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Medvedev, Merkel, Monti to headline annual World Economic Forum in Davos

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Premier Mario Monti will headline next week's annual gathering of world leaders and power brokers in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.

The World Economic Forum said Wednesday that the three European leaders will focus on how to promote a global economic revival. Nearly 50 presidents and prime ministers, over 1,000 chairmen and CEOs of global companies are due to attend the event Jan. 23-27.

Others who are expected to attend include Microsoft founder Bill Gates, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde.

At a briefing from its headquarters overlooking Lake Geneva, the forum also made much of the fact that 450 women will be attending the invitation-only event, which has been held for more than four decades.

Klaus Schwab, the forum's founder, called the forum "a lab for new ideas" to improve the world. Over the years, it has drawn together politicians, diplomats, thinkers, artists and celebrities for a whirlwind week of talks, as well as the odd party or two.

The civil war in Syria and other Middle East hotspots will also garner attention at this year's event. Tunisia's Prime Minister Hammadi Jebali and Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Qandil, who came to power following the "Arab Spring" will be attending. Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who shared the stage last year, will be back again too.

Discussions over how to fund the fight against climate change, the risks to the economy emanating from corruption and digital misinformation, as well as a debate over mega-sports events are also penciled in for debate, organizers said.