The G-8 Summit gets underway in Hakkaido, Japan today; a three-day meeting of the leaders of the eight countries invited, plus a representative of the European Union.
Grown from the concept of a forum of the major industrialized democracies after the 1973 oil crisis, more have been invited until 1997 when the last member, Russia, was invited at the initiative of then US President Bill Clinton.
The guest list is at the edge of controversy this year, as major climate issues are at hand, and two of the worst polluters (China and India) aren't invited. Here's who is (top to bottom, left to right):
- Marcia Brady: United Kingdom, Gordon Brown
- Jan Brady: United States, George W Bush
- Cindy Brady: Germany, Angela Merkel
- Carol Brady: Canada, Stephen Harper
- Ann B. Davis as Alice: European Union, Jose Manuel Barroso
- Mike Brady: Japan, Yasuo Fukada
- Greg Brady (Johnny Bravo): France Nicolas Sarkozy
- Peter Brady: Russia, Dmitry Medvedev
- Bobby Brady: Italy, Silvio Berlusconi
What's going to happen in this very special episode of the G-8 bunch? Well, no one's going to find a Tiki idol or Vincent Price in a cave, but some other important stuff instead. To find out,
Soaring food and energy costs will be at the top of the list, especially after oil prices rose to $145 a barrel last week. Global climate change is on the table too, following last year's agreement to cut emissions by 50 percent by 2050.
G-8 action on the world's food situation will be broached, probably by Germany's Angela Merkel who wrote a recent editorial in which she said, "The aggravation of the global food situation is increasing hunger in the world and threatens the political stability of many developing countries. At the summit, a comprehensive package of measures to secure global food supplies should be adopted." And aid to Africa is up there too, with seven heads of African nations invited to the opening ceremonies of the summit.
Anti-globalization, global warming, and poverty activists were on hand for the arrivals of the leaders amid heavy security. Banners reading, "Down with imperialism" among other slogans were displayed.
G-8 Summit 2008: It may be no trip to the Grand Canyon or race through a theme park, but it's worth a watch.