Thursday, October 23, 2014

Keanu Reeves Is Super Bummed That Hollywood Studios Have Abandoned Him


Few actors have delivered as many box-office hits as Keanu Reeves has over the last 30 years, and few have suffered more as a result of Hollywood studios’ new era of franchise building and risk aversion.

The actor known for Bill & Ted, Point Break, Speed, and The Matrix trilogy stars in the upcoming John Wick, which, while filled with action, is yet another independent film.

In fact, Reeves hasn’t worked with a major studio since the big-budget martial-arts flick 47 Ronin bombed big time for Universal in 2013 (expensive re-shoots delayed it a year), and before that, he hadn’t worked with a studio since the 2008 Warner Brothers remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still. As he explains in a new interview, he’s not all that happy about the studio abandonment.

"It sucks, but it’s just the way it is," Reeves tells Indiewire. “You can have positive and negative experiences, but what I like about studios are the resources and the worlds that they can create. Obviously, a lot of good filmmakers work on studio movies. Even when I was working on studio movies more often, I was always doing independent movies. So for me, that was just not happening, but I want to keep going, making things, and telling stories.”

The inability to land a studio film is not for lack of trying on Reeves’s part. As he told Yahoo Movies recently, he has been attempting for years to bring the Black List script Passengers to the big screen, and in 2013, The Weinstein Company — an indie, albeit a deep-pocketed one — picked up the rights. But the project has been plagued by the departures of actresses like Reese Witherspoon and Rachel McAdams, as well as financial problems. Weinstein eventually dropped Passengers, and earlier this year, Universal’s Focus Features failed to resurrect the film.

Reeves played down the budget problems with the film, saying that “it’s a whole long story,” and is still optimistic that he’ll get to make it.

"I’m hoping somehow, some way, I get to make that movie," he said. "It’s basically about a guy [on a] ship that’s traveling to another planet to homestead, and everyone’s kind of in suspended animation, but one guy wakes up too soon, halfway there, and he starts to go a little crazy, ends up waking someone else, a woman, Aurora, and hijinks ensue.”

That, of course, isn’t the only film that Reeves has been trying to make happen, and fans are much more familiar with — and hopeful for — a potential third Bill & Ted movie.

Sadly, that also faces budgeting issues in the new Hollywood.

"We’ve made attempts,” he says of the long-awaited threequel, echoing the recent words of co-star Alex Winter. “We’ve tried to have less shots of the cosmos ripping apart. Just take a couple of them out, guys! Do we need four of them? Maybe it’s just one!”
Blogger Tricks

Zuckerberg speaks Chinese, Beijing students cheer

BEIJING (AP) -- China may ban Facebook, but not its co-founder Mark Zuckerberg. The young billionaire delighted an audience of students at a prestigious Beijing university this week with a 30-minute chat in his recently learned Mandarin Chinese.

— DID HE COMPLAIN ABOUT THE BAN? He made no explicit mention of China's ban on the social media giant, but an indirect reference to it drew laughter during the question-and-answer session Wednesday at Tsinghua University. Zuckerberg, whose company has long sought to enter China, noted Facebook already helps some Chinese companies in foreign markets, citing computer maker Lenovo's ads on Facebook in India.

"Speaking of China, I have a more difficult question for Mark, which I hope will not get me fired. What are Facebook's plans in China?" asked the forum facilitator and Facebook employee Wei Xiaoliang, to the laughter and applause from the audience.

"We are already in China," Zuckerberg said in Chinese, to more laughter. "We help Chinese companies gain customers abroad," he said.

"We want to help the rest of the world connect to China."

— WHY WAS ZUCKERBERG IN CHINA? Zuckerberg may be hoping to lay the groundwork for an eventual entry into China, but he visited Beijing this week as a newly appointed member of the advisory board for Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management and met with the university's president on Tuesday.
Both he and the university posted clips of his Wednesday session, which was open to questions from students for the last 8 minutes.

Facebook has been banned in China since 2009. Beijing promotes Internet use for business and education but bans material deemed subversive and blocks access to foreign news and social media websites that authorities believe could stoke social unrest.

