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Austrian report Austrian report
by Euro Reporter
2010-11-22 09:54:01
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Austria approves €20 million for Jewish cemeteries

Austria's parliament passed a bill Wednesday to provide €20 million ($27 million) in federal funds to restore Jewish cemeteries over the next two decades. The move ends years of discord over who should pay for the much-needed endeavor to preserve the remnants of a once vibrant community decimated by the Nazis. The bill foresees annual government payments of €1 million ($1.4 million) into a special fund over the next 20 years. The country's Jewish community will supplement the government's contributions each year through €1 million in donations.
The measure, which takes effect in 2011, also asks local municipalities where such cemeteries are located to maintain them for at least 20 years after they have been restored. Ariel Muzicant, president of Jewish Community Vienna, welcomed Wednesday's vote, which followed a government pledge to provide funds last December.  "I'm overjoyed and satisfied that a way has been found to save such an important cultural heritage," Muzicant told The Associated Press.

In total, there are 61 Jewish cemeteries in the Alpine republic, he said. An estimated 65,000 Austrian Jews perished in the Holocaust and many others fled. In 1938, about 192,000 Jews lived in Austria, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.


Austria seeks missing
83-year-old murderess

Authorities have issued a European arrest warrant for Austria's purported oldest murderess, who was released early on grounds of ill health, then traveled to the Vatican and apparently never returned.

Bronislawa Jarosz, 83, a Polish citizen, was convicted of killing her neighbor in the town of Korneuburg in 2007 and sentenced to 18 years. She was freed early because she was deemed too sick to stay. But a more recent exam found her fit enough to be in prison.

Police can't arrest her, though, because she apparently never returned from a trip to see the Pope, says Wiener Neustadt Court spokesman Hans Barwitzius.  He said Friday a European arrest warrant has been issued to ensure Jarosz serves the remaining "16 years, three days and eight hours" of her sentence.


Austria did away with cluster munitions

Austrian foreign minister Michael Spindel Egger said here Friday that he can definitely assert that his country altogether and swiftly did away with all its cluster munitions, according to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).  The foreign minister added that in this way his country will be of the first countries that applies comprehensive ban on the above-mentioned munitions.  Further, Spindel called on, in a statement circulated by the foreign ministry, other countries which did not dispose of such munitions to do so and to destroy their stockpile of cluster bombs as quickly as possible.

He also said the first meeting of the states parties to Convention on Cluster Munitions -- which was held in Vientiane, the capital city of Laos, early last week -- should be "an alarm that cautions us against the risks that such weapons pose and urges us to deal with them and go ahead with putting the Convention on Cluster Munitions into effect.  The Austrian minister also pointed out Laos is one the countries that suffered and still suffers a lot from such destructive weapons, though more than 30 years passed since the outbreak of the war in the Indochina region which saw the death and injury of about 300 civilians, most them are children who were badly injured.  He also said that the Convention on Cluster Munitions came into effect on August 1, 2010 with the number of the signatories countries reaching 108 including 46 countries that ratified the treaty for good.

The Minister also lauded the findings of the first meeting and what it included of main items highlighting the harms caused and are still inflicted by cluster bombs, the necessity of lessening their dangers and the obligations that various countries believe in its availability in order to establish a world free from cluster bombs.  The Austrian Minister asserted at the close of his statement that his country will continue its effective role as part of the main countries committed to applying the comprehensive international prohibition of cluster bombs.  Thanks to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, millions of small bombs have been disposed of, while member states will destroy a big quantity of such weapons in the coming months. The convention prohibits the use, production, development, purchase, transfer and acquiring of cluster munitions and it sets final dates for destroying and eliminating them from the lands in which they are deployed along with making concerned states abide by lending support to the survivors .

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