Aug 6, 2017

Ancient treasures looted by ISIS may not surface for decades

Hassan Ammar / AP

In a Sunday deep dive, the Wall Street Journal has traced the path of artifacts looted by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and found parallels with the Nazi art looting some 70 years prior:

"ISIS's territorial grip is fading fast... but the group's legacy of looting will linger for many years, in much the same way that art looted by the Nazis continues to surface 70 years later. The ancient statues, jewelry and artifacts that ISIS has stolen in Syria and Iraq, are already moving underground and may not surface for decades."

The finds: ISIS allows locals to dig for artifacts, and pays them a percentage of what their finds would get on the market, generating $10-100 million annually from the trade.

The trade: After the goods are smuggled out by intermediaries "often blending in with humanitarian convoys and refugees," or "hidden in exports such as cotton, fruit and vegetables," they're sold to middle men like Muhammad hajj Al-Hassan and Omar Al-Jumaa. Both were students before the Syrian civil war broke out and now trade in stolen artifacts. Al-Jumaa said he once bought a Roman statue from a Syrian woman who hid it under her clothing before crossing into Turkey.

The path: Most artifacts go first to Turkey or Lebanon. Next they're typically sent to Eastern Europe or Asia, before being sold to buyers in Western Europe (oftentimes Switzerland or Germany) or the U.S. They often sit in warehouses for years, and ownership histories are fabricated. It could be decades before many of the artifacts are sold publicly.

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In photos: How the coronavirus outbreak is impacting on daily lives

New York City's once-bustling Times Square. Photo: Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images

The novel coronavirus pandemic is having a huge impact on the lives of people around the world.

The big picture: The first known case outside China was in Thailand on Jan. 13. Since then, global infection numbers have surged, and governments around the world have responded with measures designed to curb the spread of the virus — ranging from lockdowns to physical distancing enforcement. There were more than 723,000 confirmed COVID-19 infections by early Monday, per Johns Hopkins data). However, life hasn’t stopped because of the pandemic, but it has changed. Here's how.

World coronavirus updates: Global death toll surpasses 34,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 34,000 people and infected over 723,000 others globally, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy reported more than 10,700 deaths early Monday.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30,

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m. ET: 722,435 — Total deaths: 33,997 — Total recoveries: 151,991.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m.. ET: 142,502 — Total deaths: 2,506 — Total recoveries: 4,856.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump says his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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