Wednesday, January 26

Is that the end of the world I hear approaching? No, it's only the UN trying to influence the choice for the next World Bank president.

Or more likely China instigating the G77 to set up a howl, as if they need a push. Boiled down, the wailing is a preemptive strike on the next G7 meeting, which will once again be all about the debt burden of the G77 countries.

Gird yourself; the United Nations and G77 are just getting warmed up. It's not every year they hit a trifecta: World Bank president choice, the IMF Spring meeting, and a G7 meeting.

Stock your G7 Survivor's Kit while there's time; it will be too late during Gordon Brown's opening speech.

--Eye drops and oxygen mask (protection against clouds of ashes)
--Industrial ear protectors (muffle sounds of wailing)
--Kleenex box (hearing pleas for debt forgiveness)

Once Brown has finished speaking you can remove the oxygen mask.

To get yourself in the mood and get in some practice with the oxygen mask read Brown's speech to the Council of Foreign Relations.

Etiquette tips if you happen to bump into Gordon Brown in the London Tube:

1. Don't be rude and ask whether the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has ever considered shutting down in a courageous blow against perpetual poor-nation debt.

2. Don't be tacky and inquire whether the next meeting is going to be a G7 or G8 gathering. We'll just have to see how Putin's meeting with Bush goes next month in Europe.

3. Don't be gauche and inquire how filthy-rich OPEC governments in the G77 roster got into the category of world's poorest nations.

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