15 NOVEMBER 2014


When the "Group of 20" was announced a few years ago, we were duly informed by a combination of self-appointed "Masters of the Universe" that it was the new Millennium's real decision-maker. A tolerated U.N. would mainly endorse its seriously considered substantive policy decisions. A newly-appointed U.N. Secretary-General even left Headquarters in an unprecedented move during the General Debate to dutifully attend one of the G-20 early gatherings.

However, its subsequent meetings became known more for gossip than policy substance. A London gathering was mainly about courtesy protocol with Her Majesty and a blunt message to Italy's Prime Minister to keep his hands of FLOTUS (First Lady of the U.S.). With an economic crisis gripping Europe, other G-20 meetings were rarely noted though dutifully reported by national media.

The most recent meeting in Brisbane, Australia, eventually produced the normal communique with the usual official lingo. Except that the irrepressible jolly Australians managed to introduce the Koala Bear to consensus welcome. Heads of State and their wives, reporters, and photographers, translators and interpreters, competed to welcome the Koalas.

Actually, Koalas are closer to Kangaroos than bears, but maintain the name because they love to hug and be hugged. Reports from Down Under indicated that their number had dwindled over the last decades from one million to 45,000. How could anyone count them when they are mainly up in tree branches remained unanswered.

At any rate, the new Koalas should be most welcome. Koalas are friendly -- the one introduced to key leaders was called "Jimbelung," meaning "we're friends." They munch on eucalyptus and sleep about 20 hours a day. That is, they would have no time to bother anyone else.

More to the point, Koalas do not kill people. If anything, it's the other way round!