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Drug abuse is the use of any licit or illicit chemical substance that results in physical, mental, emotional, or behavioral impairment in an individual. Personal Names - Capitalization The Factbook capitalizes the surname or family name of individuals for the convenience of our users who are faced with a world of different cultures and naming conventions. Dictatorship - a form of government in which a ruler or small clique wield absolute power not restricted by a constitution or laws. After my divorce in , the 'advisor' failed to fully 'advise' me. Originating in in the United States under Joseph Smith, Mormonism is not characterized as a form of Protestant Christianity because it claims additional revealed Christian scriptures after the Hebrew Bible and New Testament.

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Biomass - the total weight or volume of living matter in a given area or volume. Carbon cycle - the term used to describe the exchange of carbon in various forms, e.

Catchments - assemblages used to capture and retain rainwater and runoff; an important water management technique in areas with limited freshwater resources, such as Gibraltar. DDT dichloro-diphenyl-trichloro-ethane - a colorless, odorless insecticide that has toxic effects on most animals; the use of DDT was banned in the US in Defoliants - chemicals which cause plants to lose their leaves artificially; often used in agricultural practices for weed control, and may have detrimental impacts on human and ecosystem health.

Deforestation - the destruction of vast areas of forest e. Desertification - the spread of desert-like conditions in arid or semi-arid areas, due to overgrazing, loss of agriculturally productive soils, or climate change. Dredging - the practice of deepening an existing waterway; also, a technique used for collecting bottom-dwelling marine organisms e.

Drift-net fishing - done with a net, miles in extent, that is generally anchored to a boat and left to float with the tide; often results in an over harvesting and waste of large populations of non-commercial marine species by-catch by its effect of "sweeping the ocean clean. Effluent s - waste materials, such as smoke, sewage, or industrial waste which are released into the environment, subsequently polluting it.

Endangered species - a species that is threatened with extinction either by direct hunting or habitat destruction. Freshwater - water with very low soluble mineral content; sources include lakes, streams, rivers, glaciers, and underground aquifers.

Greenhouse gas - a gas that "traps" infrared radiation in the lower atmosphere causing surface warming; water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, hydrofluorocarbons, and ozone are the primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere. Groundwater - water sources found below the surface of the earth often in naturally occurring reservoirs in permeable rock strata; the source for wells and natural springs.

Highlands Water Project - a series of dams constructed jointly by Lesotho and South Africa to redirect Lesotho's abundant water supply into a rapidly growing area in South Africa; while it is the largest infrastructure project in southern Africa, it is also the most costly and controversial; objections to the project include claims that it forces people from their homes, submerges farmlands, and squanders economic resources.

Inuit Circumpolar Conference ICC - represents the roughly , Inuits of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Russia in international environmental issues; a General Assembly convenes every three years to determine the focus of the ICC; the most current concerns are long-range transport of pollutants, sustainable development, and climate change. Metallurgical plants - industries which specialize in the science, technology, and processing of metals; these plants produce highly concentrated and toxic wastes which can contribute to pollution of ground water and air when not properly disposed.

Noxious substances - injurious, very harmful to living beings. Overgrazing - the grazing of animals on plant material faster than it can naturally regrow leading to the permanent loss of plant cover, a common effect of too many animals grazing limited range land. Ozone shield - a layer of the atmosphere composed of ozone gas O3 that resides approximately 25 miles above the Earth's surface and absorbs solar ultraviolet radiation that can be harmful to living organisms.

Poaching - the illegal killing of animals or fish, a great concern with respect to endangered or threatened species. Pollution - the contamination of a healthy environment by man-made waste. Potable water - water that is drinkable, safe to be consumed.

Salination - the process through which fresh drinkable water becomes salt undrinkable water; hence, desalination is the reverse process; also involves the accumulation of salts in topsoil caused by evaporation of excessive irrigation water, a process that can eventually render soil incapable of supporting crops.

