Latvia ranks 32nd in 2017 Global Peace Index

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Latvia ranks 32nd in the 2017 Global Peace Index, the same place as last year and still slightly higher than its Baltic neighbors, according to the Global Peace Index released annually by a global think tank, the Institute for Economics and Peace.

The rankings of Lithuania and Estonia also have not been changed compared to 2016. Lithuanian ranks 36th and Estonia 37th in the 2017 Global Peace Index.

Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008. It is joined at the top of the index by New Zealand, Portugal, Austria, and Denmark, all of which were ranked highly in the 2016 Global Peace Index. There was also very little change at the bottom of the index. Syria remains the least peaceful country in the world, followed by Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan, and Yemen, the Institute for Economics and Peace said.

The U.S. dropped by 11 ranks to the 114th place this year. "The U.S. score has been dragged down largely because of a deterioration in several indicators: the homicide rate, level of perceived criminality in society and the intensity of organized internal conflict. The latter measure has deteriorated because of the increased levels of political polarization within the U.S. political system," the think tank said.

Russia's ranking was not changed this year and it remains in the 151st place while Ukraine climbed up two notches to the 154th place.

The world became more peaceful last year, as the 2017 Global Peace Index has climbed 0.28 percent. Most of the nations in the Global Peace Index became more peaceful in 2016 as the situation improved in 93 countries but deteriorated in 68 countries. Over the longer run, however, there has been an increase in "peace inequality", with most countries having only small increases in peacefulness, while a handful of countries have had very large deteriorations in peace.

"Europe remains the most peaceful region in the world, with eight of the ten most peaceful countries coming from this region. However, while 21 of the 34 countries improved, the average peace score did not change notably, due to the substantial deterioration in Turkey, the impact of the terrorist attacks in Belgium and France, and deteriorating relations between Russia and its Nordic neighbors," the Institute for Economics and Peace said.

The Global Peace Index released annually since 2008 is based on 23 indicators across three key domains: Societal Safety and Security, Ongoing Domestic and International Conflict, and Militarization.

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