Last update: 17/05/13
One million Austrians have a drink problem
Around one million people in Austria consume too much alcohol. The
initiative "Alkohol ohne Schatten" (Alcohol without Shadows) criticises
that the extensive medical treatment is not enough rewarded.
Michael Musalek, medical head of the Anton Proksch Institute and founder
of the initiative said: "Alcohol is part of our society. Therfore, we
have to learn how to deal with it correctly. We need consciousness
raising and education.
"The starting age is between eleven and thirteen years. The earlier the
disease is recognized the better is the prognosis", Mr Musalek went on.
Johannes Steinhart, head of the resident doctors in the Austrian Medical
Association, emphasised the significance of the problem: "Around
340,000 Austrians are alcoholics; 760,000 people drink amounts of
alcohol that are not healthy any more. The direct costs are 375 million
Euros per year.
"Too much alcohol damages the digestive tract, increases the risk of
breast cancer, it damages the heart and the vessels, increases the risk
of a heart attack and a stroke and leads to neurological disorder", he
According to Mr Steinhart, the health system does not show enough
consideration for alcoholics. "This means that resident GPs shall
diagnose an alcoholic disease. They have to ask the affected person and
tell them that a therapy is necessary.
"This is connected with a lot of effort and high time expenditure, which
has been rewarded very badly so far", the expert explained.
In times of the health reform it is necessary to provide resources for
the treatment of people with alcohol problems, said Mr Steinhart. It is
also important that the financing is not dependent on the economic cycle
as people tend to have more problems with alcohol in times of crisis.
TV show reveals the dark side to Red Bull
A documentary of the "Erstes Deutsches Fernsehen" (ARD), which was
shown on TV on Monday night, deals with the dark side of the company Red
Bull. It is about risky spectacles with a deadly end.
The company Red Bull with headquarters in Salzburg produces more than
five billion cans of the energy drink. Moreover, the company sponsors
risky spectacles such as the jump from the stratosphere by Felix
Baumgartner in October 2012.
The documentary deals with six adventurers who had a contract with Red
Bull or who took part in events of the company and were killed in an
One of them is the Swiss skydiver Ueli Gegenschatz who wanted to jump
from the roof of a skyscraper in Zurich (Switzerland) in 2009. The event
was planned to be an advert for a mobile phone tariff of Red Bull.
However, Mr Gegenschatz hit the canopy, fell onto the street and suffered from deadly brain damages.
This and further cases raise the suspicion that the adventurers could
have risked too much under pressure. It remains unclear whether the
principal Red Bull is directly responsible. The company did not
contribute to the documentary and refused every request of ARD to give
However, Red Bull did comment on the documentary yesterday afternoon:
"Motivation and direction of this TV show were completely obvious from
the start, which is why we renounced from conversations with the
"It should be clear for everyone, who knows how the media work and for
those who know us, that the accusations are groundless", Red Bull
Vienna Tourism language barrier -Russian and Chinese on the increase
Vienna is a destination now highly popular with Chinese and Russian
tourists. However, there is a distinct lack of people in the tourism
branch with the required language skills.
The hotel union is now calling for more work permits to be given to
Chinese natives. Russian is still being taught in some Viennese
high-schools, but it isn’t the case for Mandarin.
Some 630,000 Russian tourists visited the Austrian capital last year.
There was an increase of 40 percent in tourists from China compared to
last year (200,000).
Michaela Reitterer of the hotel union said: "The issue is not that
Austrians speak Chinese, but that working permits are issue to Chinese
nationals. When the situation really does become problematic, we need to
be prepared and not just limp behind it all."
Reitterer said that the few Austrians that do speak Chinese prefer jobs as highly paid specialists in the industry.
Video cameras to enforce emergency lane
One month ago, Traffic Minister Doris Bures presented her plan to
monitor emergency lanes on motorways by video cameras. The new
regulation has been substantiated: 49 sections will be monitored.
Surveillance cameras of the motorway operator Asfinag will be used for
the new regulation. Mrs Bures emphasised at a press conference in Vienna
yesterday (Thurs) that this will not lead to a "surveillance of all
Instead, the regulation will make it possible for fire brigades and
ambulances to get access to the scenes of accidents. The executive
authority gets an "effective instrument for monitoring the emergency
lane", the minister stated.
