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Monday, December 22, 2008

Sonia Gandhi - Shahrukh Khan most influential leaders

Newsweek is one of the most respected Magazines that I have come to enjoy reading since my college days in early seventies. In this report about 50 Most influential or powerful people in the world, I was offended by the insinuation of the writer about Shahrukh Khan;Here it goes, " The magazine describes Shahrukh Khan, who occupies 41st spot, as the King of Bollywood. “.... Khan is huge in the Muslim world, even in Pakistan and Afghanistan..."

The writer's innuendo about "Muslim world" is wrong, as it has nothing to do with the Muslim world, Amitabh Bachhan was equally popular in his days and in the same places, and so were Dev Anand, Rajendra Kumar and Raj Kapoor. To be fair he should have mentioned the religion of Sonia Gandhi to make a point about India that every one can make it. His intention may be good, but it is painting the wrong picture.

Every Bollywood actor was popular in those Nations regardless of their religion and it is wrong to suggest that he is popular in Muslim world because he is a Muslim".

By the way, these guys are popular in Russia, Thailand, Hong Kong, African and East European countries. Bollywood and Hollywood are the only excellent movie makers of the world.

Mike Ghouse

Pakistan's general 20th most powerful person in world
The Nation (Pakistan)
Publication Date: 22-12-2008

Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is ranked among the “50 Most Powerful People of the World” selected by Newsweek, a leading American weekly magazine.

The list, carried in the magazine’s January issue, is led by President-elect Barack Obama, whose legacy, it said, will be decided by actions he takes over the next four years.

Indian Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan also made it to the list. Among others, it includes Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, United Arab Emirates President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Iran’s Supreme leader Ali Khamenei and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

General Kayani is placed at 20 on the list. In theory, Newsweek says, he answers to President Asif Ali Zardari. But general Kayani and his troops remain the dominant power in what could be the “most dangerous country in the world”.

“He’s responsible for Pakistan’s nukes; for the battle against Al-Qaeda and its tribal allies along the Afghan border; and for managing tensions with neighbour India,” Newsweek stresses, noting that so far, the Pakistan Army has kept itself out of politics and seems focused on the battle against extremists. “In the wake of the November terrorist attacks in Mumbai, Kayani stood firm on Pakistan’s sovereignty while also taking measures against the alleged sponsors of the outrage,” it says.

“Kayani insists he’s a committed democrat, but he nevertheless argues that military interventions (there have been four since independence 61 years ago) are sometimes necessary to maintain Pakistan’s stability. He likens coups to temporary bypasses that are created when a bridge collapses on democracy’s highway. After the bridge is repaired, he says, then there’s no longer any need for the detour,” it added.

Obama, who tops the list, is followed by Chinese President Hu Jintao, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, German Chancellor Angela Markel and powerful Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

A surprise inclusion in list, which the magazine admits is subjective, is Osama bin Laden, whom the Newsweek describes as “global terrorist”. North Korean leader Kim Jong-il also finds place in the list.

Placing Sonia Gandhi at 17th spot, the magazine says though Indian political scene is riven by factions, Congress remains the strongest national force and rules unchallenged. “In the world’s largest democracy, she is the queen.”

The magazine describes Shahrukh Khan, who occupies 41st spot, as the King of Bollywood.

“It’s not just that his romantic flicks make gazillions--it’s where those gazillions come from. Khan is huge in the Muslim world, even in Pakistan and Afghanistan. (The movies thrive on the black market.) Their main appeal is certainly the song-and-dance numbers, but Khan (a Muslim married to a Hindu) makes devoutly secular films where love trounces bigotry,” it says, adding that Sonia Gandhi gives Khan’s DVDs to visitors, especially Muslim ones. “Here’s hoping tolerance will leap from reel life to real life.”

For Osama bin Laden, who finds 42nd spot, the magazine says the manhunt may not have been successful, but it has driven him far underground.

Once a glutton for publicity, he hasn’t shot a new video since September 2007, and no audio message from him has been heard since May 2008, it adds and quotes knowledgeable Taliban sources as saying “the sheik” (as acolytes call him) rarely has contact with even his top lieutenants, who are steadily being eliminated: in 2008, at least eight of the 20 most wanted Al-Qaeda operatives died in Predator attacks along the Afghan border.

“The underlings who have replaced them don’t match their brains or planning skills, Taliban sources say. But as the Mumbai attacks showed, Osama’s ideology continues to inflict monstrous harm,” it points out.

Awarding Chinese President Hu second place, Newsweek says he is a guy “you wouldn’t think twice about - cautious, colourless and corporate and in the past, he has lost spotlight to other world leaders with bigger egos and sharper elbows. “

But to underestimate Hu Jintao would be a monumental error. His position as China’s President makes him CEO of a financial juggernaut that’s projected to post USD 280 billion trade surplus this year. While the rest of the world plunges deeper into recession, Hu the Humble is emerging as the one who is holding the lifeline.”

The economic crisis and market meltdown has got “Economic Triumvirate” place among the top ten. They are central bankers: Ben Bernanke of the US Federal Reserve; Jean-Claude Trichet of the European Central Bank (ECB); Masaaki Shirakawa of the Bank of Japan; and, to a lesser extent, counterparts in China, India, Brazil, Mexico and elsewhere.

“They are enormously powerful, and in 2009 they may determine whether the global economy avoids calamity, the magazine notes. Not since the early 1980s, when high inflation plagued many advanced economies, or perhaps the 1930s, has their role been so crucial as global economic growth is slowing to a standstill,” Newsweek says.

“Economists at Deutsche Bank forecast that the world economy will expand a meagre 0.2 per cent in 2009 - the worst year since at least 1950. In 2007, growth was almost 5pc. Without stronger growth, the slump might feed on itself and fuel economic nationalism,” it warns.

Giving reasons for placing Kim on the list, Newsweek notes that he is in bad shape after suffering a stroke but still presides over a handful of nuclear weapons, an arsenal of long-range missiles and a million-man army.

A weakened leader could in fact feel compelled to prove his toughness by threatening outside world. An in recent weeks Pyongyang has halted its rapprochement with South Korea and “torpedoed” talks aimed at getting it to give up its nuclear weapons. “Whether strong or weak, he’s still dangerous,” it observes.

Others on the list include the Dalai Lama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Gen David Petraeus, Iraqi leader Nuri al-Maliki, US House speaker Nancy Pelosi, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Pope Benedict XVI, Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch and popular show host Oprah Winfrey.

1 comment:

  1. A little different take on Phillipines Times