Americans unhappier than ever before, UN global report finds

Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 3:25 PM

(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Happiness in America is on the decline, according to a new report released Monday.

The U.N.’s “World Happiness Report” launched just in time for International Day of Happiness on March 20, a U.N. holiday established in 2012 and celebrated around the world Monday.

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But according to the new report, happiness in America has decreased over the years. Since the U.N.’s first report in 2012, the nation has fallen three spots.

To come up with the happiness rankings, analysts examined answers to a specific question from the 2014-16 Gallup World Poll, a popular, massive survey with respondents from 155 different countries.

Approximately 2,000-3,000 people from each country participated.

>> RELATED: U.S. no longer a top-5 country in the world 

The question (included below) asks respondents to rate their lives on a scale of zero to 10 across six factors: life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom, corruption and GDP.

Please imagine a ladder with steps numbered from zero at the bottom to 10 at the top. Suppose we say that the top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you, and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time, assuming that the higher the step the better you feel about your life, and the lower the step the worse you feel about it? Which step comes closest to the way you feel?

According to the report, these happiness measures are often used by governments, organizations and civil society to inform their policy-making decisions.

With an average rank of 7.537, the happiest country in the world is Norway, according to the poll.

The least happy on the list is the Central African Republic, which scored an average happiness rank of 2.693.

As for America, the country fell to No. 14 from No. 11 in 2012 with a current average happiness rank of 6.993. 

According to the World Happiness Report, the reasons for America’s reduced happiness in a nutshell are declining social support and increased corruption.

>> RELATED: Do you live in one of the happiest cities in America? 

Though individual incomes have increased roughly three times since 1960, “measured happiness” has not risen.

America’s problems with rising income inequality, distrust with the government, how the country reacted to the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the nation’s “deteriorating” educational system are some possible factors cited in the report.

“America’s crisis is, in short, a social crisis, not an economic crisis,” the report’s authors wrote.

How you can help Mexico and people affected by the Mexico earthquake

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 11:54 AM

More Than 200 Killed In Central Mexico Earthquake

A massive magnitude-7.1 earthquake in Mexico City has killed more than 200 people as of Wednesday morning.

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Volunteer rescue workers, along with officials and other ordinary citizens, dug through the debris of collapsed buildings, including a three-story primary and secondary school, where they found students dead after Tuesday’s quake.

“We can hear small noises, but we don’t know if they’re coming from above or below, from the walls above (crumbling), or someone below calling for help,” volunteer rescue worker Dr. Pedro Serrano told the Associated Press.

>> Related: Buildings damaged following large earthquake in Mexico City

Tuesday’s earthquake is the deadliest in Mexico since the 1985 quake, which took place on the same date and left thousands dead.

It is also the second devastating earthquake to hit the region in less than two weeks.

A week and a half ago, a magnitude-8.1 quake killed about 90 people.

Here’s how to help Mexico and those affected by the earthquake:

1. Donate clothes, water and food

If you’re nearby the tragedy, donate canned goods to relief or collection centers listed here at Elfinanciero.com.

You can also donate goods to nonprofits on the ground, including UNICEF MexicoRed Cross MexicoSave the Children MexicoOxfam MexicoLa Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico or Project Paz.

2. Make a monetary donation

Consider donating to those nonprofits listed above (UNICEF MexicoRed Cross MexicoSave the Children MexicoOxfam MexicoLa Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico or Project Paz).

Topos Mexico, a Mexican rescue brigade, is also accepting PayPal donations

3. Use social media to spread awareness

A simple retweet could get the right person where they need to be or the right information where it needs to go.

While you’re on social media, consider retweeting aid accounts or locals to connect them to the appropriate resources.

For example, Topos Mexico has been sharing lists of areas where they need professional medical care.

Locals are also tweeting photos of areas where help is needed. Here, someone calls for help on Twitter for a collapsed building in Coquimbo, where many were trapped.

Some have even tweeted about open hospitals and where victims can receive free treatment, such as the emergency room at Hospital Ángeles Pedregal below.

There is also a Google spreadsheet of rescued individuals that’s being shared on social media. 

