04/02/2009, 00.00
ASIA - G20
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The G20 Summit opens to a chorus of requests and criticism

The meeting begins at 8.30 (local time) with a working breakfast. It should conclude in the afternoon. An agreement on steps to counter the economic crisis already drafted. The unemployed, ecologists, communists and anarchists continue their protests. Yesterday a demonstrator died.

London (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A working breakfast opens the G20 summit, which aims to seek solutions to the global economic crisis, the worst since 1929.  The summit was preceded yesterday by informal meetings between world leaders and protests in the City, the British capital’s financial district.  One of the protesters died, according to police he died from a heart attack and not from the clashes between police and the thousands of demonstrators.

The protests – which continue today – are motivated by economic problems (many are jobless because of the crisis), by ecological concerns (the hope that any economic rebirth takes into consideration the need to safeguard the climate); by anarchical and communist ideological fringes who proclaim the death of capitalism.

Surrounded by a massive security operation, even among world leaders there are deep divides in expectations and requests.  France and Germany are demanding stricter governance of the financial system and want an end to state intervention to bail out banks; China is seeking greater involvement for developing economies; Russia (and China) are asking for a review of the dollar as the base currency for global markets; the United States and Britain are looking for partners to share the abyss of the crisis they provoked, to re-emerge all together.

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are also attending the summit, in search of fresh funding for nations worst hit by the economic collapse.A declaration is expected to be issued in the afternoon.  Some sources say that an agreement between the wealthier nations is already in place: a generic call to solidarity; greater control of “hedge funds”; the fight against tax havens.

In the interim Asian stock markets rallied this morning, perhaps comforted by the meeting or by the improved forecast for American industry in March: Tokyo +3.1; Shanghai +1.1; Hong Kong +5.3.

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