What We’re Reading 7/7/09

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Reuters: G8 to Agree to Open Trade, Boost Farm Aid – Draft Text
A draft communique says that at the G8 summit in L’Aquila leaders will express concern about global food security and agree that sustained, predictable funding and increased targeted investments in agriculture are urgently needed. The draft text calls for a conclusion to the Doha trade talks but doesn’t set a timeline for finishing them. Although the text does not include an agreed-upon agriculture investment from the G8, aid sources have said that it could be up to $15billion.

Financial Times: ‘Fireside Chat’ Swells into Swan Song for G8 Excess
Kofi Annan has written a blunt personal letter to Silvio Berlusconi, pointing out that Italy is lagging behind all other rich nations in aid to Africa. Referring to pledges made by the Group of 8 countries at the 2005 summit in Gleneagles, Mr. Annan wrote to the Italian Prime Minister, “Not honoring commitments and reducing official development assistance would betray the values of your country and be a breach of faith, dashing the hopes that these pledges have generated.” The Financial Times says that in the wake of the global economic crisis the G8 is no longer the key forum for economic policy debate – now the G20 – but instead must focus on climate change, food security, and Africa.

Wall Street Journal: Berlusconi Hosts G8 at a Difficult Time
The Wall Street Journal reports that as leaders of the Group of Eight leading nations prepare to travel to L’Aquila, Silvio Berlusconi is dealing with problems ‘both natural and political.’ L’Aquila, recently the site of a devastating earthquake, continues to have seismic activity and is expected to receive about 20 tremors a day during the summit, prompting officials to ready an evacuation plan for Barack Obama and other leaders. Mr. Berlusconi’s office is also seeking to head off further unflattering media reports about his personal life, warning that any news organizations that publish unauthorized photos of his private life during the G8 could face legal action. The Prime Minister, however, describes his government as “the most stable in the Western world.”

AFP: Economic Crisis Hurts HIV Fight: World Bank, UN
A World Bank/UNAIDS report released yesterday has disrupted HIV prevention and treatment programs across the world, including causing shortages of anti-retroviral drugs. Besides concern over external funding for treatment programs, job losses and falling incomes are making health care more difficult to afford. The Executive Director of UNAIDS called the report a “wake up call.”

Guardian: You know when you’ve been Geldof-ed
The Guardian has some commentary on Bob Geldof’s interview with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi which we blogged about yesterday.

-Grace Lamb-Atkinson

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