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Index June 2010

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*****

See also our pages:

Further find on the blog History – Past and Present:
Baharistan-i-Shahi – Chapter 1;
Baharistan-i-Shahi – Chapter 2;
Baharistan-i-Shahi – Chapter 3;
Baharistan-i-Shahi – Chapter 4;
Baharistan-i-Shahi – Chapter 5;
Baharistan-i-Shahi – Chapter 6;
Baharistan-i-Shahi – Chapter 7;
Baharistan-i-Shahi – Chapter 8.

A prosperous lawyer aids China’s migrant workers

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Linked with Dynamics of Migrant Labour. – Published on The Christian Monitor, by Peter Ford, June 28, 2010.

Jinan, China: Liu Pifeng is a wealthy man. The founder of a prosperous corporate law firm in this provincial capital, he drives the sort of black Chrysler sedan that proclaims personal success in China.

He does not, however, trouble to conceal his humble origins. In conversation he is apt to hike his suit trousers way up, following a summertime habit among Chinese working men seeking to cool their calves. And he attributes his squat physique to his childhood diet.  Continue Reading…

Mexico Canada US One Big Authoritarian Entity?

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Published on Other Jones, by Deena Stryker, June 26, 2010.

During the Vietnam war, American draft resisters found refuge in Canada. Those days are long gone. I’m not con-vinced that it’s just be-cause Canada has a Conservative Prime Minister that the country has emulated so much of our Homeland Security provisions, extending them to cover domestic dissent.

Whatever the reason, this much is certain: Canada is now more than ever an extension of the United States, and while it is probable that the North American Free Trade Agreement has something to do with it, the more deeper reasons are more worrisome. Sooner or later, the conflictive situation with Mexico will make it part of a North American Colossus – a desperate but probably futile effort to meet the challenges of China, India and Brazil.  Continue Reading…

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Korea?

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Published on The National Security Archive, by Robert Wampler, PhD, June 23, 2010.

Washington, D.C., June 23, 2010 – Four decades ago, in response to North Korean military provocations, the U.S. developed contingency plans that included selected use of tactical nuclear weapons against Pyongyang’s military facilities and the possibility of full-scale war, according to recently declassified documents. Astonishingly, casualty estimates ranged from a low of 100 or so civilian deaths, up to “several thousand.”   Continue Reading…

Buying Blackwater

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Published on Geopolitical Monitor, by Jody Ray Bennett, June 24, 2010. – Summary: The recent announcement that the notorious private military company formerly known as Blackwater is up for sale highlights the end of an era, but leaves many remaining questions about its future.

Analysis:

Earlier this month, Xe Services, LLC, the latest re-branded name of the company that was once known as Blackwater Worldwide, announced that the company was up for sale. The announcement that Xe was seeking new ownership came somewhat as a surprise to industry insiders both in favor of and critical of the company, especially considering Blackwater’s seemingly amazing ability to withstand the yearly toll of accidents, mishaps and misconduct that has since earned it a highly negative reputation throughout the world … //  Continue Reading…

George Soros Speech at Humboldt University Berlin

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Published on guru focus, June 23, 2010.

Giving a speech in Berlin, I feel obliged to speak about the euro because the euro is in crisis and Germany is the main protagonist. Unfortunately I didn’t get the timing right because the crisis has both a fiscal component and a banking component and the situation of the banks is just now approaching a climax. A comprehensive analysis will have to await the publication of stress test results. The best I can do at this moment is to put matters into a historical perspective.

I believe that misconceptions play a large role in shaping history and the euro crisis is a case in point. Continue Reading…

New benefit system in Britain forces sick and disabled into work

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Published on WSWS, by Dennis Moore, 24 June 2010.

… The Department for Work and Pensions anticipated that with the introduction of ESA (see also on wikipedia) there would be an expected 21,000 additional appeals. Statistics suggest this figure is up to 50,000 in the first year. This has had a significant impact on the already overstretched workload of advice/advocacy agencies.

The DWP expect 50 percent of claimants who appeal to be found fit for work. They are then moved onto Jobseekers Allowance, a benefit dependent on the claimant actively seeking work and accepting any work that is offered, however unsuitable. Continue Reading…

Has psychiatry become unhinged? This doctor says yes

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Publisheed on Online Journal, by Martha Rosenberg, June 23, 2010.

At a press briefing at the American Psychiatric Association meeting in May in which new research about olfactory reference syndrome (people who think they smell) and links between depression and allergens was presented, a reporter’s pointed question took many aback.