Siltation - occurs when water channels and reservoirs become clotted with silt and mud, a side effect of deforestation and soil erosion. Slash-and-burn agriculture - a rotating cultivation technique in which trees are cut down and burned in order to clear land for temporary agriculture; the land is used until its productivity declines at which point a new plot is selected and the process repeats; this practice is sustainable while population levels are low and time is permitted for regrowth of natural vegetation; conversely, where these conditions do not exist, the practice can have disastrous consequences for the environment.

Soil degradation - damage to the land's productive capacity because of poor agricultural practices such as the excessive use of pesticides or fertilizers, soil compaction from heavy equipment, or erosion of topsoil, eventually resulting in reduced ability to produce agricultural products.

Soil erosion - the removal of soil by the action of water or wind, compounded by poor agricultural practices, deforestation, overgrazing, and desertification. Ultraviolet UV radiation - a portion of the electromagnetic energy emitted by the sun and naturally filtered in the upper atmosphere by the ozone layer; UV radiation can be harmful to living organisms and has been linked to increasing rates of skin cancer in humans. Waterborne diseases - those in which bacteria survive in, and are transmitted through, water; always a serious threat in areas with an untreated water supply.

Environment - international agreements This entry separates country participation in international environmental agreements into two levels - party to and signed, but not ratified. Agreements are listed in alphabetical order by the abbreviated form of the full name. Environmental agreements This information is presented in Appendix C: Selected International Environmental Agreements , which includes the name, abbreviation, date opened for signature, date entered into force, objective, and parties by category.

Ethnic groups This entry provides an ordered listing of ethnic groups starting with the largest and normally includes the percent of total population. Exchange rates This entry provides the average annual price of a country's monetary unit for the time period specified, expressed in units of local currency per US dollar, as determined by international market forces or by official fiat. The International Organization for Standardization ISO alphabetic currency code for the national medium of exchange is presented in parenthesis.

Closing daily exchange rates are not presented in The World Factbook , but are used to convert stock values - e. Executive branch This entry includes five subentries: Chief of state includes the name, title, and beginning date in office of the titular leader of the country who represents the state at official and ceremonial functions but may not be involved with the day-to-day activities of the government. Head of government includes the name, title of the top executive designated to manage the executive branch of the government, and the beginning date in office.

Chiefs of state in just over countries are directly elected, most by majority popular vote; those in another 55 are indirectly elected by their national legislatures, parliaments, or electoral colleges. Another 29 countries have a monarch as the chief of state. In dependencies, territories, and collectivities of sovereign countries - except those of the US - representatives are appointed to serve as chiefs of state. Heads of government in the majority of countries are appointed either by the president or the monarch or selected by the majority party in the legislative body.

Excluding countries where the chief of state is also head of government, in only a few countries is the head of government directly elected through popular vote. Most of the world's countries have cabinets, the majority of which are appointed by the chief of state or prime minister, many in consultation with each other or with the legislature. Cabinets in only about a dozen countries are elected solely by their legislative bodies. Exports This entry provides the total US dollar amount of merchandise exports on an f.

Exports - commodities This entry provides a listing of the highest-valued exported products; it sometimes includes the percent of total dollar value. Exports - partners This entry provides a rank ordering of trading partners starting with the most important; it sometimes includes the percent of total dollar value. Fiscal year This entry identifies the beginning and ending months for a country's accounting period of 12 months, which often is the calendar year but which may begin in any month.

All yearly references are for the calendar year CY unless indicated as a noncalendar fiscal year FY. Flag description This entry provides a written flag description produced from actual flags or the best information available at the time the entry was written.

The flags of independent states are used by their dependencies unless there is an officially recognized local flag. Some disputed and other areas do not have flags.

Flag graphic Most versions of the Factbook include a color flag at the beginning of the country profile. The flag graphics were produced from actual flags or the best information available at the time of preparation. GDP official exchange rate This entry gives the gross domestic product GDP or value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year.

The measure is simple to compute and gives a precise measure of the value of output. Moreover, even if the official exchange rate is market-determined, market exchange rates are frequently established by a relatively small set of goods and services the ones the country trades and may not capture the value of the larger set of goods the country produces.

