There is always a buzz in Vienna, always things going on. However, to me, the period from the end of September through to mid-November is as close as the city ever gets to taking a pause.
Then as you start to wrap up, with autumn turning to winter, small huts start to be erected across the city, street decorations are installed and the purveyors of holiday trinkets bring forth their wares. All over Vienna the Christmas markets beginning to open, signalling the start of another year of partying in the City.
Walking through the Rathausplatz the other evening, between the stalls still being erected and those being prepared for the opening of the market on the 17th November, I took a look at the Christmas tree that takes pride of place in front of the City Hall. Not yet decorated, this tree has got a bit of a history having already been to the Vatican where it was rejected – more on this story here in the Austrian Times.
The Christmas markets provide the City with an enhanced sense of the Christmas festivities. They also reflect the Austrian habit of socialising outside all year round. No matter how cold it gets (& even better if it snows) we will all be standing around with our Glühwien and food chatting away to friends and enjoying the party which will carry on through New Year celebrations, winter activities, spring festivals and the gorgeous summer months by the river and in the vineyards.
If you are paying a visit to Vienna here’s a link to more details on the Christmas Markets
An article here in yesterdays Austrian Times reports on calls for lakeside towns and villages in the Alpine region to reassess the risk from tsunamis. The warning comes from Professor Johann Stötter, an expert on Alpine Global Warming, from the University of Innsbruck.
The concerns focus upon new research from the University of Innsbruck which show permafrost is now disappearing at a rate of 5cm to 10cm a year. In Alpine areas above 2500 metres the soil is held in place as a result of being permanently frozen and until recently only the surface layer has been known to thaw.
This deeper thawing of the permafrost increases the risk of significant rock and landslides which can create lake tsunamis. The article gives a few historical examples, as well as highlighting huge rise in lakeside populations and how simulation show that collapses can lead to large tsunamis developing extremely quickly.
Interesting piece here in the ‘Austrian Times’ about Austrian know-how helping the UK to adopt Passive House technology, as the country seeks to reduce its CO2 emissions by making new building energy efficient and sustainable.
Austria is said to be one of the leaders when it comes to sustainable building. As the ‘Austrian Times’ highlights, ‘….at Ecobuild in London, the leading trade fair for sustainable building, Austria had the biggest presence with 500 square metres of exhibition space and 28 exhibiting companies on one group stand. A further six Austrian companies took part independently. From solar energy solutions, bio-mass heating, heating pumps, windows, the Tirol wood companies and pre-fabricated houses, the “Made in Austria” brand dominated with a strong presence.’
Thus while there is continuing concern in the country about the impact of climate change on key sectors such as Tourism (with its high value winter sports threatened by the loss of glaciers and reduced snowfall in the Alps), other important areas of the economy look to benefit from the export of Austria know-how.
For those in the UK who want to tap into more home-grown expertise and creativity then they merely need to take a trip to the wilds of South Holland, in Lincolnshire, and the eco-dynamism of Jeremy Harrall and SEArch Architects
Maybe it was just too early in the morning and I should have just reached for another coffee, but this story has left me wondering whether in putting this article together the austrian times.at was:
a) in a rush
b) guilty of some poor journalism
c) is actual yet another right wing newspaper
d) demonstrating a better understanding of events than I’ve managed to follow
Why do I say this? Well I’ve written a few political leaflets and business reports over the years. When doing so I always try to remember, amongst other things, that:
- Most people often don’t get beyond the third paragraph in an article, unless they are very interested in the subject or bored with nothing better to do.
- People skim stories rather than reading them in full. This generally involves reading the opening and the first line of the following paragraphs.
Take a look at the second and third paragraphs. The article appears to me to present as facts a description of events which the final line of the third paragraph shows are actually the FPÖ’s view of what took place. Moreover this is the only line in the article to refute the picture painted by the FPÖ of this controversy.
Apply my two rules above and the article starts to read like FPÖ spin. To be fair and balanced the journalist was primarily writing about the impact of the controversy on potential future co-operation between the far-right FPÖ and the conservative ÖVP. Thus the two paragraphs seek to put matters into context. However, I’ve re-read this article a few times and it still comes out the same way as on the first reading as rather unbalanced – even read in full.
So to return to my opening question, what do you think? Would you say a, b, c, d or ‘you need a second coffee before reading the news’?
Recent opinion polls have suggested that the SPO, OVP and FPO are all polling at similar levels. I keep hearing and reading comments questioning how long the grand coalition between the OVP (Centre Right) and the SPO (Centre Left) will continue. State elections over the past year have been a mixed bag for all the Parties, whilst the strong showing for the (Far Right) FPO in Vienna was depressing for those of us of a liberal left persuasion.
The ongoing struggle to get the damaged nuclear reactors in Japan safely under control clearly had an impact in the recent German state elections, with big gains for the Greens. This has produced some discussion about the current performance and future potential of the Austrian Green party. An example of which is this piece from Tuesday’s Austrian Times:
Another story in today’s AT, as well as featuring in other newspapers and in TV news stories, is the potential for leadership changes in the OVP:
The next twelve months could prove politically very interesting in this corner of Europe.
Filed under Energy, Green
Despite the Austrian Times running a series of negative stories about public transport in the city, a poll of the online newspapers readers is currently showing strong support for the quality of the network.