Brandon Sun (Newspaper) - June 28, 2002, Brandon, Manitoba
Russia also cashes in on G-8 spending
CONTINUED FROM PAGE Al
But the package contains plenty of loopholes and no guarantees that Russia, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Britain, the United States and Canada will deliver on a promise to devote half of $12 billion in new overseas aid — agreed to in March — to Africa.
Chretien announced the agreement on Africa following discussions with the presidents of four African nations and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
The Africa plan also:
• Slashes the debt of 22 countries with good records by $19 billion US. On top of other debt relief, that represents a reduction of $30 billion for Africa, or two-thirds of the continent’s debt.
• Calls on African countries introduce a peer-review system to judge whether a government is meeting its commitments.
• Pledges support for African agriculture, but doesn’t offer to cut western agricultural subsidies, which make it difficult for African farmers to compete.
• Offers support for efforts to resolve the many armed conflicts on the continent.
Critics complain the plan was rushed through by a small group of leaders with little public consultation.
They also question whether African leaders with poor human rights records can be trusted to police themselves and their “peers” adequately.
“Our collective disappointment is that it’s been touted as something new and wonderful, but it’s the same old ideas,” said Njoki Njoroge, a Kenyan who heads 50 Years Is Not Enough, a U.S. coalition dedicated to transforming the IMF.
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, one of the architects of the plan, acknowledged that Africans have squandered billions in past aid, but promised to punish future miscreants.
“We are seen as non-performers in the past,” he told G-8 leaders assembled behind him outdoors for a final photo.
“If any of us are lagging behind we will give him
a push or we will give him a sanction.”
Annan called the Africa package “a turning point in the history of Africa, and indeed, the world.”
Russia was another big winner at the summit, with its full admission to the G-8 and money to destroy its most deadly weapons.
Russia’s obligations include providing the G-8 partners access to disposal sites, such as facilities where nuclear submarines are dismantled, officials said.
Russia also has ensured adequate auditing and oversight authority to its partners.
But while the agreement calls for eliminating chemical and nuclear weapons, there is only a commitment to “reduce” biological agents.
The plan to eliminate Russia’s old stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction will cost the United States $10 billion over IO years. The other G-8 countries, excluding Russia, will contribute an additional $10 billion.
Canada will kick in $1 billion over IO years.
It remains to be seen whether Chretien will profit politically from his turn at the chair of the exclusive club — and put some distance between himself and the move afoot in his Liberal party to force him to surrender his leadership to Paul Martin.
Chretien helped thwart his stated intention of keeping Africa as the summit centrepiece by sowing confusion over whether he endorsed a U.S. demand to replace Yasser Arafat before a Palestinian state can be recognized.
On Tuesday, Chretien suggested it “might be a good thing” if Arafat was gone, prompting American officials to boast that the prime minister was onside.
On Wednesday, Chretien refused to state outright if he agreed with U.S. President George W. Bush on Arafat.
He said he supports the U.S. plan, but added: “it’s going to be the people of Palestine who decide who will be the leader.”
Italian Prime Minister Sylvio Berlusconi said Bush was alone in calling for Arafat’s ouster.
Protesters expose naked truth but manage to stay out of jail
By Carol Harrington
CALGARY — With willow branches wrapped around their heads, dozens of bare-breasted anti-G-8 activists rolled in the mud at a downtown Calgary park yesterday, singing songs to celebrate Mother Earth.
The colourful, festive atmosphere was like most of the week’s G-8 protests — loud and in your face, but not through your window.
“This has really been a lot of fun,” said Terri Kirby, an anti-globalization activist who travelled from Vancouver to protest the G-8 summit, a hour’s drive west in the Rocky Mountain resort of Kananaskis. “We got our messages across, hung out together, heard some decent music and we’re free. No one I know has been thrown in jail.”
There were three arrests related to G-8 activities
— all for minor infractions.
After the world leaders had left the economic summit yesterday, a small clutch of protesters made one last attempt to get their message across as delegates left the meeting.
What they accomplished was a major traffic jam
— at one point creating a four-kilometre line of cars waiting to drive east along the TransCanada Highway into Calgary.
“The idea was to block some of the delegates from leaving the actual G-8 conference, but what occurred was we got out there too late and missed the majority of the convoy,” said Gabnel Furshong of Helena, Mont., spokesman for the 40 protesters. “Since then, it’s been a discussion of the best way to engage people on the highway in a positive manner and educate them about what we feel are unjust means going on in Kananaskis country.”
Few drivers were interested in stopping to discuss global politics. Police slowed traffic by shutting down one lane of the eastbound highway.
Police were singing success about the lack ot problems, claiming they found the right recipe for mass protests: preparation, communication, low-key cops on bikes and lots of backup.
All are lessons learned from the past.
‘“We need to treat each and every summit on a case-by-case basis," said RCMP Staff Sgt. Mike Gaudet. “We’re very pleased that there’s been this commitment obviously from the police, but also from those large numbers of protesters who came here to be heard and seen in a peaceful way.”
Calgary's police bicycle brigade was bolstered by RCMP and Waterloo, Ont. officers, who pedalled beside activists as protests wound through downtown streets.
During the World Petroleum Congress two years ago, Calgary police found it highly effective not to erect barriers such as chain-link fences. So there were none here.
Anti-globalization protests in recent years have
been marred by violence — spurred on by a small number of angry anarchists lobbing Molotov cocktails and smashing storefront windows.
At the G-8 summit in Italy last year, one protester was shot dead by a paramilitary officer after riots broke out amongst a crowd of 200,000.
But in Calgary this week, the number of antisummit protesters was much smaller. Fewer than 3,000 people marched through Calgary last Sunday, often using ridicule and skits to voice their dissent.
“By any means necessary, build the movement,”
chanted as they snaked through downtown streets, many decked out in creative c o s -fumes.
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■( '‘day I
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Brandon (Office) & Guest Services
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