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From left: Mike Bloomberg, Bill Clinton, Tim Cook, and Justin Trudeau. Photos: Bloomberg Global Business Forum and AP

Top world leaders and CEOs from the most influential global corporations gathered at the Plaza Hotel in NYC Wednesday for the first-ever Bloomberg Global Business Forum, intentionally hosted the same week as the UN General Assembly, to address some of the most pressing issues impacting cross-border societies today.

Mike Bloomberg kicked off the event, explaining how "Too often governments and businesses don't talk to each other. This forum aims to fix that, and it's especially important when isolationism is rearing its head... including here in the U.S."

  • Former President Bill Clinton: "I want you to look to the future, but I believe underneath all these debates that are going on today lingers one simple question... whether you believe social strength, economic reform and political reform flow from division or multiplication."
  • French President Emmanuel Macron's main priority for France and Europe: To be the leader of climate change, new finance, artificial intelligence and transformation of the new industrial world.
  • Founder and CEO of Alibaba, Jack Ma: "[I]n the past 30 years we made people like machines. In the next 30 years we'll make the machines like people." But people shouldn't worry, because although machines will be faster and stronger than humans, "human beings have the heart, soul, beliefs, and value."
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook: "I think [deciding what to do with Dreamers] is the biggest issue of our time because this goes to our values of being American... If I were a leader of a country... I'd want every smart person coming into my country...[because] smart people create jobs... I'd have a very aggressive plan not to just let a few people in. I would be recruiting."
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: "[T]rade leads to growth... and we made a deal with citizens that we would pursue pro-growth policies and that everyone would benefit... So we've seen growth, but it hasn't necessarily reached everyone... and that's where we fall into the politics of fear and envy... so now we need to make a turn into a new progressive trade agenda."
  • World Bank President Dr. Jim Kim: Announced a new initiative, along with Mike Bloomberg and Patricia Espinosa, titled "Invest for climate," which will be a continuation of the Paris Agreement. His bottom line: "There needs to be much more cooperation between the multilateral system, corporations, and governments" in combatting climate change.
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on whether he considers Russia an ally: He thinks leaders should "decrease the number of your adversaries and increase the number of allies."
  • Bill Gates: "I had an early career in the digital revolution, and that's still the fastest moving thing... but today my focus is more on the latest health breakthroughs... [that's what] I'm most excited about."
  • CEO of Softbank, Masayoshi Son (while sitting next to Gates): "For three days I became richer than Bill Gates. Twelve months later, I became almost broke."
  • CEO of Pepsi, Indra Nooyi: "Every aspect of our lives is changing, but the single best thing I feel good about is gender inclusion... 20 or 30 years ago when I first started working, there weren't many women."

Go deeper

14 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

14 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

Updated 15 hours ago - World

In reversal, Pentagon now says drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians

Caskets for the dead are carried towards the gravesite as relatives and friends attend a mass funeral for members of a family that is said to have been killed in a U.S. drone airstrike, in Kabul on Aug. 30. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A U.S. drone strike launched on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, including seven children, rather than the Islamic State extremists the Biden administration claimed it targeted, the Pentagon said Friday.

Why it matters: U.S. Central Command said at the time that officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport, and that they were "confident we successfully hit the target."

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