Der Spiegel does a great job of putting into perspective Chancellor Angela Merkel's support for two somewhat unpopular ideas: Budget austerity and bank taxes.
"On Thursday she told German public broadcaster ARD that her center-right coalition was going to 'implement the efforts we have agreed to,' adding: 'I do not think we should relent.'
"She said that sustained growth could only be guaranteed by getting a grip on deficits and debt. 'I and the EU will argue this position. There are others who are not yet so convinced of this exit strategy.' "
The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:
"Save or take on more debts on a grand scale? This in short will be one of the conflicts at the summit. The chancellor has so far not been persuaded by the president's requests to support the economy with more stimulus measures. And in Canada she will also oppose the claim that Germany is not doing enough for the global economy. That is plainly nonsense. But because the trans-Atlantic dispute cannot be allowed to go too far, when it comes to growth strategies, both sides will read into the final communiqué whatever suits their own domestic agendas."
India: Don't kill the recovery!
Mark India down as another anti-bank-tax country, sounding worries on the 'fragile and uneven' economic recovery, The Hindustan Times reports:
"A proposal to tax bank transactions to help some of the global economies tide over the current financial crises will be opposed by India at the G20 summit, even as it will ask rich countries not to abruptly withdraw their stimuli packages, officials said Friday.
" 'You cannot tax everybody to pull some countries out of the current crisis,' a top official said, ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Toronto for the G20 Summit.
And the Times of India reports: "The prime minister stressed India's need for investment and capital flows and rooted for 'an open and rule-based trading system that does not succumb to protectionist tendencies.' "
The Jakarta Globe wins for the most honest headline of the day: Economic Giants Get Their Disagreements Under Way.
And their thumbnail sketch of the topline issue isn't bad either:
"President Barack Obama was getting little support for his warnings that countries should not pull back their stimulus efforts too quickly: Britain, Germany, France and Japan have all unveiled deficit-cutting plans. Canada is playing peacemaker, warning of the need to pull together to solve the Greek debt crisis."
Italy: 30 million jobs!
The Italian press was already predicting the failure of the bank tax at the G8, and worries of failure at the G20. La Repubblica printed that "the International Monetary Fund already yesterday sounded the alarm: a lack of agreement could create a situation that can jeopardize 30 million jobs and four-trillion dollars of growth."
Also, the Italian press seems to have an unusual definition of the G8:
"The G8, the seven 'great' western nations, including Italy, plus Russia."
We're pretty sure the G stands for Group, as in Group of Eight, or 20. But we think you're great too, Italy.
Japan: Another New Leader!
The first thing Prime Minister Naoto Kan wanted to know on his way to the G8/G20 summits was whether Japan had advanced in the World Cup ( Answer: Yes).
"I congratulate this achievement from my heart," said Kan, en route to the Group of Eight summit and other conferences in Canada. "I hope the team will unite as one and put up a good fight under coach (Takeshi) Okada to continue its success at the tournament stage."
And Kyodo news service reports Japan's aim for Saturday morning will be to hammer out a group approach to the tensions on the Korean Peninsula:
" Rising tension on the divided Korean Peninsula following the deadly sinking of a South Korean warship in March is also expected to be among major agenda items.
"Japan and the United States are hoping to get the other G8 countries to agree on a concerted approach to the sinking, which was blamed on North Korea when the results of a multinational investigation were released last month."
South Korea: North Korea!
The World Cup and North Korea are also on the mind of South Korea, not to mention the 60th anniversary of the war in the peninsula. But as Yonhap News Agency reports: