Mar 24

obama angry

Obama Demands Russia Leave G-8; June Summit Cancelled While Ukraine Deploys Army Along Borders (ZeroHedge, March 24, 2014):

UK Prime Minister David Cameron stated that it is “absolutely clear” that the G-8 Summit scheduled for June in Sochi, Russia will not go ahead. But it is President Obama that appears to be pressing the hardest for major changes:

  • OBAMA SAID TO PRESS ALLIES TO SUSPEND RUSSIA FROM G8: WSJ

This comes at a time when Ukraine forces are being withdrawn from Crimea and deployed to North, South, and East borders of the region.  Meanwhile, Ukraine is taking its soldiers pulled from Crimea and deploying them along all other borders.

  • UKRAINE’S PARUBIY: PRIORITY IS TO PROTECT BORDERS, LEAVE CRIMEA
  • UKRAINE DEPLOYS ARMY TO NORTH, SOUTH, EAST BORDERS: PARUBIY
  • UKRAINE HAS MOBILIZED MORE THAN 10,000 PEOPLE, PARUBIY SAYS

David Cameron says G-8 Summit Scrapped:

There will be no G8 summit in Russia this year, David Cameron said in a further ign of efforts to isolate Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.

The Prime Minister said it was “absolutely clear” the meeting could not go ahead.

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Mar 02

Kerry Warns Russia of Possible Eviction From G-8  (New York Times, March 2, 2014):

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John Kerry warned on Sunday that Russia risked eviction from the Group of 8 industrialized nations if the Kremlin did not reverse its military occupation of Crimea in Ukraine.

“He is not going to have a Sochi G-8,” Mr. Kerry said on the NBC program “Meet the Press,” referring to the meeting of the industrialized nations that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia is to host in June. “He may not even remain in the G-8 if this continues.”

“He may find himself with asset freezes on Russian business,” Mr. Kerry added. “American business may pull back. There may be a further tumble of the ruble. There’s a huge price to pay.”

Mr. Kerry’s comments came as the Obama administration and its Western allies tried to formulate their response to Mr. Putin’s decision to deploy Russian forces in Crimea.

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Jan 18


Mark Kennedy infiltrated a series of groups.

The undercover police agent exposed at the heart of the environmental protest movement was one of the masterminds of the G8 protests in Gleneagles in 2005.

The Sunday Herald has learned police officer Mark Kennedy was one of the prime organisers, moving people and equipment to and from the protest base camp in Stirling, earning him the title “Transport Mark”. His organisational blueprint was then used for the three other “climate camps” – massed protests against power stations and airports in Drax, Kings North and Heathrow.

It has also emerged that one of Kennedy’s last acts while undercover was teaching activists how to spot police spies in their midst.

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Jun 29

Any attack on Iran will (most probably) start WW III.


g-8-meeting-in-huntsville
Members of the G-8 meeting in Huntsville, Ontario on June 25, 2010

World leaders “believe absolutely” that Israel may decide to take military action against Iran to prevent the latter from acquiring nuclear weapons, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Saturday.

“Iran is not guaranteeing a peaceful production of nuclear power [so] the members of the G-8 are worried and believe absolutely that Israel will probably react preemptively,”
Berlusconi told reporters following talks with other Group of Eight leaders north of Toronto.

The leaders of the G-8, which comprises Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Canada and the United States, devoted much of their two-day session to discussion of the contentious nuclear programs unfolding in North Korea and Iran.

The leaders issued a statement on Saturday calling on Iran to “respect the rule of law” and to “hold a “transparent dialogue” over its nuclear ambitions. Continue reading »

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May 29

TORONTO (AP) – Canada’s Conservative government says the nearly $1 billion it plans to spend on security at the G-8 and G-20 summits next month is worth it.

Canada has budgeted up to $930 Canadian (US$885 million) for the summits. By comparison, the stated amount spent by Pittsburgh on security for last September’s G-20 summit was US$12.4 million. London’s stated amount for the G-20 last year was US$10.9 million.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said Thursday the cost is expensive but the security “worth it.”

Toews argues that hosting separate summits back-to-back is unprecedented.

Canada is hosting the G-20 economic summit on June 26-27 in Toronto. The G-8 is meeting in Huntsville, Ontario, a day earlier. Continue reading »

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Jul 11

unity-in-diversity

July 10 (Bloomberg) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev illustrated his call for a supranational currency to replace the dollar by pulling from his pocket a sample coin of a “united future world currency.”

