Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

The World Factbook 1998 by The United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Part 24 out of 51

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 5.2 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Administrative divisions: 5 governorates (muhafazat,
singular-muhafazah); Al Ahmadi, Al Farwaniyah, Al 'Asimah, Al Jahra',
Hawalli

Independence: 19 June 1961 (from UK)

National holiday: National Day, 25 February (1950)

Constitution: approved and promulgated 11 November 1962

Legal system: civil law system with Islamic law significant in
personal matters; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: adult males who have been naturalized for 30 years or more
or have resided in Kuwait since before 1920 and their male descendants
at age 21
note: only 10% of all citizens are eligible to vote; in 1996,
naturalized citizens who do not meet the pre-1920 qualification but
have been naturalized for 30 years were eligible to vote for the first
time

Executive branch:
chief of state: Amir JABIR al-Ahmad al-Jabir Al Sabah (since 31
December 1977)
head of government: Prime Minister and Crown Prince SAAD al-Abdallah
al-Salim Al Sabah (since 8 February 1978); First Deputy Prime Minister
SABAH al-Ahmad al-Jabir Al Sabah (since 17 October 1992); Second
Deputy Prime Minister SALIM al-Sabah al-Salim Al Sabah (since 7
October 1996)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister and
approved by the amir
elections: none; the amir is a hereditary monarch of the MUBARAK line
of the ruling Sabah family; prime minister and deputy prime ministers
appointed by the amir

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-Umma (50
seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 7 October 1996 (next to be held NA October 2000)
election results: percent of vote-NA; seats-independents 50; note-all
cabinet ministers are also ex officio members of the National Assembly

Judicial branch: High Court of Appeal

Political parties and leaders: none

Political pressure groups and leaders: several political groups act as
de facto parties: Bedouins, merchants, Sunni and Shi'a activists, and
secular leftists and nationalists

International organization participation: ABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AL, AMF,
BDEAC, CAEU, CCC, ESCWA, FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM,
IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat,
Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPEC, UN,
UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador MUHAMMAD al-Sabah al-Salim Al SABAH
chancery: 2940 Tilden Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 966-0702
FAX: [1] (202) 966-0517

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador James LAROCCO
embassy: Bneid al-Gar (opposite the Kuwait International Hotel),
Kuwait City
mailing address: P.O. Box 77, SAFAT, 13001 SAFAT, Kuwait; Unit 69000,
APO AE 09880-9000
telephone: [965] 539-5307 or 539-5308
FAX: [965] 538-0282

Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of green (top), white,
and red with a black trapezoid based on the hoist side

@Kuwait:Economy

Economy-overview: Kuwait is a small and relatively open economy with
proved crude oil reserves of about 94 billion barrels-10% of world
reserves. Kuwait has rebuilt its war-ravaged petroleum sector; its
crude oil production averaged 2 million barrels per day in 1996.
Petroleum accounts for nearly half of GDP, 90% of export revenues, and
75% of government income. Kuwait lacks water and has practically no
arable land, thus preventing development of agriculture. With the
exception of fish, it depends almost wholly on food imports. About 75%
of potable water must be distilled or imported. Because of its high
per capita income, Kuwait provides its citizens with extensive health,
educational, and retirement benefits. The bulk of the work force is
non-Kuwaiti, living at a considerably lower level. Per capita military
expenditures are among the highest in the world. The economy improved
moderately in 1994-97, with the growth in industry and finance. The
World Bank has urged Kuwait to push ahead with privatization,
including in the oil industry, but the government will move slowly on
opening the petroleum sector.

GDP: purchasing power parity-$46.3 billion (1997 est.)

GDP-real growth rate: 1% (1997 est.)

GDP-per capita: purchasing power parity-$22,300 (1997 est.)

GDP-composition by sector:
agriculture: 0%
industry: 53%
services: 47% (1996)

Inflation rate-consumer price index: 3.2% (1996)

Labor force:
total: 1.1 million (1996 est.)
by occupation: government and social services 50%, services 40%,
industry and agriculture 10% (1996 est.)
note: 68% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national
(July 1998 est.)

Unemployment rate: 1.8% (official 1996 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $10.3 billion
expenditures: $14.5 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA
(FY97/98 est.)

Industries: petroleum, petrochemicals, desalination, food processing,
construction materials, salt, construction

Industrial production growth rate: 1% (1997 est.)

Electricity-capacity: 6.988 million kW (1995)

Electricity-production: 25 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity-consumption per capita: 13,756 kWh (1995)

Agriculture-products: practically no crops; extensive fishing in
territorial waters

Exports:
total value: $14.7 billion (f.o.b., 1996)
commodities: oil and refined products, fertilizers
partners: Japan 29%, US 16%, Netherlands 13%, Singapore 12% (1996
est.)

Imports:
total value: $7.7 billion (f.o.b., 1996)
commodities : food, construction materials, vehicles and parts,
clothing
partners: US 31%, UK 14%, Japan 13%, Germany 8%, Italy 7% (1996 est.)

Debt-external: $8 billion (1995 est.)

Economic aid: $NA

Currency: 1 Kuwaiti dinar (KD) = 1,000 fils

Exchange rates: Kuwaiti dinars (KD) per US$1-0.3055 (January 1998),
0.3033 (1997), 0.2994 (1996), 0.2984 (1995), 0.2976 (1994), 0.3017
(1993)

Fiscal year: 1 July-30 June

Communications

Telephones: 548,000 (1991 est.)

Telephone system: the civil network suffered some damage as a result
of the Gulf war, but most of the telephone exchanges were left intact
and, by the end of 1994, domestic and international telecommunications
had been restored to normal operation; the quality of service is
excellent
domestic: new telephone exchanges provide a large capacity for new
subscribers; trunk traffic is carried by microwave radio relay,
coaxial cable, open wire and fiber-optic cable; a cellular telephone
system operates throughout Kuwait and the country is well supplied
with pay telephones
international: coaxial cable and microwave radio relay to Saudi
Arabia; satellite earth stations-3 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean, 2
Indian Ocean), 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean), and 1 Arabsat

Radio broadcast stations: AM 3, FM 0, shortwave 0

Radios: 720,000 (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 3 (1986 est.)

Televisions: 800,000 (1993 est.)

@Kuwait:Transportation

Railways: 0 km

Highways:
total: 4,450 km
paved: 3,587 km
unpaved: 863 km (1996 est.)

Pipelines: crude oil 877 km; petroleum products 40 km; natural gas 165
km

Ports and harbors: Ash Shu'aybah, Ash Shuwaykh, Kuwait, Mina' 'Abd
Allah, Mina' al Ahmadi, Mina' Su'ud

Merchant marine:
total: 42 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,965,633 GRT/3,109,720
DWT
ships by type: cargo 10, container 3, liquefied gas tanker 7,
livestock carrier 3, oil tanker 19 (1997 est.)

Airports: 8 (1997 est.)

Airports-with paved runways:
total: 4
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2 (1997 est.)

Airports-with unpaved runways:
total: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (1997 est.)

Heliports: 1 (1997 est.)

@Kuwait:Military

Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, National Guard, Ministry of
Interior Forces, Coast Guard

Military manpower-military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower-availability:
males age 15-49: 690,989 (1998 est.)

