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UN human development report faults inequality

Thursday - 7/24/2014, 2:01pm  ET

TOKYO (AP) -- The world is no longer seeing the kind of advances that had been taking place in life spans, education and incomes.

According to the United Nations, those gains are being slowed by natural disasters, misguided government policies and worsening inequality -- in a world where the 85 richest people have as much wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest.

In its annual human development report, a U.N. agency says governments need to put a higher priority on creating jobs and providing basic social services, for the nearly one-third of humanity that is poor or vulnerable to poverty.

The United Nations Development Program says most people in most countries are still doing better than ever before, thanks to advances in education, technology and incomes.

But it notes what it calls a "widespread sense of precariousness in the world today, in livelihoods, the environment, personal security and politics."

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APPHOTO TOK102: In this Wednesday, July 23, 2014 photo, U.N. Development Program Administrator Helen Clark of New Zealand speaks during an interview in Tokyo. Improvements in life spans, education and incomes are slowing due to natural disasters, misguided government policies and worsening inequality in a world where the 85 richest people have as much wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest people, the United Nations said Thursday, July 24, 2014 in its annual human development report. "Where people do address these things, development can come along very, very nicely. Where they haven't addressed a lot of vulnerabilities and development deficits, as in Syria, it all comes spectacularly unstuck," Clark said. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi) (23 Jul 2014)

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