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ASIO settle out of court, wrongful detention case
September 24, 2018

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, and the Federal government of Australia have settled out of court with a couple whose house had been raided a couple weeks after the 11 September 2001 attacks against the Pentagon and the World Trade Center towers in the USA.

ASIO, a domestic counter-intelligence service, mistakenly raided the couples house when they had a search warrant for another house.

The couple were detained for an hour and claimed they were assaulted, wrongfully detained and experienced severe shock when, according to their claims, ASIO officers threatened to destroy their door and then held them at gun point.

It is also claimed that until an hour after the attack, ASIO officers would not allow Mrs. Fatme Iali to put on her clothes. As compensation, the couple asked the court for Aus$1.5 million in damages. Although it is unknown how much Bilal Daye and his wife received in the out of court settlement (under the terms of the deal, the settlement cannot be disclosed), they stated that they were satisfied with the result.

“Just relieved, I can take care of my family now, that’s all I wanted,” Mr Daye said.

Mr Daye’s solicitor Stephen Hopper said the victory was very important for civil rights, but suggested that close scrutiy of government actions was required in the future.

“What this case demonstrates is that ASIO can be held accountable … the government can be held open to scrutiny,” he said.

“Control orders can be slapped onto a person before the evidence can be tested in court … they should have to justify why such orders and restrictions should be put on a free person before they do it.”

“The government’s got to be scrutinised for all of its actions and if they make a mistake they should be held accountable.”

Mr Hopper argued that the proposed Anti-Terrorism Bill could prevent media reporting of incidents such as this.

“If the new laws were brought in and it was an issue of preventative detention no probably not, no,” he said

“If it’s an issue of an ASIO warrant, under section 34d of the ASIO Act, no, you wouldn’t and the Government’s got to be scrutinised for all of its actions and if they make a mistake they should be held accountable,” he added.

It is unclear what implications it could have for websites like Wikinews, which are hosted on servers outside Australia.

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British TV presenter Rico Daniels tells Wikinews about being ‘The Salvager’
September 24, 2018

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rico Daniels is a British TV presenter living in France who is known for his two television series — The Salvager — whilst he still lived in the UK and then Le Salvager after he moved to France. Rico has been in a variety of jobs but his passion is now his profession – he turns unwanted ‘junk’ into unusual pieces of furniture. Rico’s creations and the methods used to fabricate them are the subject of the Salvager shows.

Rico spoke to Wikinews in January about his inspiration and early life, future plans, other hobbies and more. Read on for the full exclusive interview, published for the first time:

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Highway overpass collapses near Montreal
September 24, 2018

Sunday, October 1, 2006

An overpass has collapsed in Laval, a suburb of the Montreal area of Quebec, Canada. Three lanes of the Concorde Boulevard overpass collapsed into Highway 19. At least 5 people are dead, 6 others injured, 2 critically and least 3 cars are reported to be trapped underneath the overpass. Authorities have stated that 3 cars and a motorcycle were on the overpass when it collapsed.

Rescue workers and construction engineers have brought in heavy equipment, cranes and drills to break up the overpass into roughly a dozen smaller segments for removal. At the time of the collapse, authorities reported that 2 vehicles were trapped under the debris. Around midnight, the two vehicles were removed from the debris, and the five occupants of both vehicles were pronounced dead on the site.

Transport Quebec and Sûreté du Québec have reported that around 9:30 a.m. local time, people called 911, reporting that small chunks of concrete had fallen from the Boulevard de la Concorde (Concorde Boulevard) overpass over Autoroute 19, and Transport Quebec sent a crew to inspect. At around 11:55 a.m., Transport’s Québec patrol arrived at the overpass confirming the facts. The patroller moved the chunks off the highway and produced a report, sent to the Transports Quebec branch responsible for Laval.

The incident happened at approximately 12:30 p.m. local time, local residents described what sounded like “an earthquake”. It is not known at this time how the collapse occurred, or when it might be repaired. It is currently assumed that the cement bondings to the steel rods which held the overpass to its approaches gave way, and with nothing to hold the overpass’ central span up, it collapsed.

