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Britain to Host G-20 Summit in April

Britain is to host the next financial crisis summit of the G-20 group of industrialized and emerging economies. Plans for the meeting come amid efforts by countries around the world to stem the economic downturn and stimulate their economies back into growth. VOA's Sonja Pace has details from London.

Speaking in parliament, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told lawmakers concerted action is crucial to stem the global financial crisis. And, he said, international leaders would be meeting in London to push that process forward.

"We've agreed with our international partners that the next meeting of the G-20 will be held in London," he said. "It will be held in London on April 2. It will deal with the major questions of the economic actions that are necessary and I've talked to the incoming U.S. administration and President-elect Obama expects to come to Britain at that time."

The G-20 met in Washington earlier this month and agreed on a broad action plan to boost economic growth. Individual governments and international political and economic blocs have held nearly non-stop meetings and consultations to stem the downturn with a variety of bailout and stimulus packages.

Earlier this week, Britain announced a cut in the national sales tax with the aim of enticing consumers to buy more and hopefully plow the savings back into the economy. The government has also announced tax breaks for businesses and help for low income families along with higher government spending on housing, schools and roads.

The United States has already set aside $700 billion to bail out failing financial institutions and the Federal Reserve announced it would pump $800 billion more into the economy to try to stabilize it. The government has discussed options to keep the auto industry from going under and President-elect Barack Obama has talked of the need for a massive stimulus package to get the economy going again.

In Brussels the European Commission has called for an EU-wide stimulus package worth around $260 billion. EU leaders are expected to discuss the plan at their December summit.

Financial markets around the world have plunged and fluctuated wildly in recent months. Asian stock markets closed mostly higher Wednesday, but the key market in Tokyo fell more than one percent and European markets were trading lower on Wednesday.