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Davos News Tracker
January 27, 2006 9:32 p.m.
Updated regularly with news from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. All times EST.
Friday, Jan. 27
9:30 p.m.: WSJ's Alan Murray reports. When the Oscars roll around in March, the parade of Versace, Dior and Prada gowns will help set fashions for the year ahead. But for the boardroom crowd, Davos is as close as it gets to the red carpet. The forecast? Staid. Read more.
5:55 p.m: New CNBC-Dow Jones video posted. Novartis CEO Dan Vasella discusses his company's pipeline and outlook for 2006.
1 p.m.: Adam Cohen of Dow Jones Newswires reports. Ukraine will pay for all the Russian natural gas it uses, the country's economy minister Arsenii Yatseniuk said. He denied the country was stealing from pipelines that traverse the country, carrying about 25% of Europe's gas supplies. “The situation has returned to normal,” Mr. Yatseniuk said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum. “Gas is flowing and at the end of the month, Russia will calculate how much gas has traveled through Ukraine and we will calculate how much gas we have used.”
12:30 p.m.: WSJ's Greg Hitt writes in Washington Wire. Major players in global trade talks shouldn't count on the U.S. continuing negotiations after mid-2007, when President Bush's trade-negotiating authority is due to expire. U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman warned it would be “very difficult in this environment” for the White House to secure congressional approval of even a short-term extension of the trade authority. More.
11:45 a.m.: CNBC-Dow Jones video posted. NYSE CEO John Thain comments on expansion plans, the integration of Archipelago and the impact of hybrid trading. Also, Motorola CEO Ed Zander discusses new handsets and converging technologies.
9 a.m.: Billionaire George Soros said Iran was taking advantage of the U.S.'s engagement in Iraq to build its nuclear arsenal is a global threat. “I'm very worried about the global political situation, the power and influence of the United States has decline precipitously” since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Soros said in a CNBC interview. Soros said Iran was not likely to change its mind after deciding to push ahead with building nuclear capacity. “For Israel and the United States, a nuclear-armed Iran under the present leadership is just simply unacceptable,” Soros said. “So we are heading for a collision course, that is already casting a shadow on the oil market, so people are, I guess, building up reserves for that day.” (See the video.)
8:45 a.m.: Shares of Pfizer rose before the opening bell in New York despite a premature announcement in Davos that the FDA approved its drug Exubera, an inhaled human insulin powder. Pfizer CEO Henry McKinnell appeared on CNBC earlier (see video) and said the drug had gained FDA approval, only to retract it later. Mr. McKinnell said Pfizer expects a decision soon, and that the earlier, incorrect statement was due to a mistake in the company's internal communications.
8:30 a.m.: Global trade talks appeared deadlocked as ministers skirted the main issue of cutting tariffs and subsidies, instead concentrating on setting timetables for more meetings. Six trade ministers, as well as WTO chief Pascal Lamy, held a 90-minute gathering on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum. But discussions centered mainly on the timing of future meetings instead of the issues that have deadlocked the Doha round of talks.
DAVOS 2006
• Framing the Issue: See what issues are on the agenda and who's attending the annual meeting.
• Forum's History: The World Economic Forum grew out of an initiative to bring together Europe's chief executives for an informal gathering in Davos in 1970.
• Complete coverage
8:15 a.m.: With both Davos and the Sundance Film Festival being held this week, the planet's most important people need to make finely calibrated calculations as to which event confers greater status, Slate says. It doesn't help matters that the agendas of the two events are converging and that a fundamental tenet of both conferences is that creative and brainy people do their best thinking while skiing, says the online magazine, which offers a list of attendees, panels and other events at the two gatherings and invites readers to match each with either Davos or Sundance.