4. If you’re around, volunteer

Mexico City officials have put together a volunteer coordination site, asking those interested to head to the Emergency Rescue Squad (ERUM) building in Chimalpopoca.

But officials warn volunteers to stick to their nearest disaster zones and avoid entering other zones.

A boy with his face covered due to a gas leak holds aman's hand as people gather in Reforma Avenue after an earthquake in Mexico City, Tuesday Sept. 19, 2017. A powerful earthquake jolted central Mexico on Tuesday, causing buildings to sway sickeningly in the capital on the anniversary of a 1985 quake that did major damage.(AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)(Marco Ugarte/AP)

Who are the Rohingya Muslims? 7 things to know about the 'world’s most persecuted minority'

Published: Wednesday, September 13, 2017 @ 4:05 PM

Thousands of members of various Indonesian muslim groups demonstrate in support of Myanmar's Rohingya population in front of the Myanmar embassy on September 6, 2017 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Myanmar has reportedly laid landmines across a section of its border with Bangladesh for the past three days as nearly 125,000 Rohingya refugees have fled across the border from Myanmar to Bangladesh since violence erupted on August 25. (Photo by Ed Wray/Getty Images)
Ed Wray/Getty Images
Thousands of members of various Indonesian muslim groups demonstrate in support of Myanmar's Rohingya population in front of the Myanmar embassy on September 6, 2017 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Myanmar has reportedly laid landmines across a section of its border with Bangladesh for the past three days as nearly 125,000 Rohingya refugees have fled across the border from Myanmar to Bangladesh since violence erupted on August 25. (Photo by Ed Wray/Getty Images)(Ed Wray/Getty Images)

Since August, more than 370,000 Rohingya Muslims have escaped the Buddhist-majority country of Myanmar, where they are denied citizenship and reportedly face an array of human rights abuses, to seek refuge in neighboring countries such as Bangladesh.

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Many Rohingya refugees have been turned away, leaving thousands stranded at sea.

Zeid Ra‘ad al-Hussein, the United Nations human rights chief, has called what's happening to Rohingya in Myanmar “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

Who are the Rohingya and where do they live?

In this Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, photo, Rohingya refugee Muhammad Ayub shows off a picture of his grandfather allegedly killed during recent violence in Myanmar, in Klang on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Recent violence in Myanmar has driven hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims to seek refuge across the border in Bangladesh. There are some 56,000 Rohingya refugees registered with the U.N. refugee agency in Malaysia, with an estimated 40,000 more whose status has yet to be assessed. (AP Photo/Daniel Chan)(Daniel Chan/AP)

The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic group living primarily in the Buddhist nation of Myanmar (or Burma). There are approximately 1.1 million Rohingya living in the country.

According to Al Jazeera, the Rohingya have been described as the “world’s most persecuted minority,” and have faced systematic persecution since Myanmar’s independence in the late 1940s.

Most Rohingya in Myanmar reside in the Rakhine State on the country’s western coast.

Rakhine State is regarded as one of the country’s poorest areas and lacks basic services in education and health care.

The Rohingya’s history in Myanmar

According to historians, the group has been residing in Arakan (now Rakhine State) since as early as the 12th century, Al Jazeera reported.

When the British ruled between 1824 and 1948, they administered Myanmar as a province of India and, thus, any migration of laborers between Myanmar and other South Asian countries (like Bangladesh) was considered internal. The majority of the native Myanmar population did not like that.

After gaining independence in 1948, the Burmese government still frowned upon any migration that occurred during the period of British rule, claiming it all to be illegal.

In fact, many Buddhists in Myanmar consider the Ronhingya to be Bengali, or people from Bangladesh.

The discriminatory 1982 Citizenship Law officially prevented them from obtaining citizenship.

And according to a Human Rights Watch report from 2000, this is the basis the Myanmar government uses to deny Rohingya citizenship in the country.

Over the years, military crackdowns on the Rohingya have forced hundreds of thousands to escape.

According to the HRW report, Rohingya refugees reported that the Burmese army had forcibly evicted them. Many also alleged widespread army brutality, rape and murder.

