He had recently proven this with the publication of his letter on marriage and family «Amoris Laetitia», when he wrote openly and very close to people about togetherness and sex instead of getting lost in papal orders.

He had recently proven this with the publication of his letter on marriage and family «Amoris Laetitia», when he wrote openly and very close to people about togetherness and sex instead of getting lost in papal orders.

He had recently proven this with the publication of his letter on marriage and family «Amoris Laetitia», when he wrote openly and very close to people about togetherness and sex instead of getting lost in papal orders. Francis proves again and again that he does not cling to rigid forms, but knows and understands the needs of people in the 21st century.

So he also knows about the shortage of priests and the problems the church has in being attractive to young believers. According to Vatican Radio, the permanent diaconate, which is also open to married men, is currently the only form of vocation in the Catholic Church that is still growing in Europe. Admitting women would be a clear signal that the church could bring many new female followers. The family synod, however, had only marginally dealt with the topic recently.

Not the first foray

The former chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, Robert Zollitsch, had already spoken out in favor of a diaconate for women in 2013 – and the initiative met with rejection in many places. At the time, Zollitsch had campaigned for women to be admitted as deacons in a special new office. So without consecration.

The Pope goes even further with the idea of ​​the study commission, because this is about an examination of the permanent deacon office. But what are deacons anyway? Their consecration is the lowest of the three consecration levels in the church, followed by priestly and bishop ordination – but they do not have to. Deacons are allowed to administer certain sacraments, such as baptism, but not the Eucharist or confession.

Cardinal Karl Lehmann from Mainz also recently campaigned for a deacon office for women. «Unfortunately it has been taking too long before a decision is made in Rome about a permanent diaconate for women,» he complained. A decision has not yet been taken, and the time frame for setting up the Commission was initially unclear. Only one thing is certain: A quiet marginal note from the Pope has once again turned into a bang.

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The coalition negotiations will continue on Friday afternoon at the top level. ÖVP chairman Sebastian Kurz and FPÖ boss Heinz-Christian Strache meet at 4 p.m. at Palais Epstein. The interim cluster results and «lighthouse projects» will be discussed. The

Withdrawal of the planned general smoking ban in restaurants

is supposedly off the table again.

In the run-up to the talks in the afternoon, negotiators did not get much outward on the subject. In the past few days there has been speculation in the media about a withdrawal of the planned general smoking ban in gastronomy, as demanded by the FPÖ. This was officially confirmed neither by the ÖVP nor by the FPÖ. Reinhart Waneck, who negotiates for the FPÖ in the health department, said that the smoking law had not been an issue in this negotiating group so far.

According to FPÖ General Secretary Herbert Kickl, the question of how the smoking ban should be dealt with has not yet been the subject of negotiations between the FPÖ and ÖVP. Media reports to the contrary are incorrect, according to the FPÖ press release.

Mario Pulker, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Association for Gastronomy, stated on request that his level of information was that the topic was being negotiated at the highest level – i.e. between Kurz and Strache. The professional association is working out what a legal regulation could look like. It was only on Thursday that a conversation was held with Vienna’s Vice Mayor Johann Gudenus (FPÖ).

The Freedom Party advocated repeatedly that the current rules for pubs should remain in place. It would be a success for the landlords if the general ban did not come, because they would suffer from it, it said on Friday from FPÖ circles. Meanwhile, the «Krone» (online edition) reported that the ÖVP had already turned the negotiating partner off.

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Resistance to alleged end for smoking ban

Resistance is already forming against the allegedly negotiated by the FPÖ and ÖVP for the general smoking ban from May 2018. Opponents of the blue smoke in pubs warned on Friday against taking a step back in terms of nonsmoker protection, even among hosts it would not be undisputed if the general smoking ban were overturned.

Health Minister Pamela Rendi-Wagner (SPÖ) said that the smoke-free gastronomy in Austria, which was decided in 2015 by the ÖVP and Sebastian Kurz, was a success from a health policy perspective. «A zigzag course of the ÖVP would be a massive step backwards.» The smoking bans in other countries would show a positive trend in respiratory diseases, heart attacks and premature births.

«A zigzag course of the ÖVP would be a massive step backwards»

«It would be completely incomprehensible and medically irresponsible to suddenly reverse the trend reversal that has finally begun and destroy it permanently,» said the doctor and cancer aid president Paul Sevelda. Smoking is responsible for a third of all cancers. The «Don’t smoke» initiative is following the coalition negotiations with great concern.

Vivid, the specialist agency for addiction prevention, has no understanding for repealing the tobacco law passed in 2015. «The transition period was almost three years. This extraordinarily long period gave everyone involved enough time to adjust to it,» it said in a broadcast. For managing director Claudia Kahr «it is obvious that the current law on the protection of non-smokers is not working.» Austria has been the EU country with the worst laws on tobacco since 2007, she referred to the «European Tobacco Control Scale» ranking.

No unanimous opinion among hosts

There is no unanimous opinion among hosts about smoking. The «initiative for a healthy competition in gastronomy», which according to their own information includes 15 restaurants, advocates uniform framework conditions for all hosts, because many restaurateurs break the current rules, as spokesman Peter Tappler said. «I’m one hundred percent sure that the majority are in favor of the smoking ban, because no landlord wants to have to deal with a change again.» A general ban on smoking also means equal opportunities for all restaurateurs.

Again and again, the founder of wine is an opponent of the smoking law Co., Heinz Kammerer. In 2015 he conducted a survey among his guests. 75 percent were in favor of implementing the smoking ban, which will not come into force until 2018, as soon as possible. The wine merchant’s restaurants have been smoke-free since July 2015.

