NEW YORK (Reuters) - Previously unknown newsmakers from Egypt and Japan joined pop stars and politicians on Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in the world released on Thursday.
The list includes pop culture giants such as Justin Bieber and Oprah Winfrey plus the lesser known Wael Ghonim, an Egyptian Internet activist who helped topple President Hosni Mubarak, and Takeshi Kanno, a Japanese doctor who refused to leave behind victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
“We’ve always, always tried to tell stories through people. ... We discovered it was a fantastic way to get people to think about what’s going on all over the world,” said Time Deputy Managing Editor Michael Elliott.
South Korean pop star Rain won the People’s Choice vote for the third straight year. Time editors chose the names on the list except for the People’s Choice, selected by online voters.
“He has very determined fans,” Elliott said.
The complete list can be seen on www.time.com.
World leaders such as British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff populate the list for how they have wielded power.
“The first time I met David Cameron, I knew we were political soul mates,” actor and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wrote in a profile for Time, calling him “a centrist who avoids the gutters of politics.”
Others include Gabrielle Giffords, the American congresswoman who survived a bullet wound to the head during a gunman’s rampage in Arizona, and Michele Bachmann, the Republican congresswoman from Minnesota who has energized the anti-tax, anti-spending Tea Party movement.
Jailed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was honored for his “bravery and artistic skill,” Elliott said.
From the world of sport, Argentina soccer phenomenon Lionel Messi was joined by Indian cricket star Mahendra Singh Dhoni, whose charisma and leadership united an ethnically diverse team that won the World Cup.
Reporting by Daniel Trotta; editing by Deborah Charles