“How do we know your work won’t be used to make bad breath or hay fever mental disorders?” the reporter asked the researchers, whose smiles faded.  Continue Reading…

Plundering the Planet

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The earth is not dying, it is being killed.  And those who are killing it have names and addresses. Utah Phillips.

Published on Global Research.ca, by Felicity Arbuthnot, June 21, 2010.

Call me a cynic, but as soon as I hear of the latest “rogue state”, declared by the US and endorsed, invariably, by UK and Israel -   a “rogue”, always far away, invariably either poverty stricken, or embargoed – I reach for a 1993 “Encyclopaedia of  Word Geography”, turn to the page on the latest declared “enemy”, and look at the box which lists: “Major resources.”

In October 2001, as the assault on and invasion of  Afghanistan began, ostensibly in the search for one man, Osama bin Laden, I found (p. 400) : “Major resources: natural gas, coal, iron ore, beryllium, gold, silver, lapis lazuli, sulfur, chrome, copper …”  Continue Reading…

A Thought Experiment: Iran

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Published on Gonzalo Lira’s Blog, by Gonzalo Lira, June 12, 2010.

Imagine some Brazilian terrorist attacks China – he and his minions blow up the Forbidden City as well as the Great Wall, in one fairly spectacular terrorist attack.

We’re in America—this shouldn’t involve us. But as a consequence of these terrorist attacks, the Chinese – screaming for vengeance – deploy their sophisticated weapons and their millions of soldiers, and invade Canada. They invade Canada – our next-door neighbor – supposedly because this Brazilian terrorist is hiding in the frozen wastelands up north. Supposedly.  Continue Reading…

Afrika: Trade and infrastructure

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Picked up on Weitzenegger’s Website for International Development Cooperation, and its Newsletters.

Published on African Economic Outlook AEO, article not authored nor dated.

Weak infrastructure and institutional policies of many of the countries in Africa are partly responsible for poor intra-African trade. For instance, only 29.7% of the African road network is paved. The continent’s railway network is also very poor. These factors contribute to high transport costs on the continent as compared to the rest of world. For example, shipping a car from Japan to Abidjan costs USD 1 500, while shipping that same vehicle from Addis Ababa to Abidjan would cost USD 5 000. Continue Reading…

The Washington/Camp David Summit 1990

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From the Secret Soviet, American and German Files – Published on the National Security Archives, by Svetlana Savranskaya and Thomas Blanton, June 13, 2010.

Washington, D.C., June 13, 2010 – The Washington summit 20 years ago this month between Presidents George H.W. Bush and Mikhail S. Gorbachev brought dramatic realization on the American side of the severe domestic political pressures facing the Soviet leader, produced an agreement in principle on trade but no breakthrough on Germany, and only slow progress towards the arms race in reverse which Gorbachev had offered, according to previously secret Soviet and U.S. documents posted today by the National Security Archive … (full text and Documents 1 to 16).  Continue Reading…

German development agencies to merge

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Linked with German Development Cooperation GTZ  (also called German technical aid organization), with Capacity Building International, Germany Inwent  (also called international capacity-building agency), and with German Development Service DED.

Published on DW-word.de (Deutsche Welle), by Author Stephanie Siek (KNA/EPD/dpa) and editor Michael Lawton, June 15, 2010.

Development Minister Dirk Niebel announced Tuesday that he wants to consolidate three of Germany’s international development agencies into one entity, to be called the German Association for International Cooperation. Niebel said the move would increase efficiency and reduce red tape.  Continue Reading…

Radical Ideas, Real Politics: Some Thoughts on the Coming Period

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Published on political affairs pa, by Joel Wendland and Peter Zerner, June 2, 2010.

… Signs of Recovery?

Although we have started to see the first fruits of Obama’s Recovery Act, with over 500,000 jobs created in the past three months, the economy must do much more to meet the needs of all working families. While few working families are out of the woods, unemployment remains disproportionately high for African American and Latino workers, who face home foreclosures, school closings, and declining public services. Congress needs to pass a comprehensive jobs bill in proportion to the size of the unemployment crisis, such as the Local Jobs for America Act authored by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif. The push to create jobs should contain four essential features:  Continue Reading…

The TARP and the deficit hawks

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TARP: Troubled Asset Relief Program on wikipedia - Published on People’s World, by Dean Baker, June 11, 2010.

WASHINGTON (PAI)–When politicians demand the public do something because of the dictates of financial markets, it is best to hold on to your wallet.  Back in September of 2008, both GOP President George W. Bush and the Democratic leadership in Congress insisted that if we did not immediately hand over $700 billion to the banks, the whole financial system would grind to a halt.