8 a.m.: Europe must cut government spending and reform its labor market to revitalize its sluggish economies, the president of the European Central Bank and the EU's economic chief said. “The level of government spending is too high,” ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet told a meeting at Davos. Joaquin Almunia, the EU commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, agreed – saying that European governments should not try to spend their way out of economic doldrums. Instead, he warned, governments need to focus on economic reform. “Imposing services [reform] is the key issue to economic reforms,” Mr. Almunia said, adding that such reform should be pushed through after 2007 elections in France, one of the most vocal opponents of the EU's current services directive.
7:15 a.m.: Sen. John McCain said interrogation techniques at the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay are still of concern and the cases of the prisoners — some of whom have been held for four years without charge — should be processed. “What I was concerned about and continue to be concerned about is interrogation methods,” Sen. McCain told the Associated Press on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum. “What is critical is we adhere to treaties that we are signatories to and observe basic human rights and obey the law that we just passed concerning cruel and inhumane and degrading treatment.”
6:30 a.m.: Bill Gates pledged to triple the funding for eradicating tuberculosis and health experts urged renewed caution against the spread of bird flu as the World Economic Forum took aim at eradicating and containing illness. Funding health-care initiatives, at least with private money, has been problematic, Mr. Gates said. “In health, there's real problems in that the people who have these diseases don't have the money to justify the investment,” he said. More.
4:50 a.m.: China is set to become the biggest user of broadband in the world, Bill Gates told Davos delegates. “No one will catch up [except] maybe India in 50 years,” the Microsoft chairman said. He said that despite the disparity between China's urban and rural areas, the country was on track toward reducing poverty, meaning more people would be able to afford broadband Internet access. “The greatest surprise in poverty reduction .. is China,” Mr. Gates said.
4:45 a.m.: Senior Arab business leaders are confident about the region's economic prospects, according to a pan-Arabian survey to be released Friday in Davos. Forty% of 140 top executives in financial-services, health-care and travel companies reported an annual growth rate exceeding 20% for the past three years, according to the Arab Business Leaders Intelligence Report. And 94% expect economic conditions to improve during the next year. The executives pointed to a need to invest in workers' training and development and in information technology. The survey focuses on Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, UAE, and Yemen. The report is being published by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Moutamarat, a conference and research firm that is a joint venture between Dubai Holdings and Saudi Research & Publishing Co.
4:30 a.m.: Europe's biggest challenge if it wants to reduce future dependency on external energy supplies is to cut oil consumption for transport, EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs told Reuters. Mr. Piebalgs is working on proposals for a common EU energy policy and said he hopes that measures to encourage manufacturers to boost vehicle efficiency will be included. “I think this is the biggest challenge we have,” he said. “Transport consumes a lot of oil. Even if we can't establish a legal framework for it, energy efficiency should really be a Europe-wide policy.”
3:45 a.m.: Microsoft's Bill Gates said that beating software piracy in China and India and getting compliance up to U.S. and European levels would take 10 years, Reuters reports. “In India and China it will be a decade before we get that level,” Mr. Gates told business leaders at Davos. “But as long as there is year-by-year progress, it holds a great opportunity for us in terms of scale, which helps us do more, and it's a great place where we have people working for us,” he said. Mr. Gates said sales of the company's software in both countries were increasing every year and he was optimistic that China and India would come round to licensing as Taiwan and South Korea had done.
2:45 a.m.: Bill Gates is set to join British treasury chief Gordon Brown to announce an initiative for funding efforts to fight tuberculosis in the developing world. The threat from TB and other serious diseases is bidding for equal attention with the Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections, terrorism and Iran at Davos.
1:30 a.m.: John Bogle, founder and former CEO of Vanguard Group, explains in a WSJ commentary why he's skipping Davos. With apologies to Bono, the “other Michael Jordan,” Christo and others, Mr. Bogle says his absence is “mostly because what was once truly a global economic conference has become a “happening'.”
12:45 a.m.: Davos Notebook A publishing slip sparks discomfort and an apology; Bono does his thing; and more.
