World news digest: August 2009

Compiled by Javier Pes, Issue 109/8, p9, August 2009
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West Bank: The Museum of the Good Samaritan has opened at the site where the Bible story is believed to be set on the Jerusalem to Jericho road. The $2.5m museum is a symbol of religious brotherhood, according to the Israeli tourism ministry. Palestinians have condemned it as a violation of United Nations resolutions against new buildings on the West Bank under Israeli control.

Argentina: Marking what would have been Anne Frank's 80th year had she survived the Holocaust, El Centro Ana Frank has opened in Buenos Aires. It includes a re-creation of the secret apartment in which the Frank family and others hid from the Nazis and links the persecution of Jews and others in the 1930s and 40s with the crimes of the Argentine military dictatorship of the 1970s.

Czech Republic: At a conference in Prague in June, the governments of 46 nations pledged to do more to research art museum collections and open archives to speed up the restitution of Nazi-era loot to Jewish victims and their heirs.

The World Jewish Restitution Organisation reported that only four countries had made "major" progress in the past 10 years. The UK and 10 other governments had made "substantial" progress.

Austria: Heavy rainfall in Vienna forced the evacuation of the stored collection of the Albertina Museum, which consists of some 950,000 works of art, including Flemish, Italian and German old masters. Staff have started moving the works to dry ground elsewhere in Austria.

Germany: Archivists in Cologne are salvaging the equivalent of 20 miles of historical documents badly damaged when the city archive building collapsed in March. The tunnelling of a new metro system undermined the archive building, which had survived the second world war intact. Conservation and cataloguing may take 30 years.

New Zealand: Seddon Bennington, chief executive of Te Papa museum, has died of exposure, caught in a snow storm while hiking with a fellow walker in a mountain range near Wellington. Bennington,
61, had directed Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand, since 2003.

USA: Most of the foundations that lost assets in Bernard Madoff's Ponzi fraud had fewer than five trustees on their boards, according to the US-based National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. It said boards must grow in size and diversity if charities are to avoid falling for the next Madoff.

Compiled by Javier Pes.

Seen in the Art Newspaper, Pagina12, Bloomberg, New Zealand Herald, Reuters, New York Times