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Thread: The World's Most Influential People

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    Senior Member Array mrina's Avatar
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    The World's Most Influential People

    The World's Most Influential People

    Ashfaq Kayani

    Until his promotion to army chief last fall, Ashfaq Kayani was the ultimate gray man, chosen, it seemed, for his lack of political ambition and his unwavering loyalty to his boss, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. But Kayani, 56, quickly showed that his loyalty lay with the nation he had served for nearly four decades, not with the man who had elevated him to the most powerful position in the country. On taking office, Kayani ordered the withdrawal of all military officers from lucrative posts in the civilian bureaucracy. As Pakistan went to the polls in February, Kayani kept the army out of sight, a first in a nation long accustomed to election results tinged by a khaki shadow. The message was clear: his army would stick to the barracks and the battlefields, not the ballot boxes.


     


    Soldiers, friends, diplomats and politicians all extol his reasoned thinking and tempered judgment. "Kayani understands that he will have to restructure the military to go after extremists," says a Western observer in Islamabad. "The fight against extremism got a breath of fresh air when he came in." Fresh air is not usually the first thing that comes to mind when one describes Kayani — his voice has the deep crackle of a chain smoker, and he is rarely without his ivory-handled cigarette holder. But it looks as if he's planning to be seen and heard as little as possible.



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    Senior Member Array mrina's Avatar
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    Barack Obama

    The first time I met Barack we had coffee together at a shop in downtown Chicago. He was in a small law firm, and I was at the Justice Department's civil rights division in the Clinton Administration. Like many who meet him, I hoped he would one day run for public office. You just want people of his caliber to lead.

    When at last he decided to run for the Illinois Senate, he called to ask for my help, and I was eager to give it. "I'll contribute at the max," I pledged. "Deval," he said, "in Illinois there is no max." I said, "Brother, I'm sorry, there has to be a max!"

    Barack, 46, has already changed American politics. We often hear about the size of the crowds he attracts, as a measure of the excitement about his candidacy. It's the variety of the crowd that is the real phenomenon: little kids who sit on the floor in front of the podium, and the 101-year-old gentleman who stood up from his wheelchair in Iowa and said, "I'm with him too." Farmers in overalls next to people in business suits. Every race, religion and creed. Every political party and no party at all.

    You can feel their excitement about being in Barack's presence—and about being in the presence of one another. They glimpse for a minute what it might be like to find common cause across differences. That's how Barack has changed politics.
    Hillary Clinton

    Simply, I am in awe of Hillary Clinton. There is no more courageous, passionate and committed fighter for our nation's children.

    In 1998 California took on Big Tobacco in a ballot initiative to fund early childhood programs. We were outspent and hope was fading fast. Then Hillary showed up, not afraid of the attacks, the money and the influence of the tobacco industry. Her wisdom and support helped us to a narrow victory that now provides $560 million a year for child care, preschool and children's health care.

    Later, Hillary supported us when conservatives went after our plan to offer preschool to every child in California. She stayed strong, even when trying to rescue our sinking ship wasn't in her best political interests. Though we were defeated, the day after the vote, my phone rang, and it was Hillary with a simple message: We're not backing down. The stakes are too high. "What's our next move?" she asked.

    Hillary, 60, has worked her whole life to improve the lives of our nation's children. She knows that through quality health care and a strong education system our children will be prepared to succeed in tomorrow's jobs.

    President Hillary Clinton would end the war, fix our health-care system and get our economy back on track. And wouldn't it be nice for our nation's children to finally have a real voice in the White House?
    Hu Jintao

    Hu Jintao is the first Chinese leader who grew up in the aftermath of the revolution that established communism in 1949. He inherits its tradition, but he has gone far beyond it. In a marked evolution from Mao Zedong, Hu, 65, has proclaimed the goal of a harmonious society whose components work together by consensus rather than direction. It is a principle he has tried to apply to international affairs as well.

    Having met with Hu on many occasions, I invariably found him thoughtful, extremely well prepared and very courteous. His mastery of the subject matter seems to make small talk unnecessary to him.

    In foreign policy, Hu undoubtedly believes that China is entitled to a role appropriate to its growing potential. He is not a crusader, however, and will try to accommodate the imperatives of both sides. There is much public discussion of an evolving adversarial U.S.-China relationship. This poses a challenge to statesmanship on both sides of the Pacific. Any American President is obliged to articulate the deepest values of our people, including human rights. Any Chinese President needs to reflect the necessities of his society, including the territorial integrity of a united China. The challenge for the future is whether they can find a way to work together, recognizing that an adversarial relationship will drain both sides, that many current problems can only be solved on a global basis and that a peaceful and prosperous world requires Sino-American cooperation.
    Brad Pitt & Angelina

    It is one thing to talk about the problems of the world and quite another to actually try to change things.

    As a team, actors Brad Pitt, 44, and Angelina Jolie, 32, have served as our goodwill ambassadors worldwide. They brought help to Pakistan in 2005, after a catastrophic earthquake killed tens of thousands of people and left millions homeless. They have tended to the poor and sick in Africa. And they've raised global awareness—and contributed $1 million of their own money—for the victims of atrocities in Darfur. Brad co-founded Not on Our Watch, an organization set up to focus global attention on Darfur and other hot spots.

    In the U.S., Brad and Angelina didn't just talk about, or even just throw money at, the tragic fallout from Hurricane Katrina. They actually moved to New Orleans and have set about trying to make right what so many have made wrong. Brad established a project to finance and build 150 new homes in the Ninth Ward.