A clear advocate of smoking, however, is the Viennese restaurateur Heinz Pollischansky. An end to the planned general smoking ban «would be the survival of the landlords», said Pollischansky. In his view, the ban would primarily affect the little ones. Pollischansky called for a return to the 2008 regulation so that landlords can again decide whether they want to run a smoking or non-smoking establishment. According to Pollischansky, he interpreted the ÖVP’s announcement during the election campaign that he wanted to reduce bureaucracy in this direction.

The chairman of the Gastronomy Association in the Chamber of Commerce, Mario Pulker, assumes that the FPÖ will keep its election promise and that the ÖVP as a business party will not ignore the wishes of the hosts. The general smoking ban was decided in 2015 at the strong pressure of the SPÖ, but health policy should not be carried out on the backs of the landlords, according to the interest representative, who says he himself runs a non-smoking bar. Pulker fears, however, that especially in the country, guests would migrate from the inn to club houses.

Also main association against stop

«For health-political reasons», the main association of social insurance institutions also spoke out on Friday against lifting the smoking ban in restaurants that had been approved from May 2018. A spokesman for the main association pointed out to the APA that smoking is harmful to health and responsible for many deaths.

That is why the health insurance companies also invest in prevention. The main association spokesman cited the smoke-free telephone as an example. On the toll-free number 0800 810 013 there is anonymous advice for those who wish to quit from Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The website www.rauchfrei.at is also available for this purpose.

General rules dominate across the EU

There are smoking bans in all 28 EU countries, not least because a resolution was passed in Brussels in 2009 calling on all members to ensure that all public spaces in buildings are smoke-free by 2012. The smoking bans in gastronomy are not uniform, but regulations that do not provide for exceptions such as smoking rooms dominate.

Countries like Ireland, the pioneer, did not need an invitation from the EU to take action. The general ban on smoking in closed public areas and at all workplaces, including all pubs and restaurants, has been a reality since March 29, 2004. Italy followed a year later, where smoking cessation in public buildings and restaurants has been in effect since January 2005 – smoking areas are possible here, but are rarely used due to the strict requirements.

© APA / Christina Uhl

In Austria, the Tobacco Act followed on January 1, 2009, with a «fundamental» ban on smoking in pubs with exceptions for separate smoking rooms and small restaurants. At this time, a general smoking ban was already in force in Finland and France. The Czech Republic turned out to be an EU latecomer, but since World No Tobacco Day on May 31, 2017, the ban has also been a general one in the former smokers’ paradise.

But there are also EU countries where smoking bans continue to apply with exceptions. In Germany, for example, comprehensive protection against the dangers of smoking was only available in restaurants in Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Saarland. In the other federal states there are still different regulations, but if smoking is allowed, restaurants are only allowed to be entered from the age of 18.

Smoking rooms or areas are permitted in Poland and Slovakia, among others, but the general smoking ban applies in 17 countries. And the number would increase in May with Austria to 18 out of 28 EU countries where smoking is banned in closed public spaces, on public transport and in the workplace.

Negotiations conducted open end

In view of the surprisingly high deficit forecast presented by the Ministry of Finance last week, however, the financing of the projects, particularly tax cuts, is unclear.

The steering group headed by Kurz and Strache will meet at 4 p.m. in Palais Epstein, right next to the parliament building. In contrast to the last time after the «cash drop,» there will be no press conference afterwards, the negotiations will be open-ended, it said. Media statements should therefore only be given at the beginning. Last Friday, Kurz and Strache presented their «meta-goals», including the plan to lower the tax and contribution rate towards 40 percent.

Little scope for promised tax cuts

For the time being, the government has little leeway for the promised tax cuts, despite the good economic situation, because the EU deficit targets also have to be met. In addition, the coalition negotiators presented particularly cautiously calculated deficit figures during their «cash drop» last week. According to this, Austria would face a «structural deficit» of 1.5 percent of economic output in the coming year.

That would be a good 3.8 billion euros more than the 0.5 percent allowed by the EU. However, the additional costs for the refugee crisis in 2018 (probably for the last time at this level) can be deducted from the deficit, which reduces the need for savings by 1.3 billion euros. There are also significantly more favorable deficit forecasts by the EU Commission and WIFO: In its current autumn forecast, the EU Commission only expects a deficit of 0.9 percent, the Wifo with 0.6 percent. Including the October resolutions of the National Council, which have not yet been taken into account here, that would be around 0.8 percent, but still significantly less than assumed in the case of the «fall in cash».

Experts see the high deficit figures presented by the Ministry of Finance as the usual procedure prior to budget negotiations: In order to keep additional demands back, the budget situation is presented as negatively as possible. This would also be supported by the fact that the ministry reported a somewhat more favorable deficit forecast (namely 1.1 instead of 1.5 percent) to Brussels in mid-October. In the ministry, however, this is rejected: There the deficit forecast, which has been raised to 1.5 percent, is justified with the resolutions of the National Council in October and with «technical adjustments» in some areas.

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»

Alcohol ban at the Praterstern

: District head Uschi Lichtenegger criticizes the ban – some homeless people have migrated to the Prater.

With the

Alcohol ban at the Praterstern

it shouldn’t be done: Vienna wants to set up targeted care for alcoholics. This was announced by Health and Social Welfare Councilor Sandra Frauenberger (SPÖ) on Thursday on the sidelines of a press conference with the APA.