10 RICHEST PEOPLE IN AMERICA / ECO MANAGERS WATCH CLOSELY GLOBAL DEVPT

INTERNET, SEPTEMBER 27, 2011 (MSNBC News) By By Luisa Kroll and Kerry A. Dolan/Forbes, [PHOTOS BY SEAN GALLUP, GETTY IMAGES] - The economy is down but America’s wealthiest are up, proving that it pays to be your own boss.

Despite the stalled economy, the nation's wealthiest are worth a combined $1.53 trillion, nearly equivalent to the GDP of Canada. Their total wealth is up 12 per cent in the year through August 26, when we took a snapshot of everyone's net worth, meaning these affluent folks did slightly better than the markets; the S&P 500, for instance, was up 10 per cent in that time.

1. BILL GATES:(Photo by sean gallup, Getty Images)
Net Worth: $59 B Age: 55 Source: Microsoft Residence: Medina, Washington

The top mission for the world's most magnanimous human, Bill Gates, is to end polio, which still exists in four countries and requires $1 billion a year for vaccinations; his foundation chips in $200 million.

He's also tackling malaria by providing more bed nets and backing development of a low-cost vaccine.

Slower progress on the education front: After delivering $2 billion-plus in grants to help high schools from 2000 to 2008, Gates admitted that efforts "fell short."

Just one-fourth of his net worth is still held in Microsoft; the rest is in private equity, global stocks, bonds and private companies.

With help from billionaire buddy Warren Buffett, he's convinced nearly 70 of the world's wealthiest to sign his "Giving Pledge," promising to donate the majority of their wealth to charity either during their lifetime or after death.

In April, Gates toured Amazon ruins and jungles with wife, Melinda, and their children.

2. WARREN BUFFET: (Photo: Olivier Douliery/Newscom)
Net Worth: $39 B Source: Berkshire Hathaway Residence: Omaha, NE

Warren Buffett, the second richest man in America, thinks he and his fellow billionaires should be paying more money to Uncle Sam.

In August, Buffett penned an opinion piece in the New York Times arguing that tycoons need to pay more taxes: "While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks."

That same month Buffett went bargain shopping and invested $5 billion in beleaguered Bank of America, a move similar to his backing of Goldman Sachs during the credit crisis.

Buffett suffered a rare blemish this March after top executive and potential successor, David Sokol, resigned amidst allegations of self dealing; charges were never filed. Meanwhile, shares of his conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway, have fallen 10% since last August, while the S&P 500 climbed 10 per cent over the same span.

Along with billionaire buddy, Bill Gates, Buffett continues to push the Giving Pledge, wrangling new tycoons to agree to ultimately give away 50 per cent of their fortunes.

The son of Nebraska stockbroker met value investor Benjamin Graham while studying economics at Columbia. Took over textile firm Berkshire Hathaway in 1965, company now holds vast investments including banks, insurance, railroads and restaurants.

3. LARRY ELLISON: (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Net Worth: $33 B Age: 67 Source: Oracle Residence: Redwood City, California

Larry Ellison seems to be spending more time in court than on the water: Oracle has been battling German software firm SAP over alleged software theft and rival HP over Ellison's hiring of its former chief Mark Hurd.

Oracle stock is unharmed — up 15 per cent from a year ago. Ellison sold his half-share in 453-foot yacht Rising Sun to co-owner David Geffen in late 2010.

After quietly donating millions to medicine and education, Ellison joined the Giving Pledge at Buffett's behest in 2010.

4. CHARLES KOCH: (Photo: Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/MCT/Newscom)
Net Worth: $25 B Age: 75 Source: Manufacturing Residence: Wichita, Kansas

Faulty absentee ballot applications in Wisconsin were just the latest political dirty tricks attributed to Charles and his brother David, thanks to their financial support for Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party-esque group that is fighting public-sector unions and tax increases nationwide.

Liberals fear the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision of last year will give the billionaire brothers unlimited clout in next year's presidential election. But the Kochs, whose political contributions are down by more than half this year, seem more intent on building their business.

Koch Industries revenues, which Charles heads from Wichita, are more than $100 billion, and the debt-averse company is rapidly eliminating the leverage on its $21 billion purchase of Georgia Pacific in 2005.

Meanwhile, the Kochs split with wealthy peer T. Boone Pickens over his plan to subsidize natural gas vehicles; the Kochs call it an unwarranted giveaway to big business. The brothers got their initial fortune from their father, Fred C. Koch (d. 1967), who invented a method of turning heavy oil into gasoline.

