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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Forest fire extinguished, winter to test power grid, police warn of telephone frauds and more news from Austria on Monday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
A tourist couple shelters from the rain under an umbrella decorated with famous artworks of Austrian artist Gustav Klimt in Vienna. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER KLEIN (Photo by ALEXANDER KLEIN / AFP)

Forest fire extinguished after days

A forest fire that was first reported on Friday in Serfaus, Tyrol, was extinguished on Sunday afternoon with the help of several fire brigades and mountain rescue, broadcaster ORF said.

A lightning strike probably caused the fire, the authorities said. The dry weather and extreme heat in Austria make it challenging to contain forest fires and increase their likelihood.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How Austria banned everyone from the forest for 123 years

Fewer kids leaving schools for homeschooling

The number of “school-leaving certificates” that allow children to deregister from school for home education has significantly decreased, daily Der Standard said.

A total of 4,601 children were deregistered from school by the end of the deadline this year, according to the Ministry of Education. In the previous school year, there were around 7,500 withdrawals from classes.

Austria has no mandatory school, but kids need to receive an education. Therefore, children can attend home lessons or go into private education not regulated by public law. Last year, many parents chose to take their kids from school amid the coronavirus pandemic and the school restrictions and regulations.

READ ALSO: Reader question: Is homeschooling legal in Austria?

Winter will test Vienna’s power grid

Vienna has gone through some power shortages recently, including affecting the amusement park in Prater, where people were stuck on rides and had to be rescued.

Experts fear that power shortages will become more common in connection with the heat, according to ORF. Blackout and crisis prevention expert Herbert Saurugg told the broadcaster that the climate crisis and increased infrastructure damage would pressure the Austrian capital’s power grid. Especially as people resort to electric heaters in winter when gas supply could be cut, the report added.

Vienna’s electricity state-run company, Wiener Netze, is more optimistic. “We have a security of supply of 99.99 percent and we are constantly renewing our electricity grid and expanding it to meet future requirements”, spokesman Christian Call said.

READ ALSO: Reader question: Should I buy an electric heater in Austria this winter?

Police warn (again) of telephone fraud

The police say they are seeing a sharp increase in fraudulent calls, with criminals trying to scam people into sending them money or giving them private information, according to ORF.

There are several scams, including “fake cops”, when fraudsters call the victims pretending to be from law enforcement. They often say that a gang is planning robberies in the neighbourhood or that the victim’s bank is being investigated for corruption. Regardless of the story, the goal is the same: get the victim to surrender their belongings for “custody” or send the “police” money.

READ ALSO: Austrian police warn public about new ‘fake cops’ scam

Volatile weather with mild temperatures

In general, the day is a bit volatile with some clouds and, at times, a few showers, especially from east Tyrol to southern Lower Austria and the Graz region, Austria’s central for meteorology and geodynamik ZAMG said.

Some thunderstorms can happen throughout the country, but the sun may also shine in regions. Afternoon temperatures should stay between 22C to 28C, with the highest temperatures in the west.
In Vienna, the day starts with some clouds and light rain, but they dissipate during the day, bringing back the sun. Afternoon temperatures are around 25C.

READ ALSO: Austrian heatwave: Six tips to get a better night’s sleep

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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Energy subsidy plan in the works, Kurz to talk to inquiry commission, Covid numbers going up and more news from Austria on Wednesday.

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

Government to present energy subsidy plan for companies

After weeks of negotiations, the federal government should present the energy cost subsidy this Wednesday. 

Although the detailed negotiations in the turquoise-green (ÖVP-Greens) coalition are still ongoing, the most critical cornerstones have already been agreed upon, Austrian media has reported.

“Energy-intensive” companies are the focus of the subsidy, the reports say. Restaurants and bars will get assistance – but only those that take energy-saving measures such as turning off electric heaters outdoors.

READ ALSO: How could Austria’s new electricity price brake benefit you?

Former chancellor Sebastian Kurz returns to political spotlight

Sebastian Kurz may have resigned from the country’s top position (and politics itself), but sometimes he can’t help returning to the spotlight. 

The former chancellor was invited – as an “information person” – to the ongoing commission of inquiry looking into allegations of corruption in his party, the ÖVP. 

He is expected to be asked about matters and decisions of his chancellery leading up to the Inseratenaffäre, the allegation that his inner circle bribed Austrian newspapers to publish fake polls favourable to him.

READ ALSO: ANALYSIS: The Kurz corruption scandal exposes Austria’s press freedom problems

More than 10,000 new coronavirus infections reported

Austria on Tuesday recorded 10,449 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours, according to the Health Ministry.

This is the first time infection numbers have gone over 10,000 since late July. The 10,449 new Corona infections were above the average of 8,058 conditions per day over the past seven days.

Additionally, the number of people hospitalised with Covid-19 also grew, to 1,291, 143 more than the previous day.

READ ALSO: Could Austria be spared another wave of Covid this winter?

Austrians exchange two million shillings for euros annually

Austria may have joined the eurozone in 1999 (one of the first countries to do so), but that doesn´t mean its former currency, the shilling, isn’t around anymore. In fact, every year, Austrians exchange between one and two million shillings, the daily newspaper Der Standard reported.

The coins and notes can be exchanged (in person or by mail) by the country’s Central Bank without any fees. The bank has already exchanged 97 percent of the shilling notes that were once in circulation, but less than half of the coins.

READ ALSO: 7 ways to talk about money in German

Austria to start border controls in Slovenia borders

Austria will start controls on the border crossings with Slovakia from Thursday, 0.00 a.m., Austrian media reported. 

On Wednesday, the Czech Republic will begin checks on Slovakia due to the increased volume of smugglers. Interior Minister Karner then announced to the “Journal um Acht” that the country would introduce controls. 

Weather

Screenshot from ZAMG

A cold front lies over Austria with often many clouds nationwide and initially precipitation mainly in the west. 

In the afternoon, there will be hardly any sunshine but some rain. Most precipitation will continue to fall in Vorarlberg and Tyrol. Snow will hardly fall below 2000m. 

The wind will be light to moderate in the eastern region temporarily and also brisk from directions around the south. By evening, the wind will shift more to the west, weakening. High temperatures will be between 11C to 18C.

If you have any questions about life in Austria, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected].

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