Between 1991 and 1992, more than 250,000 Rohingya refugees fled to southeastern Bangladesh. But with the influx of refugees, the Bangladeshi government insisted the refugees return to Arakan (Rakhine State).

By 1997, according to the HRW report, some 230,000 refugees returned.

That same year, the Burmese government said it would not accept any more returning refugees after Aug. 15, 1997, leading to a series of disturbances in Bangladeshi refugee camps.

The Human Rights Watch has called the crisis a deadly game of “human ping-pong.”

What’s happening to the Rohingya now?

Myanmar, a Buddhist-majority country, continues to deny the Rohingya citizenship, freedom to travel, access to education and the group still faces harsh systematic persecution.

In October 2016, the Burmese government blamed members of the Rohingya for the killings of nine border police, leading to a crackdown on Rakhine State villages in which troops were accused of rape, extrajudicial killing and other human rights abuses — all allegations they denied.

And most recently in August, violence erupted after Rohingya fighters were accused of attacking police posts and an army base in Rakhine, Al Jazeera reported.

Following the August event, at least 370,000 Rohingya Muslims fled to Bangladesh to escape the aforementioned allegations of human rights abuses, according to the Associated Press.

Women, children and the elderly made up the bulk of the that group.

Over the past three years, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have tried to escape by boat to neighboring countries that refuse to let them in.

Approximately 8,000 migrants have been stranded at sea.

Why won’t other countries take them in?

Many of Myanmar’s neighboring countries, including Bangladesh and Thailand, refuse to take them in.

The Thai navy has actually turned them away.

Lex Rieffel, an expert on Southeast Asia at the Brookings Institution, told NPR in 2015 that the Buddhist-majority nation of Thailand has been battling an Islamist insurgency for decades and has "no stomach" for bringing in more Muslims.

“Where will the budget come from? That money will need to come from Thai people's taxes, right?” Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters in 2015.

Malaysia and Indonesia, despite being Muslim-majority nations, have also prevented Rohingya from entering their countries, citing “social unrest.” And Indonesia worries about “an uncontrolled influx.”

“What do you expect us to do?” Malaysian Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Jafaar told The Guardian in 2015. “We have been very nice to the people who broke into our border. We have treated them humanely, but they cannot be flooding our shores like this.”

What is Aung San Suu Kyi saying?

In this Friday, Aug. 11, 2017, file photo, Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi delivers an opening speech during the Forum on Myanmar Democratic Transition in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. Suu Kyi has canceled plans to attend the U.N. General Assembly, with her country drawing international criticism for violence that has driven at least 370,000 ethnic Rohingya Muslims from the country in less than three weeks. (AP Photo/Aung Shine Oo, File)(Aung Shine Oo/AP)

The crisis has drawn worldwide criticism of Myanmar's government and its leader, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi

According to the BBC, Suu Kyi said “a huge iceberg of misinformation” was distorting the crisis.

“We know very well, more than most, what it means to be deprived of human rights and democratic protection,” she is quoted as saying to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a recent statement. “So, we make sure that all the people in our country are entitled to protection of their rights as well as ... not just political but social and humanitarian defence.”

But stories of human rights abuse can't be investigated because of the Burmese government’s decision to deny media access to its troubled areas, BBC’s Tn Htar Swe said.

"If they allowed the UN or human rights bodies to go to the place to find out what is happening then ... misinformation is not going to take place.”

Condemnation of Suu Kyi’s inaction and response have led to calls for the rescindment of her Nobel Peace Prize, which she won in 1991 as a result of her long fight for democracy in Burma. According to the Washington Post, the Nobel Committee said that will not happen.

How is the world reacting to the Rohingya crisis?

International aid to much of Myanmar’s Rakhine State have been suspended, leaving approximately 250,000 Rohingya Muslims without medical care, food and other vital humanitarian assistance, the Human Rights Watch reported Tuesday.

“The United Nations, ASEAN and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation need to ramp up the pressure on Burma, and provide more assistance to Bangladesh, to promptly help Rohingya and other displaced people,” said Philippe Bolopion, deputy diretor for global advocacy at Human Rights Watch.

