Ten Of The Least Corrupt Countries In The World

Ten Of The Least Corrupt Countries In The  World

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” Mahatma Gandhi

Corruption is one of the biggest problems in the world. The threat of corruption is always prevalent. Here is the list of the 10 least corrupt countries in the world in order as published by Transparency International.

Denmark almost always ranks first as the country least prone to corruption. Is it that the Danes have a higher moral fiber than other people? Is it something in their genes? Perhaps it is that the Danes have a high degree of trust in other people and in the system. Fair working conditions, social security, health arrangements, decent salaries and pension schemes are among the things that contribute to giving the Danes reasonable living conditions. Anti corruptions strategy is part of the corporate business structure. They aren’t immune to bribery but they have a tradition of  high ethical and moral views of the world.

New Zealand is not categorized by political corruption scandals.   No country has a perfect score and New Zealand has slipped down from first place over the last few years. New Zealand’s reputation for honesty, transparency and justice is a great advantage in conducting international trade and other dealings. It is still the least corrupt country in Asia-Pacific.

Corruption is very low in Finland. Finland consistently ranks in the top four of the Corruption Perception Index. There is a strong anti corruption commitment from their government. The country’s focus on human rights issues and literacy have a high correlation to lower rates of corruption.

Sweden ranks fourth in the World Corruptions Perception Index.  Government agencies have a high degree of transparency, integrity and accountability. The legal system is effective in fighting corruption issues that arise.  According to Forbes magazine it is the best country in the world to do business with. The low-level of corruption is one of the reasons.

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Norway falls behind Sweden and Denmark in corruption but all the Scandinavian countries still rate as the least corrupt countries in the world. Business is conducted with a high level of transparency. Administration corruption and petty bribery are almost non-existent. Bribery, fraud, extortion and money laundering carry a penalty of up to ten years imprisonment. Anti-corruption laws are strongly enforced.

Switzerland has very strong anti-bribery enforcement activities and controls of corruption. The Swiss economy is one of the most competitive and innovative in the world. One of the reasons is because they have a sound regulatory environment.

Singapore has consistently placed well ahead of the other Asian countries in terms of corruption. Singaporeans expect and demand a clean system, and will not give or accept bribery to get things done, unlike in other countries.  The city-state does have an aggressive Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau; professional courts and a ruthless, relentless emphasis on efficiency and results.There’s an old saying in Asia that the real money is in government. Not the paychecks, but the kickbacks. Singapore  pays its government well so that does not happen.

The Netherlands is always in the top ten. When economic freedom exists, it comes with  very little corruption.  The country has established strong pillars—an independent judiciary, effective anti-corruption mechanisms and a culture of trust—that all combine to create a society where corruption is not considered a serious problem.

Corruption does not constitute a problem for businesses in Luxembourg. The country has a strong legal framework to curb corruption, and anti-corruption laws are effectively enforced. It is not perfect but still better than most of the world.

Canada ranks tenth  this year and is still one of the least corrupt countries. It is the least corrupt country in the Americas which includes the United States. It does not mean that there is no corruption, only less than other countries.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Countries My Friends And Family Have Emigrated From To America

Countries My Friends And Family Have Emigrated From To America.

“No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.” Warsan Shire

Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Colombia, Egypt, El Salvador, England, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica,  Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand,  Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Serbia, Scotland, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, Turkey, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe.

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Growing up in New York, with immigrant grandparents, the Statue of Liberty meant something. “Tell us the story of when your parents saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time again” we asked.   My mother would say that to her parents and many like them, the statue meant freedom to live in a country where you could be whatever you wanted to be. America was the place to go to flee from oppression, racism, class-ism and poverty. We understood that it was something special to be born in a country with ideals like that.

America is not perfect. We have racism and poverty. But that doesn’t destroy the dreams it was built on. Millions of people came to America to build a better life for themselves and for their families and still do to this day.

On the Statue of Liberty, there are words I know so well: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.” That’s the spirit that made me feel like an American.  I wouldn’t be here without that philosophy.

Fly safe.