— SO, HOW'S HIS CHINESE? Zuckerberg's Chinese pronunciation was far from fluent, and some native speakers called it a "challenge" to understand. He sometimes struggled with certain words and tones, and needed help in understanding questions in Chinese. But he was able to express himself well and maintain an intelligible conversation for a half hour. The students responded with warm cheers for his effort and laughter at his humor.

Zuckerberg married Chinese-American Priscilla Chan in 2012, and set himself the goal of learning Mandarin in 2010. He said Wednesday that he wanted to learn the language partly because his wife's grandmother only speaks Chinese. He recalled informing the grandmother of the marriage plans.

"Priscilla and I decided to get married, so I told her grandmother in Chinese, and she was very surprised," Zuckerberg said.

— WHAT ELSE DID HE SAY? Zuckerberg said several things apparently aimed at endearing himself to the Chinese audience. He said China is a great country and hopes that learning the language will help him learn its culture. "The Chinese language is difficult, and I speak English, but I like challenges," Zuckerberg said.

When asked about his favorite food, he cited "Beijing hutong snacks" sold by street-side vendors in the capital, and Peking duck, Beijing's signature dish of duck meat served with sauce and rolled up in a crepe.

— HOW WAS HE RECEIVED? Tsinghua students gave Zuckerberg a warm reception. On social media, many microbloggers noted the irony that Zuckerberg's famous creation is blocked in China.

Designer David Wang, in an interview in downtown Beijing, said he would be happy if Facebook was allowed across the so-called Great Firewall of China. "Because now we have to use software to jump the wall if we want to access Facebook," he said.

Li Qin, a computer programmer from the eastern city of Hangzhou, said on a microblog that she could barely understand Zuckerberg's Chinese.

"It was a challenge for Chinese listening comprehension. But even though Facebook cannot enter the Chinese market, Mark is still making a fighting effort to learn," she said. "It was quite a funny scenario."

 Source: Yahoo...

White House fence jumper charged with assault

The 23-year-old Maryland man who climbed over the White House fence Wednesday night has been charged with felonies for assaulting two police dogs and making threats, the Secret Service said Thursday.


Dominic Adesanya of Bel Air, Maryland, was in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service for previous outstanding warrants, Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said. Adesanya has also been charged with four misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest and unlawful entry.

This is not Adesanya's first arrest at the executive mansion. Records show he was also charged with unlawful entry at the White House complex in late July. A court document says he told an officer that a security barrier he jumped over "was easy and that the next fence to the south grounds of the White House would not be a problem as well."

Adesanya claimed a banking family that he said owned the Federal Reserve Bank was targeting him, and he said he wanted cameras that had been placed in his home removed, according to a court document. After the arrest he was ordered to get outpatient mental health screening and return to court Sept. 9.

He was apprehended again just three days after the July arrest at the White House complex for refusing to leave the Treasury building next door and swinging his fists at officers. Court records show he was then ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device and abide by a curfew.

Warrants for his arrest were issued after he failed to appear in court in September. An attorney representing him in those arrests did not immediately return a telephone call Thursday.

After climbing over the fence Wednesday night, Adesanya was swiftly apprehended on the North Lawn, on Pennsylvania Avenue, by uniformed Secret Service agents and their dogs. He was unarmed. President Barack Obama was at the White House at the time.

Video of the incident recorded by TV news cameras shows a man in white shorts on the lawn just inside the fence. The man lifts his shirt as if to show that he is unarmed, then is seen kicking and punching the two Secret Service dogs.

Leary said the dogs, Hurricane and Jordan, were treated by a veterinarian for minor bruising and cleared to return to duty.

The incident came about a month after a previous White House fence jumper carrying a knife sprinted across the same lawn, ran past armed uniformed agents and entered the mansion before he was felled in the ceremonial East Room and taken into custody.

That embarrassing Sept. 19 incident preceded the disclosure of other serious Secret Service breaches in security for Obama and ultimately led to Julia Pierson's resignation as director of the agency after 18 months on the job.

After Pierson resigned, an agent who once led Obama's protective detail came out of retirement to lead the Secret Service until Obama names a new director, pending completion of internal and independent reviews of agency practices.

