Bill Gates still top dog but rising billionaires catching up

NEW YORK, March 8, 2007 (AFP) - Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is still the richest man in the world, but his lead over other entrepreneurs is narrowing, according to Forbes magazine's list of billionaires published Thursday.
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Despite Gates leading the rich list for a 13th straight year with a tidy nest egg of 56 billion dollars, US investment guru Warren Buffett's personal fortune climbed to 52 billion, halving the software mogul's lead.

There were now a record 946 billionaires in the world, up more than 150 from last year, with Forbes attributing the increase to a commodities boom, the march of technology and relative weakness of the US dollar.

The list's total net worth grew 35 percent from last year to a staggering 3.5 trillion dollars, with Mexican telecoms mogul Carlos Slim Helu jumping into third place with a massive 19 billion dollar increase in his net worth.

"This growth in the billionaires list is a mere reflection of a dynamic global economy. More people are better off on this Earth than ever before," said Steve Forbes, the magazine's editor in chief, unveiling the list.

"This boom goes beyond commodities.
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One of the things that has facilitated this global boom, bringing hundreds of millions of p

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