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ZODIAC

  1. "Russia has no moral right to sit at the G20 while its aggression in Ukraine persists," a British foreign ministry spokesperson said
  2. Top officials from Europe, the United States and Australia stressing there will be no "business as usual" at the forum
  3. Afghanistan has seen its economy all but collapse since the Taliban takeover, raising the spectre of an exodus of refugees
  4. Italian PM Mario Draghi has been pushing to widen global discussion on Afghanistan to countries, including Russia, China
  5. 'I believe recognition should have a price, dignity of Afghan women, should be one of the points on which we insist,' says Macron
  6. Ahead of the G7 summit this week, wealthy countries have also been pushed to follow US in distributing doses
  7. Pfizer, BioNTech pledge 2 billion doses, Johnson & Johnson promises 200 million doses of their vaccines to COVAX
  8. G20 to step up support to vulnerable countries as they address the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic
  9. "Unfortunate that we are unable to host you in person in Riyadh, due to the exceptional circumstances we are all facing," says King Salman
  10. The initiative will "provide north of $20 billion of immediate liquidity" for poor countries to use "for their health system"
  11. A handout photo made available by the G20 shows the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde (on screen), participating in a meeting of finance ministers and the governors of the Central Banks of the G20...
  12. Flags of G20 countries are seen outside the G20 venue before the start of the G20 Summit of major world economies in Cannes, France, November 3, 2011. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez/Files BRUSSELS: The world?s financial leaders will pledge to fight unfair trade practices and stress the role of global trade rules when they meet on March 20, as the United States raises the threat of a global trade war by imposing import tariffs on steel and aluminium. Finance ministers and central bank governors of the world?s 20 biggest economies will discuss on March 19-20 in Buenos Aires the risks to the improving global economic outlook, including ?a retreat to inward looking policies?. A draft communique prepared for the meeting, seen by Reuters, says the ministers and central bankers ?reiterate the conclusions of our Leaders on trade at the Hamburg Summit, and are working to strengthen its contribution? to their economies. Last week, US President Donald Trump announced he would impose import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent for aluminium to protect domestic metals production that he said was vital to national security. Canada and Mexico are exempt from the tariffs. The European Union has been pushing to be exempted too, but so far without success. The move seems to clash with the declaration signed by G20 leaders, including Trump, in Hamburg last July which said G20 countries would fight protectionism including all unfair trade practices, although it also said they recognise the role of ?legitimate trade defence instruments?. Angela Merkel, who hosted the G20 summit last year, said at the time agreeing the joint position on trade had been ?extraordinarily difficult? because of the United States. The US tariffs essentially go against what is called a ?rules-based international trading system? in which disputes are negotiated through the World Trade Organisation rather than by unilateral action. The G20 leaders' statement from Hamburg stresses that point: ?We underline the crucial role of the rules-based international trading system. We note the importance of bilateral, regional and plurilateral agreements being open, transparent, inclusive and WTO-consistent, and commit to working to ensure they complement the multilateral trade agreements.? The draft communique for Buenos Aires also reiterates the usual phrase that ?excessive volatility or disorderly movements of exchange rates can have adverse implications for economic and financial stability.? The financial leaders are to reiterate their pledge to refrain from competitive devaluations and not target exchange rates for competitive purposes. But the communique also introduces new language on exchange rates, saying that ?strong fundamentals, sound policies and a resilient international monetary system are essential to the stability of exchange rates?, but also that ?flexible exchange rates, where feasible, can serve as a shock absorber?.
  13. WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a second, previously undisclosed conversation during a dinner for G20 leaders at a summit earlier this month in Germany, a White House official confirmed on Tuesday. The two leaders held a formal two-hour bilateral meeting on July 7 in which Trump later said Putin denied allegations that he directed efforts to meddle in the 2016 US presidential election. The White House official did not say how long the second meeting took place or what was discussed. The second conversation between Trump and Putin took place during a dinner for the Group of 20 heads of state and their spouses in Hamburg, said Ian Bremmer, the president of political risk consultancy Eurasia Group, who was first to report the meeting in a note to clients. Television coverage of the dinner showed that first lady Melania Trump was seated next to Putin. Bremmer said Trump got up from his seat halfway through dinner and spent about an hour talking "privately and animatedly" with Putin, "joined only by Putin's own translator." The lack of a US translator raised eyebrows among other leaders at the dinner, said Bremmer, who called it a "breach of national security protocol." Trump is under intense scrutiny by Congress and a special counsel investigating Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election, and probing whether Trump's campaign had ties to the activity. Trump has denied collusion between his campaign and Moscow.
