Serious Discussions Set for Davos (but No Bono)

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This is the VOA Special English ECONOMICS REPORT.

The financial crisis will be the top issue at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The five-day meeting starts Wednesday, January twenty-eighth.  More than two thousand five hundred people from ninety-six countries will discuss ways to solve the crisis.

The event gathers some of the world's most powerful political and business leaders at a small ski village in the Swiss Alps. Organizers this week announced a program built around the theme: "Shaping the Post-Crisis World."

But with the world still in crisis, there was news that no famous people from show business will be at the forum this year.  Bono, the social activist and lead singer of the Irish rock group U2, usually attends.   But he will not be attending this year.

Organizers expect a record forty-one heads of state or government. They include Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and the prime minister of Kenya, Raila Odinga.

Among those expected from President Obama's new administration is Lawrence Summers, the director of the National Economic Council. Another is Mr. Obama's national security adviser, retired general James Jones.

Members of Congress are also on the guest list, along with former president Bill Clinton, a favorite at Davos. About sixty percent of those attending are business leaders.

The World Economic Forum will also discuss global warming, investment in low-carbon forms of energy in developing countries and other issues.

Klaus Schwab is the founder and chairman of the forum. He calls this one of the most important gatherings in its thirty-nine year history. He says the financial crisis should be seen as a wake-up call to change systems and ways of thinking, and to re-establish trust.

KLAUS SCHWAB: "We never will move out of the crisis if we do not re-establish confidence, which means we have to establish signposts for the future."

In Washington, President Obama wants to sign an economic recovery and investment plan by the middle of February. Democrats in Congress have proposed a plan that would cost eight hundred twenty-five billion dollars. Two-thirds of that would be government spending; one-third would be tax cuts. But minority Republicans say tax cuts are the best way to get money back into the economy quickly.

And that's the VOA Special English ECONOMICS REPORT. Transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our reports are at voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Bob Doughty.


Update: The Obama administration is sending White House senior adviser, and presidential friend, Valerie Jarrett to Davos. Lawrence Summers and James Jones are to remain in Washington. 

Voice of America Special English

Source: Serious Discussions Set for Davos (but No Bono)
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