The threat worked: The banks got their $700 billion from Congress and much more from the Fed, with few questions asked.  As a result, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and the rest are now as profitable as ever and once again paying out record bonuses to “top performers.”  Continue Reading…

Decoupling fairness from class and power in the UK

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Published on openDemocracy, by William Davies, 4 June 2010.

There’s an argument, stemming from Hegel, that a political idea is only fully realised by its opponent. Hegel explored this via the master-slave dialectic: the master is implicitly dependent on the slave for his mastery, whereas the slave’s freedom – when it arrives – is actually real. Overthrowing something enables one to realise its inner possibility. Marx reinvented this in class terms, which is why the proletariat has the potential for a higher form of liberal freedom than the liberal bourgeoisie themselves … //

… To apply pain and gain equally, proportionately and fairly across every rank in society is the ultimate legitimation of the ranks as they presently stand. The status quo receives an endorsement, not in economic terms (it is efficient) nor in conservative terms (it has worked in the past) but in liberal ones (it will be managed fairly). Continue Reading…

Shedding light on the dark hole in the Gulf

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Linked with Jerry Mazza – USA. – Published by Online Journal, by Jerry Mazza, June 14, 2010.

Do you have this feeling that despite all the press, you don’t really have a clue what’s going on down there in the oil-hemorrhaging Gulf, that is, with either the spill or BP. Except that the whole situation is getting worse by the minute? But here’s some light for thought.

Despite huge amounts of advertising as a Green Company, BP was named by Mother Jones Magazine as one of the “ten worst corporations” in both 2001 and 2005 based on its environmental and human rights record. “In 1991 BP was cited as the most polluting company in the US based on EPA toxic release data.”  Continue Reading…

ECB: One Bank Ruled Them All – Trichet’s Powergrab

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Published on Global Research.ca, by Mike Whitney, June 12, 2010.

… From Bloomberg News:

  • Jean-Claude Trichet said the European Central Bank ECB will extend its offerings of unlimited cash and keep buying government bonds for now as it tries to ease tensions in money markets and fight the European debt crisis.
  • “It’s appropriate to continue to do what we’ve decided” on sovereign bonds, ECB President Trichet said at a press conference  in Frankfurt today. “We have a money market which is not functioning perfectly.”Trichet’s ECB is buying debt and pumping unlimited funds into the banking system as part of a European Union strategy to stop the euro region from breaking apart. While Trichet refused to bow to some investors’ demands for more details on the bond purchases, he said the ECB plans to offer more help to financial institutions struggling to raise cash in money markets.
  • The ECB will give banks access to unlimited three-month funds at a fixed rate in July, August and September, he said. The measure is a key tool used by the ECB since the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.” (Bloomberg)
  • It’s Christmas in June. By providing a safe location for overnight deposits, limitless funding for collateral that the market will no longer accept, and a (bond) purchasing program that keeps asset prices artificially high; the ECB is performing all the tasks of the market while eliminating all the risks.  Trichet has made protecting the banking system the primary responsibility of the EU superstate.
  • “We have the best track record on price stability over 11 1/2 years in Europe and among the legacy currencies,” Trichet boasted. “What we have done and what we do with the same purpose is to help restoring an appropriate functioning of the monetary- policy transmission mechanism.”

Trichet’s actions have nothing to do with the so-called “monetary-policy transmission mechanism”. They’re a straightforward bailout of banks which invested in sovereign bonds that are steadily losing value.  Greece has already received loans that will cover its funding needs through 2012.  Trichet’s bond buying-spree and lavish liquidity provisions are a lifeline to his banking brethren who are trying desperately to keep their chestnuts out of the fire. The ECB boss is merely helping them shunt their losses onto the public’s balance sheet, like Bernanke has done in the US.

For the EU to survive, the member states will have to create a governing authority that can implement fiscal policy. Regrettably, Trichet has  usurped that authority while circumventing the normal democratic process. It’s not Trichet’s job to arbitrarily underwrite the bad bets of reckless speculators or to prevent the market from clearing because some of his banking buddies might go broke.  That’s well beyond his mandate.  The ECB needs to be reigned in and Trichet’s powergrab stopped. The European Union should be based on more than the profitability of its banks. (full text).

Afghanistan: Funding both sides

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Published on Online Journal, by Eric Walberg, June 11, 2010. – Linked with Eric Walberg – Canada.