This week, a federal judge delayed the arraignment of Omar Gonzalez, the man charged in September's fence-jumping incident, because of questions about his mental fitness to stand trial.

Gonzalez has been indicted on several charges, including carrying a knife into the White House and assaulting two Secret Service officers.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who has been leading congressional investigations into the Secret Service, commended the swift response Wednesday night but said more needed to be known about Adesanya, including whether he was doing anything suspicious immediately before the incident that should have led to his detection. Chaffetz also suggested changes might be needed to "maximize the pain of going over the fence."

"It seems a little too easy to get over," he said.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

What's more disturbing than Ebola? The outrageous commentary

The U.S. experience with Ebola is generating commentary that is both prudent and outrageous.
There have been three cases of Ebola occurring on U.S. soil, one ending fatally and the other two now under treatment.

 
While health officials provide sober guidance on the deadly disease, several public figures, from high-level politicians to cultural icons, haven't been so even-tempered in their remarks, adding to the public hype that has become associated with the virus.
Here is a sampling of those provocative comments, plus a little myth busting, clarifying and reality checking from Ebola experts from around the world.
"If you bring two doctors who happen to have that specialty (Ebola) into a room, one will say, 'No, it will never become airborne, but it could mutate so it would be harder to discover.' Another doctor will say, 'If it continues to mutate at the rate it's mutating, and we go from 20,000 infected to 100,000, the population might allow it to mutate and become airborne, and then it will be a serious problem.' I don't know who is right." -- Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told CNN. 

Ebola isn't transmitted through the air. It is transmitted through direct contact by bodily fluids with an Ebola-infected person showing symptoms of the disease.

A mutation such as the kind Dempsey describes "would be exceedingly rare" in one epidemic, said Edward C. Holmes of Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity at the University of Sydney.
"It happens over evolutionary time, millions of years," Holmes said. "This idea that it takes one or two of those mutations and 'Wham!' you pick up airborne transmission, that is way too simplistic."

"If someone has Ebola at a cocktail party, they're contagious and you can catch it from them. -- Sen. Rand Paul, a physician and potential 2016 presidential candidate

Again, experts say the contact with an infectious person must be tactile, or direct touching, and involve bodily fluids -- blood, sweat, feces, vomit, semen or spit.

People in West Africa are avoiding hugs and handshakes because the virus can be spread through the sweat on someone's hand.

The uninfected person would have to have a break in the skin of their hand that would allow entry of the virus, CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta said. But "we all have minor breaks in our skin. And there is a possibility that some of the virus can be transmitted that way."

Paul also made other remarks regarding direct contact: "They say all it takes is direct contact to get this. If you listen carefully, they say being three feet from someone is direct contact. That's not what most Americans think is direct contact."

Without directly addressing Paul's claims about contact over three feet, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Thomas Frieden indicated that's not a possible mode of transmission for the virus.
"Should you be worried you might have gotten it by sitting next to someone?" Frieden said, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. "The answer to that is no."

"The most comforting thing that I heard from (Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health) was that water kills the Ebola virus. I've never heard that before. I thought it was something that was so contagious there wasn't much you could do to prevent it or anything else, so her advice was 'wash your hands.' " -- Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal told the Marietta Daily Journal.

In fact, water alone does not kill Ebola. Soap and water does. So does chlorine and bleach, experts added.

"As with other infectious diseases, one of the most important preventive measures is frequent hand-washing. Use soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60% alcohol when soap and water aren't available," the Mayo Clinic said about the prevention and spread of Ebola infection.

"The U.S. must immediately stop all flights from EBOLA infected countries or the plague will start and spread inside our 'borders.' Act fast!" -- Real estate mogul Donald Trump said on Twitter.

Most public health experts oppose such a ban.

"Many nations have banned flights from other countries in recent years in hopes of blocking the entry of viruses, including SARS and H1N1 'swine flu,' " wrote Laurie Garrett, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations. "None of the bans were effective, and the viruses gained entry to populations regardless of what radical measures governments took to keep them out."

No ban will completely stop people moving about the world, experts said.

"It gives us the false assurance that we can ignore the problems that are happening in Africa," Wendy Parmet, director of the Program on Health Policy and Law at Northeastern University School of Law, told National Geographic. "At the end of the day, we can't. And our own safety depends on our getting it right there, not on building the walls."

