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After two years, the Davos Forum is back, but with less billionaires and no snow

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After two years, the Davos Forum is back, but with less billionaires and no snow

Ask some of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful people in Davos this week, and they’ll tell you that the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting won’t be the same after a two-year hiatus due to a pandemic.

Hundreds of names are missing from the guest list, including many financial titans. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEOs will not be attending. Larry Fink of BlackRock Inc. and Steve Schwarzman, the private-equity billionaire, aren’t.

The usual contingent of super-rich Russian tycoons, including several who attended in 2020 and many of their Chinese counterparts, is also missing.

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Even the weather and timing are off: instead of the usual snow and crisp January air, the May Davos is expected to be rainy. (Instead of crampons, the WEF included umbrellas in the delegates’ welcome package.)

A bleak backdrop for the five-day event is the lingering pandemic, rampant inflation, tumbling stock markets, and the war in Ukraine. The theme for this year is “History at a Turning Point,” which has an ominous ring to it.

Wendy Craft, chief of staff at Fulcrum Equities, a New York-based family office, said, “I just don’t think the excitement is there.” “The markets, the war, and the virus aren’t helping.”

The event is still expected to draw 2,000 people, not including the hundreds of others who come but do not attend official events. Jane Fraser of Citigroup Inc. and Brian Moynihan of Bank of America Corp. will be in attendance.

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So will the Bloomberg Billionaires Index’s estimated 90 billionaires. Bill Gates and George Soros, hedge fund mogul Ray Dalio, and India’s Gautam Adani, whose personal fortune has skyrocketed this year, making him the world’s sixth-richest person, are among them.

In January 2020, when the coronavirus outbreak began, at least 119 billionaires descended on the town. That included Jamie Dimon, who is staying in New York this time for a major JPMorgan investor day. Goldman Sachs is sending a few of its top executives, but not its CEO, David Solomon.

While around 50 heads of state and government are expected to attend, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is the only member of the Group of Seven.

While President Donald Trump took centre stage in 2020, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo will lead the US delegation this year. Xie Zhenhua, China’s special envoy for climate change, is the highest-ranking Chinese official.

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On Monday, the man of the moment, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, will speak from war-torn Kiev.

Guests can climb the 33 stone steps to the Steigenberger Grandhotel Belvedere for closed-door confabs after attending a series of panels. In the evenings, there will be fewer parties to choose from. For example, JPMorgan will not be holding its annual event in a local art gallery.

Many of those attending this year are looking forward to a return to normalcy: meetings, handshakes, and sipping a Monsteiner at the Piano Bar, the local beer made at Europe’s highest-altitude brewery.

Tim Gokey, CEO of Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc. in Lake Success, New York, said, “I am looking forward to seeing people in person.”

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David Spreng, the founder of venture debt lender Runway Growth Capital, said he decided to skip the conference this year and instead attend offsite events, some of which he helped organise.

“I discovered that I can achieve my new objectives without a white badge,” Spreng explained.

The weather may be the most significant difference of all.

Davos isn’t Davos without the snow, as one Wall Street executive recently joked to a colleague.

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World Blood Donor Day is today. Why it’s crucial

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World Blood Donor Day is today. Why it’s crucial

The World blood donor day is observed every year on June 14 with an aim to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products. The day also highlights the critical contribution that voluntary and unpaid blood donors make to the health systems to save lives, as per the WHO.

The day also aims to increase the collection of blood from voluntary, unpaid donors and manage access to blood and transfusion services across the world.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that blood and blood products be given to patients suffering from bleeding associated with pregnancy and childbirth, as well as children suffering from severe anaemia and inherited disorders of haemoglobin in order to improve their chances of survival after accidents and emergencies.

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Every day, several lives are saved by transfusion performed with safe blood and blood products. Reportedly, while the need for blood is universal, access to it is not. Blood shortages are particularly acute in low- and middle-income countries, World Health Organization says.

The slogan and theme for the 2022 World Blood Donor Day is ‘Donating blood is an act of solidarity. Join the effort and save lives’. Mexico will host the day through its National Blood Centre. The global event will be held in the city of Guadalajara on June 14.

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