The constitutional lawyer Heinz Mayer established an expert report about
the constitutional legitimacy of the new regulation. His conclusion was
that "the draft complies with the criteria".
According to Mrs Bures, the draft has already been sent to the Interior
Ministry. The proposal was criticised from the beginning.
The Traffic Minister assumes that the new regulation could come into
power in July, but at least "during this legislative period". The
sections, which are monitored, will be clearly marked with signs saying
"Attention: Emergency lane control!"
The 49 points, where accidents and traffic jams are very likely, were
defined with the help of Asfinag. The sections will be mainly at
Westautobahn (A1), at Südautobahn (A2), at Mühlkreisautobahn (A7), at
Donauuferautobahn (A22) and the Ring Road (A23).
The driver’s clubs ÖAMTC and ARBÖ think positively about the proposal as
the surveillance will not cover all motorways, but only sections.
Ryanair flying between Linz-London
The Irish budget airline company Ryanair will fly the destination
Linz-London again. They had stopped due to high airport fees at London
Stansted. The next direct plane will leave on 3 September. There will
also be a direct connection to Tenerife.
Ryanair and the "blue danube airport" of Linz announced the news in a
press conference yesterday (Wed). The Irish budget airline had got into a
conflict with Stansted Airport about high airport fees and planned to
cancel the connection from July.
Planes will not fly from Linz to London in July and August. However,
there will be a connection on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 3
September. Originally, this was only planned for October.
As many tourism partners have "incoming offers" for the winter season,
cooperative marketing strategies will be continued as planned.
Ryanair will also fly from Linz to Tenerife, starting in the winter
season. The budget airline hopes that 20,000 passengers will use the
connection. The flight will operate on Saturdays and will fly to
Austrian ski area is the snowiest in Europe.
With a seasonal average snowfall of 10.6m, Warth-Schröcken in the
Bregenzerwald area in Vorarlberg has been named the snowiest ski area in
Europe by new UK website www.weathertoski.co.uk.
Weathertoski.co.uk has recently been launched by ski writer, journalist
and Alpine meteorology expert, Fraser Wilkin. Alongside historic
snowfall data and ratings for snow reliability for over 200 European and
North American ski resorts, weathertoski.co.uk provides daily updates
on snow and weather conditions for skiers and snowboarders.
So why does Warth-Schröcken get so much snow? Fraser Wilkin explains:
“Although the Warth-Schröcken ski area is relatively low, its position
in the northern foothills of the Austrian Alps makes it very exposed to
storms arriving from the north and west. Furthermore, when the wind is
from the north or north-west, the “Stau” effect takes hold, whereby
clouds effectively get stuck over the windward-facing foothills of the
Alps producing heavy precipitation long after the main weather fronts
Local ski and mountain guide, Fritz Gebhard, adds: “When the weather
isn’t coming from the north-west, weather from the south and south-west
brings beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures.”
Fritz Schlierenzauer, Owner of the Berghotel Körbersee in Schröcken, has
been responsible for compiling the area’s daily snow report for more
than 40 years. Based on data taken from the snow measuring station
beside the hotel, his report aims to minimise accidents among skiers and
snowboarders, and includes detailed information on the state of the
The experts in Warth-Schröcken also offer a range of courses to teach
skiers and snowboarders how to freeride in safety and the right
behaviour to adopt off-piste. These include the ski school’s “Hike &
Ride” and “Freeride crash courses”, and “Snow and Avalanche Awareness
Camps” (SAAC). They can even take you on a historic tour between
Warth-Schröcken and Lech which follows in the tracks of 19th Century
local ski pioneer Pfarrer Müller.
Warth-Schröcken also offers a range of activities off the slopes,
including “Flying Fox” zip-wires, toboggan parties, snow-shoe tours,
visits to an ice cave, winter hiking and cross country skiing.
Winter tyres are still obligatory
Winter tyres usually have to be fitted to your cars from October
until Easter. The bad weather conditions require an extension of their
One should change the tyres, if the thermometer has displayed more than
seven degrees Celsius regularly, said Rudolf Leeb, regional head of the
driver’s club ÖAMTC in Burgenland (Eastern Austria).
The current temperatures are, however, far from this point. Drivers, who
have already changed to summer tyres, should change back to winter
tyres now. The winter tyres are not only appropriate for snow but also
work better in lower temperatures, explained Gerhard Graner, ARBÖ.
