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Asia-Pacific Population Journal. 2007 Apr; 22(1):3-7.While the science of demography addresses the whole of the human population, substantive demographic research is most often focused on populations with common characteristics. For the last six decades the nation state has been the social unit that has dominated demographic research. The reasons for this focus make perfect sense. Nations define their populations in terms of citizenship and define the ways in which people will be identified in any effort to count the numbers. They have the authority, the interest and the resources to carry out collections of information about members of these defined populations. As members of the United Nations they collaborate with other nations to develop the methodological and technical tools used to analyse national population numbers in ways that are relevant to state policies and actions. In short, the nation is the foundation unit for understanding human population composition and growth. Global population numbers are estimated by compiling the information collected by nations. Interest in populations of units smaller than the nation also relies on national statistical collections and national definitions of component populations, but for most users of data the focus is on the nation, and not the units beyond or below that political entity. (excerpt)
BACKGROUND NOTES. 1988 Mar; 1-8.The Republic of Kuwait occupies an area of 6,880 square miles at the head of the Persian Gulf, bounded on the north and west by Iraq and on the south by Saudi Arabia. 1.7 million people live in Kuwait, of whom 680,000 are Kuwaitis; the rest are expatriate Arabs, Iranians, and Indians. The annual growth rate of Kuwaitis is 3.8%. The Kuwaitis are 70% Sunni and 30% Shi'a Muslims. Arabic is the official language, but English is widely spoken. Kuwait is a highly developed welfare state with a free market economy. Education is free and compulsory, and literacy is 71%. Infant mortality among Kuwaitis is 26.1/1000, and life expectancy is 70 years. Medical care is free. Kuwait was first settled by Arab tribes from Qatar. In 1899 the ruler, Sheikh Mubarak Al Sabah, whose descendents still rule Kuwait, signed a treaty with Britain; and Kuwait remained a British protectorate until it became independent in 1961. A constitution was promulgated in 1962, and a National Assembly was elected by adult male suffrage in 1963. However, the Assembly has since been suspended due to internal friction. Kuwait and Iraq have been disputing Kuwait's northern border since 1913, and the southern border includes a Divided Zone, where sovereignty is disputed by Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Despite the fall in oil prices in 1982 and the loss of trade due to the Iran-Iraq war, Kuwait is one of the world's wealthiest countries with a per capita gross domestic product of $10,175. Oil accounts for 85% of Kuwait's exports, which total $7.42 billion; income from foreign investments (about $60 billion) makes up most of the balance. All petroleum-related activities are managed by the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), which includes the nationalized Kuwait Oil Company, petrochemical industries, the 22-vessel tanker fleet, and refineries and service stations in Europe, where Kuwaiti oil is marketed under the brand name Q8. Kuwait has more than 66 billion barrels of recoverable oil but limits production to 999,000 barrels per day. Other industrial products include ammonia, chemical fertilizers, fishing and water desalinization (215 million gallons a day). Kuwait imports machinery, manufactured goods, and food. Nevertheless exports exceed imports by $2 billion, and the Kuwaiti dinar is a strong currency (1 KD=US$3.57). About $75 billion is kept in 2 reserve funds: the Fund for Future Generations and the General Reserve Fund. In addition to domestic expenditures and imports, Kuwait has extended $5 billion worth of loans to developing countries, made through the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. Kuwait has been engaged in continuing border disputes with Iraq since 1961, but the most immediate threat to Kuwait has been the Iran-Iraq war. Kuwait lent Iraq $6 billion, in retaliation for which Iran bombed a Kuwaiti oil depot, and Shi'a Muslim terrorists bombed the French and US embassies and hijacked a Kuwaiti airliner in 1984. Iran also attacked Kuwaiti tankers. In 1987 the US reflagged 11 Kuwaiti tankers to protect them from Iranian attacks. Kuwait has been modernizing its own military forces as well as purchasing sophisticated weapons from the UK, the US, France, and the USSR. In 1981 Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman formed the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for mutual defense, and in 1987 Kuwait was elected chairman of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Kuwait has diplomatic relations with the USSR and the People's Republic of China, as well as with the US, which has supplied Kuwait with $1.5 billion of sophisticated weaponry from foreign military sales (FMC). The US is Kuwait's largest supplier (after Japan), and Kuwait is the 5th largest market in the Middle East for US goods, despite the disincentives brought about by the Arab boycott of Israel.
