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2 Key Rankings

1. India ranks bottom of Oxfam world inequality index

 India has been ranked among the bottom 11 countries in a new worldwide index on the commitment of different nations to reduce inequalities in their populations.

UK-based charity Oxfam International’s ‘Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) Index’ ranks India 147th among 157 countries analysed, describing the country’s commitment to reducing inequality as “a very worrying situation” given that it is home to 1.3 billion people, many of whom live in extreme poverty.

“Oxfam has calculated that if India were to reduce inequality by a third, more than 170 million people would no longer be poor,” the index notes. The second edition of the annual index finds that countries such as South Korea, Namibia and Uruguay are taking strong steps to reduce inequality.

However, countries such as India and Nigeria “do very badly” overall, as does the US among rich countries, showing what Oxfam describes as a lack of commitment to closing the inequality gap.

The index is based on a new database of indicators, now covering 157 countries, which measures government action on social spending, tax and labour rights – three areas found to be critical to reducing the gap.

The index is topped by Denmark, based on its high and progressive taxation, high social spending and good protection of workers.

The report lauded President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, which came in 56th overall, for showing commitment to tackling inequality in the country in the past year by raising tax on the richest earners, boosting spending for the poor and dramatically raising the minimum wage.

It also cited other countries that have taken strong steps to tackle inequality in the past year.

Ethiopia, although at the 131st place, now has the sixth highest level of education spending in the world.

Chile, at 35th, increased its rate of corporation tax and Indonesia, at 90th, has increased its minimum wage and spending on health, the report noted.

The analysis, by Oxfam and non-profit research group Development Finance International (DFI), recommends that all countries should develop national inequality action plans to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on reducing inequality.

 

2. Japan has the strongest passport in the world according to new Henley & Partners ranking

A Japanese passport is now the most powerful in the world, allowing holders to travel freely to 190 countries and territories, according to the latest study by law firm Henley & Partners.

According to the 2018 Henley Passport Index Ranking released by the firm, Japan overtook Singapore after gaining visa-free access to Myanmar earlier this month.

The Japanese government believes its passport’s strong position is proof of effective national security regulations.

In February Japan, tying with Singapore, climbed to the first position with visa-free access to 179 countries following a visa exemption from Uzbekistan.

The ranking determines how many countries the holder can enter either without a visa or be issued one upon entry. The law firm says it updates the index in real-time, as and when visa-policy changes come into effect.

In October’s ranking, Singapore slid to second position with accessibility to 189 destinations. It was followed by France, Germany and South Korea whose passports enable visa-free entry to 188. Until last year, Germany held the top spot for five consecutive years. Japan ranked fifth in last year’s survey with visa-free access to 172 nations.

The latest report also showed that U.S. and the U.K. passports, both with 186 visa-free destinations, fell one spot from fourth to the fifth place after failing to gain access to new destinations.

Afghanistan’s and Iraq’s passports were the weakest in the October survey, with accessibility to 30 destinations each.

Georgia, Ukraine and United Arab Emirates were the biggest climbers in the 2018 ranking.

China also climbed by 14 positions to 71, with access to 74 destinations since 2017.

The Henley Passport Index ranking is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association, which has the world’s largest database of travel information.

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