Icy temperatures are particularly expected during the nights. Mr Graner
recommended commuters to bear in mind that they have to travel an hour
earlier, due to summer time.
A run on tyre retailers and driver’s clubs are expected around the time
of 15 April. This year, drivers are obliged to fit winter tyres to their
cars until this date.
Rudolf Leeb even said that there is the risk that insurance companies
will not pay if an accident happens due to wintery driving conditions,
say on 17 or 18 April.
Those who are now caught by the police with summer tyres risk a penalty
of 35 to 5,000 Euros. Mr Leeb points out that the maximum penalty will
be charged if other road users are put in danger.
Kissing ban in an Innsbruck bar is legal!
The owner of a bar in Innbruck, Tyrol (Western Austria), has
forbidden his guests from kissing and public displays of affection.
Although the ban on kissing has caused debates, the owner has acted
In the "Insieme" bar in Innsbruck, neither holding hands nor kissing or
touching is allowed. Kerameddin Korkmay has operated the bar opposite
the train station for eleven years. He has established clear rules,
which can be read on the walls of the bar: "Dear guests! Out of respect
for our employees and international guests, please refrain from public
displays of affection in our premises."
Mr Korkmaz defends his behaviour by stating: "It starts with holding
hands but often escalates to kissing etc. This does not fit here. Where
does affection start and where does it end? There is no limit."
This is why Mr Korkmaz sets the limit and asks people to leave if they
do not stick to the rules. This happened a short time ago to a married
couple, he said.
"They arranged to meet here. He arrived early and had a coffee. Then she
came and greeted him with a kiss on the mouth. Nobody said anything at
this point. Then she sat down and grabbed him between the legs. After
that I said that they should drink their coffee somewhere else."
Some of the guests who have been thrown out have complained to the
Chamber of Commerce. However, Mr Korkmaz is legally entitled to do so,
said Peter Trost from the Chamber.
"Principally, he cannot ban affection. However, he can inform a guest
that it is not welcome in his bar and can also require them to leave on
these grounds. Each bar owner can decide on the house rules of his bar
and which guests he wants to serve", Mr Trost explained.
Coldest Palm Sunday for 100 years
It has been the coldest Palm Sunday for 100 years. Cold air from
Russia provided temperatures hardly above freezing point, which is very
unusual for the end of March.
For example, Styria (Southeastern Austria) faced temperatures below
freezing point such as minus three degrees Celsius (Hartberg).
This cold is very unusual for the time of the month, said expert Hannes
Rieder, Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG) in
"Ususally, there are temperatures up to fourteen degrees Celsius in Graz
at the end of March. However, we measured minus two degrees Celsius on
Palm Sunday. One can thus see a temperature difference of over 15
degrees, which means that it was a very cold Palm Sunday", Mr Rieder
It will stay cloudy until Tuesday, with temperatures under zero degrees
Celsius. However, the weather will become better at the Easter weekend
at the latest: "Preliminary forecasts indicate that it will be ten
degrees Celsius and at least one or two days should be sunny", the
Red-Bull threat: cans possibly poisoned with poo bacteria
Red Bull has received threats from oppressors who say they will
contaminate the popular energy drink with faecal bacteria – bacteria
found in human excrements.
The Austrian company based in Fusch, near to Salzburg is possibly one of the biggest in the energy drink market in 165 countries all around the world
has been told its product will be contaminated in certain shops
specified by the offenders if they don’t pay out a sum of money.
Red Bull officials have not made public how much money has been requested, allegedly via email, from the intimidators.
They have also said that tests carried out in the stores mentioned by
the blackmailers to find the bacteria have proved negative.
Some 5,226 billion cans of Red Bull were sold in 2012, an increase of
12,8 percent on 2011-figures. A total of 8,966 people (2011: 8,294) are
employed by the firm in 165 countries.
But now, prosecution services in Salzburg filed a complaint against unknown for threats that have been going on for weeks.
Press spokesperson Marcus Neher said: "So far, it’s only an alleged contamination."
Blackmailers have threatened to cover the top of the cans with water from sewers, which would make consumers ill.
According to the authorities investigating the matter it’s only a threat which has not been put into action.