    Angelina has worked tirelessly through the United Nations on behalf of refugees around the world, touring border camps in Africa, Asia and Latin America and lobbying on Capitol Hill. The couple cares for three adopted children, from Cambodia, Ethiopia and Vietnam, in addition to their biological daughter.

    There are hundreds of people who could be honored for their good works, but I've seen Brad and Angelina firsthand, and their commitment together is truly impressive.
    Oprah Winfrey

    Oprah is a wonderful friend and an incredible force. Her friendship and support have meant so much to Barack and me.

    As Barack often says about his own life, Oprah's story is one that truly could happen only in America. After the struggles she endured as a young girl, she became a popular talk-show host with a national following. But she didn't stop there. Using her platform to serve as a global role model, she challenges us to make the world as it is the world as it should be. And she is always the first to show us how it can be done.

    In the past few months, I've had the privilege of watching Oprah inspire thousands of Americans to participate in our democracy. She has also reached out to thousands more who might not have known there was a seat for them at the table at all—people who desperately need a voice.

    Over the past 20 years, Oprah, 54, has developed and nurtured a relationship with her viewers and readers built on the recognition that there is more that unites us than divides us—that our shared experiences in work, life and love, in family and community, in our hopes and dreams, know no barriers; that regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status or hometown, we are our brothers' keepers, our sisters' keepers.

    For this impact on all of us, I am honored to honor Oprah, the only person to make this list every year since it began.
    Oscar Pistorius

    When I was learning how to climb mountains as a blind person, I had a lot of encouragement from experts. But after I summited Mount Everest, these people weren't ready to accept what I had done at face value. Some said I must have cheated; one even claimed I had an unfair advantage: "I'd climb Mount Everest too if I couldn't see how far I had to fall."

    Similarly, when Oscar Pistorius' lower legs were amputated at age 1, few would have banked on this South African challenging world-class sprinters. At 20, when he began to close in on an Olympic-qualifying time for the 400 m, experts posited that his times were so good, he must have been getting an un-fair advantage from his bladelike prosthetics. When he set his sights on the Olympic Games in Beijing, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) ruled he couldn't compete against able-bodied athletes. An IAAF-initiated study found that more energy is returned to Pistorius' upper legs from his blades than from ankles and calf muscles and that he uses less oxygen.

    Pistorius, 21, is appealing, on the basis of studies with differing results. It was only recently that living with prosthetic legs was seen as a huge impediment, but he has turned this perception upside down. He's on the cusp of a paradigm shift in which disability becomes ability, disadvantage becomes advantage. Yet we mustn't lose sight of what makes an athlete great. It's too easy to credit Pistorius' success to technology. Through birth or circumstance, some are given certain gifts, but it's what one does with those gifts, the hours devoted to training, the desire to be the best, that is at the true heart of a champion.
    Andre Agassi

    Arthur could well have been talking about Andre Agassi. We are all aware of his tennis accomplishments, the brilliance and flash of his career. It's impossible to forget his epic U.S. Open victories, and also—though he might want us to forget—the mullet and acid-washed jeans. But the greater challenge for an athlete is to have a positive impact away from the cameras. I've been privileged to witness firsthand Andre, 38, do just that.

    When I was 17 years old, we were on a flight together. I was very nervous, but Andre was kind and encouraged me to ask him questions. When I asked about his biggest regret, I expected some answer related to our profession. Instead he said it was not starting his charitable foundation earlier. I was shocked that a person who has set such a high bar for athletic philanthropy still felt like he could do more. But that is Andre.

    There are most likely plenty of kids at Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, a model K-12 charter school for disadvantaged children in Las Vegas, who have never watched a match of his. I promise you that Andre could not care less. He would rather be viewed as the man who gives them dreams and opportunities.
    Lance Armstrong

    There is no one else quite like him. And there probably never will be. The best cyclist ever, Lance Armstrong won the sport's premier event, the Tour de France, an almost incomprehensible seven times from 1999 to 2005. But before he could do that, in 1996 he had to beat back a cancer that was supposed to take his life. Testicular cancer had spread to his abdomen, lungs and brain. Grim-faced doctors told him he had no chance. But no chance were not words that had meaning for Lance.

    He spearheaded the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which made a yellow plastic loop a statement of resistance and strength across the entire planet. Like Lance himself, his foundation looks for the next horizon. It advocates for those living with cancer, funds research, inspires the cancer community to support each other and is collectively stronger than any one of us could be alone. Maybe team cycling taught him this, or maybe Lance, 36, is what you see.

    Lance took a minor sport in America and turned it into a great national passion and a great national pride. And he did it by struggling for years, alone on a bike often in unforgiving weather, over terrain that most of us would view as hostile, when no one was watching, no one was cheering.

    He inspired all of us who face a cancer diagnosis to search out the doctors who believe that we can live, to hold on to those friends and family who stand beside our bed—and then to fight to prove the faith of those friends and the beliefs of those doctors well founded. After Lance, no one of us could ever again say it was too hard, the odds stacked against us were too high, the fight already lost. The fight I fight is for me and my family, but the power to fight belongs in good measure to Lance.

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    mmm intresting

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    wow... ashfaq kiyani is one of them na?

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    soon mine nd ur name will be included...lol...

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    yea.... i wonder why they always 4get to include our names....lolz

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    i kno huh..i guess were still really really young thats why..huh...lol

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