Military manpower-fit for military service:
males: 409,563 (1998 est.)

Military manpower-reaching military age annually:
males: 19,553 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures-dollar figure: $3.5 billion (FY95/96)

Military expenditures-percent of GDP: 12.8% (FY95/96)

@Kuwait:Transnational Issues

Disputes-international: in November 1994, Iraq formally accepted the
UN-demarcated border with Kuwait which had been spelled out in
Security Council Resolutions 687 (1991), 773 (1993), and 883 (1993);
this formally ends earlier claims to Kuwait and to Bubiyan and Warbah
islands; ownership of Qaruh and Umm al Maradim islands disputed by
Saudi Arabia

______________________________________________________________________

KYRGYZSTAN

@Kyrgyzstan:Geography

Location: Central Asia, west of China

Geographic coordinates: 41 00 N, 75 00 E

Map references: Commonwealth of Independent States

Area:
total: 198,500 sq km
land: 191,300 sq km
water: 7,200 sq km

Area-comparative: slightly smaller than South Dakota

Land boundaries:
total: 3,878 km
border countries: China 858 km, Kazakhstan 1,051 km, Tajikistan 870
km, Uzbekistan 1,099 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Climate: dry continental to polar in high Tien Shan; subtropical in
southwest (Fergana Valley); temperate in northern foothill zone

Terrain: peaks of Tien Shan and associated valleys and basins
encompass entire nation

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Kara-Darya 132 m
highest point: Jengish Chokusu (Pik Pobedy) 7,439 m

Natural resources: abundant hydroelectric potential; significant
deposits of gold and rare earth metals; locally exploitable coal, oil,
and natural gas; other deposits of nepheline, mercury, bismuth, lead,
and zinc

Land use:
arable land: 7%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 44%
forests and woodland: 4%
other: 45% (1993 est.)
note: Kyrgyzstan has the world's largest natural growth walnut forest

Irrigated land: 9,000 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: NA

Environment-current issues: water pollution; many people get their
water directly from contaminated streams and wells; as a result,
water-borne diseases are prevalent; increasing soil salinity from
faulty irrigation practices

Environment-international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography-note: landlocked

@Kyrgyzstan:People

Population: 4,522,281 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 36% (male 817,229; female 800,248)
15-64 years: 58% (male 1,285,520; female 1,337,259)
65 years and over: 6% (male 104,105; female 177,920) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.37% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 22.03 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 8.65 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -9.72 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.58 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 74.76 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 63.77 years
male: 59.45 years
female: 68.3 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.68 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Kyrgyzstani(s)
adjective: Kyrgyzstani

Ethnic groups: Kirghiz 52.4%, Russian 18%, Uzbek 12.9%, Ukrainian
2.5%, German 2.4%, other 11.8%

Religions: Muslim 75%, Russian Orthodox 20%, other 5%

Languages: Kirghiz (Kyrgyz)-official language, Russian-official
language
note: in March 1996, the Kyrgyzstani legislature amended the
constitution to make Russian an official language, along with Kirghiz,
in territories and work places where Russian-speaking citizens
predominate

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97%
male: 99%
female: 96% (1989 est.)

@Kyrgyzstan:Government

Country name:
conventional long form: Kyrgyz Republic
conventional short form: Kyrgyzstan
local long form: Kyrgyz Respublikasy
local short form: none
former: Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic

Data code: KG

Government type: republic

National capital: Bishkek

Administrative divisions: 6 oblasttar (singular-oblast) and 1 city*
(singular-shaar); Bishkek Shaary*, Chuy Oblasty (Bishkek), Jalal-Abad
Oblasty, Naryn Oblasty, Osh Oblasty, Talas Oblasty, Ysyk-Kol Oblasty
(Karakol)
note: administrative divisions have the same names as their
administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name
following in parentheses)

Independence: 31 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)

National holiday: National Day, 2 December; Independence Day, 31
August (1991)

Constitution: adopted 5 May 1993
note: amendment proposed by President AKAYEV and passed in a national
referendum on 10 February 1996 significantly expands the powers of the
president at the expense of the legislature

Legal system: based on civil law system

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Askar AKAYEV (since 28 October 1990)
head of government: Prime Minister Kubanychbek JUMALIYEV (since 25
March 1998)
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president on the
recommendation of the prime minister
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term;
elections last held 24 December 1995 (next to be held NA 2000); prime
minister appointed by the president
election results: Askar AKAYEV elected president; percent of
vote-Askar AKAYEV 75%; note-elections were held early which gave the
two opposition candidates little time to campaign; AKAYEV may have
orchestrated the "deregistration" of two other candidates, one of whom
was a major rival

Legislative branch: bicameral Supreme Council or Zhogorku Kenesh
consists of the Assembly of People's Representatives (70 seats;
members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) and the
Legislative Assembly (35 seats; members are elected by popular vote to
serve five-year terms)
elections: Assembly of People's Representatives-last held 5 February
1995 (next to be held NA 2000); Legislative Assembly-last held 5
February 1995 (next to be held NA 2000)
election results: Assembly of People's Representatives-percent of vote
by party-NA; seats by party-NA; note-not all of the 70 seats were
filled at the 5 February 1995 elections; as a result, run-off
elections were held at later dates; the assembly meets twice yearly;
Legislative Assembly-percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party-NA;
note-not all of the 35 seats were filled at the 5 February 1995
elections; as a result, run-off elections were held
note: the legislature became bicameral for the 5 February 1995
elections

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, judges are appointed for a 10-year
term by the Supreme Council on recommendation of the president;
Constitutional Court; Higher Court of Arbitration

Political parties and leaders: Social Democratic Party or PSD [Zh.
IBRAMOV]; Democratic Movement of Kyrgyzstan or DDK [Jypar JEKSHEYEV,
chairman]; National Unity Democratic Movement or DDNE [Yury
RAZGULYAYEV]; Communist Party of Kyrgyzstan or PKK [Absamat MASALIYEV,
chairman]; Kyrgyzstan Erkin Party (Democratic Movement of Free
Kyrgyzstan) or ErK [Tursunbay Bakir UULU]; Republican Popular Party of
Kyrgyzstan [Zh. SHARSHENALIYEV]; Agrarian Party of Kyrgyzstan [A.
ALIYEV]; Fatherland or Alta Mekel Party [Omurbek TEKEBAYEV]; Banner
National Rivival Party or ASABA [Chaprashty BAZARBAY]; Movement for
the People's Salvation [Djumgalbek AMAMBAYEV]; Mutual Help Movement or
Ashar [Zhumagazy USUPOV]; Peasant Party; Agrarian Party

Political pressure groups and leaders: National Unity Democratic
Movement; Council of Free Trade Unions; Union of Entrepreneurs; Kyrgyz
Committee on Human Rights [Ramazan DYRYIDAYEV]

International organization participation: AsDB, CIS, EAPC, EBRD, ECE,
ECO, ESCAP, FAO, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, Intelsat,
IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, OIC, OSCE, PCA, PFP,
UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
(applicant)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Bakyt ABDRISAYEV
chancery: 1732 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 338-5141
FAX: [1] (202) 338-5139