The regional criminal court in Salzburg communicated a complaint to the
prosecutors in which one case of contaminated cans is reported in
Red Bull officials said: "We are cooperating with the police and are
certain that we are close to finding the criminal – and that indeed we
will find the person."
Eighteen pupils injured in ski course
18 pupils of Gymnasium (High School) Stockerau (Lower Austria)
returned injured from their winter sport week in Salzburg. The school
management calls it an "unfortunate coincidence".
The ski course of the third grades of the Gymnasium at Kitzsteinhorn
(Salzburg) caused a sensation. 76 pupils took part, which means that
every fourth pupil had to go to hospital or the doctor afterwards.
"I wanted to make a turn but fell down the mountain and supported myself
on my arms, which was a mistake", said a 13-year-old to noe.ORF.at.
Pupils suffered from nine fractures, eight bruises and strains as well
as cuts. According to head mistress Claudia Reinsperger, most of the
injured pupils were in the snowboarding beginners group. The group
consisted of 37 pupils.
The head mistress does not tolerate criticism of the eight supervisors:
"The supervisors were very good; they are well-trained colleagues and it
was not their first ski course either", Ms Reinsperger said.
The ski course teachers told the newspaper NÖN (Niederösterreichische
Nachrichten) about the reasons for the injuries: many children do not
support themselves correctly when they fall. Another reason they gave
was that girls were not able to avoid falls due to their weaker muscles.
Ms Reinsperger could not provide scientific reasons for this statement.
She is now considering cancelling the snowboarding beginners courses
Austrian Border control - Check points for sale!
The border control check points represent a piece of history: they were part of the Iron Curtain for decades.
The only condition for the sale is that the buyers have to organize the
demolition themselves. A demolition permit already exists. Kiosks and
pent roofs will not cost anything to purchase.
"In principal, the demolition costs a lot of money. There are, however,
companies and other interested parties who need pent roofs. Those who
can utilise the roofs should contact us, dismantle them and take them
with them", said Ernst Eichinger, State Real Estate Agency.
Mr Eichinger said, however, that it is not possible to take only one of the barriers etc. for nostalgic reasons.
The sale will run from April to August. The following five border
control points are affected: Klingenbach, Heiligenkreuz, Rattersdorf,
Neuhaus/Klausenbach and the small border control point in Nickelsdorf.
Snow chaos in Carinthia continues
Even though winter will soon come to an end, Austria’s South has
recently been affected by heavy snowfalls. Meteorologists state that
snow of this amount has not been there for seven years.
15 centimetres of snow were enough to cause an absolute chaos on the A2
Südautobahn (Southern motorway) next to Wolfsberg, said Robert
Schrammel, an employee of the motorway maintenance.
"We are clearing the snow from the roads of the A2 with nine vehicles.
The biggest problem is that lorry drivers often have no snow chains with
them or cannot install them themselves. Our workers have to stop and
help them in order for them to drive on. I am thus appealing to the
drivers that they support us a little instead of swearing at us", said
Roofing companies are also working at full blast in order to free the
roofs from the burden of snow. House owners are obliged to put up poles
for snow and to free their roofs in order to avoid accidents.
The snow is taken to the former sewage plant south of Klagenfurt. 70,000
tons of snow has been transported there this year, which is 20,000 more
tons than last year.
The heavy snowfalls caused another problem: salt depots of the
magistrate of Klagenfurt are almost empty. Michael Pirker, employee of
the magistrate said: "Usually we use about 1,200 tons of salt per
winter. At the moment, we are at 2,200 tons of salt, which is double the
Horsemeat found in Carinthian sausages
Controllers from the food inspection authorities found horsemeat in
sausages such as "Kärntner Hauswürstl" and "Lavanttaler Bauernwurst"
after they received an anonymous hint, said health advisor Peter Kaiser
(SPÖ) yesterday (Wed). He explained that the authorities have already
sent a description of the facts to the public prosecutor’s office.
"I am asking the population to return those products. A supermarket
chain will take them out of their product range", said Mr Kaiser. The
food inspection authorities will make sure that their orders will be
The butcher Josef Freitag appeared shocked in his interview with ORF
Carinthia. He criticised that he was not told by the food inspection
authorities or the state but learned about the incident from the media.
He assumes that one of his suppliers must have delivered the horsemeat.
Mr Freitag did not want to speak about his suppliers before the source
has become clear. The butcher also wants to contact a lawyer.
