G8 causes tremors in Italian town

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi greets U.S. President Barack Obama at the start of the Group of Eight summit in L'Aquila, central Italy -- July 8, 2009.

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: President Obama has arrived in Italy for his first Group of Eight summit. World leaders are talking about ways to ease the global recession. The Italian government would also like to give economic and emotional support to local earthquake survivors. But reporter Megan Williams says that effort has not gone over so well.


Megan Williams: The goal of this week's G8 in Italy is to fuel commitment to fighting hunger, curbing carbon emissions and promoting economic growth.

The preparations, though, have fuelled resentment. Italy decided to hold the G8 in the earthquake-destroyed town of L'Aquila, supposedly to help pump money into the region through foreign joint ventures -- 50,000 earthquake survivors are still homeless, many in tents. Recently, earthquake tremors in the area have prompted more people to leave their homes.

The homeless complain the government has ignored their plight at the expense of the G8 preparations, while everyone from foreign delegations to opposition politicians grumble about lack of focus.

Instead of preparing the agenda for the G8, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been chasing skirts, said opposition leader Antonio Di Pietro, referring to the recent scandal involving Italy's leader and escorts.

In L'Aquila, I'm Megan Williams for Marketplace.

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