Nordic countries regularly appear in the top five, while war-hit countries and a number in sub-Saharan Africa regularly appear in the bottom five.
The 2018 report by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network also features data about the happiness of immigrants in their host countries, with Finland also coming top as home to the happiest immigrants.
The World Happiness Report ranks some 156 countries by their happiness levels, and 117 by the happiness of their immigrants.
Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland are in the top five. The US came in at the 18th place.
Togo is seen to be this year’s biggest gainer, moving up 17 places, while the biggest loser is Venezuela, which dropped 20 places to 102nd.
According to the UN’s World Happiness Report, Norway is the happiest place on Earth, toppling neighbor Denmark from the number one position.
The report measures “subjective well-being” – how happy the people are, and why.
Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and Finland round out the top five while the Central African Republic came last.
Western Europe and North America dominated the top of table, with the US at 14th.
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa and those hit by conflict have predictably low scores. Syria placed 152 of 155 countries – Yemen and South Sudan, which are facing impending famine, came in at 146 and 147.
It mainly relies on asking a simple, subjective question of more than 1,000 people every year in more than 150 countries.
“Imagine a ladder, with steps numbered from 0 at the bottom to 10 at the top,” the question asks.
“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?”
The average result is the country’s score – ranging from Norway’s 7.54 to the Central African Republic’s 2.69. But the report also tries to analyze statistics to explain why one country is happier than another.
This year’s report also contains a chapter titled “restoring American happiness”, which examines why happiness levels in the US are falling, despite constantly-increasing economic improvement.
“The United States can and should raise happiness by addressing America’s multi-faceted social crisis – rising inequality, corruption, isolation, and distrust – rather than focusing exclusively or even mainly on economic growth,” the authors said.
“America’s crisis is, in short, a social crisis, not an economic crisis.”
According to Jeffrey Sachs, the director of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, which published the report, President Donald Trump’s policies were likely to make things worse.
“They are all aimed at increasing inequality – tax cuts at the top, throwing people off the healthcare rolls, cutting Meals on Wheels in order to raise military spending. I think everything that has been proposed goes in the wrong direction,” Jeffrey Sachs told Reuters.
The report also suggests that professional “white collar” jobs are associated with improved happiness over “blue collar” roles – but that having a job at all is one of the biggest factors.
While “those in well-paying jobs are happier and more satisfied with their lives”, that effect has diminishing returns – “an extra $100 of salary is worth much more to someone at the lower end of the income distribution than someone already earning much more”.
The World Happiness Report has been published for the past five years, during which the Nordic countries have consistently dominated the top spots.
The clear dominance of those countries – and Denmark in particular – has encouraged other nations to adopt the Danish concept of “Hygge” – a cultural concept of coziness and relaxation.
Anders Behring Breivik has won a place to study political science at Oslo’s university.
The 36-year-old Norwegian admitted killing 77 people when he bombed central Oslo and then went on a shooting spree at a youth camp on a nearby island in 2011.
Anders Behring Breivik has been studying certain course modules since first applying to the University of Oslo in 2013, but he will now be taught as a full student.
The mass killer will have no contact with staff or students as he studies from his cell.
In 2012, Anders Behring Breivik was sentenced to the maximum 21 years in prison for carrying out Norway’s worst massacre since World War Two.
This jail term can be extended if he is deemed to remain a danger to society.
The university’s rector, Ole Petter Ottersen, said that Norwegian inmates “have a right to pursue higher education in Norway if they meet the admission requirements and are successful in competition with other applicants”.
Writing on the university’s website, Ole Petter Ottersen admitted that the university had faced “moral dilemmas” about Anders Behring Breivik’s admission.
The rector added that the university had students whose family members had been killed by Anders Behring Breivik. However, he said that the university would abide by its rules “for our own sake, not for his”.
As he studies from his prison, Anders Behring Breivik will be subject to strict regulations. He will be allowed no access to internet resources or receive any personal guidance from tutors. All communication with the university will take place via “a contact person in prison”.
Anders Behring Breivik first applied to study in 2013 but did not meet entry requirements as he had never completed secondary school. Instead, he was allowed to study certain political science modules.
His deadly rampage at a Labor Party youth camp on Utoya Island was found by an Oslo court to have been a premeditated act of terrorism.
Anders Behring Breivik harbored extremist right-wing views and claimed he had reacted against what he saw as a Marxist-Islamic takeover of Europe.
BBC’s Top Gear Live shows due to have been held in Norway next week have been postponed, the broadcaster has announced.
All four performances will be rescheduled, with dates later this year to be confirmed within the next two weeks.
The announcement comes as an investigation continues into Jeremy Clarkson’s suspension following a “fracas” with Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon.
At present, all other Top Gear Live dates will run as scheduled.
The BBC said it apologized for the inconvenience and would “endeavor to contact all ticket holders directly to inform them of the change of dates”.
