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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Russian gas flowing again through Austria, long queues for postal services, Austrian professor awarded a Nobel prize and more news from Austria on Wednesday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
Austrian physicist Anton Zeilinger addresses a press conference on October 4, 2022 at the Institute of Quantum Physics of the University in Vienna, after he was awarded with the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Russia’s Gazprom resumes deliveries through Austria

The Italian energy company Eni will again receive gas – albeit only part of what it requested – from Russian supplier Gazprom after the company said it had issues dispatching through Austria earlier this week.

On Saturday, Eni said the supplies would be at zero for the following days, and Gazprom said the disruption was due to regulatory changes in Austria. Austria’s energy regulator stated rule changes had been presented to market players months before they were set in place on October 1st.

READ ALSO: UPDATED: Will Austria have enough gas for this winter?

ÖBB and the City of Vienna extend free train travel for Ukrainian refugees

Austria’s national rail operator ÖBB has confirmed that Ukrainian refugees can continue using public transport free of charge until the end of October, as The Local reported on Tuesday.

Ukrainians must show a travel document as proof of status to use the transport network.

Additionally, Ukrainian refugees can continue using Wiener Linien services and the Verkehrsverbund Ostregion (VOR) public transport for free until October 31st.

READ ALSO: ‘Stressful learning German’: How a Ukrainian family is adapting to life in Austria

Austrians face long queues for postal services

Lines at the Post, Austria’s postal service, have been long recently, Austrian media reported. The main issue is that Post branches are also home to the bank99, the state-run lender used by the government to pay social benefits to the population.

Currently, people who live in Austria have been able to draw money or exchange vouchers for money with the bank99 for a series of benefits, including pension payments, AMS (unemployment) money, and the Klimabonus.

Additionally, postal services have also been in high demand as Austrian citizens can vote by mail for president – the elections are on Sunday, October 9th.

READ ALSO: Reader question: I’ve received my Austrian Klimabonus as a voucher, now what?

Government presents €4 billion pension package

Without seeking a final agreement with the senior citizens’ representatives, the ÖVP and the Greens agreed on next year’s pension increase, as The Local reported on Tuesday.

The law stipulates that pensions are automatically adjusted to inflation every year. However, the calculation period is quite far back. In the current case, the inflation from August 2021 to July 2022 is decisive. This results in an increase of 5.8 percent – but inflation has already climbed to over ten percent.

According to the coalition government, there will be a gradation system and some 200,000 people can expect a 10.2 percent income increase.

READ ALSO: What the Austrian government’s new pension package means for you

Tyrol: coalition talks underway between ÖVP and SPÖ

A new government should be in place in Austria’s Tyrol state by October 25th, public broadcaster ORF reported as coalition talks between centre-right ÖVP and centre-left SPÖ are underway.

The two party leaders, Anton Mattle (ÖVP) and Georg Dornauer (SPÖ), said they would promote a new “style” of government by working more intensively with the other parties in the provincial parliament.

Ideas and proposals, also from the opposition, should be taken up “undiluted and without amendments”, said Dornauer. Problems should be “solved jointly”, he added.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Who will be Tyrol’s new governor?

French-US-Austrian trio win physics Nobel for quantum mechanics work

A trio of physicists on Tuesday won the Nobel Prize for discoveries in the field of quantum mechanics that have paved the way for quantum computers, networks and secure encrypted communication, AFP reported.

Alain Aspect of France, John Clauser of the United States and Austria’s Anton Zeilinger were honoured “for experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violation of Bell inequalities and pioneering quantum information science,” the Physics Prize jury said in a statement.

Zeilinger, a professor of physics at the University of Vienna, said he had not expected to be honoured.

“I was actually very surprised to get the call,” Zeilinger told a Stockholm press conference via telephone.

Zeilinger was highlighted for his work on “quantum teleportation, which makes it possible to move a quantum state from one particle to one at a distance,” the jury said.

“It is not like in the ‘Star Trek’ films or whatever. Transporting something — certainly not the person — over some distance. But the point is, using entanglement, you can transfer all the information which is carried by an object over to some other place where the object is reconstituted,” Zeilinger said.

Weather

Screenshot from ZAMG

The last patches of fog in the valleys dry quickly and the sun prevails everywhere, Austria’s meteorologic institute ZAMG said.

However, some clouds pass by at high altitudes and somewhat dim the sunlight. The wind will be light at the eastern edge of the Alps and moderate from southeast to southwest during the day. The daily high temperature is 17 to 24 degrees.

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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