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Anne SIGMUND
embassy: Erkindik Prospekt #66, Bishkek 720002
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [7] (3312) 22-29-21, 22-27-77, 22-26-31, 22-24-73
FAX: [7] (3312) 22-35-51

Flag description: red field with a yellow sun in the center having 40
rays representing the 40 Kirghiz tribes; on the obverse side the rays
run counterclockwise, on the reverse, clockwise; in the center of the
sun is a red ring crossed by two sets of three lines, a stylized
representation of the roof of the traditional Kirghiz yurt

@Kyrgyzstan:Economy

Economy-overview: Kyrgyzstan is a small, poor, mountainous country
with a predominantly agricultural economy. Cotton, wool, and meat are
the main agricultural products and exports. Industrial exports include
gold, mercury, uranium, and hydropower. Kyrgyzstan has been one of the
most progressive countries of the former Soviet Union in carrying out
market reforms. Following a successful stabilization program, which
lowered inflation from 88% in 1994 to 15% for 1997, attention is
turning toward stimulating growth. Much of the government's stock in
enterprises has been sold. Drops in production have been severe since
the breakup of the Soviet Union in December 1991, but by mid-1995
production began to recover and exports began to increase. Pensioners,
unemployed workers, and government workers with salary arrears
continue to suffer. Foreign assistance played a substantial role in
the country's economic turnaround in 1996-97.

GDP: purchasing power parity-$9.7 billion (1997 est.)

GDP-real growth rate: 10% (1997 est.)

GDP-per capita: purchasing power parity-$2,100 (1997 est.)

GDP-composition by sector:
agriculture: 47%
industry: 12%
services: 41% (1996 est.)

Inflation rate-consumer price index: 15% (1997 est.)

Labor force:
total: 1.7 million
by occupation: agriculture and forestry 40%, industry and construction
19%, other 41% (1995 est.)

Unemployment rate: 8% (December 1996 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $225 million
expenditures: $308 million, including capital expenditures of $11
million (1996 est.)

Industries: small machinery, textiles, food processing, cement, shoes,
sawn logs, refrigerators, furniture, electric motors, gold, rare earth
metals

Industrial production growth rate: 10.8% (1996 est.)

Electricity-capacity: 3.632 million kW (1995)

Electricity-production: 13.7 billion kWh (1996 est.)

Electricity-consumption per capita: 2,090 kWh (1995)

Agriculture-products: wool, tobacco, cotton, potatoes, vegetables,
grapes, fruits and berries; sheep, goats, cattle

Exports:
total value: $506 million (1996)
commodities: cotton, wool, meat, tobacco; gold, mercury, uranium,
hydropower; machinery; shoes
partners: China, UK, FSU

Imports:
total value: $890 million (1996)
commodities: grain, lumber, industrial products, ferrous metals, fuel,
machinery, textiles, footwear
partners: Turkey, Cuba, US, Germany

Debt-external: $746 million (1996)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $56 million (1993)
note: commitments, 1992-95, $1,695 million ($390 million
disbursements)

Currency: 1 Kyrgyzstani som (KGS) = 100 tyiyn

Exchange rates: soms (KGS) per US$1-14.6 (January 1997), 11.2 (yearend
1995), 10.6 (yearend 1994)

Fiscal year: calendar year

Communications

Telephones: 342,000 (1991 est.)

Telephone system: poorly developed; about 100,000 unsatisfied
applications for household telephones
domestic: principally microwave radio relay
international: connections with other CIS countries by landline or
microwave radio relay and with other countries by leased connections
with Moscow international gateway switch and by satellite; satellite
earth stations-1 Intersputnik and 1 Intelsat

Radio broadcast stations: 1 state-run radio broadcast station

Radios: 825,000 (radio receiver systems with multiple speakers for
program diffusion 748,000)

Television broadcast stations: 1
note: receives Turkish broadcasts

Televisions: 875,000

@Kyrgyzstan:Transportation

Railways:
total: 370 km in common carrier service; does not include industrial
lines
broad gauge: 370 km 1.520-m gauge (1990)

Highways:
total: 18,500 km
paved: 16,854 km (including 140 km of expressways)
unpaved: 1,646 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: 600 km (1990)

Pipelines: natural gas 200 km

Ports and harbors: Balykchy (Ysyk-Kol or Rybach'ye)

Airports: 54 (1994 est.)

Airports-with paved runways:
total: 14
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 9
under 914 m: 1 (1994 est.)

Airports-with unpaved runways:
total: 40
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 32 (1994 est.)

@Kyrgyzstan:Military

Military branches: Army, National Guard, Security Forces (internal and
border troops), Civil Defense
note: border troops controlled by Russia

Military manpower-military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower-availability:
males age 15-49: 1,124,900 (1998 est.)

Military manpower-fit for military service:
males: 912,596 (1998 est.)

Military manpower-reaching military age annually:
males: 45,066 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures-dollar figure: 151 million soms (1995);
note-conversion of defense expenditures into US dollars using the
current exchange rate could produce misleading results

Military expenditures-percent of GDP: NA%

@Kyrgyzstan:Transnational Issues

Disputes-international: territorial dispute with Tajikistan on
southwestern boundary in Isfara Valley area

Illicit drugs: limited illicit cultivator of cannabis and opium poppy,
mostly for CIS consumption; limited government eradication program;
increasingly used as transshipment point for illicit drugs to Russia
and Western Europe from Southwest Asia

______________________________________________________________________

LAOS

@Laos:Geography

Location: Southeastern Asia, northeast of Thailand, west of Vietnam

Geographic coordinates: 18 00 N, 105 00 E

Map references: Southeast Asia

Area:
total: 236,800 sq km
land: 230,800 sq km
water: 6,000 sq km

Area-comparative: slightly larger than Utah

Land boundaries:
total: 5,083 km
border countries: Burma 235 km, Cambodia 541 km, China 423 km,
Thailand 1,754 km, Vietnam 2,130 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Climate: tropical monsoon; rainy season (May to November); dry season
(December to April)

Terrain: mostly rugged mountains; some plains and plateaus

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Mekong River 70 m
highest point: Phou Bia 2,817 m

Natural resources: timber, hydropower, gypsum, tin, gold, gemstones

Land use:
arable land: 3%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 3%
forests and woodland: 54%
other: 40% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 1,250 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: floods, droughts, and blight

Environment-current issues: unexploded ordnance; deforestation; soil
erosion; a majority of the population does not have access to potable
water

Environment-international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Environmental
Modification, Nuclear Test Ban
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography-note: landlocked

@Laos:People

Population: 5,260,842 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 45% (male 1,205,210; female 1,174,323)
15-64 years: 52% (male 1,318,061; female 1,393,386)
65 years and over: 3% (male 77,388; female 92,474) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.76% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 40.58 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 12.97 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 91.81 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 53.7 years
male: 52.13 years
female: 55.34 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 5.66 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Lao(s) or Laotian(s)
adjective: Lao or Laotian

Ethnic groups: Lao Loum (lowland) 68%, Lao Theung (upland) 22%, Lao
Soung (highland) including the Hmong ("Meo") and the Yao (Mien) 9%,
ethnic Vietnamese/Chinese 1%

Religions: Buddhist 60%, animist and other 40%

Languages: Lao (official), French, English, and various ethnic
languages

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 56.6%
male: 69.4%
female: 44.4% (1995 est.)