“Here it is,” Medvedev told reporters today in L’Aquila, Italy, after a summit of the Group of Eight nations. “You can see it and touch it.”

The coin, which bears the words “unity in diversity,” was minted in Belgium and presented to the heads of G-8 delegations, Medvedev said.

The question of a supranational currency “concerns everyone now, even the mints,” Medvedev said. The test coin “means they’re getting ready. I think it’s a good sign that we understand how interdependent we are.”

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Jul 10
one-dollar
World leaders are looking for a “more diversified” currency system than the US dollar

L’AQUILA, Italy (AFP) — Leaders from some of the biggest economic powers put the dollar’s continuing dominance of post-war global finance into question at the G8 summit as calls grow for alternatives.

At the gathering in Italy, which wraps up on Friday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy joined China and a band of mostly emerging powers in calling for an end to the dollar’s reign as the international currency of reference.

“We cannot stick with just one single currency,” the French leader said at the summit in L’Aquila, central Italy.

China also used the G8 summit, which was opened up to leaders from major emerging economies, to stage a fresh attack on the dollar after repeated recent calls for the global currency system to be diversified.

Speaking on the sidelines of talks between the G8 powers and major emerging economies here, a Chinese official said on Thursday that Beijing adviser Dai Bingguo had urged world leaders “to improve the international monetary system.”

The official said China wants “to enhance the reserve currency and regulating regime, maintain a relative stability of the exchange rates of the main international reserve currencies and promote a more diversified and reasonable international currency system.”

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Jul 08

china-unrest
A young man who was mistaken for being a Uighur is chased by a mob of Han Chinese in Urumqi, China, on July 7, 2009. Photographer: Ng Han Guan/AP via Bloomberg News

July 8 (Bloomberg) — Hundreds of military police patrolled the western Chinese city of Urumqi, as the worst violence since last year’s uprising in Tibet prompted President Hu Jintao to cut short a trip to the Group of Eight summit in Italy.

Two days of rioting in the capital of Xinjiang, a province rich in oil and natural gas, left at least 156 people dead. At least 20 trucks of armed police assembled near the Hai De Hotel in Urumqi, where a press conference, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. local time, was postponed until 6:30 p.m.. The Xinjiang press office declined to confirm or deny that Hu will attend the event.

Hu’s decision to cancel participation in a gathering of leaders from the world’s biggest economies reflects how significantly China views internal challenges to its leadership. Hu had been expected to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama and others to discuss the global economic crisis.

Hu’s return “sends a message of seriousness,” said Phil Deans, a professor of Asia Studies at Temple University in Tokyo. “Some will certainly see it as a sign of weakness, and say that the Communist Party isn’t as strong as it used to be.”

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Jul 05

• UN sounds warning after 30m hectares bought up
• G8 leaders to discuss ‘neo-colonialism’

The acquisition of farmland from the world’s poor by rich countries and international corporations is accelerating at an alarming rate, with an area half the size of Europe’s farmland targeted in the last six months, reports from UN officials and agriculture experts say.

New reports from the UN and analysts in India, Washington and London estimate that at least 30m hectares is being acquired to grow food for countries such as China and the Gulf states who cannot produce enough for their populations. According to the UN, the trend is accelerating and could severely impair the ability of poor countries to feed themselves.

Today it emerged that world leaders are to discuss what is being described as “land grabbing” or “neo-colonialism” at the G8 meeting next week. A spokesman for Japan’s ministry of foreign affairs confirmed that it would raise the issue: “We feel there should be a code of conduct for investment in farmland that will be a win-win situation for both producing and consuming countries,” he said.

Olivier De Schutter, special envoy for food at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said: “[The trend] is accelerating quickly. All countries observe each other and when one sees others buying land it does the same.”

The UN’s food and agricultural organisation and other analysts estimate that nearly 20m hectares (50m acres) of farmland – an area roughly half the size of all arable land in Europe – has been sold or has been negotiated for sale or lease in the last six months. Around 10m hectares was bought last year. The land grab is being blamed on wealthy countries with concerns about food security.

Some of the largest deals include South Korea’s acquisition of 700,000ha in Sudan, and Saudi Arabia’s purchase of 500,000ha in Tanzania. The Democratic Republic of the Congo expects to shortly conclude an 8m-hectare deal with a group of South African businesses to grow maize and soya beans as well as poultry and dairy farming.

