World News Brief, Friday May 27

G8 leaders to meet in Deauville to discuss Libyan conflict, Middle East uprisings; French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde leading contender for IMF job; Australian policy on asylum seekers criticised by UN human rights commissioner; explosions in Chinese city of Fuzhou that killed two attributed to disgruntled farmer; Egypt eases Gaza blockade; US to cut troops in Pakistan; and more

Top of the Agenda: G8 to Focus on Mideast


Leaders from the Group of Eight (BBC) are set to convene in the French resort town of Deauville today. Discussions are expected to center on the conflict in Libya and the international response to the democratic uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa. With web media icons Mark Zuckerberg and Eric Schmidt in attendance, the question of Internet regulation will also be on the agenda.

In a letter sent to G8 officials ahead of the meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner urged fellow nations to support the democratic transitions in the Arab and Muslim world, including economic aid and a debt-swap initiative for Egypt (AFP). The United States called on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to help the region as it did for similar transitions in Central and Eastern Europe.

The Japanese government is hoping to win support for a trade agreement that could help revive its economy, battered by the March disasters and ensuing nuclear crisis. Prime Minister Naoto Kan is expected to push Europe to loosen trade restriction and open its borders to Japanese imports (FT).

Discussions over a replacement candidate for the managing director of the IMF (WSJ) are also expected to be on the agenda. European G8 officials are throwing their support behind French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, who announced her bid this week and plans to visit China, Brazil, and India in a push for the position.


This CFR backgrounder provides analysis of the expectations for the G8 summit, where the Mideast turmoil will share top billing with nuclear safety, the Internet, leadership of the IMF, and aid to Africa.

This op-ed for the Guardian discusses Lagarde's potential to fill the lead role at the International Monetary Fund--suggesting her management would mark a "radical change of style" from that of Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

In this op-ed for the Financial Times, Joseph Stiglitz calls on the international community to help nurture the democratic movements in the Mideast and provide financial support to their ailing economies.


PACIFIC RIM: Australia Asylum Policy Censured


Human rights groups and the UN human rights commissioner condemned Australia's policy of mandatory detention of asylum seekers (BBC), citing the issues of suicide, rioting, and depression.

China: A series of explosions in the southern Chinese city of Fuzhou (NYT) killed at least two and wounded six. Initial reporting suggests the bombs were the work of a disgruntled farmer who was angry over the government's handling of his court case.

The U.S.-China relationship is strained because of China's growing strength and its harder line at home and abroad, says John Pomfret in this CFR interview.



- Egypt Eases Gaza Blockade
- U.S. to Cut Troops in Pakistan
- GOP Medicare Reforms Voted Down

This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on