NEWS AND OPINION:
Though the White House has a more positive narrative in mind about the terrorist threat, news is not promising in the third annual Global Terrorism Index, a new study ranking the impact of terrorism in 162 nations based on such indicators as the number of terrorist incidents, fatalities, injuries and property damage. The take-away message: “Terrorism is increasing, and it is spreading.”
Deaths from terrorism increased 80 percent last year; 32,658 people were killed by terrorism in 2014 compared to 18,111 the previous year, the study found. Boko Haram and the Islamic State were jointly responsible for 51 percent of the fatalities.
The economic toll of terrorism now stands at $52.9 billion, up 61 percent from 2013, when it stood at $32.9 billion. The number of countries with at least one or more deaths from terrorist activity has increased from 59 in 2013 to 67 in 2014. This includes Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada and France. Despite this, just five countries — Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria — account for 78 percent of all deaths in 2014.
The majority of deaths from terrorism do not occur in the West, however: only 2.6 percent of deaths have occurred in the West since 2000. Lone-wolf attackers are the main perpetrators, causing 70 percent of all deaths in the West over the past decade.
The number of countries that suffered more than 500 deaths has more than doubled, increasing from five in 2013 to 11 in 2014. The new additions were Somalia, Ukraine, Yemen, Central African Republic, South Sudan and Cameroon.
The research was conducted by the Australian-based Institute for Economics and Peace, a think tank which also ranks the relative peacefulness of the world’s nations based on economic and sociological data. And in terms of its ranking on the Terrorism Index, the U.S. is at No. 35 among the 162 nations adversely affected by terrorism — behind Algeria, and just ahead of France.
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GOP: THE PARTY OF CLIMATE DOUBTERS
Yes, 150 heads of state gather in Paris on Monday with alarmism in the air and talking points at the ready for a receptive news media. President Obama and former Vice President Al Gore will be among them, but Republicans are immune. They remain confirmed skeptics about global warming according to an Economist/YouGov poll released Friday.
Sixty percent of Americans say the world’s climate is changing because of human activity; 35 percent of Republicans and 82 percent of Democrats agree. Another 22 percent overall don’t blame humanity for world climate change; 40 percent of Republicans and 8 percent of Democrats agree. And finally, 7 percent of Americans overall say the global climate is not changing; 16 percent of the GOPers and 2 percent of the Dems agree.
The climate is not a pivotal issue for Republicans in 2016, in the meantime.
“For most Republicans a candidate’s position on climate change won’t be important to their vote. Only one in five want a candidate who will take action on climate change. Two-thirds of Democrats do,” writes poll analyst Kathy Frankovic.
AMERICA’S T-DAY BUYING: $1.1 BILLION ONLINE
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The nation appears to be in a spending mood for Cyber Monday. ComScore, a global media measurement and analytics company, reports that e-commerce spending for Americans reached $23.4 billion online so far in the opening days of the holiday season, a 5 percent increase over last year.
“Thanksgiving Day saw a 9-percent gain to $1.1 billion in spending,” ComScore advises. “Black Friday followed with an even stronger spending day with $1.66 billion in desktop online sales, up 10 percent from Black Friday 2014.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE, CLINTON VS. SANDERS
It is a tale of two campaign trails: Big money and elite events for Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton vs. the noisy grass-roots collective of her rival Sen. Bernard Sanders.
Mrs. Clinton has 10 fundraisers this week, beginning Monday when she joins 14 female senators for a splashy gathering in the nation’s capital, followed by two more events, one in D.C., another in nearby Maryland. Then it’s on to Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday for five more events around the Sunshine State. Former President Bill Clinton joins the fray Wednesday for a fundraiser rally in Los Angeles; Mrs. Clinton will be on the opposite coast at a separate event in Boston. Tickets for the assorted galas can run as high as $100,000 for well-heeled Hillary fans in the “host” role.
And Mr. Sanders? There is a fundraiser Monday for him in a Chicago saloon, $5 a ticket, plus another “concert for Bernie” event in Philadelphia on Wednesday with a $10 entry fee. Mr. Sanders will not be present at either event.
He is, in fact, actively campaigning against campaign fundraising. In a new series of ads in battleground states, Mr. Sanders lashes out against the “rigged economy,” advising voters, “it’s a system held in place by corrupt politics where Wall Street banks and billionaires buy elections.”
Mr. Sanders says he’ll have nothing to do with super PACs either, instead heralding the 1.3 million donations which arrived at large-scale rallies across the country — “packed with the biggest crowds to turn out for any candidate,” he says.
FOR THE LEXICON
— 2016 campaign motto for the national Libertarian Party.
POLL DU JOUR
• 93 percent of U.S. voters say they are interested in the 2016 election; 96 percent of Republicans, 85 percent of independents, 91 percent of Democrats and 96 percent of tea partyers agree.
• 57 percent overall say a candidate must agree with them on major issues all or most of the time to earn their support; 64 percent of Republicans, 53 percent of independents, 53 percent of Democrats and 72 percent of tea partyers agree.
• 43 percent overall say they are most likely to vote in the 2016 Republican primary; 86 percent of Republicans, 30 percent of independents, 5 percent of Democrats and 78 percent of tea partyers agree.
• 36 percent overall say they are most likely to vote in the Democratic primary; 3 percent of Republicans, 18 percent of independents, 80 percent of Democrats and 12 percent of tea partyers agree.
• 14 percent overall say they won’t vote in either primary in 2016; 9 percent of Republicans, 35 percent of independents, 9 percent of Democrats and 7 percent of tea partyers agree.
Source: A Fox News poll of 1,016 registered U.S. voters conducted Nov. 16-19 and released Friday.
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