India has lent money to 80 companies to buy 350,000ha in Africa. At least six countries are known to have bought large landholdings in Sudan, one of the least food-secure countries in the world.

Other countries that have acquired land in the last year include the Gulf states, Sweden, China and Libya. Those targeted include not only fertile countries such as Brazil, Russia and Ukraine, but also poor countries like Cameroon, Ethiopia, Madagascar, and Zambia.

De Schutter said that after the food crisis of 2008, many countries found food imports hit their balance of payments, “so now they want to insure themselves”.

“This is speculation, betting on future prices. What we see now is that countries have lost trust in the international market. We know volatility will increase in the next few years. Land prices will continue to rise. Many deals are even now being negotiated. Not all are complete yet.”

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Jul 05

italy-riot-police-protesters
Protesters clash with riot police during a demonstration against a military base used by U.S. paratroopers, in the northern Italian city of Vicenza July 4, 2009.

Watch the video: Here

There have been ugly scenes in Italy as demonstrators denouncing the planned expansion of a US military base clashed with riot police.

Violence erupted as security forces moved to prevent protesters from crossing a bridge and getting nearer to the controversial site.

Youths lit firecrackers and threw stones and bottles at police who replied with tear gas.

The extension plan in the northeastern city of Vicenza has angered environmental campaigners, far left groups and some locals.

The disturbances come just days before Italy hosts the G8 summit.

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Jul 04

India Joins Russia, China in Questioning U.S. Dollar Dominance

dollar-bills


July 3 (Bloomberg) — Suresh Tendulkar, an economic adviser to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said he is urging the government to diversify its $264.6 billion foreign-exchange reserves and hold fewer dollars.

“The major part of Indian reserves are in dollars — that is something that’s a problem for us,” Tendulkar, chairman of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, said in an interview today in Aix-en-Provence, France, where he was attending an economic conference.

Singh is preparing to join leaders from the Group of Eight industrialized nations — the U.S., Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Canada and Russia — at a summit in Italy next week which is due to tackle the global economy. China and Brazil will also send representative to the G-8 summit.

As the talks have neared, China and Russia have stepped up calls for a rethink of how global currency reserves are composed and managed, underlining a power shift to emerging markets from the developed nations that spawned the financial crisis.

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Jan 26

ZURICH (Reuters) – Political leaders and central bankers will dominate this week’s annual Davos forum as a chastened business elite is sidelined in the drive to reboot the world economy, improve global security and slow climate change.

More than 40 heads of state and government — almost double the number last year — will be joined by 36 finance ministers and central bankers, including the central bank chiefs of all the G8 group of rich countries except the United States.

Related article: DAVOS-US bankers avoid glitz of Davos, image a concern (Reuters)

About 1,400 business executives will also be in Davos but fewer top bankers and captains of industry are expected as they struggle to keep their businesses afloat — and themselves in a job, mindful of the event’s glitzy image in more austere times.

“The pendulum is swinging back to governments now we’re grappling with recession,” said Thomas Mayer, Deutsche Bank economist. “We’re going into a period where more government involvement will mean lower growth and higher inflation.”

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will open the four-day meeting on Wednesday in the Swiss Alpine resort that is being organised under the title “Shaping the Post-Crisis world.”

Also present will be Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso and Prime Minister Gordon Brown as well as Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to new U.S. President Barack Obama.

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Dec 24

Silva tells CNBC up to a thousand face failure or forced mergers

Financial analyst Ralph Silva of TowerGroup told CNBC this morning that he expects no less than one third of banks to fail in 2009 and that anything up to a thousand could collapse if they don’t merge.

Silva said that only five or six global banks have enough funds to survive comfortably throughout 2009.

“The rest of the banks, and that means a thousand other banks, don’t have enough money to get themselves through 2009,” added Silva.

“In 2009 we’re gonna see one third of the banks in the G8 countries disappear, either being merged, forced or not forced, or completely disappearing,” said Silva.

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Aug 28


The French foreign affairs minister, Bernard Kouchner, said sanctions were ‘being considered’. Photograph: Gerard Cerles/AFP/Getty Images

European Union leaders will discuss sanctions against Russia ahead of an emergency summit meeting, the French foreign minister said today, as western leaders increased diplomatic pressure on Moscow.

When asked what measures the west could take against Russia in the crisis over Georgia, Bernard Kouchner told a press conference in Paris: “Sanctions are being considered.”