GDP purchasing power parity This entry gives the gross domestic product GDP or value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year. A nation's GDP at purchasing power parity PPP exchange rates is the sum value of all goods and services produced in the country valued at prices prevailing in the United States in the year noted.

This is the measure most economists prefer when looking at per-capita welfare and when comparing living conditions or use of resources across countries.

The measure is difficult to compute, as a US dollar value has to be assigned to all goods and services in the country regardless of whether these goods and services have a direct equivalent in the United States for example, the value of an ox-cart or non-US military equipment ; as a result, PPP estimates for some countries are based on a small and sometimes different set of goods and services.

In addition, many countries do not formally participate in the World Bank's PPP project that calculates these measures, so the resulting GDP estimates for these countries may lack precision.

GDP - composition, by end use This entry shows who does the spending in an economy: The distribution gives the percentage contribution to total GDP of household consumption, government consumption, investment in fixed capital, investment in inventories, exports of goods and services, and imports of goods and services , and will total percent of GDP if the data are complete. This includes consumption of both domestically produced and foreign goods and services.

These figures exclude government transfer payments, such as interest on debt, unemployment, and social security, since such payments are not made in exchange for goods and services supplied. It is measured gross of the depreciation of the assets, i. Earlier editions of The World Factbook referred to this concept as Investment gross fixed and that data now have been moved to this new field.

This figure may be positive or negative. If the stock of unsold output increases during the relevant time period, investment in inventories is positive, but, if the stock of unsold goods declines, it will be negative. Investment in inventories normally is an early indicator of the state of the economy. If the stock of unsold items increases unexpectedly — because people stop buying - the economy may be entering a recession; but if the stock of unsold items falls - and goods "go flying off the shelves" - businesses normally try to replace those stocks, and the economy is likely to accelerate.

Exports are treated as a positive item, while imports are treated as a negative item. In a purely accounting sense, imports have no direct impact on GDP, which only measures output of the domestic economy.

Imports are entered as a negative item to offset the fact that the expenditure figures for consumption, investment, government, and exports also include expenditures on imports. Because of this negative offset for imports of goods and services, the sum of the other five items, excluding imports, will always total more than percent of GDP.

A surplus of exports of goods and services over imports indicates an economy is investing abroad, while a deficit indicates an economy is borrowing from abroad. GDP - composition, by sector of origin This entry shows where production takes place in an economy.

The distribution gives the percentage contribution of agriculture, industry , and services to total GDP, and will total percent of GDP if the data are complete. Agriculture includes farming, fishing, and forestry. Industry includes mining, manufacturing, energy production, and construction. Services cover government activities, communications, transportation, finance, and all other private economic activities that do not produce material goods.

GDP - real growth rate This entry gives GDP growth on an annual basis adjusted for inflation and expressed as a percent. The growth rates are year-over-year, and not compounded. Both measures contain information that is useful to the reader. The PPP method involves the use of standardized international dollar price weights, which are applied to the quantities of final goods and services produced in a given economy.

The data derived from the PPP method probably provide the best available starting point for comparisons of economic strength and well-being between countries. In contrast, the currency exchange rate method involves a variety of international and domestic financial forces that may not capture the value of domestic output. In developing countries with weak currencies, the exchange rate estimate of GDP in dollars is typically one-fourth to one-half the PPP estimate.

GDP derived using the OER method should be used for the purpose of calculating the share of items such as exports, imports, military expenditures, external debt, or the current account balance, because the dollar values presented in the Factbook for these items have been converted at official exchange rates, not at PPP. One should use the OER GDP figure to calculate the proportion of, say, Chinese defense expenditures in GDP, because that share will be the same as one calculated in local currency units.

However, there is no strong historical evidence that market exchange rates move in the direction implied by the PPP rate, at least not in the short- or medium-term. Geographic coordinates This entry includes rounded latitude and longitude figures for the centroid or center point of a country expressed in degrees and minutes; it is based on the locations provided in the Geographic Names Server GNS , maintained by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency on behalf of the US Board on Geographic Names.