Fake wines sold for 50,000 Euros
The possiblity of selling fake wine is being investigated by the polizei. The presumed fraudster had contacted a wine merchant in Wien last summer. Calling himself "Dr. Ferdinand von Rohr". He used a French GMX email
address and offered the merchant from Vienna 69 bottles ofso called exclusive
The wine merchant did not suspect anything from the start. When he
received the bottles on 12 December, however, he got suspicious. The
merchant thus contacted a wine connoisseur who noticed that the labels
appeared to be freshly printed.
While "Ferdinand von Rohr" promised further business, the wine merchant
reported him to the police. The suspect was arrested on 18 February when
he delivered more wine bottles. He is now in custody awaiting trial.
The offender refutes the fraud, but the police presume that the man has
done business with other wine dealers and are requesting information
from the public.
Every ski accident costs 70,000 Euros
The Kuratorium for Alpine Safety has counted eight deaths and 530
injuries during this ski season in Salzburg. Skiing is not only the
sport of the nation; thousands of holidaymakers come to the country
every year to go skiing.
That is why it is not surprising that a quarter of all accidents in
Austria happen on ski pistes. 50,000 skiers and snowboarders injured
themselves in crashes or by falling over last year.
The amount of 70,000 Euros include the treatment after the accident,
insurance costs and costs due to being absent at jobs. This is more than
3 billion Euros in total.
The hospital in Schwarzach (district of Pongau) is one of the centres
for injured skiers in the state of Salzburg. Around 100 injured skiers
are treated there per day. Chief physician of the hospital, Manfred Mittermair, sees something
positive in the increased costs: the better methods of treatment. "The
patient can be taken back to normal life much earlier. Although the
primary costs have increased, it was possible to reduce the general
"Craniocerebral traumas were reduced by people wearing helmets, but
injuries caused due to high speed have increased", Dr. Mittermair
observed. "Complicated injuries as well as injuries caused by skiing
off-piste have become more current."
Vienna Opera Ball: organiser was robbed
Vienna Opera Ball organiser Desiree Treichl-Stürgkh had probably
not imagined this in her wildest dreams to be robbed at the very Ball she had organised: during the ball a thief took
her bag where she kept money and mobile phone.
The police confirmed to that the incident presumably
happened in the early morning. When Ms Treichl-Stürgkh went to the dance
floor at around 5.00 a.m., an unknown person probably took her bag from
Ms Treichl-Stürgkh had apparently hidden her bag in another bag, but
this did not keep the thief from stealing her cash, debit card, mobile
phone and keys.
The organiser of the ball reported the robbery to the police on Friday
morning and immediately locked her debit card and mobile phone.
20 flights at Vienna Airport cancelled
A spokesman of Vienna Airport said this morning (Wed) that normal
flight operations are carried out. As airlines have cancelled flights as
a preventative measure, about 20 flights will be cancelled until noon
Due to the expected new snow there might be obstructions at Vienna
Airport today. According to the website of the airport, about 20
arrivals and departures were marked as "cancelled" at around 7 a.m.
"Some flights from several airlines were cancelled yesterday evening as
heavy snowfall was expected for this morning. As there is no snowfall at
the moment, normal flight operations are carried out", said Peter
Kleemann, spokesman of Vienna Airport.
Passengers are advised to inform themselves about the status of their flight in time.
Ringstrasse closed for the Vienna Opera Ball
It is nearly time for the high point of the Vienna ball season. The
Ringstrasse will be closed on Thursday evening for the Opera Ball. ORF 2
will broadcast the ball as their main programme, and "Wien heute",
"Radio Wien" and wien.orf.at will also be reporting.
The German designer Harald Glööckler will come in a carriage to the red
carpet, which will be rolled out in front of the Opera house.
For those ball guests who arrive by car, the roads "Ringstrasse" and
"Kärntner Strasse" will be closed in certain places between 20.00 and
23.00. Residents are excluded from this closure.
There will be plenty of police in front of the opera to ensure that the
ball guests get safely inside the opera. 70 policeman wearing ball
outfits will be inside. No demonstrations are planned.
Last year, 1,680,000 spectators watched or listened to the events of the
ball. The event is one of the most-watched of the year on ORF. You can
watch the ball live from 20.15 on ORF 2.