12:30 a.m.: In Davos to tout his country's economic rebound, Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif instead found himself analyzing the Palestinian earthquake that brought Hamas to power, writes WSJ's Frederick Kempe. Mr. Nazif urged the U.S. and Europe not to cut off Palestinian funding, but give Hamas — which did much to popularize suicide terrorism — time to settle into the responsibilities of leadership. “We have to give them some space,” he said. “They have not been tested in this environment.” At the same time, he said Egypt would act as a “mediator” due to its open channels to Hamas.
Thursday, Jan. 26
10:30 p.m.: A human bird-flu pandemic could ground up to 70% of aircraft, Virgin Group boss Richard Branson said. “You're just going to have to be strong enough to keep your head down for a year,” the entrepreneur behind Virgin Atlantic Airways told business leaders at Davos, Reuters reports. “If it happens, an airline is going to have 50% of its planes grounded, maybe more – 60%, 70%,” he said. Air travel, which was crucial in spreading the deadly SARS virus in 2003, is expected to be in the frontline should bird flu become easily transmitted between people. See more in the Bird Flu News Tracker.
5:20 p.m.: CNBC-Dow Jones video posted. Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers talks to CNBC's Maria Bartiromo about the company's business strategies. Also, David Stout of GlaxoSmithKline, Victor Chu of First Eastern Investment Group, Deepak Advani of Lenovo Group and Stephen Roach of Morgan Stanley discuss avian-flu preparedness as well as investment opportunities in China.
4:35 p.m.: Dow Jones Newswires' Adam Smallman reports. Signaling level-jitters about energy security, an annual Davos simulation of a terrorism-prompted oil supply shock filled up with chief executives even before this week's meeting started. In previous years, just government officials have attended. Thursday night's simulation drew executives from Royal Dutch Shell and Petroleo Brasileiro SA, among others. The premise: Leaders of the G-8 have called on the private sector to figure out what to do when terrorists coordinate attacks that throttle key crude supply flows, causing prices to jump. Their answer: oil producers and international reserves could cover a drop of some four million barrels a day for more than a year. The hard part: knowing how markets and consumers would respond.
4:30 p.m.: Dow Jones Newswires' Serena Saitto reports. The business elite took a few jabs at the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which imposed tougher corporate accounting and other standards in the wake of the Enron fraud scandal. During a dinner with the theme “Escaping Public Tyranny,” private-equity firm executives lamented the time and money spent complying with the law. A few suggested publicly traded companies should go private to escape the law's requirements. David Rubenstein, founder and managing director of Carlyle Group, added an offer for the law's authors — U.S. Sen. Paul Sarbanes and U.S. Rep. Mike Oxley, both of whom are due to retire in January 2007. “We want to hire them and put them on the board of some of our companies so that they would see the mistakes they made,” Rubenstein said to enthusiastic applause. Later the head of one of the world's largest private-equity firms stressed he was joking. “It would be good if they served in a public company,” said Rubenstein. “But we are not hiring them.”
2:05 p.m.:'s Aude Lagorce reports. Nothing illustrates better India's desire to rival the rising international status of China than the massive charm offensive India is mounting here. A huge Indian delegation consisting of 150 members — including three cabinet members and 41 chief executives — is using every opportunity to tell the movers and shakers that India can be a profitable market for foreign investment and not just a service-sector economy. More.
1:40 p.m.: Sen. John Kerry, who narrowly lost the 2004 election for U.S. president to George W. Bush, said he hasn't ruled out another run. Asked whether he would run again, Kerry told the Associated Press at Davos. “We'll tell you somewhere down the line.” Asked whether he would not rule it out, Kerry said: “No — I haven't.”
12:55 p.m.: Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said Thursday that Iran should not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. “Their security is not threatened,” Musharraf told the World Economic Forum. Video.
