The world's most powerful leaders gathered in Italy on Tuesday on the eve of a G8 summit aimed at finding common ground on how to tackle the global economic crisis, climate change and turmoil in Iran.
Leaders of the group of eight (G8) industrialised nations and a host of emerging powers will meet on July 8-10 in the city of L'Aquila, which was devastated in April by an earthquake that killed nearly 300 people.
The build-up to the summit has been marred by increasingly lurid reports about Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's private life and by safety fears in L'Aquila, north east of Rome, where aftershocks are still being felt.
Officials have drawn up plans to evacuate the leaders in the event of a tremor measuring over four points on the Richter scale.
Only last Friday, a 4.1 magnitude quake struck just one kilometre from the military academy where the gathering is to take place.
G8 talks traditionally bring together the eight leading economies -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States.
But much of the discussion over the course of the week will be expanded to include emerging powers such as China, India and Brazil.