Monthly Archives: March 2010

Colombia: A brief report on the economy, culture, and industry of the country

Colombia located in the northwestern part of South America is one of many Spanish-speaking countries. Colombia shares a boarder with Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Venezuela, and Panama. Colombia’s capital and largest city, Bogotá, is located near the center of country.

The climates in Colombia do not change very much due to the fact it is located so close to the equator. But the climates do change due to elevation. Elevations below 300 feet are known as the tierra caliente or the “hot land”. The middle regions are known as tierra templada or, in English, the “moderate land”. Elevation located 6,500 feet or higher is know as the tierra fría, or the “cold land”. The two extremities are not very good for growing crops, but the tierra templada is perfect for Colombia’s main export, coffee.

Coffee grows amazingly well in Colombia, causing it to be the countries number one export. Coffee growing and selling in Colombia is a multi million dollar industry. And with Colombia’s climate, altitude, and other factors, it is a perfect coffee plantation. Most coffee is grow independently at citizens homes and farms, then brought to local markets and either purchased by other locals or bought in bulk by larger companies for reselling.

But coffee is not the only export of Colombia. They trade cotton, coal, oil, coffee, bananas, textiles, and other perishable foods. In 1999, the Colombian economy went into a depression, only supported by its exports and not by any of its internal jobs or government. After a few years the Colombian economy has recovered mildly well, as shown in the current exchange of dollars to pesos, about 2,300 pesos per dollar.

Colombia also seems to attract more average tourists per year. Over 10 years, the tourism rates in all parts of Colombia have risen by an astonishing 50 percent. Unlike most of its surrounding countries, Colombia focuses on tourist attractions along side natural attractions. An example of this is a boat ride or cruises in one of Colombia’s natural blue-water bays. This also helped the country recover from its economic depression by creating large revenue through attractions.

Colombian education is also much higher than other surrounding countries, with a literacy rate of 93% starting at children above 15. Approximately 80 percent of Colombian children enter school, but usually at an older age then American students. The total public school system spending is 4.4 percent of the national gross domestic product, one of the highest rates in Latin America.

The Colombian political system is very similar to the United States. It is a republic, with an executive, legislative, and judicial branch of government. The presidential time span is also four years until the next reelections. And as of October 2005, president and vice president can be reelected to run a consecutive four extra years in Congress, exactly the same as the United States Presidential Electoral system.

All information in this essay was derived from:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/colombiaAll other information is in the form of opinion

History and Culture of France.

History of France

France has been around for thousands of years. It has had many rulers. It also has had many good times and bad times. French has had many well known people some they hailed and others they scowled at.

There are many famous people to talk about. There are five people in my mind that shine out of all he other people in France. First off is Joan of arc. She was born in Dormeny on January 6 1412 later she died May 30 1431 in Raven. Her father was Jacques d Arc. He was a small pheasant farmer was poor. Joan was the youngest of five children. Never learned how to write but was a skilled sewer and in spinning. Said she saw angels ST Michael, Margaret, Catherine.

Next is Louis the fourteenth. Was born September 16 1635 and died September17 1715. Son of Louis the thirteenth. Became king in 14 may 1643 after father death. Did not become master until 1961. Cardinal Mazalia ruled till Louis was old enough while he ruled he concurred Austria and Spain. Louis married Maria Theresa of Bustin. Next is my favorite Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon was the emperor of France. He was the second son Charles and Marie Bonaparte.

He was born in Corsica which he spent most of his childhood there.

He later went on too college of Autun in 1778 and then I n 1785 he went to military school in Paris and became a LT. He was a citizen during the revolt in France He was devoted to knew ideas after the revolt. A military genius was revealed in him on 1793 at age 24. He became brigadier general in December 20 of 1793. He was finally defeated on 1815 June 1st at seven o clock by 30,000 Prussians.

There were also many wars in France that affected their lifestyle. Some of the wars were the War of religion a WWI, WWII and the French revolution. First off was the French revolution which occurred in 1887 and ended in 1889. The citizens of France rebelled since the USA colonies did against the British. Louis the 13 was ruling while the citizens over threw him. Next was WWI which was in 1914 between most of the countries in the world this left most of the countries in debt including France. Then WWII happened 1933. While Hitler was the nazi leader. The French were defeated in 1940.

Culture of France

There are many wonderful things about the country of France that are known throughout the world. People of all cultures can name several items that France is identified with.

French food is known all around the world for its taste, elaborateness and well prepared cosine. France is known for its great variety in seafood. There are several regions in France that are known for their own specialty. The Chacroute Alsace is white wine with pork and sausage is a well known dish. In Central France they are known for wine sauce and dried sausages in the Rhine valley. Southern France is known for heavy garlic, vegetable, herbs and vegetable stew called ratatouille.

Sports are also a big activity in France. Soccer is the main sport which 8,000 people play each year. Rugby, horse racing, and auto racing are all big sports as well. Probably the biggest sporting function in France is the Tour de France. This is bicycle racing which is a 2000 miles long course and continues for three weeks. This event is grueling and some athletes can not even finish the race. This event happens every summer in July.

Entertainment in France is almost the same as here in America. People have to go out and shop early since the shops close around six or seven o’clock. Many people mostly adults go to cafés for relaxation and to talk to friends.

The television is widely used in France for educational purposes. Ninety percent of Frances population has a television. The television is watched on the average about three hours a day. The computer is starting to be widely used in France. Many people use it for games and education.

Besides going to a sports function many people go to the movies with a date or with friends. There are French films played there and there are also many famous American films played. Music is also huge part of French culture. In the earlier years classical music was what most of the people listened to. Now in the modern era kids have changed from classical music to rock and roll, punk music, and hip hop and almost any time of music you can think of. They have their own French music stars and some American stars go and have their concerts there.

Religion in France is spread out the same way as in America. It is as follows: Roman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, other 4%.

Liberia’s recent history as it pertains to my life.

I was born in the Republic of Liberia on the West African Coast in 1975. My parents were linguists with a group of bible translators. I left the nation in 1986 and it made for an interesting childhood.

Liberia was ‘historically’ peaceful up until April, 1980. It was in that year that an illiterate Master Sergeant by the name of Samuel K. Doe took a couple of squads into the Executive mansion in Monrovia and shot the then sitting President, President Tolbert. Doe was part of the Khran tribe and certainly couldn’t read and write. He took the President and some key cabinent members out on the beach and executed them. Taking control of the nation’s air waves he declared himself to be President. He stated he would rule for five years and then hold elections. I imagine it would be hard for Americans to wake up one day and here that an illiterate Army Sergeant stormed the White House and declared himself to be in charge. Africans have a radically different culture though then us in the West. Anyone that kills the Chief essentially would become the Chief. My father stated that Liberians were very shocked when Lee Harvey Oswald did not become President. The source of the angst in the native people that led them to support a coup lies in the history of the nation of Liberia. Liberians share a rich history with the United States. It was the American Colonialization society that did arrange for the Freed American slaves to return to Liberia. This is very much similar to the situation involving native Americans in our own nation. Liberia was already inhabited by approximately 13 other indegenous tribes. The Freed Slaves were however, vastly superior in education and technology. They were the original government of Liberia. Americo-Liberians ruled Liberia from its birth or inception in 1847 until 1980. The people backed Doe because they originally saw it as a change in power. The United States supported Doe because he was staunchly anti-communist as were most dictatorial thugs. Doe rule for five years and then in 1985 he held elections. The October, 1985 elections went down in history in the Guiness book of World records as the most fraudulent election in history. I still remember to this day the November 12, 1985 coup involving a fellow by the name of Quionkpa. There were all sorts of rumors about Quionkpa floating about the city that day. He originally grabbed the radio station and declared Doe to be exiled. He said he would rule for three months and then hold elections. People took to the streets and rioted until later in the day when Doe came out of hiding and retook the capital city. It seems that taking a capital city is all you need to do to take a country hostage in a coup. Doe eventually captured Quionkpa and took him out to the same beach and shot him and his followers. There were also rumors about foreign troops in the city of Monrovia. Originally these rumors were said to be Americans because they were “barefoot.” I speculate though that America probably would not get its forces involved unless there were American lives in danger. It is more probable that the foreign troops if they existed were Libyan or Cuban. I cannot think of a single soul that would have given Doe shelter except for a vehmently anti-communist nation. I left the Repbulic of Liberia on June 8, 1986 never to return to again. Liberia’s troubles were only just beginning though however. In December 1989 a rennegade clerk who stole a million dollars from the treasury returned to Liberia and invaded through Ivory Coast and Guinea. Charles Taylor started Raping and pillaging the villages of the countryside and began to descend towards the almighty goal of the capital. (Don’t you just love it how angry clerks, and illiterate master Sergeants can take over a country?) Taylor committed several dozen war crimes and eventully one of his lieutenants broke free of his command and started his own rebel band. Roosevelt Prince Johnson and Taylor then raced to the capital fighting each other and Doe’s forces along the way. Johnson eventually got to Doe first and took him out to the same beach in which Doe liked to execute persons. Doe endured a wonderful session of torture where he starred in his very own ear removal ceremony on live video which sold in black markets everywhere. Doe’s forces being primarily Khran took to fighting and eventually began beating up on other tribes they had grudges against. The Gio and Khran Tribes had a good go at it for a number of years as well. