German-speaking teacher and almost no contact with German-speaking students at schools, reducing their contact with the language considerably. They also never hear their mother tongue in the context of school.

However, this mainly happens among schoolchildren with poor knowledge of German from Turkey, Syria, Serbia and even Austria.

The situation is different in most classes that were set up for Ukrainian refugee children, the daily said. These kids usually have at least two teachers who speak German (one would speak Ukrainian as well).

The Austrian daily paper says students have already noticed the difference. “The German class with children from Syria is separated by only a wall from the Ukrainian class – and everyone can see how much resources go where”, according to the report.

READ ALSO: How Austria and Austrians are helping Ukrainian refugees

Vienna expands vaccination offers

Long lines in Viennese vaccination centres led to people having to wait one and a half to two hours to get the coronavirus jab, according to reports in Austria media.

Broadcaster ORF said that the surge in demand comes just after the city of Vienna simplified the access to the fourth Covid vaccination. As a result, people can get the shot after four months of the third dose without the need for registration or appointment.

With increasing coronavirus numbers ahead of the summer holidays, the search for the vaccine has also risen. While about 300 people were vaccinated daily less than two weeks ago, about 1,300 people went every day at the weekend, the report said.

Health authorities recommend people make an appointment even though they are not required to. “With an appointment, it’s easier for us to plan, and there is also a separate area for people with appointments”, Susanne Drapalik, chief physician at the Samaritan League, told reporters.

The Austrian capital will also extend the opening hours of the vaccination centres to meet demand.

READ ALSO: Covid-19 in Austria: When should you get your fourth vaccine dose?

Austria’s government calls for blood donations

Austria’s hospitals are running out of blood, Die Presse reported. As a result, the Austrian Red Cross and the federal government are asking the population to donate blood.

“I urge you to take the time, go donate blood, and save the life of a fellow human being”, Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) said.

As of next September, there will also be non-discriminatory blood donation in Austria, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. However, it is worth noting that several people are still excluded from blood donation in Austria. In addition, the authorities require a fluent knowledge of German so that you can go through the pre-interview and fill out the forms without help or a translator.

Additionally, people who were born or lived for more than six months in several countries where there are diseases such as malaria, including Brazil, for example, have a life ban on blood donation in Austria, according to the Red Cross website.

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

Rain showers bring temperatures down in Austria

From Vorarlberg to Upper Austria, there will be clouds interchanging with sunny times during the morning. Some regions will also have rain showers and thunderstorms.

In the rest of the country, including Vienna, the sun often shines, at least during the morning, Austria’s central meteorological and geodynamic institute ZAMG says.

From the late morning, more and more clouds start forming and accumulating, especially over the mountains and in the hills, and will likely bring more thunderstorms and rain. However, it remains sunny and dry for longer in Austria’s far east and southeast.

Day maximum temperatures throughout Austria go from 24C to 34C. At night, heavy downpours are expected, and even thunderstorms in the eastern half of Austria. The lowest temperatures of the night are between 14C and 20C.

READ ALSO: Wild weather in Austria: How to protect yourself during summer storms

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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Hot weather today in Vienna and storms in Austria this weekend, parents wait for school information, no plans to tax profits of energy companies and more news from Austria on Friday.

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

Vienna to bake in scorching temperatures on Friday

Today (Friday) will be one of the hottest days of the year in Vienna, with temperatures predicted to soar to 37 degrees by the afternoon. During the day, clouds will form over Austria’s mountains and from midday there will be heavy showers and thunderstorms from the Silvretta to western Upper Styria. Away from the mountains it  will stay  sunny for a long time, though towards evening the chance of thunderstorms increases from Lake Constance to Upper Austria.

Over the weekend there will also be storms across much of Austria, particularly on the north side of the alps, and there will be a brisk north-east wind in the east. Temperatures will drop to between 22 and 31 degrees. 

School Covid-19 measures to be revealed on August 29th

Parents will not know what exact measures schools will take to combat Covid-19 infections in the autumn term until August 29th, when the Education Minister Martin Polaschek (ÖVP) will release guidance based on the measures taken by the Ministry of Health, the newspaper Heute reports.

As The Local has previously reported, the Austrian government has already released a four-point plan for schools the next academic year, including an “early warning system”, an advanced testing strategy, vaccination, and air purification equipment to be used in classrooms. 

READ MORE: What will the rules be for children returning to school in Austria this autumn

No plan to tax profits of high-earning energy companies 

Austria’s federal government is not planning to tax the excess profits of high-earning energy companies, although UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has accused  corporations of making “excessive” profits from the energy crisis caused by the Ukraine war and the European Parliament passed a resolution in May calling for the introduction of an excess profit tax. Finance Minister Magnus Brunner (ÖVP) has told the Wiener Zeitung newspaper that a windfall profit tax would also have affected renewable providers, broadcaster ORF reports. He believes federal states should take measures if there are unfair profits. The opposition SPÖ party continues to push for a special tax on excessively high corporate profits from energy companies. They estimate the additional income of the energy producers and suppliers at four to six billion euros.

ÖGB Trade Union Confederation calls for nationwide protests against ‘price explosion’

The Austrian Trade Union Confederation (ÖGB) is planning protests throughout Austria for September 17 – and is calling on the government to act quickly to combat inflation. 

A statement by the ÖGB states prices are “rising without end” while corporations are “reaching record profits in energy, fuel and food”. The bill would be paid by the population, and “if nothing happens now, then this will only be the beginning of the inflation wave”. That has to end now. The statement concludes: “Politicians must finally act and can no longer stand idly by and see how our lives become unaffordable.”

Few international tourists visiting Wachau region

International tourists have not returned to the wine-growing Wachau region of Austria in large numbers, broadcaster ORF reports. Although many cruise ships are now sailing along the Danube, many are only 20 percent full. Australian, American, Asian and Russian tourists have not been visiting the area since the pandemic, the broadcaster reports.

Large-scale operation because of illegal campfires on Schneeberg

According to the fire brigade, an illegal campfire led to a large-scale operation on Schneeberg in Lower Austria yesterday. The fire had spread in steep terrain. The fire brigade warns against carelessness as there was a major fire in Hirschwang last year, broadcaster ORF reports.

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