Geographic names This information is presented in Appendix F: Cross Reference List of Geographic Names. It includes a listing of various alternate names, former names, local names, and regional names referenced to one or more related Factbook entries.

Alternate names and additional information are included in parentheses. Geography This category includes the entries dealing with the natural environment and the effects of human activity. Geography - note This entry includes miscellaneous geographic information of significance not included elsewhere. Gini index See entry for Distribution of family income - Gini index.

GNP Gross national product GNP is the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year, plus income earned by its citizens abroad, minus income earned by foreigners from domestic production.

However, the user must realize that in certain countries net remittances from citizens working abroad may be important to national well-being. Government This category includes the entries dealing with the system for the adoption and administration of public policy.

Government - note This entry includes miscellaneous government information of significance not included elsewhere. Government type This entry gives the basic form of government. Definitions of the major governmental terms are as follows. Note that for some countries more than one definition applies. Absolute monarchy - a form of government where the monarch rules unhindered, i. Anarchy - a condition of lawlessness or political disorder brought about by the absence of governmental authority.

Authoritarian - a form of government in which state authority is imposed onto many aspects of citizens' lives. Commonwealth - a nation, state, or other political entity founded on law and united by a compact of the people for the common good. Communist - a system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single - often authoritarian - party holds power; state controls are imposed with the elimination of private ownership of property or capital while claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are equally shared by the people i.

Confederacy Confederation - a union by compact or treaty between states, provinces, or territories, that creates a central government with limited powers; the constituent entities retain supreme authority over all matters except those delegated to the central government. Constitutional - a government by or operating under an authoritative document constitution that sets forth the system of fundamental laws and principles that determines the nature, functions, and limits of that government.

Constitutional democracy - a form of government in which the sovereign power of the people is spelled out in a governing constitution. Democracy - a form of government in which the supreme power is retained by the people, but which is usually exercised indirectly through a system of representation and delegated authority periodically renewed. Democratic republic - a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them.

Dictatorship - a form of government in which a ruler or small clique wield absolute power not restricted by a constitution or laws. Ecclesiastical - a government administrated by a church. Emirate - similar to a monarchy or sultanate, but a government in which the supreme power is in the hands of an emir the ruler of a Muslim state ; the emir may be an absolute overlord or a sovereign with constitutionally limited authority.

Federal Federation - a form of government in which sovereign power is formally divided - usually by means of a constitution - between a central authority and a number of constituent regions states, colonies, or provinces so that each region retains some management of its internal affairs; differs from a confederacy in that the central government exerts influence directly upon both individuals as well as upon the regional units.

Federal republic - a state in which the powers of the central government are restricted and in which the component parts states, colonies, or provinces retain a degree of self-government; ultimate sovereign power rests with the voters who chose their governmental representatives.

Islamic republic - a particular form of government adopted by some Muslim states; although such a state is, in theory, a theocracy, it remains a republic, but its laws are required to be compatible with the laws of Islam. Maoism - the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism developed in China by Mao Zedong Mao Tse-tung , which states that a continuous revolution is necessary if the leaders of a communist state are to keep in touch with the people.

Marxism - the political, economic, and social principles espoused by 19th century economist Karl Marx; he viewed the struggle of workers as a progression of historical forces that would proceed from a class struggle of the proletariat workers exploited by capitalists business owners , to a socialist "dictatorship of the proletariat," to, finally, a classless society - Communism.

Marxism-Leninism - an expanded form of communism developed by Lenin from doctrines of Karl Marx; Lenin saw imperialism as the final stage of capitalism and shifted the focus of workers' struggle from developed to underdeveloped countries. Monarchy - a government in which the supreme power is lodged in the hands of a monarch who reigns over a state or territory, usually for life and by hereditary right; the monarch may be either a sole absolute ruler or a sovereign - such as a king, queen, or prince - with constitutionally limited authority.

