The 2-page handout

The reading

The American business magazine "Forbes" has announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin is the most powerful person in the world. He knocks US President Barack Obama from the top spot. "Forbes" is well known for compiling annual lists comparing the rich and famous. In its latest ranking, it asked: "Who’s more powerful: the autocratic leader of a former superpower or the handcuffed commander-in-chief of the most dominant country in the world?" The magazine cites a number of reasons why Obama lost his top ranking and has become a "lame duck" president. These included the recent "government shutdown mess," his foreign policy on Syria and the ongoing spying and security leaks scandals.

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Forbes wrote: "There are nearly 7.2 billion people on the planet. These are the 72 that matter the most." It added that its list is: "An annual snapshot of the heads of state, financiers, philanthropists and entrepreneurs who truly run the world." It is put together by Forbes' editors, who have four "dimensions" to take into consideration. One is whether the candidate has power over lots of people; second is the financial resources at the disposal or control of each person; third is to what degree the person has power "in multiple spheres"; and finally, the extent to which he or she "actively uses their power". These factors put the U.N. Secretary-General 22 places behind the CEO of retail giant Wal-Mart.



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