Breakfast Buffet, Tuesday, March 31

Newsweek's daily serving of news and views from around the world.

The Odd Couple at the Helm: He's vain. She's no-nonsense. He's hyperactive. She's measured. He likes government. She likes markets. But although they're producing very different national responses, Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy are cobbling together a marriage of circumstance for the euro zone to resist American calls for more spending.

China Steps Up to the IMF Plate: The IMF has never been a favored organization in the People's Republic, but Chinese leaders are willing to hand over funding in exchange for a bigger share in decision-making. Securing those funds could be the big achievement of the G20. But the EU commissioner for external affairs, representing countries that would lose influence, is telling Beijing that this week is not the right time to discuss the matter.

Time for a Plan B, America: Peterson Institute economist Adam Posen takes to the Daily Beast today, likening America's predicament to his experience working with Japan in the 1990s. Joining Jeff Sachs, Paul Krugman, and Simon Johnson, he argues the Geithner plan amounts to bribing private investors with taxpayer money. He also targets the Europeans in an interview with Der Spiegel, saying he favors the American stimulus approach--just not the Geithner version.

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China's 'War of Nerves' Strains Asia's Nerves: The Chinese are getting mixed responses in attempts to shore up local support for its stance at the G20. China and Indonesia just signed a $14.6 billion currency swap agreement eliminating the need to use the dollar as an intermediary, but others with big reserve holdings like Japan, South Korea, and India are more skeptical.

France Wades Into African Quagmires: Nicolas Sarkozy wrapped up two uranium-mining deals in his trip to Niger, Congo, and the DRC, important for France's nuclear energy projects. The mines have stirred controversy in the past in countries prone to political turmoil and outbreaks of violence.

Breakfast Buffet, Tuesday, March 31 | News