Trouble breaks out at G20 summit — Protesters in Pittsburgh G20 24 September 2009 Video —Protestors Arrested in Lawrenceville outside downtown Pittsburgh G20 Video — For Pittsburgh, G-20 Meeting Is a Mixed Blessing — Why Pittsburgh? — Lessons for the G20


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Trouble breaks out at G20 summit

Trouble has flared as world leaders gather in the US city of Pittsburgh for the G20 summit.

Reports said riot police used pepper gas and fired rubber bullets at protesters on a march near the venue.

Demonstrations were widely expected and thousands of extra police are on duty. The previous G20 meeting, in London in April, was marred by clashes.

Economic stability, financial regulation, climate change and bankers’ bonuses are set to top the G20 agenda.

With many major economies beginning to climb out of recession – attention will turn to when and how to withdraw government stimulus packages.

The leaders are gathering after the UN general assembly in New York, and are due to meet for a working dinner on Thursday evening.

The clashes are thought to have begun after hundreds of protesters tried to march, without permission, towards the convention centre where the summit is being held.

IMF debate

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that the world still had some way to go to emerge from the severe recession – but said he was seeing encouraging signs of a global economic rebound.

A spokesman for the White House said that financial regulatory reform was the most important agenda item for summit, but that addressing global economic imbalances was also a priority.

President Barack Obama has led a campaign to smooth out imbalances in the flow of global capital to try to secure greater long-term economic stability.

The US proposal calls on economies such as China, Brazil and India to boost domestic consumption in order to lower their trade surpluses.

Meanwhile the US and Europe would encourage more saving to reduce long-term budget deficits.

Director of the US president’s National Economic Council, Larry Summers, said that a “balancing global growth approach” of said that there would have to be changes in

“The US can’t should not and won’t continue to experience the consumption-led growth driving very high volumes of imports and lending impulse to the rest of the world economy. That’s not a sustainable financial situation for the US and that’s why we’re in the process of adjusting.”

‘Party over’

Cracking down on bankers’ bonuses has popular appeal with the public, and so it is expected that an agreement will be reached on how that might be achieved.

There will also be talks on “regulatory harmonisation” – making sure that countries do not try to attract investment by offering looser rules.

Earlier, Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling warned bankers that the “party was over” and they must realise that the world has changed.

He wants a limit on bonuses and rules to allow banks to be able to get them back if bankers make losses later.

And he said there was a limit to how much could be achieved by regulation and that bankers must realise that they have to change their behaviour.

Mr Darling wants to use regulations to force banks to limit the proportion of their profits that they can give out in bonuses and make sure there are no rewards for failure.

Other discussions will involve the continuation of talks over whether countries such as China, India and Brazil should have greater say on the board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).


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For Pittsburgh, G-20 Meeting Is a Mixed Blessing

PITTSBURGH — For this city, the G-20 economic meeting is a mixed blessing.

The mayor, Luke Ravenstahl, has estimated that the thousands of attendees and protesters will spend $35 million in the city during the two-day conference, which starts Thursday. But his office has also said the extra security may cost more than $19 million. The federal government is providing $10 million, and the state around $4 million, leaving the city responsible for the rest.

But more important, the mayor said, the meeting will give Pittsburgh the chance to change its pervasive image as a gritty, dying Rust Belt city.

“Since early August, journalists, dignitaries and safety officials have been visiting our city, eating at our restaurants, shopping in our stores and staying in our hotels,” Mr. Ravenstahl, 29, said. “That’s just the short-term gain. In the long-term, you really can’t put a dollar value on the amount of free marketing we’ve received worldwide.”

The mayor said Pittsburgh’s story of economic transformation had helped to dispel “our city’s ‘smoky’ image and replace it with the real ‘green’ image, which tells the story of how you can reinvent and diversify your economy.”

