Austria and Australia are two very different countries, 16,000 kilometers apart. One is associated with blazing sunshine and beer, the other mountains and chocolate. One is the birthplace of Steve Irwin and Kylie Minogue, the other Arnold Schwarznegger and Adolf Hitler.
However, despite the gaping geographical distance between the two, in keyboard terms, they’re but two strokes removed, as Airbus found to its embarrassment.
— Chirag Shekhar (@chiragshekhar) April 20, 2017
In fact, the firm is not under investigation Down Under, but in Austria, where prosecutors have initiated a formal criminal investigation against Airbus and the Eurofighter consortium over alleged fraud related to a US$2 billion order for a combat jet over a decade ago.
The apparent ease of mistyping one country’s name has produced a number of similar mix-ups in the past, with US news network CNN reporting in March, Australia was erecting a fence on its border with Slovenia. The gaffe was duly mocked mercilessly on social media.
However, the two are often mixed up orally as well.
In 2014, then United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon extended gratitude to hosts Australia at a conference in Vienna.
It’s even possible to purchase t-shirts in Austria emblazoned with the phrase, “No Kangaroos Here.”
Turns out Austria doesn’t have kangaroos. That’s Australia. Still a cool place though.
— N8o (@NateOlson9) March 25, 2017
Similar country mix-ups have occurred in the past. In 2013, in the wake of the Boston bombing, a satirical news piece originally posted on The Daily Currant, claimed that US politician Sarah Palin confused the Czech Republic with Chechnya, calling for US action against the former, in the belief the Chechen bombers were in fact Czech.
Wprost, a Polish weekly, mistook the satire for fact and ran the headline, “Let’s Burn Prague: Sarah Palin Calls for the Invasion of the Czech Republic.”
Many angry American citizens followed suit, taking to social media to vent their misguided anti-Czech rage.
Some went as far as calling for the US to nuke the now non-existent Czechoslovakia, or at least invade its half-successor Czech Republic, in “response.”
The linguistic confusion was so widespread a dedicated Tumblr page was set up to name and shame the worst offenders.
South Africa Today – World News – Asia and Pacific