BACKGROUND NOTES. 1988 Feb; 1-7.The Republic of Djibouti, an area of 9,000 square miles on the Horn of Africa, is bounded on 3 sides by Ethiopia and Somalia and on the 4th by the Gulf of Aden, where the capital city, Djibouti, with its good natural harbor, is located. The population of 387,000, growing at 5.1% a year, is divided between the majority Somalis (of the Issa, Ishaak and Gadaboursi tribes) and the Afars and Danakils. All are Cushite-speaking, although the official language is French. Almost all of the people are Muslim. The country became independent of France in 1977; it had been the French Territory of Afars and Issas from 1966-77 and French Somaliland from 1884 to 1966. During the Second World War, Djibouti was governed from Vichy until 1942, when the country joined the Free French, and a Djibouti battalion participated in the liberation of France. The country is governed by a president (Mr. Hassan Gouled Aptidon), a prime minister (Mr. Barkat Gourad Hammadou), and a 65-member parliament, elected by universal suffrage. There is only 1 permitted political party, the Rassemblement Populaire Pour le Progres (RPP), which is dominated by the Issas. There are no women in high government positions, but the status of women is somewhat higher than in most Islamic countries. Djibouti has a small army, navy, and air force, supplemented by 4000 French troops. The level of socioeconomic development is not good. The economy is stagnant, and the country is afflicted with recurring drought. Only 20% of the people are literate; infant mortality is 114/1000, and life expectancy is 50 years. Per capita income is $450. Malaria is prevalent; there is only 1 hospital; and drinking water is unsafe. There are no natural resources, no industry, and very little agriculture. Most of the country's gross domestic product of $339 million is derived from servicing the port's facilities for container shipment and transshipment and maintaining the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railroad. The unit of currency is the Djibouti franc, and the official exchange rate is 177 DF to US$1. Djibouti's imports amount to $230 million, most of which are consumed in the country and paid for by French economic assistance and $3 million a year from the US. Djibouti is a member of the UN, the Organization of African Unity, the Arab League, the Nonaligned Movement, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), and the Intergovernmental Authority for Drought and Development (IGADD).
BACKGROUND NOTES. 1988 Mar; 1-8.Zimbabwe is a land-locked plateau country of 151,000 square miles, divided into 8 provinces, in Southeastern Africa, bordered by South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique. Its population consists of 8.8 million blacks, divided between the Shona-speaking Mashona (80%) and the Sindebele-speaking Matabele (19%), 100,000 whites, 20,000 coloreds, and 10,000 Asians. Many of the blacks are Christians. More than 1/2 the whites migrated to Zimbabwe after the Second World War at a rate of about 1000 a year until the mid-1970s; since then 12,000 whites have left the country. The official language is English, and education is free. Most African children 5-19 years old attend school, and literacy is between 40% and 50%. The University of Zimbabwe is located in Harare, the capital, and there are several technical institutes and teacher-training colleges. Zimbabwe has been inhabited since the stone age, and evidence of a high indigenous civilization remains in the "Great Zimbabwe Ruins" near Masvingo. The present black population is descended from later migrations of Bantu people from central Africa. Cecil Rhodes was granted concessions for mineral rights in the area in 1888, and the territory, which administered by the British South Africa Company, was called Rhodesia. Southern Rhodesia became a self-governing entity within the British Empire in 1913. In 1953 Southern Rhodesia was joined with the British protectorates of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland in the Central African Federation, but this dissolved in 1963, and Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland became independent as Zambia and Malawi in 1964. Independence was withheld from Rhodesia because Prime Minister Ian Smith refused to give Britain assurances that the country would move toward majority rule. In 1965 Smith issued a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) from the UK. In 1966 the UN Security Council imposed mandatory economic sanctions on Rhodesia. Within Rhodesia the major African nationalist groups -- the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) and the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) united