Austrian president rebukes far-right leader over media jibe
VIENNA (Reuters) - Austria’s president rebuked the far-right deputy head of government on Friday for accusing the national broadcaster and one of its journalists of lying.
Heinz-Christian Strache, who led the anti-Islam Freedom Party (FPO) to third place in last year’s parliamentary election and into government as a junior coalition partner, has for years accused national broadcaster ORF of left-wing bias.
On Tuesday he went further, posting a picture on Facebook of leading ORF news presenter Armin Wolf with the inscription, “There is a place where lies become news. That place is ORF.” Wolf has threatened to sue Strache, saying it is the first time a politician has accused him of lying. ORF demanded an apology.( Read more...Collapse )
Fresh Nazi songbook scandal hits Austrian far-right Freedom party
A weekly magazine in Austria has said it found an anti-Semitic fraternity songbook similar to the one found in January. The fraternity's chairman is reportedly an aide of the country's far-right transport minister.
A second student fraternity with ties to Austria's Freedom Party (FPÖ) — a partner in the ruling coalition — has a songbook that includes lyrics calling for the murder of Jews, an Austrian magazine reported on Tuesday.
The report comes after a senior FPÖ candidate resigned in early February after the same magazine found his former student fraternity had used a similar anti-Semitic songbook.( Read more...Collapse )
Austria's far-right Freedom Party sets up panel to examine its past
VIENNA (Reuters) - Austria’s right-wing Freedom Party, which entered government in December, announced on Tuesday is was setting up a panel of people to investigate its history, a bid to distance itself from anti-Semitism and racism.
The opposition dismissed the plan as a whitewash by the FPO, which was formed in 1956 by a former officer in the SS -- the armed wing of the Nazi party -- and has struggled for years to rid itself of its radical-right image.( Read more...Collapse )
Austria: Thousands sign up to scupper government's plans to stub out smoking ban
The Austrian government had scrapped a ban on smoking that was meant to come into force in May but will now have to discuss it. Austria is one of the few Western countries which allows smoking in bars and restaurants.
More than 100,000 Austrians have signed a petition against the government's scrapping of a complete ban on smoking in the country's bars and restaurants.
The high number of signatures means the issue will now have to be debated in parliament.
The ban, which was due to come into force in May this year, was imposed by the previous coalition government.
But the ban was scrapped by the new government at the behest of the leader of the far-right Freedom Party, Austria's Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, himself a smoker, who said it impinged on "freedom of choice."
( Read more...Collapse )