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G8 summit moved to Camp David last-minute

The G8 summit, planned for Chicago, will instead be hosted at Camp David.  The White House says the change was not in response to the possibility of protests.

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The world's eight largest economies are represented in the G-8 and hosting duties for the annual summit are rotated among the member countries. The summits have become targets for large, and sometimes violent, protests in recent years, making security costs a concern for host cities.

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At least one protest group heralded the news as a major victory. But Joe Iosbaker of the United National Antiwar Committee in Chicago said protests would still go on during the NATO summit.

Chicago officials began planning for the summits last summer, with city officials predicting it would give the city a chance to shine internationally, while the police rank-and-file worried whether they would be prepared to handle the thousands of protesters expected to converge downtown.

Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Obama's senior director for European affairs, said recently that the president was confident his hometown could put on a "great show" and that its police department was up to the task of providing security.

The city's host committee had estimated it could cost $40 million to $65 million to stage the events, including the costs for security.

Gordon Johndroe, who served as National Security Council spokesman for President George W. Bush, said the immense logistics involved in setting up an international gathering like the G-8 would make it difficult to split the summits at such a late date.

"It is very complicated to set these things up, and even more complicated to move them that quickly," said Johndroe.

Leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, as well as the European Union, are expected to attend this year's gathering.

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