JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The two-day G-8 Summit in Northern Ireland ended Tuesday with a whisper, not a bang.
In the final communiqué, the U.S. and its allies issued a general message on reviving the global economy saying, "Promoting growth and jobs is our top priority."
However, President Obama and his counterparts disagree on Europe's approach, which is through continued spending cuts, while the U.S. contends that stimulus measures are needed to get the continent out of its long recession.
There was also scant movement about how to handle the ongoing conflict in Syria, which turned out to be the dominant topic of discussion.
All agreed that a peace conference in Geneva being arranged by Washington and Moscow is the best course of action but the talks, which were supposed to have been underway by this time, might not occur until August or September.
Furthermore, the influence of Russian President Vladimir Putin was in evidence as there was nothing in the communiqué about getting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad out of the picture so that the country can move toward a transitional government.
Putin is at odds with the West and isn't ready to abandon al-Assad, who remains intent on achieving a military victory over rebel forces after 27 months of war and more than 80,000 deaths.
ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov suggested Tuesday that there's finally a light at the end of the tunnel in the West's standoff with Iran over its rogue nuclear program.
According to the Russian official, if the United Nations eases its sanctions against Tehran, the Iranian government would be willing to stop uranium enrichment to a fissile concentration of 20 percent, a step that would presumably slow its alleged development of nuclear weapons.
In a statement, Lavrov said, "The international community should react to Iran's constructive steps by similar measures [such as the] gradual halt of sanctions and scrapping them, including the curbs of unilateral basis or those approved by the Security Council."
The foreign minister also encouraged the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, otherwise known as the P5+1, to resume negotiations with Iran about it nuclear ambitions.
Lavrov's announcement comes just days after Hassan Rouhani was elected Iran's new president. While indicating that his government would be more transparent about its nuclear program, Rouhani was adamant about not suspending uranium enrichment.
Matt Cardy/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Prince William and Kate Middleton are expecting their first child in July and a report by the Centre for Retail Research in Nottingham, England, predicts that the national economy could gain as much as $380 million because of the birth.
Joshua Bamfield, the center's director, says, "This is a good news story and there really is no downside. With the birth coming in July, people will have time to get involved, and that means additional spending."
Breaking it down by the numbers, Bamfield says the various festivities surrounding the arrival of William and Kate's baby, which include alcohol sales, could fetch $136 million alone. Souvenirs and toys could bring in another $125 million, while Brits and visitors are also expected to spend another $119 million on books, DVDs and media.
One item that's expected to fly off shelves: a pair of Union Jack leather booties for about $35 at the estate of future grandpa Prince Charles in Gloucestershire.
Douglas Graham/Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State John Kerry announced Tuesday that former Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., will be the Obama administration’s new special envoy to deal with conflict-ridden Central Africa, which covers the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and the rebel groups of M23 (operates in Democratic Republic of Congo) and the Lord's Resistance Army (Uganda and South Sudan).
Feingold was pleased to accept the appointment. He was very active concerning African issues during his years in the Senate, serving as chair of the Africa sub-committee on the Senate Foreign Relations committee.
"It is an honor to join my friend, Secretary of State John Kerry, at the Department of State to focus on an important region of the world we both care about so deeply. Secretary Kerry and I worked well together for 18 years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and I am so pleased to continue that productive working relationship," Feingold said Tuesday.
“It is a great responsibility to take on the role of United States Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region of Africa, as the people in the region have arrived at a time of significant opportunity for peace. The appointment of Mary Robinson as the UN Special Envoy to the Great Lakes, and the signing of the February 2013 Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework, have brought a renewed focus to the causes of instability in the region, and created an historic opportunity for this important, but challenged, region of Africa," he added.
Kerry is made the announcement about Feingold's appointment Tuesday as a sign of how seriously the Obama administration continues to take the ongoing conflict in Africa, which is responsible for the deaths of over 5 million people since 1998.