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A billionaire and his nannies... and a few other things going down at Davos

Tough luck if you weren’t one of the tycoons or celebrities invited.

Former US vice president Al Gore Former US vice president Al Gore speaking at Davos Source: Michel Euler/AP/Press Association Images

GLOBAL LEADERS, BILLIONAIRES and celebrities have been rubbing shoulders since yesterday in a little Swiss town called Davos for the annual World Economic Forum conference.

We already know Taoiseach Enda Kenny, tycoon Denis O’Brien and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin are among the Irish contingent there, but in case you didn’t make the invite list – or baulked at the circa-$200,000 pricetag for attending the conference – TheJournal.ie can bring you up to speed.

Here are a few things you may have missed at Davos:

The irony police came knocking

US billionaire Jeff Greene, who made his fortune betting against sub-prime mortgages, was on hand to deliver a message to his fellow Americans – that their “lifestyle expectations” were too high and they needed to “have less things”.

Greene also happened to drop the fact that he flew to the forum with his family – and two nannies.

Florida Senate Source: Chris O'Meara/AP/Press Association Images

Live Earth and cities without cars

Former US vice president Al Gore and musician Pharrell Williams used their Davos appearance to launch a global “live earth” concert to kickstart action on combating climate change.

The June event would be run “all over the world on all seven continents” – although Antarctica was notably missing from the planned locations in China, Australia, Brazil, South Africa, the US and France.

Gore was also behind a plan to spend $90 trillion (€77.5 trillion) to redesign every city in the world so people lived closer together and didn’t need cars.

Switzerland Davos Forum Source: Michel Euler/AP/Press Association Images

Don’t worry about China

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang hosed down fears his country’s economy was headed for a “hard landing” a day after the world’s most populous nation posted its weakest growth figures for nearly 25 years.

Despite recent volatility in the country’s economy, Li said the country was putting in place reforms to make its economy run “smoother and stronger”.

Switzerland Davos Forum Source: Michel Euler/AP/Press Association Images

Enda stared into the ‘chasm of disconnection’

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The Taoiseach took part in a session with other European leaders today, when he said Ireland had learned a “difficult lesson” from its bailout but recovery wouldn’t be felt by most people until young emigrants would be able to come home again.

He also warned of a “chasm of disconnection” if Europeans didn’t work constructively with the region’s institutions.

Switzerland Davos Forum Source: Michel Euler/AP/Press Association Images

Economists argued about economics

Ahead of the ECB’s widely-tipped move today to magically create more money for itself (also known as quantitative easing or QE), there was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing about the right way to fix the eurozone’s deflationary problems.

The former boss of Germany’s Bundesbank, Axel Weber, complained the real issue was that European leaders had failed to deliver necessary economic reforms – the standard mantra from his nation’s financial mandarins.

But former Bank of England official Adam Posen, whose country pulled the QE trigger during the financial crisis, said the problem was that too many people – especially in Germany – where against the plan and it was now coming “very late in the game”.

Council on Foreign Relations Posen Posen in 2011 Source: Mark Lennihan/AP/Press Association Images

With AFP

READ: Here’s what Enda will be getting up to in Davos today >

READ: Enda Kenny is there, along with Denis O’Brien… So what’s this Davos all about? >

About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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