Gay traffic lights catch on in Austria

VIENNA - The Austrian city of Salzburg unveiled Thursday gay-themed pedestrian traffic lights after the flashing signals specially installed in Vienna for the Eurovision Song Contest proved a hit.

Instead of the usual stick man, the special lights at pedestrian crossings show two figures: either a man or a woman, two men or two women, holding hands, together with a little heart symbol.

Salzburg in western Austria, best known abroad for the "Sound of Music" film and for being Mozart's birthplace, is "an open and tolerant city," centre-left mayor Heinz Schaden said.

Vienna's lights were only meant to be in place for Eurovision and for HIV/AIDS charity event the Life Ball in May but they proved so popular that authorities decided to keep them in place.

The capital has the copyright on the design but Salzburg - where three traffic lights have been outfitted - was allowed to use it free of charge.