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G8 summit may move to L'Aquila

ITALY'S government wants to move this summer's Group of Eight summit from Sardinia to earthquake-stricken L'Aquila - both to save money and to give the devastated central region an economic boost.

Premier Silvio Berlusconi said yesterday after a Cabinet meeting in L'Aquila that the cost of holding the July 8-10 summit on the Sardinian island of La Maddalena would be 220 million euros (US$285 million).

Berlusconi said that money would be better spent on reconstruction efforts in Italy's Abruzzo region. He gave no figure for how much it would cost to host the summit in L'Aquila.

The April 6 quake killed 295 people, drove some 50,000 from their homes and toppled or heavily damaged thousands of buildings around the mountain city of L'Aquila.

Berlusconi said demonstrators might think twice before marching on the quake-devastated region, as opposed to a deluxe seaside resort in Sardinia.

Italian media had previously reported that the government was having trouble organizing the summit on La Maddalena and was facing difficulties finding the ships that were supposed to host the delegations and journalists.


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