Art Basel highlighted the art market this week with reported offerings totaling $2 billion and Gagosian offering $250 million in works. As more evidence for a trend in art as an alternative investment, wealthy reportedly cling to art with a global average of 9.6% of their assets in collectibles. China again exceeds other nations with the wealthy devoting 17% of assets to collectibles as compared with 16% in Singapore, and 14% in Hong Kong. The trend seems to have attracted the attention of tax authorities, in that reportedly China plans to crack down on evasion of import tariffs on art. In the midst of acquisitions, nations such as Turkey continue an assertive campaign to repatriate cultural artifacts worldwide. Also in the realm of transfer of cultural property, Argentina seized paleontological objects in route from Columbia, and trafficking in antiquities inspires looting in The Middle East. Reportedly, illegal "sport" digging is on the rise in Greece, and the Israel Antiquities Authority pursues thieves in Modi’in. In the academic world, Italy and Yemen discussed cooperation on archaeological missions.
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