According to the show website: “Top Gear Live events offer an exciting variation on the more traditional motor show. Whilst the format varies for some events each is presented in the unique style of Top Gear. The team continues to push the boundaries of automotive events enabling visitors to immerse themselves in their passion for Top Gear and motoring in general.”
Jeremy Clarkson was suspended on March 10 following an alleged altercation with Oisin Tymon.
It is understood the postponement of the Norway shows has been announced because organizers wanted to give fans enough notice to cancel travel and accommodation plans and because work to prepare the venue would have needed to start well in advance of the shows.
An online petition for Jeremy Clarkson to be reinstated has to date received more than one million signatures.
Top Gear is one of the BBC’s most popular and profitable TV shows, with an estimated global audience of 350 million.
Jeremy Clarkson and his co-presenters James May and Richard Hammond had been due to renegotiate their contracts with the broadcaster next month.
Jens Breivik, the father of jailed Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, has written a book expressing feelings of guilt and responsibility over his son’s actions.
Anders Behring Breivik admitted killing 77 people when he bombed central Oslo and then went on a shooting spree at a youth camp on nearby Utoeya island in 2011.
His parents separated when Anders was a year old and Jens Breivik claims to have had little contact with his son.
Entitled My Fault? A Father’s Story, the book is set for release in October.
“I feel some guilt and I feel some responsibility. What would have happened if I had been a better father? Would Anders have done what he did?” Jens Breivik wrote, according to an excerpt of the book released by the publisher Juritzen.
A retired Norwegian diplomat living in southern France, Jens Breivik wrote the book with the help of a ghost writer and is expected to question his behavior as a parent and his role in the life of the radical far-right killer.
Jens Breivik has written a book expressing feelings of guilt and responsibility over son Anders’ actions
In 2012, Anders Breivik was sentenced to the maximum 21 years in prison for carrying out the country’s worst peacetime massacre in its modern history.
Anders Breivk harbored extremist right-wing views and claimed he had reacted against what he saw as a Marxist-Islamic takeover of Europe.
His deadly rampage against a Labor Party youth camp on Utoeya island was found by an Oslo court to have been a premeditated act of terrorism.
Anders Breivik’s jail term can be extended if he is deemed to remain a danger to society.
Jens Breivik has often been described as an absent father after the separation from his wife. At the time of the separation, Jens Breivik attempted to win custody over Anders but was unsuccessful, and he lost touch with his son when Anders was a teenager.
A previous book about Anders Breivik’s late mother, Wenche, portrayed Jens Breivik as a domestic tyrant.
During the murder investigation and trial, it emerged that Norwegian social services had suspected Anders Breivik was neglected at home as a child.
According to the editor of My Fault? A Father’s Story, Arve Juritzen, the book is a form of self-trial for Jens Breivik.
Jens Breivik has re-established contact his son in the last two years but has not shared the manuscript with him.
Norway’s intelligence agency PST is investigating whether a Norwegian citizen was involved in the attack on Nairobi’s Westgate mall.
The PST said it had sent investigators to Kenya to try to verify the claim.
It said it was opening an inquiry “based on information that a Norwegian citizen may have been involved”.
A Norwegian of Somali origin may have been involved in planning and carrying out the September 21 attack in which at least 67 people died, the PST said.
“The enquiry will primarily be aimed at helping prevent new terrorist acts and [determining] to what degree the Norwegian… was involved in the attack,” the agency said.
Norway’s intelligence agency PST is investigating whether a Norwegian citizen was involved in the attack on Nairobi’s Westgate mall
The PST added that it would also try to establish if the unnamed suspect had ties to Somalia’s al-Shabab, the al-Qaeda-linked militant group which said it had carried out the attack.
It said it was working to assess any potential threats to Norway and Norwegian interests.
Reports have suggested that an al-Shabab leader targeted at the weekend in a US military operation may have spent time in Norway.
The October 5 raid failed to capture Abdukadir Mohamed Abdukadir, alias Ikrima. He is thought to be a Kenyan citizen of Somali origin, one of many Kenyan Somalis and other foreign fighters who have joined the group.
Norway’s TV2 reported earlier this week that Ikrima had travelled to Norway and applied for asylum in 2004 but left in 2008 before there was a decision on his application.
Norwegian officials have not commented on the claims.
Last week Kenya’s military identified four men it said were involved in the Westgate siege. It said Abu Baara al-Sudani, Omar Nabhan, Khattab al-Kene and Umayr were killed during the standoff.
Abu Baara al-Sudani was said to have been an “experienced fighter” from Sudan, who led the group. Nabhan was a Kenyan of Arab origin and Kene a Somali linked to al-Shabab. Details about Umayr were not available.
Norwegian media reported that some of the people in a video of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg posing as a taxi driver were paid for taking part.
Norway’s ruling Labour Party confirmed that 5 of 14 passengers filmed in the cab had each been paid 500 kroner ($85; 64 euros).
But while they had been asked to take part in a Labour video, they were not told what it involved, it said.