War junkies popped their champagne corks on 7 June to celebrate the 104th month of US military engagement in Afghanistan, America’s longest war in its history (Vietnam lasted 103 months) … //

… The Yanks and their quislings almost started a war between themselves when US officials forced the Afghans to submit to urinalysis to weed out the dope smokers. Most of the ancops are Tajik who don’t speak Pashtun, and, dressed up and paid by the invaders, are as much the enemy to the Marja residents as the Americans. No wonder the ancops don’t want to patrol or work at night.  Continue Reading…

Afghanistan is first priority: What planet is David Cameron on?

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Linked with Stop the War Coalition StWC. – Published on Stop the War Coalition, by Robin Beste, June 10, 2010.

Afghanistan is “my number one priority”, said David Cameron on 10 June, when he visited Kabul for the first time since becoming prime minister. It is, Cameron added, the British government’s “most important foreign policy and national security issue” … //

… Imbecilic:

The vast majority of people in the US and Britain have made clear in poll after poll that they want their country’s troops withdrawn, but still we get the warmongers’ imbecilic insistence that the troops are waging war in Afghanistan to defend the streets of London and New York.   Continue Reading…

Britain and Europe: No laughing matter

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Published on The Economist, June 3, 2010.

Despite its current sense of Schadenfreude (german: pleasure derived from seeing others in suffering or in trouble), Britain has much to fear—politically and economically—from the euro crisis.

WIDE-EYED Labour politicians had their loftier illusions beaten out of them by 13 tough years in power. A boom must end eventually, they learned the hard way, and spending alone cannot build Jerusalem. There was a loss of innocence about Europe, too. It was once modish to regard the public’s anti-Europeanism as a flimsy thing, propped up by tabloid jingoism and easily dispelled by any government willing to make the case for the European Union (EU). Yet under Tony Blair, their most avowedly Europhile prime minister, Britons actually grew more hostile. Continue Reading…

Ethiopia: Government Denies Food Aid ‘Manipulated’ for Political Gain

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Published on allAfrica, 7 June 2010.

Addis Ababa — After harvesting just 50kg of grain last year from his tiny plot in an arid corner of Ethiopia’s Amhara region, Asmenaw Keflegn knew he would have to ask for help.

But when the 44-year-old member of the opposition All Ethiopia Unity Party asked his village chairman to put him on a list of those eligible for emergency food aid from foreign donors, he was refused. The chairman told him, “Let the party that you belong to give you aid.” Continue Reading…

WHO Scandal Exposed: Advisors Received Kickbacks From H1N1 Vaccine Manufacturers

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Published on Global Research.ca, by Mike Adams, June 7, 2010.

A stunning new report reveals that top scientists who convinced the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare H1N1 a global pandemic held close financial ties to the drug companies that profited from the sale of those vaccines. This report, published in the British Medical Journal, exposes the hidden ties that drove WHO to declare a pandemic, resulting in billions of dollars in profits for vaccine manufacturers.

Several key advisors who urged WHO to declare a pandemic received direct financial compensation from the very same vaccine manufacturers who received a windfall of profits from the pandemic announcement. During all this, WHO refused to disclose any conflicts of interests between its top advisors and the drug companies who would financially benefit from its decisions. Continue Reading…

Russian, Brazilian visa-free agreement comes into force

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Published on english Xinhuanet, June 7, 2010.

MOSCOW, June 7 (Xinhua) — Russians may now travel to Brazil without visas as the 2008 agreement between the two countries came into force on Monday, reported local media. Under the agreement both Russian and Brazilian tourists were not required visas to pass or stay on the countries’ territories up to 90 days within each six-month-period from the first entry. So far those intending to remain to stay for a long period to receive education or seeking employment were still required to procure their visas. Brazil was one of the six Latin American countries that have scrapped visa requirements for Russians … (full text).

Links:   Continue Reading…

Why did Israel attack civilians in the Mediterranean?

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Published on Voltairenet.org, by Thierry Meyssan, June 1, 2010. – (en français: Pourquoi Israël a t-il attaqué des civils en Méditerranée? par Thierry Meyssan, 31 mai 2010).