Pittsburgh’s unemployment rate, the mayor noted, is 7.7 percent, below both the state and national averages, and he said the city had been a pioneer in green technology. The G-20 leaders will meet in the new, energy-efficient David L. Lawrence Convention Center, and they will eat dinner at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, which was designed to use almost no outside energy or water.

The protests planned for the conference, however, are also a painful reminder of how many still see this former steel town. Even though Pittsburgh has remade itself by attracting young professionals with university and hospital jobs, the city, for many, remains a symbol of the collapse of the nation’s industrial base and the loss of manufacturing jobs.

“This city is a perfect place to be raising these concerns about jobs being sent overseas and a government that bails out banks but isn’t willing to regulate capital,” said Larry Holmes, a spokesman for Bail Out the People Movement, whose group has called for a new version of the Works Progress Administration that President Franklin D. Roosevelt created during the Great Depression. In the Hill District, a largely black neighborhood, Mr. Holmes’s group has erected a “tent city” of unemployed and homeless people who have come here to have their voices heard.

The protests began in earnest Wednesday as Greenpeace activists unfurled a banner off the West End Bridge that billowed over the Ohio River and read “Danger” above the words “Climate Destruction Ahead” and “Reduce CO2 Emissions Now.”

Fourteen activists were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing traffic, among other charges, said Assistant Chief Bill Bochter of the Pittsburgh Police Department.

While most protest groups applied for city permits and have pledged to use nonviolent means to get their messages across, the city refused to grant permits to use several parks and routes that would have allowed demonstrators to march within sight and sound of the G-20 conference.

Two groups sued the city in federal court here for what they described as sustained harassment and pre-emptive arrests by the police, but a judge Tuesday declined to issue an injunction.

The police this week have said they want to be prepared if things become chaotic.

National Guard troops are joining the city’s 900 police officers in patrolling the streets. The city has also called on an additional 3,000 city, state and federal officers to help.

“Our goal all along has been to work with groups who want to peacefully demonstrate their views to world leaders,” Mr. Ravenstahl said.

The police said they wanted to avoid the types of confrontations that occurred in 1999 in Seattle during meetings of the World Trade Organization, when the police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to quell protests, resulting in about 600 arrests and $3 million in property damage.

Wayne Ranick, a spokesman for the United Steelworkers union, whose world headquarters is in Pittsburgh, said he was focused on other legacies from the 1999 W.T.O. protests.

“The blue-green alliance” is still intact, he said, referring to the partnership formed on the streets of Seattle, where Teamsters and protesters dressed as sea turtles.

Leo W. Gerard, president of the steelworkers union, said he and several leaders of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. had organized joint events this week with the Sierra Club and the Alliance for Climate Protection. Mr. Ranick said that the shared goal would be to push for more vigorous regulation of financial and credit markets, more stringent environmental standards and stronger commitments to human rights and the rights of workers to organize.


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Why Pittsburgh?

Three Reasons Why Pittsburgh is Perfect for the Pittsburgh Summit 2009

Over the past 30 years, Pittsburgh has become a model for economic, environmental and quality-of-life transformation and has created a diverse, balanced and resilient economy driven by a people who have imagined a bright future – and worked together to make it happen. Here are three keys to our success:

1. Pittsburgh builds upon its historic strengths as a hub for manufacturing, finance, business services and energy.

  • Advanced Manufacturing – Pittsburgh manufacturers employ almost 100,000 workers and the region is the second-largest market in the United States for metals industry employment. Once the heart of steel production, Pittsburgh has become a global center of advanced manufacturing engineering, technologies and systems. The region is home to such global corporations as Alcoa, ATI, Bayer, Eaton, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, Koppers, LANXESS, Mylan, Nova Chemicals, H.J. Heinz, PPG Industries, United States Steel and Westinghouse Electric.
  • Financial and Business Services – Pittsburgh remains a leading financial center, with major institutions including BNY Mellon, Citizens Bank, Federated Investors, Highmark, and PNC headquartered or basing major business units here. In fact, financial activities represent the largest contributor to regional economic output. Two of the world’s 15 largest law firms – K&L Gates and Reed Smith – are headquartered in Pittsburgh, joined by a growing number of global law firms, including Jones Day.
  • Energy – With a legacy of leadership in energy innovation that dates back to the first commercial oil well in 1859 and continues through the development of the first natural gas well and pipeline and the nation’s first commercial nuclear power plant, Pittsburgh provides an unparalleled mix of natural resources (including coal and natural gas), research and industry engaged in the development, production and distribution of sustainable energy solutions.
  • Global Business – More than 100, billion-dollar-plus global businesses are either headquartered or base a major business unit in the Pittsburgh region. More than 300 foreign-owned companies have a presence in the region.