Oligarchy - a government in which control is exercised by a small group of individuals whose authority generally is based on wealth or power. Parliamentary democracy - a political system in which the legislature parliament selects the government - a prime minister, premier, or chancellor along with the cabinet ministers - according to party strength as expressed in elections; by this system, the government acquires a dual responsibility: Parliamentary government Cabinet-Parliamentary government - a government in which members of an executive branch the cabinet and its leader - a prime minister, premier, or chancellor are nominated to their positions by a legislature or parliament, and are directly responsible to it; this type of government can be dissolved at will by the parliament legislature by means of a no confidence vote or the leader of the cabinet may dissolve the parliament if it can no longer function.

Parliamentary monarchy - a state headed by a monarch who is not actively involved in policy formation or implementation i. Presidential - a system of government where the executive branch exists separately from a legislature to which it is generally not accountable.

Republic - a representative democracy in which the people's elected deputies representatives , not the people themselves, vote on legislation.

Socialism - a government in which the means of planning, producing, and distributing goods is controlled by a central government that theoretically seeks a more just and equitable distribution of property and labor; in actuality, most socialist governments have ended up being no more than dictatorships over workers by a ruling elite.

Sultanate - similar to a monarchy, but a government in which the supreme power is in the hands of a sultan the head of a Muslim state ; the sultan may be an absolute ruler or a sovereign with constitutionally limited authority.

Theocracy - a form of government in which a Deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler, but the Deity's laws are interpreted by ecclesiastical authorities bishops, mullahs, etc. Totalitarian - a government that seeks to subordinate the individual to the state by controlling not only all political and economic matters, but also the attitudes, values, and beliefs of its population.

See Coordinated Universal Time. Gross domestic product See GDP. Gross national product See GNP. Gross national saving Gross national saving is derived by deducting final consumption expenditure household plus government from Gross national disposable income, and consists of personal saving, plus business saving the sum of the capital consumption allowance and retained business profits , plus government saving the excess of tax revenues over expenditures , but excludes foreign saving the excess of imports of goods and services over exports.

The figures are presented as a percent of GDP. A negative number indicates that the economy as a whole is spending more income than it produces, thus drawing down national wealth dissaving. Gross world product See GWP. GWP This entry gives the gross world product GWP or aggregate value of all final goods and services produced worldwide in a given year.

Health expenditures This entry provides the total expenditure on health as a percentage of GDP. Heliports This entry gives the total number of heliports with hard-surface runways, helipads, or landing areas that support routine sustained helicopter operations exclusively and have support facilities including one or more of the following facilities: It includes former airports used exclusively for helicopter operations but excludes heliports limited to day operations and natural clearings that could support helicopter landings and takeoffs.

Hospital bed density This entry provides the number of hospital beds per 1, people; it serves as a general measure of inpatient service availability. Hospital beds include inpatient beds available in public, private, general, and specialized hospitals and rehabilitation centers. In most cases, beds for both acute and chronic care are included. Because the level of inpatient services required for individual countries depends on several factors - such as demographic issues and the burden of disease - there is no global target for the number of hospital beds per country.

So, while 2 beds per 1, in one country may be sufficient, 2 beds per 1, in another may be woefully inadequate because of the number of people hospitalized by disease. Household income or consumption by percentage share Data on household income or consumption come from household surveys, the results adjusted for household size. Nations use different standards and procedures in collecting and adjusting the data. Surveys based on income will normally show a more unequal distribution than surveys based on consumption.

The quality of surveys is improving with time, yet caution is still necessary in making inter-country comparisons. Hydrographic data codes See Data codes. Illicit drugs This entry gives information on the five categories of illicit drugs - narcotics, stimulants, depressants sedatives , hallucinogens, and cannabis.

These categories include many drugs legally produced and prescribed by doctors as well as those illegally produced and sold outside of medical channels. Cannabis Cannabis sativa is the common hemp plant, which provides hallucinogens with some sedative properties, and includes marijuana pot, Acapulco gold, grass, reefer , tetrahydrocannabinol THC, Marinol , hashish hash , and hashish oil hash oil.