This isn’t the first overpass collapse in Laval. In 2000, a section of the Highway 15 overpass collapsed, killing one and injuring two others. It was later determined that the collapse in 2000 was caused by a manufacturing defect.

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Suspect in Laos plot detained in Thailand; suspects plead not guilty in California
September 24, 2018

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A suspect whom police believe to be connected with the alleged plot by Hmong Americans to overthrow the government of Laos has been captured and detained in Thailand, police said yesterday.

The man was identified as Sha Wang Lee, 53. He was arrested on Monday while trying to cross the border into Laos in northern Thailand‘s Nan Province. Police said he was carrying an expired United States passport that showed his hometown as Fresno, California. He also had a military-training certificate signed by Vang Pao.

Royal Thai Police Captain Sitthinan Sithkamjorn told the Associated Press that the man was taken to the U.S. embassy in Bangkok.

Kathleen Boyle, an embassy spokeswoman, said she could not comment on the case because of privacy concerns.

Sittihinan said the man would be detained in Thailand for overstaying his visa if he was not deported to the U.S.

Also on Monday, Vang Pao and nine others accused in the plot pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges in U.S. district court in Sacramento, California. They are charged with violating the Neutrality Act, which makes it a crime to conspire to overthrow a foreign government that is on friendly terms with the United States, as well as conspiracy to kill, kidnap and maim, and conspiracy to export munitions without a license. They could face life in prison if convicted.

Vang Pao, 77, is a former general in the Royal Lao Army who led U.S.-backed Hmong forces against the communists in the Laotian Civil War, or “Secret War” that paralleled the Vietnam War. After the war, Vang Pao immigrated to the U.S.

Among the suspects is Harrison Jack, 60, a former California National Guard colonel and U.S. Army Ranger who ran covert operations during the Vietnam War. The others charged are all Hmong-American men, many of them prominent members of Hmong community in California’s Central Valley. They were Lo Cha Thao, 34; Youa True Vang, 60; Hue Vang, 39; Chong Yang Thao, 53; Seng Vue, 68; Chue Lo, 59; and Nhia Kao Vang, 48. An 11th suspect, Dang Vang, 48, was arrested last week and had already pleaded not guilty.

U.S. authorities arrested Vang Pao and nine others in a sting operation set up by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), in which the defendants met at a Thai restaurant in Sacramento with a man they believed was an arms dealer but was in fact an undercover ATF agent.

After leaving the restaurant, they examined a truckload of weapons that contained AK-47s, M-16 rifles, C-4 explosives, anti-tank rockets, rocket-propelled grenades and Claymore mines, according to the federal indictment.

Their plan was, authorities say, to ship the weapons to Thailand, where they would then be smuggled into Laos and used to blow up government buildings in the Laotian capital, Vientiane.

The court has refused to grant bail to any of the defendants, saying those pose too great a danger and flight risk.

About 1,000 Hmong people rallied on the Sacramento district courthouse steps, calling for the release of Vang Pao. Waving American flags, signs and posters of Vang Pao, among their chants was “Free Vang Pao! Freedom Now!”

Another rally by around 1,500 Hmong people was held on the steps the state capital in Sacramento, where demonstrators demanded that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger speak about the case.

“We want Arnold to come out and say something!” protest leader Vanmong Xiong of Sacramento was quoted as saying by the Sacramento Bee. “Arnold has the power to talk to President Bush, and Bush should dismiss it [the case]!”

According to Xiong, about 8,500 Hmong refugees from the Secret War are still in Laos, on the run in the mountain jungles, fleeing from the persecution of the communist government that has ruled the country since 1975.

“Who paid for this?” he thundered. “The taxpayers of the U.S.! We pay Laos to murder our men, women and children in the jungle!”

Laotian Ambassador to the United States Phiane Philakone, was interviewed by the Sacramento Bee, saying there are no human rights violations against the Hmong in Laos, and he invited reporters to go see for themselves.

Simply referred to as The General by admirers in the Hmong community, Vang Pao is viewed as a folk hero by Hmong-Americans of his generation.

In Wisconsin, home to many Hmong war refugees, an elementary school was to be named after Vang Pao. On Monday in Madison, Wisconsin, the school board voted 7-0 to remove Vang Pao’s name from the school, which is under construction.