  14. Protesters shout slogans in front of riot police officers during demonstrations at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 8, 2017. Photo: Reuters HAMBURG: Arab refugees watching anti-G20 riots in Hamburg from the relative safety of a falafel joint said on Saturday the rioters were insane for destroying their tolerant adoptive city and were astonished by what they saw as the police's restraint. "If people did this in Egypt they would be shot," said Ibrahim Ali, a 29-year-old Egyptian who came here in 2011. "The state provides everything: housing, unemployment benefits and education. Yet those people are not happy. I don't get it." Ali and two more refugees from Syria and Egypt were serving beer, falafel, hummus, tabouleh salad and other Middle Eastern delights to protesters who had started leaving the Sternschanze quarter as police special units moved in against the rioters. "They are crazy. I can't believe my eyes," said Mohammad Halabi, 32, a Syrian who arrived in Germany as a refugee some 18 months ago. "They have such a beautiful country and they're destroying it." Halabi, who speaks broken German, said he had been following the G20 only to see if world leaders would come up with a solution to end the civil war in Syria. His expectations were low, he said, so he was not disappointed when he read on social media on Friday that US President Donald Trump and Russia President Vladimir Putin had agreed on a ceasefire for southwestern Syria. "It's a joke. They are not serious," said Halabi. "They are simply interested in preserving their own interests in Syria and the Middle East." 'Not scared' When he was not serving falafel, Halabi ran toward the square where rioters had set barricades on fire, and took pictures of police firing water cannon. "This is nothing. I'm not scared," he said, sharing pictures with family members living in Turkey. "Bombs falling on your neighbourhood, that's scary." Hours after police wrestled back control of Sternschanze, a traditional venue for leftist protests, residents and shopkeepers came out to inspect the extent of the damage. Some helped municipal workers who had been cleaning the streets since dusk, removing glass, concrete slabs and stones that had been hurled at police. All said they were angry at Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to hold the summit in their port city as they had feared that militant members of the Black Bloc anarchist group would resort to violence. "It's scary what happened here," said teacher Sandra Janowitz, 28. "But I don't blame the demonstrators. Most were teenagers who don't know what they're doing. And many were foreigners. They went home and we have to deal with this mess." Merkel on Saturday defended her decision to hold the summit in the city of her birth, praised the police's security operation and said that residents would receive compensation. Unlike native Hamburg residents, Halabi said he cannot be angry at Merkel. "Without her I wouldn't be here," he said, referring to the chancellor's decision to welcome refugees.