Coca mostly Erythroxylum coca is a bush with leaves that contain the stimulant used to make cocaine. Coca is not to be confused with cocoa, which comes from cacao seeds and is used in making chocolate, cocoa, and cocoa butter. Cocaine is a stimulant derived from the leaves of the coca bush. Depressants sedatives are drugs that reduce tension and anxiety and include chloral hydrate, barbiturates Amytal, Nembutal, Seconal, phenobarbital , benzodiazepines Librium, Valium , methaqualone Quaalude , glutethimide Doriden , and others Equanil, Placidyl, Valmid.

Drugs are any chemical substances that effect a physical, mental, emotional, or behavioral change in an individual. Drug abuse is the use of any licit or illicit chemical substance that results in physical, mental, emotional, or behavioral impairment in an individual. Hallucinogens are drugs that affect sensation, thinking, self-awareness, and emotion. Hashish is the resinous exudate of the cannabis or hemp plant Cannabis sativa. Heroin is a semisynthetic derivative of morphine.

Mandrax is a trade name for methaqualone, a pharmaceutical depressant. Marijuana is the dried leaf of the cannabis or hemp plant Cannabis sativa.

Methaqualone is a pharmaceutical depressant, referred to as mandrax in Southwest Asia and Africa. Narcotics are drugs that relieve pain, often induce sleep, and refer to opium, opium derivatives, and synthetic substitutes.

Natural narcotics include opium paregoric, parepectolin , morphine MS-Contin, Roxanol , codeine Tylenol with codeine, Empirin with codeine, Robitussin AC , and thebaine. Semisynthetic narcotics include heroin horse, smack , and hydromorphone Dilaudid. Opium is the brown, gummy exudate of the incised, unripe seedpod of the opium poppy. Opium poppy Papaver somniferum is the source for the natural and semisynthetic narcotics. Poppy straw is the entire cut and dried opium poppy-plant material, other than the seeds.

Opium is extracted from poppy straw in commercial operations that produce the drug for medical use. Qat kat, khat is a stimulant from the buds or leaves of Catha edulis that is chewed or drunk as tea. Quaaludes is the North American slang term for methaqualone, a pharmaceutical depressant.

Stimulants are drugs that relieve mild depression, increase energy and activity, and include cocaine coke, snow, crack , amphetamines Desoxyn, Dexedrine , ephedrine, ecstasy clarity, essence, doctor, Adam , phenmetrazine Preludin , methylphenidate Ritalin , and others Cylert, Sanorex, Tenuate.

Imports This entry provides the total US dollar amount of merchandise imports on a c. Imports - commodities This entry provides a listing of the highest-valued imported products; it sometimes includes the percent of total dollar value. Imports - partners This entry provides a rank ordering of trading partners starting with the most important; it sometimes includes the percent of total dollar value. Independence For most countries, this entry gives the date that sovereignty was achieved and from which nation, empire, or trusteeship.

For the other countries, the date given may not represent "independence" in the strict sense, but rather some significant nationhood event such as the traditional founding date or the date of unification, federation, confederation, establishment, fundamental change in the form of government, or state succession.

For a number of countries, the establishment of statehood was a lengthy evolutionary process occurring over decades or even centuries. In such cases, several significant dates are cited. Dependent areas include the notation "none" followed by the nature of their dependency status.

Industrial production growth rate This entry gives the annual percentage increase in industrial production includes manufacturing, mining, and construction. Industries This entry provides a rank ordering of industries starting with the largest by value of annual output. Infant mortality rate This entry gives the number of deaths of infants under one year old in a given year per 1, live births in the same year. This rate is often used as an indicator of the level of health in a country.

Inflation rate consumer prices This entry furnishes the annual percent change in consumer prices compared with the previous year's consumer prices. International disputes see Disputes - international. International organization participation This entry lists in alphabetical order by abbreviation those international organizations in which the subject country is a member or participates in some other way.