@Laos:Government

Country name:
conventional long form: Lao People's Democratic Republic
conventional short form: Laos
local long form: Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao
local short form: none

Data code: LA

Government type: Communist state

National capital: Vientiane

Administrative divisions: 16 provinces (khoueng, singular and plural),
1 municipality* (kampheng nakhon, singular and plural), and 1 special
zone** (khetphiset, singular and plural); Attapu, Bokeo, Bolikhamxai,
Champasak, Houaphan, Khammouan, Louangnamtha, Louangphabang, Oudomxai,
Phongsali, Salavan, Savannakhet, Viangchan*, Viangchan, Xaignabouli,
Xaisomboun**, Xekong, Xiangkhoang

Independence: 19 July 1949 (from France)

National holiday: National Day, 2 December (1975) (proclamation of the
Lao People's Democratic Republic)

Constitution: promulgated 14 August 1991

Legal system: based on traditional customs, French legal norms and
procedures, and Socialist practice

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President KHAMTAI Siphandon (elected 26 February 1998
by the National People's Assembly to succeed NOUHAK PHOUMSAVAN who
retired); Vice President OUDOM Khattiya (since 26 February 1998)
head of government: Prime Minister SISAVAT Keobounphan (since 26
February 1998); Deputy Prime Ministers KHAMPHOUI Keoboualapha (since
15 August 1991), BOUNGNANG Volachit (since 20 April 1996), CHOUMMALI
Saignason (since 26 February 1998), SOMSAVAT Lengsavad (since 26
February 1998)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president, approved by
the National Assembly
elections: president elected by the National Assembly for a five-year
term; election last held 21 December 1997 (next to be held NA 2002);
prime minister appointed by the president with the approval of the
National Assembly for a five-year term
election results: KHAMTAI Siphandon elected president; percent of
National Assembly vote - NA

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly (99 seats; members
elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms; note-by presidential
decree, on 27 October 1997, the number of seats increased from 85 to
99)
elections: last held 21 December 1997 (next to be held NA 2002)
election results: percent of vote by party-NA; seats by party-LPRP or
LPRP-approved (independent, non-party members) 99; note-the
distribution of seats as of January 1998 is as follows-LPRP 98,
independents 1

Judicial branch: People's Supreme Court, the president of the People's
Supreme Court is elected by the National Assembly on the
recommendation of the National Assembly Standing Committee, the vice
president of the People's Supreme Court and the judges are appointed
by the National Assembly Standing Committee

Political parties and leaders: Lao People's Revolutionary Party
(LPRP), KHAMTAI Siphandon, party president; other parties proscribed

Political pressure groups and leaders: noncommunist political groups
proscribed; most opposition leaders fled the country in 1975

International organization participation: ACCT, AsDB, ASEAN, CP,
ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF,
Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, PCA, UN,
UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
(observer)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador-designate VANG Lattanavong
chancery: 2222 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-6416
FAX: [1] (202) 332-4923

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Wendy Jean CHAMBERLIN
embassy: Rue Bartholonie, B.P. 114, Vientiane
mailing address: American Embassy, Box V, APO AP 96546
telephone: [856] (21) 212581, 212582, 212585
FAX: [856] (21) 212584

Flag description: three horizontal bands of red (top), blue (double
width), and red with a large white disk centered in the blue band

@Laos:Economy

Economy-overview: The government of Laos-one of the few remaining
official communist states-has been decentralizing control and
encouraging private enterprise since 1986. The results, starting from
an extremely low base, have been striking - growth averaged 7% in
1988-96. Because Laos depends heavily on its trade with Thailand, it
fell victim to the financial crisis in the region in 1997, when growth
was a mere 1.5%. Laos is a landlocked country with a primitive
infrastructure. It has no railroads, a rudimentary road system, and
limited external and internal telecommunications. Electricity is
available in only a few urban areas. Subsistence agriculture accounts
for half of GDP and provides 80% of total employment. The predominant
crop is glutinous rice. In non-drought years, Laos is self-sufficient
overall in food, but each year flood, pests, and localized drought
cause shortages in various parts of the country. For the foreseeable
future the economy will continue to depend on aid from the IMF and
other international sources; Japan is currently the largest bilateral
aid donor; aid from the former USSR/Eastern Europe has been cut
sharply. As in many developing countries, deforestation and soil
erosion will hamper efforts to regain a high rate of GDP growth.

GDP: purchasing power parity-$5.9 billion (1997 est.)

GDP-real growth rate: 1.5% (1997 est.)

GDP-per capita: purchasing power parity-$1,150 (1997 est.)

GDP-composition by sector:
agriculture: 56%
industry: 19%
services: 25% (1997 est.)

Inflation rate-consumer price index: 16% (1997 est.)

Labor force: 1 million-1.5 million
by occupation: agriculture 80% (1997 est.)

Unemployment rate: 1.7% overall; 4.5% in urban areas (1995 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $230.2 million
expenditures: $365.9 million, including capital expenditures of $317
million (1996)

Industries: tin and gypsum mining, timber, electric power,
agricultural processing, construction, garments

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity-capacity: 217,000 kW (1997)

Electricity-production: 1.2 billion kWh (1996)

Electricity-consumption per capita: 60 kWh (1995)

Agriculture-products: sweet potatoes, vegetables, corn, coffee,
sugarcane, cotton; water buffalo, pigs, cattle, poultry; tobacco

Exports:
total value: $313.1 million (f.o.b., 1996)
commodities: wood products, garments, electricity, coffee, tin
partners: Vietnam, Thailand, Germany, France

Imports:
total value: $678 million (c.i.f., 1996)
commodities: machinery and equipment, vehicles, fuel
partners: Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, China, Singapore

Debt-external: $1.2 billion (1996)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $212.2 million

Currency: 1 new kip (NK) = 100 at

Exchange rates: new kips (NK) per US$1-2,500 (January 1998), 1,256.73
(1997), 921.14 (1996), 804.69 (1995), 717.67 (1994), 716.25 (1993)
note: as of September 1995, a floating exchange rate policy was
adopted

Fiscal year: 1 October-30 September

Communications

Telephones: 19,333 (1996)

Telephone system: service to general public is poor but improving,
with over 19,000 telephones currently in service and 86,000 expected
to be installed by 2000; the government relies on a radiotelephone
network to communicate with remote areas
domestic: radiotelephone communications
international: satellite earth station-1 Intersputnik (Indian Ocean
Region)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 10, FM 0, shortwave 0

Radios: 560,000 (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 2

Televisions: 32,000 (1993 est.)

@Laos:Transportation

Railways: 0 km

Highways:
total: 22,321 km
paved: 3,502 km
unpaved: 18,819 km (1997 est.)

Waterways: about 4,587 km, primarily Mekong and tributaries; 2,897
additional kilometers are sectionally navigable by craft drawing less
than 0.5 m

Pipelines: petroleum products 136 km

Ports and harbors: none

Merchant marine:
total: 1 cargo ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 2,370 GRT/3,000 DWT
(1997 est.)

Airports: 52 (1997 est.)

