Knowledge of what our neighboring countries are up to is important both to our local and global views. Here you’ll find a summary of various countries who influence our domestic affairs.
Location: Northwest corner of Africa. Bordered by Algeria, Mauritania, The North Atlantic Ocean, and the Mediterranean Sea. Spain is just on the other side of the sea.
Population: 32.3 million (Comparable to Texas and California)
Size: 172,487 square miles (comparable to California)
Language: Arabic officially. Berber, French and Spanish are also prevalent.
Government: Parliamentary Monarchy. The monarch, currently King Mohommed VI holds most power. Parliament is made up of two branches, the 325 member assembly of Representatives elected for 5 year terms and the 270 member assembly of Councillors who are elected by councils for 9 year terms.
Economy: Use the Dirham. Bidding to join European Union, but this is a long shot for them. Their economy is mostly liberal. Export minerals (namely phosphorus), sea food, and citrus fruit. Gross National Income per capita is about 2,790 US dollars.
Fun Facts: They are planning a high-speed rail that would ease commute time into Casablanca, the country’s largest city. They are also building a solar power energy plant in order to reduce their use of coal for energy. Morocco’s culture is heavily influenced by many different cultures, and is host to many music festivals. Cous cous is morocco’s most famous food. Most dishes incorporate losts of spices. The most popular sport is football (yes, this means soccer if we’re talking about ANY other country than ours).
Not So Fun Facts: The legal status of Western Sahara is in dispute. Currently, it is included in Morocco’s square footage and they claim it as their own, but they are in war with Spain for control of the territory.
Morroco In The News: plane crash kills 78 (July 2011), octopus business booming as result of oil spill in Gulf of Mexico (July 2011), Arabs protest monarchy’s power (May 2011)
Location:South Eastern Europe. Neighbors are Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Turkey. Bordered by Aegeen Sean on the east and the Indian Sea on the west.
Population: 11,100,000 (comparable to Ohio)
Size: 50,949 square miles (comparable to Alabama)
Religion: Greek Orthodox prevails, but there is freedom of religion.
Government: Unitary Parliamentary Republic. President Karolos Papoulias is the official head of state who is elected from the Parliament. Most power is in the hands of Prime Minister Giogos Papandreou who is the current leader of PASOK, the social-democratic political party voted on by parliament.
Economy: Use Euro; export manufactured goods, chemicals
Fun Facts: These smarties are 98% literate, and holy cow, what a history! Architecture, philosophy, Olympics, democracy and togas all originated here. Vast sections of preserved environment entice tourists to experience it all. Greece hosted the 2004 Olympics.
Not so Fun Facts: They have been having trouble with economy since the late 2000’s recession. Lately, their economy has been so bad that it threatens the entire European Union.
In the news:
http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=137404302&m=137434476 On the state of the recession, the EU’s plan to reform Greece’s economy, and the implications that Greece is financially screwed no matter what happens from here on out.