RANK           NAME            COUNTRY       AGE        BILLIONS

  214       Rinat Akhmetov         Ukraine           40              4.0

  323       Victor Pinchuk           Ukraine           46              2.8

  488       Serhiy Taruta              Ukraine           52              2.0

  488      Vitaliy Hayduk             Ukraine           49              2.0

  799      Ihor Kolomoyskyy      Ukraine           NA             1.2

  799      Henadiy Boholyubov   Ukraine           45              1.2

  891      Kostyantin Zhevago     Ukraine           33              1.0

It has been a busy year for Forbes` team of fortune hunters. Strong equity markets combined with rising real estate values and commodity prices pushed up fortunes from Mumbai to Madrid.

Forbes pinned down a record 946 billionaires. There were 178 newcomers, including 19 Russians, 14 Indians, 13 Chinese and 10 Spaniards, as well as the first billionaires from Cyprus, Oman, Romania and Serbia.

Ingenuity, not industry, is the common characteristic; these folks made money in everything from media and real estate to coffee, dumplings and ethanol. Two-thirds of last year`s billionaires are richer. Only 17% are poorer, including 32 who fell below the billion-dollar mark. The billionaires` combined net worth climbed by $900 billion to $3.5 trillion. That equates to $3.6 billion apiece.

The average billionaire is 62 years old, two years younger than in 2005. This year`s new billionaires are seven years younger than that. Of list members` fortunes, 60% made theirs from scratch.

Within the ranks are simmering rivalries. Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the world`s richest man for 13 years, and his pal Warren Buffett, who holds the No. 2 spot despite enormous charitable donations, are quickly losing ground to Mexico`s most-monied man, Carlos Slim Helú.

Helú`s net worth is up an astonishing $19 billion this year--the single biggest one-year gain in a decade--and is now just $7 billion shy of Gates and $3 billion less than Buffett.

In Europe, Russia`s mostly young, self-made tycoons are catching up to Germany`s often-aging heirs and heiresses. Russia now has 53 billionaires (2 shy of Germany`s total), but they are worth $282 billion ($37 billion more than Germany`s richest).

After a 20-year reign, Japan is no longer Asia`s top spot for billionaires: India has 36, worth a total of $191 billion, followed by Japan with 24, worth a combined $64 billion.

India`s rich are also marching toward the top of our rankings. Brothers Mukesh and Anil Ambani, who split up their family`s conglomerate in 2005, join Lakshmi Mittal, who heads the world`s biggest steel company, Arcelor Mittal, among the world`s 20 wealthiest. India now has three in the upper echelons, second only to the U.S.

This news was monitored by the Action Ukraine Monitoring Service for the Action Ukraine Report (AUR), Morgan Williams, SigmaBleyzer, Editor.