Thursday, March 3, 2011

United Kingdom


United Kingdom
241,752 sq km (93,341 sq miles).
58,801,500 (1996).
243.2 per sq km.
7,074,300 (Greater London, 1996).
The British landscape can be divided roughly into two kinds of terrain – highland and lowland. The highland area comprises the mountainous regions of Scotland, Northern Ireland, northern England and north Wales. The English Lake District in the northwest contains lakes and fells. The lowland area is broken up by sandstone and limestone hills, long valleys and basins such as the Wash on the east coast. In the south east, the North and South Downs culminate in the White Cliffs of Dover. The coastline includes fjord-like inlets in the northwest of Scotland, spectacular cliffs and wild sandy beaches on the east coast and, further south, beaches of rocks, shale and sand sometimes backed by dunes, and large areas of fenland in East Anglia. Note: More detailed geographical descriptions of the various countries may be found under the respective entries.
Republic. Head of State: HM Queen Elizabeth II since 1953. Head of Government: Prime Minister Tony Blair since 1997.
English. Some Welsh is spoken in parts of Wales, Gaelic in parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland, and French and Norman French in the Channel Islands. The many ethnic minorities within the UK also speak their own languages (eg Hindi, Urdu, Turkish, Greek, Cantonese, Mandarin, etc).
Predominantly Protestant (Church of England), but many other Christian denominations also: Roman Catholic, Church of Scotland, Baptist, Methodist and other free churches. There are sizeable Jewish, Muslim and Hindu minorities.
GMT (GMT + 1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
240 volts AC, 50Hz. Square 3-pin plugs are standard and the visitor is unlikely to come across the older round 3-pin type.
Telephone: IDD is available. Country code: 44. Outgoing international code: 00. There are numerous public call boxes. Some boxes take coins, others phonecards or credit cards. There are a number of suppliers of telecommunication networks, chiefly British Telecom and Cable & Wireless. Fax: There are many high-street bureaux in all cities. Most hotels and offices have facilities. Telemessage: These may be sent from a post office or from a private telephone. Post: Stamps are available from post offices and many shops and stores. There are stamp machines outside some post offices. Post boxes are red. First-class internal mail normally reaches its destination the day after posting (except in remote areas of Scotland), and most second-class mail the day after that. International postal connections are good. Post office opening hours are 0900-1730 Monday to Friday and 0900-1230 Saturday, although some post offices are open much longer hours. Press: Dominated by about ten major newspapers, UK circulation figures are amongst the highest in the world. The most influential newspapers are The Times, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Financial Times, The Observer and The Independent. The more popular 'tabloid' newspapers are The Sun, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Express and The Daily Mail. Most papers have an associated Sunday newspaper, though there are some independents. There are also daily regional newspapers, particularly in Scotland and the north. The London Evening Standard is produced in several editions daily, the first being at midday.


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