A Model Hotel in Vienna Employs Refugees

Vienna is a ritzy and classic city which has seen a lot of history through the rise of the Habsburg family. It’s a city where tourists flock to due to its ornate beauty and opulence.

Magdas Hotel is a hotel in Vienna which has done something unique: it employs refugees while they await their paperwork to be cleared. The hotel crowdfunded support for the program and is now a great model of how to use the talents of refugees who have trouble finding work in their respected fields.

“This building which is now a hotel was once an old people’s home,” Martin Gantner from Caritas told Al Jazeera. It was renovated and charitable donations were used to procure furniture, he said.

“Through crowdfunding, we collected 70,000 euros [$76,000] for the hotel last year,” Gantner said. The organisation uses all the profit from the hotel to pay salaries and buy supplies.

“It is just awful and pointless that refugees remain jobless for years because they legally cannot work, even though some of them are so talented,” Gantner said.

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Vaginal Gel Cuts HIV Infections by Half

The International Aids Conference is currently underway in Vienna right now and some exciting news has been announced there. A new vaginal gel containing an AIDs drug is excellent at curtailing HIV infections.

The gel was found to be both safe and acceptable when used once in the 12 hours before sex and once in the 12 hours after sex by women aged 18 to 40 years.

Salim Abdool Karim, one of the two leading co-researchers, told reporters in Vienna that the 889 women involved in the trial, conducted in the coastal city of Durban and a remote rural village, had largely used the gel as directed.

They were also given condoms and advice about sexually transmitted diseases, and tested for HIV once a month.

After 30 months, 98 women became infected with HIV – 38 in the group that got tenofovir in the gel and 60 in the group that got placebos.

Gasometer, Vienna

At Gasometer, Vienna people live in old gas tanks that have been converted to really neat-looking modern apartments. It’s a great model of taking old industrial spaces and converting them into livable spaces. You can read about it on Wikipedia.


The Gasometers have developed a village character all their own and are a city within a city. A true sense of community has developed, and both a large physical housing community (of tenants) as well as an active virtual internet community (Gasometer Community) have formed. Numerous theses and dissertations in psychology, urban planning, journalism and architecture have been written about this phenomenon.

Indoor facilities include a music hall (capacity 2000–3000 people), movie theatre, student dormitory, municipal archive, and so on. There are about 800 apartments (two thirds within the historic brick walls) with 1600 regular tenants, as well as about 70 student apartments with 250 students in residence.

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