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Davos 2015: World leaders descend on Swiss resort

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Nobel Peace Prize laureate Al Gore (L), former U.S. Vice-President and Chairman and Co-Founder of Generation Investment Management listens to singer Pharrell Williams, Creative Director and Brand Ambassador of Bionic Yarn at the What's Next? A Climate for Action event in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 21, 2015. More than 1,500 business leaders and 40 heads of state or government will attend the Jan. 21-24 meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to network and discuss big themes, from the price of oil to the future of the Internet. This year they are meeting in the midst of upheaval, with security forces on heightened alert after attacks in Paris, the European Central Bank considering a radical government bond-buying programme and the safe-haven Swiss franc rocketing.        REUTERS/Ruben Sprich (SWITZERLAND  - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS POLITICS)

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Al Gore (L), former U.S. Vice-President and Chairman and Co-Founder of Generation Investment Management listens to singer Pharrell Williams, Creative Director and Brand Ambassador of Bionic Yarn at the What's Next? A Climate for Action event in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 21, 2015. More than 1,500 business leaders and 40 heads of state or government will attend the Jan. 21-24 meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to network and discuss big themes, from the price of oil to the future of the Internet. This year they are meeting in the midst of upheaval, with security forces on heightened alert after attacks in Paris, the European Central Bank considering a radical government bond-buying programme and the safe-haven Swiss franc rocketing. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich (SWITZERLAND - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS POLITICS)

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A participant arrives by private helicopter for the World Economic Forum (WEF)
 in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 20, 2015. More than 1,500 business leaders and 40 heads of state or government will attend the January 21-24 meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to network and discuss big themes, from the price of oil to the future of the Internet. This year they are meeting in the midst of upheaval, with security forces on heightened alert after attacks in Paris, the European Central Bank considering a radical government bond-buying programme and the safe-haven Swiss franc rocketing.    REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

A participant arrives by private helicopter for the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 20, 2015. More than 1,500 business leaders and 40 heads of state or government will attend the January 21-24 meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to network and discuss big themes, from the price of oil to the future of the Internet. This year they are meeting in the midst of upheaval, with security forces on heightened alert after attacks in Paris, the European Central Bank considering a radical government bond-buying programme and the safe-haven Swiss franc rocketing. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

REUTERS

A Swiss special police officer observes the surrounding area from atop the roof of the Davos Congress Hotel
 in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 20, 2015. More than 1,500 business leaders and 40 heads of state or government will attend the January 21-24 meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to network and discuss big themes, from the price of oil to the future of the Internet. This year they are meeting in the midst of upheaval, with security forces on heightened alert after attacks in Paris, the European Central Bank considering a radical government bond-buying programme and the safe-haven Swiss franc rocketing.   REUTERS/Ruben Sprich (SWITZERLAND  - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)

A Swiss special police officer observes the surrounding area from atop the roof of the Davos Congress Hotel in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 20, 2015. More than 1,500 business leaders and 40 heads of state or government will attend the January 21-24 meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to network and discuss big themes, from the price of oil to the future of the Internet. This year they are meeting in the midst of upheaval, with security forces on heightened alert after attacks in Paris, the European Central Bank considering a radical government bond-buying programme and the safe-haven Swiss franc rocketing. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich (SWITZERLAND - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)

REUTERS

U.S. boxing great Muhammad Ali poses during the Crystal Award ceremony at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland in this file photo from January 28, 2006. Ali has been hospitalized for follow-up care for a urinary tract infection that he received treatment for in recent weeks, and he is expected to be released in a day, a spokesman said January 15, 2015.   REUTERS/Andreas Meier/Files (SWITZERLAND - Tags: SPORT HEADSHOT BOXING)

U.S. boxing great Muhammad Ali poses during the Crystal Award ceremony at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland in this file photo from January 28, 2006. Ali has been hospitalized for follow-up care for a urinary tract infection that he received treatment for in recent weeks, and he is expected to be released in a day, a spokesman said January 15, 2015. REUTERS/Andreas Meier/Files (SWITZERLAND - Tags: SPORT HEADSHOT BOXING)

REUTERS

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Al Gore, former U.S. Vice-President and Chairman and Co-Founder of Generation Investment Management speaks at the What's Next? A Climate for Action event in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 21, 2015. More than 1,500 business leaders and 40 heads of state or government will attend the Jan. 21-24 meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to network and discuss big themes, from the price of oil to the future of the Internet. This year they are meeting in the midst of upheaval, with security forces on heightened alert after attacks in Paris, the European Central Bank considering a radical government bond-buying programme and the safe-haven Swiss franc rocketing.        REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Al Gore, former U.S. Vice-President and Chairman and Co-Founder of Generation Investment Management speaks at the What's Next? A Climate for Action event in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 21, 2015. More than 1,500 business leaders and 40 heads of state or government will attend the Jan. 21-24 meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to network and discuss big themes, from the price of oil to the future of the Internet. This year they are meeting in the midst of upheaval, with security forces on heightened alert after attacks in Paris, the European Central Bank considering a radical government bond-buying programme and the safe-haven Swiss franc rocketing. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

