A time-warp occurred in the land of Albert Einstein on Thurday. It would have warmed the heart of the physicist who said time was relative to note that the G-8 leaders had declared that they had met leaders of the five outreach countries even before the leaders arrived at the beach resort of Heiligendamm on Friday.
On Thursday, the G-8 happily issued a declaration at Heiligendamm even as the O-5 leaders were confabulating in Berlin, a good three hours by road.
"At the Heiligendamm Summit we discussed with the leaders of Brazil, China , India, Mexico and South Africa the major challenges that have arisen in the global economy. Neither the G-8 countries nor major economies will be able to cope with these challenges individually," the rich and powerful nations said in a statement on Thursday.
Just what happened? Either the bureaucratic diplomats released a prepared statement meant for Friday a day ahead of schedule, or forgot to make the necessary changes. One conjecture could be that a statement on climate change was forced out early after German Chancellor Angela Merkel proudly declared that G-8 had agreed on "substantial" cuts in carbon emissions. Perhaps the group was forced to make it all official quickly after her words.
Buddha smiled, baby frowns
Ahead of the G-8 summit at Heiligendamm, foreign ministers of the member countries had met at the Queen's Palace at Potsdam, a picturesque town just outside Berlin, to hammer out details. The palace is significant in history because this is where US President Harry Truman, Soviet leader Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (and later Clement Atlee) had met to discuss things in July and August 1945 towards the end of the Second World War. It was here in July that Truman received the message, "The baby is born" indicating that US had achieved nuclear capability for a bomb. In August, Washington bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Decades later, US officials were this week busy trying to balance India, which in 1974 entered the nuclear club after Pokhran tests that were announced to then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi with the message, "The Buddha has smiled." The G-8 declaration on nuclear non-proliferation seeks attempts to make India part of the regime. The baby is apparently uncomfortable with the Smiling Buddha.
Junior voices for global reason
Did you know about J-8? While global leaders of the Group of Eight met at Heiligendamm, 64 children and teenagers from G-8 countries and 10 from developing countries gathered in nearby Wismar for a "Junior 8" summit. Junior 8 (J8) is a joint project of UNICEF, investment bank Morgan Stanley and the country with the presidency of the G8. The J8 Programme gives young people from around the world the chance to voice their opinions on global issues and raise their awareness of their role as global citizens.
The Indian representative was Yasminbi Shah Faqeer , a 17-year-old girl from Surat. Yasmin has worked as an educator to create awareness about HIV/AIDS prevention in her area.