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Why Ivanka Trumps Melania As A World’s Most Powerful Woman

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Forbes’ 100 World’s Most Powerful Women 2017 ranking features only one Trump—and it’s not the First Lady. Since its inception in 2004, this is the first time our annual directory of the women who matter most on the global stage does not include the wife of the U.S. president. It is also the only time a First Daughter has found herself in the ranking: Ivanka Trump lands as the No. 19 Most Powerful Woman. As Ivanka—a senior advisor to President Donald Trump —has risen as a weighty voice in the White House, Melania Trump appears to have assumed a far quieter role.

Officially advising her father since March, Ivanka has been both praised and criticized for her influence in the Trump Administration. The First Daughter (and wife of Jared Kushner, also a senior advisor to the president) is known to have more liberal views than 45. While it’s widely contested how much she has been able to tip her father’s policies to the left, she is one of the few women who are close to the highest office in the country.

See Full List: 100 World’s Most Powerful Women

“I am a real estate developer and an entrepreneur. More important, I’m a wife and a mother,” Ivanka wrote in her 2017 self-help book called Women Who Work. “I design and build iconic properties all over the world; I have also created and am growing a business that seeks to inspire and empower women in all aspects of their lives. I’m busy teaching my children the value of hard work and the importance of family.”

As the founder of her eponymous retail brand, Ivanka Trump has been a self-proclaimed women’s rights advocate long before her role at the White House. She launched the initiative Women Who Work in 2014 (a precursor to her 2017 book), highlighting the lives of working American women and mothers. By the time she joined the family quest to the ultimate frontier; the White House, she had already taken the reins of the family business as the executive VP at the Trump Organization, and the cofounder of Trump Hotels and their more affordable hotel line, Scion. In June 2015, however, she took on a different role and introduced her father when he declared his candidacy in New York City. A little over a year later, she set the stage for him at the Republican National Convention.

“My father values talent. He recognizes real knowledge and skill when he finds it. He is color blind and gender neutral,” the soon-to-be first daughter said as she addressed 50,000 people in Cleveland, “he will fight for equal pay for equal work, and I will fight for this too, right alongside of him.” Since her father announced he would pursue a ticket to the White House, Ivanka has claimed women’s rights would be central to the Trump presidency—even after the Washington Post released an Access Hollywood tape from 2005 which revealed Trump’s lewd remarks about women.

Whether the extent of Ivanka’s influence has been what many have anticipated remains unclear, however. Ivanka, who identifies herself as a political independent, joined congressional Republicans like Marco Rubio in October to call for an increase in the child tax credit, one of her projects under her father’s presidency. She also spearheaded a memorandum in September that set aside at least $200 million to prioritize teaching coding in U.S. schools, especially for girls and minorities.

Yet, the senior advisor has also been widely scrutinized, especially by those who thought she would challenge some of her father’s social views. In July—a month after Ivanka declared her support for the LGBTQ community—many took to Twitter to criticize her lack of apparent response to Trump’s proposed ban on transgender individuals serving in the army. “I am proud to support my LGBTQ friends and the LGBTQ Americans who have made immense contributions to our society and economy,” she had tweeted during the NYC Pride Week.

In the first months of his presidency, Trump also took a lot of heat for withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, for extending the “global gag rule,” and for not immediately denouncing neo-Nazis and the KKK after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, causing Ivanka to be depicted as “complicit,” especially by those who disapprove of the current trajectory of the Trump presidency.

“If being complicit is wanting to, is wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact then I’m complicit,” the advisor told CBS This Morning in April. “I don’t know that the critics who may say that of me, if they found themselves in this very unique and unprecedented situation that I am now in, would do any differently than I am doing.”

“The musical Hamilton showed us that it matters to be in the ‘room where it happens.’ Ivanka wants everyone to know she was in the room, but was not responsible for whatever happens,” said Andrea Purse, former White House communications staffer during the Obama Administration. “On issue after issue—on climate, LGBT issues, ‘women’s’ issues that she claims to care about, she has failed to deliver when it mattered most.”