  15. Delegates attend the official dinner at the Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall during the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Kay Nietfeld The final statement from Group of 20 leaders on Saturday exposed a divide between the United States and other G20 members on the Paris accord aimed at combating climate change. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, hosting the two-day G20 summit, said she was pleased all club members besides the United States had agreed the Paris climate accord was irreversible. "I think it's very clear that we could not reach consensus, but the differences were not papered over, they were clearly stated," Merkel told reporters at the end of the two-day meeting. She said she did not share the view of British Prime Minister Theresa May who said on Friday she thought Washington could decide to return to the climate agreement. In the final communique, the G20 leaders took note of the United States' decision to withdraw from the landmark accord. "The leaders of the other G20 members state that the Paris Agreement is irreversible," the statement read. On trade, another sticking point, the leaders agreed they would "fight protectionism including all unfair trade practices and recognize the role of legitimate trade defense instruments in this regard." Trump, who on Friday found chemistry in his first face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, congratulated Merkel on her stewardship of the summit. "You have been amazing and you have done a fantastic job. Thank you very much chancellor," he said. Future ties Trump and Putin on Friday discussed alleged Russian meddling in the US election but agreed to focus on future ties rather than dwell on the past, a result that was sharply criticized by leading Democrats in Congress. For Merkel, the summit was an opportunity to show off her diplomatic skills ahead of a federal election in September, when she is seeking a fourth term in office. She treated the leaders to a concert at Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie on Friday night, where they listened to Beethoven while their aides began an all night slog to thrash out the consensus on trade that had eluded the leaders. Trade policy has become more contentious since Trump entered the White House promising an "America First" approach. Merkel chose to host the summit in Hamburg, the port city where she was born, to send a signal about Germany's openness to the world, including its tolerance of peaceful protests. As the leaders met on Saturday, police helicopters hovered overhead. Overnight, police clashed with anti-capitalist protesters seeking to disrupt the summit. In the early morning, heavily armed police commandos moved in after activists had spent much of Friday attempting to wrest control of the streets from more than 15,000 police, setting fires, looting and building barricades. The summit is being held only a few hundred meters from one of Germany's most potent symbols of left-wing resistance, a former theater called the "Rote Flora" which was taken over by anti-capitalist squatters nearly three decades ago. Police said 200 officers had been injured, 134 protesters temporarily detained and another 100 taken into custody.
  16. HAMBURG: US President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin held their first face-to-face meeting Friday at a G20 summit marred by violent protests and a rift between America and its Western allies over climate change and trade. "We look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia, for the United States and for everyone concerned," Trump said. "It´s an honor to be with you." Putin told the US leader: "I´m delighted to be able to meet you personally Mr President. And I hope as you have said, our meeting will yield concrete results." The blockbuster encounter could sway issues ranging from the North Korean crisis and conflicts in Syria and Ukraine to US-Russian disarmament treaties, world trade and global warming, analysts say. Public images of the interaction are likely to be dissected frame by frame for any sign of rapprochement or estrangement. How the "contrasting styles of machismo interact... will likely be the defining feature of their relationship," noted Derek Chollet from think-tank German Marshall Fund. Normally a ripple-free event in the diplomatic calendar, this year´s G20 summit in the German port city of Hamburg promises to be one of the stormiest in the forum´s history. Trump´s "America First" approach on trade and his climate-sceptic stance are straining relations with longstanding allies, especially in Europe. And his tough response to North Korea´s missile program - an issue where Russia and China are urging calm - throws a further volatile ingredient into the mix. Outside the heavily guarded G20 conference hall, protesters wreaked havoc, blocking US First Lady Melania Trump at her residence as demonstrators torched cars, smashed shop windows, fired flares at police helicopters and even slashed tires on vehicles belonging to the Canadian delegation. The violence forced Hamburg police to call in reinforcements from other German states, and G20 organisers to drastically curtail an official program for spouses of visiting dignitaries. "The Hamburg police could not give us clearance to leave," said the first lady´s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, explaining why she had been forced to miss a cruise tour. End ?Destabilizing? Action On the presidential election campaign trail last year, Trump said he hoped relations with Putin could be rebuilt after Russia´s acrimonious ties with his predecessor Barack Obama. But Moscow faces mounting accusations that it interfered in the election to help propel Trump into the White House. As a result, Trump faces pressure at home and from US allies to take a combative tone. In a key speech in Warsaw on Thursday, Trump fired a rare salvo of criticism at Russia, but did not name Putin specifically. "We urge Russia to cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere, and its support for hostile regimes - including Syria and Iran - and to instead join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself," he told a cheering crowd of about 10,000 people. Trump is joined at the Putin meeting only by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and a translator, an extraordinarily small cast list that raised concerns among experts. "Neither Tillerson or Trump have any experience of foreign policy. That is one reason why they need pros in the room when meeting Putin," said Thomas Wright of the Brookings Institution. Storm over climate North Korea´s successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile this week also casts a dark shadow over the US leader´s first G20 summit. Trump had warned Thursday that Pyongyang´s military saber-rattling would bear "consequences", saying he was considering a "severe" response to its "very, very bad behavior". After repeatedly urging Beijing to ratchet up the economic pressure on North Korea, Trump will hold what promises to be a testy meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the G20´s sidelines. Beyond the complex diplomatic waltz, the US leader also faces tough talks in the main G20 conference room, where a united front is forming against his dismissive attitude to global warming. Trump may have vowed to pull the US out of the 2015 Paris climate protection accord, but G20 host German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed that "many many other countries want to go on implementing" it. "We are not going to paper over the differences but rather, we will call discord discord," said Merkel. British Prime Minister Theresa May, meanwhile, said world leaders will redouble efforts over the two-day summit to persuade Trump to rejoin the Paris deal. "I believe the collective message that will be given to President Trump around this table will be the importance of America coming back into that agreement, and I hope we will be able to work to ensure that can happen," she told the BBC.