International organizations This information is presented in Appendix B: International Organizations and Groups which includes the name, abbreviation, date established, aim, and members by category. Internet users This entry gives the total number of individuals within a country who can access the Internet at home, via any device type computer or mobile and connection. The percent of population with Internet access i.

Statistics vary from country to country and may include users who access the Internet at least several times a week to those who access it only once within a period of several months. Introduction This category includes one entry, Background. Investment gross fixed This entry records total business spending on fixed assets, such as factories, machinery, equipment, dwellings, and inventories of raw materials, which provide the basis for future production.

Irrigated land This entry gives the number of square kilometers of land area that is artificially supplied with water. Judicial branch This entry includes three subfields. The highest court s subfield includes the name s of a country's highest level court s , the number and titles of the judges, and the types of cases heard by the court, which commonly are based on civil, criminal, administrative, and constitutional law.

A number of countries have separate constitutional courts. The judge selection and term of office subfield includes the organizations and associated officials responsible for nominating and appointing judges, and a brief description of the process. The selection process can be indicative of the independence of a country's court system from other branches of its government.

Also included in this subfield are judges' tenures, which can range from a few years, to a specified retirement age, to lifelong appointments. The subordinate courts subfield lists the courts lower in the hierarchy of a country's court system.

A few countries with federal-style governments, such as Brazil, Canada, and the US, in addition to their federal court, have separate state- or province-level court systems, though generally the two systems interact. Labor force This entry contains the total labor force figure.

Labor force - by occupation This entry lists the percentage distribution of the labor force by sector of occupation. Services cover government activities, communications, transportation, finance, and all other economic activities that do not produce material goods. The distribution will total less than percent if the data are incomplete and may range from percent due to rounding. Land boundaries This entry contains the total length of all land boundaries and the individual lengths for each of the contiguous border countries.

When available, official lengths published by national statistical agencies are used. Because surveying methods may differ, country border lengths reported by contiguous countries may differ. Land use This entry contains the percentage shares of total land area for three different types of land use: Languages This entry provides a listing of languages spoken in each country and specifies any that are official national or regional languages.

When data is available, the languages spoken in each country are broken down according to the percent of the total population speaking each language as a first language. For those countries without available data, languages are listed in rank order based on prevalence, starting with the most-spoken language.

Fees and financial advice constitute a more stable revenue stream and banks have therefore placed more emphasis on these revenue lines to smooth their financial performance. In the past 20 years, American banks have taken many measures to ensure that they remain profitable while responding to increasingly changing market conditions.

This helps in making a profit and facilitates economic development as a whole. Banks face a number of risks in order to conduct their business, and how well these risks are managed and understood is a key driver behind profitability, and how much capital a bank is required to hold. Bank capital consists principally of equity , retained earnings and subordinated debt. After the financial crisis, regulators force banks to issue Contingent convertible bonds CoCos.

These are hybrid capital securities that absorb losses in accordance with their contractual terms when the capital of the issuing bank falls below a certain level. Then debt is reduced and bank capitalization gets a boost. Owing to their capacity to absorb losses, CoCos have the potential to satisfy regulatory capital requirement. The capital requirement is a bank regulation , which sets a framework within which a bank or depository institution must manage its balance sheet.

The categorization of assets and capital is highly standardized so that it can be risk weighted. Banks are susceptible to many forms of risk which have triggered occasional systemic crises. Banking crises have developed many times throughout history when one or more risks have emerged for a banking sector as a whole. Prominent examples include the bank run that occurred during the Great Depression , the U.

Savings and Loan crisis in the s and early s, the Japanese banking crisis during the s, and the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the s. Assets of the largest 1, banks in the world grew by 6. Growth in assets in adverse market conditions was largely a result of recapitalization. The United States has the most banks in the world in terms of institutions 5, as of and possibly branches 81, as of Japan had banks and 12, branches.

Between and banks engaged in around 28, mergers or acquisitions, either as the aqcuirer or the target company. The overall known value of these deals cumulates to around 5, bil.