2. Pittsburgh leverages human capital to create new industries based on research, innovation and entrepreneurship.

  • Health Care and Life Sciences – Pittsburgh’s health services sector has almost tripled in size since 1979, creating more than 100,000 jobs and building on a legacy of biomedical innovation to create a robust industry network that is cultivating life-saving technologies and advances in medical devices, regenerative medicine and pharmaceuticals. UPMC has grown into the region’s largest employer and an $8 billion global health enterprise.
  • Education and Research – With two Tier-One research institutions – Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh – among our region’s 35 colleges and universities, and with 100 corporate research and development centers, Pittsburgh has more than 70,000 workers engaged in research and development.
  • Information and Communications Technology – The Pittsburgh region is home to about 1,600 technology firms including Ansys, Apple, Black Box, Google, Intel and Mastech, employing 32,000 people. These companies benefit from a tech-savvy talent pipeline and the support of organizations that nurture the region’s growing knowledge-based economy

3. Pittsburgh capitalizes on its natural and cultural assets to invest in infrastructure and facilities that improve our quality of life.

  • Public-Private Partnerships – Pittsburgh’s innovative public-private partnerships, supported by a unusual concentration of philanthropic resources, have led the way in the development of air emissions control technologies, clean water systems, community improvement, outdoor recreation, and urban redevelopment.
  • Arts and Culture – Downtown Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, once a blighted section of the city, sets the perfect stage for this Summit on economic recovery, standing as a unique international model of urban revitalization. Redevelopment of the Cultural District beginning with Heinz Hall in 1971 has spurred other development downtown and along the riverfronts.
  • Going Green – Pittsburgh is home to more than 30 LEED®-certified green buildings, including the first green college residence hall and Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, which will host the welcome, opening reception and leaders’ dinner for the summit. The David L. Lawrence Convention Center, where the Summit will be held, is the world’s first and largest gold LEED®-certified convention center. And Phipps is building a new Center for Sustainable Landscapes, a “Living Building,” that will have a self-contained energy and water supply, a building that will exceed LEED®-platinum.

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Lessons for the G20

The Economist print edition, Sep 17th 2009 | PITTSBURGH

The city of bridges has built a bridge from its steel past to a diverse 21st-century economy. The summiteers arriving on September 24th can take note

EVEN on an overcast day, the view from Jeffrey Romoff’s office is spectacular. Across the river are waterfront baseball and football stadiums. Dozens of bridges span the Allegheny to the north-east and Monongahela to the south-east. The two rivers merge to form the Ohio River. Not one soot-churning mill is in sight. Ed Rendell, Pennsylvania’s governor, observed that it used to be “you couldn’t see a bloody thing”. Steel was once the largest employer in the region. Now the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre (UPMC), an $8 billion health-care conglomerate, is western Pennsylvania’s biggest employer, with 50,000 people. Last year Mr Romoff, UPMC’s chief executive, moved his headquarters to the old US Steel tower, the city’s tallest building. UPMC’s logo now sits on top of it.

Pittsburgh does not rely solely on UPMC or the health industry the way it once leant on steel. When the steel industry collapsed in the early 1980s, the city and region lost 120,000, or about half, of all its manufacturing jobs. Some 50,000 Pittsburghers left the region annually. The city’s revival since then has been part organic and part good long-term planning. State and local officials provided investment, while universities and community and corporate leaders came together to develop economic and business strategies for the region. Pittsburgh’s employment has, over the ensuing three decades, diversified quite well.