  17. HAMBURG: Protesters threw bottles and torched cars, injuring seven police officers, before a G20 summit in Hamburg on Thursday, tarnishing the start of a meeting Chancellor Angela Merkel hopes will cement her role as a stateswoman as she seeks re-election in September. Merkel, who is campaigning for a fourth term, can ill afford images of chaos and disharmony. The summit, which starts in earnest on Friday, is a chance for her to polish her diplomatic credentials but would be disastrous if marred by widespread violence. She met US President Donald Trump for an hour on Thursday evening, but less than an hour later police clashed with anti-capitalist demonstrators near the summit venue and fired water cannon at black-clad protesters after they threw bottles. A Reuters eyewitness saw at least one protester with blood on his face being treated. "Welcome to Hell" was the protesters' greeting for Trump and other world leaders arriving for the two-day meeting. Police said at least seven officers were injured in clashes that continued after a late sunset in the northern city. Merkel has taken a high-risk gamble by choosing to hold the summit in the northern port city of Hamburg, partly to show the world that big protests are tolerated in a healthy democracy. Before meeting Trump, she struck a consensual tone, holding out hope for agreement on the divisive issue of climate policy and pledging to broker compromises. She pledged to represent German and European interests at the summit, but added: "On the other hand, as hosts we - and I - will do all we can to find compromises." Trump faces a testy confrontation at the summit with leaders of the other big Group of 20 economies after deciding last month to pull the United States out of the 2015 Paris climate deal. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel cited "many commonalities" on foreign policy after a meeting that included Merkel, Trump, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Trump family members and advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. But he told German broadcaster that "clear differences" on climate change and trade continued to divide the two allies. Merkel has held out hope that an agreement could yet be found on climate. "There are various options, which can be discussed. We know that the United States have withdrawn. All others ... or as far as I know, many many others stand by this agreement," she said. As the leaders began holding informal meetings, thousands of protesters from around Europe, who say the G20 has failed to solve many of the issues threatening world peace, poured into Hamburg to join the main demonstration. Police expected around 100,000 protesters in the port city, some 8,000 of whom are deemed by security forces to be ready to commit violence. At least 13,000 protesters joined the main march on Thursday, including around 1,000 black-clad anarchists, police said. Up to 20,000 police officers from across Germany are on hand. DELICATE BALANCE As summit host, Merkel must seek consensus among the G20 leaders not only on the divisive issue of climate policy but also on trade - an area fraught with risk as Trump pursues his 'America First' agenda. Indonesian finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said Merkel must be careful not to allow acrimony to undermine the summit. "There is quite a delicate balance that Angela Merkel will have to navigate in a way, because it is not clear that being confrontational won't just create even more of a credibility problem for G20 cooperation," she told Reuters. Merkel earlier said she was committed to an open international trading system, despite fears of US protectionism under the Trump administration. "We're united in our will to strengthen multilateral relations at the G20 summit ... We need an open society, especially open trade flows," Merkel said in Berlin. She and Trump discussed G20 themes, North Korea, the Middle East, and the conflict in eastern Ukraine, a German government spokesman said. Turkey's Tayyip Erdogan is among other leaders Merkel was to meet. Trump, who earlier in Poland called again on NATO partners to spend more on defence and said he would confront the threat from North Korea, will also hold his first face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the summit. Their meeting, scheduled for Friday, will be closely watched at a time when mutual ties remain strained by US allegations of Russian election hacking, Syria, Ukraine and a US row over Trump associates' links to Moscow. Ahead of the meeting, Putin threw his weight behind the Paris accord. "We see the Paris Agreement as a secure basis for long-term climate regulation founded on international law and we want to make a comprehensive contribution to its implementation," he told German business daily Handelsblatt.
