Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim remains the world’s richest man

According to Forbes’ annual World’s Billionaire list released yesterday, Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim is the world’s richest person for the second year in a row, with a net worth of US$74 billion. American Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corp is again listed in second place with US$56 billion while investor Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway is third.

Carlos Slim, the world's richest man

China added the most new billionaires to the list with 54 while Russia added 31. The US came in third, with 23 new billionaires; American Mark Zuckerberg, chairman of Facebook, more than tripled his net worth to US$13.5 billion, placing him in Forbes’ 52nd spot.

Although the US is home to 413 billionaires, more than any other country, the changing distribution of global finances is evident. Today, due to the increasing wealth of emerging nations, just one in every three billionaires is American, a decline from ten years ago when Americans numbered one in every two. Brazil, Russia, India and China together accounted for more than 108 new billionaires. Last year, New York was home to more billionaires than any other city in the world, while this year Moscow is home to 79, which beats New York’s current number of 58.

Forbes lists a world total of 1,210 billionaires whose combined wealth is US$4.5 trillion, an increase from last year’s total of US$3.6 trillion.

Egyptian prime minister steps down; armed forces appoint former transport minister to position

Ahmed Shafik Egypt’s acting prime minister has resigned, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, now in control of the country, announced on Thursday.

Shafik was appointed to his position by then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak during the 2011 Egypt anti-government protests, not long before Mubarak decided to resign as president on February 11, 2011. Meanwhile, a number of his cabinet ministers have retained their positions. Shafik had received criticism for his negative attitude towards young protesters and his “inadequate vision”, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Ahmed Mohamed Shafik, who served as Prime Minister of Egypt from January 2011 to March 2011.

In response to the announcement of Shafik’s resignation, Wael Ghonim, a Google executive, credited with organizing the first demonstration and a former political prisoner, wrote on Twitter, a micro-blogging website, “Power to the people!” During the Egyptian protests, one of the key demands of the protesters was that Shafik step down from his acting minister status. Mohamed ElBaradei, another pro-democracy activist and co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, tweeted on Twitter that Egypt is “on the right track.”

Mohamed Mustafa ElBaradei, Former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The statement released by the Council also announced Essam Sharaf as the new prime minister. “The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces decided to accept the resignation of Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq and appointed Essam Sharaf to form the new government,” the armed forces said on social networking website Facebook.

Sharaf formerly held the position as the Minister of Transportation. The Los Angeles Times reports that he departed from that position five years ago, during the aftermath of numerous train collisions in which the Egyptian government was accused of carelessness.

Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was considered persona non grata by Egypt on Monday, as was his family. According to BBC News Online, Mubarak is not in the good health and has yet been seen or heard from in public since his resignation.

Despite having achieved one of their aims, protesters intend to continue demonstrating with mass rallies on Friday because all their demands have yet to be met. The removal of a current emergency law is amongst those demands. The law allows the Egyptian government to place people under arrest without charges brought against them. In a statement, the January 25 Youth Coalition said that they “still demand a specific time frame to achieve the rest of the revolution’s basic demands.” The protesters also continue to request the removal of ministers with ties to the old regime.

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