Austrian owner swaps his three-bedroom Detroit
home for an iPhone 6.
The Austrian owner who offered to swap his three-bedroom Detroit
home for an iPhone 6 has received a cash deal and the offer of a new
iPhone after canny marketing by Estate agent, Larry Else
A desperate overseas real estate owner who offered to swap his
dilapidated Detroit home for an iPhone 6 has sold the property – and a
new iPhone 6 into the bargain.
Andreas Gindelhuber bought the three-bedroom Detroit foreclosure
property for US$41,000 in 2010, hoping to make some money on it as a
rental property, but never saw it, as he lives in Austria.
But as the Detroit market dropped, neighbourhoods suffered from vacant properties and it became more difficult to rent.
When Mr Gindelhuber’s tenants left seven months ago, he owed US$6,000 in county property taxes and hired agent Larry Else, of to sell the property.
The home was originally listed for US$5,000, but was then reduced to
US$3,000. With no sale after four months, the agent remembered Mr
Gindelhuber had told him that he would be willing to trade the home for
an iPhone 6 or a 32GB iPad and thought it could help generate interest
in the property.
Sure enough, the iPhone 6 swap for the three-bedroom, 1.5-bath
colonial property on Laing Street, which is smoke-damaged and is missing
all its doors and windows, was picked up by the media and achieved
The 2,400-square foot home, which was built in 1929, had a 600square
foot finished basement and 4,356 square foot garden and was advertised
on real estate site Zillow as being an “investor special”.In the end, it
has been bought by near neighbour Sean Washington, who offered US$900
cash. The contract is under review and in two weeks it could be a done
In addition, a German benefactor who heard of Mr Gindelhuber’s
predicament sent him an email offering to send him his new iPhone 6. The
Austrian had previously turned down an offer of an iPhone 5, say media
The iPhone 6 was released by Apple last month in the United States and costs around US$650 for a non-contract phone.
Reported by OPP media
British newspaper catches Austrian in Fraud Probe
A corrupt MEP caught by a British newspaper offering to propose
amendments to EU laws in exchange for 100,000 euros a year has been
given a three-year-jail term.
Austrian Ernst Strasser, 58, also a former interior minister of Austria,
was originally given a four-year term in 2013 after he was filmed by
reporters from the Sunday Times newspaper offering to pursue amendments
to a planned law on hedge funds for cash.
After a retrial, he was sentenced to 3-1/2 years in jail for bribery by a
Vienna court in March, which has now been reduced again by the
country's highest court to 3 years taking into account the massive fall
from grace that he had experienced by his actions.
Strassser's lawyer Thomas Kralik had appealed the sentence, and the case
was referred to the Supreme Court of the Alpine republic as a result.
Kralik said: "To a certain extent this was entrapment. Had they not put
the carrot before his nose, there would have been no case to answer."
And he added. "He is now politically and socially a dead man."
Strasser, a member of the conservative Peoples' Party (OeVP) who had
served as interior minister from 2000-04, will most probably have to
spend at least six months in prison after which he will be eligible to
wear an electronic bracelet and serve his sentence at home. He is
expected to start serving his sentence this year.
Supreme Court President Eckart Ratz said it was "vital for democracy to
fight against people who use politics to line their own pockets". He
then addressed Strasser directly as he told him: "An EU parliamentarian
who is corrupt is an evil that destabilises and calls into question the
functioning of the European Union."
However, Ratz said the court decided to reduce the sentence because
Strasser had been made into somewhat of a "scapegoat" by the
circumstances of the offence and deserved some pity for his public fall.
Strasser said he had made "grave mistakes" but denied the charges against him. He made no comment as he left the court building.
Place in the Sun property exhibition opens at NEC
The Place in the Sun property exhibition opened to queues of visitors. The Amazing Austria stand was as popular as usual with people interested in the new developments we are promoting. Also of great interest to visitors were changes that are happening to the property market in Austria, particularly the latest ruling about renting out of holiday apartments. Other concerns were the political climate and how this would affect future property laws or purchases.
It seems that Spain and USA are popular once again with the British buyer, as is France which has never really gone out of fashion. This is continued interest even with all the tax rules in France, is probably to do with the proximty of England being only 28 miles from France. So, easy for people to reach in a few hours by car ferry.
Bavaria calls for return of border controls with Austria!
To stem the tide of immigrants, Governor of Bavaria says immigration controls needed to address growing problem of refugees travelling to Germany to claim asylum
Angela Merkel's Bavarian coalition partners have called for the return of
border controls between Germany and Austria.
Horst Seehofer, the governor of Bavaria and leader of the CSU party, said
immigration controls were needed to stem the tide of refugees travelling to
Germany to claim asylum.