Board members apologized to the Hmong community, but said the move was needed to defuse dissension in the community, and that the time was not right to name a school after Vang Pao.

“We have to make sure that there’s not a lot of controversy surrounding a school that children will attend,” board president Arlene Silveira was quoted as saying by WISC-TV.

The board had approved the name unanimously earlier this year, but the name had sparked controversy even before Vang Pao’s arrest, with opponents cited allegations of Vang Pao’s involvement in drug trafficking and war crimes during the Secret War.

Now there is uncertainty about what to name the new school.

“I think it is painful, but there’s hope that the school board members are thinking about changing its policy and with that discussion we hope that the intention is to work with us again,” Hmong community leader Koua Vang, executive director of United Refugee Services, was quoted as saying by WISC-TV.

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CanadaVOTES: NDP candidate David Sparrow in Don Valley West
September 23, 2018

Friday, October 10, 2008

In an attempt to speak with as many candidates as possible during the 2008 Canadian federal election, Wikinews has talked via email with David Sparrow. Sparrow is a candidate in Ontario’s Don Valley West riding, running under the New Democratic Party (NDP) banner. The riding was set to vote in a by-election on September 22, 2008, following the resignation of John Godfrey, but Stephen Harper’s sudden election call nulled that effort.

Also running in the Toronto riding are Liberal Rob Oliphant, Conservative John Carmichael, Green Georgina Wilcock, and Communist Catherine Holliday.

The following is an interview with Sparrow, conducted via email. The interview is published unedited, as sent to Wikinews.

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September 21, 2018
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School on Australia’s Sunshine Coast makes staff redundant, requests they apply for ‘new’ jobs
September 18, 2018
This article’s primary contributor, Patrick Gillett, is an alumnus of Sunshine Coast Grammar School.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wikinews has obtained a list of middle management teaching staff allegedly made redundant, or laid off due to restructuring, by Sunshine Coast Grammar School (SCGS), in Queensland, Australia. Sources say that those staff have been told that they can apply for new positions that have opened up.

The list, published on the SCGS alumni Facebook page, contains the names of twenty-two staff members, eight of which taught this article’s primary contributor. Seventeen positions are reportedly being opened up by the private Christian school, eight of which seem to significantly overlap the old ones.

The changes are, apparently, designed to get teachers back into the classroom. “We are not cutting subject choices and extracurricular activities, but retaining a student-driven curriculum that integrates with the new Australian Curriculum, in keeping with our commitment to teaching and learning opportunities,” said headmaster Nigel Fairbairn.

Fairbairn could not guarantee that any of the staff would be given a position in 2011. “That will depend on how many people on that list apply for new positions of responsibility and are successful,” he said.

“The Head of the School cannot guarantee the 21 staff a job at the School in the future, with many of the positions being advertised to external applicants,” said Terry Burke, secretary for the Independent Education Union of Australia Queensland branch (Queensland Independent Education Union, QIEU).

“There has been little or no consultation with affected staff, who should not have to reapply for their jobs,” he said. “Most of the proposed restructuring is highly questionable and places at risk the high quality education at the School.”

Some former students responded angrily to the news.

Four of the affected teachers “were the backbone of the school when [controversy surrounded founding headmaster John Burgess] happened,” a former prefect (student leader) said. “They got it through that crisis and this is the thanks they get.”

“People are angry and shocked,” they continued. “I am aware of at least 10 families who have said they will pull their children out of the school – it’s that bad.”

The student body has not ruled out protesting the schools plans. “It’s getting to that stage,” the former prefect said. “People are trying to look at it in an intelligent way but there is so much anger out there.”

Wikinews understands that Fairbairn attracted criticism when he was a head teacher in Christchurch, New Zealand, where a former student claimed that Fairbairn “replaced the open and welcoming culture … with the tyrannical and oppressive one.”

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Sculptor to teach animation maquettes at VAB Creative Studio
September 17, 2018

Friday, May 26, 2006

Brampton, ON — On Wednesday, May 31 at 6:30 p.m., sculptor Alvaro Cervantes will host a meet and greet at the Visual Arts Brampton Creative Studio. Cervantes will be showing his precise sculptures to guests, and promoting his upcoming multi-week workshop at the studio. The course is open to students who love cartoon, no matter their skill levels or experience sculpting.

