Meet Forbes’ Top 10 Most Powerful People

Here are the 10 people who top Forbes' 2013 list of the world's most powerful people.

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Forbes has just unveiled its 2013 list of the world's most powerful people. No. 1: Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Russian strongman rose from the number three spot in 2012 to surpass President Barack Obama to take the top spot this year. The reason, according to Forbes? Putin's relations with Syria and key role on the U.N. Security Council.
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No. 2: U.S. President Barack Obama. Obama was knocked out of the top spot just after a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that his approval rating among Americans had hit an all-time low, amid big technical troubles for the Obamacare website. "Obama’s lame duck period has seemingly set in earlier than usual for a two-term president," Forbes wrote in its explanation of the lower ranking.
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No. 3: Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Chinese leader came in at number three on this year's list. He was made president in November 2012, but prior to that, he held other political offices in China and rose through the ranks.
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No. 4: Pope Francis. Any leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics has some serious clout — but Pope Francis, who was elected pope just this past March, has already made his mark as an influential, unpretentious pontiff with a common touch and a frank, pragmatic attitude toward social issues and Vatican internal strife.
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No. 5: German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel is again ranked the world's most powerful woman, as she begins her third term as the leader of Germany and — as head of the euro zone's economic engine — a powerful force in Europe's economy.
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No. 6: Bill Gates. The Microsoft founder turned philanthropist has been a regular on the Forbes list, though he has dropped two spots since 2012. Despite philanthropic donations of over $28 billion through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates still ranks as the the wealthiest American.
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No. 7: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. The Fed chief has been tasked with steering America's finances, during some of its most difficult economic circumstances since the Depression. He is credited with averting a global financial crisis, and he is expected to be replaced by new Fed pick Janet Yellen when his term ends in January.
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No. 8:Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud. Better known simply as King Abdullah, the Saudi monarch helms one the the world's 20 richest countries — the world's second-largest deposit of oil.
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No. 9: European Central Bank President Mario Draghi. The ECB chief, who is Ben Bernanke's European counterpart, is currently working to steer Europe away from its debt crises and into economic recovery. As ECB chief, he oversees the world's largest currency area, with Europe's collective GDP at a whopping $17 trillion.
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No. 10: Wal-Mart CEO Michael Duke. Duke, as the chief executive and president of the big-box behemoth, heads not only the world's largest corporate retailer but also its largest private employer.
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