His party is reportedly preparing a seven-point emergency programme to address
the problem of Germany's growing numbers of asylum-seekers, which includes
temporarily suspending the Schengen agreement on border-free travel and
imposing controls along the border with Austria.
Under EU rules, border checks can be temporarily re-introduced if there is a
threat to national security or public safety.
Germany has faced rising numbers of asylum-seekers in recent years, and local
authorities in many parts of the country say they are overwhelmed.
The CSU programme also calls for the release of €100m (£80m) in federal funds
to help local authorities tackle the problem, according to Spiegel magazine.
Mrs Merkel has yet to respond to the proposals, and it is not clear whether
they will be adopted as government policy.
The CSU is the Bavarian sister party of her CDU but it often takes a more
Although its proposals target the border with Austria, it is Italy that is the
real focus of the CSU's anger. Large numbers of asylum-seekers enter the EU
via Italy, after crossing the Mediterranean from Africa.
Under international law, they are supposed to claim asylum in the first
country they reach, but the Schengen Area's open borders mean it is easy for
them to travel on to Germany, and Mr Seehofer claims the Italian authorities
are not doing enough to stop them.
"Italy is in clear violation of the Schengen accords. If this doesn't
stop, Germany has to seriously consider stopping this violation via border
controls," Mr Seehofer told Bild newspaper "We must set quotas for
refugees in Europe. And we have to deal with the fact that refugees need to
be shared out among EU members fairly."
France temporarily reimposed immigration controls on its border with Italy in
2011 for the same reason. At the time the European Commission ruled the
temporary border checks were legal, but said they did not respect "the
spirit of the Schengen rules".
Reported from the Telegraph Austria news.
Booby trap Manure Explodes!
A traffic cop in Austria got more than he bargained for after a
booby trap covered him head-to-toe in manure as he was trying to catch
Police said an explosive put in a plastic bucket filled with liquid
manure was set to detonate when somebody triggered a fishing line placed
PC Gunther Maier, 58, was not hurt in the blast and detectives said the
device was most likely designed by an irate motorist to humiliate
officers rather than cause injury. But they warned that if they caught
those responsible they would face serious consequences and most likely
jail as the illegal explosive could have easily caused serious harm.
Police spokesman Rainer Dionisio said: "What could have happened if the
officer had been nearer the explosives, or if a child had set it off? It
doesn't bear thinking about."
Police said the trap had gone off when the traffic police officer was
about 3 metres away from the device hidden on the side of the road on
the Moelltal state highway in Austria. The site is commonly used by
police for laser-based speed monitoring.
A garden spade and garden gloves were leaning against the bucket
containing the bovine excrement. The force of the explosion destroyed
the garden tool's wooden handle and also blew up the bucket.
Hosting Eurovision 2015 in Austria already complicated
The search for a suitable location for next year's Eurovision Song
Contest taking place in Austria is already hitting complications with
still 11 months to go until the event.
The venue requirements for Eurovision were released by ORF recently,
outlining the need for the chosen premises to close its doors for at
least six weeks in preparation for hosting the singing competition.
As a result, Vienna's Stadt Halle, a lead runner in the contest to be
the venue to host the show, would have to completely shut its doors to
other events between April and May next year. This would mean up to 18
events would be affected, including Apassionata and a concert from James
Meanwhile, another venue option - Vienna's Messe Centre near the Prater -
is already hosting a congress that time next year for liver doctors
with over 10,000 expected to attend the booked event.
The option to hold the competition in Salzburg was ruled out when
Governor Wilfried Haslauer said that the event "does not fit" with
Salzburg's association with "high-quality art forms". However with a
capacity of 10,000 Graz's Stadthalle Graz could also compete with Vienna
venues for the show.
With 11 months to go, Eurovision 2015 is still a fair while away but in
Norway the process of choosing next year's competitor has already begun -
the country organisers have now officially begun accepting submissions
British Soldier Rescued After Climbing Mountain In T Shirt
A British soldier who tackled the frozen Austrian Alps wearing just
shorts and a T-shirt has been rapped by officials after he had to be
rescued from the snowy peak.
Rescuers in Hohe Tauern, a mountain range near the western city of
Salzburg, say the 37-year-old man had ignored warnings that he could
freeze to death wearing kit more suitable for a day the beach than a
Conditions were so bad that a helicopter rescue was abandoned when the
chopper could not fly high enough to reach the climber at 3,100 metres
up the mountain.
Officials say he was warned when he reached an Alpine hut at 2,176
metres that he could die if he went any higher in his T-shirt, shorts,
But he ignored the warning and climbed a further thousand metres before he called for help.
After the helicopter rescue was abandoned, local climbers braved snow
and ice falls to rescue the stricken soldier, who was taken back down to
the nearest rescue hut.
But his actions have infuriated local mountain rescue officials, who are
expected to demand he pay the full cost of the operation to pluck him
from the peak of the Kempsenkopf mountain.
