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Davos Notebook: Monk offers advice

February 1, 2009

From The Associated Press

Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, his crimson and marigold robes standing out against the sea of dark grey and navy pinstripes at Davos, said it’s time for an end to greed.

“We don’t need to go back to what we had before,” said Ricard, who gave up a career in cellular genetics 40 years ago and now is a translator for the Dalai Lama. “This is the moment to take a more altruistic world view.”

“The world has enough for people’s needs, but not enough for people’s greed,” he said, paraphrasing Indian independence icon Mahatma Gandhi.

With him at the World Economic Forum stood David Green, a social entrepreneur who works to provide the poor in developing countries with basic services such as eye care.

“For too long people’s objectives were all about acquiring, acquiring, acquiring. We need to look more at what we already have,” he said.

Davos abuzz with bosses

Private jets and VIP helicopter flights create a noisy aerial traffic jam at Zurich’s international airport during the five days of the Forum.

A statement from the airport says it expects more than 1,000 takeoffs and departures during the meeting, many of them helicopter flights carrying VIP guests who want a shorter option than the two-hour road or three-hour train trip between Zurich and Davos.

The private jets that arrive at Zurich put great pressure on the airport’s 62 available parking places. They are allowed to remain a maximum of three hours, and the pilots have to find another airport where they can wait for their passengers to finish their visit to Davos.

Regular attendees of the Forum have gotten used to the well-mannered Swiss soldiers who can deliver messages in German, French or English. Their guns always somehow seemed for show.

But one of 4,400 soldiers providing security for Davos offered a reminder of the potential firepower by accidentally letting off a round while clearing his weapon after a shift.

Army spokesman Christoph Brunner said no was injured when the soldier fired into a sandbag trap that is a routine safety procedure to make sure no ammunition is in the firearm. The soldier is being investigated, Brunner said.

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