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Archive for August, 2012

Countries of the World.

Brazil i/brəˈzɪl/ (Portuguese: Brasil, IPA: [bɾaˈziw), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: República Federativa do Brasil, is the largest country in South America. It is the world’s fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people. It is the largest Lusophone (Portugese speaking) country in the world, and the only one in the Americas.

Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Brazil has a coastline of 7,491 km (4,655 mi). It is bordered on the north by Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and the French overseas region of French Guiana; on the northwest by Colombia; on the west by Bolivia and Peru; on the southwest by Argentina and Paraguay and on the south by Uruguay. Numerous archipelagos form part of Brazilian territory, such as Fernando de Noronha, Rocas Atoll, Saint Peter and Paul Rocks, and Trindade and Martim Vaz. It borders all other South American countries except Ecuador and Chile.

Brazil was a colony of Portugal from the landing of Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500 until 1815, when it was elevated to the rank of kingdom and the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves was formed. The colonial bond was in fact broken in 1808, when the capital of the Portuguese colonial empire was transferred from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro, after Napoleon invaded Portugal. Independence was achieved in 1822 with the formation of the Empire of Brazil, a unitary state governed under a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary system. The country became a presidential republic in 1889, when a military coup d’état proclaimed the Republic, although the bicameral legislature, now called Congress, dates back to the ratification of the first constitution in 1824. Its current Constitution, formulated in 1988, defines Brazil as a Federal Republic. The Federation is formed by the union of the Federal District, the 26 States, and the 5,564 Municipalities.

The Brazilian economy is the world’s sixth largest by nominal GDP and the seventh largest by purchasing power parity (as of 2011). Brazil is one of the world’s fastest growing major economies. Economic reforms have given the country new international recognition. Brazil is a founding member of the United Nations, the G20, CPLP, Latin Union, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the Organization of American States, Mercosul and the Union of South American Nations, and is one of the BRIC countries. Brazil is also one of the 17 Megadiverse countries, home to diverse wildlife, natural environments, and extensive natural resources in a variety of protected habitats. With a confirmed presence of 67 isolated tribes by the Fundação Nacional do Índio, Brazil has the world’s greatest number of uncontacted peoples.

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Sunday July 8

Leinster Hurling final

Galway 2-21 Kilkenny 2-11

Munster Football Final

Cork 3-16 Clare 0-13

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Countries of the World.

Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana (Tswana: Lefatshe la Botswana), is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. The citizens are properly referred to as “Batswana” (singular: Motswana), but many English-language sources use “Botswanan”. Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966. It has held free and fair democratic elections since independence.

Botswana is flat, and up to 70% is covered by the Kalahari Desert. It is bordered by South Africa to the south and southeast, Namibia to the west and north, and Zimbabwe to the northeast. Its border with Zambia to the north near Kazungula, Zambia is poorly defined but at most is a few hundred meters long.

A mid-sized country of just over two million people, Botswana is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. Botswana was one of the poorest countries in Africa when it gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1966, with a GDP per capita of about US$70. Botswana has since transformed itself, becoming one of the fastest-growing economies in the world to a GDP (purchasing power parity) per capita of about $14,000. The country also has a strong tradition as a representative democracy.

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Tibetan Gold.

Yartsa Gunbu is the Tibetan name for a fungus which translated to English means summer grass. This fungus is not a grass, it is the underground larva of the ghost moth which has been infected by spores from a parasitic fungus. The fungus devours the larva leaving the exoskeleton intact and then blooms in the form of a brown stalk. this process happens only in the fertile high alpine meadows of the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayas. All attempts at farming the fungus have failed.

For centuries yartsa gunbu has been prized for its medicinal properties. Demand for the fungus has intensified in latter years as a result of the booming Chinese economy. Due to the annual yartsa harvest thousands of previously impoverished Tibetan yak herders now lead a relatively comfortable life as a result of picking the fungus. However, there are worries that the increased demand for the yartsa gunbu will lead to its extinction. To harvest the fungus successfully pickers would need to leave some stalks in the ground to mature and infect the next seasons harvest. Currently pickers clear the field and move to higher ground.