Paul Hasenauer from Fusch Mountain Rescue said he only survived the ordeal without injuries because of his fitness as a soldier.
He said: "This man ignored every Alpine rule. He ignored all warnings."
"He was not equipped at all in any way for the expedition. He did not
even have proper footwear on. He slid all the way back to the Gleiwitzer
Hut as his shoes had no grip.
"As a soldier he was very fit. This was the only reason he survived. If
he had not been so fit he would have not survived the climb," he added.
Austria's drive to preserve its own version of German language!
Austria is preparing to fight off an invasion – by the German language. The
country’s education minister this week announced a major new drive to
preserve the unique Austrian form of German, in the face of encroaching
words and expressions from across the border in Germany.
“What is heard in movies, on TV or the internet, is often produced or dubbed
in our neighbouring country Germany,” the education minister, Gabriele
Heinisch-Hosek, wrote in a 64-page booklet distributed to schools.
“One consequence is that specifically Austrian peculiarities and expressions
of our language slowly but surely fall into the background.” It is
reminiscent of efforts by the Académie Francaise to prevent the use of
phrases imported from English – except in this case the offending words do
not come from a foreign language.
It has been said of Austria and Germany, as of Britain and the USA, that they
are divided by a common language.
While Austrians and Germans can understand each other, there are many words
and phrases that mark Austrian German out as different. When Austria joined
the EU in 1995, it insisted its version of the language be given protected
But it seems that has not been enough to prevent expressions creeping in from
across the border. The new government booklet encourages children to use the
Austrian version of the language, and urges teachers to favour the Austrian
word Schlagobers for cream, over the German Sahne; Marille
for apricot, instead of Aprikose; and the traditional Austrian
greeting Servus for goodbye, instead of the German Tschüs.
The move comes after a recent study for the University of Vienna found that
more than half the Austrian teachers surveyed believed German forms of
vocabulary and grammar to be more correct than the Austrian.
Austrian linguists complain that even within Austria, their version of the
language is often seen as a mere local dialect, rather than a separate form
Report from The Telgraph.
Why is Austria doing so well?
Austria has most of the attributes we associate with economic
sclerosis. It is a classic 'cartel democracy', in which the two big
parties – the Reds and the Blacks – scrabble to find public sector
positions for their supporters. The economy is run on corporatist lines,
with ministers mediating deals between the employers' federation and
the trade unions. Taxes are high – 44 per cent of GDP – and the state
payroll is swollen, even by EU standards. Employment and social
regulations are burdensome: Austria is the third most expensive place in
the OECD to hire someone.
And yet – there's no getting around it – the Alpine republic is
flourishing. Growth is respectable, unemployment is below five per cent,
the quality of life excellent, and income per head the second-highest
in the Euro-zone after Luxembourg. What, I ask myself, am I missing?
I spent the weekend putting that question to various natives: journalists, think-tankers, politicians and
Austrian economists. They were conveniently gathered in Vienna for the
Tenth European Resource Bank – the annual get-together for free-market
and sound-money campaigners from all over the old continent. (Many
thanks, by the way, to the this year's host organisation, and to its heroic director Barbara Kolm. As it says: 'How far that little candle throws his beams.')
'What's your secret?' I kept asking. Local libertarians were at a
loss to answer, and fell back – as libertarians often do, I find – on
prophesying a terrible meltdown.
Here, for what it's worth, are the various explanations that were
eventually proffered. All of them strike me as true enough, but none as
sufficient to explain the economic disparity between Austria and its EU
neighbours. A report from the Telegraph.. read more:
Austrian Wine Grower Sets New Record For Maturing Grapes
An award-winning Austrian winegrower is believed to have set a new
record after leaving harvested grapes for an incredible nine months
before fermenting them to create an ultra-sweet white and red wine.
Christian and Nora Trierenberg, who run the 20 hectare Georgiberg
vineyard, which was established in 1777 in the southern Austrian
province of Styria, harvested 2,500 kilos of red wine Zweigelt grapes
and white Gewuerztraminer grapes.
But instead of extracting the juice straight away, the grapes picked in
September were stored in a specially converted barn, carefully laid out
on a reed bed, and constantly checked so that any mouldy or damaged
grapes were removed. The juice that was finally extracted contained so
much sugar, that it tastes more like honey than wine.
Nora said: "We have always attached great importance to a long maturing
time, as that controls flavour and the development of the flavour is a
top priority for us. Our vineyards are worked by hand, and the grapes
are picked solely by hand. No pesticides or herbicides are used, and so
we wanted to see what we could learn from waiting longer before we
extracted the juice from the grapes."
To make a traditional sweet wine, vintners will leave the grapes on the
stalks longer, so that the moisture in the grape slowly disappears
leaving a higher sugar concentration. This process is taken to the
extreme in the making of ice wine – where the grapes are left until the
first frost and only then harvested when everything is frozen.
