Is this still the case or has the
world aligned itself to the American
At least Britain seems to have largely aligned itself that way. Quoting Wikipedia, which has an excellent entry on the topic (Long and short scales):
[In the UK,] "billion" has meant 109 in most
sectors of official published writing
for many years now. The UK government,
the BBC, and most other broadcast or
published mass media, have used the
short scale in all contexts since the
widespread use of "billion" for 109,
UK usage generally referred to
thousand million rather than
milliard. The long scale term
"milliard", for 109, is obsolete in
British English, though its
derivative, "yard", is still used as
slang in the London money, foreign
exchange and bond markets.
I wouldn't say that the world has done so, however, as the list of long-scale countries is rather long. For example, in Finnish the only word we use for 109 is miljardi, while 1012 is biljoona.
But you could well say that about the English-speaking world which now almost universally uses "billion" for 109, according to that Wikipedia article.