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Day one at the G8

First day on the job at the G8 summit and already it's dreadful. For a new media coordinator who thought she'd see the world get saved just a little, it's unnerving to say the least.

Any thoughts that our eight well-heeled representatives of the last hope for humanity were dashed by their communiqué issued at the end of their first working day. Well, almost the end; after issuing their deliberations, they went off to dinner together.

It was more than discouraging for Dennis Howlett, co-ordinator of Make Poverty History: "It's devastating for the poor. They're just repeating past promises and not recognizing the world has changed. It's a real setback for any progress that has been made in the last decade."

There's lots of flowery language and even some penetrating analysis of what it would take to provide a level playing field for all the world's citizens but almost no indication they will put their money over their bleeding hearts to actually fix the problems.

No agreement on Maternal Health...so, in the world's poorest villages, women will keep dying in childbirth at a rate of one woman a minute, every minute of the day.

No chance for 75 million kids still missing out on school and a chance to pull themselves up by those old bootstraps.

The tap won't be turned on for the 1.4 million children who die from unsafe water.

"So many of the world's richest countries are prepared to run away from their commitments to the poor" was how Khumbuzile Zuma of End Water Poverty summed it up.

When the going gets tough, the rich hunker down.

Oh, did I mention, there was a glimmer of good news. They at least recognized the need to keep global warming to below two degrees, but failed to ante up any cash to remotely make that happen.

Says Oxfam's Antonio Hill: "The G8 might have agreed to avoid cooking the planet by more than two degrees, but they made no attempt to turn down the heat any time soon."

And all hope is pinned now on the man from Chicago. Obama has been pushing for at least a respectable pot of cash to create some modicum of relief for the more than 100 million people who, courtesy of Wall St. and their friends, have been added to the roll call of a billion + who now go to bed hungry. He and his ally Gordon Brown in the U.K. have a few hours left to convince their buddies to ante up along with them.

Don't hold your breath. I'm so outraged, I have to stop now. Just heard that our Great Leaders had a meeting set with a group of African leaders for 10 a.m. tomorrow. They've now rescheduled to 6 a.m. How contemptuous is that?

Kelly Crichton
Media Co-ordinator
MAKE POVERTY HISTORY

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