Charles and David bought out other brothers William and Frederick for $1.1 billion in 1983. Today the company, in which they both have 42 per cent stakes, has investments in pipelines, refineries, fertilizer, fibers and polymers, chemical technology and forest and consumer products

5. DAVID KOCH: (Photo: Mark Lennihan/AP Photo)
Net Worth: $25 B Age: 71 Source: Manufacturing Residence: New York, New York

New York City's richest billionaire sits on many of its most prominent boards including that of the American Museum of Natural History. Still, he and his brother Charles have a knack for stirring up controversy.

Faulty absentee ballot applications in Wisconsin were just the latest political dirty tricks attributed to the pair, thanks to their financial support for Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party-esque group that is fighting public-sector unions and tax increases nationwide.

Liberals fear the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision of last year will give the billionaire brothers unlimited clout in next year's presidential election. But the Kochs, whose political contributions are down by more than half this year, seem more intent on building their business.

Koch Industries revenues are more than $100 billion, and the debt-averse company is rapidly eliminating the leverage on its $21 billion purchase of Georgia Pacific in 2005.

Meanwhile the Kochs split with wealthy peer T. Boone Pickens over his plan to subsidize natural gas vehicles; the Kochs call it an unwarranted giveaway to big business. The brothers got their initial fortune from their father, Fred C. Koch (d. 1967), who invented a method of turning heavy oil into gasoline.

Charles and David bought out other brothers William and Frederick for $1.1 billion in 1983. Today the company, in which they both have 42 per cent stakes, has investments in pipelines, refineries, fertilizer, fibers and polymers, chemical technology and forest and consumer products.

6. CHRISTY WALTON: (Photo: L. Matthew Bowler)
Net Worth: $24.5 B Age: 56 Source: Walmart Residence: Jackson, Wyoming

The world's richest woman, Wal-Mart widow Christy Walton inherited her wealth when husband John Walton, a former Green Beret and Vietnam war medic, died in an airplane accident near his home in Wyoming in 2005.

Her late husband's investment in First Solar also boosts her total net worth by nearly $2.7 billion. The bulk still comes from her holdings in Wal-Mart, the retailer founded by her father-in-law Sam Walton and his brother James in 1962.

Walton received almost $300 million in Wal-Mart dividends since last year. The stock was up only three per cent in the past year.
 

7. GEORGE SOROS: (Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)
Net Worth: $22 B Age: 81 Source: Hedge funds Residence: Katonah, New York

In July, George Soros announced that he's turning his fund into a family office, returning just under $1 billion of his $25.5 billion assets to outside investors — dodging Dodd-Frank's registration mandate.

In August his ex-girlfriend, 28, sued him for $50 million for an apartment she says he promised to buy her.

Soros is best known for shorting England's currency, "breaking" the Bank of England in 1992 and reportedly making $1 billion in one day when the Bank of England stopped fixing the exchange rate.

He's given away more than $8 billion since 1979 to human rights, public health and education groups. Last year he pledged $100 million to Human Rights Watch, in part to counteract America's loss of the "moral high ground." He's also given away $150 million to Roma Rights (Gypsies).

8. SHELDON ADELSON: (Photo: Mike Clark/AFP/Getty Images)
Net Worth: $21.5 B Age: 78 Source: Casinos Residence: Las Vegas, Nevada

Casino king Sheldon Adelson (left) continues to enjoy a hot hand. His fortune is up $7 billion since last year, as his strong position in the casino-crazy Asian markets has pushed stock of Las Vegas Sands up roughly 50 per cent to a recent $48 (shares once traded as low as $1.50 in 2009).

Nearly 90 per cent of its operating profit comes from Asia; the thriving Marina Bay Sands casino opened in Singapore last year.
 

Through his majority-owned subsidiary Sands China, Adelson has three resorts in Macau. His goal is to push company shares back over $100, near their 2007 peak. Not that he'll spend the money on himself: "The richer I get, the more money goes to cancer research."

The cabdriver's son created the computer industry's marquee event, Comdex, in the mid-1980s. He sold it to Japan's Softbank for $862 million 1995 and later built the $1.5 billion Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and the 1.2 million square-foot Sands Convention Center in 1997 in Las Vegas. He opened the $1.9 billion Palazzo resort in 2008.

