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Chatter: Who started the euro-zone crisis?

The G20 summit in Mexico gets antsy over the European debt crisis, the US and Russia just can't seem to agree on Syria, and Chinese villagers make a strange discovery.
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Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
           

                      

   

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Need to know:
Tempers have been flaring at the G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, as world leaders attempt to tackle the euro-zone crisis.

As the head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Jose Angel Gurria, called the crisis "the single biggest risk for the world economy," and World Bank chief Robert Zoellick announced that "we are waiting for Europe to tell us what it's going to do," EU commission president Jose Manuel Barroso blamed "unorthodox" American financial practices for the economic chaos.

Whoever started it, no one seems any closer to finishing it. As Greece scrambles to form a coalition government and hints it may seek to renegotiate the terms of its bailout, German Chancellor Angela Merkel insists existing commitments must be kept. The final G20 communique, however, is expected to put the emphasis on growth and job creation rather than austerity.

Want to know:
The other big item on the G20's agenda: Syria. Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin issued a joint statement yesterday calling for an "immediate cessation of the violence" – but, crucially, not for President Bashar al-Assad to go.

Washington has made it clear it can't envisage peace with Assad still in power, but yesterday's statement indicated that it hasn't persuaded Moscow of the same. So while Russia and the US are agreed that Syrians "should have the opportunity to independently and democratically choose their own future," it seems there's no consensus yet on how to ensure they do.

Meanwhile the UN monitoring mission – about the only thing everyone could agree on so far – remains suspended since the weekend. Mission chief Robert Mood is due to brief the Security Council later today.

Dull but important:
Pakistan's Supreme Court has disqualified Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani from holding office.

Judges today declared Gilani ineligible to be prime minister or a member of parliament, due to his recent conviction for contempt of court. He was found guilty at the end of April for failing to pursue corruption charges against President Asif Ali Zardari. 

Zardari has called an emergency session of the ruling party to discuss the next move.

Just because:
When Al Shabaab took over towns and villages in Somalia, the hardline Islamist militants imposed puritanical rule. Arbitrary laws were imposed; brutal punishments introduced; foreign aid agencies expelled, and everyday things like jeans and soccer games outlawed.

In recent months, Somali and regional troops have managed to drive out Al Shabaab from some residential areas. GlobalPost reports from one such town, Hudur, where life is slowly returning to the way it was.

"We had made something here and Al Shabaab broke it," says the education officer responsible for getting school children back on the curriculum after years of learning nothing but Arabic and Quranic studies. "Now we need to build their minds again."

Strange but true:
Villagers on the outskirts of Xi'an in China were digging a new well when they discovered what appeared to be some sort of strange mushroom. 

Suffice it to say, it was no mushroom, but something altogether more man-made.

Here's one Chinese TV reporter's innocent description, pre-identification: "On this side, you can see what looks like a pair of lips. And on that side, there is a tiny hole which extends all the way back to this side. The object looks very shiny, and it feels really fleshy and meaty too."

We'll leave you to guess what it could be.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-who-started-euro-zone-crisis

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