Israel weighed in advance the consequences of its attack against a humanitarian convoy of ships carrying aid to the Gaza Strip. What were its objectives in triggering a world diplomatic crisis, and why did it defy its Turkish ally as well as its U.S. protector? … //

… By boarding a Turkish ship and killing passengers, Tel Aviv opted for a military response to the diplomatic crisis that has pitted it against Ankara since January 2009. Israel expects this decision will provoke a crisis within the Turkish Army command as well as between the latter and the Turkish government. However, it could also lead to a complete break in military ties between the two countries, even though Turkey has been Israel’s closest regional ally for over half a century. Turkish-Israeli joint exercises have already been canceled indefinitely. Moreover, this crisis could also affect trade relations between the two countries, despite the fact that Turkey is a vital partner for the Israeli economy.  Continue Reading…

Russia-US-Iran: Nuclear juggling

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Linked with Eric Walberg – Canada. – Published on Online Journal, by Eric Walberg, June 4, 2010.

Brazil accused the US of double standards, and Turkey insisted Thursday that rejecting the deal with Iran, which calls for Tehran to ship around half its stock of low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for enriched uranium suitable for research and medical use, would be “unreasonable” and said that a US push for fresh sanctions on Tehran was creating an “absurd situation.”

“Those who speak to this issue should eliminate nuclear weapons from their own country and they should bear the good news to all mankind by doing that,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan said, while attending a UN conference in Rio de Janeiro. Continue Reading…

Gross Democratic Product

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Published on MoneyControl’s News Center, by Yasheng Huang, June 04, 2010.

In India, and even in China, growth has proven to be compatible with individual liberty … //

… China and India are unambiguous success stories of economic reforms and globalisation. This much we know and agree upon. Although scholars debate about the relative importance of different economic policies, to the extent there is any consensus, most would agree that the cumulative effects of the policy package adopted in the two countries have worked in delivering growth … //  Continue Reading…

Plebiscite in Kashmir

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See also our blog KASHMIR and IDPs.

Just 2% of people in Jammu and Kashmir want to join Pakistan – Published in CHOWK (first on Time of India May 28, 2010), by Suresh Shenoy, May 30, 2010.

NEW DELHI: For those who still think a plebiscite will tilt the status of Kashmir and that most Kashmiris yearn to wave the Pakistani green, there are now numbers for the first time to contradict these claims.

A survey carried out across both Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, that
its author claims is the first ever of its kind, shows that only 2% of the respondents on the Indian side favour joining Pakistan and most such views were confined to Srinagar and Budgam districts. In six of the districts surveyed late last year by researchers from the London-based think tank Chatham House, not a single person favoured annexation with Pakistan, a notion that remains the bedrock for the hardline separate campaign in Kashmir.  Continue Reading…

Conflicting accounts of Israeli raid on flotilla

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Published on english Xinhuanet.com, June 02, 2010.

Watch Israel’s  black and white video, 2.10 min: … Activists returning to Europe after the attack said the commandos had beaten passengers and used electric shocks during the assault. A German doctor, who had been on board the Marmara, said he saw four activists who had died of gun shot wounds.

Matthias Jocheim, German Activist, said, “I saw the bodies of four people at the entrance. They died because of heavy ammunition. Not rubber bullets, heavy ammunition was used.” Israeli police say 16 pro-Palestinian activists from the Gaza-bound flotilla have been sent to jail. It will deport around 700 activists from the flotilla.  Continue Reading…

MISSILE LAUNCH UPDATE

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inked with Vandenberg Witness. – Published on Vandenberg Witness.org, May 29th, 2010.

On June 6, 2010, the United States plans to launch a Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the California central coast. The missile will likely carry one or more “unarmed” warheads to the Ronald Reagan Test Site in the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

The launch, the first of two planned for the month of June, will come just nine days after the completion of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference at the United Nations. Continue Reading…

Bare-knuckle in Basel

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The task of sorting out banking is far from finished – Published on The Economist, May 27, 2010.

… Build up the buffers:

Yet the assumption must be that crises will still happen. Hence it is vital that banks carry bigger safety buffers of capital and liquid assets. This job has been outsourced to the Basel club of regulators, which aims to finalise its proposals by the end of the year and implement them by December 2012. Behind the scenes an almighty brawl is raging (see article). Banks dislike some of the fine print and also claim that the cost of “Basel 3” will force them to raise the price of loans, devastating the economy. The French Banking Federation, for example, reckons it could eventually knock more than 6% off the euro zone’s GDP. Continue Reading…

some pages for G20-G8 on the web

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The University of Toronto and the Munk School of Global Affairs are hosting the following web pages (in English, Français,  Deutsch, Italiano, Portuguesa, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indonesian):

G20 Information Centre;
G20 Summits, Official Documents;
G20 Ministerials of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors and Deputies, Official Documents;
G20 Analysis, Summits, Ministerials;
G8 Information Centre.