9. JIM WALTON: (Photo: Beth Hall/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Net Worth: $21.1 B Age: 63 Source: Walmart Residence: Bentonville, Arizona

Wal-Mart heir Jim Walton (centre in photo) is Chairman and CEO of his family's Arvest Bank, which has branches in Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri.

His father, Sam Walton (d. 1992), a former clerk, founded a Bentonville store with his brother James in 1962.

Today, Wal-Mart has sales of $405 billion and employs more than 2.1 million people across 28 countries. The company's shares were up three per cent in the past year.

Jim Walton received over $300 million in dividend payouts. He also serves as chairman of Community Publishers, which operates newspapers in Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.

10: ALICE WALTON: (Photo by April L. Brown/AP Photo)
Net Worth: $20.9 B Age: 61 Source: Walmart Residence: Millsap, Texas

Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton (cente in photo) is set to open her Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas in November.

Considered one of the world's preeminent collections of American art from colonial time to the present, the museum will include works donated by Walton herself and the Walton Family Foundation, with the possible additional gifts from other private collectors.

Wal-Mart shares are up three per cent over the past year. Walton graduated from Trinity College in San Antonio, Texas, and now runs a horse ranch in central Texas.

WORLD'S MOST POWERFUL CELEBRITIES

Lady Gaga Tops Celebrity LOS ANGELES, By Dorothy Pomerantz The Queen Monster's $90 million in earnings and mastery of social media pushed her past perennial winner Oprah Winfrey. Not that Oprah's doing badly.

The men and women on our annual Celebrity 100 list--the most powerful people in the entertainment business this year--earned $4.5 billion over the last 12 months by starring in films, playing basketball, walking the catwalk and more. But they also rose to the top by garnering influence.

These days that means mastering social media. Lady Gaga topples Oprah Winfrey from her No.1 spot on our list, which she's given up for only the third time in seven years.

Gaga is there not just because of the $90 million she earned with a monster tour, but also because of her 32 million Facebook fans and 10 million Twitter followers--aka Little Monsters--who helped move 1 million digital downloads of her recent single "Born This Way" in only five days.

They're also happy to buy the MAC makeup, Monster headphones and Virgin Mobile phones she features in her videos.

Oprah doesn't fall far though. The daytime talk maven, who earned $290 million last year, comes in second. Winfrey's earnings sank $25 million partially due to a reduced payday at SiriusXM.

She still earns big from her syndicated show and from the stars she's spawned, including Dr. Phil (No. 18) Rachael Ray and Dr. Oz.

Winfrey's earning power will take a bigger hit next year, when her syndicated show ends and she concentrates all her efforts on the struggling OWN network.

Maybe it would help if Oprah took a lesson from No. 3 Justin Bieber.

The Biebs debuts on our list at the tender young age of 17, with $53 million earned over the last 12 months thanks to concerts, music sales and a 3-D documentary movie that grossed $100 million at the global box office.

If this were 10 years ago Bieber would still be paying his dues in small clubs and schools, but thanks to the Internet, he's a sensation. His first hit song, "Baby," has been viewed 500 million times, a YouTube record.

Reality TV it girl Bethenny Frankel is another newbie worth noting. Famous for her newest hit show, Bethenny Ever After, she's used the small-screen platform to promote her Skinnygirl brand, helping her earn $55 million this year. She joins our list in 42nd place. Her entrepreneurial prowess--she sold her Skinnygirl Cocktails to Fortune Brands ( FOPRA - news - people ) and nabbed a $100 million cut of the deal paid out over multiple years--also put her on the cover of our magazine this week.

The Celebrity 100, which includes film and television actors, TV personalities, models, athletes, authors, musicians and comedians, is a measure of entertainment-related earnings and media visibility (exposure in print, television, radio and online). We also measure social media power by looking at each celebrity's presence on Facebook and Twitter. The earnings consist of pretax income between May 1, 2010, and May 1, 2011. Management, agent and attorney fees are not deducted. Forbes has been publishing the list annually since 1999.

Despite problems on and off the golf course, Tiger Woods still makes the top 10, ranking sixth with $75 million in annual earnings. Woods hasn't won a tournament since the revelation of his marital infidelities in 2009, and he recently withdrew from The Players Championship.

But he still commands $3 million a pop for overseas appearances, and collects money from his remaining sponsors, Nike ( NKE - news - people ) and Electronic Arts ( ERTS - news - people ).

