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The world is no more a safe place to live in. The number of nations -- plagued with economic crisis, natural disasters, terrorism, internal strife and political instability -- is on the rise. A recent index of failed nations of the world, compiled by the Foreign Policy journal, goes on substantiate this.
The top 10 failed states in the 2009 list are: Somalia, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Guinea and Pakistan.
India is placed 87th among the 177 countries under study, with its score showing an improvement over the previous year. It stands out among its neighbours Pakistan (10), Myanmar (13), Bangladesh (19), Sri Lanka (22), Nepal (25) and China (57).
Pakistan, split in the middle with terrorist attacks and facing an economic crisis, remains among the top 10 failed states.
The country, placed ninth among all countries last year in terms of its overall achievement, has improved its position only by a notch -- it is placed 10th in the index.
Pakistan ranks just behind Iraq (6) and Afghanistan (7).
Despite a growing economy, China is ranked 57 in the list.
The fifth annual Failed Nations Index is a collaboration between the Fund for Peace -- an independent research organisation, and Foreign Policy.
Using 12 indicators of state cohesion and performance, compiled through a close examination of more than 30,000 publicly available sources, it ranked 177 states in order from most to least at risk of failure. The 60 most vulnerable states are listed in the rankings.
Iran dropped 11 spots in the rankings this year. It has been ranked 38 in the 2009 list. (It was ranked 49 in 2008)
With an already faulty economy, a 'vampire' State mismanaging it further, and a global recession on top of all that, it is no surprise that Iran is faltering, says the journal, adding however that the State is not failing -- indeed, it is succeeding quite well -- in one rather important respect: the pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Dogged with political instability, the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal is ranked 25th in the list.
According to the report, 'a failing state is one in which the government does not have effective control of its territory, is not perceived as legitimate by a significant portion of its population, does not provide domestic security or basic public services to its citizens, and lacks a monopoly on the use of force'.
Sri Lanka's rankings have improved in the 2009 Index with the country dropping down from the critical category last year to the danger category in the latest rankings.
The Island nation is ranked 22 in the latest report while last year it was ranked 20, and was among the critical countries headed by Somalia and included Zimbabwe and North Korea.
North Korea ranks 17. According to Foreign Policy, vast majority of North Koreans live in poverty.
And the State's routine experimentation with high-grade weaponry -- including tests of nuclear technologies this year and last -- has meant international isolation and UN Security Council opprobrium.
The 2009 Index lists Myanmar as in critical danger of state collapse due, primarily, to the misuse of power by the country's ruling military government.
Though holding steady at number 13 in the global rankings, Myanmar's cumulative 2009 score deteriorated by an additional 1.2 per cent from a year previously, reports said, adding that the nation's worst categorical scores came in 'Uneven Development' and 'De-legitimisation of the State', while the best of the poor scores were achieved in the areas of 'Human Flight' and 'External Intervention'.
Somalia claims the number 1 slot on the Failed States Index for a second year in a row.
According to Foreign Policy, militant attacks forced the country's fledgling transitional government literally into a corner; by December 2008, it controlled merely a few blocks in a country of 627,000 square km.
Yemen is placed at 18th in the rankings.
'Yemen may not yet be front-page news, but it's being watched intently these days in capitals worldwide. A perfect storm of state failure is now brewing there... Many worry Yemen is the next Afghanistan: a global problem wrapped in a failed state,' says the journal.
East Timor ranks 20th in the rankings.
East Timor faces debilitating problems with poverty, violence, and unrest. It won its independence in a bloody conflict a decade ago; an inter-military conflict led to fighting and a humanitarian crisis in 2006.
The country has the world's highest fertility rate, and 20 per cent of Timorians live on less than a dollar per day.