12:50 p.m.: Dow Jones Newswires' Serena Saitto reports. An embarrassing detail slipped through the normally tight organization of the annual meeting. An article in the forum's glossy and online magazine, The Global Agenda, called on the “global civil society to boycott Israel until it ends its Apartheid-like treatment of Palestinians.” The article, written by former Yale professor Mazin Qumsiyeh, was removed from the online magazine Thursday and WEF executive chairman Klaus Schwab issued an apology. “This article is totally in contradiction to my own, and the forum's, mission and values,” Mr. Schwab said in a written statement. The timing of the incident was particularly uncomfortable as Davos participants discussed the strong showing of militant Islamic group Hamas in this week's Palestinian legislative election.
11:45 a.m.: EU trade chief Peter Mandelson insisted that Europe is “united” in its stand on farm trade and that Brussels wouldn't make any more concessions on agriculture until its trading partners first offer to cut trade barriers in industrial goods and services. “We can't be expected to make a further offer in agriculture in order to pay to keep others at the negotiating table,” Mr. Mandelson said. “Europe is willing to give more than it has offered, but it is not prepared to ask for nothing in return,” he said. Mr. Mandelson suggested that the EU is prepared to risk the current round of trade talks breaking down. “If the talks stopped, we would lose next to nothing,” he said.
11:30 a.m.: News CNBC-Dow Jones video posted. Becton Dickinson Chief Executive Edward Ludwig speaks from Davos about the medical-products company's moves to experiment with stem cells to develop a cure for diabetes.
11:15 a.m.: U.S. trade chief Rob Portman said new German Chancellor Angela Merkel could help advance stalled global trade talks by offsetting the protective mindset of French officials in EU policy, the Associated Press reports. A key issue holding up talks has been access to EU farm markets. Mr. Portman, speaking on the sidelines at Davos, said Germany could act as a counterweight to France, which has been particularly defensive in wanting to protect its agriculture markets. “I was very impressed with her willingness to engage,” Mr. Portman said of Mr. Merkel. “I'm hopeful that she can help us to come together with an agreement this year.”
9:55 a.m.: News CNBC-Dow Jones video posted. Electronic Arts' Gerhard Florin discusses whether the videogame industry has a negative impact on society.
9:40 a.m.: News CNBC-Dow Jones video posted. Google founder Sergey Brin talks to CNBC's Becky Quick about doing good in addition to not doing evil. At Davos, “I've been able to meet a number of our existing business partners, form new partnerships .. and also the social entrepreneurs who have fantastic ideas about health, poverty, the environment, and these are all issues we are interested in with our philanthropic arm,,” Mr. Brin says.
Blatter (right) with soccer champion Pele
8:30 a.m.: Soccer clubs should be docked points if their fans or players use racist abuse because fines don't have enough effect, FIFA President Sepp Blatter told a press conference in Davos. “I am so disappointed. It is a shame for football that in the year 2006, you still have racism,” Mr. Blatter said. “The only way to fight this is to do exactly what we have done when it came to violence. We have to take away the points because it happens in those leagues where the money is sufficient so, even if you gave a fine of $100,000, it would be paid the next day,” he said. “That does not change the attitude, so you have to go into a sporting sanction.” Legal experts at soccer's world governing body will decide in February what measures need to be taken to strengthen FIFA's anti-racism laws.
7:15 a.m.: Royal Dutch Shell Chief Executive Jeroen van der Veer said the oil company would consider making acquisitions or swaps up to a value of $10 billion to increase reserves. He also told Reuters in an interview at Davos that the Anglo-Dutch major would discuss security issues with the Nigerian government after the hostages currently being held by militants were released. He said repairs could not start on damaged oil infrastructure until discussions about ensuring security in the OPEC producer had taken place.
5:15 a.m.: U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman said he hoped free-trade negotiations could be launched soon with South Korea, Reuters reports. Washington has mentioned South Korea as a possible partner in the past, but this is the firmest indication to date that the start of talks could be imminent. “We are not quite there yet. We still have some issues to discuss,” Mr. Portman told journalists in Davos. “I am hopeful we can do it soon,” he said when asked about the possibility of talks beginning with Seoul. The issue remains sensitive in South Korea, where farmers' groups are strongly opposed to liberalization.