President Obama this week said he opposes a travel ban.


"Reports of illegal migrants carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus and tuberculosis are particularly concerning." -- Georgia Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey, a medical doctor, wrote to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gingrey and other Republicans have claimed that Latino immigrants are carriers for Ebola, particularly via the U.S.-Mexico border.

"One of the reasons why I've been so adamant about closing our border, because if people are coming through normal channels -- can you imagine what they can do through our porous borders?" former Massachusetts senator and now New Hampshire Senate candidate Scott Brown said in a radio interview.

Marine Gen. John Kelly, chief of the U.S. Southern Command said, "If Ebola breaks out, in Haiti or in Central America. I think it is literally, 'Katie bar the door,' in terms of the mass migration of Central Americans into the United States."

Health experts said those fears are grossly exaggerated.

CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden dismissed the possibility of Ebola reaching the United States via the southern border. "That is not happening," he said.

"I don't know ... But I think this Ebola epidemic is a form of population control. S*** is getting crazy bruh," R&B star Chris Brown tweeted.

Brown and a number of other public figures, including radio show hosts Rick Wiles and Michael Savage have advanced perhaps the most provocative statements.

Let's take this one by one.

The numbers don't support Brown's comment.

There are more than 7 billion people living on Earth. Worldwide, there have been a total of 8,997 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of Ebola in seven affected countries (Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain and the United States), according to the latest World Health Organization figures.

There have been 4,493 deaths, the WHO says.

Then there's Christian radio broadcaster Wiles, who said Ebola "may be the great attitude adjustment that I believe is coming," according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Ebola "could solve America's problems with atheism, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, pornography and abortion," Wiles said on his Trunews program, according to the Colorado Independent.

A prominent Christian evangelical group, Focus on the Family, denounced those remarks.

"Our first response as Christians to tragedies such as Ebola ought to be one of concern and compassion," Ron Reno, the group's vice president of orthodoxy, said, according to the Independent. "[P]ublicly speculating on God's motives in allowing specific outbreaks of disease is both unwise and unhelpful."
Finally, talk radio host Michael Savage said President Barack Obama wants to infect America with Ebola.

"There is not a sane reason to take three- or four-thousand troops and send them into a hot Ebola zone without expecting at least one of them to come back with Ebola, unless you want to infect the nation with Ebola," Savage said.

Obama sent those U.S. troops to West African nations with Ebola as part of an international effort to help eradicate -- not spread -- the disease.

"The most important thing in addition to treating and monitoring anybody who even has a hint of potential exposure here in this country, the most important thing that I can do for keeping the American people safe, is for us to be able to deal with Ebola at the source, where you have a huge outbreak in West Africa," Obama said Thursday.

