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Alpbach 2013: A Meeting of Minds

Alpbach 2013:  A Meeting of Minds

Slate-grey, dramatic storm clouds frame the ragged mountain backdrop. They fill the horizon and are also reflected in the funnel-shaped, ceiling-to-floor glass wall that plunges below a wide, paved terrace, where scores of smartly-dressed people mingle in the lively murmur of conversation between two sessions of the European Forum Alpbach (EFA).  Now in its 68th year, the […]

The Risks Of Security

Americans were deeply shaken after the events of Sept. 11, 2001. In spite of the country’s long tradition of civil liberties, the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center changed perceptions, and giving up free speech and the right to privacy was seen as a fair trade for the promise of security. What had been […]

Peace, Quiet & Kaczynski

Peace, Quiet & Kaczynski

Whether it’s the influence of the silly season, the unusual heat wave, or the successful campaign of nationalist populism across Central Europe, international media such as The New York Times and El Pais, have again started to pay some attention to the leader of the Polish conservatives, Jaroslaw Kaczynski. After a few years in the […]

Panda wars

Panda wars

The Chinese government has threatened to take back Yang Yang and Long Hui, the two pandas on loan from China at the Schönbrunn Zoo. The threat came in May as a response to Chancellor Faymann’s meeting with the Dalai Lama on Austrian soil last year. Due to China’s tense relationship with the exiled Tibetan leader, […]

An Urban Festwochen Experience

An Urban Festwochen Experience

It was noon as I entered the ticket office of the Wiener Festwochen in Lehàrgasse 3a: The place was empty, and the guard was playing chess against himself. The festival had just begun, and I left laden with flyers and booklets. Since 1951, the Vienna festival courts natives and tourists, artists, amateurs and passionates, who […]

Should Germany Exit the Euro?

Should Germany Exit the Euro?

Last summer, financier George Soros urged Germany to agree to the establishment of the European Stability Mechanism, calling on the country to “lead or leave.” Now he says that Germany should exit the euro if it continues to block the introduction of eurobonds. Soros is playing with fire. Leaving the eurozone is precisely what the […]

Alternative for Germany

The newest political party in Germany, AfD (Alternative for Germany) is advocating a departure from the eurozone. AfD held its first national conference on 14 Apr., drawing in 1,500 of its nearly 10,000 members. The party includes many middle-class conservatives. Experts say it’s unlikely AfD will attract enough federal votes to earn a parliamentary seat, […]

The FPÖ and the Fraternities’ Ball

The FPÖ and the Fraternities’ Ball

Every year at the end of January, a “happening” takes place on the streets of Vienna’s inner districts that might seem strange to the eyes of visitors (see TVR, Feb. 2012). While inside the Hofburg, right-wing politicians and friends are taking the floor at what until last year was called the Wiener Korporations-Ball, on the […]

Renate Brauner: Keynesian in the Rathaus

Renate Brauner: Keynesian in the Rathaus

In late February, the West and South sides of the Rathaus were still wrapped in gauze to contain the dust from sandblasting the final layers of soot built up over the decades and the repairing of weather damage to the 1883 city hall’s magnificent Gothic stonework. This is phase one of a major, 11 stage […]

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