In August, Ivanka was under heavy fire again due to her support for the halt of a planned Obama-era rule that would have required businesses to begin collecting data to combat pay discrimination, a cause she has championed. “Whether my contribution ultimately lives up to the expectations of some of the harshest critics? Only time will tell,” she told the Financial Times in September.

Unlike Ivanka, Melania Trump fails to join the Most Powerful Women list as D.C. insiders claim that she hasn’t completely stepped up to the challenge yet. The First Lady trails powerful women who have trodden the White House like Laura Bush (who came on the list in 2004) and Michelle Obama (who came on in 2009). The expectations are high for the second immigrant First Lady of the U.S. (Louisa Adams, first lady in 1825, was the first) especially with President Trump’s stance on immigration, according to Kelly Gibson, a political consultant at the media firm in D.C.. “I think the role that [she] plays on the administrations’ opinions about immigration and access to what makes people successful in this country could make for very interesting conversation,” Gibson said.

While the skepticism persists, insiders – especially Democrats – expect First Lady Melania Trump, who according to the latest CNN poll from September is the most favorable Trump, to become a more significant voice. “On the campaign trail, she said that her main focus if she were first lady would be to take on bullying. Now that she’s FLOTUS, we haven’t seen her do much on bullying,” political analyst Cartney McCracken said. “But finally, this past Thursday we saw Melania step up in tackling one of the biggest threats to Americans— fighting the opioid epidemic.”

At the White House event in October where President Trump declared the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency, Melania made the first remarks, a rare occasion thus far. “And I have recently taken a larger interest in what I can do to help fight this epidemic,” she told the crowd, evoking an applause. “I have been participating in meetings and listening sessions, and I have been visiting with people who have been affected by this disease.”

As Melania Trump becomes a voice in addressing the drug addiction epidemic, her critics want to see her do more. “This first lady has not used her position to effect the public good yet,” Kelly Gibson said. “I think the office, FLOTUS, deserves to be on the most powerful list. I don’t think [Melania Trump] has stepped up and fully realized the potential for the good she can do, but am hopeful she will.” – Written by 

Billionaires

Forbes Billionaires 2018: Meet The Richest People On The Planet

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The gap between the really rich and the merely rich continues to widen, as fortunes soar to new heights. A record 2,208 billionaires made Forbes’ 32 annual ranking of the world’s billionaires. Altogether they are worth a record $9.1 trillion, up 18% from a year ago. The 20 richest people on the planet are worth a staggering $1.2 trillion, a sum roughly equivalent to the annual economic output of Mexico. In aggregate, they may represent less than 1% of total billionaires but their riches amount to 13% of the total fortune of all billionaires worldwide.

Jeff Bezos is the richest person on the planet and the first centi-billionaire atop our annual ranking. Shares of his e-commerce giant Amazon rose 59%  in 12 months, helping boost his fortune by $39.2 billion. It was the biggest one year gain since Forbes started tracking billionaires in 1987. He easily moved ahead of Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates, who ceded the top spot for only the sixth time since 1995.

READ MORE: Here’s Why Jeff Bezos Is Not Truly The Richest Man In History

France’s Bernard Arnault had the second best year after Bezos. Record results at his luxury goods empire LVMH and a deal to buy out nearly all of Christian Dior helped boost Arnault’s fortune by $30.5 billion. He is the richest European for the first time since 2012 and number four richest in the world.

Two tech entrepreneurs from mainland China climbed into the top 20 for the first time. Ma Huateng (also known as Pony Ma) is Asia’s wealthiest person, ranked number 17 in the world, thanks in part to his firm Tencent’s WeChat, a ubiquitous social-messaging app with nearly 1 billion active users. Tencent also has stakes in Tesla, Snapchat parent Snap and music-streaming service Spotify. Jack Ma, the 20th richest person, is the chief of another e-commerce giant Alibaba, whose shares increased 76% in a year.

