Oops: UN head means Austria, thanks Australia

VIENNA (AP) — 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, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon offered his thanks to — Australia.

Ban recovered Monday about 20 minutes into his news conference on the sidelines of the meeting focused on landlocked developing countries. Tipped off by aides, he apologized, 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.”

 

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