It's OK, you can admit it: The G8 summit begins in Northern Ireland today and you didn't exactly wake up with thoughts of "it's G8 week!" (Our first thought: Rain again?) But the two-day summit in Northern Island is worth a few moments of your attention. Here's what's on deck, and why it's interesting:
- There's already been talk of cannibals: The issue expected to dominate the talks is Syria, and on that front, it's G7 versus Russia—the only member that supports the regime. At a news conference yesterday, Vladimir Putin blasted Western nations for supporting Syrian rebels "who kill their enemies and eat their organs," CNN reports. The Russian president—and alleged Super Bowl ring thief—was apparently referring to a video showing a rebel taking a bite from the heart of a dead Syrian soldier.
- The pope has given David Cameron's agenda the thumbs up: The Guardian reports that the two have exchanged letters, with Francis expressing his support for the talks' other main focus, global economic issues. (Agenda items: promoting freer trade between Europe and North America and combating global tax evasion.) He offers a reminder: that "the goal of economics and politics is to serve humanity, beginning with the poorest and most vulnerable."
- It begins amid spy allegations: In this case, against Britain. It's another NSA-Edward Snowden reveal, with documents allegedly showing that Britain spied on attendees of two G20 meetings in London in 2009. The BBC reports that the news could cause some strain among delegates. Cameron offered nothing when asked about the claims: "We never comment on security or intelligence issues and I am not about to start now."
- It could be "the most peaceful G8 summit in history": This per the Guardian, which reports that protests are expected to begin around "tea time." A crowd of just 2,000 is expected, and will face a police force that numbers 8,000. The AP adds that surveillance drones will be used in Northern Ireland for the first time to keep tabs on protest marches and scan the countryside for terrorist threats. This in addition to the several miles of coiled razor wire lining the Lough Erne golf resort.