But the new technique being perfected in southern Austria involves the
grapes being harvested and left untouched even longer than winter, right
the way through to the following year.
Nora said: "We had the grapes tested constantly to make sure we only
extracted the juice when the sugar content was absolutely perfect.
"The extract that we got was more like syrup than wine, and had more of
the consistency of honey than the traditional wine juice."
She estimates that from the 2,500 kilos of grapes they will end up with not more than about 25 litres of wine.
She said: "If we had extracted the juice right after harvesting in
September, we would have had a 75 percent yield. But by leaving it so
long we ended up with just 7 percent.
"But the advantage of using this method is that leaving the grapes
hanging on the vine means that we would have to contend with birds and
the weather. Some years the birds can eat almost the entire crop. But
even without them we have a lot of rain in this area and that is a big
disadvantage of just leaving the grapes on the vine."
Austrian wine expert Willi Opitz whose clients include Bill Clinton and
whose wine is sold around the world at top stores, including Harrods in
London, said: "This method is not normally done because it is a lot of
work for very little result. The grapes need to be checked all the time
and those that have gone bad thrown away - about 30 percent is lost that
way. Normally, there is also the problem of contamination as the grapes
take flavour from whatever they are in contact with - however, this is
overcome in this case by using reeds that are neutral."
Austria has a reputation for good quality sweet dessert wines which come
mainly from Burgenland where the weather is not as wet as it is in the
more mountainous southern Austrian province of Styria where the
Georgiberg vineyard is located.
The Georgiberg vineyard's first red grapevines came from the Italian car
manufacture Ferruccio Lamborghini’s wine nursery and in 2008 it was
taken over by the Trierenberg family.
The typical Styrian white wine grapes are Welschriesling, Moscato
Giallo, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Traminer, Morillon and Sauvignon Blanc
as well as the monovarietal Scheurebe. The red wines which are untypical
for Styria and are of outstanding quality are Zweigelt, Pinot Noir,
Merlot and Cabernet.
Last update: 13/08/14
Sausage Surprise As Giant Wurst Is Pinched
Austrian police are hunting crooks who broke open a market stall
and stole a 1.5 metre sausage worth over 2,000 EUR in the picture
postcard village of St Michael in the region of Lungau.
The mortadella sausage, considered to be a local delicacy, weighs the
same as a fully grown man at 80 kilos (176 pounds), and it had a
diameter of 40 centimetres (16 inches). Police spokesman Martin Hauser
said: "It is a mystery that nobody saw the crooks making off with the
giant sausage but we are appealing for anybody who saw anything to get
Austrian company to build Irish motorway
An Austrian company is part of a group that has taken on the task of constructing and running part of an Irish motorway.
Strabag SE, a technology company that provides construction services, is
part of the DirectRoute consortium who won the contract for the
construction job, they announced on Monday.
The Vienna-based company has a 25% in the consortium who are carrying
out the public-private partnership project, which they say involves a
total private sector investment value of about 330 million EUR.
Construction will begin on the motorway between Gort and Tuam near the
city of Galway this month, with the road planned to be open for business
by November 2017.
The opening of the motorway to traffic will mark the start of a 25-year
operating period for this section and on completion of the scheme, the
consortium will receive monthly payments from the National Roads
Authority of Ireland who contracted out the work.
Castle Owner Shocked By plane Wheel In Duck Pond!
An Austrian castle owner got a shock after discovering this massive aircraft wheel had landed in his duck pond.
Niklas Salm-Reifferscheidt said he knew that his castle Schloss Steyregg
on the outskirts of Linz occasionally had planes flying overhead, but
he had never considered that something like an aircraft wheel might drop
off and land in his grounds. The nearby Linz-Hoersching airport is
around 20 miles from where the wheel was located and it is believed it
will be possible to locate the original flight from serial numbers on
There has been people living on the site since before the Romans arrived
in Austria, with a fortified building known to have been built on the
site since as long ago as 777AD that had been funded by the nearby
Badly damaged by the war, it was rebuilt and is currently in the hands
of Niklas Salm-Reifferscheidt, who inherited it from his father.
He said: "I couldn't believe the size of it. From the dimensions it must've had a big bird, probably a Boeing 747."
The Lord of the Manor said he had contacted the authorities responsible
for air traffic control over the country and informed them of the find. A
spokesman said that so far the matter was being investigated by the
accident commission of the transport ministry but that no missing wheel
had been reported by any plane until now.
However statistics show that worldwide about two planes a year lose tyres usually shortly after take-off.
He said he believed that the huge wheel will have been lost somewhere in
the air and fallen to the ground and added: "I guess it was incredibly
lucky that no one was hurt, because it would have easily gone through
the roof of any house."