into the "Patriotic Front" and began to engage in guerrilla warfare against the minority government. Finally, in 1979, Rhodesia returned briefly to colonial status, during which time a new constitution was written, implementing majority rule; the UN Security Council called off economic sanctions; and elections were held. Robert Mugabe, leader of the victorious ZANU Party, was asked to form Zimbabwe's 1st government. The British Government formally granted independence to Zimbabwe on April 18, 1980. THe new government was to consist of a President (Mr. Mugabe), elected by universal suffrage, and a bicameral parliament. Zimbabwe has followed a policy of national reconciliation at home and "active nonalignment" abroad. In 1982, Zimbabwe was chosen by the Organization of African Unity to hold one of the nonpermanent seats in the UN Security Council, and in 1986, Zimbabwe was the site of the Nonaligned Movement summit meeting, and Mr. Mugabe became chairman of that organization. The years of sanctions, guerrilla warfare, and white emigration, combined with a foreign exchange crisis (the Zimbabwe dillar = US$.60), and the drought of 1987 took their toll on the Zimbabwean economy. Gross domestic product declined between 1974 and 1979, although by 1986, it was $4.7 billion, with per capita income $275. Zimbabwe is rich in natural resources, especially coal and chrome; and industry, which accounts for 69% of the gross domestic product, was forced by the sanctions to diversify. Plentiful coal deposits make the country less dependent on imported oil for an energy source. Agriculture, which constitutes 15% of the gross domestic product, is the backbone of the economy, with corn as the largest crop and tobacco as the largest export crop; both were hurt by the 1987 drought. Another drain on the economy was the money diverted to pay for training and equipping the armed forces. The British Military Assistance Training Team has been the largest source of training, but jet fighters had to be bought from China and helicopters from Italy. The United States, which broke off relations after the Unilateral Declaration of Independence, has contributed $380 million in loans and grants to Zimbabwe in the years between 1981 and 1986.
BACKGROUND NOTES. 1987 Sep; 1-8.The Kingdom of Belgium which borders on the nations of France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and the Federal Republic of Germany, is one of the smallest European countries and is a parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarch. The branches of its government are the executive (with a king, a prime minister, and a Council of Ministers), the legislative (a bicameral Parliament and various regional and cultural assemblies), and the judicial (a Court of Cassation modelled on the French system). 30% of Belgium's gross national product comes from machinery, iron and steel, coal, textiles, chemicals, and glass. During the 80 year period which preceded WWI, Belgium remained neutral in an era of intra-European wars until German troops overran the country during their attack on France in 1914. Some of the worst battles of that war were fought in Belgium. Again in 1940, Belgium was occupied by the Germans. There was a government-in-exile in London; however the King remained in Belgium during the war. The course of Belgian politics was determined largely by the division of the Belgian people into 2 major language groups--the Dutch speakers and French speakers. Regional and language rivalries are taken into account in all important national decisions. The 3 major political parties representing the main ideological tendencies are the Socialists, the Socialist Christians, and the Liberals. Belgium is one of the most open economies in the world and is a densely populated, highly industrialized country in the midst of a highly industrialized region. An economic austerity program was instituted at the beginning of this decade which included devaluation of the Belgian franc, reduction of government expenditures, a partial price freeze, etc. Improvements have been seen as a result of this program. Although US investment has declined in recent years, total US direct investment is estimated at $5.28 billion and there are 899 US companies currently operating in Belgium. As a member of NATO, Belgium's armed forces are part of the NATO integrated military structure. Belgium is a proponent of close cooperation with the US and they seek improved East-West relations. In this vein, Belgium works closely with the US both bilaterally and multilaterally to liberalize trade, and to foster economic and political cooperation and assistance to developing countries.
