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Suicide attacks down, Predator drone exits, and other overlooked stories in 2010

Here are some stories in 2010 that you may have overlooked, including a global decline in suicide attacks and the phasing out of the Predator drone.

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The past year has been tumultuous: The Afghanistan war ground on, the Iraq war started to wind down (amid great uncertainty about Iraq's future), huge government debts led to austerity and anxiety across Europe.

But there were also global trends you may have missed, and fascinating stories that didn't hit the headlines. Such as:

1 Suicide attacks are falling

Terror-style attacks remained a danger, particularly in places like Pakistan and Iran. But in the United States, arrests of a number of lone men planning domestic attacks were often accompanied by news that the suspects had been under government surveillance, often with agents carrying out elaborate sting operations.

The Department of Homeland Security reported 121 suicide attacks globally that took 1,270 lives through June. That was on pace to be well below the 2009 total, in which 299 attacks claimed 3,177 lives. That, in turn, was fewer than in 2008.

Suicide attacks in Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan claimed 88 percent of casualties in 2009 and led the list in the first six months of 2010. But they were responsible for 71 percent of a smaller total in 2010.

Other countries have seen even more dramatic declines. The end of Sri Lanka's war with the Tamil Tigers saw suicide attacks drop from killing 46 in 2009 to none this year. In Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, which once confronted frequent Islamist suicide attacks, there were none.


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