The billionaire boom

      NEW YORK (AP) -- One made the list on the strength of girdle sales, another powered by electric sports cars. Still others lost billions or fell off the list altogether thanks to the weak global economy and the gyrations of financial markets.

      Forbes magazine released its annual tally of billionaires Wednesday, reporting that a record 1,226 people around the globe have a net worth in the ten digits. That's up 1 percent from last year's total.

      But it wasn't an easy year for the super rich -- about 441 list members lost wealth during the year, nearly equal to the 461 who expanded their fortunes. And only a fraction, 180, held steady, according to the magazine.

      The group's total combined net worth is up 2 percent at $4.6 trillion.