4 a.m.: GlaxoSmithKline expects to start clinical trials of its vaccine against the H5N1 strain of bird flu in early April, David Stout, president of the company's pharmaceutical operations, told Dow Jones Newswires on the sidelines of the WEF meeting. Mr. Stout said the company will test the vaccine with two different boosters, and should have the first results about three months later. Production of the vaccine is expected to start by year end, he said. See more in the Bird Flu News Tracker.
3:45 a.m.: China's foreign-exchange policy is in a good position and requires no changes, People's Bank of China Gov. Zhou Xiaochuan told a Davos session. Mr. Zhou said Beijing's change last July from a fixed exchange rate against the dollar to a managed float linked to a basket of 20 currencies had introduced a great deal of flexibility. But he said China still faces pressure from the international community to let the yuan appreciate. “The floating band now is OK .. but it is not fully used,” Mr. Zhou said. He declined to describe the full details of the currency basket China uses, but said the dollar accounts for “much less than 50%.” In currency trading in Shanghai Thursday, the U.S. dollar closed at 8.0620 yuan. The currency was revalued at 8.11 yuan to the dollar last July.
1:30 a.m.: American Express, Converse, Gap and Giorgio Armani are joining with Bono, the rock star, to sell products under a new brand called “Red” that will dedicate some of its revenues to fight AIDS in Africa, the Financial Times reports. The effort, scheduled to be announced today in Davos, will include the creation of a “Red” American Express credit card that will be marketed first in the U.K. Other “Red” products will include Converse sports shoes made with African mud-cloth; a new line of Gap vintage-style T-shirts; and wraparound Emporio Armani sunglasses embossed with a “Red” logo, the paper says. “Red is a 21st-century idea,” said Bono, the owner of the brand. “I think doing the Red thing, doing good, will turn out to be good business for them.”
12:30 a.m.: WSJ's Jeanne Whalen reports. As concerns mount about a possible avian-flu pandemic, research scientist David Reddy has become the world's point man for a drug seen as the best available treatment for the bird-flu virus. Dr. Reddy is head of pandemic-flu planning at Roche, which has come under intense pressure to increase production of its antiviral Tamiflu and deliver the drug to countries experiencing bird-flue outbreaks. Such challenges are scheduled to be discussed Saturday at a WEF session on “Containing a Global Pandemic.” More.
Wednesday, Jan. 25
11 p.m.: News CNBC-Dow Jones video posted. WSJ's Alan Murray reports from Davos on Carl Icahn's battle with Time Warner. See related column.
7 p.m.:'s Aude Lagorce reports. Economists at the meeting said the dollar is on a downward slope. “I see a substantial amount of dollar decline in store in the medium term, perhaps as much as 30%,” said Laura Tyson, dean of the London Business School, suggesting the fall would likely be triggered by a switch to lower interest rates in the U.S. Min Zhu, executive assistant to the president at the Bank of China, was less of a Cassandra, saying he sees the dollar depreciating no more than 3% to 5%. More in Davos Notebook.
4:15 p.m: Intel Chairman Craig Barrett, speaking to CNBC from Davos, said India and China and their emerging economies are the big story around the world today. “I think the big issues are the availability of IT capability to the emerging economies,” Barrett said. Barrett also pointed to the health-care industry, which he said lags in using information technology to improve efficiency and provide better quality care.
2:30 p.m.: WSJ's Marc Champion and Frederick Kempe report. Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf said his country would build a planned gas pipeline from Iran alone if three-way talks with India continue to produce no result. The remarks came at a delicate time for Musharraf, when he is having to balance domestic public opinion and relations with the U.S., India and Iran. Musharraf also said a U.S. missile attack on a Pakistani village that killed civilians earlier this month “probably” killed five to six al Qaeda operatives, but had “harmed our interests” by violating his country's sovereignty and feeding domestic unrest. More.
