May 212008

LONDON: Iceland is the world’s most peaceful country, while Iraq is the most violent, an annual study said on Tuesday. Pakistan has slipped to 127, indicating it has become more violent over the past year.

Countries in the bottom five also include Afghanistan, Somalia, and Israel, according to the Global Peace Index (GPI), which welcomed a slight improvement overall in peacefulness. “The world appears to be a marginally more peaceful place this year. This is encouraging, but it takes small steps by individual countries for the world to make greater strides on the road to peace,” said GPI founder Steve Killelea

The index, which was launched last year, lists 140 countries in terms of a variety of factors reflecting both domestic peacefulness and international relations. Factors range from levels of violent crime to UN deployments overseas, and from political instability to risk of terrorist attacks. On these grounds, Iceland rates the best, followed by Denmark, Norway and New Zealand, while Japan is the highest member of the Group of Eight (G8) leading industrialised nations in the rankings.

At the bottom of the heap is war-scarred Iraq in 140th position, still in turmoil more than five years after the US-led invasion to topple dictator Saddam Hussein. The index’s authors say their rankings are of great practical use for businesses and investors. afp

 Posted by at 9:30 am

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