The Latest: Merck to ship 120,000 more Ebola vaccine doses
DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — The Latest on the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (all times local):
Drugmaker Merck says it will ship another approximately 120,000 doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine to Congo by the end of next month amid the second deadliest outbreak in history.
Associate Vice President Lydia Ogden told the World Economic Forum that the company is committed to having a ready stockpile of 300,000 doses and already has shipped 100,000 to the World Health Organization.
Health officials have called the experimental vaccine highly effective against the virus.
Congo’s health ministry says more than 63,000 people have received the vaccine in the outbreak that was declared on Aug. 1 in the country’s densely populated northeast near Uganda and Rwanda.
Carrying out vaccinations is complicated by rebel attacks, poor infrastructure and in some cases hostility from communities that have never faced an Ebola outbreak before.
The chairman of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has denied that his company’s technology allows China’s security forces to eavesdrop on customers and demanded that critics back up the charges.
Liang Hua told reporters on the sideline of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos: “If they believe there’s a backdoor, they should offer evidence to prove it.”
The United States and other Western countries fear that the Shenzhen-based maker of smart phones and network gear could design its equipment to let the Chinese government listen in. Several countries, including the United States, have restricted purchases of Huawei equipment.
Huawei is also the subject of a diplomatic wrangle between the United States, Canada and China. Canada last month detained the company’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, who is also daughter of Huawei’s founder. She faces extradition to the U.S. on charges she misled banks about Huawei’s dealings in Iran. Beijing has protested the arrest.
Liang said he has “every confidence” in the legal proceedings.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he’s “very hopeful” that progress can be made toward ending Yemen’s war.
America’s top diplomat said he would speak later Tuesday with U.N. envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths, who has been trying to bridge gaps between its Saudi-backed, internationally recognized government and Iran-aligned Shiite rebels known as Houthis.
He spoke Tuesday by videoconference to the World Economic Forum in Davos, after President Donald Trump cancelled plans for a U.S. delegation to attend because of the government shutdown.
In another session, David Miliband, who heads the International Rescue Committee, said the conflict in Yemen was emblematic of the “rise of the age of impunity” where belligerents “can commit crimes and not be held accountable.”
Yemen, he said, is “often described as a tragedy, but it in fact is better described as a series of crimes.”
The United Nations says Yemen is facing the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he’s “optimistic” that there will be a “good outcome” in upcoming trade discussions with China in Washington.
A high-level Chinese delegation is due to arrive in the U.S. capital on Jan. 30 as the two sides seek to strike an accord to end their trade conflict.
Addressing delegates at the World Economic Forum via video-link because of the ongoing government shutdown in the United States, Pompeo said the “course of the relationship will be determined by the principles that America stands by.”
He noted those include “free and open seas” and “fair and reciprocal trade arrangements where every country has the opportunity to compete on a fair, transparent and open basis.”
If Beijing adopts such policies, Pompeo said, he’s “confident that our two nations can thrive and prosper together.”
The head of Citigroup bank thinks the Brexit discussions will “go down to the wire.”
At an event organized by Bloomberg on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat said the bank has had “no choice” but to prepare for Britain leaving the European Union on March 29 without a deal.
He said he hoped “reason will prevail and we’ll strike a balanced outcome for each of the parties.”
He said the bank, which employs around 9,000 in Britain, will likely move the European operations it has in London to the continent.
He wouldn’t disclose exactly how much the bank is likely to spend on its Brexit contingency plans but he said it was “not going to be a cost-neutral outcome.”
Earlier at the World Economic Forum, UBS Chairman Axel Weber, said both sides should “stop the clock” if no Brexit agreement looks likely to be agreed on in time for Britain’s official departure on March 29. Many U.K. lawmakers are looking to extend the date the country leaves.
UBS has already warned that around a fifth of its 5,000 London staff will be affected by Brexit.
Naturalist David Attenborough won a standing ovation from delegates at the World Economic Forum after warning them that the planet faces destruction if climate change is not dealt with imminently.
In an interview conducted by Prince William, Attenborough said it is “difficult to overstate the climate change crisis.”
He said humans have become “so numerous” and possess a “frightening” array of destructive mechanisms that “we can exterminate whole ecosystems without realizing.”
Attenborough was the star turn on the first day of the gathering of the business and political elites in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.
He is spearheading efforts to strengthen conservation efforts for a summit in Beijing in 2020.
Attenborough told the audience that, “Every breath of air we take, every mouthful of food comes from the natural world and that if we damage the natural world we damage ourselves.”
A top financial regulator in China says it’s “certain” that the Chinese economy will slow further this year — but that’s largely due to a “much-needed” cooling of the real estate market.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, Fang Xinghai, vice-chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said the slowdown from last year’s 28-year low rate of 6.6 percent to around 6 percent is not a “collapse.”
The International Monetary Fund this week forecast that the world’s number two economy would grow by 6.2 percent in 2019.
Fang said the slowdown has been due to trade tensions with the United States and a cooling housing market.
He said that the Chinese authorities have an array of fiscal, monetary and regulatory tools to deal with any setbacks that may arise: “If anything we should not over-react.”
Research shows that the U.S. government would stand to benefit from retraining the vast majority of the 1.4 million Americans expected to lose their jobs to technology over the next decade.
A study by the World Economic Forum, which is holding its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, found that businesses could only profitably retrain 25 percent of workers replaced by robots and other forms of automation. Success means putting the workers in jobs that require skills similar to those they already have and that can pay more than the jobs they lost.
The government could retrain 77 percent and still earn back its investment in the form of higher tax revenue and lower costs for unemployment benefits. Eighteen percent could be retrained by government — but not in a cost-effective way. Retraining will cost governments and businesses $34 billion over a decade, the study found.
Five percent couldn’t be retrained, the survey suggests.
Mohammed Hassan Mohamud, who has been a refugee in Kenya for two decades, gave an impassioned plea to the political and business elites gathered in the Swiss ski resort of Davos to do more than pay lip-service to the plight of millions of displaced people.
Mohamud, who is one of the seven co-chairs at this year’s World Economic Forum, explained how 185,000 people from ten different nationalities are confined in Kenya’s Kakuma camp with very little chance of getting out and making a life for themselves.
Refugee camps, he said, “are not ethical” and “not conducive to human growth.”
Mohamud, 28, said he wants to use his position as a WEF co-chair to “demystify” the refugee experience.
“We’re not criminals,” he said. “It’s not a crime to flee your country ... I don’t know what you’re all afraid of.”
A top Red Cross official says climate change is worsening “old-age tensions” between farming and herding communities in Niger and Mali, where troubles are compounded by violence and competition for water and land resources.
The comments from the president of the International Committee from the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, come as he visits the World Economic Forum in Davos on Monday, after visiting the troubled Sahel region in West Africa in recent days.
Maurer said lines of long-running conflict in northern Mali are moving south, toward the border with Niger and Burkina Faso. He noted “a clear accentuation of the conflict due to the dynamics of climate change.”
ICRC cited figures that temperatures in the Sahel are increasing 1.5 times faster than the global average. Maurer says the region is among the “top five concerns” in the world this year.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will headline the first full day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, with a speech to political and business leaders.
The nationalist leader is attending an event that has long represented business’s interest in increasing ties across borders. But globalism is in retreat as populist leaders around the world put a focus back on nation states, even if that means limiting trade and migration.
After Bolsonaro’s speech on Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will address the gathering on Wednesday.
But several key leaders are not attending to handle big issues at home: U.S. President Donald Trump amid the government shutdown, British Prime Minister Theresa May to grapple with Brexit talks, and France’s Emmanuel Macron to face popular protests.