The G-20 gets together since the pandemic

U.S. President Joe Biden poses for a selfie with medical personnel and other world leaders during a group photo at the La Nuvola conference center for the G20 summit in Rome, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. The two-day Group of 20 summit is the first in-person gathering of leaders of the world's biggest economies since the COVID-19 pandemic started. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

A new global minimum tax for corporations, 15%

Leaders from China and Russia stayed home

Protesters rally at summit over climate concerns

It’s been a couple of years since world leaders including President Moon, S.Korea, have been able to get together at the G-20. And like most gatherings since the COVID-19 pandemic started, there were some awkward moments in Rome on Saturday as people tried to figure out when they should wear masks, whether to shake hands, and how close they should get to each other.

President Moon met Pope dated on 29th, and urged him to visit North Korea, Pop said “”If you send me an invitation, I will gladly go to help you, for the sake of peace. Aren’t you brothers who speak the same language? I’m willing to go,” it quoted the pope as saying.

According to the NPR, Each leader walked down the red carpet into La Nuvola, the convention center named after a cloud-like structure floating inside of it, toward Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. Canada’s Justin Trudeau bowed slightly from his waist as he greeted the host. India’s Narendra Modi went in a for a hug. Germany’s Angela Merkel stuck with a fist bump. Argentine President Alberto Fernandez forgot to take off his mask for the photo, until Draghi nudged him.

Draghi invited a group of first responders in white lab coats and uniforms to join the traditional “family photo” that takes place at the beginning of each summit — a symbol of the central issue that the leaders will be addressing.

“I’d like to say that it’s great to see you, all of you here, after a difficult few years for the global community. The pandemic has kept us apart, as it did with all our citizens,” Draghi told the other leaders before cameras were shooed out of the room.

“We can finally look at the future with great — or with some — optimism,” he said.

President Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson talk prior to the opening session of the G-20 summit.Brendan Smialowski/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The G-20 leaders are poised to formally endorse a new global minimum tax of 15% on corporations — a move aimed at cracking down on tax havens.

For the United States, the White House estimates this could bring $60 billion in revenues per year, and it’s part of what Biden and Democrats hope will help pay for new spending on social programs and climate measures.

A senior administration official said Biden told leaders at the summit that “while we don’t see eye to eye on every issue, we can tackle shared interests.”

Not everyone made the trip to Rome. China’s Xi Jinping isn’t traveling outside the country during COVID, and Russia’s Vladimir Putin didn’t leave home either.

Biden also met with Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the sidelines of the summit to talk about Iran’s nuclear program.

Thousands of activists are in Rome looking to bring attention to a number of issues including climate change and economic inequality.

Some climate protesters briefly staged a sit-in on the main route to the summit on Saturday, according to the New York Times.

Climate activists try to block traffic on a main road leading to La Nuvola, the convention center where the G-20 summit is taking place.Luca Bruno/AP

After the G-20 wraps up, Biden will head to the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, where he’s expected to press world leaders to commit to drastically cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

But that message will be complicated by the fact that Biden has been unable to pass significant climate legislation in the United States. Democrats scrapped one key proposal that would have fined power companies for continuing to use fossil fuels after the measure faced opposition from West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin.

-Eugene Lee, NPR-


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