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    Friday, January 27, 2023

    Musk, DeSantis among finalists for Time’s 2022 Person of the Year

    Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, attends the opening of the Tesla factory Berlin Brandenburg in Gruenheide, Germany, March 22, 2022. (Patrick Pleul/Pool via AP, File)
    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis waves as he leaves a news conference at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park , Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, on Key Biscayne, Fla. The governor announced increased funding for the environmental protection of Biscayne Bay. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
    Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, holds a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appears on a large screen as he speaks via video conference during the 68th Annual Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Madrid, Spain, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrea Comas)

    The finalists for Time magazine’s 2022 Person of the Year include world leaders, Iranian protesters and last year’s selection, Elon Musk.

    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Rep. Liz Cheney and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are among the 10 contenders on a shortlist unveiled Monday on NBC’s “Today” show.

    The annual title recognizes the person, group or idea that had the biggest global influence, positive or negative, during the past year.

    Also on the shortlist are the U.S. Supreme Court, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, gun safety advocates and MacKenzie Scott, the philanthropist and ex-wife of Jeff Bezos.

    Zelenskyy’s selection as a finalist comes amid his country’s fight against Russia, which invaded Ukraine in February. Xi, who has supported Russia, became the second Chinese Communist Party leader to return for a third term this year after the party got rid of its two-term limit in 2018.

    DeSantis is considered a prominent candidate to run for the Republican nomination in the 2024 U.S. presidential race, for which he’d face off against former commander-in-chief Donald Trump.

    Cheney, a Wyoming Republican and an ardent opponent of Trump, lost her state’s primary this year to Harriet Hageman, whom Trump backed. Cheney recently told “Today” she’ll do “whatever it takes” to keep Trump from being re-elected.

    Musk, whom Forbes lists the world’s wealthiest person with a $190.9 billion net worth, drew repeated criticism this year after his purchase of Twitter, from firing much of the social media platform’s staff to restoring banned accounts.

    “A few short years ago, Musk was roundly mocked as a crazy con artist on the verge of going broke,” Time wrote last year of its 2021 Person of the Year selection. “Now this shy South African with Asperger’s syndrome, who escaped a brutal childhood and overcame personal tragedy, bends governments and industry to the force of his ambition.”

    Scott, who owns 4% of Amazon, donated more than $120 million to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America in May and $85 million to the Girl Scouts of America in October. Last month, she said she’s given more than $1.9 billion to organizations supporting under-served communities.

    Yellen became the United States’ first female secretary of the treasury in 2021.

    The protests in Iran began after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by morality police for allegedly breaking the country’s strict dress code.

    The inclusion of gun safety advocates on the shortlist comes in a year that’s seen deadly mass shootings at a supermarket in Buffalo, a Fourth of July parade near Chicago, an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, a Walmart in Chesapeake, Va., and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

    The U.S. Supreme Court, meanwhile made the list less than six months after controversially overturning Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed the right to an abortion.

    Time is set to announce its 2022 Person of the Year on Wednesday’s episode of the “Today” show.

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