Multi Coloured UFOs In Formation Over Austria
Austrian officials say they are baffled to explain a UFO sighting
in which dozens of people reported seeing between 50 and 100 objects
flying in formation.
The incident happened over the Aichfeld basin near the city of
Knittelfeld in the southern Austrian state of Styria where eyewitness
Juergen Trieb, 41, and his girlfriend Waltraud Kaliba, 40, managed to
take this snap before the high speed objects vanished.
Waltraud said: "At first we thought it might be some kind of natural
phenomenon, but when we realise they were flying in formation and
travelling around 400 mph it was clear that it could not be dismissed as
something natural. The strange thing was that despite the bright lights
there was no noise at all from the objects."
Local media reported that the images as taken in this snap were seen by
several people, and that there were between 50 and 100 of them all
flying silently and in formation.
Austrian air traffic controllers said that they had been made aware of
the incident and were looking into it, but declined to comment at this
stage. But they confirmed there was no indication that the photo or the
reported sightings were a fake.
The area over the Aichfeld basin however has been a hot spot for UFO
sightings and mysterious atmospheric phenomena, although neither
scientists nor UFO watchers have offered an explanation as to why.
Brit Arrested For Murder In Fritzl Hometown
A British man has been arrested on a suspected murder charge over
the stabbing death of a love rival in the Austrian town that was the
home of incest monster Josef Fritzl.
Roman Topf, 39, was found with two stab wounds in a courtyard of the
house in the Lower Austrian town of Amstetten, the same town where Josef
Fritzl locked up his daughter for 24 years and repeatedly raped her -
producing seven children in the process.
Austrian police said they had arrested 36-year-old British man Raphael
Andrew Diemoz (from Bradford, born 25/6/77) over the murder of the
39-year-old, who died from two stab wounds.
Police also recovered two blood stained knives when they arrested the
British man, who was taken into custody in the nearby prison in St
Austrian media reports the British man told police he had been
threatened by the older man with the knives, and had managed to disarm
him and then use the knives to stab Topf twice in the neck.
According to police the killing followed a heavy drinking session in the
courtyard where the two, together with a waitress that both had a crush
on, were celebrating the birthday of a third man, and at 2am the group
had relocated to the apartment owned by the 30-year-old waitress.
But the Brit and the 39-year-old had both vied for the attention of the
waitress, who had become fed up with the pair of them, and ordered all
three to leave.
A short while later the older man was dead.
Another person living in the building discovered the victim's body lying
on a blood stained bench in the morning, and called the police.
Flights launched between Vienna and Manchester
Thousands of holidaymakers from northern England can now waltz away
from Manchester on a direct flight to Vienna - the first flight from
the country that takes off outside London.
The first flight between the northern city and the Austrian capital took
off last week on 2 May, just in time for the British May bank holiday.
Already 8,000 Brits have bought tickets with airline company operating
the route Jet2.com.
"Vienna is one of the largest un-served European resorts and it appeals
to lots of customers, businesses and travel. It’s a great city and I
know what is has to offer," said David Neill, the head of Jet2.com
"People are used to regular city breaks such as Rome or Paris, and we wanted to offer somewhere different."
Jet2 are hoping that Vienna's cultural, musical, and cuisine offerings
will attract visitors from Manchester and the surrounding regions who
want to discover an alternative European city break.
Prices begin at 43 GBP (52 EUR) per person, including taxes, and there
will be three flights a week on Mondays, Wednesday, and Friday.
Austrian economy falls in line with the European trend
By Matej Klenovský. Translation by Tomá Bu
Austria is in line with the current economic trend in Europe, according
to several economic indicators made public in Austria on Friday.
Analysis of the results of the indicators show that at the moment, there
is a moderate decrease, almost stagnation, in the price levels.
Meanwhile, industrial production is slowing down at a significant rate,
as it is in many other European countries.
The results of the Austrian Industrial Production indicator show that
production has decreased in March by 1.8% in comparison with February,
the second month in a row where it has dropped.
The greatest decrease was recorded in capital goods (-4.5%) and durable
goods (-4.7%) whilst the situation in the construction sector has also
worsened for the second month in a row. The construction sector, being
probably the most cyclical out of all sectors, represents an important
part of an economy and its development is exceptionally dependant on the
current economic state of a country. As a result, it is often a useful
predicting indicator for forecasting a country's economic development.
Meanwhile, the Austrian Central Statistical Office also discussed a
change in the Production Price Index this Friday, which measures the
average change over time in the selling prices of the output from
domestic producers. The indicator decreased by 1.2% in comparison with
April 2013, although there was no change in comparison with March 2014.