A special programme called "Best of the Opera Ball" will be shown on ORF
2 on Friday. This will look at what happens after the ball, amongst
2013 Vignette needed on all motorways
Motorists travelling in Austria are warned that if they use the
motorways they need to make sure they have a valid vignette – which this
year is Rasberry coloured.
Although the vignette is requiredatall times the vehicles travelling
on the motorway – anybody who had a 2012 sticker would actually have
been able to travel throughout January using the old sticker. But from
today – Friday – these are now invalid.
Anybody caught travelling without a valid vignette will end up being fined.
Motoring organisations warned motorists that the windscreen needs to be
clean, dry and fat-free. It should also only be put on a temperature of
around five degrees centigrade – if it's colder motorists are advised to
drive into a garage. Likewise when removing the vignette. But it is not
illegal to have more than one vignette on display. Motorists are also
warned that they need to keep the backing tape from the vignette to act
as proof of purchase.
Schnapps ban at Ski World Cup
Ski fans have been told most alcoholic drinks other than beer or
wine will be banned from being sold in public areas when the skiing
World Cup takes place in the ski resort of Schladming so that the region
can present itself to the public in the best possible light.
But the move has been slammed by some who say that one of the main
enjoyments of the whole Apres Ski experience is the opportunity to drink
a warm Punsch or a glass of schnapps after a hard day's skiing.
In addition the drinks can only be served in plastic cups which drinkers
have to pay a deposit for which is then returned when they had the
plastic cup back.
Organisers say they want to guarantee the safety of guests and are concerned about the environment.
Local police chief Herbert Brandstätter defended the move saying they
had to think about the safety of guests as well: "Breaking glass could
Manfred Breitsfuss from the local council who is organising the event
did have however one consolation for the visitors – they have set a
price on drinks so that a third of a litre of beer is not allowed to
cost more than three euros and mineral water just to euros. A cup of
warm tea is also not allowed to cost more than 2.50 euros.
Austrian survives liberation of Algerian oil field
An Austrian hostage has escaped the shooting in Algeria that left 26 others dead.
The Austrian man kidnapped in Algeria has been freed from militants at
an Algerian gas facility after a shoot out with the local army.
But although the rescued Austrian man named as Christoph Z. (36) has
telephoned his parents to say he is safe, about 30 foreigners are
reportedly still unaccounted for.
He is expected to meet the Austrian ambassador in the region Aloisia Wörgetter later today.
State-run Algerian APS news agency said those freed at the In Amenas
installation included 573 Algerians and 'around 100' out of 132 foreign
The militants remained holed up at the site, APS said. At least four
foreign workers died when troops moved in but the Austrian man was not
The installation had been put out of action to avoid the risk of an explosion, the agency reported.
The In Amenas gas field is operated by the Algerian state oil company,
Sonatrach, along with the British oil company BP and Norway's Statoil.
It is situated at Tigantourine, about 40km (25 miles) south-west of the
town of In Amenas and 1,300km (800 miles) south-east of Algiers.
Despite requests for communication and pleas to consider the hostages'
safety, the UK, Japan and US said they had not been told in advance
about the military assault.
Norway said eight of its nationals were currently unaccounted for. One
is being treatedata hospital in In Amenas, while four escaped
Schoolboy gets 18,600 cash windfall
A teenage schoolboy who handed in 18,600 euros that he spotted
lying on a sports floor shop has been given the money back a year later
after nobody claimed it.
Florian Schipflinger, 17, from Maishofen in Austria was told he could
collect the money today after school - but he won't have it for long
after his parents told him they were putting it into a bank account for
him to use later.
He said: "I guess it will help from my studies or whatever I do in the
future – but I would still like to know why somebody could afford to
lose that much money and not bother about claiming it.
"I often think about how it came to me – I've been into the sport shop
and spotted the money on the floor as I was leaving. I asked the sales
staff if they had lost it but they denied that it was theirs - so I took
it to the police station. We counted it there and then – I couldn't
believe it was so much money.
"It is great news that I get to keep it."
The schoolboy currently gets 100 euros a month pocket money and his
parents have told him that is unlikely to change in the immediate
future. He said: "When I told my parents I have found the money and
handed it in they didn't believe me at first – it was only when the
police contacted them that they realised I'd been telling the truth."
He said it had never occurred to him to simply keep the money.