Airports-with paved runways:
total: 9
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (1997 est.)

Airports-with unpaved runways:
total: 43
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 17
under 914 m: 25 (1997 est.)

@Laos:Military

Military branches: Lao People's Army (LPA; includes militia element),
Lao People's Navy (LPN; includes riverine element), Air Force,
National Police Department

Military manpower-military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower-availability:
males age 15-49: 1,161,497 (1998 est.)

Military manpower-fit for military service:
males: 626,880 (1998 est.)

Military manpower-reaching military age annually:
males: 55,903 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures-dollar figure: $105 million (FY92/93)

Military expenditures-percent of GDP: 8.1% (FY92/93)

@Laos:Transnational Issues

Disputes-international: parts of the border with Thailand are
indefinite

Illicit drugs: world's third largest opium producer (cultivation in
1997-28,150 hectares, an 11% increase over 1996; potential
production-210 metric tons, a 5% increase over 1996); heroin producer;
transshipment point for heroin and amphetamines produced in Burma;
illicit producer of cannabis

______________________________________________________________________

LATVIA

@Latvia:Geography

Location: Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia
and Lithuania

Geographic coordinates: 57 00 N, 25 00 E

Map references: Europe

Area:
total: 64,100 sq km
land: 64,100 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area-comparative: slightly larger than West Virginia

Land boundaries:
total: 1,150 km
border countries: Belarus 141 km, Estonia 339 km, Lithuania 453 km,
Russia 217 km

Coastline: 531 km

Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation

Climate: maritime; wet, moderate winters

Terrain: low plain

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m
highest point: Gaizinkalns 312 m

Natural resources: minimal; amber, peat, limestone, dolomite

Land use:
arable land: 27%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 13%
forests and woodland: 46%
other: 14% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 160 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: NA

Environment-current issues: air and water pollution because of a lack
of waste conversion equipment; Gulf of Riga and Daugava River heavily
polluted; contamination of soil and groundwater with chemicals and
petroleum products at military bases

Environment-international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Hazardous
Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

@Latvia:People

Population: 2,385,396 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 19% (male 227,634; female 218,321)
15-64 years: 66% (male 754,416; female 829,801)
65 years and over: 15% (male 113,925; female 241,299) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: -1.41% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 8.14 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 15.78 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -6.47 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.47 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 17.44 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 67.11 years
male: 61.02 years
female: 73.5 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.2 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Latvian(s)
adjective: Latvian

Ethnic groups: Latvian 56.5%, Russian 30.4%, Byelorussian 4.3%,
Ukrainian 2.8%, Polish 2.6%, other 3.4%

Religions: Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox

Languages: Lettish (official), Lithuanian, Russian, other

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 100%
male: 100%
female: 99% (1989 est.)

@Latvia:Government

Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Latvia
conventional short form: Latvia
local long form: Latvijas Republika
local short form: Latvija
former: Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic

Data code: LG

Government type: parliamentary democracy

National capital: Riga

Administrative divisions: 26 counties (singular-rajons) and 7
municipalities*: Aizkraukles Rajons, Aluksnes Rajons, Balvu Rajons,
Bauskas Rajons, Cesu Rajons, Daugavpils*, Daugavpils Rajons, Dobeles
Rajons, Gulbenes Rajons, Jekabpils Rajons, Jelgava*, Jelgavas Rajons,
Jurmala*, Kraslavas Rajons, Kuldigas Rajons, Leipaja*, Liepajas
Rajons, Limbazu Rajons, Ludzas Rajons, Madonas Rajons, Ogres Rajons,
Preilu Rajons, Rezekne*, Rezeknes Rajons, Riga*, Rigas Rajons, Saldus
Rajons, Talsu Rajons, Tukuma Rajons, Valkas Rajons, Valmieras Rajons,
Ventspils*, Ventspils Rajons

Independence: 6 September 1991 (from Soviet Union)

National holiday: Independence Day, 18 November (1918)

Constitution: the 1991 Constitutional Law which supplements the 1922
constitution, provides for basic rights and freedoms

Legal system: based on civil law system

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal for Latvian citizens

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Guntis ULMANIS (since 7 July 1993)
head of government: Prime Minister Guntars KRASTS (since 7 August
1997)
cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister and
appointed by the Parliament
elections: president elected by Parliament for a three-year term;
election last held 18 June 1996 (next to be held by NA June 1999);
prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Guntis ULMANIS elected president in the first round
of balloting; percent of parliamentary vote-Guntis ULMANIS 53%, Ilga
KREITUSE 25%

Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament or Saeima (100 seats;
members are elected by direct popular vote to serve three-year terms)
elections: last held 30 September-1 October 1995 (next to be held 3
October 1998)
election results: percent of vote by party-Saimnieks 18%, LC 17%, For
Latvia 16%, TB 14%, LNNK 8%, Unity 8%, LSZ/LKDS 7%, Harmony 6%,
Socialist 6%; seats by party - Saimnieks 18, LC 17, For Latvia 16, TB
14, LNNK 8, Unity 8, LSZ/LKDS 7, Harmony 6, Socialist 6

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, judges' appointments are confirmed by
the Parliament

Political parties and leaders: Democratic Party "Saimnieks" or DPS
[Ziedonis CEVERS, chairman]; Latvia's Way or LC [Andrei PANTELEJEVS];
Popular Movement For Latvia or TKL [Joachim SIEGERIST]; For Fatherland
and Freedom or TVB [Maris GRINBLATS], merged with LNNK; Latvian Unity
Party or LVP [Alberis KAULS]; Latvian National Conservative Party or
LNNK [Andrejs KRASTINS]; Green Party or LZP [Olegs BATAREVSK]; Latvian
Farmers Union or LZS [Andris ROZENTALS]; Christian Democrat Union or
LKDS [Talavs JUNDZIS]; National Harmony Party or TSP [Janis JURKANS];
Latvian Socialist Party or LSP [Sergejs DIAMANIS]; Latvian Liberal
Party or LLP [J. DANOSS]; Political Association of the Underprivileged
or MPA [B. PELSE, V. DIMANTS, J. KALNINS]; Latvian Democratic Labor
Party or LDDP [J. BOJARS]; Party of Russian Citizens or LKPP [V.
SOROCHIN, V. IVANOV]; Christian People's Party or KTP (formerly
Peoples Front of Latvia or LTF) [Uldis AUGSTKALNS]; Political Union of
Economists or TPA [Edvins KIDE]; Latvian National Democratic Party or
LNDP [A. MALINS]; "Our Land" or MZ [M. DAMBEKALNE]; Anticommunist
Union or PA [P. MUCENIEKS]; Latvian Social-Democratic Workers Party or
LSDSP [Janis DINEVICS]; Party for the Defense of Latvia's Defrauded
People; Latvian Independence Party or LNP [Valdis KONOVALOVS]
note: former Prime Minister Andris SKELE announced 18 December 1997
that he is forming a new, as yet unnamed, party

International organization participation: BIS, CBSS, CCC, CE, EAPC,
EBRD, ECE, EU (applicant), FAO, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS,
ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, IOM
(observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO,
UNIDO, UPU, WEU (associate partner), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Ojars Eriks KALNINS
chancery: 4325 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011
telephone: [1] (202) 726-8213, 8214
FAX: [1] (202) 726-6785

