Fri, Jan 27, 2006 - Page 4 News List

AIDS and war on terror dominate the agenda at Davos


U2 front man and activist Bono was poised yesterday to unveil his latest effort to combat the spread of AIDS in Africa while Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was to give a speech about the war on terror.

The second day of the World Economic Forum's annual meeting promised a blend of celebrity and brass-tacks talk of the issues facing the global community, ranging from security against terror to advancing human rights and the struggle against poverty and disease.

Musharraf, who was set to speak yesterday morning, told the Wall Street Journal in an interview that his country would build a planned gas pipeline from Iran by itself if its talks with India failed.

Bono, meanwhile was set to announce a new brand name, "Red," in partnership with American Express, Converse, Gap and Giorgio Armani that would see products sold under the name.

The venture, which will include an American Express card, shoes, T-shirts and sunglasses, will see part of the revenue go to the Global Fund, a public-private partnership that has committed US$4.5 billion for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria programs since it was created in 2002.

On Wednesday, China and India touted their booming economies to the world's business and political leaders, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel conceded they posed tough competition as she strives to revive her country's sluggish economy.

Even though Germany was once a pioneer in computer development, it has failed to keep pace with the growth of the industry, and must build its capacity, Merkel said on Wednesday in the keynote speech to the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.

"China, India and many other countries have this capability," she said. "We have to face up to the competition."

Merkel came to Davos immediately after her government gave its outlook for Germany's economy, predicting it would expand by 1.4 percent in 2006, fast enough to reduce its high unemployment.

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