Plastic ice rinks a flop in Salzburg
Ice rinks covered in a plastic substance instead of real ice have proved a flop in the Alpine city of Salzburg, Austria.
Officials had chosen to use a plastic as an ice replacement despite regular freezing winter temperatures in the city.
The ice rink is located on the famous Mozart Square in Salzburg's old
town and for the first time had been covered in the synthetic substance. But now the new surface has been voted a flop by visitors and locals and
many people have decided to stay away from the 'ice rink' completely. Interest in comparison to previous years has been limited.
Local politician in Salzburg Christoph Fuchs said: "The ice rink has
been a complete flop. You can see this from images from the panorama
camera. A live picture is taken every half an hour on the Mozart Square.
These images show very few visitors using the ice rink. There are no
traces of the 3,000 children who learned to skate on this rink last
"PVC ice is not as attractive as the real thing where you can glide along. It is difficult and hard work." The organiser of the ice rink also admitted that it had been a flop.
Sandra Begic said: "We didn't have many visitors to the ice rink, but
plenty of people visited the nearby punch stand for a warm drink. With
the punch stand we were very happy.
Salzburg Mayor Heinz Schaden said: "We wanted to try for one season
whether it works or not. We had a contract for one year to test whether
the new surface works. They will be using natural ice again next year. I
am pleased about this. Next year we will have proper ice once again.
7th Jan 2013
Traffic fines to increase
Using your mobile phone at the wheel and speeding are set to become more expensive this year in Austria.
Currently using your mobile phone at the wheel costs up to 90 Euro but
this could become more expensive as will not wearing a seat belt,
speeding or other traffic offences.
The Austrian Parliament still has to approve the increases but then it
will be up to the individual province by how much they increase the
Currently speeding costs 35 Euro and in some cases 50 Euro, not having
your seatbelt on costs 35 Euro. But these fines could be increased to 90
The number of fines in the Austrian province of Tirol for talking on the
mobile phone without a hands free kit whilst driving have increased
over the past year.
In 2009, 9,000 drivers were caught in Tirol, in 2011 it was 11,000, by November 2012 it was 12,000.
Police believe an increase in the fine could put off motorists committing the offence and slow the increase in charges.
1st Jan 2013
Used Xmas tree collection points now open.
Now that Christmas is in the past for another year it is possible
from today to dump unwanted Christmas trees free of charge at one of the
special Christmas tree collection points.
In the Austrian capital Vienna alone there are 504 areas collecting used
Christmas trees – some of those in the centre of Vienna however are not
yet open to allow new years festivities to be unhindered.
The collection points which are being run by the city's rubbish
department the MA48 will be open until 14 January because while some
people prefer to throw away their tree immediately - others like to hold
onto it for a while. After the fourteenth of January the trees can also
be abandoned at one of the official waste collection points in the
city. Again free of charge.
The MA48 warn that metal hooks and tinsel or Lametta are not
biodegradable and should be removed from the tree before it is dumped.
The trees will then be ground into pulp and used for heating. This year
it is estimated trees collected in this way will provide enough hot
water for 3,000 homes this winter. Annually the collection points
collect around 135,000 Christmas trees.
The locations of the collection points can be found on the Online-City Map of the city of Vienna.
Russian dies in avalanche
A Russian skier has been killed after being swept away by an avalanche on the Tirolean side of the Arlberg. The 48-year-old man was skiing in an unsecured ski area away from the piste in the Schöngraben region.
The man was skiing in conditions with poor visibility when he triggered an avalanche and was buried under two metres of snow. He was skiing with a group of fellow Russians but they had lost sight of him due to the bad visability.
After waiting for the man at the bottom of the slope for some time, the
group notified rescuers who went to search for the missing tourist. They found traces of the avalanche and then detected the avalanche detector signal.
The man was recovered dead at the scene. The man had been part of a group of tourists staying in Innsbruck and
travelling to different ski resorts to enjoy the early ski season.
Road Toll check catch 20,000 drivers!
More than 20,000 people have been caught without a vignette (toll
sticker) on roads in the Austrian province of Tirol since checks were
introduced five years ago. It is not worth the fine to try and dodge the toll for motorways and invariably it catches foreign visiitors dring in Austria.
Checks are carried out by the ASFINAG - the Austrian motorway authorities.
According to ASFINAG half of those caught without a vignette were foreigners and the other half were locals.