  18. BERLIN: Ties between China and Germany are about to enter a new phase, China's president said, as he met the German chancellor before a G20 summit that is expected to highlight their differences with the United States on a host of issues. President Xi Jinping and Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged on Wednesday to work together more closely on a range of issues, two days ahead of the G20 summit in Hamburg that US President Donald Trump is also due to attend. Trump's testy relationship with both China and Germany is pushing the two countries closer together, despite Berlin's concerns about human rights in China and frustrations over market access. "Chinese-German relations are now about to have a new start where we need new breakthroughs," Xi told a joint news conference with Merkel in Berlin. He said he hoped to make a "new blueprint, set our sights on new goals and plan new routes" for cooperation during his visit to Germany. "We will have difficult discussions, since bringing 20 states together with all their developments and ideas is not easy," Merkel said. Tension is likely both at the summit and outside it. Thousands of protesters are expected to demonstrate for a raft of causes, ranging from anti-globalisation to failure to tackle climate change. Already, German police have used water cannon to disperse around 500 anti-capitalist protesters. Much of the tension will revolve around Trump. In an article for German newspaper Handelsblatt Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged the G20 states to continue working together on climate protection, after Trump pulled the United States out of the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change policy. And World Bank President Jim Yong Kim told Handelsblatt he agreed with Merkel on climate change, saying: "We cannot wait". In contrast to Trump's protectionist stance, Kim also stressed that free trade was key to alleviating poverty and boosting prosperity. Merkel has lashed out at Trump's administration for taking the view that globalisation is creating winners and losers. She told the newspaper Die Zeit that as G20 president, she had to work on reaching agreement rather than contributing "to a situation where a lack of communication prevails". To symbolise their close ties, Merkel and Xi opened a garden at the Berlin Zoo for Meng Meng and Jiao Qing, two giant pandas on loan from China who were seen sitting on wooden benches munching bamboo when a red curtain covering their enclosure was opened. Merkel described them as "two very nice diplomats". Merkel said she and Xi had also talked about wanting to quickly sign an investment treaty that would ultimately turn into a full-blown free-trade agreement. They discussed as well improving cooperation on cyber security and working more closely together on fighting international terrorism. In addition, they discussed bilateral cooperation in countries such as in Africa and Afghanistan, with Merkel highlighting an agreement to jointly build a hydroelectric power plant in Angola. But she added: "In my view we must intensively pursue the human rights dialogue, looking at how different parts of society can better express themselves. In this respect, cooperation in the field of civil society can be further strengthened."
  19. File Photo BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold talks with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of a summit of G20 leading economies starting on Friday in the German port of Hamburg, her spokesperson said on Wednesday. Relations between the NATO partners have soured in the last few months. On Tuesday, Turkey condemned as incitement to violence an art installation in front of the German chancellery that portrayed Erdogan as a dictator. The spokesperson also said Merkel would discuss the Ukraine crisis with French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  20. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives at his office in Tokyo, Japan, July 3, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged the G20 states in a newspaper article to work together on continuing climate protection policies, such as the 2015 Paris agreement from which the United States is withdrawing. The G20 summit, which will be held in Hamburg on Friday and Saturday, comes after a G7 in May that showed deep divisions between the President Donald Trump-led US and other western countries on climate change. Trump has said he will pull the United States out of the 2015 Paris deal on tackling climate change. In an article for German newspaper Handelsblatt ahead of the G20 summit, which Trump will attend, Abe wrote, "Global warming has already resulted in the earth, which sustains human life, experiencing various crises for a long time." Abe said climate change affected people around the world and people living today had to take responsibility for the issue for future generations. "That's why we must all take action together quickly," he wrote.
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