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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Cancellations for Austrian Airlines, Vienna's Mayor targeted by cyber criminals, hot weather on the way and more news from Austria on Monday.

A girl plays in a sprinkler.
Hot weather is on the way in Vienna (Photo by ALEX HALADA / AFP)

Austrian Airlines cancel dozens of flights

Austrian Airlines had to cancel dozens of flights at the weekend due to staff taking sick leave after catching Covid-19. Broadcaster ORF reported 42 of the planned 346 flights to and from Vienna were canceled on Sunday. At the moment, city flights in Europe such as Berlin, Stuttgart, Zurich, Barcelona and Sofia are particularly affected. 

READ MORE: Vienna airport reassures travellers over summer concerns

A press spokeswoman for Austrian Airlines told the Ö1 programme that passengers would be informed immediately if their flight changed and rebooked on other flights if possible. Nevertheless, AUA recommends its passengers to check the flight status online at Austrian.com before driving to the airport.

READ ALSO: Austria sees scores of flight cancellations after airline staff contract Covid

Vienna’s mayor targeted by cybercriminals

It emerged at the weekend that Vienna’s Mayor Ludwig (SPÖ) had taken part in a video conversation on Wednesday with a deep fake whom he believed to be the Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko,. The mayors of Berlin and Madrid also reported being targeted by someone pretending to be the former Ukrainian heavyweight boxer turned politician.

On Saturday the City of Vienna’s official account put out a statement that Ludwig appeared to have been the victim of a “serious case of cybercrime”.

Now the Foreign Ministry will ask the relevant embassy to be contacted before making such phone calls or video calls to prevent further deep fake incidents.

The Ministry of the Interior announced that state security would now investigate the incident. It called for a recording of the video call to assess what information had been given out and clarify whether a criminal offense was committed.

Vienna gives out fourth vaccination to anyone aged 12 and over

The City of Vienna has made it easier for anyone to have a fourth coronavirus vaccination. From now on, everyone in Vienna aged 12 and over whose third vaccination was six months ago can get the booster vaccination from any vaccination centre. 

Presidential election date set

The date forAustria’s federal presidential election has been set. The Federal Chancellery announced on Sunday the election will take place on October 9th. The date will be officially fixed on Wednesday by the Federal Government by a decision of the Council of Ministers.

In addition to the incumbent candidate Alexander Van der Bellen, ex-Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) politician Gerald Grosz and  “Beer Party” chief Marco Pogo have announced they will run fro the post. The FPÖ has said it will put up a candidate but has not named any individual so far.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How does Austria’s presidential election work?

Austria’s highest mountain hut can’t find staff

Austria’s highest mountain hut, the Erzherzog-Johann-Hütte on the Großglockner, is urgently looking for a chef. Every day, the six-person hut team has to cater for up to 70 mountaineers and an additional 15 mountain guides, which is really tough, landlord Toni Riepler told broadcaster ORF. He said if possible he would love to find someone to start tomorrow. 

Heatwave coming to Eastern Austria

It’s going to be hot today on Monday, with temperatures reaching up to 34 and 35 degrees. It’s going to get even hotter by the end of the week. Temperatures are expected to reach between 35 and 38 degrees on Friday in Eastern Austria.

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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Heatwave peaks today, Lake Neusiedl at record low levels, calls to increase mileage allowance, expert advises on fourth Covid-19 jab and more news from Austria on Thursday.

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

Current heatwave will peak today

The current heatwave will peak in the east today (Thursday). It could reach 37 degrees today, and will be followed by a deluge of rain. It has been above 30 degrees every day since last Saturday in Austria. 

Water shortages vary across Austria

The situation with water shortages varies across Austria following this year’s long dry summer. The situation is particularly precarious in Burgenland, where  Lake Neusiedl is currently 114.94 meters above the level of the Adriatic Sea. This is the lowest water level since records began in 1965. The Seewinkel has also been hit hard, according to broadcaster ORF .

However, in Vienna the water levels are low in the Wienerwald streams and the Danube, but not extremely so.

IN PICTURES: How drought and extreme heat are affecting Austria

New allegations against Hygiene Austria

A new scandal has hit Hygiene Austria and Palmers, the company which produces Austria’s FFP2 masks. The Standard newspaper alleges that Palmers may have carried out  tax evasion, using fake receipts. Up to 693,000 euros of customs and import sales taxes may have been evaded, the paper claims. Palmers and Hygiene Austria reject the allegations.

The company previously hit the headlines after ordering masks from China which it mislabeled as “made in Austria” during the pandemic. 

Possible reductions in energy bills for Altbau

There are plans to reduce gas bills for people renting an Altbau, or old buildings, which often fall under rent control laws. The Ministry of Justice, led by Alma Zadic (Greens), is looking into how a price reduction for gas heating for people could be implemented. Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler has pointed out tenants have no power to change their heating systems and suffer from high bills as a result. Kogler also intends to create incentives for apartment building owners and landlords to convert to renewable heating systems, broadcaster ORF reports.

Calls to increase mileage allowance in Austria

The GPA union is calling for the Kilometergeldes (mileage allowance ) to be increased from the current 42 to 60 cents. This is a lump-sum payment for costs incurred when you use your own car for business trips. According to GPA chairwoman Barbara Teiber, speaking to ORF, there hasn’t been an adjustment for inflation for 14 years. 

READ MORE: How to save money on fuel costs in Austria

Recommendation to get fourth Covid-19 jab before autumn wave

According to the vaccination expert Herwig Kollaritsch, people should get their fourth vaccinations now before Covid-19 starts to pick up again with the start of school, full workplaces and cooler temperatures. He said the new CoV variants BA4 and BA5, meant people have less immunity following an infection. If the last vaccination was six months ago, he would now recommend getting a fourth jab. It is up to the individual to decide if they want to wait for the new modified vaccine which targets the Omicron variant, which was recently approved for use in Great Britain as people risk becoming infected while waiting for the vaccine, broadcaster ORF reports. 

READ MORE: When should you get your fourth vaccine dose?

Pension increase to be announced today

The government is set to announce the statutory pension increase today (Thursday). The increase is expected to be at least 5.8 percent. Negotiations will start next week on whether there will be full cost-of-living adjustments or not. Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens) has previously said that the government could add another two to 2.5 percent to the around 5.8 percent. However, this would still mean that it would be below inflation.

READ MORE: Why (and when) double-digit inflation is set to hit Austria

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