Infographic: The Global Hospitality Index

Would you invite a refugee into your home? Ordinary citizens all over the world say yes—even where you’d least expect it

To mark World Refugee Day, the United Nations Refugee Agency today released its annual Global Trends report, which finds that a record 65.3 million people were displaced last year. (That’s about one out of every 113 people worldwide.) Though the statistics are staggering, U.N. Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon—once a refugee himself—has pleaded with world leaders to see this as “not just a crisis of numbers” but as “a crisis of solidarity.”

Yet it turns out that solidarity might not be a rare commodity after all. A global survey of 27,680 ordinary citizens in 27 countries, commissioned by Amnesty International over the first half of 2016, found that fully 80 percent of people "would welcome refugees with open arms,” with many going so far as to “take them into their own homes.”


In a statement, Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s secretary general, said:

“These figures speak for themselves. People are ready to make refugees welcome, but governments’ inhumane responses to the refugee crisis are badly out of touch with the views of their own citizens… Too often they use xenophobic anti-refugee rhetoric to chase approval ratings. This survey suggests they are not listening to the silent majority of welcoming citizens who take the refugee crisis personally.”

Russia bottoms out the list as the least welcoming country—not exactly unexpected, given NATO’s claims that it is “weaponizing” Syrian refugees. Yet overall, the index reveals a number of positive surprises. Despite an election season awash in anti-refugee rhetoric, the United States ranks in the top 10. Germany, praised for accepting over 1 million refugees in 2015—more than any other European nation—nearly tops the list, but isn’t number one. And though China’s leaders have essentially refused to host Syrian refugees, its citizens are much more hospitable than anyone could have guessed.

How welcoming is your country? Find out in the infographic above. And if you’d like to join the United Nations in standing #WithRefugees, pledge your support today.

Infographics
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National Tell a Joke Day dates back to 1944 when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was having a meeting with Vice-President, Henry Wallace. The two men were tired and depressed due to the stress caused by leading a country through world war.

During a lull in the meeting, Wallace said, "Frank, to cheer you up I have a joke I'd like to share."

"Let's have it, Henry," Roosevelt replied while ashing his cigarette.

"Why did the chicken cross the road?" Wallace asked. "Not sure," Roosevelt replied.

"To get to the other side," Wallace responded.

Roosevelt laughed so hard that the bourbon he was drinking sprayed out of his nose and onto the floor of the oval office.

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The joke was so funny, and did such a great job at lightening both their moods, Roosevelt proclaimed that every year, August 16 would be National Tell a Joke Day.

Just kidding.

Nobody knows why National Tell a Joke Day started, but in a world where the President of the United States is trying to buy Greenland, "Beverly Hills, 90210" is back on TV, and the economy is about to go off a cliff, we could all use a bit of levity.

To celebrate National Tell a Joke Day, the people on Twitter responded with hundreds of the corniest dad jokes ever told. Here are some of the best.

Culture

The Judean date palm was once common in ancient Judea. The tree itself was a source of shelter, its fruit was ubiquitous in food, and its likeness was even engraved on money. But the plant became extinct around 500 A.D., and the prevalent palm was no more. But the plant is getting a second chance at life in the new millennium after researchers were able to resurrect ancient seeds.

Two thousand-year-old seeds were discovered inside a pottery jar during an archaeological excavation of Masada, a historic mountain fortress in southern Israel. It is believed the seeds were produced between 155 B.C. and 64 A.D. Those seeds sat inside a researcher's drawer in Tel Aviv for years, not doing anything.

Elaine Solowey, the Director of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies at Kibbutz Ketura in Israel, wondered if she could revive the Judean Date Palm, so in 2005, she began to experiment. "I assumed the food in the seed would be no good after all that time. How could it be?" Solewey said.

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Science

There's been an uptick in fake emotional support animals (ESAs), which has led some airlines to crack down on which animals can and can't fly. Remember that emotional support peacock?

But some restrictions on ESAs don't fly with the Department of Transportation (DOT), leading them to crack down on the crack down.

Delta says that there has been an 84 percent increase in animal incidents since 2016, thanks in part to the increase of ESAs on airplanes. Last year, Delta airlines banned pit bulls and pit bull-related dog breeds after two airline staff were bitten by the breed while boarding a flight from Atlanta to Tokyo.

"We must err on the side of safety. Most recently, two Delta employees were bit by a pit bull traveling as a support animal last week. We struggled with the decision to expand the ban to service animals, knowing that some customers have legitimate needs, but we have determined that untrained, pit bull-type dogs posing as both service and support animals are a potential safety risk," Delta told People regarding the new rule.

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Culture
via Liam Beach / Facebook

Trying to get one dog to sit still and make eye contact with a camera for more than half a second is a low-key miracle. Lining up 16 dogs, on steps, and having them all stare at the camera simultaneously is the work of a God-like dog whisperer.

This miracle worker is Liam Beach, a 19-year-old animal management graduate from Cardiff, Wales. A friend of his dared him to attempt the shot and he accepted the challenge.

"My friend Catherine challenged me to try to get all of my lot sat on the stairs for a photo. She said, 'I bet you can't pull it off,' so I thought 'challenge accepted,'" he said, accoriding to Paws Planet.

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Culture
via Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Americans on both sides of the political aisle can agree on one thing: our infrastructure needs a huge upgrade. While politicians drag their feet on high-speed rail projects, fixing bridges, and building new airports, one amazing project is picking up steam.

The Great American Rail-Trail, a bike path that will connect Washington state to Washington, D.C., is over 50% complete.

The trail is being planned by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit that is working with local governments to make the dream a reality.

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Travel