Having a much better year: Leonardo DiCaprio. The star makes the biggest leap on our list this year, rising from 71st place to 15th, thanks to two huge movies: Shutter Island and Inception. The latter earned $825 million at the global box office, making it the sixth-highest-earning film of 2010. That went a long way toward helping DiCaprio earn $77 million over the last 12 months.

Will Smith returns to our list this year thanks to the upcoming Men in Black III, in which he'll reprise his role as Agent J. Smith had fallen off of our list in 2010 because he took time off to nurture the budding careers of his children, Jaden and Willow. Jaden starred in a remake of The Karate Kid (which Smith produced); the film earned $360 million. Smith helped Willow with her hit song "Whip My Hair." The video for the song has been viewed 11 million times.

Notable drop-offs include Britney Spears, who ranked sixth in 2010 but stumbled this year because she didn't tour. With the Harry Potter franchise coming to an end, Daniel Radcliffe (who ranked 82nd last year) also failed to make the cut.

FROM THE PHILIPPINE STAR

Eco managers keep close watch on global developments By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star) Updated September 26, 2011 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Government economic managers will keep a close watch on global economic developments to guard the country against the impact of a possible recession.

At the same time, Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran said that the Philippines has strong economic fundamentals and would not easily be hit by a global crisis.

“The Philippines has strong fundamentals to avoid the adverse impact of a global crisis,” Beltran told The STAR.

He said the sector that is likely to be affected most is the export sector as demand tightens due to uncertainties in the world market.

On rising interest rates in the international environment, Beltran said the recent credit rating upgrades received by the Philippines has helped cushion the economy.

“Interest rates have risen internationally but due to credit upgrades and higher domestic savings rate, the interest rate impact has been muted,” Beltran said.

The Philippines received credit rating upgrades from global debt watchers over the past twelve months.

The latest one came from Fitch Ratings which upgraded the country’s

long-term foreign currency rating to a notch below investment grade.

Last week, fears of another global financial shock spread like wild fear.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) plunged to its lowest level in three years last Friday as investors chose to pull out their funds and put this in safer havens such as government securities.

The PSEi shed 210.14 points or 5.13 percent to close at 3,885.96, sustaining its biggest drop since October 2008 in the wake of the collapse of investment giant Lehman Brothers.

At that time, the index dropped by 12.3 percent or by 239.66 points. Jittery investors caused a recession panic which weighed in on the peso.

The local currency reached the P44 to $1 territory before closing at P43.58 against the dollar on Friday from Thursday’s P43.77.

Investors’ panic was largely fueled by announcements from the Federal Reserve of the possibility of serious risks from the US.

Sea-based OFW inflows seen at over $4 billion this year By Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) Updated September 26, 2011 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said it expects Filipino sailors’ remittances to surpass $4 billion this year “amid resilient global demand for their services.”

“The Philippines has secured its position as the world’s preferred supplier of able ship staff,” said TUCP secretary-general and former senator Ernesto Herrera, whose labor center includes the Philippine Seafarers’ Union.

According to Herrera, the number of Filipino seamen registering for the first time with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has been growing by some 3,500 every month.

Because of this, he noted the government should concentrate on deploying abroad sailors and other highly skilled surplus professionals such as nurses.

“The drawback of unskilled or semi-skilled laborers such as domestic helpers is that, because their talents are easy to replace, they are exceptionally exposed to potential mistreatment by employers,” he added.

In the first seven months this year, Filipino seamen contributed $2.433 billion to the country’s economy, 14.13 percent or $301 million higher than the $2.132 billion they remitted through banks during the same period in 2010.

Herrera maintained that the remittances wired by Filipino sailors has been growing three times faster than those sent home by land-based workers.

Sailors accounted for close to one-fourth of the 1.4 million Filipino workers deployed abroad in 2010.

A TUCP statement showed that POEA had processed for deployment a total of 280,348 sea-based workers in the first seven months of this year, up 5.5 percent from 265,656 over the same period in 2010.

“In 2010, a total of 347,150 Filipino sailors were deployed to 2,496 foreign ships. This was 16,726 or five percent greater than the 330,424 sailors set out to 2,340 boats in 2009,” the statement showed.

Filipino seafarers are usually hired as licensed senior members of the deck department of merchant and passenger ships while others are hired as rated technicians in the engine department, bosuns and messmen.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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