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

The Local Austria
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Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Supermarket food stalls (Photo by Denis CHARLET / AFP)

Austria sees rise in unemployment as the economy weakens, toddler injured after falling from a window in Carinthfoodfood insecurity affects over 400,000 Austrians and more news from Austria on Friday.

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Austria's press freedom ranking drops to worst level ever

Austria's press freedom has hit a record low, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF)'s latest index released on Friday. The country now sits at 32nd place, down from 29th last year.

RSF cites concerns about political influence on media through ad allocation and ORF committee appointments. The lack of a Freedom of Information Act also plays into the negative ranking.

This marks a steep decline from Austria's 12th place ranking just a decade ago. Currently, the country falls in the "satisfactory" category, below Moldova and just ahead of Mauritania. Only eight countries have a "good" press freedom situation worldwide.

Fritz Hausjell, President of RSF Austria, points to ongoing investigations into suspected corruption between the governing party (ÖVP) and media outlets, as well as the FPÖ's potential involvement in advertising irregularities.

Austria sees rise in unemployment as the economy weakens

Austria's unemployment rate climbed to 6.8 percent in April, reflecting a struggling industrial and construction sector. The number of unemployed people rose by 11.1 percent year-on-year, with a total of 367,847 people out of work.

"The current higher unemployment rate is primarily a result of the continuing challenging economic environment," said Labor Minister Martin Kocher.

Despite the rise in unemployment, the total number of employed people remains high at 3.92 million, exceeding last year's figure. Minister Kocher believes this indicates an upcoming economic recovery, although it may take time to impact the job market.

Job openings are also down, with a nearly 18 percent decrease in vacancies compared to April 2023. According to Public Employment Service Director Petra Draxl, this decline suggests a slow economic rebound.

READ ALSO: Unemployment benefits in Austria - Who is eligible and how much can you get?

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Toddler falls from window in Carinthia

A two-year-old girl was airlifted to Villach Regional Hospital on Thursday morning after falling from a first-floor window, ORF has reported.

The incident occurred in the Spittal an der Drau district. While in the kitchen with her parents, the girl climbed onto a chair and reached an open window. She fell four to five meters onto concrete slabs.

Initial reports suggest the child sustained minor injuries, likely abrasions and bruises. Her condition is stable, and she has been moved to a regular ward.

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Food insecurity affects over 400,000 Austrians

A new survey reveals a concerning level of food insecurity in Austria. Over 420,000 people, or 12 percent of the population, struggle to afford enough food.

The survey by Gesundheit Österreich GmbH (GÖG) found that many Austrians have to skip meals, restrict food quality, and worry about feeding their children.  Nearly 13 percent of households with children reported concerns about their kids not having enough to eat.

The burden falls heaviest on younger people, the sick, those with lower education levels, and the unemployed.  While many want to prioritise healthy food choices, financial limitations, lack of time, and limited affordable options pose significant barriers.

Experts recommend solutions like free communal meals, reduced VAT on healthy foods, and promoting affordable grocery options. Additionally, improving public education about healthy eating habits is seen as crucial.

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Rangnick stays with Austria National Team after Bayern Munich talks

In a surprising turn of events, Ralf Rangnick has rejected Bayern Munich's coaching offer and will remain manager of the Austrian national team.

This comes just a day after Bayern confirmed positive discussions with Rangnick. The Austrian Football Association (ÖFB) announced the news on Thursday morning.

"I have a deep commitment to the Austrian team," said Rangnick. "This role brings me immense joy, and I'm determined to continue our journey together." He emphasised the decision was made "for my team and our shared goals."

Rangnick's focus now shifts entirely to the upcoming European Championship. Austria is placed in Group D alongside France, Poland, and the Netherlands. Their primary goal is to progress from the group stage.

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