It's a tie between Afghanistan, North Korea, and Somalia. Elsewhere, bankrupt Greece, one-party China, and various 'Arab Spring' nations stand out in Transparency International's annual rankings.
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Corruption is a major threat across the globe, impacting citizen’s perceptions of their leaders and trust for their government, regardless of the level of development or economic ranking. Corruption can also play a role in political unrest, as seen around the world from the Middle East to China to Greece.
Today, Transparency International released its Corruption Perceptions Index for 2012, measuring perceptions of how corrupt public sectors seem to be based on data sources from independent institutions in each country based on a period of 24 months. Transparency International notes that “levels of bribery, abuse of power and secret dealings are still very high in many countries.” Out of the 176 countries ranked in this year’s index, some two-thirds scored below 50, with zero indicating a perception of high levels of corruption and 100 indicating a perception of openness or clean dealings in the government. The US ranked 19th, up from 24th in 2011.
Worldwide, New Zealand, Denmark, and Finland had the highest scores, aided by strong systems ensuring public access to information and regulations that keep politicians and the political system in check. On the other end of the spectrum, North Korea, Somalia, and Afghanistan brought up the rear, all characterized by a lack of transparent and accountable leaders and public institutions in shambles.
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