Forbes pinned down 259 newcomers who made their fortunes in everything from tech and aerospace to private aviation and wedding dresses. China has the most new faces with 89, while the U.S. is next with 18. That is helping close the gap between the two nations. Altogether the U.S. has more billionaires than any country in the world with 585, while greater China (mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) has 476.

READ MORE: African Billionaire Fortunes Rise

On this year’s list, the billionaires hail from 72 countries and territories, including the first ever from Hungary and Zimbabwe. One country not represented: Saudi Arabia. Forbes chose to leave off all 10 Saudis given reports of asset seizures after the Saudi Crown Prince detained some 200 people, including some billionaires, some for as long as three months.

While the vast majority of the world’s billionaires added to their fortunes in the past 12 months, 16% had fortunes that slipped. One notable loser was President Donald Trump, whose fortune fell $400 million since March 2017 to a current $3.1 billion. He is now ranked 766 in the world, down from 544.

READ MORE: Donald Trump Drops $400 Million On Forbes Billionaires List

Go here for the full list of all the world’s billionaires.

Methodology

The Forbes World’s Billionaires list is a snapshot of wealth using stock prices and exchange rates from February 9, 2018. Some people will become richer or poorer within weeks—even days—of publication. For example, Jeff Bezos’ net worth climbed more than $12 billion in the two weeks between our measuring date for stock prices and when this issue went to press. We list individuals rather than multigenerational families who share large fortunes, though we include wealth belonging to a billionaire’s spouse and children if that person is the founder of the fortune. In some cases we list siblings or couples together if the ownership breakdown among them isn’t clear, but here an estimated net worth of $1 billion per person is needed to make the cut. We value a variety of assets, including private companies, real estate, art, yachts and more. We don’t pretend to know each billionaire’s private balance sheet (though some provide it). When documentation isn’t supplied or available, we discount fortunes. For daily updates of net worths, go to forbes.com/real-time-billionaires. – Written by 

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Life

The Forbes Five: Hip-Hop’s Wealthiest Artists 2018

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Last June, when Jay-Z and Beyoncé welcomed twins to their family, they did what many couples do in the wake of a new arrival–move to a bigger home–on quite an epic scale. Over the next few months, they shelled out $26 million for an East Hampton mansion and scooped up an $88 million Bel Air estate, adding 21,000 square feet per newborn. That’s the sort of thing you can do when one partner is a pop demigod and the other is the richest rapper on the planet.

Jay-Z upped his net worth from $810 million to $900 million over the past year, seizing hip-hop’s cash crown for the first time since Forbes started counting back in 2011. The Brooklyn-born mogul’s jump is due mostly to the rising value of his interests in Armand de Brignac champagne and D’Ussé cognac, on top of nine-figure ownership stakes in his Roc Nation empire and Tidal streaming service.

“We always complain about, ‘We don’t own this, we don’t own that.’ … Here he is, this man who owns that,” superproducer Swizz Beatz told me in an interview for my book 3 Kings: Diddy, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z and Hip-Hop’s Multibillion-Dollar Rise. “The sky is not the limit: it’s just a view.”

Jay-Z, Diddy and Dre are not only the wealthiest hip-hop acts on the planet, but the richest American musicians of any genre. Longtime Forbes Five champ Diddy ranks No. 2 this year despite increasing his fortune slightly in the past 12 months; tepid trends in the vodka and cable TV sectors have affected his interests in Ciroc and Revolt, but heady growth at DeLeón tequila, his joint venture with beverage giant Diageo–and massive annual earnings totals in recent years–have kept his net worth trending in the right direction.

READ MORE: Kendrick Lamar: The Conscious Capitalist

Dre ranks third with $770 million, creeping upward thanks to the market trends boosting his nine-figure windfall from Apple’s $3 billion buyout of Beats in 2014. The superproducer is also in line to receive a slug of Apple stock this summer worth well over $100 million; depending on the tech giant’s share price at the time, he could leapfrog Diddy and Jay-Z when that happens.