 Source: CNN News

Effectiveness of Ebola travel ban questioned

 A ban on travel from West Africa might seem like a simple and smart response to the frightening Ebola outbreak there. It's become a central demand of Republicans on Capitol Hill and some Democrats, and is popular with the public. But health experts are nearly unanimous in saying it's a bad idea that could backfire.
The experts' key objection is that a travel ban could prevent needed medical supplies, food and health care workers from reaching Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the nations where the epidemic is at its worst. Without that aid, the deadly virus might spread to wider areas of Africa, making it even more of a threat to the U.S. and the world, experts say.
In addition, preventing people from the affected countries from traveling to the U.S. could be difficult to enforce and might generate counterproductive results, such as people lying about their travel history or attempting to evade screening.
The U.S. has not instituted a travel ban in response to a disease outbreak in recent history. The experts insist now is not the time to start, especially given that the disease is still extremely contained in the U.S. and the only people who have caught it here are two health care workers who cared for a sick patient who later died.
"If we know anything in global health it's that you can't wrap a whole region in cellophane and expect to keep out a rapidly moving infectious disease. It doesn't work that way," said Lawrence Gostin, a professor and global health expert at Georgetown University Law Center. "Ultimately people will flee one way or another, and the more infection there is and the more people there are, the more they flee and the more unsafe we are."
Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health voiced similar objections at a congressional hearing this past week. So did President Barack Obama after meeting with administration officials coordinating the response.
Obama said he didn't have a "philosophical objection" to a travel ban but that he was told by experts that it would be less effective than the steps the administration has instituted, including temperature screening and monitoring at the five airports accounting for 94 percent of the arrivals from the three impacted nations. There are 100 to 150 arrivals daily to the U.S. from that region.
"Trying to seal off an entire region of the world — if that were even possible — could actually make the situation worse," Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address.
Still, with little more than two weeks from midterm elections and control of the Senate at stake, the administration is facing mounting pressure on Capitol Hill to impose travel restrictions. Numerous Republicans have demanded a ban, as have a handful of Democrats, including at least two endangered incumbent senators, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, also favors a travel ban, and his spokesman, Kevin Smith, said the speaker hasn't ruled out bringing the House back into session to address the Ebola issue. Obama "has the authority to put a travel ban into effect right now," Smith said.
Lawmakers have proposed banning all visitors from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, or at least temporarily denying visas to nationals of those countries. They've suggested quarantining U.S. citizens arriving here from those nations for at least 21 days, Ebola's incubation period, and limiting travel to West Africa to essential personnel and workers ferrying supplies.
Related steps that have been proposed by Pryor and others include strengthening existing quarantine centers, getting health officials to assist with screenings at airports and ensuring that information collected at airports on travelers from hot zones is shared with state officials.
Experts say some of those limited steps make sense but question the legality, ethics and effectiveness of large-scale quarantines. Although it would be theoretically possible to get supplies and medical personnel to West Africa even while shutting down commercial air travel, in practice it would turn into a logistical nightmare, they say. They cite expenses and difficulties in chartering private aircraft or enlisting the military's assistance to transport thousands of personnel and huge amounts of supplies from around the world that is now moving freely on scheduled air travel.
Screening measures now in place allow arrivals from West Africa to be tracked; if those people go underground, attempt to enter via the Southern Border or by other means, it becomes that much harder to keep tabs on them.
Another difficulty arises because there are no direct flights to the U.S. from the impacted nations, raising the question of where to draw the line. Should flights from Paris, Amsterdam, London or Munich be banned if it turns out there is a passenger from Monrovia, Liberia, on them? Or should the other passengers just be screened? What if Ebola breaks out on European soil — should the travel ban be extended?
Among the travel ban skeptics is former President George W. Bush's top health official, who coordinated the government's response to bird flu in 2005 and 2006. At the time, it was feared that the H5N1 flu strain, capable of jumping from birds to humans, could become the catalyst for a global pandemic.
A travel ban "is intuitively attractive, and seems so simple," said Mike Leavitt, who led the Health and Human Services Department from 2005-2009. "We studied it intensely in preparation for H5N1. I became persuaded that there are lots of problems with it."

Islamic State Militants Have Been Flying 3 Captured Warplanes Over Syrian Airport, Witnesses Say

BEIRUT, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Iraqi pilots who have joined Islamic State in Syria are training members of the group to fly in three captured fighter jets, a group monitoring the war said on Friday, saying it was the first time that the militant group had taken to the air.
The group, which has seized land in Syria and Iraq, has been flying the planes over the captured al-Jarrah military airport east of Aleppo, said Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
 
Reuters was not immediately able to verify the report and U.S. Central Command said it was not aware of Islamic State flying jets in Syria.
U.S-led forces are bombing Islamic State bases in Syria and Iraq. The group has regularly used weaponry captured from the Syrian and Iraqi armies and has overrun several military bases but this was the first time it had been able to pilot warplanes.
"They have trainers, Iraqi officers who were pilots before for (former Iraqi president) Saddam Hussein," Abdulrahman said.
"People saw the flights, they went up many times from the airport and they are flying in the skies outside the airport and coming back," he said, citing witnesses in northern Aleppo province near the base, which is 70 km (45 miles) south of Turkey.
It was not clear whether the jets were equipped with weaponry or whether the pilots could fly longer distances in the planes, which witnesses said appeared to be MiG 21 or MiG 23 models captured from the Syrian military.
"We're not aware of (Islamic State) conducting any flight operations in Syria or elsewhere," U.S. Central Command spokesman Colonel Patrick Ryder said.
"We continue to keep a close eye on (Islamic State) activity in Syria and Iraq and will continue to conduct strikes against their equipment, facilities, fighters and centers of gravity, wherever they may be."
Pro-Islamic State Twitter accounts had previously posted pictures of captured jets in other parts of Syria, but the aircraft had appeared unusable, according to analysts and diplomats.
The countryside east of Aleppo city is one of the main bases of Islamic State in Syria, where the al Qaeda offshoot controls up to a third of the country's territory.

