Quirky World ... Austria hopping mad over Ban’s mix-up


Quirky World ... Austria hopping mad over Ban’s mix-up

It was clearly a slip of the tongue, but many Austrians will not be amused because they hear it all too often: Expressing his gratitude for the hosting of a major conference in Vienna, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon offered his thanks to — Australia.

Ban recovered yesterday about 20 minutes into his news conference on the sidelines of the meeting focused on landlocked developing countries. Tipped off by aides, he apologised, noting he knows full well that there are “no kangaroos in Austria”.

Ban was addressing a pet Austrian peeve: Tourists often say Australia when they mean Austria. Cashing in on the mistake, most Vienna souvenir shops stack T-shirts with a crossed-out picture of the bouncy marsupial and the slogan “There are no kangaroos in Austria.”


ENGLAND: The removal of a Banksy mural which appeared on the wall of an amusement arcade just over a month ago has caused upset in a seaside town.

Damian Collins, MP for Folkestone and Hythe, also appealed for the piece, called Art Buff, to be reinstated at Payers Park in Folkestone, Kent, after it was removed over the weekend.

Art lovers descended on the town when the stencil-style artwork, which depicts an older woman staring at an empty plinth while wearing headphones with her hands clasped behind her back, appeared at the end of September.


MEXICO: Charles, the prince of Wales, and his wife Camilla, the duchess of Cornwall, have been given a masterclass in making a delicacy favoured in parts of Mexico — the Cornish pasty.

They laughed their way though the cookery lesson as they began a four-day tour of Mexico. The savoury treat was introduced to the Latin American nation in the 19th century by miners from Cornwall, who also brought over soccer.


SPAIN: Shepherds have guided a flock of 2,000 sheep through Madrid’s streets in defence of ancient grazing, droving and migration rights increasingly threatened by urban sprawl and modern agricultural practices.

Tourists and city-dwellers were surprised to see the capital’s traffic cut to permit the ovine parade to bleat — bells clanking — its way past the city’s most emblematic locations.

Shepherds halted at the town hall so the chief herdsman could hand authorities 25 maravedies — copper coins first minted in the 11th century — as payment for the crossing. They then continued past central Puerta del Sol square and the Bank of Spain headquarters on their way to Retiro Park. Some herding routes have been used annually for more than 800 years and Madrid sprawls across one dating back to 1372.


USA: An Arizona woman is searching for her wedding ring which she accidentally gave away during Halloween trick-or-treat celebrations.

KNXV-TV reported that Mesa resident Brooklin Yazzie said she had put her wedding ring in a sweets jar while helping her daughters carve pumpkins, and when the night became hectic she absent-mindedly dumped the contents of the jar into the treats bag.

She said there were also plastic rings inside the bag.

Ms Yazzie said she is hoping someone has the ring because it is not worth much money but has more value to her.


DENMARK: Members of a biker gang called off a planned party after police raided a new clubhouse in western Denmark and took away the bar, which had been stolen from a nearby workshop.

Anders Uhrskov, of Aarhus police, said officers found the piece of furniture when raiding a property in Lystrup, north-east of Denmark’s second largest city, as part of “our preventive strategy” against organised crime groups so “they never doubt that we keep an eye on them”. Police also seized a “minor amount” of drugs and a gold chain.

Gang members declined to comment, and it was unclear whether the party would be rescheduled.


ENGLAND: Counter-terrorism police are investigating the hacking of a rugby league team website which has been replaced with a page featuring the message: “I love you Isis”.

Keighley Cougars website currently shows a black screen with the words “Hacked By Team System DZ” at the top.

A message posted on the club’s Twitter feed said: “Apologies, the website has been hacked. The developers are working on it. Will let you know when it’s back up and running.”

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