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Merkel Back At No. 1 On Forbes' List Of World's Most Powerful Women

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday (Aug. 23, 2011) in Belgrade.
Andrej Isakovic
AFP/Getty Images
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday (Aug. 23, 2011) in Belgrade.

After a dip to No. 4 last year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is back at No. 1 on Forbes magazine's annual "World's Most Powerful Women" list.

Merkel's four-year run atop the rankings was broken last year by Michelle Obama. But this year, by Forbes' reasoning, the first lady came in at No. 8.

As Forbes says, Merkel is "recognized as the 'undisputed' leader" of the European Union, and so she's "key to curing what ails the euro zone." Meanwhile, while Obama is " more popular than her husband," some other women from around the world rose in the rankings and that meant a slip for the first lady.

The complete top 10:

No. 1: Merkel.

No. 2: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was No. 5 in 2010.

No. 3: Brazil's new president, Dilma Rousseff. She was No. 95 last year.

No. 4: Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo. In 2010, she was No. 6.

No. 5: Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, who was No. 66 in 2010.

No. 6: Melinda Gates, co-founder and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She was No. 27 in 2010.

No. 7: Sonia Gandhi, president of India's National Congress Party. She was not among the top 100 last year.

No. 8: Michelle Obama.

No. 9: Christine Lagarde, the new managing director at the International Monetary Fund. She rose from No. 43.

No. 10: Irene Rosenfeld, CEO of Kraft Foods. Last year, she was No. 2.

Among the other 90 on the list:

-- Entertainer Lady Gaga (No. 11).

-- Media mogul Oprah Winfrey (No. 14).

-- Presidential candidate and Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann (No. 22).

-- Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington (No. 31).

-- 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin (No. 34).

-- Queen Elizabeth II (No. 49).

-- Harry Potterauthor J.K. Rowling (No. 61).

Forbessays it applies "three metrics" to its calculations: "dollars, a traditional and social media component and power base points."

So, it looks at things such as national GDP, corporate revenue, salaries, Web hits, TV and radio appearances, and the women's "reach."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.