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Merkel will star turn at Davos

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be the main event at the annual elite gathering of government and business leaders in Davos, Switzerland.

Top of the agenda next week will be the debt crisis that has gripped global markets for over two years.

Organisers said Mrs Merkel will deliver the opening address at the forum at which 2,600 leaders are expected to attend.

Other public figures expected at the alpine resort include Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and League of Arab States Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby.

About 40 heads of state and 18 of the world's central bankers also plan to participate, the organisers said.

The forum's founder, Klaus Schwab, said that as the global economy sputters government leaders are losing the confidence of younger generations because the world has "failed to learn the lessons from the financial crisis of 2009." Capitalism in its traditional form no longer really works, he said Wednesday.

"We are looking desperately around the world for people who can offer solutions," he said.

The five-day annual meeting will probably also pay a lot of attention to the wave of Arab Spring protests and comes just months ahead of Russian and French elections. Last year's forum was held just as Tunisia and Egypt were roiled by protests fuelled by a lack of jobs and political inclusion.

Activists inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement have also set up an igloo camp outside the Davos gathering. None of the protesters have been invited to the panels.

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