JAZ

Safest Countries To Visit Now

Safest Countries To Visit Now

“These are all I have.I do not have the wide,bright beacon of some solid old lighthouse, guiding ships safely home, past the jagged rocks. I only have these little glimmers that flicker and then go out.”  Rebecca Wells, Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood

“A person isn’t safe anywhere these days.” How often have I heard that lately – terrorism, zika, gun violence. Before that it was the fear of aids, dengue, swine flu and malaria. So for those of you who would like to lessen the odds,  these are some of the safest countries to travel to.

Slovenia is a relatively safe country to visit. They have a strong economy and a stable democracy. The days of being part of communist Yugoslavia ended when they established their independence in 1991. They are members of both NATO and the EU. You should probably use tick repellent in the beautiful national parks.

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Japan is safer than most countries. It is definitely safer then the countries we come from. They have a very low crime rate and Japanese don’t worry about locking their doors or walking home late at night alone which is a nice way to live. Is it 100 per cent safe ?- no.

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Americans believe that Canada is a crime free oasis. Violent crime is very low but purses and wallets do often go missing. Don’t leave your things unattended,

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There is very little crime in Switzerland but most of it is geared to tourists. Car theft, pick pocketing and purse snatching are common in tourist areas. Sometimes football games get a little rowdy and you might see police in riot gear.

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I’m surprised that the Czech Republic has such a high safety rating. I’ve been to Prague a few times and I didn’t feel that safe. Then again, nothing happened to me. Don’t exchange money on the street. Petty theft is very common in tourist areas and taxi drivers are known to cheat you. It’s always best to get a taxi in front of a hotel. If you have a problem, the police station is open 24 hours a day and has English translators.

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Portugal is one of the safest countries to visit. That is good for me to know because I am going there soon. If you get very drunk and it is late at night, you could become a target for thieves. Violent crime is rare but they do have a few gangs that hang out on the beach late at night. A late night beach walk toward a group of people who look like they might be trouble is probably not a good idea. Also if anyone approaches you to buy drugs or anything on the street like sunglasses, which could turn out to be drugs, just say no.

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New Zealand is a very safe place to travel with few diseases, a great healthcare system and a low crime rate. The terrain can be challenging outside of the main city. You need to be reasonably fit to enjoy the new Zealand bush. New Zealand’s clear, unpolluted atmosphere and relatively low latitudes produce sunlight stronger than much of Europe or North America, so if you don’t wear sunblock, be ready for a major sunburn.

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There is no travel advisory in effect for Austria and it is one of the safest countries in the world. You might get a stomach ache from eating all that schnitzel, sacher torte and strudel. There are very few violent crimes but bicycle theft is becoming a problem. Also don’t walk in the bike lanes. As in the Netherlands, you could easily be hit by a cyclist. I just read that racism is a problem (not a violent one) especially in villages where there are no non-white people. What exactly is considered non-white to an Austrian anyway? Could be anything. I think I have to disagree with this one though all the lists say it is very safe.

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Travelers do not worry about their safety in Denmark. Denmark is the second most peaceful country in the world according to the Global Index. it score very well in the level of violent crime and likelihood of violent demonstrations, political stability, freedom of the press, hostility to foreigners and respect for human rights. This makes it a great place to live and travel.

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Iceland is beyond safe to travel to when it comes to crime .However you should pay attention to natural dangers. Signs like Do Not Drive Up The Glacier Without A 4×4 or Do Not Go Here – mean it. There is no cell service in many places so you may experience a bit of technology withdrawal but the beautiful scenery will easily fill up the time.

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Other safe countries include Norway, Sweden, Finland, Ireland and Bhutan. So if you’re feeling nervous, you still have many great options to travel.

Fly safe,JAZ

Things That I Have Learned In Victoria, Canada

Things That I Have Learned In Victoria, Canada

“He’s got this thing about Canada. He says it’s like America only with health care and no guns, and you can live up to your potential there and not have to worry about what society thinks or about getting sick or getting shot.” Ruth Ozeki

Victoria is the capital of British Columbia. It was incorporated as a city in 1862. The city is named after Queen Victoria. Victoria lies on the southern tip of Vancouver Island on the Pacific Coast.

