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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

First monkeypox case found in Austria, Van der Bellen to run again, millions of Russian assets frozen, and more news on Monday

A woman sunbathing in Vienna.
It's been a warm May and a long hot summer lies ahead. (Photo by ALEXANDER KLEIN / AFP)

First case of monkeypox in Vienna

The first case of monkeypox has reached Vienna. A 35-year-old man is being treated in an isolation ward in a clinic in the Favoriten district after developing typical symptoms of the disease: a slight fever and pustules. Contact tracing is already underway, broadcaster ORF reports. Experts are unsure why the disease, which is normally only occurs in Africa, is spreading throughout Europe.

READ MORE: Monkeypox in Austria: What causes it and is it serious?

Alexander Van der Bellen to run for President again 

Austria’s President Van der Bellen has announced on Twitter that he will stand once again for the President of Austria. This was expected last week, when a TikTok video was released showing footage of the President which played The Clash song, “Should I stay or should I go?”.

The Greens, liberal NEOS and left wing SPÖ parties have all welcomed the decision, but the far right FPÖ party has announced it plans to put up a rival candidate, broadcaster ORF reports. The FPÖ’s leader, Herbert Kickl, criticised Van der Bellen for his support of the Covid policy in Austria and for “weakening Austria’s neutrality”, the broadcaster reports.

EXPLAINED: How does Austria’s presidential election work?

Russian assets worth millions of euros frozen in Austria

Around 254 million euros in Russian assets have been frozen in a total of 97 accounts in Austria as part of  EU sanctions, the Federal Chancellery announced on Sunday. Broadcaster ORF reports this is twice as much as Germany has managed. A task force led by the Directorate for State Security and Intelligence (DSN) in the Ministry of the Interior is responsible for investigating the assets. The investigators also managed to locate five land register entries that were supposed to have served to conceal assets.

Villa in Attersee occupied by squatters

Anarchist squatters gained access to a villa believed to be owned by a Russian oligarch villa in Burgau am Attersee in the municipality of St. Gilgen on Saturday The squatters demanded sanctions from the Russian owner Igor Shuvalov, who , according to media reports, is said to have vacated the villa in March. The squatters have since left the building.

Austria’s former foreign minister could face sanctions soon

UPDATE: Austrian ex-minister who danced with Putin quits Russian oil company Rosneft

On Monday morning, the EU Commission announced Austria’s former foreign minister Karin Kneissl could face EU sanctions for failing to resign from her job with Russian oil giant Rosnef.

Later on Monday, Kneissl announced her resignation – although it is unclear what impact this will have on the sanctions process. 

Austrian media reports the rule includes an annual salary of 515,000 euros. The EU Commission could include her on the sanctions list, which could soon mean her assets are frozen and her bank accounts are blocked. 

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has left his position with the firm after sanctions were threatened. 

Note: this story was updated on Monday afternoon after Kneissl quit her board position at Russian oil giant Rosneft.

Vienna’s Uno City promised 30 million euro refurb

Vienna’s UNO City, which is home to the city’s international organisations and its 5,000 workers, has been promised a 30 million euro refurb by the Republic of Austria, which owns the high rise buildings. The  office towers in the Donaustadt are more than 40 years old and urgently need renovation. The total costs could end up being ten times higher than the 30 million euros promised so far. for the first phase. Broadcaster ORF reports the buildings no longer comply with building and fire regulations. 

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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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