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Obama most powerful person; Sonia, Manmohan in top 20: Forbes

New York, Dec 6 (): US President Barack Obama tops again in Forbes magazine’s 2012 annual ranking of the world’s most powerful people. Barack Obama is followed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the second spot, and Russian President Vladimir Putin in third.

Forbes said 51-year-old Obama has emerged “unanimously” as the world’s most powerful person for the second year running.

The magazine argued “Obama still remains unquestioned commander-in-chief of the world’s greatest military, and head of its sole economic and cultural superpower.”

Meanwhile, in explaining Putin’s third-place ranking, Forbes described the Russian leader as “the ex-KGB strongman – who controls a nuclear-tipped army, a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and some of the world’s largest oil and gas reserves.”

The ranking features 71 names, a figure Forbes said it set as a cut-off 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.

Forbes said it compiled the list using four criteria:

– Power over many people
– Control over financial and other valuable resources
– Power in multiple spheres or arenas
– Active use of power

The Forbes list’s highest-ranked businessman was Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates at No. 4. US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi, both public officials, also made to the top 10.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh have been named among the top 20 most powerful persons in the world by Forbes magazine.

Manmohan Singh, 80, is ranked 19th on the power list and Forbes describes him as: “Oxford- and Cambridge-educated economist is the architect of India’s economic reforms, but Singh’s quiet intellectualism is increasingly seen as soft and timid.”

In conclusion, Forbes states that “any ranking of the world’s most powerful people is going to be subjective, so we don’t pretend ours is definitive. It’s meant to be the beginning of a conversation, not the final word.”