Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

from MacroScope:

APEC’s robots stealing the show

robot

A guide at the "Japanese Experience" exhibition talks to Miim, the Karaoke pal robot, on the sidelines of the APEC meetings in Yokohama, Japan on Nov. 10. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

    Miim is one of the more popular delegates at the APEC meetings in Yokohama Japan. She sings. She dances. She tosses her shoulder length hair. She may not be able to spout an alphabet soup of APEC acronyms like the other Asia-Pacific delegates. But she's still pretty lively. For a robot.

    This week's meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum have been earnest and most comprehensive . Foreign and trade ministers issued a 20-page statement about all the things they talked about -- a giant free trade zone, protectionism, the Doha round, easing restrictions on businesses, simplifying customs procedures, promoting green industries, cooperating on health and security, you name it. They also have been, and pardon my French here, excruciatingly dull. So far, the meetings and their stupefying statements have been a testimonial to Japan's skill at stating the ambiguous. Call it the opaque meetings. Journalists from around the Pacific rim have been desperately trying to find news as the 21 APEC leaders gather for their annual pow-wow this weekend.

     The annual "silly shirts"  photo shoot, in which leaders don native attire for the class picture of their summit is usually good news fodder, but is going to be a  big let-down this year. The leaders are merely being asked to show up wearing "smart casual" for the photo shoot on Saturday night, before they head inside for a Kabuki show.

Death-Defying Doha

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Just as the World Trade Organisation is organizing an intensive push to complete the Doha round trade talks, the atmosphere among negotiators is as pessimistic as it ever has been. 

 

“Gloom” and “frustration” are just two of the more printable words circulating at the WTO’s headquarters by Lake Geneva.

Oz PM Rudd gets an “F” for language

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As the U.S. Congress roils over use of the word “liar” against President Barack Obama, Australia
is in uproar over the prime minister’s use of the F-word.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, once a diplomat, was this week forced to defend his “robust” language used against a group of unhappy junior lawmakers in his own centre-left Labor Party while slashing back their official pay entitlements.

Merkel smiles through pre-election jitters

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Pressure? What Pressure?

That was German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s message during a 90-minute grilling in Berlin by journalists at her last major news conference before the Sept. 27 election. Even though opinion polls show a narrowing in her re-election campaign and amid a growing nervousness in her conservative party, Merkel was a picture of tranquillity.

Although some of her conservative party allies are pushing for her to raise the volume and intensity of what has been an exceedingly cautious campaign, Merkel made it abundantly clear that she is not at all worried. Perhaps it was all a good bit of acting. But she answered even the most surly of questions from the pack of 100 journalists with a nationwide TV audience watching with smiles and jokes along with the usual assortment of evasive answers.

Quake tours, spartan rooms at no-frills G8 summit

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    Hiking through rubble-strewn streets, taking in a quake exhibit or bedding down in a concrete police compound — leaders at this week’s G8 summit in the Italian town of L’Aquila  are in for a change of pace from the routine luxury spa and resort experience of past summits.******    Devastated by an April earthquake that killed nearly 300 people and ringed by tent camps with portable toilets, L’Aquila is a far cry from previous G8 host cities like the Baltic seaside town of Heiligendamm, French lakeside resort Evian and Scottish golf resort Gleneagles.************ ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ******    U.S. President Barack Obama and other leaders are being housed in a grey police school building on the outskirts of the mountain town, where they are to stay in spartan rooms with granite floors and cream-coloured walls and furnished with little more than simlpe wooden beds with white sheets.******    “There won’t be the luxuries of hotels on (Sardinia’s) Emerald Coast or (Rome’s) Via Veneto, but there will be dignified accommodation worthy of welcoming such important people,” said Italy’s emergency services chief, Guido Bertolaso.******    Room service menus will be absent, but each room will be supplied with instructions on what to do in the event of another earthquake.  Aftershocks have been persistent and plentiful in the run-up to the summit.******    In their free time, leaders can browse through an exhibit on “100 years of earthquakes” in Italy or take up Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s offer of a guided tour of areas laid to waste by the tremor, like Germany’s Angela Merkel did on Wednesday.******Earthquake victims have even welcomed leaders with a giant sign on a hill near the summit site declaring “Yes we camp” to protest the slow pace of reconstruction in the area.******   ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ******For all the lack of luxury, L’Aquila does guarantee voters back home will see images of their leaders rolling up their sleeves under the hot Abruzzo sun at a time of recession and financial turmoil.******    “I think it’s better to have (the summit) in a damaged zone than in an ultra-touristy region where people are spending millions of dollars on their vacations, while the leaders are there to discuss solutions to the global economic crisis,” said Dimitri Soudas, spokesman for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, ahead of the summit.******    Italy was initially set to host the annual summit of leaders from the world’s richest nations on the picturesque island of Sardinia, but hastily moved it to L’Aquila citing solidarity with victims when faced with complicated logistics and spiralling costs.******    One thing that won’t be lacking at the summit is fine Italian cuisine, since good food is not a luxury given up easily in Italy.  Among the local delicacies on offer are goat on skewers, baby lamb, rabbit from the small town of Goriano Valli, artichokes from Prezza and red garlic from nearby Sulmona.

from UK News:

On the frontline of the G20 summit

Abolish money. Punish the  looters. Eat the bankers.

Ageing 1960s hippies and their youthful anti-globalisation descendants joined in an angry  anti-capitalist protest at the Bank of England on Wednesday, waving placards and shouting slogans reflecting  a common fury at perceived corporate greed.

With worldwide recession destroying jobs by the week, protesters at the G20 protest in the City of London demanded an end to what they see as a global, predatory system that robs the poor to benefit the privileged.

from UK News:

Ghost of past failure haunts G20

Stopping off in New York during a marathon, 18,000-mile diplomatic offensive before next week’s G20 summit in London next week, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown recalled a conference held in eerily similar circumstances in London 76 years ago.

Sixty-six nations gathered for the June 1933 London Monetary and Economic Conference which was aimed at lifting the world’s economy out of the Depression.

from MacroScope:

Stealing Steinbrueck’s show?

Peer Steinbrueck, the front man in Germany's fight against the financial crisis, has a new challenge on his hands: Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. The young economy minister, in the job for only a month, is already proving to be a thorn in Finance Minister Steinbrueck's side. The telegenic 37-year-old is coming up with policy initiatives that challenge Steinbrueck's plans, and draw media attention away from him.

This is new territory for Steinbrueck. Until last month, he was able to capitalise on the low profile of former economy minister Michael Glos to make himself Germany's primary spokesman on matters financial and economic -- and the man Chancellor Angela Merkel turned to for leadership on these issues. Glos's shock resignation last month opened the way for Guttenberg to make the step up from Bavarian politics to the national stage, and he hasn't looked back.

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