Bunch of rich people to party down this week at exclusive ski resort

It's Davos time. Every year, 2,000 of the world's richest and most influential people get together at this exclusive ski resort to talk about what's ailing the world. And between bites of gourmet foods and sips of gourmet wines, they will no doubt pat themelves on the back for doing such a bang-up job of running the planet.

Davos has had a reputation for making news. In 2005, then CNN president Eason Jordan told the gathering that the US military was targeting journalists for death. The backlash by bloggers resulted in his resignation. And this year, one of the featured speakers will be that well-known "moderate" president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani.

On the docket, besides discussions about the world economy, will be the Syrian civil war and the approaching peace conference in Geneva this week.

AFP:

The most eagerly awaited guest at Davos this year is Rouhani, there to drum up international investment for his sanction-hit economy on the back of a diplomatic entente with the West.

And in one of the unlikely juxtapositions only the Davos schedule can throw up, speaking the same day will be Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of sworn enemy Israel.

Although the two are not scheduled to meet, anything is possible in the cushy conference corridors where leaders move freely among top bosses, Hollywood stars and Nobel Prize winners.

Last-minute guest John Kerry, US Secretary of State, is scheduled to give a key address on Friday, fresh from the talks in Montreux.

On the economic front, the plight of emerging economies hit by a change in monetary policy in the US will play a major role in the conference deliberations.

President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, where the economy took a sharp turn for the worse last year, will defend the state of her nation, now battling inflation and slow growth.

Geopolitics will dominate the visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who instead of talking up reforms that are turning around years of economic gloom, will likely face questions over tensions with China.

Anger has surged between the two Asian powers, focused mainly on contested islands in the East China Sea, which has helped drag up old animosities dating back to World War II.

Africa, now often considered an emerging power in its own right, will be represented by Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Davos regular Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia's president.

As usual, a slew of central bankers and top economic policymakers will make the trek up the mountain, with the European Central Bank President Mario Draghi set to forecast the state of the economy with Mark Carney, the Canadian now running the Bank of England.

International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde will also address the forum, along with a plethora of finance ministers from around the world.

On the business side, Yahoo! Chief Executive Marissa Mayer will feature prominently as will Facebook number two Sheryl Sandberg.

But Davos would not be Davos with the presence of celebs and rockers adding some sparkle and providing a counterbalance to the weighty topics being thrashed out in the conference halls.

Hollywood heartthrob Matt Damon, U2 frontman Bono and erstwhile US comedy star Goldie Hawn are slated to attend, rubbing shoulders with the usual smattering of celebrity TV journalists.

Attendees swear that lots of stuff gets done during the conference and that it is valuable to have world leaders meeting each other in an informal setting.

Hooie. If it was that important they wouldn't let Matt Damon within 500 miles of the place.

What actually goes on is what usually happens when wealthy people get together. They do business. Serious business. The wealthy didn't get to be wealthy by passing up opportunities for investment. Hedge funds, start ups, even governments are all there to pluck the golden geese.

Nothing wrong with that. Wish I was there doing it. But the sanctimonious statements about helping the world can wear on you when you realize that if they were truly serious about saving the planet, they'd lock themselves in a hotel in Minot, North Dakota * and wouldn't come out until  they had solved all the problems in the world.

* Previous version of this article misplaced Minot in South Dakota.



It's Davos time. Every year, 2,000 of the world's richest and most influential people get together at this exclusive ski resort to talk about what's ailing the world. And between bites of gourmet foods and sips of gourmet wines, they will no doubt pat themelves on the back for doing such a bang-up job of running the planet.

Davos has had a reputation for making news. In 2005, then CNN president Eason Jordan told the gathering that the US military was targeting journalists for death. The backlash by bloggers resulted in his resignation. And this year, one of the featured speakers will be that well-known "moderate" president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani.

On the docket, besides discussions about the world economy, will be the Syrian civil war and the approaching peace conference in Geneva this week.

AFP:

The most eagerly awaited guest at Davos this year is Rouhani, there to drum up international investment for his sanction-hit economy on the back of a diplomatic entente with the West.

And in one of the unlikely juxtapositions only the Davos schedule can throw up, speaking the same day will be Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of sworn enemy Israel.

Although the two are not scheduled to meet, anything is possible in the cushy conference corridors where leaders move freely among top bosses, Hollywood stars and Nobel Prize winners.

Last-minute guest John Kerry, US Secretary of State, is scheduled to give a key address on Friday, fresh from the talks in Montreux.

On the economic front, the plight of emerging economies hit by a change in monetary policy in the US will play a major role in the conference deliberations.

President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, where the economy took a sharp turn for the worse last year, will defend the state of her nation, now battling inflation and slow growth.

Geopolitics will dominate the visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who instead of talking up reforms that are turning around years of economic gloom, will likely face questions over tensions with China.

Anger has surged between the two Asian powers, focused mainly on contested islands in the East China Sea, which has helped drag up old animosities dating back to World War II.

Africa, now often considered an emerging power in its own right, will be represented by Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Davos regular Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia's president.

As usual, a slew of central bankers and top economic policymakers will make the trek up the mountain, with the European Central Bank President Mario Draghi set to forecast the state of the economy with Mark Carney, the Canadian now running the Bank of England.

International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde will also address the forum, along with a plethora of finance ministers from around the world.

On the business side, Yahoo! Chief Executive Marissa Mayer will feature prominently as will Facebook number two Sheryl Sandberg.

But Davos would not be Davos with the presence of celebs and rockers adding some sparkle and providing a counterbalance to the weighty topics being thrashed out in the conference halls.

Hollywood heartthrob Matt Damon, U2 frontman Bono and erstwhile US comedy star Goldie Hawn are slated to attend, rubbing shoulders with the usual smattering of celebrity TV journalists.

Attendees swear that lots of stuff gets done during the conference and that it is valuable to have world leaders meeting each other in an informal setting.

Hooie. If it was that important they wouldn't let Matt Damon within 500 miles of the place.

What actually goes on is what usually happens when wealthy people get together. They do business. Serious business. The wealthy didn't get to be wealthy by passing up opportunities for investment. Hedge funds, start ups, even governments are all there to pluck the golden geese.

Nothing wrong with that. Wish I was there doing it. But the sanctimonious statements about helping the world can wear on you when you realize that if they were truly serious about saving the planet, they'd lock themselves in a hotel in Minot, North Dakota * and wouldn't come out until  they had solved all the problems in the world.

* Previous version of this article misplaced Minot in South Dakota.



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