Davos Notebook

Davos VIP dropouts

The world’s top politicians are dropping out from the WEF‘s highly publicised list of top VIPs.

wefprepareLast-minute cancellations happen more or less every year, but this year it’s at an alarming rate.

Japanese PM Yukio Hatoyama, mired in domestic political turmoil and facing busy Parliament sessions at home, has pulled out of  the forum and is sending his strategy minister Sengoku instead.  Afghan President Hamid Karzai  has decided not to make a detour from London where he’s due to attend a conference on Afghanistan this week.

While Davos offers a unique opportunity to network with the global elite, world leaders may be busier extinguishing political fires at home.

 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, assessing U.S. proposals for restarting talks with Palestinians , also pulled out, while Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, President of Nigeria, is still receiving treatment in Saudi Arabia for a heart condition.

Japanese give Davos a Tokyo-style makeover

Business and political leaders congregating in the ski resort of Davos took a break from rosti, raclette and other Swiss cuisine as Japanese clothing maker Uniqlo sponsored a Japanese lunch and gave the conference hall a Tokyo-style makeover.

The six-course lunch, packed neatly in a black bento box, contained: seafood and vegetable tempura, Japanese vegetables, asparagus with beef, tofu with miso, shrimp, tuna, Japanese omelet, sushi topped with fish and grilled marinated salmon.

Participants later snapped up Uniqlo’s “manga” pop culture T-shirts handed out for free, while Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso — here on an 8-hour trip — enjoyed a photo-op with an exhibition of T-shirts with embedded video footage of modern works by Japanese artists.