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The Press : Pens Puncture Hot-Air Balloons at G-7 Summit

July 12, 1994

It may be a hallowed tradition, but it's far from sacrosanct to the world's cartoonists.

Each year, the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Japan, Germany, Italy and the United States--the Group of Seven--gather in a preferably picturesque spot to discuss Important Issues. An army of journalists records their every move.

And the result? Not much in the way of earthshaking news even though the meeting may ease the way to later agreements.

This week, the G-7 spectacle played in Naples, Italy. As the curtain opened, the weak dollar and the U.S. economy took center stage. But that plot line soon fizzled out; President Clinton didn't get much help from his partners.

Instead, the sudden death of North Korean leader Kim Il Sung became the buzz of the conference. Then, Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin stole the show in the final act, demanding equal billing with the seven others and balking at removing Russian troops from Estonia.

After three days, it looked like the G-7 might become the G-8 by the time the group assembles next year in Halifax, Canada.

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