(CNN) - The woman charged with saving the eurozone will launch proceedings at Davos with the crisis weighing heavy on her mind, a day after a major ratings agency announced the Greek debt exchange deal would put the country in default.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel – dubbed her country’s “Iron Lady” – will provide the official opening address early in the evening on the first day of the World Economic Forum 2012, in the Swiss resort town of Davos.
Together with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Merkel has been at the heart of efforts to rescue the eurozone from the debt crisis engulfing its member states. The crisis will be at the forefront of discussions on the opening day, with a session after lunch on the “new context in Europe,” addressing levels of confidence in the Greek and Italian solutions, emerging faultlines on the continent and the eurozone’s future within the European Union. FULL POST
Davos, Switzerland (CNN) – Snow, snow and more snow.
Overnight and all morning the flakes have been falling, causing havoc with the final preparations for the WEF. Swiss police are looking on in amusement as city-dwellers negotiate the slippery streets. Locals here have looks of resignation as they dig themselves out of drifts - or maybe their weariness is because the Forum is about to start, streets and shops are closed and Davos is about to become a high-security nightmare.
And yet there is a childlike appearance to those of us who have escaped offices and newsrooms to come here. We may huff, puff, complain and struggle in the drifts, but we are secretly like children released from classrooms to play in the snow.
All this snow helps take Davos back to its origins. After all, what was Davos originally, but a remote, isolated, elite meeting where the problems of the world could be solved? Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...
Davos, Switzerland (CNN) - Four years ago, the halls of Davos buzzed with excitement nine short months before the near-collapse of the Western banking system. Oil was above $100 a barrel, while sovereign funds from China to the Middle East started to flex their muscles on the global stage of the World Economic Forum.
There is now a bitter aftertaste that lingers after the recent upheaval of that financial crisis. The debt burdens in Europe and the U.S. still need to be reckoned with, giving those from the emerging markets the space to bask in the limelight here at this now fabled mountain retreat.
The central theme at the gathering of power brokers is transformation. That could simply be defined as the rise of the developing world – which is clearly transforming business as we know it today.
Davos, Switzerland (CNN) – For more than forty years, Klaus Schwab has been inviting elites to the Davos mountains. Now he admits things are "very difficult."
On Monday, Klaus Schwab, the World Economic Forum’s founder and executive director, told me he was disappointed with the progress made by leaders during 2011. He had been "hopeful that the economy would grow again. That is not the case." Schwab admitted he was "irritated by an increasing lack of willingness to deal with global issues."
Klaus Schwab is not a man noted for hyperbole or exaggeration. So when he told me of his worries about a "bunker mentality" or "burnout" in voters who "cannot cope anymore," then it’s probably time to worry.
The reason this is so worrying is that there are still so many problems to be solved. Some, like Greece, are in danger of getting worse. There is still no solution, and the politicians are miles away from agreeing on the future direction for the euro crisis. FULL POST
Davos, Switzerland (CNN) – Multinationals are becoming increasingly aware of the need to investment in innovation, education, and R&D in emerging economies, says John Quelch, dean of China Europe International Business School.
“If you look at China at the moment, (there is) a tremendous amount of multinational funds coming in from the West investing in R&D centers in China,” says Quelch.
“That’s partly to get closer to the huge local China market, but it’s also a reflection, I think, of the understanding that there’s a lot of talent in China in terms of science and engineering that can be tapped successfully by the multinationals through these R&D centers.”
He adds that if Western multinationals want to truly understand emerging economies as markets, they will have to invest more in human capital in those countries.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (CNN) – For the past three years I have taken part in what is known within a group of 50 business and policy makers here in Riyadh as the “sand and snow expedition.” It starts from the capital of Saudi Arabia at the Global Competitiveness Forum and finishes at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
From an editorial standpoint you can, in one week, capture the views of the world’s largest oil producer and the latest on the Arab Spring before moving on to an arena with some 2,600 chief executives and political leaders trying to share the stage perched high among the Swiss Alps.
The visit in Riyadh included an exclusive interview with the wealthiest businessman in the Middle East, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal (pictured), chairman of Kingdom Holdings. From the 67th floor of the tower that bears the name of his group, Prince Alwaleed delved into some of the most sensitive issues in the region, from the Arab Spring to sanctions on Iran.
In the halls of the GCF, executives expressed deep concerns about potential conflict with Iran and the impact such a move would have. As he does with some of his investments, Prince Alwaleed took a contrarian view.
Hong Kong (CNN) – No research report in Hong Kong draws as many eyes and as much water cooler chatter as CLSA's Feng Shui Index, a pun-filled financial prophecy based on Chinese astrology.
Prepared by Philip Chow, CLSA's full-time transport analyst and part-time Feng Shui master, the report says to keep watch for a watershed moment in this Year of the Dragon. FULL POST
What better to revolutionize education than a company with a name like Apple? It almost seems destined. In fact, Phil Schiller, its senior VP of worldwide marketing, kicked off the event saying that "education is deep in the company's DNA," and he didn't waste any time showing exactly what he meant.
Davos, Switzerland (CNN) – I have arrived in Davos, a few days ahead of the World Economic Forum. Getting here early before the hot air starts rising from the WEF gives me a chance to witness this elite mountain resort without the fuss and to think about what might happen at this year's junket. Writing this I can see the last straggler skiers enjoying this year's superb snow - the best in a decade - which frankly is more than can be said for the prospects for this year's forum. I think this will be one of the most complicated and will produce relatively little by way of initiative and solutions.
It will be "Davos do little."
London (CNN) – It’s Friday and many of you out there may already have gone home for the weekend. Some of you may be reading this on your smart phone or handheld computer.
But here are some questions for you: Should checking such devices for work correspondence count towards your overtime? And is it affecting your productivity when you are in the office?
A law introduced recently in Brazil says workers who check their smart phones after hours because of their job are entitled to extra pay.
After years of issuing staff with company Blackberrys, the tide is shifting in Europe too.
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