G8 Summit begins in Ireland - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

G8 Summit begins in Ireland

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(KYTX) - The leaders of eight of the world's top economic powers are meeting in Northern Ireland today.

The official discussion is supposed to center around Europe's struggling economy and what can be done to fix it, but there's another topic that's expected to draw the most attention.

Syria is not formally on the docket, but it is expected to dominate the talks, following President Obama's move to authorize shipments of weapons to rebel fighters.

Russia is staunchly opposed to arming rebel fighters. President Vladimir Putin says rebel troops in Syria are terrorists and barbarians who have even practiced cannibalism.

"Are these the people you want to support? Are they the ones you want to supply with weapons?"

President Obama and President Putin are scheduled to hold private talks this afternoon.

The conversation comes after a new report reveals the U.S. and the U.K. spied on Russia and others at another summit. The guardian newspaper says it has evidence the two countries spied on other diplomats at the G-20 summit in London in 2009- hacking into smart phones and reading emails. The source? Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked secret U.S. surveillance programs to the press.

"How much damage did he do? the fact is that time will tell."

On CBS' Face the Nation, White House Chief-of-Staff Denis McDonough said Snowden's leaks have hurt America.

"In effect gives the playbook to those who would like to get around our techniques and our practices. And, obviously that's not in our interest in the long haul."

A British foreign service spokesman declined to comment on the spying allegations.

The summit is being held at a golf resort near the town of Enniskillen in Northern Ireland. Roughly 7,000 police officers are on hand to provide security at the summit.

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