Earlier this year, the United Nations Human Rights Council approved an investigative mission, but was denied entry into Myanmar in June. And when an envoy entered in July, the visit was met with protests.

On Monday, the White House released this statement: “We call on Burmese security authorities to respect the rule of law, stop the violence and end the displacement of civilians from all communities.”

Bangladesh, which is facing the largest influx of Rohingyas from Myanmar, has called on the international community to intervene.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the world's largest Muslim body, issued a statement Tuesday urging Muslim countries to work together to help the Rohingya refugees.

Who is helping the Rohingya?

Aid groups continue efforts to reach Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and send aid to refugee camps.

According to the Indian Express, India announced it is sending an aircraft Thursday that will carry the first shipment of humanitarian assistance to Bangladesh for Rohingya Muslim refugees.

“We want to go home and we want peace. But I believe the world is watching our crisis and that they are trying to help us,” Rahimol Mustafa, a 22-year-old Rohingya Muslim, told Al Jazeera in an interview Tuesday.

Mustafa fled Rakhine State a few weeks ago and is currently safe at a refugee camp in Bangladesh, but with “no shelter and no future.”

Prince William takes Prince George to his first day at prep school

Published: Thursday, September 07, 2017 @ 8:36 AM

Britain's Prince William accompanies Prince George as he is greeted by Helen Haslem - the head of the lower school as he arrives for his first day of school at Thomas's school in Battersea, London, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017.  Prince William's pregnant wife Kate was too ill with morning sickness Thursday to take young Prince George to his first day of school.  (Richard Pohle/Pool Photo via AP)
Richard Pohle/AP
Britain's Prince William accompanies Prince George as he is greeted by Helen Haslem - the head of the lower school as he arrives for his first day of school at Thomas's school in Battersea, London, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017. Prince William's pregnant wife Kate was too ill with morning sickness Thursday to take young Prince George to his first day of school. (Richard Pohle/Pool Photo via AP)(Richard Pohle/AP)

Prince George has just accomplished a milestone, as he went to his first day of prep school in southwest London.

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In a moment that mimicked one of Princess Diana and Prince William 30 years ago, George was escorted to Thomas’s Battersea by his father, The Guardian reported.

Missing in the first-day-of school moment was Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, who was absent due to her severe morning sickness from her third pregnancy.

>>Read: Prince William, Kate Middleton expecting third child

Well wishers jammed the fence outside the school to watch as the princes arrived.

The school is said to be teaching George, who will be going by the name George Cambridge, how to be kind, gain confidence, leadership and humility, The Guardian reported.

Like any 4-year-old, George looked a little unsure as he walked up to greet the head of the school. His father, despite being second in line to the throne, carried his son’s bag.

Thomas’s Battersea costs $23,000 a year, CNN reported.

7 Interesting Facts about the Royal Family

Disneyland Paris tells 3-year-old boy he can't participate in 'Princess for a Day' event

Published: Thursday, August 31, 2017 @ 9:41 AM

FILE PHOTO: A crowd of tourists walk toward the Sleeping Beauty castle on main street at Disneyland Paris.
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
FILE PHOTO: A crowd of tourists walk toward the Sleeping Beauty castle on main street at Disneyland Paris.(Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Disneyland Paris is apologizing to a little boy who was told he can't dress up as a princess.

Three-year-old Noah is a big fan of Elsa from the movie "Frozen."

His family thought it'd be fun to take part in the "Princess for a Day” event at Disneyland Hotel, NBC News reported.

But he was told he can't and that the event was only for girls.

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“I was so shocked. I mean, I'm his mother, and if I'm okay with him doing it, who are Disney to tell me that he can't do that?” his mother, Hayley Mclean-Glass said. "If a little girl went to Disneyland and wanted to do a pirate experience or a Spiderman experience, there would be no way that they would stop a girl from doing that, because there would be uproar, so why is it different for a boy?”

A statement from Disney said it is not its policy to exclude boys from the experience.

In the statement to ITV, Disneyland Paris officials wrote, “An isolated incident, the cast member’s response is not reflective of any policy or belief held here at Disneyland Paris. We are going to ensure this does not happen again.”

Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.