The year is ending violently, from the Gaza Strip to bombings in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. There appear to be two geographical swaths of the world where much if not most violence is concentrated: the arc stretching from the Middle East to Pakistan, and an area in central/east Africa centered on southern Sudan, Somalia, and eastern Dem. Rep. of Congo.
It's worth recalling that, according to those who track the amount of armed violence in the world as a whole, the planet has been becoming steadily less violent over the past couple of decades. That's not much comfort, of course, for those in the regions just mentioned. It's also no reason to overlook the connections between the more peaceful and more violent parts of the world. The question of the validity of the "zones of peace/zones of conflict" view was raised here earlier, in the comments on this post, and it's one to which I may return.