World less peaceful in 2011
SYDNEY, May 26 (UPI) -- The Earth is a slightly less peaceful place this year, an annual survey called the Global Peace Index indicates.
Though peace declined this year, the yearly look at conflicts in 153 counties found the pace of decline this year was slower than that which occurred between 2009 and 2010, as prices of food, fuel and commodities soared during the global economic downturn.
"While several countries experienced improved levels of peacefulness that appear to be linked with their economic recoveries, others, notably the 'Arab Spring,' have experienced sharp falls in their peacefulness," the GPI said in its report.
Iceland replaced New Zealand as the world's most peaceful country, while war-torn Somalia replaced Iraq as the least peaceful followed by Sudan, Afghanistan, North Korea and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Arab nations of Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain and Libya all fell out the list's top half because of pro-democracy revolt.
The United States ranked No. 82 in the survey behind Gabon and just head of Bangladesh.
The survey, founded by Australian philanthropist and technology entrepreneur Steve Killelea in 2006, measures the potential for terrorism, the likelihood of violent demonstrations as well as 23 indicators including domestic and international conflicts, safety and security and military expenditures.
The report was calculated and written in conjunction with the Economist Intelligence Unit of the Institute for Economics and Peace, a global think tank based in Sydney.