REUTERS

Hilde Schwab of the Schwab Foundation speaks ahead of the Crystal Awards ceremony during the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 20, 2015. More than 1,500 business leaders and 40 heads of state or government will attend the Jan. 21-24 meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to network and discuss big themes, from the price of oil to the future of the Internet. This year they are meeting in the midst of upheaval, with security forces on heightened alert after attacks in Paris, the European Central Bank considering a radical government bond-buying programme and the safe-haven Swiss franc rocketing. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich (SWITZERLAND - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)

Hilde Schwab of the Schwab Foundation speaks ahead of the Crystal Awards ceremony during the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 20, 2015. More than 1,500 business leaders and 40 heads of state or government will attend the Jan. 21-24 meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to network and discuss big themes, from the price of oil to the future of the Internet. This year they are meeting in the midst of upheaval, with security forces on heightened alert after attacks in Paris, the European Central Bank considering a radical government bond-buying programme and the safe-haven Swiss franc rocketing. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich (SWITZERLAND - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)

REUTERS

Swiss police walk along a street near the World Economic Forum (WEF)
 venue in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 20, 2015. More than 1,500 business leaders and 40 heads of state or government will attend the January 21-24 meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to network and discuss big themes, from the price of oil to the future of the Internet. This year they are meeting in the midst of upheaval, with security forces on heightened alert after attacks in Paris, the European Central Bank considering a radical government bond-buying programme and the safe-haven Swiss franc rocketing.     REUTERS/Ruben Sprich (SWITZERLAND  - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)

Swiss police walk along a street near the World Economic Forum (WEF) venue in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 20, 2015. More than 1,500 business leaders and 40 heads of state or government will attend the January 21-24 meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to network and discuss big themes, from the price of oil to the future of the Internet. This year they are meeting in the midst of upheaval, with security forces on heightened alert after attacks in Paris, the European Central Bank considering a radical government bond-buying programme and the safe-haven Swiss franc rocketing. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich (SWITZERLAND - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)

REUTERS

Workers set up logos of the World Economic Forum (WEF) at the congress center in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 20, 2015. More than 1,500 business leaders and 40 heads of state or government will attend the January 21-24 meeting of the WEF to network and discuss big themes, from the price of oil to the future of the Internet. This year they are meeting in the midst of upheaval, with security forces on heightened alert after attacks in Paris, the European Central Bank considering a radical government bond-buying programme and the safe-haven Swiss franc rocketing.    REUTERS/Ruben Sprich (SWITZERLAND  - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)

Workers set up logos of the World Economic Forum (WEF) at the congress center in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 20, 2015. More than 1,500 business leaders and 40 heads of state or government will attend the January 21-24 meeting of the WEF to network and discuss big themes, from the price of oil to the future of the Internet. This year they are meeting in the midst of upheaval, with security forces on heightened alert after attacks in Paris, the European Central Bank considering a radical government bond-buying programme and the safe-haven Swiss franc rocketing. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich (SWITZERLAND - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)

REUTERS

Brian Moynihan (L), Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Bank of America and Liu Mingkang, Distinguished Fellow, Fung Global Institute of Hong Kong address The New Banking Context event in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 21, 2015. More than 1,500 business leaders and 40 heads of state or government will attend the Jan. 21-24 meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to network and discuss big themes, from the price of oil to the future of the Internet. This year they are meeting in the midst of upheaval, with security forces on heightened alert after attacks in Paris, the European Central Bank considering a radical government bond-buying programme and the safe-haven Swiss franc rocketing.

Brian Moynihan (L), Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Bank of America and Liu Mingkang, Distinguished Fellow, Fung Global Institute of Hong Kong address The New Banking Context event in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 21, 2015. More than 1,500 business leaders and 40 heads of state or government will attend the Jan. 21-24 meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to network and discuss big themes, from the price of oil to the future of the Internet. This year they are meeting in the midst of upheaval, with security forces on heightened alert after attacks in Paris, the European Central Bank considering a radical government bond-buying programme and the safe-haven Swiss franc rocketing.

