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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
Austria's former chancellor Sebastian Kurz implicated by ally in corruption scandal (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

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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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Austrian rail strike to last all day, mild winter ahead, sale of online tickets for Lower Austrian ski resorts starts and more news from Austria on Monday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
  • Austrian rail strike to last all day

Austria’s ÖBB rail workers began a strike on Monday involving all train traffic nationwide after salary negotiations ended with no deal. 

The movement affects ÖBB trains but also some regional transport, including the S-Bahn system that goes through Vienna. In the Austrian capital, transport operated by Wiener Linien, which includes metros, buses and trams, won’t be affected.

Additionally, cross-border rail traffic and trains from Westbahn will be hurt as ÖBB also operates Austrian train stations.

Due to the all-day strike, there may also be individual train cancellations on Tuesday, November 29th. Information on this can be found in the ÖBB timetable information SCOTTY.

Worker unions have asked for a €400 pay rise as inflation increases in Austria.

READ ALSO: Austrian railway workers set to strike after pay talks fall flat

  • Everything that changes in Austria in December 2022

From public holidays, ski season and Christmas festivities to changes in transport timetable and bonus payments, here are some of the most important changes you need to be aware of in Austria in December.

  • More than 800 hospital beds had to be closed in Vienna

The staff shortages in the hospital sector are becoming more visible. Recently, almost 16 percent of the hospital beds in the Vienna Health Network were closed because there weren’t enough people to attend to them or because of renovations or technical maintenance, the newspaper Der Standard reported. 

In the Austrian capital, there are currently 900 vacancies in nursing and 91 vacancies for doctors in the public system.

As of November 22nd, 820 hospital beds were blocked in the Vienna Health Association (Wigev), as the municipal hospital operator stated in response to an enquiry from the newspaper. However, the number of blocked beds could still increase as the flu season peaks and more staff has to go on sick leave.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What is Austria’s controversial project to recruit nursing staff from Vietnam?

  • Mild winter hurts the chances of a white Christmas

Soon it will be Christmas Eve and the suspense is rising on whether there will be a white Christmas, especially at low altitudes, broadcaster ORF said.

The weather models do not yet reach that far, but ORF Vorarlberg meteorologist Thomas Rinderer has looked at the statistics. On average, there is a white Christmas in Bregenz every three to six years. The last time was in 2011, so statistically speaking, a white Christmas in the Rhine Valley would be more than overdue

However, the first long-term forecasts see a relatively mild winter overall. It is also unlikely that an extremely cold winter is imminent..

READ ALSO: ​​Austrian Christmas traditions: The festive dates you need to know

  • Online tickets for ski resorts sale start on Thursday

Daily and multi-day tickets can be purchased online for ecoplus Alpin GmbH ski resorts in Lower Austria from Thursday. The start of the season in the province is scheduled for 8 December.

“The principle is well known: the earlier you book, the cheaper it is. This early booking discount also applies at the weekends,” Tourism Provincial Councillor Jochen Danninger (ÖVP) stated in a press release.

He added: “We want to increase the occupancy rate over the entire winter season. There will be offers for adult day tickets starting at just €29.”

Tickets for Hochkar Bergbahnen, Ötscherliften, Annaberger Liften and Erlebnisalm Mönichkirchen can be purchased at www.freundederberge.at.

READ ALSO: How to save money and still go skiing in Austria

  • Weather

Screenshot from ZAMG

Today there will be mostly cloudy skies in the north, east and southeast with persistent fog, according to Austria’s meteorologic institute ZAMG. 

In the west, there will be some local rain. The snow line will fluctuate between 800 and 1300m above sea level. The wind will be light to moderate, in the eastern lowlands increasingly brisk from southeast to east. Daytime highs are between 1C and 9C, with the highest temperatures in the west.

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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