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Austrian report
by Euro Reporter
2014-08-02 13:05:55
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Cows kill German hiker in Austria

Woman, 45, apparently rushed by herd, which may have been unsettled by her dog. Police say a herd of cows attacked and killed a German woman hiking through their fenced-in pasture after apparently being riled by the sight of her leashed dog.

They said the 45-year-old victim was rushed by about 20 cows and their calves. Attempts by an emergency crew to revive her were unsuccessful.

The attack occurred on Monday on a mountain pasture in Austria's Tyrol province. The woman's name was not released, in accordance with Austrian confidentiality rules.


Facebook faces class action privacy suit in Austria,
with most of the world invited to join in

Serial anti-Facebook litigant Max Schrems, an Austrian law student, has branched out from his usual strategy of tackling the data-munching social network in Ireland, home of Facebook’s international operations. On Friday, he announced a class action lawsuit in his home country, too — and anyone outside the U.S. and Canada can take part.

So far, Schrems and his “Europe v Facebook” group have been remarkably successful in their quest to force Facebook to comply with European data protection law. They’ve managed to get Facebook to cough up more user data when the relevant users ask, they hobbled some of the firm’s facial recognition functionality, and they’re the reason why Europe’s highest court is now having to consider the legality of the NSA’s PRISM program and its effect on the U.S.-European Safe Harbor agreement.

The lawsuit revealed on Friday in Vienna will take on many aspects of Facebook’s behaviour, including its reported participation in the PRISM program, its privacy policy, the fact that it tracks anyone who visits a web page with a “like” button on it, the “absence of effective consent to many types of data use” and non-compliance with data access requests.


Austrian business grits teeth,would back Russia sanctions

Austrian businesses would back tougher economic sanctions against Russia should Europe go down that path, even though such measures will likely be counterproductive, the head of the country's Chamber of Commerce said on Tuesday. Christoph Leitl, one of Austria's most vocal opponents of levelling tough sanctions against Moscow over its role in Ukraine's crisis, told Reuters he could not estimate the economic impact of stepped-up economic pressure on Russia. "As (sanctions) are now, we expect exports to fall around 20 percent this year versus last year and in tourism the collapse in Russian guests is already very strikingly tangible," he said in a telephone interview. Neutral Austria has walked a fine line between showing solidarity with European Union partners and calling for dialogue with Russia, whose President Vladimir Putin got a warm welcome when he visited Vienna last month.

"I am still against sanctions, but if the politicians decide otherwise then of course one is bound to this," Leitl said, noting Austria's business would go along with whatever the United Nations, the EU or national law mandates. He was speaking after Germany's main business lobby group took a similar line and as EU diplomats met to thrash out the bloc's first broad economic sanctions on Russia. Leitl noted that Austrian companies - which have invested more than 8.6 billion euros ($11.5 billion) in Russia - have to judge whether to keep investing given the political uncertainty, but dismissed the idea that the crisis could torpedo plans to bring the South Stream Russian gas pipeline to Austria. The chief executives of Russia's Gazprom and Austria's OMV last month sealed a deal to build a branch of South Stream to Austria, a defender of the project despite opposition from the European Commission.

"South Stream is a long-term project. In my view this crisis will occupy us perhaps for a few months but South Stream is a project over many years," Leitl said. He said he wanted to neither dramatise nor play down the potential impact of sanctions on Russia, which imports mostly machinery, pharmaceuticals and iron and steel products from Austria. Energy accounts for 85 percent of trade the other way. More than 513,000 Russian tourists visited Austria last year, up nearly 8 percent from 2012. Russia is Austria's third-biggest non-EU trading partner, after the United States and Switzerland, but exports to Russia fell nearly 12 percent to just over 1 billion euros in the first four months of this year. Austrian companies with large Russia exposure include lender Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) and property group Immofinanz. RBI's CEO was quoted saying in a newspaper interview Russia was an important market but the bank would wait to see how the situation develops. Immofinanz has said in the past the impact of the Ukraine crisis was uncertain.


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Emanuel Paparella2014-08-03 09:03:12
It appears that some Austrians have wisely decided to "un-follow" the latest fad (facebook)on human communication and have come to the conclusion that technology is double edged sword: it can be used for good or it can be used for nefarious ends, and the intention with which it is used makes all the difference. This is good news because it means that there is still some sanity left in this brave new world of ours.

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