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Vienna knife attacker gets life sentence

A man who stabbed four people in two knife attacks in the Austrian capital Vienna on March 7 was sentenced to life in jail on Thursday.

Vienna knife attacker gets life sentence
Praterstrasse, Vienna. Photo: Peter Gugerell

The 23-year-old Afghan national was found guilty by jurors on four counts of attempted murder.

The attacker did not claim any political motivation for his actions.

A couple and their 17-year-old daughter sustained severe injuries in the first attack near Nestroyplatz metro station, surviving thanks only to a quick response from emergency services.

The man then went onto the Praterstern area and stabbed his drug dealer, who he blamed for his “sad life situation”, according to prosecutors.

Between attacks, the man was a confronted by a passerby who avoided injury. The suspect was convicted on a further count of coercion for this encounter.

During the trial, the defence sought to portray the events as the result of a “drug-induced psychosis” after the man had consumed three grammes of cocaine and several ecstasy tablets.

A medical expert testified that a small amount of THC, a psychoactive from cannabis consumption, was found in the man's blood.

Psychiatrist Peter Hofmann told the court there was no reason to admit the man for treatment, and that the attacks were “a rampage, as unfortunately occurs more and more often nowadays”. 

Rage and frustration seemed to have built up in the attacker over a period of years, Hofmann said, adding: “That gnawed at him and much frustration will have been released in this act.”

The attacker and his defence team said they planned to appeal the sentence.

LIVING IN AUSTRIA

‘Bad-tempered locals’: Vienna ranked the world’s ‘unfriendliest city’

Foreigners in Vienna say the city offers excellent health and transport benefits but has an exceptionally unfriendly population.

'Bad-tempered locals': Vienna ranked the world's 'unfriendliest city'

The Spanish port city of Valencia is the most popular city among international employees this year, followed by Dubai and Mexico City, according to the “Expat City Ranking 2022” by Internations, a network for people who live and work abroad.

The ranking is based on the annual Expat Insider study, in which almost 12,000 employees worldwide participated this year. The report offers insights into the quality of life, settling in, working, personal finances and the “Expat Basics” index, which covers digital infrastructure, administrative matters, housing and language.

Vienna ranks 27th out of 50 cities in this year’s ranking. Although it scores very well in terms of quality of life, many expats find it difficult to settle in and make friends in the Austrian capital.

READ ALSO: REVEALED: The best and worst districts to live in Vienna (as voted for by you)

Vienna ranks last in the Ease of Settling In Index and also in the Local Friendliness Subcategory. 

Nearly half the respondents in the city (46 percent) say that people are unfriendly towards foreign residents (vs 18 percent globally), and 43 percent rate the general friendliness of the population negatively (vs 17 percent globally). 

An Australian immigrant told Internations they were unhappy with the seemingly “bad tempered locals”, while a survey respondent from the UK said they struggled to get along with the “conservative Austrians” in Vienna.

Unsurprisingly, more than half of the expats in Vienna (54 percent) find it challenging to make friends with the locals (vs 37 percent globally). Moreover, around one-third (32 percent) are unhappy with their social life (vs 26 percent globally), and 27 percent do not have a personal support system in Vienna (vs 24 percent globally). 

“I really dislike the grumpiness and the unfriendliness,” said an immigrant from Sweden.

READ ALSO: The downsides of Vienna you should be aware of before moving there

In the Quality of Life Index, Vienna snagged first place last year, but it reached only seventh place this year. In terms of administrative matters such as getting a visa for residence, Vienna is only 38th, and the federal capital also scores poorly for cashless payment options (42nd).

Where does Vienna shine?

The Austrian city ranked particularly well in categories including Travel and Transit (first place) and Health and Well-being (second place). International employees rated the availability, cost and quality of medical care as particularly good.

“I like how much you can do here and how easy it is to get around by public transport,” said an expat from the US. 

In addition, Vienna is not particularly expensive and ranks ninth worldwide in the personal finance index. 

READ ALSO: Five unwritten rules that explain how Austria works

Vienna ranks 26th out of 50 cities in the Working Abroad Index. Sixty-eight percent of expats rate their job as secure, and two-thirds rate their work-life balance positively – compared to 59 percent and 62 percent globally. However, 23 percent of respondents are dissatisfied with their career opportunities, and a third feel that the corporate culture in Vienna lacks creativity and unconventional thinking.

In the “Expat Basics” index, international employees consider housing in Vienna particularly affordable (9th). In addition, eight out of ten find it easy to open a local bank account (vs 64 percent worldwide).

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