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Larry C. NAPPER
embassy: Raina Boulevard 7, LV-1510, Riga
mailing address: American Embassy, Riga, PSC 78, Box R, APO AE 09723
telephone: [371] (2) 210-0005, 782-0046
FAX: [371] (2) 722-6530, 782-0047

Flag description: three horizontal bands of maroon (top), white
(half-width), and maroon

@Latvia:Economy

Economy-overview: In 1997 Latvia scored the most impressive economic
achievements since independence in 1991, with GDP growing by 6% and
inflation at 7.4%. GDP is expected to grow 5% in 1998 and inflation to
range between 6% and 7%. In 1997 Latvia continued its strict fiscal
policy and apparently ended the year with a small fiscal surplus,
reflecting higher-than-expected income from customs revenues, excise
and business taxes, and restraints on government spending. Foreign
direct investment (FDI) in 1997 was a record $880 million by yearend.
Prospects for increasing FDI in 1998 are good if Latvia privatizes at
least some of its large companies, including Venspils Nafta (the state
oil company). Although Latvia was disappointed that it was not
included among the five Central and East European states invited to
start EU accession talks in spring 1998, it is likely to join the WTrO
in 1998. Latvia's growing current account and trade deficits remain a
cause for concern, reaching nearly 10% by yearend. Latvia's trade
deficit may even reach 22% of GDP in 1998.

GDP: purchasing power parity-$10.4 billion (1997 est.)

GDP-real growth rate: 6% (1997 est.)

GDP-per capita: purchasing power parity-$4,260 (1997 est.)

GDP-composition by sector:
agriculture: 9%
industry: 34%
services: 57% (1995)

Inflation rate-consumer price index: 7.4% (1997 est.)

Labor force:
total: 1.4 million (1997)
by occupation: industry 41%, agriculture and forestry 16%, services
43% (1990)

Unemployment rate: 7% (1996)

Budget:
revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA

Industries: buses, vans, street and railroad cars, synthetic fibers,
agricultural machinery, fertilizers, washing machines, radios,
electronics, pharmaceuticals, processed foods, textiles; dependent on
imports for energy, raw materials, and intermediate products

Industrial production growth rate: 2% (1996 est.)

Electricity-capacity: 2.035 million kW (1995)

Electricity-production: 4.095 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity-consumption per capita: 2,300 kWh (1995)

Agriculture-products: grain, sugar beets, potatoes, vegetables; meat,
milk, eggs; fish

Exports:
total value: $1.4 billion (f.o.b., 1996)
commodities: wood and wood products, textiles, foodstuffs
partners: Russia, other CIS, Germany, Sweden, UK

Imports:
total value: $2.3 billion (c.i.f., 1996)
commodities: fuels, machinery and equipment, chemicals
partners: Russia, other CIS, Germany, Sweden, UK, Finland

Debt-external: $NA

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $122 million (1993)
note: commitments from the West and international institutions, $525
million (1992-95)

Currency: 1 Latvian lat (LVL) = 100 santims; introduced NA March 1993

Exchange rates: lats (LVL) per US$1-0.595 (January 1998), 0.581
(1997), 0.551 (1996), 0.528 (1995), 0.560 (1994), 0.675 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year

Communications

Telephones: 660,000 (1993 est.)

Telephone system: service is better than in most of the other former
Soviet republics
domestic: an NMT-450 analog cellular telephone network covers 75% of
Latvia's population
international: international traffic carried by leased connection to
the Moscow international gateway switch, through the new Ericsson
digital telephone exchange in Riga, and through the Finnish cellular
net; Sprint data network carries electronic mail

Radio broadcast stations: 25 (unknown type)

Radios: 1.4 million (1993 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 30

Televisions: 1.1 million (1993 est.)

@Latvia:Transportation

Railways:
total: 2,412 km
broad gauge: 2,379 km 1.520-m gauge (271 km electrified) (1992)
narrow gauge: 33 km 0.750-m gauge (1994)

Highways:
total: 60,046 km
paved: 22,998 km
unpaved: 37,048 km (1995 est.)

Waterways: 300 km perennially navigable

Pipelines: crude oil 750 km; refined products 780 km; natural gas 560
km (1992)

Ports and harbors: Daugavpils, Liepaja, Riga, Ventspils

Merchant marine:
total: 24 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 293,799 GRT/440,575 DWT
ships by type: cargo 2, oil tanker 18, refrigerated cargo 4 (1997
est.)

Airports: 50 (1994 est.)

Airports-with paved runways:
total: 36
2,438 to 3,047 m: 6
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 27 (1994 est.)

Airports-with unpaved runways:
total: 14
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 10 (1994 est.)

@Latvia:Military

Military branches: Ground Forces, Navy, Air and Air Defense Forces,
Security Forces, Border Guard, Home Guard (Zemessardze)

Military manpower-military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower-availability:
males age 15-49: 569,745 (1998 est.)

Military manpower-fit for military service:
males: 446,562 (1998 est.)

Military manpower-reaching military age annually:
males: 16,594 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures-dollar figure: 176 million rubles (1994);
note-conversion of defense expenditures into US dollars using the
prevailing exchange rate could produce misleading results

Military expenditures-percent of GDP: 3% to 5% (1994)

@Latvia:Transnational Issues

Disputes-international: based on the 1920 Treaty of Riga, Latvia had
claimed the Abrene/Pytalovo section of border ceded by the Latvian
Soviet Socialist Republic to Russia in 1944; draft treaty delimiting
the boundary with Russia has not been signed; ongoing talks over
boundary dispute with Lithuania (primary concern is oil exploration
rights)

Illicit drugs: transshipment point for opiates and cannabis from
Southwest Asia and cocaine from Latin America to Western Europe and
Scandinavia; produces illicit amphetamines for export

______________________________________________________________________

LEBANON

Introduction

Current issues: Lebanon has made progress toward rebuilding its
political institutions and regaining its national sovereignty since
the end of the devastating 16-year civil war, which began in 1975.
Under the Ta'if Accord-the blueprint for national reconciliation-the
Lebanese have established a more equitable political system,
particularly by giving Muslims a greater say in the political process
while institutionalizing sectarian divisions in the government. Since
the end of the civil war, the Lebanese have formed five cabinets and
conducted two legislative elections. Most of the militias have been
weakened or disbanded. The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) has seized vast
quantities of weapons used by the militias during the war and extended
central government authority over about one-half of the country.
Hizballah, the radical Shi'a party, retains most of its weapons.
Foreign forces still occupy areas of Lebanon. Israel maintains troops
in southern Lebanon and continues to support a proxy militia, the Army
of South Lebanon (ASL), along a narrow stretch of territory contiguous
to its border. The ASL's enclave encompasses this self-declared
security zone and about 20 kilometers north to the strategic town of
Jazzin. Syria maintains about 25,000 troops in Lebanon. These troops
are based mainly in Beirut, North Lebanon, and the Bekaa Valley.
Syria's deployment was legitimized by the Arab League during Lebanon's
civil war and in the Ta'if accord. Citing the continued weakness of
the LAF, Beirut's requests, and failure of the Lebanese Government to
implement all of the constitutional reforms in the Ta'if accord,
Damascus has so far refused to withdraw its troops from Lebanon.

