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.

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 2.08.42 PM

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

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.

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 11.59.37 PM

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.

IMG_1074

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,

IMG_1858

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.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 12.00.23 AM

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.

IMG_0918

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.

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 10.27.14 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 10.30.28 PM

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.

IMG_1594

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.

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 10.28.48 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 10.55.05 PM

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 Helsinki, Finland

Things That I Have Learned in Helsinki, Finland

“Countries are like people: by their very existence they exalt or deflate the opinions one would like to have of themselves. When I return from Finland, I feel younger and livelier; I make great plans, I like many things in the world and, what is more, I like myself a little better.” George Duhamel

Helsinki is one of the coldest cities in the world.  It does not receive sunshine for about fifty  consecutive  days in winters. The city has around a hundred average  days of snow and a hundred and seventy days of below freezing weather. (not winter)

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 11.54.58 PM

Helsinki has many heavy metal bands. They even have them for kids. You are never too young to rupture your eardrums.

You can take the ferry from Talinn, Estonia to Helsinki, Finland.

IMG_1387

Helsinki’s has one hundred kilometres of coast and over three hundred islands of which many are accessible for recreational use. You can take a ferry to Suomenlinna which has one of the world’s largest maritime fortresses. The islands of Pihlajasaari and Uunisaari are good for beaches and sauna.  You can go to Seurasaari Open Air Museum, or the Helsinki Zoo which is located on an island called Korkeasaari.

IMG_1388

IMG_1390

There are around 2.2 million saunas in Finland – 1 for every 2.5 people. Visiting the sauna is as normal to a Finn, as going to the pub is to a Brit.

A Finnish sauna is taken naked. Wearing clothes in the sauna is a big faux pas. A bathing suit counts as clothes. It’s normal to go in with groups of friends or family, drink beer and even grill sausages on the fire.

The Sibelius monument, designed by Eila Hiltunen, is dedicated to Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, which was made public on 7th September, 1967. It is made up of 600 steel pipes, plastered together in the shape of wave.

IMG_1396

Helsinki has the highest cellphone-to-resident ratios in the world. This is odd because the people don’t appear to be that talkative. Maybe it is not so odd because the world’s leading manufacturer of cell phones, Nokia, is based in Finland. Nokia used to make rubber boots. I see the similarity (?)

The amount  that you get fined for speeding on the roads in Finland depends on the amount you earn. I heard that the CEO of Nokia had some really expensive speeding ticket.

The Design Museum of Helsinki has a permanent collection of over 75,000 pieces. It is Finnish design from the nineteenth century to the present. I have always been a fan of Industrial Finnish design of the fifties and sixties and so i spent many  hours there.

In 1952, the 15th Summer Olympic Games were held in Helsinki. They proved to be a milestone in the city’s history as they led to further urbanization and development of the city.

IMG_1394

There are more women than men in Finland.

Finnish food is simple, local and organic. Being so close to Russia (we took the train to St Petersburg) there is always meat and potatoes. Meat is served well done, with blood or with a lot of blood.  There is always fish because of all the lakes, rivers and the sea, Whitefish, herring and salmon are popular. I had hot smoked salmon which was weirdly delicious – so was reindeer. (Sorry Rudolph fans)

Helsinki was originally Helsinkflors which is Swedish (and apparently so were they for a time –and  then they were Russian).

Swedish is also an official language in Finland. Linguistically Finnish is closer to Hungarian than Swedish. Signs are indecipherable – don’t even try.

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 11.29.18 PM

Helsinki enjoys long days of almost 19 hours during summers. Conversely, during winters, the nights are longer with almost 18 hours of darkness. ( summer in Helsinki)

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 11.55.47 PM

One of my favorite modern art museums is the Kiasma Museum of Modern Art. It is not just an art but a spatial experience.

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 12.12.16 AM

Helsinki has a huge bunny rabbit problem. Very little happens in Finland which is how I know about the bunny problem. They report it a lot on the news.

The Church of the Rock was designed by the two brothers, Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen. They started their work in 1968 by exploding a rocky outcrop, which was developed as an underground church with a copper wire ceiling in 1969. From the aerial view it appears as if a UFO has collided with the ground.

IMG_1403

Finns can drink. Don’t try to keep up.  Alcohol is a food group here. Finns have long life spans unless they die of alcohol poisoning or related accidents. They will pee anywhere when they are drunk- which is why a city which such clean air can often smell bad in the morning.

Try not to mention architect Aalvar Aalto and composer Jan Sibelius when speaking about famous Finns. At least say you have heard of Esa Pekka Salonen. (being that he conducted the LA Philharmonic –I’m good)

Finns say hei for hello. It’s not rude – it’s friendly.

Oct 13 is failure day –a day to share your failure stories and learn from them. I have a lot of those days.

Because of the presence of buildings resembling St. Petersburg, many Hollywood films were shot in Helsinki, for instance, The Kremlin Letter, Reds, and Gorky Park. The city offers some picturesque streets that are reminiscent of old Leningrad’s and Moscow’s ancient buildings. (Helsinki Cathedral)

Screen Shot 2014-07-05 at 6.59.31 PM

The Molotov cocktail was a Finnish invention during World War II and was used against the Russians. The Russian foreign minister Molotov claimed that the bombs they sent to Finland were food rations. So the Finns sent back a “cocktail” to go with the food.

Turvallista matkaa!,

JAZ