You wouldn't know the summits were happening if you scanned the front pages of the world's newspapers. Many international papers were dominated by World Cup news, American front pages featured updates on the Gulf oil spill and finance reform. Several regional Canadian papers left the summit news to their inside pages, with many focused on the NHL draft.
After a little digging, this is what little coverage the G20 nations had about this weekend's summit.
Australia: New Leader!
"Wayne Swan will perform one of his first duties as deputy prime minister this weekend when he meets leaders from the world's biggest economies, as he stands in for his new boss, Prime Minister Julia Gillard."
"With the prime minister immersed in business at home, it appears unlikely Australia will make the list of the select few nations to get an audience with U.S. President Barack Obama.
"Australia will also take a strong stand against a number of European nations and the US, which want to place a global levy on banks.
The Buenos Aires Herald taught us two things, a helpful shorthand for President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's name (they call her CFK) and that the South American nation sees the G20 as a chance to tackle the IMF's demands on Argentina's debt situation:
"She is to once again question the orthodox recipes suggested to pull Europe out of its crisis, in the midst of a personal bid against the International Monetary Fund (IMF)."
Argentina closed the debt-swap, "with the intention of re-negotiating its debt with the Paris Club in order to return to the voluntary credit markets.
"In order to take that step with the group of most powerful nations, to which it owes US$6 billion, Argentina needs to reach an agreement with the IMF, which would imply opening its books to international supervision.
"Until now, Argentina has denied the IMF permission to audit macroeconomic data, a 'right' found under the so-called Article IV, and it is the only country of the group that maintains an irregular relationship with the organism."
This may just be the Google translator, but news channel TVI24's website had this a pithy summary of the feeling of the street protesters in Toronto:
"'The police are the shock troops of austerity, do not be afraid, do not feel intimidated,' said one of the activists, who maintained their positions as police prevented them from moving forward."
And on the austerity versus stimulus front, O Globo's coverage suggests Brazil is for spending:
"According to him, the spokesman of the Presidency, Marcelo Baumbach, said Thursday Lula believes that the resumption of growth is the best remedy for the imbalance of public accounts, an issue that lies at the heart of the current economic times.
"The president also again advocates for reform of global financial institutions to give more power to emerging countries and more power to these bodies to combat crises.
"'Brazil does not think it's time to give excessive importance to the creation of surpluses, but rather to focus on economic growth,' the spokesman told reporters."
China: New Global Currency!
State news agency Xinhua's take was that the G20's main focus was to "address the flaws of the world's financial system so as to prevent the repeat of the current global crisis." No mention of the yuan's appreciation, a major issue in the leadup to the summit in every other large economy. But there was a keen interest to reform the IMF and for BRIC nations to find a replacement for "the dollar standard system," in which the U.S. greenback is the world's reserve currency.
" The lesson we can learn from the crisis is that the dollar standard system is harmful to both the United States and the rest of the world," Xiang Songzuo, deputy head of international monetary studies at China's Renmin University, told Xinhua.
The agency went on to say: "Statistics show an imbalance between demand and supply of the world's major reserve currency, the dollar, as the U.S. economy represents 24 percent of the global GDP while it accounts for 42 percent of the world's total sovereign debt, 52 percent of bank loans and 64 percent of foreign reserves."
France: A Constitution!
Le Monde published a somewhat radical op-ed, that suggested the G20 needs to constitutionalize itself, along the lines of the European Union, because:
"The representativeness of the G20 is undeniable: it represents 90% of world GDP and two thirds of the population.The major emerging countries are present: Russia, Brazil, China. However, the status of the G20 itself is ambiguous."