Arnie Is Back

There was a hint of a rapprochement this weekend when Arnie 'The Oak' Schwarzenegger made a surprise visit to his native Austria.

The Terminator star had gone from hero to zero back in 2005 over his controversial stance towards capital punishment. As Governor of California, Schwarzenegger had declined to show clemency in a number of high profile cases, angering liberals both within and beyond America's borders.

In the wake of the furore over capital punishment, Austrian Green politician Peter Pilz called for Schwarzenegger to have his Austrian citizenship revoked. By law, no Austrian citizen can take part in or order executions. The former film star was not stripped of his dual citizenship, but sensing humiliation in his native city of Graz, Schwarzenegger called for his name to be removed from the football stadium. He then sent back his Graz ring of honour - the city's highest mark of merit - stating that it had 'lost its meaning and value to me.'

Perhaps Arnie's name won't be gracing the Graz stadium again in a hurry, but his visit last Sunday, where he attended the birthday party of politician and mentor Alfred Gerstl, has at least broken the ice.


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