BACKGROUND NOTES. 1987 Aug; 1-7.Madagascar, in the Indian Ocean near Mozambique, is officially known as the Democratic Republic of Madagascar. This republic has 3 branches of government and includes 6 provinces or subdivisions. Since 1981, it has received more than $62 million in grants and concessional sales from the US. There have been other types of assistance as well, including a development assistance program begun in 1985. Its population is largely of mixed Asian and African origin. There exists an historic rivalry between the Catholic coastal people, Cotiers, and the Protestant Merina, who predominate in civil service, business, and the professions. To combat this, the government has set one of its goals to be the highlighting of nationalism. The beginning of Madagascar's written history can be traced to when the Arabs established trading posts along the coastal areas. Eventually, Madagascar moved toward independence from the French and became an autonomous state in 1958. The president is elected for a 7-year term and is the head, during that time, of the Supreme Revolutionary Council. There is a 3-tiered court system, including a lower court for civil and criminal cases, a criminal court for more serious crimes, and a supreme court. The government represents a strong socialist philosophy and outright criticism of the President and his government is not tolerated. The economy of Malagasy is dominated by agriculture, which employs about 85% of the population. Although it faces some serious problems in the areas of foreign exchange and imports/exports, Madagascar is a potentially prosperous country. It boasts diversified agricultural production, it is rich in minerals, and it maintains strong commercial ties to the West. Madagascar's major trading partners are France, the US, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Soviet Union, Qatar, and Japan. Madagascar maintains the Popular Armed Forces for its defense; however, there is a heavy reliance on the Soviet Union for military equipment and training. US-Malagasy relations have been warm for most of its history until 1971 when the US ambassador and 5 members of his staff were expelled. In 1980, a new ambassador arrived and in 1981, 2 Food for Peace rice agreements were concluded. In 1986, Madagascar became the 1st African country to be the recipient of assistance under the program Food for Progress, given to nations which have undertaken successful economic reform.
BACKGROUND NOTES. 1987 Apr; 1-7.The Republic of Korea occupies approximately 38,000 square miles in the southern position of a mountaineous peninsula. It shares a land boundary with North Korea. With a population of more than 40 million people, South Korea has 1 of the highest population densities in the world. The language spoken is a Uralic language, closely akin to Japanese, Hungarian, Finnish, and Mongolian, and the traditional religions are Shamanism and Buddhism. Over the course of time, South Korea has been invaded and fought over by its neighbors. The US and the Soviet Union have never been able to reach a unification agreement for North and South Korea. The 3rd Republic era, begun in 1963, saw a time of rapid industrialization and a great deal of economic growth. The 5th Republic began with a new constitution and new elections brought about the election of a president to a 7-year term of office beginning in 1981. Economic growth has been remarkable over the last 25 years despite the fact that North Korea possesses most of the mineral and hydroelectric resources and the existing heavy industrial base built by the Japanese while South Korea has the limited agricultural resources and had, initially, a large unskilled labor pool. Serious industrial growth began in South Korea in the early 1960s and the GNP grew at an annual rate of 10% during the period 1963-78. Current GNP is now, at $2000, well beyond that of its neighbors to the north. The outlook for longterm growth is good; however, the military threat posed by North Korea and the absence of foreign economic assistance has resulted in Korea spending 1/3 of its budget on defense. South Korea is active in international affairs and in the UN. Economic realities have forced Korea to give economics priority in their foreign policy. There has been an on-again, off-again quality to dialogue between the 2 nations. However, the US is committed to maintaining peace on the Korean peninsula. In order to do so, they have supplied manpower and support to supplement Korea's efforts to deter aggression. The US also believes that talks between governments are essential if reunification will ultimately occur. South Korea is now the US' largest commercial partner and Korea seems to understand that they can benefit greatly by having increased US private sector involvement in Korea's development.