“We’re extremely pleased to present such a unique course at VAB,” group president Keith Moreau commented. “Alvaro is a master of his craft, and students are sure to benefit immensely from the experience.”

Alvaro has specialized in maquettes for 16 years, creating sculptures used by companies including Disney, Pixar, and Marvel Comics. His works have served as reference for animators, and as prototypes for toys. Some of his most recent work is for the Disney-Pixar film Cars, which will was released today in theatres. Cervantes has taught the workshop at Oakville’s Sheridan College, home of a respected Animation BA program.

The meet-and-greet is free for everyone. The timing and price of the course will be established by Wednesday.

The Visual Arts Brampton Creative Studio is located in the Bartley’s Square Mall, at the corner of Hurontario and Steeles Avenue. The studio is the only suite in the lower level, and is accessible through a glassed in lobby.

For more information on the meet-and-greet or the course, contact visualartsbrampton@gmail.com, or phone 905-453-9142.

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Submitted by: Damaris West

They flip open and light up jewel blue. They close with a snap and stow away in the smallest of pockets. They play Handel s Water Music as loud as an orchestra from the depths of a coat. They cause frenzied fumblings and arrested conversations. They are the commonest diversion on trains and park benches where RSI s are incurred through the endless pressing of tiny buttons. If we are to believe the implication of new laws, they are a major cause of RTA s. A person walking along, talking and laughing animatedly, cannot be assumed to be a lunatic. Even if the mobile phone is not immediately apparent, it may be present in the form of an insect-sized receiver held by a headband against the ear.

In Italy mobile phones are a way of life. They are called cellulare (cellphones) and are carried by virtually everyone apart from the extremely elderly. They are answered with the formulaic Pronto ( Ready ) in the teeth of whatever else may be going on. Their newness or otherwise is a status indicator. They demand attention, even when not audibly clamouring, for the reading of messages, or texting – and other things like games which I prefer not even to think about.

In the world of the mobile phone, work and leisure are inextricably mixed. The next call may be from a friend, a family member, or from a business client. There never seems to be a question of division of labour whereby a work telephone would be used within office hours just for work, and a home telephone for matters and people domestic. To have a cellphone is to be a person with an aerial on one s head.

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Having said that, there is one class of person who makes use of two mobile phones to deal with two separate departments in his life. This is the unfaithful husband, who gives his wife and family one number and his mistress the other. By means of judicious switching off of one or the other phone, he is able to maintain the duplicity for which Italian men have a reputation.

I have seen quite another class of person with two cellphones. This is our doctor, whose mobile number is given out to all her patients. Presumably the other phone has a different function, being for her family or certain professional contacts. But it leads me onto an extremely positive and helpful use of the technology. It would be hard to imagine a General Practitioner in Britain answering a mobile phone while in the midst of surgery to accept the order for a repeat prescription or offer advice on an ongoing problem. GP s are ferociously protected by a barrage of receptionists and secretaries and can typically be phoned only at one hour of the day (11.15 am in the Practice we used to attend in England). In Italy, however, certainly within surgery hours and usually outside them as well, the doctor can be reached directly. It does depend on the individual doctor as to what he or she is willing to do from that point. Our first one would refuse to give me repeat prescriptions although he was perfectly happy to provide them and drop them into the Pharmacy for my husband.

I m a doctor, not a postman, he argued whenever I made a request on my own account.

However our current doctor does the service gladly thus not only saving us time but also reducing the congestion in the surgery waiting room. She will also offer advice on the making and breaking of hospital appointments and other matters, all with patience and good temper. I have heard her criticised for allowing interruptions to her face-to-face consultations, but I am personally thankful.

Other professionals are helpfully accessible via the mobile phone culture. An electrician, for example. His home line is manned by a wife who only knows he will be home for lunch (a more useful piece of information than it sounds as Italian lunches are almost as sacrosanct as French ones). However you can speak to the man himself, out on another job, if you have his cellphone number. Likewise someone like a surveyor, or a lawyer, who is often out of the office, can be contacted directly rather than through the vague recollections and assessments of a receptionist.