After the top three, there’s a long drop before the fourth and fifth names on the list: Drake and Eminem, tied at an even $100 million apiece. The youngest impresario of the bunch, 31-year-old Drake has earned more than $250 million since 2010, before taxes and spending; an equity stake in Virginia Black whiskey and pricey estates in Toronto, Canada, and Hidden Hills, California, pad his holdings. His inclusion on the Forbes Five represents yet another career goal achieved.

“If I’m not on your list this year, I’d be gravely disappointed,” he told Forbes back in 2013. “That’s pretty much my objective every year … other than making good music.”

READ MORE: How DJ Khaled Rolls: Hip-Hop’s Boldest Star Shows Off His Major Keys

Eminem isn’t known as a businessman like some of the other names on this list, but he’s still the best-selling rapper of all time and moved more albums in the U.S. during the 2000s than any act in any genre. Fresh off new album Revival, he makes his Forbes Five debut as former listmember Birdman–Drake’s Cash Money Records boss–slips below the $100 million mark in the wake of some apparent liquidity issues.

To compile the Forbes Five rankings, we follow the same procedures used to calculate our list of the world’s billionaires (our annual update arrives Tuesday): valuing major assets, poring over financial documents, and speaking with analysts, attorneys, managers, other industry players and, in some cases, the moguls themselves.

So who will be the first hip-hop star to reach the billion-dollar mark? Trends in the spirits world could continue to play a key role for Jay-Z and Diddy. After the furious rise of vodka in the first part of this decade, fueled largely by flavored variants like those of Ciroc, the market has shifted towards cognac, whiskey and tequila.

“D’Ussé fits right in there,” says Eric Schmidt, Director of Alcohol Research at Beverage Marketing Corporation. “I think DeLeón is poised for growth … it could one day be the next Patrón, but it’s a long road.”

Jay-Z, meanwhile, shouldn’t be slacking off anytime soon: though he and Beyoncé bought their East Hampton abode outright, according to public records, their $88 million Bel Air mansion comes with a $52.8 million mortgage. – Written by 

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Lists

Forbes’ First List Of Cryptocurrency’s Richest People: Meet The Secretive Freaks, Geeks And Visionaries

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In the world of cryptocurrency, where billion-dollar fortunes can be made overnight, speed is everything — and CZ is the fastest of them all. From closet-size offices in Tokyo — “I would touch four people if I turned around in a circle”— the 41-year-old Chinese-Canadian coder runs Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange that has gone from a standing start to the largest on the planet in just under 180 days. CZ (born Changpeng Zhao) cut his teeth making high-frequency trading systems for Wall Street’s flash boys, and he built Binance to be a Ferrari. His exchange can process a blazing 1. 4 million transactions a second and on a peak trading day in January processed 3.5 billion new orders, cancels and trades. Speculators (some 25% of them from the U.S.) use Binance to trade 120 different coins, generating $200 million in profits for CZ’s exchange last quarter. BNB, the virtual coin CZ created in August that gives holders a 50% discount on trading fees, has a market cap of $1.3 billion. His stake in Binance and his coins give CZ a personal fortune worth as much as $2 billion.

He is hardly alone in becoming insanely and instantly rich from crypto. Chris Larsen, a longtime tech exec known for cofounding a string of fintech apps, saw his net worth flirt with $20 billion at the height of cryptomania in early January, based on his ownership of 5.2 billion XRP, the tokens of Ripple, the company he founded. XRP has since crashed 65%, but Larsen still tops Forbes’ first crypto rich list, our (necessarily inexact) accounting of the 20 wealthiest people in crypto.

There are now nearly 1,500 crypto-assets in existence, valued at an aggregate of $550 billion, up 31 times since the beginning of 2017. While the prices of individual cryptocoins continue to swing wildly — Bitcoin is down almost 50% from its peak — it’s clear that blockchain-based currency is here to stay and that these virtual assets have real, albeit volatile and speculative, value. Black-market transactions, tax avoidance by individuals and sanctions-dodging by countries like North Korea fuel part of the demand, but so does a widespread excitement over the technology and an ideological desire for money to be free from the whimsies of nation-states.

