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Forbes Most Powerful List: Pope behind Obama, Bill Gates, and Saudi King

Forbes, the American media company, published their annual list of 70 of the most powerful people in the world today, which listed United States President Barack Obama at the No. 1 spot.

The list considered a host of factors when coming up with its rankings. The main criteria included personal wealth, political power, number of employees or followers, and active influence on global matters.

Obama reclaimed the top spot from Chinese President Hu Jintao, who came in at No. 3 this year. Although China is the largest holder of U.S. debt, its head-of-state is preparing to give up political power to his successor, Xi Jinping, which may account for his small slide down the rankings.

The deaths of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and Al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden, which have been credited to U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization military operations, are said to have helped Obama secure the top ranking.

At No. 2 comes Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who has retained his influence over national and foreign affairs and is poised to regain the presidency from current leader Dmitry Medvedev. Putin has dominated both European and Asian political headlines for most of the last decade and his influence is set to continue should he be elected to the presidential office again.

The leader of the Catholic Church and its adherents worldwide, Pope Benedict XVI, finds himself at the No. 7 spot, behind Microsoft chairperson Bill Gates at No. 5, and Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud, the monarch of Saudi Arabia, at No. 6. Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producer in the world and a key country in the Middle East.

Two more heads-of-state near the top include German Chancellor Angela Merkel at No. 4, and United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron at No. 10.

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, was the youngest person on the top 10 list, at only 27-years-of age and taking the No. 9 spot. 

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