*The prominent business publication Forbes last week released its annual listing of the richest people in the world.

The biggest news was that for the first time in 15 years an American did not top the list.

Mexico’s Carlos Slim Helu dethroned Microsoft founder Bill Gates as the richest man in the world with total wealth estimated at $53.5 billion. Gates placed a close second with $53.0 billion.

Meanwhile, television talk-show diva Oprah Winfrey was the only African American to make the list of 1,011 billionaires.

The 56-year-old Winfrey was number 400 on the list with wealth estimated at $2.4 billion – down by $300 million from a May 2009 Forbes estimate of $2.7 billion.

Golfing sensation Tiger Woods had been expected to make the list. But his wealth declined in part because at least three major firms dropped endorsement contracts they had with him following his recent sex scandal.

Black Entertainment Television founder Bob Johnson also failed to make the list. Since selling BET to Viacom, Johnson has invested heavy in hotels, real estate and sports franchises. But he has not been able to repeat his BET success. (source: Taylor Media Services –