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Aug 26

Attempts to isolate and punish Russia for its military actions in Georgia will backfire, given Russia’s economic muscle and key role in mediating international disputes, senior Russian officials said Friday.

Top officials in President George W. Bush’s administration have said Russia’s continued military presence in Georgia could jeopardize its membership in the Group of Eight and its bid to join the World Trade Organization, among other things.

“We are a big economy today,” said Vladislav Reznik, chairman of the State Duma Financial Markets Committee. “Whether they like it or not, we have to be reckoned with.”

Yevgeny Fyodorov, chairman of the Duma’s Economic Policy and Entrepreneurship Committee, was even more blunt.

“It’s a political bluff,” he said. “It’s an absolute certainty that the Americans won’t [impose any sanctions] because they themselves would suffer.”

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Jul 08

As the food crisis began to bite, the rumblings of discontent grew louder. Finally, after a day of discussing food shortages and soaring prices, the famished stomachs of the G8 leaders could bear it no longer.

The most powerful bellies in the world were last night compelled to stave off the great Hokkaido Hunger by fortifying themselves with an eight-course, 19-dish dinner prepared by 25 chefs. This multi-pronged attack was launched after earlier emergency lunch measures – four courses washed down with Château-Grillet 2005 – had failed to quell appetites enlarged by agonising over feeding the world’s poor.

The G8 gathering had been seen as a “world food shortages summit” as leaders sought to combat spiralling prices of basic foodstuffs in the developed world, and starvation in the developing world.

But not since Marie Antoinette was supposed to have leaned from a Versailles palace window and suggested that the breadless peasants eat cake can leaders have demonstrated such insensitivity to daily hardship than at the luxury Windsor hotel on the Japanese island of Hokkaido.

After discussing famine in Africa, the peckish politicians and five spouses took on four bite-sized amuse-bouche to tickle their palates. The price of staple foods may be soaring, but thankfully caviar and sea urchin are within the purchasing power of leaders and their taxpayers – the amuse-bouche featured corn stuffed with caviar, smoked salmon and sea urchin, hot onion tart and winter lily bulb.

Guests at the summit, which is costing £238m, were then able to pick items from a tray modelled on a fan and decorated with bamboo grasses, including diced fatty tuna fish, avocado and jellied soy sauce, and pickled conger eel with soy sauce.

Hairy crab Kegani bisque-style soup was another treat in a meal prepared by the Michelin-starred chef Katsuhiro Nakamura, the grand chef at Hotel Metropolitan Edmont in Tokyo, alongside salt-grilled bighand thornyhead (a small, red Pacific fish) with a vinegary water pepper sauce.

They have told their people to tighten their belts for lean times ahead, but you feared for presidential and prime ministerial girdles after the chance to tuck into further dishes including milk-fed lamb, roasted lamb with cepes, and black truffle with emulsion sauce. Finally there was a “fantasy” dessert, a special cheese selection accompanied by lavender honey and caramelised nuts, while coffee came with candied fruits and vegetables.

Leaders cleverly skated around global water shortages by choosing from five different wines and liqueurs.

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Jul 07

LONDON (AFP) – Biofuels have caused world food prices to increase by 75 percent, according to the findings of an unpublished World Bank report published in The Guardian newspaper on Friday.

The daily said the report was finished in April but was not published to avoid embarrassing the US government, which has claimed plant-derived fuels have pushed up prices by only three percent.

Biofuels, which supporters claim are a “greener” alternative to using fossil fuel and cut greenhouse gas emissions, and rising food prices will be on the agenda when G8 leaders meet in Japan next week for their annual summit.

The report’s author, a senior World Bank economist, assessed that contrary to claims by US President George W. Bush, increased demand from India and China has not been the cause of rising food prices.

“Rapid income growth in developing countries has not led to large increases in global grain consumption and was not a major factor responsible for the large price increases,” the report said.

Droughts in Australia have also not had a significant impact, it added. Instead, European and US drives for greater use of biofuels has had the biggest effect.

Related articles:
The Price Of Food: 2007 – 2008
Floods may boost world food prices for years
Philippines: Food Shortage Looms – Arroyo Adviser

The European Union has mooted using biofuels for up to 10 percent of all transport fuels by 2020 as part of an increase in use of renewable energy.

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Jun 02


A child carries a tray of bread in Cairo. Photograph: Nasser Nuri/Reuters

World leaders are to meet next week for urgent talks aimed at preventing tens of millions of the world’s poor dying of hunger as a result of soaring food prices.

