Hannes Richter

In Brief

Hannes Richter
National Fund’s Art Database Now Online

Austria’s National Fund has created a database containing information on objects of art and of cultural value currently held by the Republic of  Austria in museums and collections which may have been expropriated under National Socialism and thus qualify for restitution. Based upon recent provenance research, the database aims to clarify whether and to whom the objects should be returned. As of October 16, the German version of the database is accessible on the internet at: www.kunstrestitution.at The English version of the art database will be available in Spring 2007.

Austria Contributes $1.34 Million to Polio Eradication

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative, adopted by a unanimous vote of the World Health Assembly in 1988, has made impressive progress in the past eighteen years. When the effort first began, some 350,000 children were diagnosed as having the crippling disease. Today only four countries - Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan - continue to see the virus striking children lacking immunization. About a half dozen other neighboring countries are struggling against importation of the virus. Estimates are that by the end of the year about 2,000 new cases will be identified. This represents a remarkable reduction. Large-scale immunization must be continued, however, even in those countries where there have been no recent new cases.

The cost of the global effort remains high and Austria’s contributions in 2006 have been especially important. The first contribution of $590,000 has recently been increased by an additional $750,000, which has been directed to Ethiopia where the virus “imported” from Nigeria remains a threat. Austria’s total contribution in 2006 has reached $1.34 million.

The directors of the “Polio Partners” program, which includes the World Health Organization, UNICEF and Rotary International, among others, have expressed their special gratitude to the Austrian government for its substantial help in insuring that the goal of global eradication will soon be reached.