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St. Petersburg is ready for Russia's debut summit of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations
St. Petersburg is ready for Russia's debut summit of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations, to be held in the country's second largest city on July 15-17, the city governor said Friday. Valentina Matviyenko said, "Everything has been prepared for the summit in St. Petersburg. I am sure that this important international event will be held at a high level and will yield good results. All the conditions for this have been provided in the city." The authorities of the St. Petersburg, built by Peter the Great as a "window to Europe," have overseen repairs to central thoroughfares and the early 19th century Constantine Palace, part of the 180-hectare (445-acre) Palace of Congresses, which will host most of the summit events. Located 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from St. Petersburg, the palace was thoroughly restored when President Vladimir Putin came to power in 2001. It was turned into a presidential residence, and has hosted corporate parties, talks, and international gatherings, including a meeting of more than 50 heads of state for the city's tercentenary in 2003. Several thousand trees have been planted and dozens of new sculptures put up in the adjacent park, which overlooks the Gulf of Finland. Minor repairs have been made in the hotels and cottages in the palace compound, which will accommodate the summit participants. Airstrips in the city's Pulkovo airport have been repaired and modernized. The authorities have taken enhanced security measures, conducting a massive anti-terrorism exercise on the Gulf of Finland in the run-up to the forum of the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, and Russia. Gatherings of these countries with considerable political and economic clout have traditionally been a focus of anti-globalization protests and a potential terrorist target
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