Here is a list of the largest deals in history in terms of value with participation from at least one bank:. Currently, commercial banks are regulated in most jurisdictions by government entities and require a special bank license to operate. Unlike most other regulated industries, the regulator is typically also a participant in the market, being either a publicly or privately governed central bank.

Central banks also typically have a monopoly on the business of issuing banknotes. However, in some countries this is not the case. In the UK, for example, the Financial Services Authority licenses banks, and some commercial banks such as the Bank of Scotland issue their own banknotes in addition to those issued by the Bank of England , the UK government's central bank.

These implied contractual terms may be modified by express agreement between the customer and the bank. Some types of financial institution, such as building societies and credit unions , may be partly or wholly exempt from bank license requirements, and therefore regulated under separate rules.

The requirements for the issue of a bank license vary between jurisdictions but typically include:. Most banks are profit-making, private enterprises. However, some are owned by government, or are non-profit organizations.

The United States banking industry is one of the most heavily regulated and guarded in the world, [28] with multiple specialized and focused regulators. However, for soundness examinations i. State non-member banks are examined by the state agencies as well as the FDIC.

Each regulatory agency has their own set of rules and regulations to which banks and thrifts must adhere. The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council FFIEC was established in as a formal inter-agency body empowered to prescribe uniform principles, standards, and report forms for the federal examination of financial institutions.

Although the FFIEC has resulted in a greater degree of regulatory consistency between the agencies, the rules and regulations are constantly changing. Offices have been closed, supervisory regions have been merged, staff levels have been reduced and budgets have been cut.

The remaining regulators face an increased burden with increased workload and more banks per regulator. While banks struggle to keep up with the changes in the regulatory environment, regulators struggle to manage their workload and effectively regulate their banks. The impact of these changes is that banks are receiving less hands-on assessment by the regulators, less time spent with each institution, and the potential for more problems slipping through the cracks, potentially resulting in an overall increase in bank failures across the United States.

The changing economic environment has a significant impact on banks and thrifts as they struggle to effectively manage their interest rate spread in the face of low rates on loans, rate competition for deposits and the general market changes, industry trends and economic fluctuations. It has been a challenge for banks to effectively set their growth strategies with the recent economic market. A rising interest rate environment may seem to help financial institutions, but the effect of the changes on consumers and businesses is not predictable and the challenge remains for banks to grow and effectively manage the spread to generate a return to their shareholders.

While always an issue for banks, declining asset quality has become a big problem for financial institutions. Problems are more likely to go undetected, resulting in a significant impact on the bank when they are discovered. In addition, banks, like any business, struggle to cut costs and have consequently eliminated certain expenses, such as adequate employee training programs.

Banks also face a host of other challenges such as ageing ownership groups. Banks also face ongoing pressure by shareholders, both public and private, to achieve earnings and growth projections. Regulators place added pressure on banks to manage the various categories of risk. Banking is also an extremely competitive industry. Competing in the financial services industry has become tougher with the entrance of such players as insurance agencies, credit unions, cheque cashing services, credit card companies, etc.

As a reaction, banks have developed their activities in financial instruments , through financial market operations such as brokerage and have become big players in such activities. To be able to provide home buyers and builders with the funds needed, banks must compete for deposits.

The phenomenon of disintermediation had to dollars moving from savings accounts and into direct market instruments such as U. Department of Treasury obligations, agency securities, and corporate debt. One of the greatest factors in recent years in the movement of deposits was the tremendous growth of money market funds whose higher interest rates attracted consumer deposits.

To compete for deposits, US savings institutions offer many different types of plans: Bank statements are accounting records produced by banks under the various accounting standards of the world. Under GAAP there are two kinds of accounts: Credit accounts are Revenue, Equity and Liabilities. Debit Accounts are Assets and Expenses. The bank credits a credit account to increase its balance, and debits a credit account to decrease its balance. US job growth surges in August. Your best refinance rates for September Put your home to work with a home equity loan.

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