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  1. Economy - Investment (gross fixed) (% of GDP): 21.9% of GDP (2008 estimate)

  2. Geography - Natural hazards: large areas subject to severe weather (tropical cyclones), natural disasters (earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions)

  3. Transportation - Heliports: 1,359 (2007)

  4. Economy - Economy - overview: Global output rose by 5.2% in 2007, led by China (11.4%), India (9.2%), and Russia (8.1%). The 14 other successor nations of the USSR and the other old Warsaw Pact nations again experienced widely divergent growth rates; the three Baltic nations continued as strong performers, in the 8%-10% range of growth. From 2006 to 2007 growth rates slowed in all the major industrial countries except for the United Kingdom (3.1%). Analysts attribute the slowdown to uncertainties in the financial markets and lowered consumer confidence. Worldwide, nations varied widely in their growth results. Externally, the nation-state, as a bedrock economic-political institution, is steadily losing control over international flows of people, goods, funds, and technology. Internally, the central government often finds its control over resources slipping as separatist regional movements - typically based on ethnicity - gain momentum, e.g., in many of the successor states of the former Soviet Union, in the former Yugoslavia, in India, in Iraq, in Indonesia, and in Canada. Externally, the central government is losing decisionmaking powers to international bodies, notably the EU. In Western Europe, governments face the difficult political problem of channeling resources away from welfare programs in order to increase investment and strengthen incentives to seek employment. The addition of 80 million people each year to an already overcrowded globe is exacerbating the problems of pollution, desertification, underemployment, epidemics, and famine. Because of their own internal problems and priorities, the industrialized countries devote insufficient resources to deal effectively with the poorer areas of the world, which, at least from an economic point of view, are becoming further marginalized. The introduction of the euro as the common currency of much of Western Europe in January 1999, while paving the way for an integrated economic powerhouse, poses economic risks because of varying levels of income and cultural and political differences among the participating nations. The terrorist attacks on the US on 11 September 2001 accentuated a growing risk to global prosperity, illustrated, for example, by the reallocation of resources away from investment to anti-terrorist programs. The opening of war in March 2003 between a US-led coalition and Iraq added new uncertainties to global economic prospects. After the initial coalition victory, the complex political difficulties and the high economic cost of establishing domestic order in Iraq became major global problems that continued through 2007.

  5. Economy - Oil - imports (bbl/day): 65.41 million bbl/day (2005)

  6. Transnational Issues - Disputes - international: stretching over 250,000 km, the world's 322 international land boundaries separate 194 independent states and 70 dependencies, areas of special sovereignty, and other miscellaneous entities; ethnicity, culture, race, religion, and language have divided states into separate political entities as much as history, physical terrain, political fiat, or conquest, resulting in sometimes arbitrary and imposed boundaries; most maritime states have claimed limits that include territorial seas and exclusive economic zones; overlapping limits due to adjacent or opposite coasts create the potential for 430 bilateral maritime boundaries of which 209 have agreements that include contiguous and non-contiguous segments; boundary, borderland/resource, and territorial disputes vary in intensity from managed or dormant to violent or militarized; undemarcated, indefinite, porous, and unmanaged boundaries tend to encourage illegal cross-border activities, uncontrolled migration, and confrontation; territorial disputes may evolve from historical and/or cultural claims, or they may be brought on by resource competition; ethnic and cultural clashes continue to be responsible for much of the territorial fragmentation and internal displacement of the estimated 6.6 million people and cross-border displacements of 8.6 million refugees around the world as of early 2006; just over one million refugees were repatriated in the same period; other sources of contention include access to water and mineral (especially hydrocarbon) resources, fisheries, and arable land; armed conflict prevails not so much between the uniformed armed forces of independent states as between stateless armed entities that detract from the sustenance and welfare of local populations, leaving the community of nations to cope with resultant refugees, hunger, disease, impoverishment, and environmental degradation

  7. Economy - GDP - per capita (PPP): ,500 (2008 estimate)

  8. People - Literacy (%): definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 82%; male: 87%; female: 77%; note: over two-thirds of the world's 785 million illiterate adults are found in only eight countries (India, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Indonesia, and Egypt); of all the illiterate adults in the world, two-thirds are women; extremely low literacy rates are concentrated in three regions, South and West Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Arab states, where around one-third of the men and half of all women are illiterate (2005 estimate)

  9. Economy - Debt - external: .61 trillion; note: this figure is the sum total of all countries' external debt, both public and private (31 December 2008 estimate)

  10. Economy - Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: World total DFI .65 trillion; top ten recipients of DFI: US .220 trillion; UK .409 trillion; HK .235 trillion; France .079 trillion; Germany 4.7 billion; China 8.9 billion; Belgium 3.9 billion; Netherlands 6.9 billion; Spain 6.8 billion; Canada 6.6 billion (2008 estimate)

Source: CIA - The World Factbook