In politics, a prediction of correction to globalization has implications for the increased importance of culture as a medium for foreign relations. In China, the “antiquities chief” stepped down with reservations about the process for reviewing historic sites. In Albania, citizens petitioned against the demolition of a memorial to the former dictator Enver Hoxha. In Austria, screening of museums for Nazi plunder continues.
In economics, preliminary reports on the international market for fine art in 2012 indicated auction totals of $10 billion and an overall volume of more than $60 billion. The Czech art market also had high turnover in 2012. A letter to The New York Times called for a dialogue on the art market bubble. Auction houses expect a continued strong market for fine art with the sale of Renaissance works, while ventures in the online art market face the challenge of viable business models. Azerbaijan announced plans for a railway that will revive the historic Silk Road.
In security, Brunei will chair Asean and will address “social-cultural security.” In Pakistan, the Antiquities Act requires updating in that looting threatens unexcavated archaeological sites. In Australia, the burning of famous ghost gum trees carried suspicion of arson. In New York a man pleaded guilty to trafficking in dinosaur fossils from Mongolia, which will repatriate the artifacts. In South Dakota, profitability of prehistoric artifacts induces looting. In Santa Monica, California police charged six suspects in a multimillion-dollar theft that included famous artworks, such as by Jasper Johns.
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