Next week you need to know about . . . the G8

Sat, May 12, 2012, 01:00

The 38th G8 conference takes place next Friday and Saturday, and the annual powwow of the world’s most powerful is promising the usual mix of controversy and diplomacy.

This year, the conference is running alongside a Nato summit, and was due to be held in Chicago. However, with the Occupy movement reinvigorated and facing the risk of repeating scenes like the Battle in Seattle and even Chicago’s brutal unrest in the late 1960s the US president, Barack Obama, decided to move the conference from his home city to the presidential retreat at Camp David, in Maryland – a location considerably less prone to disruption by protesters. The Nato summit will still be held in Chicago, but Obama’s former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, now the mayor of Chicago, was said to be disappointed at the change.

Suggestions that the influence of the G8 is waning with the rise of regional powers such as Brazil and India were bolstered on Thursday when Vladimir Putin, recently inaugurated for his third term as president of Russia, announced on Wednesday that he wouldn’t be attending. Instead, Putin will be sending the former president and current prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev.

Obama took several days to congratulate Putin on his election victory, according to the New York Times. The two leaders will instead meet next month at the G20 conference in Mexico.

Davin O’Dwyer

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