St Petersburg


From New Russia to love

Sean Michaels

In St Petersburg, an underground arts movement is challenging the zeitgeist of greed, using kindness to turn old buildings into Utopias of creativity.

From New Russia to love

Golf cart politics divide G8 leaders

Staff Reporter

To ride in a golf cart or not to ride? That was the question driving a wedge between Group of Eight (G8) leaders even before they sat down for talks on Sunday. The G8 leaders were trying to bridge differences on the Middle East, energy and Iran's nuclear programme. But on how to travel around the summit site they looked far apart.

Elderly man drives with corpse through windshield

Staff Reporter

A 93-year-old driver apparently suffering from dementia fatally struck a pedestrian and drove for 4,8km with the man's body through his windshield, police said. Ralph Parker was stopped after he drove through a toll booth on the Sunshine Skyway, traffic homicide investigator Michael Jockers said.

G8 launches new bid on global trade

Caren Bohan, David Clarke

Group of Eight (G8) leaders on Monday launched a fresh bid to pin down an elusive global trade pact, seeking to give a positive outcome to a big-power summit riven by discords over the Middle East. Hopes of progress towards unblocking deadlocked world trade talks raised spirits at the end of the G8 summit in St Petersburg.

Blair leads call for France to cut back farm subsidies

Staff Reporter

British Prime Minister Tony Blair was on Sunday night seeking to orchestrate concerted European pressure to prod a reluctant France into bigger cuts in farm protection as stalled global trade talks entered a make-or-break two weeks. The French president said the summit was not the venue for trade talks and insisted that the G8 should confine itself to an annual $4-billion package of aid.

No final deal on Russia WTO entry bid

Douglas Busvine

Russian and United States negotiators failed on Saturday in marathon talks to strike a bilateral deal to pave the way for Russia to join the World Trade Organisation, a US trade spokesperson said. A Kremlin spokesperson said talks would keep going but gave no details. "The Russian-American negotiations are continuing and will continue," Dmitry Peskov told a news briefing.

G8 ministers say global economy is strong

Alex Nicholson

Finance ministers from the world's most-industrialised nations were upbeat on Saturday about the state of the global economy, despite global jitters over rising interest rates and tumbling stock indices. While the final statement issued by the Group of Eight ministers focused firmly on the dangers of galloping oil prices, it made no mention of the recent declines on world markets.

Federer, Henin, Boks win Laureus Awards

Staff Reporter

Top-ranked tennis stars Roger Federer and Justine Henin received the Laureus Awards on Monday as the world's top sportsman and woman for 2007. Federer won an unprecedented fourth Laureus, all in succession, while Henin was voted top for the first time. South Africa won the world team of the year award after going unbeaten to win the Rugby World Cup.

Davydenko fined for lack of effort

Gennady Fyodorov

World number four Nikolay Davydenko has been fined $2 000 for not trying hard enough during his shock defeat by Croatian qualifier Marin Cilic at the St Petersburg Open on Thursday. "Nikolay Davydenko was fined $2 000 for lack of best effort in his second-round match against Marin Cilic," the governing body for men's tennis, ATP, said in a statement on Friday.

G8: Middle East violence overshadows agenda

Martin Crutsinger

World leaders were concluding an annual economic summit on Monday in hopes that their statement blaming Middle East fighting on Hamas and Hezbollah and recognising Israel's right to self defence would help break the cycle of violence.

G8 leaders agree to keep Africa's woes in mind

Staff Reporter

World leaders pledged on Sunday to keep Africa's woes in mind and to track actively their progress on cutting poverty and supporting development, a move welcomed by campaigners. British Prime Minister Tony Blair put assistance for Africa at the top of the agenda at the Group of Eight summit he hosted in 2005 but this year's host Russia initially ignored the topic.

G8 seeks common position over Mideast violence

Michael Steen

The leaders of the Group of Eight industrialised nations will seek on Sunday to close a widening rift over how best to calm violence in the Middle East. Israel's bombing of Lebanon has forced its way to the top of the agenda of the G8 summit in St Petersburg, driving a wedge between the United States, a strong backer of Israel, and those who say Israel is being too violent.

Bush, Putin lift G8 summit with nuclear deal

Caren Bohan, Christian Lowe

The United States and Russia announced on Saturday a plan to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons by setting up international enrichment centres as their leaders sought to give a boost to a big-power summit. US President George Bush and Russia's Vladimir Putin unveiled the initiative at a news conference after talks ahead of a Group of Eight summit that starts in earnest on Sunday.

Bush to tell Putin of democracy concerns

Douglas Busvine

United States President George Bush was expected to press President Vladimir Putin at a weekend G8 summit over concerns the Russian leader is reining in the rights of the country's opposition and media. Pledging to "continually remind Russia" that good ties with the West depend on sharing common democratic values, Bush was due to arrive in St Petersburg from Germany on Friday.

Putin accuses US of meddling in Russia vote

Oleg Shchedrov

President Vladimir Putin accused Washington on Monday of plotting to undermine December parliamentary elections seen widely as a demonstration of his enduring power in Russia. Putin, drawing on resurgent nationalist sentiment ahead of Sunday's poll, also said Russia must maintain its defences to discourage others from "poking their snotty noses" in its affairs.

Police beat anti-Putin protesters in St Petersburg

Denis Pinchuk

Riot police wielding batons beat, kicked and chased anti-Kremlin protesters through the heart of St Petersburg on Sunday, a day after Russian authorities snuffed out a similar rally in Moscow. In the last few months police tactics against opposition marches have been to forcefully clear them off the streets after a certain period of time.

Sex offenders to weather the storm in prisons

Staff Reporter

Sex offenders tracked by the state are banned from public hurricane shelters in Florida under a new policy that allows them to weather the storms in prison instead. The policy was created to keep sex offenders and predators away from children, said Robby Cunningham, spokesperson for the Department of Corrections.

Mbeki delivers Iran nuclear message to G8

Jim Heintz

Group of Eight (G8) leaders have been told Iran is seriously considering a package of incentives aimed at getting it to halt its nuclear programme, South African President Thabo Mbeki said on Monday. He said he passed on that message during his meetings with G8 leaders in the Russian Federation.

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