When the gas lorry is due to deliver gas to our outside tank an event which ends up being pinpointed to an eight-hour span of time it is handy to have the driver s number so as to ask his ETA as he makes his way through the villages.

So although it can be irritating to watch the alacrity with which the demanding little objects are answered and to realise people s growing dependence, on balance, living in Italy, the mobile phone makes life slightly more efficient, slightly more predictable, and therefore quite a lot more pleasant. Long may it continue.

About the Author: Damaris West is Managing Director of worldwide tutor agency Anysubject Ltd which she runs from the Italian office. Anysubject provides tutoring in all academic subjects, musical instruments and foreign languages. Visit the Anysubject website –

anysubject.com

or see the free guides section –

anysubject.com/helpful-guides.asp

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

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‘Davos man’ versus ‘Camp Igloo’; 42nd World Economic Forum convenes in Swiss alps
September 14, 2018

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel gave yesterday’s opening address to the 42nd meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), which is facing a distinctly different geo-political landscape from twelve months ago. Outside the WEF security cordon, in the sub-zero temperatures of Davos’ train station car park, the local incarnation of the Occupy movement are setting up ‘Camp Igloo’; but, with little hope of the archetypes of the 1%, ‘Davos Man’, arriving by public transport and seeing their sub-zero protest.

David Roth, heading the Swiss centre-left’s youth wing — and an organiser of ‘Camp Igloo’, echoes much of the sentiment from ‘Occupy’ protests around the world; “[a]t meetings the rest of society is excluded from, this powerful ‘1 percent’ negotiates and decides about the fate of the other 99 percent of this world, […] economic and financial concentration of power in a small, privileged minority leads to a dictatorship over the rest of us. The motto ‘one person, one vote’ is no longer valid, but ‘one dollar, one vote’.”

Roth’s characterisation of ‘Davos Man’, a term coined by the Professor Samuel Huntington of Harvard University, is more emotive than that of the late professor who saw ‘Davos man’ as “[having…] little need for national loyalty, view[ing] national boundaries as obstacles that thankfully are vanishing, and see[ing] national governments as residues from the past whose only useful function is to facilitate the elite’s global operations”.

As Reuters highlights, many attendees will opt to make their way from Zurich to Davos by private jet, or helicopter, and the WEF itself provides handouts indicating the cost of such is 5,100 Swiss francs (approx. 5,500 USD, 3,500 GBP, 4,200 EUR). In contrast: travelling by rail, even when opting for first class — without an advance booking, is 145 Swiss francs (approx. 155 USD, 100 GBP).

Shifting fortunes see several past attendees missing this year’s exclusive get-together in the alpine resort; for a second year running — and now caught up in the UK phone hacking scandal being scrutinised by Lord Leveson’s inquiry — media mogul Rupert Murdoch will not be attending. Nor will the former head of financial services company UBS Oswald Gruebel, who resigned in the wake of US$2.3 billion losses incurred through unauthorised trading; likewise, Philipp Hildebrand, the ex-head of the Swiss National Bank, is absent following scandal associated with his wife’s currency trading activities; and, although the sexual assault charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn were dropped, having stepped down as managing director of the International Monetary Fund Strauss-Kahn will also be absent.

As the #OccupyWEF protesters were building igloos last weekend, an anti-WEF protest in the Swiss capital Berne was broken up by police, who stated their intent to prosecute participants in the illegal protest. Allegations of calls for violent protest action led to a high number of officers being involved. In the aftermath, charges of breach of the peace are to be brought against 153 people, with some targeted for more serious offences. At least one group involved in the protest described the police response as “disproportionate”.

At ‘Camp Igloo’ Roth says he is seeking discussions with the WEF’s expected 2,000 attendees; but his voice, and that of others in the worldwide ‘Occupy’ movement, is unlikely to be given a platform in the opening debate, “Is 20th-century capitalism failing 21st-century society?” He, and others taking part in this Swiss incarnation of the ‘Occupy’ movement, are still considering an invite to a side-session issued by the World Economic Forum’s founder, Klaus Schwab; commenting on the invite Roth told the Associated Press they would prefer a debate at a more neutral venue.