Leaders from the world’s 19 largest economies plus the European Union will be in Pittsburgh on September 24th and 25th. When the White House press corps heard the G20 was to be hosted by Pittsburgh, many sniggered. Usually such meetings are held in capitals like Beijing or London, not rustbelt cities. But, as Barack Obama said on September 8th, Pittsburgh has “transformed itself from the city of steel to a centre for high-tech innovation—including green technology, education and training, and research and development.”

Today, its main industries, health care and education, are thriving. Pittsburgh’s health-services business has almost tripled in size since 1979, creating more than 100,000 jobs. More than 70,000 work in research and development in the metro area’s 35 universities (Jonas Salk produced the polio vaccine at the University of Pittsburgh in 1955) and 100 corporate research centres, such as that of Bayer usa, a pharmaceuticals company. Greg Babe, its head, says six jobs rely on one Bayer job.

Pittsburgh has changed itself physically too. The waterfront, once lined with factories, has been given over to parks. The building hosting the G20 is the world’s first and largest LEED-certified (meaning green) convention centre and sits on the city’s former red-light district. Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, which provides investment and advice to the region’s bioscience firms, is housed on a redeveloped brownfield, the former site of a strip-mill. SouthSide Works is a 123-acre (50-hectare) development made up of shops, offices, hotels and apartments that sits on the former site of an LTV Steel plant. Manufacturing continues to employ 8% of the workforce and the city is still home to US Steel. It is also a centre for innovation in robotics, electronics and nanotechnology.

Entrepreneurship has been fostered. Innovation Works, a state-aided seed fund, supports firms in their earliest stages of development. Susan Catalano, a neurobiologist working to stop Alzheimer’s symptoms, moved her start-up to Pittsburgh’s South Side to take advantage of this help. Thanks to universities of the stature of Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh, many new companies and recruits are drawn in. Pittsburgh’s unemployment rate, at 7.8% in July, was lower than the national rate of 9.4%.

Forbes magazine recently named Pittsburgh as one of America’s best cities for job growth. Some 30,000 jobs are available in the region, says Bill Flanagan, of the Allegheny Conference, an economic development group, an increase of 10,000 since the beginning of 2009. Pittsburgh has 8.4% of the nation’s nuclear engineers. Westinghouse, a nuclear-power company, is on a hiring spree. People are drawn to the region’s well-paid jobs, low cost of living and good schools. The EIU, a sister company of The Economist, ranked it the most liveable city in America. It boasts the top-flight Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Opera, as well as a host of theatres. Gorgeous Victorian townhouses can be bought for amazing prices.

Thanks to a thriving economy and a minor budget surplus, Pittsburgh looks set to stay in good shape. It largely missed the housing and dotcom booms and busts endured by the rest of the country. In fact, it is currently building a new sports arena, a new hospital and, for the first time in decades, housing in the downtown area. Because of a 2003 brush with bankruptcy, it cut its municipal workforce by a quarter, and took many hard decisions, such as closing fire stations, making it well-placed to cope with the current recession.

As well as 1,100 delegates and 2,000 journalists, the city is preparing itself for an onslaught of protesters. One website, resistg20.org, promises a mass march and other protests to disrupt the summit. Some 35,000 people rallied at the G20’s April meeting in London. Luke Ravenstahl, the city’s 29-year-old mayor, is quadrupling the 900-strong police force by shipping in 1,500 state troopers and borrowing cops from cities like New York. The city’s businessmen and politicians are hoping that the protesters and the politicians won’t wholly eclipse their own impressive tale of transformation.


Related Links:

WPIX: G-20 Causes County To Release Some Inmates Early

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:  Council gets an earful on G-20 rules

Times Online: Police embroiled in violent battles with G20 protesters


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