A decrease in the energy prices (-3.8%) and intermediate goods (-1.3%)
is responsible for these lower prices. On the other hand, the prices of
investment goods rose year-on-year by 0.6%; the increase in the price of
machinery (+1.5%) and motor vehicles (+1.1%) is responsible for this
The greatest decrease within a month was recorded in the price of fats
and oils from plants and animals, which sank by 16.2% in April. This
significant drop contributed to the fact that the price of consumer
goods increased only by 0.2%.
Finally, one of the most popular indicators is Bank Austria
Manufacturing PMI, which is based on the survey of over 300 industrial
companies. The index has for the ninth month in a row now shown
expansion (over 50 points). However, the tempo of the growth is
consistently decreasing as of the beginning of 2014, when the level of
the index was recorded to be over 54 points.
The last records show a decrease in the indicator from 51.4 points in
April to 50.9 points in May, which has also been the monthly minimum for
the past nine months. According to most of the surveyed subjects, the
reason behind the lower total results lies in the slowing down of the
sub-index New Orders, which is responsible for the lower demand among
customers as well as greater competition.
A lower interest from the domestic market also plays a significant role
in the decrease of the total demand. Meanwhile, the growing demand from
abroad has led to a mild rise in exports.
Good manners guide for Arabs dropped by Salzburg tourism.
Tourism chiefs in Salzburg have been forced to withdraw a
controversial etiquette guide for Arabs that aimed to stop them trying
to haggle over prices, cooking in their rooms, and dumping their litter
around the region.
The pamphlets were being handed out to Arabic guests in the lakeside
resort of Zell am See, regarded as one of the most picturesque and
expensive of Austria's tourist destinations.
Tourism marketing director Marco Pointner confirmed that the guide had
been withdrawn as "unfortunately, certain passages led to
"We will revise the brochure with input from guests and locals," he said.
He added that there had not been any noticeable decline in bookings by
Arab guests but that it was important to maintain the number of tourists
visiting from the Middle East and he hoped that this year there would
be an increase.
Located in the Kitzbuhel Alps, the town is the number one of the
country's lakeside destinations on the edge of the 68-metre (223 ft)
deep Lake Zell.
But while many locals have been complaining about the way the Arab
guests behave, the region does not want to give up the tourism revenue,
which in the last 10 years has increased in the Zell am See-Kaprun
region by several hundred percent, according to Leo Bauernberger,
managing director of Salzburg region tourism board. He added: "Arabs
love to make visits to the region, they love the clear fresh water, the
mountain lakes and the climate."
According to the latest tourism statistics, last year there were 275,000
overnight stays by Arab guests in the region, and although the area is
also a winter tourism destination almost all of the visits were in
summer. To put that in perspective, between May and October 25.8 percent
of all of the guests were Arabic, putting them ahead even of visitors
from Germany who are normally the most common of the groups from abroad
to be seen in Austrian resorts. In August that rose to 36 percent, with
most coming from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia according to
tourism spokeswoman Renate Ecker.
She said: "They often stay for several weeks, also at times when it's
not so busy and in contrast to guests from other regions they are always
delighted when it rains. They spend 240 EUR (195 GBP) per person per
day which also puts them at double the level of other visitors. Some
hotels depend so much on the Arab guests that they have almost no other
visitors and even have cooks specially employed to cater to Arab taste."
But Ecker admitted that there were also tourism destinations in the
region that did not so readily accept Arab guests, in particular those
where there was a ban on people wearing a Burka, with the traditional
costume being the biggest cause for concern in the area.
Local mayor Peter Padourek confirmed that the complete body covering Burka was the biggest reason for friction in the area.
He said: "When you have a situation where visitors from a particular
country or region are over present, then it can be a problem. Austrians
have the same problem in Lignano. Here the Arabs have the problem that
their strong presence in the region is very clearly visible because of
the Burka. That causes irritation among locals and among visitors from
other countries. The guests are coming from other countries carry away
with them a different image of our region." He also said that he was
noticing increasingly that signs were being put up in Arabic and that
didn't make him happy. He said: "I don't like it when we sell ourselves
in this way. We don't need to cosy up to anyone with gestures like this.
We should limit ourselves to German and English."
He also added that many locals did not like the mentality of our guests
adding: "They seem to think that if they pay, they can get whatever they
Erich Egger who is the boss of the local cable car company that takes
guests into the mountains in summer and winter said that it was a fact
that many guests to Zell am See from other regions were being scared off
from the visible presence of so many Arab guests. He said: "The
feedback I'm getting from hoteliers is the other guests are saying to
them they are not going to come again."
He said anybody that did not believe him only needed to look at the
online comments that are posted by guests when reviewing hotels in the
But it is not just the Burka that is causing problems. Zell am See
prides itself on the natural beauty of the region and they claim that
the Arabs are leaving rubbish all over the place as well. They are also
accused of ignoring the traffic laws everybody else has to observe, in
particular parking, and the pamphlet partly came about as a result of
discussions between local police and tourism officials over driving
The most common complaints were not just the parking but also the speed
that the Arab guests drove at and the fact that children were usually
not made to wear a seatbelt. Last year there was even one case where a
child from an Arab family died in a car accident in Austria in which
they were not wearing a seatbelt.