@Lebanon:Geography

Location: Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Israel
and Syria

Geographic coordinates: 33 50 N, 35 50 E

Map references: Middle East

Area:
total: 10,400 sq km
land: 10,230 sq km
water: 170 sq km

Area-comparative: about 0.7 times the size of Connecticut

Land boundaries:
total: 454 km
border countries: Israel 79 km, Syria 375 km

Coastline: 225 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: Mediterranean; mild to cool, wet winters with hot, dry
summers; Lebanon mountains experience heavy winter snows

Terrain: narrow coastal plain; Al Biqa' (Bekaa Valley) separates
Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon Mountains

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Jabal al Makmal 3,087 m

Natural resources: limestone, iron ore, salt, water-surplus state in a
water-deficit region

Land use:
arable land: 21%
permanent crops: 9%
permanent pastures: 1%
forests and woodland: 8%
other: 61% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 860 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: dust storms, sandstorms

Environment-current issues: deforestation; soil erosion;
desertification; air pollution in Beirut from vehicular traffic and
the burning of industrial wastes; pollution of coastal waters from raw
sewage and oil spills

Environment-international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Hazardous
Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship
Pollution
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Dumping,
Marine Life Conservation

Geography-note: Nahr al Litani only major river in Near East not
crossing an international boundary; rugged terrain historically helped
isolate, protect, and develop numerous factional groups based on
religion, clan, and ethnicity

@Lebanon:People

Population: 3,505,794 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 30% (male 532,688; female 512,979)
15-64 years: 64% (male 1,060,903; female 1,174,236)
65 years and over: 6% (male 102,946; female 122,042) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.62% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 22.66 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 6.51 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 31.64 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 70.64 years
male: 68.08 years
female: 73.33 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.28 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Lebanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Lebanese

Ethnic groups: Arab 95%, Armenian 4%, other 1%

Religions: Islam 70% (5 legally recognized Islamic groups-Alawite or
Nusayri, Druze, Isma'ilite, Shi'a, Sunni), Christian 30% (11 legally
recognized Christian groups-4 Orthodox Christian, 6 Catholic, 1
Protestant), Judaism NEGL%

Languages: Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian widely
understood

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.4%
male: 90.8%
female: 82.2% (1997 est.)

@Lebanon:Government

Country name:
conventional long form: Lebanese Republic
conventional short form: Lebanon
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Lubnaniyah
local short form: Lubnan

Data code: LE

Government type: republic

National capital: Beirut

Administrative divisions: 5 governorates (muhafazat,
singular-muhafazah); Al Biqa', Al Janub, Ash Shamal, Bayrut, Jabal
Lubnan

Independence: 22 November 1943 (from League of Nations mandate under
French administration)

National holiday: Independence Day, 22 November (1943)

Constitution: 23 May 1926, amended a number of times

Legal system: mixture of Ottoman law, canon law, Napoleonic code, and
civil law; no judicial review of legislative acts; has not accepted
compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 21 years of age; compulsory for all males; authorized for
women at age 21 with elementary education

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Ilyas HARAWI (since 24 November 1989)
head of government: Prime Minister Rafiq al-HARIRI (since 22 October
1992)
cabinet: Cabinet chosen by the prime minister in consultation with the
members of the National Assembly; the current Cabinet was formed in
1996
elections: president elected by the National Assembly for a six-year
term; election last held 24 November 1989 (next to be held NA 1998);
note-in 1995, the National Assembly amended the constitution to extend
the president's term by three years; prime minister and deputy prime
minister appointed by the president in consultation with the National
Assembly; by custom, the president is a Maronite Christian, the prime
minister is a Sunni Muslim, and the speaker of the legislature is a
Shi'a Muslim
election results: Ilyas HARAWI elected president; percent of National
Assembly vote - NA

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Majlis Alnuwab
(Arabic) or Assemblee Nationale (French) (128 seats; members elected
by popular vote on the basis of sectarian proportional representation
to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held in the summer of 1996 (next to be held NA 2000)
election results: percent of vote by party-NA; seats by party-NA
(one-half Christian and one-half Muslim)

Judicial branch: four Courts of Cassation (three courts for civil and
commercial cases and one court for criminal cases); Constitutional
Council (called for in Ta'if Accord-rules on constitutionality of
laws); Supreme Council (hears charges against the president and prime
minister as needed)

Political parties and leaders: political party activity is organized
along largely sectarian lines; numerous political groupings exist,
consisting of individual political figures and followers motivated by
religious, clan, and economic considerations

International organization participation: ABEDA, ACCT, AFESD, AL, AMF,
CCC, ESCWA, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA,
IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol,
IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OIC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO,
UNHCR, UNIDO, UNRWA, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Mohamad Baha CHATAH
chancery: 2560 28th Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-6300
FAX: [1] (202) 939-6324
consulate(s) general: Detroit, New York, and Los Angeles

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador-designate David SATTERFIELD
embassy: Antelias, Beirut
mailing address: P. O. Box 70-840, Beirut; PSC 815, Box 2, FPO AE
09836-0002
telephone: [961] (1) 402200, 403300, 426183, 417774, 889926
FAX: [961] (1) 407112

Flag description: three horizontal bands of red (top), white (double
width), and red with a green and brown cedar tree centered in the
white band

@Lebanon:Economy

Economy-overview: The 1975-91 civil war seriously damaged Lebanon's
economic infrastructure, cut national output by half, and all but
ended Lebanon's position as a Middle Eastern entrepot and banking hub.
Peace has enabled the central government to restore control in Beirut,
begin collecting taxes, and regain access to key port and government
facilities. Economic recovery has been helped by a financially sound
banking system and resilient small- and medium-scale manufacturers,
with family remittances, banking services, manufactured and farm
exports, and international aid as the main sources of foreign
exchange. Lebanon's economy has made impressive gains since Prime
Minister HARIRI launched his $18 billion "Horizon 2000" reconstruction
program in 1993. Real GDP grew 8% in 1994 and 7% in 1995 before
Israel's Operation Grapes of Wrath in April 1996 stunted economic
activity. During 1992-97, annual inflation fell from more than 170% to
9%, and foreign exchange reserves jumped to more than $4 billion from
$1.4 billion. Burgeoning capital inflows have generated foreign
payments surpluses, and the Lebanese pound has remained relatively
stable. Progress also has been made in rebuilding Lebanon's war-torn
physical and financial infrastructure. Solidere, a $2-billion firm, is
managing the reconstruction of Beirut's central business district; the
stock market reopened in January 1996; and international banks and
insurance companies are returning. The government nonetheless faces
serious challenges in the economic arena. It has had to fund
reconstruction by tapping foreign exchange reserves and boosting
borrowing. The stalled peace process and ongoing violence in southern
Lebanon could lead to wider hostilities that would disrupt vital
capital inflows. Furthermore, the gap between rich and poor has
widened since HARIRI took office, resulting in grassroots
dissatisfaction over the skewed distribution of the reconstruction's
benefits and leading the government to shift its focus from rebuilding
infrastructure to improving living conditions.

