The Latest: Retraining workers could help US government

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DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) – The Latest on the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (all times local):

12:15 p.m.

Research shows that the U.S. government would stand to benefit from retraining the vast majority of the 1.4 million Americans expected to lose their jobs to technology over the next decade.

A study by the World Economic Forum, which is holding its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, found that businesses could only profitably retrain 25 percent of workers replaced by robots and other forms of automation. Success means putting the workers in jobs that require skills similar to those they already have and that can pay more than the jobs they lost.

The government could retrain 77 percent and still earn back its investment in the form of higher tax revenue and lower costs for unemployment benefits. Eighteen percent could be retrained by government – but not in a cost-effective way. Retraining will cost governments and businesses $34 billion over a decade, the study found.

Five percent couldn’t be retrained, the survey suggests.

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12:10 p.m.

Mohammed Hassan Mohamud, who has been a refugee in Kenya for two decades, gave an impassioned plea to the political and business elites gathered in the Swiss ski resort of Davos to do more than pay lip-service to the plight of millions of displaced people.

Mohamud, who is one of the seven co-chairs at this year’s World Economic Forum, explained how 185,000 people from ten different nationalities are confined in Kenya’s Kakuma camp with very little chance of getting out and making a life for themselves.

Refugee camps, he said, “are not ethical” and “not conducive to human growth.”

Mohamud, 28, said he wants to use his position as a WEF co-chair to “demystify” the refugee experience.

“We’re not criminals,” he said. “It’s not a crime to flee your country … I don’t know what you’re all afraid of.”

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12:00 p.m.

A top Red Cross official says climate change is worsening “old-age tensions” between farming and herding communities in Niger and Mali, where troubles are compounded by violence and competition for water and land resources.

The comments from the president of the International Committee from the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, come as he visits the World Economic Forum in Davos on Monday, after visiting the troubled Sahel region in West Africa in recent days.

Maurer said lines of long-running conflict in northern Mali are moving south, toward the border with Niger and Burkina Faso. He noted “a clear accentuation of the conflict due to the dynamics of climate change.”

ICRC cited figures that temperatures in the Sahel are increasing 1.5 times faster than the global average. Maurer says the region is among the “top five concerns” in the world this year.

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will headline the first full day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, with a speech to political and business leaders.

The nationalist leader is attending an event that has long represented business’s interest in increasing ties across borders. But globalism is in retreat as populist leaders around the world put a focus back on nation states, even if that means limiting trade and migration.

After Bolsonaro’s speech on Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will address the gathering on Wednesday.

But several key leaders are not attending to handle big issues at home: U.S. President Donald Trump amid the government shutdown, British Prime Minister Theresa May to grapple with Brexit talks, and France’s Emmanuel Macron to face popular protests.

In this photo taken with a long shutter, the sign of the World Economic Forum is displayed at the entrance of the at annual meeting of the forum in Davos, Switzerland, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
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