Source: Huffingtonpost

Gut-Wrenching Images Show The Brutal Reality Of The Ebola Outbreak In Liberia

Grim news emerged in the battle against Ebola on Friday as the World Health Organization announced that more than 4,000 people have died from the disease since the outbreak began. Most cases were recorded in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The U.N. special envoy for Ebola, David Nabarro, explained the number of cases is probably doubling every three-to-four weeks and warned that it will be impossible to quickly combat the disease without mass mobilization of international support.
Photographers John Moore and Mohammed Elshamy have been working on the front lines of the fight against the disease, documenting its brutal effects on patients and their loved ones in West Africa. Their gut-wrenching pictures from the Liberian capital Monrovia reveal the devastating impact of the disease.
monrovia
A woman throws a handful of soil towards the body of her sister as Ebola burial team members take her Mekie Nagbe, 28, for cremation on October 10, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. Nagbe, a market vendor, collapsed and died outside her home earlier in the morning while leaving to walk to a treatment center, according to her relatives. The burial of loved ones is important in Liberian culture, making the removal of infected bodies for cremation all the more traumatic for surviving family members. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Sophia Doe (R), and her grand daughters Arthuneh Qunoh (C), 9, and Beauty Mandi, 9 months (2nd R) weep as an Ebola burial team arrives to take away her daughter Mekie Nagbe, 28, for cremation on October 10, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. The children seen in the photo are daughters of the deceased. (John Moore/Getty Images)

monrovia
Varney Jonson, 46, grieves as an Ebola burial team takes away the body of his wife Nama Fambule for cremation on October 10, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. He and his family said that she had been sick for more than a year with an undiagnosed illness and protested her body being taken away as an Ebola victim. (John Moore/Getty Images)

monrovia
Relatives of Hanfen John who died due to the Ebola virus, mourn for him in Monrovia, Liberia on 10 October, 2014. (Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

monrovia
Relative of Hanfen John who died due to the Ebola virus, mourns for him in Monrovia, Liberia on 10 October, 2014. (Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

monrovia
An Ebola burial team collects the body of a four-year-old girl from a one-room apartment on October 10, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia.(John Moore/Getty Images)

monrovia
An Ebola burial team, dressed in protective clothing, carries the body of a woman, 54, from the bedroom where she died in the New Kru Town suburb on October 10, 2014 of Monrovia, Liberia. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Source: Huffingtonpost

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Forbes 400: The Richest People In America 2014

1. Bill Gates
REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
Net worth: $81 billion, up $9 billion
Source: Microsoft
Age: 58
  • Richest man in America for the 21st straight year
  • His Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has given away $30 billion since 2000
  • As America’s top philanthropist, he picks and chooses which of the world’s biggest issues to tackle. This year he pledged $50 million to fight the Ebola outbreak in Africa and $1 million to advocate for gun control in Washington.
  • Net worth is up $9 billion, helped by rising shares of Microsoft, Canadian National Railway and trash company Republic Services
  • Cofounded Microsoft with childhood friend Paul Allen. Harvard hallmate Steve Ballmer served as longtime CEO. All three are among top 30 richest in America.
  • Bulk of his fortune is in private investment vehicle Cascade, which holds stakes in Canadian National Railway, tractor maker Deere & Co., and South American McDonald’s franchisee Arcos Dorados (golden arches in Spanish.)