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Saturday July 7

All Ireland Series Hurling Third Round

Clare 1-16 Dublin 0-16
Cork 1-26 Offaly 2-16

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Countries of the World.

Bosnia and Herzegovina (i/ˈbɒzniə ən hɛrtsəɡoʊˈviːnə/; Bosnian and Croatian: Bosna i Hercegovina Serbian: Босна и Херцеговина), sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina, or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southeastern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Sarajevo. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the 20 kilometres (12 miles) of coastline on the Adriatic Sea surrounding the town of Neum. In the central and southern interior of the country the geography is mountainous, in the northwest it is moderately hilly, and the northeast is predominantly flatland. The inland is a geographically larger region and has a moderate continental climate, bookended by hot summers and cold and snowy winters. The southern tip of the country has a Mediterranean climate and plain topography.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a region that traces permanent human settlement back to the Neolithic age. Culturally, politically and socially, the country has one of the richest histories in the region, having been first settled by the Slavic peoples that populate the area today from the 6th through to the 9th centuries AD. They then established the first independent banate in the region, known as the Banate of Bosnia, in the early 12th century upon the arrival and convergence of peoples that would eventually come to call themselves Dobri Bošnjani (“Good Bosnians”). This evolved into the Kingdom of Bosnia in the 14th century, after which it was annexed into the Ottoman Empire, under whose rule it would remain from the mid 15th to the late 19th centuries. The Ottomans brought Islam to the region, and altered much of the cultural and social outlook of the country. This was followed by annexation into the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, which lasted up until World War I. Following the dissolution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the country proclaimed independence in 1992, which was followed by a bloody war, lasting until late 1995.

Today, the country maintains high literacy, life expectancy and education levels and is one of the most frequently-visited countries in the region. Bosnia and Herzegovina is regionally and internationally renowned for its natural beauty and cultural heritage inherited from six historical civilizations, its cuisine, winter sports, its eclectic and unique architecture and the Sarajevo Film Festival and Sarajevo Jazz Festival, both the largest and most prominent of their kind in Southeastern Europe.

The country is home to three ethnic groups or, officially, constituent peoples, a term unique for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosniaks are the largest group of the three, with Serbs second and Croats third. Regardless of ethnicity, a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina is often identified in English as a Bosnian. The terms Herzegovinian and Bosnian are maintained as a regional rather than ethnic distinction, and the region of Herzegovina has no precisely defined borders of its own. Moreover, the country was simply called “Bosnia” (without Herzegovina) until the Austro-Hungarian occupation at the end of the nineteenth century.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has a bicameral legislature and a three-member Presidency composed of a member of each major ethnic group. However, the central government’s power is highly limited, as the country is largely decentralized and comprises two autonomous entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska, with a third region, the Brčko District, governed under local government. The country is a potential candidate for membership to the European Union and has been a candidate for NATO membership since April 2010, when it received a Membership Action Plan at the summit in Tallinn. Additionally, the country has been a member of the Council of Europe since April 2002 and a founding member of the Mediterranean Union upon its establishment in July 2008.

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Lost Languages.

As a proud Irishman the decline of our national language is a sad fact in an increasingly mono cultured world. Many communities are abandoning their native tongues in favour of the more popular global trading languages. In a more globalized and homogenized society, languages that dominate communication and commerce jump geopolitical borders e.g. Mandarin , English, Spanish etc. This has resulted in many smaller languages being pushed towards extinction.

85 percent of languages have yet to be documented. Understanding them could only enrich our comprehension of what is universal to all languages. However, many native tongues will become extinct before we have a chance to document them. Learning institutions increasingly instruct students in one of the globally dominant languages. This trend not only threatens the local languages, but it also threatens local culture.

One language dies every 14 days. By the next century nearly half of the roughly 7,000 languages spoken on Earth will disappear. What is lost when a language goes silent?

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