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  1. 1


    United States. Department of State. Bureau of Public Affairs

    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.
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  2. 2

    [Hunger and disease in less developed countries and en route to development (the Third World). Proposal for solutions] Hambre y enfermedades en los paises menos adelantados y en vias de desarrollo (Tercer Mundo). Propuesta de soluciones.

    Piedrola Gil G

    Anales de la Real Academia Nacional de Medicina. 1984; 101(1):39-96.

    The extent, causes, and possible solutions to problems of hunger, inequality, and disease in developing countries are discussed in this essay. Various frameworks and indicators have been proposed for identifying the poorest of nations; currently, 21 African, 9 Asian, and 1 American nation are regarded as the poorest of the poor. The 31 least developed countries, the 89 developing countries, and the 37 developed countries respectively have populations of 283 million, 3 billion; infant mortality rates of 160, 94, and 19/1000 live births; life expectancies of 45, 60, and 72 years; literacy rates of 28, 55, and 98%; per capita gross national products of $170, and $520, and $6230; and per capita public health expenditures of $1.70, $6.50, and $244. Developing countries in the year 2000 are expected to have 4.87 billion of the world's 6.2 billion inhabitants. The 3rd world contains 70% of the world's population but receives only 17% of world income. 40 million persons die of hunger or its consequences each year. Economic and social development is the only solution to problems of poverty and underdevelopment, and will require mobilization of all present and future human and material resources to achieve maximum possible wellbeing for each human being. Among principal causes of underdevelopment in the 3rd World are drought, illness, exile, socioeconomic disorder, war, and arms expenditures. Current food production and a long list of possible new technologies would be adequate to feed the world's population, but poor distribution condemns the world's people to hunger. Numerous UN agencies, organizations, and programs are dedicated to solving the problems of hunger, underdevelopment, and disease. In 1982, 600 billion dollars were spent in armanents, of $112 for each of the world's inhabitants; diversion of these resources to development goals would go a long way toward solving the problem of underdevelopment. The main problem is not lack of resources, but the need to establish a new and more just economic and distributive order along with genuine solidarity in the struggle against underdevelopment. Several steps should be taken: agricultural production should be increased with the full participation of the developng nations; the industrialized or petroleum-producing nations should aid the poor states with at least .7% and up to 5% of their gross national products for the struggle against drought, disease, illiteracy, and for the green revolution and new agropastoral technologies; prices paid to poor countries for raw materials should be fair; responsible parenthood, education, women's rights, clean drinking water, environmental sanitation and primary health care should be promoted; the arms race should be halted, and the North-South dialogue should be pursued in a spirit of goodwill and cooperation.
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