2 p.m.: German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday she would like to see Germany's growth among the top three in Europe within a decade, adding that tackling unemployment and slow growth would take measured and creative actions.
1:45 p.m.: Dell Chairman and founder Michael Dell, in remarks on the sidelines of the conference, didn't rule out the use of Advanced Micro Devices semiconductors for the company's personal computers and servers. Asked if the company is going to use AMD chips, Dell said, “We don't have an exclusive relationship” with Intel, adding: “We have used [AMD chips] in the past, we might use them again.”
12:15 p.m.: Merck Chief Executive Richard Clark said the U.S. drug maker would consider the takeover of relatively big biotech companies if they bring in late-stage products and revenue. Merck would continue focusing on entering alliances with biotech firms and buying the marketing rights to products such partners developed, he said in an interview with Dow Jones Newswires here. “The other thing we are focusing on is targeting organizations that — if they are larger biotech companies — could not only help from the research point of view with late-stage products, but also with revenue,” he said. Mr. Clark said he was reassured that investors have understood the company's initiatives to turn Merck around following the withdrawal of Vioxx.
11:45 a.m.: French Finance Minister Thierry Breton said there were no signs of inflation in France, and he is confident that oil prices would not reduce the country's economic growth rate. “Inflation is extremely well-contained in France, and was extremely low in 2005,” Mr. Breton said. His comments come as European finance ministers are pressuring the European Central Bank to keep interest rates on hold, after notching them higher in December. Mr. Breton said that he was confident that, despite rising oil prices, France's GDP growth rate in 2006 would be 2.0%-2.5%.
11:15 a.m.: Intel Chairman Craig Barrett announced plans to train an additional 10 million teachers in developing nations over the next five years in the use of technology to enhance learning. The plan significantly expands an Intel initiative that has trained three million teachers in 35 countries since 2000.
10:15 a.m.: Under the headline “Why Davos is necessary,” Guardian economics editor Larry Elliott writes that “Davos – however inadequately and however incompletely – fulfills a need. Even a couple of hours spent in Davos reveals what this need is. There is a political reality gap between the avalanche of problems, global in their scope, precariously poised to descend on the unwitting citizens of the world, and the creaking, nation-focused machinery for coping with them,” Mr. Elliott says.
9:15 a.m.: This year, the World Economic Forum has decided to focus on chief executives rather than cinematic celebrities in response to feedback that business has been overshadowed by politics and important, but sometimes intangible, global “big issues.” So while politics will remain prominent, this year's program brings fewer set-piece “messages” from the world's political elite, the Financial Times reports. “We are moving away from broad global issues. But you always need something structured at the start,” WEF founder Klaus Schwab tells the FT. “And there's big interest to meet and hear Angela Merkel.” The new German chancellor will address the 2,340 delegates in Davos with this year's opening speech, to be followed by Zeng Pelyan, the Chinese deputy premier. Other important newcomers include Paul Wolfowitz in his capacity as president of the World Bank, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Liberian president, the paper notes.
5:45 a.m.: Indian drug maker Ranbaxy Laboratories is actively pursuing a handful of acquisition opportunities in the U.S. and elsewhere to boost its generics drugs business, its new chief executive tells Reuters.
4:30 a.m.: Failure to reform the IMF will leave it ill-equipped to handle future financial crises, according to working papers and a report prepared for the World Economic Forum, Reuters reports. Two major reform proposals have been outlined in a broader review of the IMF's role by academics and market participants for the WEF: 1) the IMF should adopt a foreign-exchange reference rate system to measure countries” progress in redressing macro-economic policies that threaten the global economy; and 2) the IMF should open a liquidity window so that it can act unconditionally as lender of last resort to countries.
