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Davos forum opens with economic issues on agenda
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World economic uncertainties associated with the US sub-prime mortgage crisis and high energy prices are high on the agenda of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting which opened in Davos on Wednesday.

Some 2,500 people, including business and political leaders as well as heads of internatioal organizations, are gathering at this famous Alpine ski resort for the five-day forum, which aims to tackle the major issues facing the world and shape the global agenda for the year ahead.

According to the program of the meeting, several sessions on world economic prospects and problems will be held on Wednesday.

One session is titled "If America Sneezes, Does the World Still Catch a Cold?" Economists and officials at the session are to discuss such questions as whether "the long predicted decoupleing of global growth from the US economy" is finally happening.

They will also try to answer the question whether China, India and other emerging markets can drive global growth if there is a US economic recession.

Another session will address the major threats to the world economy in 2008, including continued losses from the US sub-prime mortgage crisis, record highs in energy and commodity prices and bubbling equity markets in emerging economies.

Besides economic problems, global risks ranging from climate change to pandemics will also be discussed on the first day of the meeting. Other topics include the leadership changes in North-East Asia, the surprising rise of Latin America and the situation in the Middle East.

The opening plenary of the annual meeting will focus on two key issues facing the world -- climate change and terrorism, and will also be addressed by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The theme of this year's meeting is "The Power of Collaborative Innovation."

"Looking to the future, it becomes readily apparent that complexity, competing interests and scarce resources remain the greatest obstacles to progress on the global agenda in the absence of greater leadership and global stewardship," the WEF said in a statement.

"It is in this challenging context that the WEF will highlight 'The Power of Collaborative Innovation' as the principal theme for the annual meeting 2008 in Davos," the statement said.

(Xinhua News Agency January 24, 2008)

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