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Russia beats US, in Forbes list of 'most powerful people'

31 October, 2013

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LAHORE: Russian President Vladimir Putin has knocked US President Barack Obama off of the top spot on Forbes' 2013 World's Most Powerful People List.

The magazine explained Putin earned the number one ranking "because he so frequently shows his strength at home and on the global stage", citing his involvement in negotiations with Syria over chemical weapons and NSA leaker Edward Snowden's asylum in Russia. This is the first time Putin is at the top of the list, coming in third in 2012.

Obama, who ranked at the top of the Forbes list every year — except 2010 — since it began in 2009, fell to the number two spot out of 72 "heads of state, financiers, philanthropists and entrepreneurs who truly run the world".

The magazine said recent hurdles Obama has faced such as the government shutdown as well as the two leaders wrestling over Syria strategies and the NSA leaks has led to "shifting individual power dynamics".

"Putin has solidified his control over Russia while Obama's lame duck period has seemingly set in earlier than usual for a two-term president," the magazine said.

Chinese premier Xi Jinping is at number three on the list, Pope Francis fourth and German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the top-placed woman at number five.

Microsoft tycoon and philanthropist Bill Gates took the sixth place, US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is at number seven, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah at eight and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi at nine.

The magazine ranks the 72 people on the list – one for every 100 million people on earth – according to how many people they have power over; the financial resources they control; if they have influence in more than one sphere; and how actively they wield their power to change the world.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron is no longer considered one of the world's top 10 most powerful people, after dropping out of the list. The prime minister's standing on the world stage has diminished, according to the annual ranking, leading him to slip one place from 10th to 11th. He now sits behind Wal-Mart CEO Michael Duke, but just ahead of the world's richest man Carlos Slim Helu.

In its profile of Cameron, the magazine said he had been damaged by the row over energy prices and now had "two years to galvanise the Tory party ahead of a 2015 General Election".

The magazine said, "The Conservative PM guides the world's sixth largest economy and was once hailed as the second coming of Margaret Thatcher. No more… He has recently been criticised for a flip-flop approach to green taxes after he pledged to slash the tax on household energy bills amid soaring gas and electricity prices."

"The Oxford graduate and (illegitimate) descendant of King William IV (1830-1837) has fired at the Guardian newspapers and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for 'making it a lot more difficult to keep our countries and our citizens safe'. He has two years to galvanise the Tories ahead of a 2015 general election." No Pakistani could make it to the Forbes list.


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