4:15 a.m.: A gloomy forecast about the world economy greeted Davos delegates as the annual meeting got under way, as Stephen Roach, chief economist of Morgan Stanley, said markets and officials had developed “a dangerous degree of complacency,” assuming that an unbalanced world economy could continue without correction, the Associated Press reports. Asian central banks have helped to keep things going so far by supporting the U.S. economy much longer than could be expected, and the American consumer has continued to spent, Mr. Roach said. But the U.S. real-estate market is showing signs of slowing down, he said. More.
3:30 a.m.: The number of WEF delegates from India jumped to 80 this year from 30 last year – the latest sign of India's rapid integration into the world economy. And to judge from the Davos program, India is the country of the moment, the Financial Times says. Of the 244 scheduled sessions, a dozen are devoted to India, twice as many as last year, while 60 feature Indian speakers. India's high-profile “India Everywhere” campaign is a tacit recognition that the nation may have only a limited window to translate today's unprecedented interest into hard investment, the FT says. The government has dispatched what it calls its “dream team” of economic reformers – led by P. Chidambaram, finance minister, Kamal Nath, commerce minister, and Montek Singh Ahluwaliah, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission. They will carry a simple message: trust us and invest, the paper says.
DAVOS 2006
• Framing the Issue: See what issues are on the agenda and who's attending the annual meeting.
• Forum's History: The World Economic Forum grew out of an initiative to bring together Europe's chief executives for an informal gathering in Davos in 1970.
• Complete coverage
3:15 a.m.: The atmosphere at Davos is a decent barometer of economic and political stability in the world, and this year, WEF founder Klaus Schwab predicts, the mood on economics will hover somewhere between hope and foreboding. “If you look at national economic forecasts, there was a feeling that this would be a good year,” Mr. Schwab tells the New York Times. “Now, there are suddenly question marks. People are really concerned about what will happen,” he says.
2:45 a.m.: India's new “India Everywhere” campaign isn't everywhere yet, but it's definitely in Davos, writes India's Business Standard newspaper. The campaign, which promotes India as the world's fastest-growing market democracy, is spearheaded by Infosys Chief Executive Nandan Nilekani, the paper points out. “As India becomes increasingly prominent in the global economic context, the WEF at Davos is the ideal place for us to project ourselves,” Mr. Nilekani tells the paper. The second and the third phase of the communication campaign will be unveiled during the Davos meeting, it says.
1:30 a.m.: It's already clear who is pulling out all stops to be this year's star attraction at Davos: India. Driving into the snow-covered village, one can't avoid the onslaught of Indian advertising that's been plastered across buses and along roadsides, writes The Wall Street Journal's Frederick Kempe. And India chose the eve of the meeting to announce a long-awaited partial liberalization of foreign-direct-investment rules. More.
12:30 a.m.: When China joined the WTO in 2001 – committing to open its then-struggling banking sector to full competition by 2007 – skeptics predicted the country's banks would be swamped by better-capitalized foreign institutions. This week, as leaders at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting debate the fiscal fitness of China's banks, it appears the doomsayers have been wrong, or at least premature, The Wall Street Journal's Rick Carew writes. China has injected fresh capital into its biggest banks, set up corporate boards with independent directors and pushed them to list abroad. Foreign investors have responded by putting up more than $16 billion for pieces of Chinese banks. More.
Tuesday, Jan. 24
6:15 p.m.: Klaus Schwab has been the idea man behind the World Economic Forum since its founding. In an interview with Anita Greil of Dow Jones Newswires, he reflects on the past and future of the global gabfest, his best and worst Davos moments and inviting celebrities. More. (Read the transcript.)
6 p.m.: When 2,000 businesspeople, politicians, celebrities and journalists from around the world gather in the Swiss ski resort of Davos to network next week, the buzz probably will center on energy security, The Wall Street Journal's Marc Champion writes. More.
5:30 p.m.: The World Economic Forum is considering holding a major meeting in China, as the nation is generally underrepresented at the Davos summit, which conflicts with the Lunar New Year, Goran Mijuk and Anita Greil of Dow Jones Newswires report. More.

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