Renate Ecker said that the sceptical attitude of locals was a real cause
for concern, adding: "If locals find a stumbling point to accept Arab
guests, then that means trouble for tourism." She added that the region
was massively dependent on tourism and therefore if that was impacted it
could become a real problem.
But there is also the worry that if there turned out to be problems in
the Middle East it could mean overnight that many rooms were suddenly
not filled - and if other guests had been driven away that could also
become a real problem.
One of those who doesn't agree with the decision to hand out the
pamphlets is hotel owner Wilfried Holleis. He said he had absolutely no
problem with Arab guests and that the whole discussion was a sign of the
intolerance in the area. He said: "I see it as a kind of tourism
apartheid. I think there are much more serious problems here, for
example the number of people who don't spend any time here but buy
property which is effectively just a holiday house and therefore make
little or no contribution to the local economy."
The 8-page etiquette guide called "Where Cultures Meet" came out in May
and was only being handed out to guests from Arab regions.
Erich Egger said: "I welcome guests from everywhere but it must be
possible to lay down some rules. If those rules are followed, then the
acceptance will also follow."
The most controversial part of the booklet was a debate about whether or
not to mention clothing and the Burka at all. The worry was that it
could be seen as an attack on Islam. In the end it was included together
with the message that Austrian women can choose to dress themselves how
they want and that black is a sign of mourning. It adds that the people
from the region are used to looking into the laughing face of others in
order to gain a first impression and in order to build trust. With this
in mind, locals would be glad when visitors adopted the Austrian
It then also points out that children need to wear seat belts in the
car, rubbish needs to be put in the bins, food should not be eaten on
the floor of the hotel and cooking in the rooms is not tolerated, and
prices are not to be negotiated.
It is not the first time friction has been seen between Austria and
guests from Arabic regions. In 2012 the Austrian Times reported that the
region's tourism officials had cancelled all advertising for the Middle
Local tourism boss Renate Ecker told the newspaper at the time: "It is
perfectly normal if the market is very well developed that one doesn't
invest valuable resources when you are already where you want to be. We
would like to use our marketing resources to develop other areas, and
for this reason only we have drastically reduced our investment in
advertising in the Middle East."
Massive Increase In Vienna Property Prices
Austria's national bank says property in Vienna in the first
quarter of this year is probably about 22 percent overvalued. And the
bank also noted that despite the fact that the property was overvalued,
prices had increased in the first quarter by 8.1 percent.
It is part of an almost unbroken trend that has seen the price of
property in the Austrian capital double since 2005, and when looking at
the whole country has seen property prices rise by a third.
The statistics were compiled from figures held by the Austrian national
bank and the Vienna University of Technology. The one-off study project
that looked at the basic price indicators across the country estimated
that while in Vienna there was an overvaluation of around 22 percent of
what the property was really worth, in the rest of the country property
was generally undervalued by about eight percent.
The National bank said that while excessive prices were being charged in
Vienna, that was generally in line with what was going on in other main
European cities according to the National bank's chief economist Doris
The increase in value this year of property in Vienna of 8.1 percent
compares with an increase last year in the first quarter of the year of
11.4 percent. Outside of Vienna the price increase was around 2.2
percent compared with 1.9 percent in the first quarter of 2013.
The Austrian national bank warned that the price rise was not an
indication that the was going to be a property bubble that soon burst.
They said other factors were at play including demographic factors
influencing demand, the general wealth of the population and the
availability of land and property.
The national bank looked at the situation in other countries for example
the Netherlands where in the capital there was a 26 percent
overvaluation that later corrected itself with an 18 percent drop in
prices. Ireland had been the most significant overvaluation of property
values around 45 percent over what they were really worth and in Spain
it had been 30 percent. The price correction in Ireland had seen the
falling value of 46 percent, and in Spain a fall of 37 percent.
But in Vienna prices are being driven up by Russian, German and Arabic
investors who are particularly interested in snapping up luxury
According to a study by the British real estate agents Frank Knight the
lure of purchasing a villa or similar luxury property in the capital
would probably mean around 483 super rich people would be living in the
city by 2023. That would be an increase of 26 percent on the current
level of superrich. According to the estate agents a superrich person is
somebody who has more than 22 million EUR.
Only London and Dublin saw higher price increases than the Austrian
capital in the last year as a result of luxury property purchases
fuelling the price rise.
Austrias favourite ice-cream: cookies and vanilla
Cookie and vanilla are the favourite ice-cream flavours of Austrians, according to a survey by the Chamber of Commerce.
