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VOL. 44 | NO. 3 | Friday, January 17, 2020

Mixed reactions to Trump's speech in Davos

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DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — American economist Kenneth Rogoff noted that President Donald Trump largely avoided sensitive topics like climate change in his speech at the World Economic Forum.

Rogoff said "he would have been booed if he said anything much about this and I think he was being very careful not to get booed."

Rogoff also said some of Trump's statements regarding the strength of the U.S. economy were true.

"What's true is that the U.S economy has done well," he said. "It wasn't doing badly when he came in, that's not true, but I think it's done better than most of this group (those at the WEF) would have expected. It's been a good 10 years and his 3 years probably better than expected."

Separately, Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz slammed Trump for failing to tackle climate issues in his speech.

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1:45 p.m.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg doubled down on her criticism that world and business leaders aren't taking the threat of global warming seriously.

She dismissed some of the measures bandied about by governments and companies, such as setting long-term targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and planting billions of new trees to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

She told a panel of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland: "Planting trees is good of course but it's nowhere near enough."

"It cannot replace mitigation," she said, referring to efforts to drastically cut emissions in the near term.

Thunberg accused leaders of "cheating and fiddling around with numbers" by talking about cutting emissions to 'net zero' — emitting no more carbon than is absorbed by the planet or technical means — by 2050.

Responding to those who have accused her of doom-mongering, Thunberg said her message was simply based on scientific facts, not irrational fears.

"My generation will not give up without a fight," she said.

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1:05 p.m.

Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has slammed U.S. President Donald Trump's speech at the World Economic Forum for misrepresenting the economy and for failing to tackle climate issues.

In his speech, Trump had lauded a long list of achievements of his administration since it came to office three years ago. Stiglitz said right after the speech that "the characterization of the economy is totally wrong."

Trump's speech was met with almost total silence from the crowd, unlike his last speech in Davos in 2018, when he was met with occasional boos and laughter.

Stiglitz on Tuesday also voiced his frustration at Trump's failure to address head on the climate emergency, beyond a commitment that the U.S. will join an initiative to plant a trillion trees worldwide. Climate change is a focal point of this year's meeting in Davos of political and business leaders.

Stiglitz said: "He managed to say absolutely zero on climate change. Meanwhile we're going to roast."

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12:40 p.m.

Pope Francis has a message for the high-powered participants at the economic forum in Davos, Switzerland: people, not profit, must be at the core of public policy.

Francis issued written greetings to remind delegates of the "moral obligation" to place "the human person, rather than the mere pursuit of power or profit, at the very center of public policy."

He says the forum provides an arena where "political will and mutual cooperation can be guided and strengthened in overcoming the isolationism, individualism and ideological colonization that sadly characterizes too much contemporary debate."

Francis is also encouraging the forum's deliberations to boost solidarity with those suffering "social and economic injustice and whose very existence is even threatened."

A Vatican cardinal is representing the pope at the gathering, which started Tuesday.

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12:20 p.m.

U.S. President Donald Trump is selling the United States to the global business community.

In an address to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Trump said America's economic turnaround has been "nothing short of spectacular."

He addressed a crowd of business and political leaders hours before his historic impeachment trial was set to reconvene in the U.S. Senate in Washington. His participation will his ability to balance his anger over being impeached with a desire to project leadership on the world stage.

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11:45 a.m.

The founder of Chinese tech giant Huawei has shrugged off U.S. pressure on his company.

Ren Zhengfei struck a casually defiant tone at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland when asked about the U.S. government's blacklisting of Huawei.

He said Tuesday that being added to a U.S. list of sanctioned companies "didn't hurt us much."

"We basically withstood the challenges," Ren said.

President Donald Trump's administration has been lobbying allies in Europe and elsewhere to block wireless carriers from using Huawei's equipment in next-generation superfast mobile networks over concerns it could facilitate cyberespionage by the Chinese government. The company has denied the allegations.

Ren spoke just as Trump arrived in Davos to deliver a speech and meetings.

"This year the U.S. might further escalate their campaign against Huawei but I feel the impact on Huawei's business would not be very significant," Ren said, speaking through an interpreter.

Huawei has learned from its experiences and put in a stronger team, Ren said.

"We are more confident that we can survive even further attacks," he said.

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