BACKGROUND NOTES. 1987 Feb; 1-7.Honduras is a democratic, constitutional republic located between Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua in Central America. Although in the early history of the nation there were frequent revolutions, Honduras has been independent throughout much of its existence. Since the decade of the 1980s, there has been close cooperation with the US including bilateral economic and security assistance, and joint military exercises. The government constitution adopted in 1982 assures that there will be a powerful executive branch, a unicameral legislature, and a judiciary appointed by the National Congress. Following 18 years of military government, Honduras is now under civilian and constitutional rule. Its major serious concerns center around development in the economic and social spheres. Honduras is the least developed Central American country. In 1984, it became a Caribbean Basin Initiative beneficiary country and as a result, the research and development of nontraditional export products has grown greatly. The US has been its most important trade partner. Among others, the US and the World Bank have committed large amounts of financial resources to help Honduras. Honduras and El Salvador are attempting to come to some agreement about their mutual boundaries and Honduras is concerned about the Nicaraguan and general Central American situation. It supports the US position and policy toward Nicaragua. In response to the threats posed by some of its neighbors, Honduras has focused on developing a mobile deterrent force with strong counterterrorism capabilities. Honduras relies heavily on US material assistance and political support.
BACKGROUND NOTES. 1987 Mar; 1-8.New Zealand, located in the southwest Pacific, has a population of more than 3 million. Although populated for at least 1000 years before the arrival of the Europeans, New Zealand achieved full internal and external autonomy in 1947. Its parliamentary system of government is patterned closely on the United Kingdom. There is a 20-member cabinet led by the prime minister which has executive authority. There are 4 major political parties in New Zealand. While New Zealand is of the world's most efficient producers of economic products, the current government has undertaken an effort to reverse New Zealand economic decline by instituting a major economic reform program. Defense has traditionally occupied a very small place in the budget in New Zealand. Until recently, its defense policy has developed around the ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand, United States) mutual defense treaty. They have also cooperated with the South Pacific and Southest Asian countries. New Zealand's foreign policy targets mainly the developed democratic countries and Southeast Asia. New Zealand and Australia have both political and economic relationships. Among other things, New Zealand has helped Asian countries with technical assistance. US Navy vessels have access to New Zealand ports but since July 1984, there have been certain restrictions attached to port use. Largely these restrictions are meant to ban entry to nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed warships. New Zealand is very committed to developing more extensively the political, economic, and social ties among the members of ANZUS. Information on travel, principal US officials, principal government officials, government, and economy are also included.
BACKGROUND NOTES. 1987 Feb; 1-12.Japan is composed of 4 main islands and more than 3900 smaller islands and has 317.7 persons/square kilometer. This makes it one of the most densely populated nations in the world. Religion is an important force in the life of the Japanese and most consider themselves Buddhists. Schooling is free through junior high but 90% of Japanese students complete high school. In fact, Japan enjoys one of the highest literacy rates in the world. There are over 178 newspapers and 3500 magazines published in Japan and the number of new book titles issued each year is greater than that in the US. Since WW1, Japan expanded its influence in Asia and its holdings in the Pacific. However, as a direct result of WW2, Japan lost all of its overseas possessions and was able to retain only its own islands. Since 1952, Japan has been ruled by conservative governments which cooperate closely with the West. Great economic growth has come since the post-treaty period. Japan as a constitutional monarchy operates within the framework of a constitution which became effective in May 1947. Executive power is vested in a cabinet which includes the prime minister and the ministers of state. Japan is one of the most politically stable of the postwar democracies and the Liberal Democratic Party is representative of Japanese moderate conservatism. The economy of Japan is strong and growing. With few resources, there is only 19% of Japanese land suitable for cultivation. Its exports earn only about 19% of the country's gross national product. More than 59 million workers comprise Japan's labor force, 40% of whom are women. Japan and the US are strongly linked trading partners and after Canada, Japan is the largest trading partner of the US. Foreign policy since 1952 has fostered close cooperation with the West and Japan is vitally interested in good relations with its neighbors. Relations with the Soviet Union are not close although Japan is attempting to improve the situation. US policy is based on the following 3 principles: 1) the US views Japan as an equal trade partner, 2) that the relationship is global in scope, and 3) that Japan has become increasingly assertive in world matters and plays a greater international role. The combined efforts of the US and Japan will be utilized to promote world peace.