According to ASFINAG 98 per cent of the road users have a valid vignette.
Those caught without an up to date vignette face a fine of 120 Euros.
The current yearly vignette is valid until 31st January 2013.The 2013 Vignette is already on sale and is valid from December 1st 2012.
ASFINAG has eight mobile cameras on Austrian motorways to catch
offenders. The cameras can recognise whether a car has a vignette on the
windscreen even on cars travelling at 130 kph on the motorway.
The vignette is a toll sticker required by all drivers using Austrian motorways.
This year's colour is raspberry red and in comparison to last year the
vignette have become more expensive, costing drivers 80.60 per year.
By September this year 20.2 million 2012 vignette's had been sold in
Austria. Around three quarters of these were ten day vignette's for car
drivers, the Austrian motorway authorities ASFINAG announced today
Drivers can buy vignettes at border stations, petrols stations and
tobacconists as well as Austria's automobile clubs, the ÖAMTC and ARBÖ.
Compared to 2012 the price has risen by 3.6 per cent and cost the following:-
Ten days: 8.30 Euro
Two months: 24.20 Euro
One year: 80.60 Euro
Ten days: 4.80 Euro
Two months: 12.10 Euro
One year:32.10 Euro
For ease of inspection, the sticker must be stuck to the windscreen
only, for example on the left edge or behind the rear view mirror
(looking from inside the car).
The Tolling Regulations stipulate that it may not be placed on a side
window. Nor, as before, may it be obscured by a strip of tinted
Revenues from the sticker, along with all other toll receipts, are spent
by ASFINAG exclusively on constructing, operating and maintaining
Austria's motorway and highway network.
British man rescued from Austrian mountain
A 62-year-old British man has been rescued from Hoher Dachstein in
the Northern Limestone Alps after losing his sense of direction.
The Brit set off on a snowshoe hike of the southside of the mountain at
10am on Tuesday 4 December. His plan was to hike from Hierzegg to higher
terrain in the direction of Satteleck.
When he reached 1500 metres above sea level he was overcome by the snowy
and windy conditions which obscured his sight. When he was unable to
determine his path or his position he panicked that he had lost
orientation and made an emergency call.
Some 17 members of the Ramsau am Dachstein mountain rescue team and 2
officers from the Liezen Alpine police set off in search of the hiker
and found him at 6.45pm. The man was uninjured. He was then taken down
to a valley.
Vienna again tops quality of life survey
Austria's capital offers its residents the best quality of life of
any city in the world and Baghdad the worst, according to the latest
global survey from consultant group Mercer.
According to news agency Reuters,
Vienna with 1.7 million residents came top of the survey for the fourth
year in a row, boasting a vibrant cultural scene alongside
comprehensive health care and moderate but rising housing costs. Its
opulent architecture from the time of the Habsburg empire makes it a
The reliable public transport system costs just 1 euro ($1.30) a day for
an annual pass in a city governed by left-leaning Social Democrats and
"The city is so international... I have been waiting for buses and heard
over 10 languages being spoken at one stop," said American Dawn
Gartlehner, 42, a law firm manager who has lived in Vienna for more than
"The city caters to all kinds of people, all ages and all walks of life.
You can have a wonderful day here spending all the money in your bank
account but have an equally great time spending nothing at all."
Mercer conducts its annual survey to help companies and organizations
set compensation for staff on international assignments. It uses 39
factors such as political stability, health care, education, crime,
recreation and transport.
Anna Staribacher, a 24-year-old student, praised her home town's safe streets and abundance of parks and woodlands.
"Austria is a wealthy country, we have low unemployment and free
university access. Living is affordable and prices are still moderate by
international standards. But I wonder why people are still so grumpy
all the time?"
Despite its sovereign debt crisis, Europe has 15 of the world's top 25
cities in the 2012 survey. Germany and Switzerland each have three in
the top 10. The lowest-ranking city in western Europe was Athens,
gripped by deep economic woes.
"Overall, European cities continue to have high quality of living as a
result of a combination of increased stability, rising living standards
and advanced city infrastructures," said Slagin Parakatil, senior
researcher at Mercer.
"But economic turmoil, political tension and high unemployment in some
European countries and high levels of unemployment have continued to be
problematic in the region."
Canadian cities dominated rankings in the Americas region, with
Vancouver at number five retaining the top