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Report: Worldwide Terrorism at All-Time High


A snapshot of the state of global peace

A new study shows that deaths and material costs from terrorism have risen sharply worldwide.

The study estimates the “economic impact of violence” on the world economy in 2016 at $14.3 trillion.

The Institute for Economics and Peace released the latest Global Peace Index (GPI) last week. The institute is the idea of Australian businessman Steve Killelea. The group says it seeks to develop understanding of social and economic actions that lead to peace.

Researchers were asked to study 23 separate indicators to rate levels of peace in 163 countries around the world. All the measures were related to the domestic and international conflict, safety and security, and each nation’s level of militarization.

The researchers say the world became a little more peaceful over the past year. They noted an improvement in six of nine areas, with South America registering the largest improvement. Yet world peace has been deteriorating over the past 10 years, they said. This trend, they warned, reverses long-term improvements since the end of World War II.

Report: terrorism on the rise

The new report says the number of terrorist incidents has risen nearly 200 percent since 2011.

That includes an increase in deaths that resulted from terrorism in the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Since 2007, deaths from terrorism have increased by more than 900 percent in OECD countries.

Terrorism-related deaths were reported in the past year in 23 of the countries, including Denmark, France, Sweden, and Turkey.

Terror attacks took place in many areas, including the French city of Nice, Brussels, Belgium and Orlando, Florida.

U.S. effect

The United States fell 11 places in the GPI to number 114. The researchers say the country has experienced an increase in political division. They also noted an increase in the rate of murders in several major American cities.

The report estimated the cost of violence in the U.S. was equal to $2.5 trillion. That number represents almost nine percent of all U.S. economic activity.

Michelle Breslauer is with the Institute for Economics and Peace. She spoke to VOA on Skype.

“Now even though peace globally is improving, we have seen declines, for instance in the U.S. The Middle East and North Africa region continues to deteriorate, and there’s an increasing level of inequality between the most peaceful and least peaceful countries. That means there’s a bigger gap in peacefulness around the world.”

Terrorism and conflict

The report ranked Syria as the least peaceful country in 2016 because of terrorism and the ongoing civil war in that country.

The Middle East and North Africa area was rated the least peaceful area in the latest report. It said conflict in the Middle East had reached historic levels.

The report noted, “battle deaths from conflict are at a 25-year high, and the number of refugees and displaced people are at a level not seen in 60 years.”

Most terrorist activity took place in five countries. They are Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria, and all ranked near the bottom of the latest list.

At the top of the index, Iceland ranked as the world’s most peaceful country. New Zealand and Portugal followed in the list.

I’m Dorothy Gundy.

Marissa Melton and Jesusemen Oni reported this story for VOANews.com. Mario Ritter adapted their report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

impact – n. a result

trend – n. a general direction of change

deteriorate – v. to get worse

indicators – n. numbers or other information used to show the presence or absence of something

statistics – n. numbers that represent information such as how much or how often something happens

reverses v. to cancel or undo

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