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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Heating prices to double, mask requirements in (some) schools, presidential elections and more news from Austria on Tuesday.

Some schools are bringing back mask requirements in Austria. Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP.
Some schools are bringing back mask requirements in Austria. Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP.

District heating to become 92 percent more expensive in Vienna

The 92 percent price increase for district heating has been confirmed and will be valid starting September 1st, daily Der Standard reported.

Vienna’s district heating system warms more than 440,000 households and 120 major customers (such as public buildings) using natural gas and waste incineration.

Wien Energie, the state-run company that provides the service in the capital, had announced plans for the increase in June. Finance City Councilor Peter Hanke (SPÖ) confirmed that the changes were approved internally and by the government.

Hanke said the city already had measures to relieve residents, such as a €250 million “energy support” package and that Vienna would also work on saving energy. For example, the Christmas lights will only shine later in the season this year, he said.

READ ALSO: Energy crisis: What to do in case of a power outage in Austria

Austria launches new site to combat online hate

After the suicide of doctor Lisa-Maria Kellermayr, who was a target of online hate for defending coronavirus measures and vaccines, Austria is launching a new campaign to help victims of online violence.

The country already offers free psychosocial and legal assistance, but a new website has all information on how the support works and has become a centre to help victims of online hate.

The campaign will also use social media advertising, ads in public transport and doctors and partnership with influencers to help reach potential victims.

READ ALSO: Austria in shock over doctor’s suicide following anti-vax abuse

Schools bring back mask requirements in Vienna

Private kindergartens and universities in Vienna are tightening their Covid-19 regulations, Kurier news site reported.

While Austria has dropped most of its restrictions, including mandatory FFP2 masks in schools and kindergartens, some private educational institutions have decided to ask people to wear masks sometimes for class and sometimes for visitors who are going to the schools for a short time (to pick up a child, for example).

They reason that it is no longer possible to check if people are corona-positive or not. Austria has removed quarantine requirements for people who test positive for coronavirus, though they must wear masks when going indoors. Still, it is impossible to check if those who tested positive are indeed wearing masks.

In many Viennese universities, including the University of Vienna, FFP2 masks must continue to be worn. Additionally, the university asks that people who have tested positive not attend class.

READ ALSO: LATEST: The Covid rules across Austria from August 2022

Run for presidential elections starts

Presidential candidates are now looking for supporters to back their candidacy officially, Die Presse reported.

In Austria, a candidate needs to gather at least 6,000 declarations of support to be eligible. The deadline for 2022 is September 2nd, and the ballot is on October 9th. Incumbent Alexander Van der Bellen and the main opposition, the FPÖ-backed candidate Walter Rosenkranz, will likely overcome this hurdle easily.

Other candidates include MFG boss Michael Brunner, former FPÖ politician Gerald Grosz and singer Dominik Wlazny.

Only people allowed to vote for president in Austria (foreigners have no voting rights in federal elections) can sign their support for a candidate. The presidential candidates also need to pay a cost contribution of €3,600 for their ticket to the ballot.

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

Sunny Tuesday in most of Austria

Austria will see plenty of sunshine this Tuesday, according to the country’s meteorologic institute ZAMG. Some areas will be cloudy in the afternoon, but those will dissolve by the evening.

The day will be dry, with afternoon temperatures between 22C and 30C.

In Vienna, sun and clouds alternate during the day, and it is unlikely that there will be any rain. Temperatures should stay around 27C and then drop to around 15C in the evening.

READ ALSO: Five Austrian destinations you can reach by train to escape the heat

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For members

TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

SPÖ gets significant results in Burgenland elections, chancellor to participate in 'migration summit', weapons arsenal found in Tyrol and more news from Austria on Monday.

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

Burgenland municipal elections results are in

Austria’s Burgenland state had municipal elections, and the centre-left party SPÖ saw some gains, though centre-right ÖVP kept the absolute majority in the capital Eisenstadt.

Thomas Steiner (ÖVP) lost 1.9 percentage points but still holds the capital with 53.4 percent of the votes. In contracts, the SPÖ gained almost four percentage posts and elected mayors in Andau, Gattendorf, Geresdorf-Sulz, Heugraben, Horitschon, Lutzmannsburg, Oberdorf im Burgenland, Sankt Michael im Burgenland and in Unterrabnitz-Schwendgraben.

Austria has presidential elections set for this Sunday, October 9th. The country will also elect a new parliament in 2024, with incumbents ÖVO and Green plummeting on polls and seeing losses in local ballots.

READ ALSO: Austrian presidential elections: Who are the seven candidates?

Nehammer to participate in ‘migration summit’

Austria’s chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) is meeting Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and the head of the Hungarian state Viktor Orbán in Budapest to discuss migration issues as refugee numbers taking the Balkan route have increased, daily Die Presse reported.

The government leaders will talk about increasing police cooperation in border protection, combating smugglers and other joint measures to counter illegal migration flows, the Chancellery said.

READ ALSO: Diversity and jobs: How migrants contribute to Vienna’s economy

Police find weapons arsenal in Tyrolean flat

On Saturday, police found an arsenal of weapons in the house of a German man in Tyrol, public broadcaster ORF reported.

The authorities wanted to serve the 47-year-old man with a weapons ban notice, but he stated that he had destroyed his weapons possession card.

During a house search, the police found several weapons and 1,300 rounds of ammunition, as well as various war materials such as a Russian tank night-vision device, armour-piercing ammunition, a machete, a crossbow and brass knuckles.

In addition, a human skull was discovered. The 47-year-old said he had bought it at a flea market in Germany.

READ ALSO: What happens if you get arrested in Austria?

MFG Federal Executive Gerhard Pöttler resigns from party

The MFG loses one of its central figures shortly after missing out on entry into the Tyrolean parliament.

Gerhard Pöttler, the federal secretary, federal finance officer and head of the regional group in Salzburg, wrote a letter informing of his departure from the party, the newspaper Der Standard reported.

The reason for the move was probably internal differences with other party members.

“I have come to the conclusion that some of the people in our organisation are no longer putting into practice what we promised our supporters. I can’t and don’t want to be a part of that any more,” Pöttler wrote. In his view, MFG had already become ingratiated with the existing system.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Who are MFG – Austria’s vaccine-sceptic party?

Weather

Screenshot from ZAMG

In the northern regions from Salzburg eastwards to western Lower Austria and Upper Styria, clouds will continue to dominate and there will be some rain, Austria’s meteorological institute ZAMG said.

The snow line is around 1700m above sea level.

Otherwise, it will be cloudy with only a few showers and the sun will shine at times, more in the afternoon. It will be much sunnier on the southern side of the Alps. From Upper Austria eastwards moderate to brisk, in the east occasionally strong wind from west to northwest. Maximum temperatures will be betwee 11C and 19C.

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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