Jens Stoltenberg said he wanted to hear from real voters before polls next month.
The prime minister’s party, in power since 2005, is trailing Norway’s Conservative Party in opinion polls.
Some of the people in a video of PM Jens Stoltenberg posing as a taxi driver were paid for taking part
The video, made in collaboration with an advertising company in June, is due to be screened during the election campaign but has already been posted on Jens Stoltenberg’s Facebook page.
News that five of Jens Stoltenberg’s passengers were not picked up at random was revealed by Norway’s Verdens Gang (VG) tabloid.
“They’re five ordinary people who were asked if they wanted to take part in a video for the Labour Party and who knew nothing else, except that they were going to be picked up in a taxi,” party spokeswoman Pia Gulbrandsen said.
“Their spontaneity was real when they realized that the driver was the prime minister.”
None of the passengers had to pay for their ride.
Jens Stoltenberg came in for criticism for his driving, at one point jolting the car abruptly when, he said, he had mistakenly applied the brake pedal on the automatic car, thinking it was the clutch.
The two-term prime minister said he had not driven in eight years.
Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg spent an afternoon working incognito as a taxi driver in Oslo, he has revealed.
Jens Stoltenberg said he had wanted to hear from real Norwegian voters and that taxis were one of the few places where people shared their true views.
He wore sunglasses and an Oslo taxi driver uniform for the shift in June, only revealing his identity once he was recognized by his passengers.
Jens Stoltenberg’s exchanges with his passengers were captured on a hidden camera.
The footage – made in collaboration with an advertising company – has been posted on the prime minister’s Facebook page and made into a film which will be used as part of his campaign for re-election in September.
“It is important for me to hear what people really think,” Jens Stoltenberg told Norwegian media.
“And if there is one place people really say what they think about most things, it’s in the taxi.”
Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg spent an afternoon working incognito as a taxi driver in Oslo
Some of the passengers who appear in the film had been told to wait for the taxi – without being told who would be driving – while others were picked up randomly and from taxi ranks.
Most of them appear to realize very quickly that there is something different about their driver, with one saying: “From this angle you really look like Stoltenberg.”
Another says she was lucky to meet him as she “wanted to send a letter”.
The conversation turns to politics in most cases.
Jens Stoltenberg engages one passenger on education, saying: “The main point is to make sure good students have something to stretch for, and to give those who struggle extra help.”
None of the passengers was charged for the ride.
Jens Stoltenberg told the VG newspaper: “I’m pretty well known in Oslo, but I tend to sit in the back seat.”
The Labour prime minister came in for criticism for his driving, at one point jolting the car abruptly when, he said, he mistakenly applied the brake pedal on the automatic car, thinking it was the clutch.
He said he had not driven in eight years.
Jens Stoltenberg is popular in Norway, but opinion polls suggest he is lagging behind the opposition ahead of the election.
Asked by VG whether he would consider becoming a taxi driver full time if he lost the election, Jens Stoltenberg replied: “I thinkthe country and the Norwegian taxi passengers are best served if I’m the prime minister and not a taxi driver.”
Norway is today commemorating one year since 77 people were killed and 242 hurt in gun and bomb attacks in Oslo and on the island of Utoeya.
Church services, a concert and other events are being held around Norway.
PM Jens Stoltenberg will lay wreaths and is expected to be joined by hundreds of people on Utoeya, including the families of those who were killed.
Anders Behring Breivik, who has admitted carrying out the two attacks, remains on trial.
Most of the dead were young activists with the Labour Party who had been staying on Utoeya as part of a summer camp.
Thousands of people are expected to gather in Oslo for a day of events, including a memorial service at the city’s cathedral.
Norway is commemorating one year since 77 people were killed and 242 hurt in gun and bomb attacks in Oslo and on the island of Utoeya
Jens Stoltenberg will lay a wreath at the site of the Oslo bombing at 09:30 and then travel to Utoeya to give a speech to Labour Party youth, before laying a wreath there at 18:45 – the time Anders Breivik was arrested a year ago.
In the evening there will be a national memorial concert with mainly Norwegian musicians.
Many of the buildings that were damaged in the bomb attack have not yet been fully repaired.
The prime minister’s office and the ministry of health buildings are still covered in plastic.
The attacks, regarded as the worst act of violence in Norway since World War II, sparked a national debate about the nature of tolerance and democracy in the country.
Anders Breivik, who has been on trial for three months, has tried to justify the attacks by claiming he was trying to stop Muslims from taking over Norway.
But the government, and much of the population, have actively promoted tolerance and openness to counter Anders Breivik’s views.
“I think that people thought it a bit naive to cling to these values of openness in a situation like that,” said Vegard Groeslie Wennesland, a Labour Party activist who survived the attack.
“But I think it’s more naive to think that brutal police, or more restrictive policies will bring you a safer society.”
Judges are to announce next month whether Anders Breivik is sane or insane, and therefore whether he will be given a long prison sentence or be sent to a secure psychiatric ward.
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