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For centuries the imperial heartland of one of the major powers, Austria is today a small, landlocked Central European country of 8.1 million. The citizens of the second largest German speaking country after the Federal Republic of Germany are prosperous, with a per capita 2003 Gross National Income of $26,810. The comparable figures for Germany and Switzerland are $25,270 and $40,680, respectively.

Some 339,000 Muslims, most of them of Turkish origin, are resident in Austria.

Shame of Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger, one a figure of pride or at least amusement for many Austrians is not reviled. Early on December 26, 2005 his name was quietly removed from the stadium the southern Austrian city of Graz because of his refusal to block the December 13, 2005 execution by the State of California of Stanley Tookie Williams. The stadium had been named in his honor in 1999. Capital punishment was abolished in Austria as barbaric. Schwarzenegger was born in 1947 in the village of Thal near Graz. He immigrated to the United States in 1968, bceoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1984. However Schwarzenegger has retained his Austrian citizenship. Perhaps he could be given back to the Austrians at some point? Source: William J. Kole. "Schwarzenegger's Name Removed From Stadium." Associated Press. December 26, 2005.

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