Terrorist ransoms, globe-trotting companies, huge sums of money. What might sound like the makings of a good action film is actually what's on the docket at the final day of the G8 summit today. A primer on what you should know:
- Kidnapping: David Cameron is looking for the attending nations to vow to stop paying ransoms to kidnappers, on the heels of January's bloody Algeria gas plant crisis. "This would suffocate one of the main sources of funding for these terrorist organizations, and of course would reduce the incentive to take our citizens hostage," said Cameron in advance of today's conversation.
- Syria: As of yesterday things were staunchly 7-versus-1 on the Syria front, and the AP expects more down-to-the-wire haggling in pursuit of a unified position on how to end the violence. The leaders met sans officials for a working dinner last night, which the BBC reports gave them an opportunity to speak frankly on the subject. British officials now appear "more optimistic," observes the BBC, which speculates that a potential joint statement could push the idea of a peace conference in Geneva. BBC correspondents point out two sobering realities: The statement may not be very aggressive, and could have no effect on Syria.
- Taxes: What the G8 leaders are expected to definitely agree on: new measures to restrict the ability of multinational corporations to use shell companies and other legal accounting tricks to shelter cash in principalities and islands that charge little or no tax.
- Protests: So has it indeed been the "most peaceful" summit in history? Considering the BBC calls yesterday's six-mile G8 Not Welcome march "good-natured" and studded by "trotting" dogs, maybe. It reports that a handful of protesters did breach the outer wire perimeter, but after being warned to back away from the next barrier, they did so.
And if you missed it last night, click to read about Obama and Putin's tussle over Syria ... and the G8 gym