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Record numbers to attend economic meeting

A record number of participants will visit Davos this year to discuss the "post-crisis world" at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, says founder Klaus Schwab.

They include more than 40 heads of state and government and nearly 2,500 political and business leaders.

In an interview published on Friday with the French-language newspaper Le Temps, Schwab described the current financial and economic crisis as "the most exceptional situation we have ever had".

"The crisis is like a huge pile-up on the motorway of globalisation," he said, describing the governments as ambulances taking patients to hospital.

"The forum in Davos will play the role of convalescent home."

This year's forum has attracted twice as many heads of state and government than the average. They include German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese premier Wen Jiabao, and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Swiss ministers including Hans-Rudolf Merz, the finance minister who holds this year's rotating Swiss presidency, will attend as usual.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown may also attend.

The World Economic Forum meeting is held in the resort of Davos, in eastern Switzerland every year at the end of January. Schwab started it in 1971.

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