The simple vanilla flavour is the top choice in the classical flavours
category, followed by chocolate, strawberry, hazelnut, lemon and
Cookies came up top in the "modern" ice-cream flavour category, followed
by cinnamon and more unusual flavours of mojito, and semolina.
The unusual but up and coming flavours such as Gorgonzola and curry
didn't manage to make it to the top of the list - nor did the Conchita
Wurst sausage flavoured ice-cream created by German ice-cream
manufacturers, topped off with a Viennese sausage.
A spokesman for the Germany company, Benjamin Koertig, said: "In Munich
we have the Weiss Wurst - white sausage - and we also have a white
sausage ice cream, so it's not really surprising that we now have the
Picasso and Monet paintings found in Salzburg
Around sixty paintings by artists including Claude Monet and Pablo
Picasso have been found at the Salzburg home of German art collector
Cornelius Gurlitt, who was discovered in 2012 to be hoarding hundreds of
paintings in his Munich flat thought to be looted by the Nazis.
An initial screening suggests that none of the paintings kept in his
home in Salzburg are stolen or looted. The lawyer in charge of
supervising Gurtlitt and the paintings, Christoph Edel, has had the
artworks moved safely to an undisclosed location.
Mr Gurlitt, who is in his eighties, inherited his collections from his
art dealer father Hildebrand, who had worked in the Nazi-era collecting
what they perceived to be 'degenerate art'. He kept many of the pieces
himself until he died in 1956 when his son ended up with the collection,
which was then kept secret until just two years ago.
Over 1,400 pieces of art were found in Cornelius Gurtlitt's flat in
Munich by Bavarian tax authorities by chance in March 2012. They were
found to have an estimated value of 1 billion Euros.
Around 600 of these artworks are thought to have originally come from
Jewish owners and Gurlitt is now in contact with some families to
negotiate restitution, according to his representatives.
Conchita duck enrages disney fans
Angry cartoon fans say Walt Disney himself would be turning in his
grave if he learned that his descendants had allowed a bearded version
of Daisy Duck to take up residence in the Duck universe.
Life in the Duck universe centres on the city of Duckburg in the
fictional U.S. state of Calisota - analogous to Northern California -
and sometimes characters from the duck universe visit real-world
locations and meet historical figures.
But now the tables have turned, and a duck version of Austrian
Eurovision Song Contest winner Conchita Wurst has moved from the real
world to take up residence in Duckburg.
However the appearance of Conchita Duck, featuring a beard and a tight
black dress, has caused a huge row, forcing the character's creators at
the German Ehapa-Verlag publishing house to promise that she will remain
a marketing gag, and will not be appearing in any of the official
Disney comics that they produce.
Earlier Austrian state television, which helped to choose Conchita as
the country's Eurovision entry, had reported that Conchita Duck was set
to make her first appearance in a comic in around six months, with the
artwork already being drawn up.
The publishing house is licensed by Disney to produce German language
versions of comics featuring favourite Disney characters including the
best selling "Fun Comic Book".
But when the new bearded character was revealed, the reaction online was
somewhat critical and included one fan who said "Disney will be
turning in his grave" and another who added "Yet another childhood
memory ruined forever".
23rd May 2014
Netflix comes to Austria
Austrian fans of American TV and films are celebrating after it was
announced that the online TV and film service Netflix is set to come to
The arrival in Austria is part of the US company's broader expansion
into European markets, which sees it also going to Germany, Belgium,
Switzerland and Luxembourg. It is expected to be launched in these new
markets by the end of 2014.
The online subscription service is already available in countries such
as the US, Britain, Scandinavia and the Netherlands where its cheap
offering, which competes with the more expensive TV channel
subscriptions, has proved popular with consumers.
The company currently has 48 million subscriptions in over 40 countries.
Since launching in Netherlands last September, they have already
managed to secure half a million subscribers. Meanwhile Dutch cable
operator Ziggo has reported losing 16,000 digital pay-TV subscribors in
the first quarter of 2014.
The company predict they will make an initial loss when it launches in
the new markets but expect that their international side of the business
will eventually overtake its US operations. The US unit reported a 201
million US dollar (150 million EUR) profit for the quarter to the end of
March this year.
The business also hit the headlines in recent years when it made US TV
series House of Cards the first ever show available only on Netflix,
bypassing the usual cable and TV markets.
BMW X6 gets flat packed by Romanian thieves
Romanian car thieves who were moving their loot through Austria and
into Hungary are under arrest after being stopped on their way back to
their homeland with a dismantled top-of-the-range BMW X6 car in the back
of their truck.
Police said the crooks had just crossed into Hungary from Austria when they were pulled over for a spot check.
The thieves were found to have taken apart the costly car and loaded it aboard their VW transporter van to take back to Romania.
Police suspect the duo stole the car to order in Italy and would ha