GDP: purchasing power parity-$15.2 billion (1997 est.)

GDP-real growth rate: 4% (1997 est.)

GDP-per capita: purchasing power parity-$4,400 (1997 est.)

GDP-composition by sector:
agriculture: 4%
industry: 23%
services: 73% (1997 est.)

Inflation rate-consumer price index: 9% (1997 est.)

Labor force:
total: 1 million plus as many as 1 million foreign workers (1996 est.)
by occupation: services 62%, industry 31%, agriculture 7% (1997 est.)

Unemployment rate: 18% (1997 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $2.4 billion
expenditures: $5.9 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA
(1997 est.)

Industries: banking; food processing; jewelry; cement; textiles;
mineral and chemical products; wood and furniture products; oil
refining; metal fabricating

Industrial production growth rate: 25% (1993 est.)

Electricity-capacity: 1.35 million kW (1997)

Electricity-production: 5 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity-consumption per capita: 1,380 kWh (1995)

Agriculture-products: citrus, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco,
hemp (hashish); sheep, goats

Exports:
total value: $1.018 billion (f.o.b., 1996)
commodities: paper and paper products 26%, food stuffs 16%, textiles
and textile products 10%, jewelry 8%, metals and metal products 8%,
electrical equipment and products 8%, chemical products 6%, transport
vehicles 4% (1995)
partners: UAE 23%, Saudi Arabia 14%, Kuwait 8%, Syria 7%, Jordan 5%,
France 5%, Italy 4%, US 3% (1996)

Imports:
total value: $7.559 billion (c.i.f., 1996)
commodities: machinery and transport equipment 28%, foodstuffs 20%,
consumer goods 19%, chemicals 9%, textiles 5%, metals 5%, fuels 3%
(1995)
partners: Italy 12%, US 11%, Germany 9%, France 8%, Syria 4%, UK 4%,
Japan 4% (1996)

Debt-external: $2.3 billion (1997 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: aid pledges of $3.5 billion for 1997-2001

Currency: 1 Lebanese pound (L) = 100 piasters

Exchange rates: Lebanese pounds (L) per US$1-1,526.1 (January 1998),
1,539.5 (1997), 1,571.4 (1996), 1,621.4 (1995), 1,680.1 (1994),
1,741.4 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year

Communications

Telephones: 150,000 (1990 est.)

Telephone system: telecommunications system severely damaged by civil
war; rebuilding well underway
domestic: primarily microwave radio relay and cable
international: satellite earth stations-2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and
1 Atlantic Ocean) (erratic operations); coaxial cable to Syria;
microwave radio relay to Syria but inoperable beyond Syria to Jordan;
3 submarine coaxial cables

Radio broadcast stations: AM 5, FM 3, shortwave 1
note: government is licensing a limited number of the more than 100 AM
and FM stations operated sporadically by various factions that sprang
up during the civil war

Radios: 2.37 million (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 13
note: government is licensing a limited number of TV stations operated
by various factions

Televisions: 1.1 million (1993 est.)

@Lebanon:Transportation

Railways:
total: 222 km
standard gauge: 222 km 1.435-m (from Beirut to the Syrian border)

Highways:
total: 6,350 km
paved: 6,032 km
unpaved: 318 km (1996 est.)

Pipelines: crude oil 72 km (none in operation)

Ports and harbors: Al Batrun, Al Mina', An Naqurah, Antilyas, Az
Zahrani, Beirut, Jubayl, Juniyah, Shikka, Sidon, Tripoli, Tyre

Merchant marine:
total: 62 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 258,383 GRT/392,087 DWT
ships by type: bulk 5, cargo 40, chemical tanker 1, combination bulk
1, combination ore/oil 1, container 2, livestock carrier 5, oil tanker
1, roll-on/roll-off cargo 2, specialized tanker 1, vehicle carrier 3
(1997 est.)

Airports: 9 (1997 est.)

Airports-with paved runways:
total: 7
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (1997 est.)

Airports-with unpaved runways:
total: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (1997 est.)

@Lebanon:Military

Military branches: Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF; includes Army, Navy,
and Air Force)

Military manpower-availability:
males age 15-49: 901,603 (1998 est.)

Military manpower-fit for military service:
males: 558,774 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures-dollar figure: $445 million (1997)

Military expenditures-percent of GDP: 5% (1997)

@Lebanon:Transnational Issues

Disputes-international: Israeli troops in southern Lebanon since June
1982; Syrian troops in northern, central, and eastern Lebanon since
October 1976

Illicit drugs: small illicit producer of hashish and heroin; hashish
production is shipped to Western Europe, the Middle East, and North
and South America; some cocaine processing and trafficking; a
Lebanese/Syrian eradication campaign started in the early 1990s has
practically eliminated the opium and cannabis crops

______________________________________________________________________

LESOTHO

@Lesotho:Geography

Location: Southern Africa, an enclave of South Africa

Geographic coordinates: 29 30 S, 28 30 E

Map references: Africa

Area:
total: 30,350 sq km
land: 30,350 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area-comparative: slightly smaller than Maryland

Land boundaries:
total: 909 km
border countries: South Africa 909 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Climate: temperate; cool to cold, dry winters; hot, wet summers

Terrain: mostly highland with plateaus, hills, and mountains

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: junction of the Orange and Makhaleng Rivers 1,400 m
highest point: Mount Thabana Ntlenyana 3,482 m

Natural resources: water, agricultural and grazing land, some diamonds
and other minerals

Land use:
arable land: 11%
permanent crops: NA%
permanent pastures: 66%
forests and woodland: NA%
other: 23% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 30 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: periodic droughts

Environment-current issues: population pressure forcing settlement in
marginal areas results in overgrazing, severe soil erosion, and soil
exhaustion; desertification; Highlands Water Project controls, stores,
and redirects water to South Africa

Environment-international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Marine Life
Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine
Dumping

Geography-note: landlocked; surrounded by South Africa

@Lesotho:People

Population: 2,089,829 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 40% (male 420,526; female 419,059)
15-64 years: 55% (male 558,068; female 596,598)
65 years and over: 5% (male 39,782; female 55,796) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.91% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 31.84 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 12.76 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 78.3 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 53.97 years
male: 52.18 years
female: 55.81 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.13 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Mosotho (singular), Basotho (plural)
adjective: Basotho

Ethnic groups: Sotho 99.7%, Europeans 1,600, Asians 800

Religions: Christian 80%, rest indigenous beliefs

Languages: Sesotho (southern Sotho), English (official), Zulu, Xhosa

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 71.3%
male: 81.1%
female: 62.3% (1995 est.)

@Lesotho:Government

Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of Lesotho
conventional short form: Lesotho
former: Basutoland

Data code: LT

Government type: parliamentary constitutional monarchy

National capital: Maseru

Administrative divisions: 10 districts; Berea, Butha-Buthe, Leribe,
Mafeteng, Maseru, Mohale's Hoek, Mokhotlong, Qacha's Nek, Quthing,
Thaba-Tseka

Independence: 4 October 1966 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 4 October (1966)

Constitution: 2 April 1993

Legal system: based on English common law and Roman-Dutch law;
judicial review of legislative acts in High Court and Court of Appeal;

Book of the day: