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Archive for Austria

Newsline: Man charged for sparking fire at embassy in Washington, vandalizing another

A man was arrested and charged after allegedly vandalizing the Embassy of Austria and setting a fire at the Embassy of Malaysia in Northwest Washington, D.C. Versie Segers is accused of throwing an incendiary device, including an alcohol-soaked T-shirt, over the fence of the Embassy of Malaysia on Saturday. Court filings reveal that Secret Service agents assisted dousing the fire. Shortly afterwards, a burglar alarm was set off at the Embassy of Austria. Shattered glass and a large rock were discovered toward the back of the embassy, an affidavit said. Harm to the Embassy of Malaysia building is minimal, a spokeswoman told NBC Washington. The ambassador does not live in the building, but 60 people do work there. Segers faces charges on two counts for violating the property of a foreign government. No injuries were reported.



Newsline: British ambassador to Austria chased through woodland by ‘massive’ wild boar

Britain’s ambassador to Austria described how he had to flee from a “massive” wild boar as it chased him through woodland in Vienna. Leigh Turner described how he came across a group of the animals while out walking before an adult boar charged at him in the Austrian capital. He was forced to scramble to safety up a pile of wet tree trunks, receiving minor injuries in the process. On his blog, the ambassador said the boar did not catch up with him as he fled through Lainzer Tiergarten nature park.


Newsline: Austria to reopen embassy in Libya

The Foreign Minister of the Libyan UN-proposed government, Moahmmed Sayala said that Austria is soon to reopen its embassy in Tripoli and resume flights to Libya. Sayala held Monday a joint presser with his Austrian counterpart, Sebastian Kurz, who described his meeting with Fayez Al-Sirraj – the Head of the Presidential Council – as fruitful and in line with establishing firm relations, speaking out his country’s support for stability in Libya on all levels. “We would also be glad to cooperate with Libya in fighting illegal immigration in coordination with the EU operations.” Kurz indicated. Sayala, on the other hand, said they discussed illegal immigration and monitoring of Libya’s southern borders as well as the efforts to persuade neighboring countries to secure their borders to disallow any more influxes of illegal migrants.


Newsline: US Top Diplomat’s Jet Breaks Down in Vienna During Iran Nuclear Talks

Decades-old U.S. sanctions have crippled Iran’s airline industry and the national carrier’s fleet of Boeing Co. jets. But it was U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry‘s Air Force plane that broke down in Vienna, where he was attending international negotiations aimed at curtailing Iran’s nuclear program. Fuel-tank problems forced Washington’s top diplomat to fly home on a commercial airliner. The grounding left Iranian negotiators in Vienna chuckling about the state of the U.S. government’s transportation. “So it is not just our planes,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif told a reporter from the Al Monitor news site – quipping at what he said was the irony of the situation. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that Mr. Kerry “was quick to point out that if the hardest thing that happens in a given day is that you have to fly commercial—your life is pretty good.” That said, she pointed out that a commercial flight has a big drawback for Mr. Kerry: no secure phone. Mr. Kerry’s aircraft also broke down this summer in Hawaii on a trip back from Asia.


Newsline: Austrian court unfreezes ex-U.S. diplomat’s family assets

An Austrian court has unblocked assets owned by the wife of former U.S. diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad, ruling that Vienna prosecutors overstepped their authority by having her bank accounts frozen, the couple and their lawyers said. Khalilzad – U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations under President George W. Bush – and his wife, author Cheryl Benard, had fought the seizure, which came to light after Profil magazine reported U.S. authorities were investigating him for suspected money laundering. Their lawyers have stressed that no charges have been filed against either of the pair. A court spokesman confirmed the Sept. 3 ruling. The U.S. Department of Justice has declined comment.


Newsline: Austria freezes assets of former US diplomat’s wife

Former top U.S. diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad and his wife are fighting the seizure of her Austrian bank accounts, lawyers for the couple said after a magazine reported U.S. authorities were investigating him for suspected money laundering. Profil magazine cited legal documents discovered in paper recycling bins outside a Vienna justice facility for its report this week that Khalilzad – U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations under President George W. Bush – was being investigated. It said Vienna prosecutors, acting on a U.S. request for legal assistance in 2013, got a court in February to freeze seven accounts owned by his wife, author Cheryl Benard, who is a citizen of both the United States and Austria. Profil said Khalilzad, 63, was suspected of collecting large sums from construction and oil companies in Iraq and the United Arab Emirates and sending $1.4 million dollars of this to Benard’s bank accounts in Vienna. Vienna prosecutors spokeswoman Nina Bussek confirmed an investigation was under way but declined to give more details. A joint statement issued by Vienna law firm Wolf Theiss and U.S. law firm Hogan Lovells said no charges had been brought against Khalilzad or Benard, who were contesting the seizure of the accounts. Khalilzad is now head of Khalilzad Associates, a Washington-based business consultancy. Benard, a novelist, is a researcher with the RAND Corporation and heads an advocacy group that supports cultural activism in areas marred by war.


Newsline: US Ambassador marries his partner in Austria

The US ambassador to the OSCE in Austria married his long-time partner in a ceremony at his residence in Vienna on the weekend. According to a report on the website Advocate.com, the US Ambassador to the OSCE in Austria, Dr. Daniel Baer married his long-time partner Brian Walsh in a simple ceremony on Saturday morning, surrounded by family and friends. Also present was Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. Dr Baer was sworn in as ambassador on September 10, 2013. Previously, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour. Baer and Walsh obtained the license for their marriage in the US, but held the ceremony at their home in Vienna. While this type of marriage is not generally countenanced under Austrian law, technically the ambassador’s residence is US territory, therefore no Austrian regulations were likely to be breached – and in any case, the marriage license was not issued by the Austrian government. Registered same-sex partnerships have been legal in Austria since January 2010, however significant differences remain between such partnerships and full marriage. The latter institution enjoys privileges denied to same-sex couples, including rights of adoption and lack of access to reproductive services (IVF). Baer is the seventh openly LGBT person appointed by President Barack Obama and the first to a multilateral institution.