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22.01.16 08:35 Security comes into focus

Davos delegates are confronted with tight security every day.


Good morning for day four of my coverage of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos. Yesterday the focus was on machines and what good – or evils – the next generation of cognitive robots will do in our society. I’ll be wrapping up those varied thoughts for you in an article this morning.

Today’s agenda in Davos will look at a very human issue – the problem of terrorism. That essentially boils down to two sides of the same coin: how to tackle the root causes of extremism (inequality, social displacement) and how to defend against its symptoms (bombs and guns).

We will hear from the Prime Minister of Iraq, Haidar Al Abadi, and the President of Lebanon, Tammam Saeb Salam, on how to bring stability in the Middle East and north Africa regions. The attention will turn to Europe with a panel debating how the continent can secure its borders from attacks without “betraying its values”.

From the United States side, we will hear addresses from Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

And of course, this issue also touches on the host country. Following the terrible Paris terrorist attacks in November, Geneva experienced a terror alert that resulted in the arrests of two Syrians. Delegates in Davos are constantly reminded about the menace of terrorist attack as they are daily confronted with highly visible armed police and army personnel and stringent, airport-style, security checks to get into the Congress Centre.

Switzerland also faces a host of other pressures that will be discussed at the Open Forum in Davos in a session entitled: “Is the Swiss Model under Threat?” Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann will join a panel discussing a wide range of themes from migration to the strong franc and the fourth industrial revolution.

It’s going to be another packed day in Davos.

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