The summit in Rome is expected to pledge immediate aid to poor countries threatened by malnutrition as well as charting longer-term strategies for improving food production.

Hosted by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, it will hear calls for the establishment of a global food fund, as well as for new international guidelines on the cultivation of biofuels, which some have blamed for diverting land, crops and other resources away from food production.

The urgency of the meeting follows historic spikes in the price of some staple foods. The price of rice has doubled since January this year, while the cost of dairy products, soya beans, wheat and sugar have also seen large increases.

The world’s urban poor have been hit hardest, sending a wave of unrest and instability around the world. Thirty-seven countries have been hit by food riots so far this year, including Cameroon, Niger, Egypt and Haiti.

The Rome summit is the first of a series of high-level meetings aimed at tackling what many leaders now see as a much bigger threat to international stability than terrorism.

A fortnight after the UN meeting, the EU council will focus much of its time on the food crisis. A ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organisation in late June will make a last-ditch attempt in Geneva at agreeing the lowering of international trade barriers, with the aim of cutting food prices and making it easier for farmers in poor countries to export their produce.

Food and climate change will also be the twin top themes of the G8 summit in Japan in early July, and then in September a UN summit will attempt to put the world back on course towards meeting the millennium development goals, agreed eight years ago, one of which was the halving of the number of the world’s hungry. Continue reading »

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May 04

Speculators blamed for driving up price of basic foods as 100 million face severe hunger

Giant agribusinesses are enjoying soaring earnings and profits out of the world food crisis which is driving millions of people towards starvation, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. And speculation is helping to drive the prices of basic foodstuffs out of the reach of the hungry.

The prices of wheat, corn and rice have soared over the past year driving the world’s poor – who already spend about 80 per cent of their income on food – into hunger and destitution.

The World Bank says that 100 million more people are facing severe hunger. Yet some of the world’s richest food companies are making record profits. Monsanto last month reported that its net income for the three months up to the end of February this year had more than doubled over the same period in 2007, from $543m (£275m) to $1.12bn. Its profits increased from $1.44bn to $2.22bn.

Cargill’s net earnings soared by 86 per cent from $553m to $1.030bn over the same three months. And Archer Daniels Midland, one of the world’s largest agricultural processors of soy, corn and wheat, increased its net earnings by 42 per cent in the first three months of this year from $363m to $517m. The operating profit of its grains merchandising and handling operations jumped 16-fold from $21m to $341m.

Similarly, the Mosaic Company, one of the world’s largest fertiliser companies, saw its income for the three months ending 29 February rise more than 12-fold, from $42.2m to $520.8m, on the back of a shortage of fertiliser. The prices of some kinds of fertiliser have more than tripled over the past year as demand has outstripped supply. As a result, plans to increase harvests in developing countries have been hit hard.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation reports that 37 developing countries are in urgent need of food. And food riots are breaking out across the globe from Bangladesh to Burkina Faso, from China to Cameroon, and from Uzbekistan to the United Arab Emirates. Continue reading »

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Apr 19

Leading players in talks to forge a pact for tackling climate change took the lash on Thursday to President George W. Bush’s new blueprint for global warming, with Germany mocking it as “Neanderthal.”

At a ministerial-level meeting of major carbon emitters, South Africa blasted the Bush proposal as a disastrous retreat by the planet’s number-one polluter and a slap to poor countries.

The European Union — which had challenged the United States to follow its lead on slashing greenhouse-gas emissions by 2020 — also voiced disappointment.

His proposals “will not contribute to the fight against climate change,” EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas told AFP, adding he hoped the US would “reconsider its options and policies.”

“Time is running out and we have the duty to reach an agreement in Copenhagen in 2009,” said Dimas.

Germany accused Bush of turning back the clock to before last December’s UN climate talks in Bali and even to before last July’s G8 summit.

In a statement entitled “Bush’s Neanderthal speech,” German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said: “His speech showed not leadership but losership. We are glad that there are also other voices in the United States.” Continue reading »

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Apr 07

BANGKOK – Developing countries and environmental groups accused the World Bank on Friday of trying to seize control of the billions of dollars of aid that will be used to tackle climate change in the next four decades.

“The World Bank’s foray into climate change has gone down like a lead balloon,” Friends of the Earth campaigner Tom Picken said at the end of a major climate change conference in the Thai capital.

“Many countries and civil society have expressed outrage at the World Bank’s attempted hijacking of real efforts to fund climate change efforts,” he said.

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