REUTERS

Pharrell Williams had the biggest-selling single of 2014 in the UK

Pharrell Williams had the biggest-selling single of 2014 in the UK

The InterContinental hotel is seen through barbed wire in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 20, 2015. More than 1,500 business leaders and 40 heads of state or government will attend the Jan. 21-24 meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to network and discuss big themes, from the price of oil to the future of the Internet. This year they are meeting in the midst of upheaval, with security forces on heightened alert after attacks in Paris, the European Central Bank considering a radical government bond-buying programme and the safe-haven Swiss franc rocketing. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich (SWITZERLAND - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)

The InterContinental hotel is seen through barbed wire in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 20, 2015. More than 1,500 business leaders and 40 heads of state or government will attend the Jan. 21-24 meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to network and discuss big themes, from the price of oil to the future of the Internet. This year they are meeting in the midst of upheaval, with security forces on heightened alert after attacks in Paris, the European Central Bank considering a radical government bond-buying programme and the safe-haven Swiss franc rocketing. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich (SWITZERLAND - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)

REUTERS

Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performs after receiving a Crystal Award during the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 20, 2015. More than 1,500 business leaders and 40 heads of state or government will attend the Jan. 21-24 meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to network and discuss big themes, from the price of oil to the future of the Internet. This year they are meeting in the midst of upheaval, with security forces on heightened alert after attacks in Paris, the European Central Bank considering a radical government bond-buying programme and the safe-haven Swiss franc rocketing.  REUTERS/Ruben Sprich (SWITZERLAND - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS ENTERTAINMENT)

Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performs after receiving a Crystal Award during the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 20, 2015. More than 1,500 business leaders and 40 heads of state or government will attend the Jan. 21-24 meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to network and discuss big themes, from the price of oil to the future of the Internet. This year they are meeting in the midst of upheaval, with security forces on heightened alert after attacks in Paris, the European Central Bank considering a radical government bond-buying programme and the safe-haven Swiss franc rocketing. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich (SWITZERLAND - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS ENTERTAINMENT)

REUTERS

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Nobel Peace Prize laureate Al Gore (L), former U.S. Vice-President and Chairman and Co-Founder of Generation Investment Management listens to singer Pharrell Williams, Creative Director and Brand Ambassador of Bionic Yarn at the What's Next? A Climate for Action event in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 21, 2015. More than 1,500 business leaders and 40 heads of state or government will attend the Jan. 21-24 meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to network and discuss big themes, from the price of oil to the future of the Internet. This year they are meeting in the midst of upheaval, with security forces on heightened alert after attacks in Paris, the European Central Bank considering a radical government bond-buying programme and the safe-haven Swiss franc rocketing. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich (SWITZERLAND - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS POLITICS)

Some of the world's most powerful and influential political and business leaders got down to business today at the Swiss alpine resort of Davos, as the World Economic Forum kicked off.

A Live Earth music event to demand action on climate change will be held on June 18 across seven continents, including Antarctica, former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore and pop star Pharrell Williams announced today.

After a welcome reception and concert last night that included a performance by renowned Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, the various panel discussions and debates got underway this morning.

The yearly gathering is being attended by more than 2,500 participants from 140 countries, including 40 heads of state, and comes at a time of renewed terror threats after the recent attacks in Paris.

Global leaders including US Secretary of State John Kerry, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and China's Premier Li Keqiang will join business chiefs such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg.

Irish participants include Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who will arrive this evening, Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and Digicel chairman Denis O'Brien.

Mr Kenny will attend a private dinner this evening, and will take part in a panel discussion tomorrow morning entitled 'Europe's twin Challenges: Growth and Stability', alongside Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte, Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb and Sigmar Gabriel, German Vice Chancellor and Federal minister of Economic Affairs and Energy.

It is understood the Taoiseach will also take part in a dinner organised by the IDA tomorrow night in Davos, at which about 40 company representatives will attend. The IDA will also be conducting a series of investor meetings.

Ahead of the dinner, IDA chief executive Martin Shanahan said the Davos gathering provided an excellent platform for the IDA to attract further investment into Ireland.

''IDA Ireland will meet with a number of existing client companies to discuss new opportunities for investment within their Irish operations, as well as targeting companies that have not yet set up in Ireland to discuss the advantages of doing business here,'' Mr Shanahan said.

''Participation at Davos increases Ireland's profile internationally and places the country on the world stage.''

Companies attending the Summit fall into IDA's target sectors including life sciences, technology, and financial services.

Archbishop Martin will contribute to two sessions, including one entitled 'Mastering the Machines: Are we masters of our fate or will technologies take over?'.

Ahead of the gathering today, Mr O'Brien, who is the largest shareholder in Independent News & Media, told Bloomberg that the trade relationship between Russia, the US and Europe was the greatest geopolitical issue facing the world's economy.

''The US and Europe have the wrong approach on Russia,'' he said.

''The big issue here is whether the EU, the US and IMF will help Ukraine prevent a default. If Europe doesn't stand firm with the Ukrainians, the country will melt down.''

He also predicted he Fed will not increase rates until later this year or the beginning of next year.

 

 

Online Editors