World News Brief, Thursday April 2

Obama meets Brown while Sarkozy and Hu express hopes on eve of G20; Netanyahu sworn in as Israeli PM; Japanese business confidence hits record low; US-Russia talk arms reduction; and more

Top of the Agenda: Leaders Voice G-20 Goals

U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, meeting this morning ahead of tomorrow's G-20 financial summit, called for unprecedented global coordination in the face of the severe current economic crisis. Obama stressed the need for a "sense of urgency" about fixing the crisis and said reports of divisions between the summit's participants have been "vastly overstated" (NYT). Brown, for his part, said the United States and Britain should leverage their close ties as a "partnership of purpose" (BBC) for forging change.

Other leaders speaking out on the eve of the summit included French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who continued to press for an ambitious deal on financial regulatory reform, saying he remains unhappy (FT) with last minute negotiations among officials and will not sign any deal unless it meets his specifications.

China's President Hu Jintao said he would target "practical" results (Xinhua) at the summit and argued for the G-20 countries to make strong moves to prevent trade and investment protectionism. Hu also argued that some countries can do more in terms of fiscal stimulus spending.

His stance on spending was echoed by Japan's Prime Minister Taro Aso, who said in an interview with the FT that more spending would be needed and that Japan stood ready to take the lead.

Their comments mesh with a U.S. push for additional stimulus spending globally, but rub against comments by the leaders of France, Germany, and Russia, saying they do not support broadened stimulus.


- A new Backgrounder looks at the likely policy agendas for each of the G-20 members.

- Another Backgrounder looks at what experts say policymakers at the summit should try to accomplish.

- The FT has interviews with several of the heads of state appearing at the summit.


PACIFIC RIM: Japanese Business

A new survey shows Japanese business confidence falling (Asahi) to its lowest level since the survey started in 1974, raising doubts about government projections of an economic rebound this fiscal year.

N.KOREA: Pyongyang said it would shoot down (Yonhap) any U.S. spy jets attempting to fly over the site from which it intends to launch a rocket this weekend or early next week.



Obama to meet Medvedev today; arms reductions talks expected.
Netanyahu sworn in as new Israeli prime minister.

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