‘Cow kiss challenge’: Austria tells people to shun charity dare | World news | The Guardian

The Austrian government has warned internet users to shun an online cow-kissing challenge, calling it a dangerous nuisance.

A Swiss app called Castl launched the KuhKussChallenge (“Cow Kiss Challenge”) on Wednesday, encouraging users in Switzerland and other German-speaking countries to kiss cows – “with or without tongues” – to raise money for charity.

The Austrian agriculture minister, Elisabeth Köstinger, said in a statement on Thursday: “Pastures and meadows are not petting zoos – actions like these could have serious consequences.” She also warned that cows could become aggressive when defending their calves.

Balancing the activities of tourists and cattle farmers is a sensitive topic in Austria’s mountain regions, with both being key pillars of the region’s economy. Hiking Austria

In February, a court in the Tyrol region caused uproar after ordering a farmer to pay €490,000 (£427,000) in compensation to the widower of a woman who was trampled to death by a herd of his cows in 2014.

Source: ‘Cow kiss challenge’: Austria tells people to shun charity dare | World news | The Guardian

Austrian far-right leader filmed offering public contracts for campaign support – POLITICO

The leader of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party H. C. Strache FPÖ has been filmed offering to trade public contracts for campaign support, German media reported Friday.

The revelations could bring Austria’s government to breaking point amid growing tensions between the far-right party and its coalition partner, the Austrian People’s Party of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

The secretly recorded footage of Heinz-Christian Strache, Austria’s vice chancellor and leader of the Freedom Party (FPÖ), was taken on the Spanish island of Ibiza before the Austrian election in 2017, according to Der Spiegel and Süddeutsche Zeitung, which obtained the video from an unnamed source.

It shows Strache, alongside fellow FPÖ politician Johann Gudenus, speaking to a woman claiming to be a wealthy Russian citizen who said she wanted to invest in Austria, apparently with money of dubious origin.

The encounter, which lasted six hours, appeared to be a trap for Strache, according to Der Spiegel and Süddeutsche.

The woman offered to buy a 50 percent stake in Austria’s Kronen-Zeitung newspaper and switch it to a pro-FPÖ line. In turn, Strache said he could award her public contracts.

If the alleged Russian helped the FPÖ succeed, Strache said in the video, “she should found a company like Strabag,” a major Austrian construction company. He added: “She will then get all the state contracts that Strabag gets now.”

Source: Austrian far-right leader filmed offering public contracts for campaign support – POLITICO