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Daily Archives: November 16, 2008

G20 summit targets plan to boost growth and prevent new crisis

Image   by Henriette Loewisch*
A crisis summit of the world’s 20 largest economies met in Washington yesterday to outline steps to stimulate flagging global growth and prevent new financial upheaval, leaders said.

President George W. Bush, the lame-duck US leader hosting the emergency talks of the Group of 20 nations, warned at the summit’s start against a relapse into trade protectionism as recession stalks global powers. Following what he called a “frank discussion” among the leaders over dinner Friday, Bush told reporters: “One of the dangers during a crisis such as this is that people would start implementing protectionist policies. “I am pleased that we’re discussing a way forward to make sure that such a crisis is unlikely to occur again. And I am pleased that the leaders reaffirmed the principles behind open markets and free trade,” he said. “Obviously, you know, this crisis has not ended. There’s some progress being made, but there’s still a lot of more work to be
done.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country has already slipped into recession, said: “The financial summit will adopt an action plan to demonstrate that the community of nations has the capacity to act.” “There exists here a major common willingness to reassure that such a crisis will not be repeated and to revive the world economy as quickly as possible,” Merkel told reporters in her hotel before leaving for the summit. French officials said the G20 leaders, whose countries represent 85 percent of the world economy, were to commit in a communique to three principles: stimulus efforts, reform of financial regulation and global governance changes.
Few specifics on the reforms were expected at this stage, a high-ranking official with French President Nicolas Sarkozy said, but an action plan with deadlines would be agreed with work to culminate on March 31. The G20, which includes the major industrialized nations as well as emerging giants Brazil, China, India and Russia, has been locked in debate about what caused the crisis let alone how to escape from it. While Bush wants a limited tinkering with global financial rules, and no new trade barriers, Sarkozy has declared that “laissez-faire capitalism is over” as banks crippled by toxic mortgage assets are forced to turn to government aid. And the summit is hamstrung by the absence of the man of the moment: US presidentelect Barack Obama, who is not bound to implement any commitments made by Bush when he takes office in January. On the Democrat’s behalf, former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and ex-Republican lawmaker Jim Leach have been holding a flurry of contacts with the G20 delegations. Yesterday, the pair were to meet senior advisers from Britain, China, Italy and Japan, plus French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In the Democratic Party’s weekly radio address, Obama welcomed Bush’s convocation of the summit “because our global economic crisis requires a coordinated global response.” “And yet, as we act in concert with other nations,
we must also act immediately here at home to address America’s own economic crisis,” he said, calling for new stimulus spending following a package adopted by China. A commitment to coordinate economic stimulus plans was seen as one possibility at the summit, with governments synchronizing tax and spending initiatives to boost flagging confidence among investors and consumers. The deputy chairman of India’s Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, said late Friday he was “reasonably hopeful” that the leaders would endorse a “coordinated signal for a fiscal stimulus.” The global economic climate worsened as the leaders convened.
Friday brought news that the 15 eurozone nations were now gripped by recession after two quarters of economic contraction, and US retail sales tumbled a record 2.8 percent in October as worried consumers hunkered down.
The International Monetary Fund and the Financial Stability Forum said Friday they would cooperate to provide an “early-warning system” in an effort to prevent new financial crises. But in an interview with The Washington
Post, Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso called on nations such as China to offer more help to the IMF, which Saturday extended a bailout of at least 7.6 billion dollars to Pakistan. “It doesn’t have to be Japan alone that would provide such funds,” Aso said, after announcing Friday that his government would lend as much as 100 billion dollars more to the IMF.
* AFP

Tennis: Davydenko shocks Murray, sets up Djokovic final

by Talek Harris*

Russia's Nikolay Davydenko shocked in-form Andy Murray to set up a surprise Masters Cup final against world number three Novak Djokovic yesterday.
Davydenko took advantage of Murray's late finish against Roger Federer on Friday to win 7-5, 6-2, reaching his first final in four straight visits to the year-end showpiece.
He faces a daunting task against Australian Open champion Djokovic, who roared into the title match 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 against Gilles Simon and beat the Russian in the group stage here.
"Finals are special. Every player has more motive to do well and win the title. I haven't won a title for a long time, since Rome, so I would like to end my season in a good way," Djokovic said.
Murray was on court less than 24 hours after his three-hour marathon win over Federer, and it showed as he was broken in the very first game before breaking back.
He saved break points in the third but swiped his racquet angrily as he was broken for 6-5, and Davydenko sealed the set on serve with the help of a net cord.
Murray was further incensed when he bounced a volley off the net and wide to be broken in the second set and the Russian broke again before clinching the first match point with an ace.
Davydenko, the world number five, is in line for the biggest pay day of his career if he wins the 4.45 million dollar tournament, while Djokovic can move within 10 points of Federer's second spot in the rankings.
In the earlier match, Djokovic recovered from a poor first set and weathered a late fight-back by Simon to reach the final.
The Serb's victory ends a fairytale run by Simon, who only qualified for the eight-man event when top-ranked Rafael Nadal pulled out injured but shocked defending champion Federer to reach the semis.
The piano-playing world number nine had been gunning to become the only French end-of-year winner and the first from his country to reach the final since Sebastien Grosjean in 2001.
"This match was so long, so there are so many things to say. But the only thing is he was very aggressive, more than me. He was a little bit lucky sometimes, touching many lines, and finally he won the match," Simon said.
Djokovic has held the third ranking since August last year, winning three tournaments this season including his breakthrough Grand Slam title in Australia.
Murray knocked out Federer in a thrilling three-set match late on Friday, the first occasion the four-time champion has failed to reach the semi-finals in seven straight visits.
The Briton has been in the form of his life, winning back-to-back Masters series titles to reach a career-high fourth ranking and losing only once since the US Open final.
The Tennis Masters Cup, featuring the top eight men's players, is being held in Shanghai for the last time before shifting to London as the World Tour Final.
    
* AFP

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