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Obama leads Forbes ranking of world's most powerful

Published on Dec 6, 2012 7:23 AM
United States President Barack Obama speaks during the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) symposium at the National Defence University in Washington on Dec 3, 2012. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States (US) president leads it, of course, and then there's the Pope, and Angela Merkel, and Facebook's founder, and other global rainmakers on Forbes' ranking of the mightiest earthlings.

But the magazine's 2012 list of the planet's most powerful people also features folks who might raise an eyebrow or two: a Mexican drug baron, and the pudgy-faced young leader of North Korea, a hermit state assailed for pursuing a nuclear program at the expense of feeding its very poor people.

Last year's No. 2 on the list, Chinese President Hu Jintao, is among the heavyweights off the list altogether this time. Mr In Hu's case it is because he's on his way out of office.

The ranking features 71 names, a figure Forbes said it set as a cutoff because there are an estimated 7.1 billion people in the world and thus the ranking works out to one very heavy hitter for every 100 million people.

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