2. Warren Buffett
AP Photo/Detroit Free Press, Jessica J. Trevino
Net worth: $67 billion, up $8.5 billion
Source: Berkshire Hathaway
Age: 84
  • Has been the second-richest man in America, behind Gates, every year since 2001
  • Net worth up $8.5 billion thanks to surging stock in Berkshire Hathaway
  • Class A shares of Berkshire Hathaway are the most expensive shares of any public company, over $200,000 apiece
  • Has given away nearly $23 billion in his lifetime, to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and to foundations run by his 3 children
  • His company has dozens of subsidiaries, including Dairy queen, Geico insurance, See’s Candies and Heinz ketchup.

3. Larry Ellison
REUTERS/Noah Berger

Net worth: $50 billion, up $9 billion
Source: Oracle
Age: 70
  • Shocked business world when he announced he would step down as Oracle CEO in September, but will remain chief technology officer
  • Richest man in Silicon Valley
  • Built databases for the CIA before founding Oracle in 1977
  • Continuing to add to his real estate portfolio by buying up the Hawaiian island of Lanai.
  • He bought nearly the entire Hawaiian island of Lanai in 2012 and continues to add to his holdings there
  • 86% of his net worth is tied up in Oracle stock.

4. Charles Koch
Getty Images
Net worth: $42 billion, up $6 billion
Source: diversified
Age: 78
  • Chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, second-largest private company in America, with sales of $115 billion
  • He took over for his father Fred in 1967 and grew the company into the giant it is today
  • He and his brother David are pouring money toward a Republican effort to take control of the Senate in 2014
  • This year Koch Industries acquired inkmaker Fling Group for a reported $3 billion and PetroLogistics for $2.1 billion.

4. David Koch
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack
Net worth: $42 billion, up $6 billion
Source: diversified
Age: 74
  • Richest man in New York City
  • He and his brother Charles share control of Koch Industries, second-largest private company in America
  • Koch Industries’ interests include oil pipelines, refineries, building materials, paper towels and even Dixie cups
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York dedicated the David H. Koch Plaza in September after he funded a $65 million renovation

6. Christy Walton & family
Getty Images
Net worth: $38 billion, up $2.6 billion
Source: Wal-Mart
Age: 59
  • Richest woman in the world
  • Married into the richest family in the world, worth over $150 billion
  • Former husband John Walton died in a plane crash in 2005
  • Richest member of the Walton family thanks to a side investment in solar company First Solar. Its shares are up 87% since last year’s Forbes 400.

7. Jim Walton
Rob Walton (L) looks at his brother Jim Walton (R) (AP Photo/Sarah Bentham)
Net worth: $36 billion, up $2.2 billion
Source: Wal-Mart
Age: 66
  • Largest individual shareholder of Wal-Mart
  • Youngest child of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton
  • CEO of family-founded Arvest Bank, which has branches in Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri

8. Michael Bloomberg
AP Photo/Thibault Camus
Net worth: $35 billion, up $4 billion
Source: Bloomberg LP
Age: 72
  • Returned to lead Bloomberg LP less than a year after ending tenure as mayor of New York
  • Owns 88% of Bloomberg LP, which will pass $9 billion in revenue in 2014
  • Got his start working on Wall Street at Salomon Brothers in 1966
  • Has given away $3.3 billion in his lifetime
  • Reportedly spending $50 million this year battling the NRA, which has launched an attack ad taking direct aim at Bloomberg personally.

9. Alice Walton
Jim Walton and Alice Walton (AP Photo/April L. Brown)
Net worth: $34.9 billion, up $1.4 billion
Source: Wal-Mart
Age: 64
  • Daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton
  • Opened her Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas in 2011, which has works from Andy Warhol, Norman Rockwell and Mark Rothko.
  • Fortune up $1.4 billion thanks to rising value of Wal-Mart shares

10. S. Robson Walton
Jim Walton, Alice Walton and Robson Walton (AP Photo/April L. Brown)
Net worth: $34.8 billion, up $1.5 billion
Source: Wal-Mart
Age: 70
  • Oldest son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton
  • Chairman of Wal-Mart board for nearly a half century
  • Also owns a stake in Hyatt Hotels
  • Public face of the Walton family has had to deal with criticism over low wages and bribery scandal in Mexico
  • Wal-Mart revenues have increased ninefold since he became chairman in 1992

 Source: Yahoo