Though a straight line appears to be the shortest distance between 2 points, life has a way of confounding geography. Often it is the dalliances and the detours that define us. There are no maps to guide our most important searches; we must rely on hope, chance, intuition and a willingness to be surprised.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Please sign this petition

(After his initial enthusiasm wore off, Tarantino conceded that it had been a bad idea to do the casting for Reservoir Dogs 2 at his local old folks home.)

The finance ministers of the G8 meet this Friday. In case you weren't already aware, the record of the G8 countries in meeting the commitments that they made at Gleneagles, Scotland in 2005 has been appalling. In response to huge demonstrations at the time, the G8 leaders publicly promised to increase development aid for the poorest countries by $50bn by 2010. If anything, these countries have since taken several steps backwards.

A letter has now been put together calling on the G8 to honour their commitments to fighting global poverty. (The letter was organised by a group called Avaaz and the Global Call to Action Against Poverty.) The letter, which has been signed by Desmond Tutu, will run in a big ad in the Financial Times on Friday morning. Click here to sign it:

If you'd like to read more about the appalling record of Russia, Italy and the US in meeting their commitments, this article from the Guardian is well worth a read:,,2080575,00.html

Only Britain and Japan are living up to the promises of the Gleneagles agreement

Attempts by Tony Blair to inject a fresh sense of urgency into the G8 have been frustrated by other rich nations.

"We only made those promises because we felt sorry for Tony Blair after the terrorist attacks on 7/7," [a Russian representative] said, referring to the terrorist attack on the day before the Gleneagles agreement was signed.

Italy should have increased its development assistance to sub-Saharan Africa by 79% between 2004 and 2006 to meet its Gleneagles promises; in reality, it has cut aid by 30%.

A study put out last week by a consortium of European NGOs said that countries were using smoke and mirrors to dress up their spending, counting not just debt relief but domestic spending on refugees and educating foreign students in their aid budgets.

Bono said yesterday that the G8 could not let the campaigners down. "Telling lies to Bob and me is one thing. Putting their signature on a G8 communique and lying to their citizenry is another matter. Breaking promises to the most vulnerable people on earth is real infamy."

If all that doesn't make your blood boil...

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