It is called the “city of gardens.” The famous Butchart Gardens opened in 1904are only about a twenty-five minute drive from downtown Victoria.

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Approximately 1,500 hanging baskets adorn lampposts throughout the City of Victoria each summer

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Victoria’s Inner Harbor is the heart of the city. There are historic buildings and a lot boat and seaplane activity on the water.The Royal BC Museum and the BC Parliament Buildings are all in this area.

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The food in Victoria reflects the local ingredients and flavors of the Pacific Northwest. Victoria’s rich farming regions and coastal waters yield an abundance of produce and seafood, particularly shellfish and salmon.

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When someone in Victoria says oot and a boot, they mean out and about.

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Fan Tan Alley is the narrowest commercial street in North America. It is located in Chinatown – the second largest Chinatown in North America after San Francisco.

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You can get to Victoria via ferry. Float planes come from all over including regular scheduled flights from downtown Vancouver.

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Forty six percent of people in Victoria walk, ride or use public transportation to get to work.

It’s an outdoorsy place with hiking, biking, kayaking and sailing. It is the cycling capital of Canada.

The world’s largest totem pole was raised in Victoria in 1994 as an homage to Victoria’s native history.

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The architecture and tea and crumpets at the Fairmont is a reminder of the British heritage. Cuppa tea anyone?

Fly safe,

JAZ

 

 

 

Things I Have Learned In Vancouver, Canada

Things I Have Learned In Vancouver, Canada

“I’ve been to Canada, and I’ve always gotten the impression that I could take the country over in about two days.” Jon Stewart

Vancouver is named after George Vancouver, a morose sounding guy who hated the place. ( Opening to the Northwest Passage – monument to Captain Vancouver in Vanier Park)

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Thirty five per cent of Vancouver’s population is foreign-born (the highest figure for a city in the world). It has the highest proportion of Asians in any North American city.

Greenpeace was started in Vancouver – just in case you thought it was started by vegans in San Francisco.

Sun Yat Sen Gardens (named after the Chinese revolutionary) were the first authentic classical Chinese gardens ever built outside of China.

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Chinese gardens employ  principles of Feng Shui and Taoism, to achieve harmony and a balance of opposites. Craggy rocks, for example, are juxtaposed against delicate foliage. Water is also an important element of the garden. It is an oasis of peace in the beautiful city.

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Vancouver ranks third in the world as the best city to live in.

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This is a great eating city. Their specialties are seafood, local cheese and fresh produce. There is excellent Asian food as well. Don’t miss the Granville Market which is an entire island near downtown filled with crafts, farmer’s market, and specialty food vendors.

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The Vancouver (YVR) airport has free WiFi.

Vancouver has the highest real estate prices in Canada.

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Stanley Park is Vancouver’s largest and much used park.

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Set against an urban seawall there are miles of trails, bike paths, beautiful beaches, gardens, monuments, sculptures the first nations totem poles., local wildlife, food, natural, cultural and historical landmarks.

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You can’t buy beer or alcohol in the grocery store.

The Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG)) is the fifth-largest gallery in Canada.  Its permanent collection is about 10,000 pieces. . There are always interesting exhibitions as well and is a nice break from all the outdoor activities.

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Vancouver is North America’s second largest port. (after New York)

Vancouver is the second or third largest film production centre in North America. It is second to LA in television production & third behind LA and NY in feature film production. This is due to favorable tax concessions to the industry, the year round mild climate, and Vancouver’s wide variety of locales. Most productions are American. Most Canadian productions are in Toronto.

The Twilight Saga was filmed in Vancouver.

Gastown was the first settlement in Vancouver. Today it has a lot of tourist shops, First Nation galleries, and pretty street lights. The main activity seems to be taking a picture of the steam clock.

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Vancouver has the largest crime rate in Canada but still well below many American cities. This is due to the large number of drug addicts who live here.(because it is the third best city in the world to live?)

The city has less than fifty murders a year. Some of them are criminals killing other criminals. You can’t make this stuff up.

Fly safe,

JAZ