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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.

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.)

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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.

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.

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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.

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

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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.”

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.

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“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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Hollywood

Review of the spy thriller “Heart of Stone”: Alia Bhatt shines.

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Review of the spy thriller “Heart of Stone”: Alia Bhatt shines.

In a realm where intrigue and suspense collide, Bollywood’s beloved star Alia Bhatt has once again proven her mettle in the enthralling spy thriller “Heart of Stone.” Directed by the visionary Raj Mehta, this cinematic marvel takes audiences on a roller-coaster ride through espionage, deception, and unrelenting action, with Bhatt’s luminous performance at its epicenter.

A Glimpse into the Plot

“Heart of Stone” delves into the shadowy world of espionage, where nothing is as it seems, and allegiances can crumble in an instant. Bhatt’s character, Maya Verma, is a compelling enigma—a resolute intelligence operative navigating a labyrinth of covert operations and intricate deceptions. As the layers of the narrative peel away, Maya finds herself ensnared in a high-stakes game where trust is elusive and danger lurks in every frame.

The Resplendent Alia Bhatt

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Alia Bhatt’s portrayal of Maya Verma is nothing short of a revelation. Known for her remarkable versatility, Bhatt imbues Maya with a potent mix of strength and vulnerability. With every expression, every gesture, she breathes life into a character that resonates on both emotional and cerebral levels. Bhatt’s artistry reaches its zenith as Maya grapples with inner demons while outwitting her adversaries—a captivating dance that only an actress of her caliber could orchestrate.

Raj Mehta’s Directorial Panache

Raj Mehta, celebrated for his directorial finesse, orchestrates the tapestry of “Heart of Stone” with masterful precision. Seamlessly weaving heart-thumping action sequences and labyrinthine plot twists, Mehta keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. His meticulous attention to detail manifests in every scene, painting a cinematic canvas that’s as thrilling as it is visually arresting.

Supporting Cast: A Tapestry of Brilliance

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The constellation of talent in “Heart of Stone” goes beyond Alia Bhatt. The ensemble cast, featuring Rajkummar Rao, Aditi Rao Hydari, and Vicky Kaushal, contributes to the film’s tapestry with their impeccable performances. The chemistry between the characters adds depth to the narrative, amplifying the emotional resonance and enriching the overall storytelling.

A Symphony of Cinematic Excellence

“Heart of Stone” is an embodiment of cinematic finesse. The film’s production values, from picturesque locations to evocative cinematography, envelop the viewer in a sensory feast. The musical score, composed with an acute understanding of the narrative’s ebbs and flows, elevates the tension and emotions, further ensnaring the audience in the movie’s spellbinding aura.

A Triumph of Genre Fusion

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Critics and audiences alike have bestowed “Heart of Stone” with effusive praise for its seamless fusion of espionage, action, and drama. The film’s ingenious plot twists, coupled with Alia Bhatt’s extraordinary performance, thrust it into the echelons of standout espionage thrillers. It’s a symphony of storytelling that resonates long after the credits roll.

In a year replete with cinematic treasures, “Heart of Stone” stands tall as an embodiment of brilliance. Alia Bhatt’s luminosity shines with unparalleled intensity, solidifying her place as one of Bollywood’s brightest stars. This cinematic tour de force is a must-watch, an experience that unearths the magic created when remarkable talent converges to craft an indelible cinematic journey.

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