Reduction in World Terrorism By Non-State Actors, Report Shows

The Institute for Economics & Peace published yesterday its Global Terrorism Index (GTI). The index only includes violence committed by non-state actors within its definition of terrorism, and therefore ignores violence committed by governments as well as the underlying causes of conflict. The GTI does however consider ISIS, also known as ISIL or Daesh, to be a terrorist organization despite the fact that it considers itself to be a state. The report finds that the number of victims of terrorism peaked in 2014, with 29,376 people killed in terrorist attacks in 2015, a 10% reduction from the previous year. However, the victims of terrorism in OECD countries have increased from 77 in 2014 to 577 in 2015 along with a rising interest of the western media in reporting acts of terrorism.

UK Won’t Celebrate or Issue Apology for Balfour Declaration

UK will neither celebrate nor apologize for the Balfour Declaration, said UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Minister for the Middle East and Africa, Tobias Ellwood. He acknowledged that the UK contributed to the creation of the State of Israel an act which “some celebrate and some condemn.” Mr Elwood did criticize the over 50 year long Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory as “unacceptable and unsustainable.” The Balfour Declaration was a letter by British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur Balfour dated 02 November 1917. Although Britain did not control Palestine at the time, the declaration promised to create a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine while safeguarding the rights of the native population, who were referred to simply as the “existing non-Jewish communities.” Britain proceeded to conquer Palestine that year and the Zionist movement has long since relied on the Balfour Declaration to legitimize its claim over the land. The Palestinian government plans to sue the UK over the Declaration, which Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said “gave people who don’t belong there… something that wasn’t theirs.”

 
Trump Dismisses Lobbyists from Transition Team and Institutes 5 Year Ban on Lobbying
 
The Trump transition team presented new rules that would ban lobbyists from participating in the transition and prohibit officials from serving as lobbyists for five years after leaving the administration. The rules come after major news outlets, including the Washington Post and the New York Times, revealed that a large number of transition team members had been recruited from Washington, DC lobbying firms. President Obama had instituted similar rules that limited lobbying to two years after leaving the administration and applied only to lobbying the agency that previously employed them. Former administration officials have often undermined these bans by simply not registering as lobbyists.
National Intelligence Director James Clapper Resigns
 
The Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, told Congress that he turned in his resignation, effective at the end of President Obama’s term. The move was expected, but members of Congress had expressed hope that Clapper would remain in the post under the next administration. The Director of National Intelligence is responsible for overseeing and coordinating all 16 US intelligence agencies, including the CIA, NSA, and DIA. In March 2013, Clapper attracted a lot of controversy for having claimed during congressional testimony that the NSA does not gather intelligence on US citizens. A few months later, whistleblower Edward Snowden contradicted Clapper’s claim and provided numerous documents showing that the NSA had long been engaged in extensive data collection of US citizens. Snowden also said Clapper’s testimony was one of the main reasons he decided to come forward with his information about NSA activity.
Italy’s Prime Minister Promises to Resign if Constitutional Reform Fails 
 
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announced that he would resign, should a constitutional reform referendum scheduled for December 4th be defeated. Renzi is staking his political future on the referendum because he says the constitution must be reformed in order to make it easier for the governing party to pass laws by weakening the upper house of the legislature. Most recent opinion polls show that the vote against the reform is leading the yes vote by at least five percent. If the vote fails, Renzi says a caretaker government would take over for the last two years of his term. Many analysts see the constitutional reform referendum as another potential “Brexit moment,” in which voters reject the political establishment.
International Energy Agency Says Paris Agreement is Unlikely to Meet Temperature Target
 
The International Energy Agency warned today that the Paris Climate Agreement will fall short of its goal of limiting average temperature increases to no more than 2 degrees Celsius over the pre-industrial average. The warning came in its annual World Energy Outlook report, which stated that greenhouse gas emission reduction targets could be met, but they are insufficient for preventing global warming as laid out in the agreement. Other recent studies show that if the current trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions is not dramatically reduced, the world could increase average global temperatures by three degrees celsius, leading to catastrophic sea level rise, droughts, and storms.