As has been the case for several years now, the annual Forum meeting in Davos was preceded with the release of a special report by the World Economic Forum into risks seen as likely to have an impact the in the coming decade. The 2012 Global Risks Report is a hefty document; the 64-page report is backed with a variety of visualisation tools designed to allow the interrelations between risks to be viewed, how risks interact modelled, and their potential impacts considered — as assessed by the WEF’s panel of nearly 500 experts.

As one would expect, economic risks top both the 2012 impact and likelihood charts. Climate change is pushed somewhat further down the list of concerns likely to drive discussions in Davos. “Major systemic financial failure” — the collapse of a globally important financial institution, or world currency, is selected as the risk which carries the most potential impact.

However, “Chronic fiscal imbalances” — failing to address excessive government debt, and “Severe income disparity” — a widening of the the gulf between rich and poor, top the list of most likely risks.

At the other end of the tables, disagreeing respectively with the weight last year’s Wikinews report gave to orbital debris, and the Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) fight with the Internet over copyright legislation, the 2012 Global Risks Report places “Proliferation of Orbital Debris” and “Failure of intellectual property regime” bottom of the league in terms of potential impact.

In 2011, with the current global economic crisis well under-way, “Fiscal crises” topped the WEF risks with the largest potential impact in the next ten years. However, perceived as most likely a year ago, “Storms and cyclones”, “Flooding”, and “Biodiversity loss” — all climate-change related points — were placed ahead of “Economic disparity” and “Fiscal crises”.

More mundane risks overtake the spectre of terrorism when contrasting this year’s report with the 2011 one; volatility in the prices of commodities, consumer goods, and energy, and the security of water supplies are all now ranked as more likely risks than terrorism — though the 2011 report did rank some of these concerns as having a higher potential impact. A significant shift in perception sees the 2012 report highlight food shortages almost as likely a risk the world will face over the next decade; and, one with a far more significant impact.

Attending the World Economic Forum at Davos is more than just an opportunity to discuss the current state of the global economy, and review the risks which face countries around the world. With such a high number of political and business leaders in attendance, it is an ideal opportunity to pursue new trade deals.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is, in addition to being a keynote speaker, expected to pursue improved relations with European and Asian trade partners at private meetings on the Forum sidelines. The Toronto Star reports Harper is likely to push forward an under-negotiation Canadian-European free-trade agreement, and hold closed-door discussions prior to next month’s planned trip to China.

Similarly, Canadian trade minister Ed Fast is expected to meet South Korean counterparts to discuss an equivalent deal to the preferential ones between the Asian nation and the US and Europe. Fast’s deal does, however, face opposition at home; the Canadian Auto Workers union asserts that such a deal would put 33,0000 jobs at-risk.

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British Prime Minister David Cameron and chancellor George Osborne are expected to discuss a possible increase of UK funding to the International Monetary Fund (IMF); however, with the UK responsible for 4.5% of the US$400 billion in the IMF’s lending fund, backbench MPs have warned that committing any additional funds could provoke a Conservative revolt in parliament. Tuesday’s IMF cut of predicted global growth from 4% to 3.3%, warnings of a likely Eurozone recession in 2012, and ongoing problems with Greek financial restructuring, are likely discussion topics at Davos — as well as amongst UK backbench MPs who see adding to the IMF war-chest as bailing out failed European economies.

South Africa, less centre-stage during the 2011 Forum, will be looking to improve relationships and take advantage of their higher profile. President Jacob Zuma and several cabinet members are attending sessions and discussions; whilst former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown is to moderate a session, “Africa — From Transition to Transformation“, with Nigeria, Guinea, and South Sudan’s presidents on the panel. Wal-mart’s CEO Doug McMillon is to lead a dinner session, “Shared Opportunities for Africa’s Future” — highlighting larger multinationals looking towards the continent for new opportunities.

Davos may also serve as a place to progress disputes out of the public eye; a high-profile dispute between Chile’s state-owned copper mining business, Codelco, and Anglo American plc over the 5.39 billion USD sale of a near-quarter stake in their Chilean operations to Japan’s Mitsubishi, prompted the Financial Times to speculate that, as the respective company chiefs — Diego Hernández and Cynthia Carroll — are expected to attend, they could privately discuss the spat during the Forum.

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