July 8, 2009
Posted: 1815 GMT


Is the G8 still relevant? Even the French Finance minister Christine Lagarde told reporters last Sunday that it's an "older insitution" that is "a lot less relevant" than it once was, given the way the world has developed.

For the UK's Daily Telegraph, the narrower G8 summits are "devalued when they promise much but deliver little." Adding that the wider G20, which includes developing powerhouses like China, India and Brazil from the outset, are forums where real decisions can be made.

But some say the G20 is actually too large, and a G14 is a more manageable size. That is the G8 plus the G5 plus Egypt to represent the Arab world.

We'll be live in L'Aquila, where the summit is being held and where leaders will issue a final communique detailing broad topics of discussion, including climate change, the economy and trade.

Also today, we'll talk about a couple of drone attacks in Pakistan on suspected militant hideouts, as well as reports the Taliban leader in the Swat Valley has been injured in a separate operation. Our Nic Robertson is live in Pakistan.

By the way, I've received more Tweets and comments on the way CNN covered the Jackson memorial story than any other story we've covered in the last week. Many were complimentary. Others questionned the time we spent reporting on the death of the pop star and its aftermath, saying it is not a news channel's mission to spend this much time on celebrity news.

"I'm watching it now," said Laura on Twitter, "and I'm finding it very touching."

Rula agreed: "Of course. The only thing that was as big an event was Diana's funeral. RIP."

But Liam, also on Twitter, wrote: "No Hala watching your competitoor AlJazzenglish. they are mostly ignoring MJ, it's a ***GREAT*** editorial decision on their part."


We're all for free speech here, so whatever you think of the news or how we cover it, we always welcome all your comments.

Back to the Idesk. We will also look into a claim by British researchers they were able to create human sperm from embryonic stem cells, potentially allowing infertile men to father their own children. We'll speak with bioethicist Dr. Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania. We'll ask him about ethical considerations related to such a medical breakthrough.

Plus, as always, the rest of the day's top stories.

See you on TV!


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Filed under: Today At The I-Desk

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TIRDAD GHARIB   July 8th, 2009 6:32 pm ET

Dear hala hello ,Dear Friends hello, One Very Important leader Is Missing Unfortunatelly It is the Chinese Leader who Had to fly Back To china For All the probelms he is facing,and Again Hala Thank you from my part and all my friends Parts for your excellent coverage of all the news number one you are indeed, Hala see you in 30 minutes on cnn From Switzerland,

Keira   July 8th, 2009 6:40 pm ET

Well, it wasn't just CNN! Every network in the US tripped over each other to cover every angle, real or imaginary. I think everyone went overboard to the point of oversaturation. It would've been better to cover the death (obviously) and the funeral with a few stories in between. However the truth remains that there are many more things to come out of this story: the custody of the kids, the toxicology report, the ex-wife, etc. We're not done, not my a long short.

Vic Benedicto   July 8th, 2009 7:06 pm ET

G8 should adapt to the new economic conditions.

Itai   July 8th, 2009 7:13 pm ET

in italy the people life in camps after the earthquake

thousands of people without a house

a rich guy as berlusconi is begging on others to pay the damage ... japan spend them now a new earthquake save school and germans wanna help because they killed 17 italians there in the WW2

but the rich comedian is buying some girls then helping his own people in need

and whyle germans pay now because they killed 17 people in this italian village
i ask my self what is the USA paying to the suffering vietnamese which still today are traped in tonns of US-bombs as many others which still are threatened by mines build in US factories ... and so on

isent this world a joke?
egoistic people beg on others to help theyr own people
others feel guilty because they killed 17 people
and others are goind on to kill the next 1700 people with no other sence then keeping the weapon economycs up

Sayan Majumdar   July 9th, 2009 12:28 pm ET

Hala, expansion of G-8 is necessary not only because of adequate representations of developed and developing economies but more importantly much smoother interactions between them and greater understandings of representatives economic and social standpoints.


Sayan Majumdar   July 9th, 2009 1:36 pm ET

Also, kudos to lionhearted Nick (Robertson) for his excellent reporting from one of the most dangerous, gullible and unstable region in the World.

May God protect him,


Itai   July 9th, 2009 2:27 pm ET

did you guys know...

in house building you can use old paper flakes to isolate the walls ... its called isofloks ... they make flakes of old paper it is like snow or more like dust ... they make walls of wood (looks nice) and they make a little hole in the wall and blow all the flakes in the wall ... the flakes will reach every place in the wall and isolate very well... at least in countries with a very hard winter this works very well

the system is over 10 years old

it saves natural resources, it dont need any plastic or glas or stone ... its one of the best materialls to isolate walls
and it is cheap

combinied with energysaving windows it will lower your energy cost in winter and summer.. you pay less you dont waste oure childrens nature... you need les oil to heat your house and you dont get alergic from mysterious stuff in the walls because its just paperFlakes

if you build your new house think about it .. in long time you will save a lot of money

ADDIS   July 9th, 2009 3:01 pm ET

Hi Hala,

The I DESK is gradually becoming an insghtful summary of the day's news on CNN.
In my part of the world it is already 22:00 when you start the I-DESK and I get the highlights of all the newsof the day on your program.
It is very convenient.

I also like the manner with which you present the I-DESK!! Good to your audience and good to your colleagues!! Keep it up!!

hirvi   July 9th, 2009 8:28 pm ET

Dear Hala,

To think that this meeting of 8 politicians (although they may be the leaders of 8 strong countries) will influence the average temperature on earth in 2050, is more than wishful thinking, is close to a joke.

In 2050 no one will remember this meeting and the strategy to influence climate change is not clear even to those who understand this matter ...

Hirvi from Vienna

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