Conversational topic: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is situated off the north-west coast of Europe. The UK lies on the British Isles. They comprise two large islands - Great Britain and Ireland, and about five thousand small islands. Great Britain, or Britain, is the name for the largest island in the British Isles, which is divided into England, Scotland and Wales. It is the eighth largest island in the world. The British Isles are separated from European continent by the North Sea and the English Channel. The western coast is washed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea.
The United Kingdom, often called Great Britain, consists of four countries: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast respectively. Each of the four countries has its own system of administrative and geographic demarcation which often has origin that pre-date the formation of the United Kingdom itself.
The capital of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is London. The total area of ??Great Britain is nearly 244,000 square kilometers. The surface of the British Isles varies greatly. The north part of the country is mountainous and is called the Highlands, while the south with its beautiful valleys and plains is called the Lowlands. The mountains in Great Britain are not very high. The highest mountain (Ben Nevis, in Scotland) is only òèñÿ÷à òðèñòà ñîðîê òðè m. high. There are many rivers in Great Britain but they are not very long. The most important of them are the Severn- the longest river, the Thames- the deepest one, the Trent and the Clyde. Some of the British greatest ports are situated in the estuaries of the Thames, the Trent, the Clyde and the Avon. There are a lot of beautiful lakes in the mountainous parts of the country.
The geographical position, the Atlantic Ocean and the warm waters of the Gulf Stream influence the climate of the British Isles. The climate in Britain is generally classified as cool, temperate and humid. The country is known for its typically maritime climate with frequent rains, strong winds and continuous fogs. The weather in Britain is so changeable that British people say: "Other countries have a climate, in England we have only weather".
The population of the United Kingdom is about 60 million people. About 80% of the population is urban. The main nationalities are: English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish. In Great Britain there are a lot of immigrants from former British Asian and African colonies. The official and predominant language is English. In addition, about a quarter of the inhabitants of Wales speak Welsh and there are about 60,000 speakers of the Scottish form of Gaelic in Scotland.
Great Britain is not very rich in mineral resources, it has some deposits of coal and iron ore, zinc, lead and vast deposits of oil and gas that were discovered in the North Sea.
Great Britain is one of the world's leading industrialized countries. It has achieved this position despite the lack of most raw materials needed for industry. The main industries are coal-mining, production of steel, shipbuilding, electrical-engineering, light industry. Great progress was made in the development of new industries, such as the aircraft, automobile, electronic industries and others. A number of atomic power reactors were made. Britain produces high quality expensive goods, which has always been characteristic of its industry. A shortage of raw materials makes it unprofitable to produce semi-finished goods or cheap articles. Britain mostly produces articles requiring skilled labour, such as precision instruments, electronic equipment, chemical and high quality consumer goods. Britain produces and exports cotton and woolen goods, leather goods, and articles made of various kinds of synthetic materials.
The service sector is dominated by financial services especially in banking and insurance. Tourism is very important to the British economy too. The main industrial centers are London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Glasgow and Bristol.
Only 7 per cent of the population of Great Britain is engaged in farming. Its agriculture is highly mechanized and extremely productive; about 2% of the labor force produces 60% percent of the country's food needs. Cereals, fruits, and vegetables are cultivated throughout much of the country. Cattle-breeding and sheep-breeding are well developed in Britain. There is also a sizable fishing industry.
The UK is a constitutional monarchy: the head of the state is a king or a queen. In practice the Monarch has no real power, it is limited by the Parliament. The monarch is expected to be politically neutral and should not make political decisions.
The British Parliament consists of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The seats in the House of Commons are elected; the House of Lords is a hereditary Chamber. Legislative power belongs to the ruling party. The British democratic system depends on political parties. Now the main parties are the Conservative founded in 1867 and the Labour founded in 1906. The party which has the majority in the House of Commons forms the Government and its leader becomes the Prime Minister. His first job is to choose his Cabinet. The Prime Minister usually takes policy decisions with the agreement of the Cabinet. Parliament is responsible for British national policy. Local governments are responsible for organizing of education, police and many others.
Britain lives a complex modern life in which traditional values ??and love of the past side by side with a desire for change. Today's Britain has a reputation for scientific innovations, for business, commerce and trade. It plays an important role in the economic and political life of the world.
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