READ MORE: Bitcoin, Blockchain And Billions

The winners of this digital lottery differ from those in previous manias. The shadowy beginnings, at once anarchistic, utopian and libertarian, drew an odd lot of pioneers who ranged from anti-establishment cypherpunks and electricity-guzzling “miners” to prescient Silicon Valley financiers and a larger-than-usual assortment of the just plain lucky “hodlers” (the typo-inspired crypto jargon for “buy and hold” investors). As in any gold rush, selling the pans and pickaxes – in this case running exchanges – is proving a more reliable path to riches than speculation. And, of course, easy money — especially if it’s viewed as a bearer asset — attracts scam artists and thieves.

Banking heir Matthew Mellon, whose $2 million investment in XRP blossomed into some $1 billion, learned that firsthand in January. The morning after a big bash, the 54-year-old recent divorcé says he discovered four people rooting around his $150,000-a-month Los Angeles party pad. (He didn’t report it to the police.) The unwanted guests were probably after his XRP and they stole four laptops and two cellphones. They didn’t get Mellon’s crypto-fortune — anyone with enough assets to make our list long ago figured out how to secure it. (Sorry, thugs.) In Mellon’s case, the private keys are divided up and safely scattered in cold storage around the country in other people’s names. But the incident underscores the weirdness that separates cryptomania from bubbles past.

Identifying the biggest crypto winners and estimating the scale of their wealth is no simple task. The virtual currencies exist almost entirely outside the global financial system, and the newly minted crypto rich live in a strange milieu that blends paranoid secrecy with ostentatious display. Take CZ’s Binance exchange. It has no real headquarters: Employees are scattered across several countries, and CZ himself seems to change locales the way others change clothes. “We don’t want to be in one place right now because of regulatory uncertainty,” says CZ. Last we heard, CZ and his trademark black hoodie had just popped up in Taiwan.

And CZ is downright normal by crypto-billionaire standards. Former child actor Brock Pierce (The Mighty Ducks, First Kid) dresses like a cut-rate Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean and is given to making grandiose statements from the balcony of his penthouse in Santa Monica, California. “This is an opportunity to be a trillionaire – someone who is positively impacting a trillion living things on this planet,” he tells Forbes. Pierce once raised $60 million from Goldman Sachs with the help of Stephen Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, to fund a company that sold virtual swords, chain mail and horses to role-playing videogamers. He also once got into trouble with his partners in a 1990s-era dot-com start-up after they were accused, in civil lawsuits, of sexual abuse of underaged boys. (Pierce has always denied the accusations and was never charged; one of his business partners, however, pleaded guilty to transporting minors across state lines for the purpose of sex.)

READ MORE: The Emperor’s New Coins

Pierce was early into the crypto game, first mining Bitcoin and then financing blockchain start-ups and investing in dozens of initial coin offerings. Although he publicly proclaims he is pledging a billion dollars to charity, he refuses to provide documentation that proves he has anywhere near that much money.

Given this opaqueness and crypto’s hyper-volatility, we are presenting our net-worth estimates in ranges. We based our numbers on estimated holdings of cryptocurrencies (a few provided proof), post-tax profits from trading crypto-assets and stakes in crypto-related businesses. We’ve also categorized our crypto rich list into five groups: idealists, builders, opportunists, infrastructure players and establishment investors. Many fit into more than one category.

It’s a near certainty that we’ve missed some people and that some of our estimates are wide of the mark. But this was equally true when we launched the first Forbes 400 list of America’s richest people in 1982. At the time, many people said we couldn’t — or shouldn’t — publish it. We did so anyway. And we firmly believe we made the world a better place by shining a light on the invisible rich. Just as crypto has evolved from the days of the Silk Road drug site and the Mt. Gox digital hijacking, fortunes of this magnitude should never be allowed to lurk in the shadows. – Written by 

READ THE FULL LIST OF THE RICHEST PEOPLE IN CRYPTOCURRENCY

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