THE movers and shakers of the global economy attending the Davos World Economic Forum were yesterday invited to come down from their Swiss Alps intellectual eyrie where they are “shaping the post-crisis world” and face a more immediate issue raised by Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General. He said the UN has to find US$613 million to provide the food, water, shelter and medical care urgently needed by the people of Gaza and he asked those at the Forum to use their influence to help him raise that sum from member states.

Perhaps with an eye on what has happened in Britain over the charities' appeal for similar and complementary assistance, Mr Ban urged broadcasters to do all they could to help, saying “There should be no politics involved.” No doubt the BBC and Sky will examine Mr Ban's words carefully to see whether they can be reported without affecting the integrity of their news bulletins. As it happened, official figures were issued yesterday showing the scale of the disaster that hit Gaza during the three-weeks of Israel assault: 1'330 dead (including 437 children), 5'450 wounded (including 1'890 children); 4'000 houses, 48 government buildings, 30 police stations and 20 mosques totally destroyed and thousands more buildings seriously damaged. Another visitor to Davos yesterday was Benjamin Netanyahu whose Likud party is leading in the polls for Israel's impending general election. He said that he would not halt a military operation in Gaza until Hamas was defeated.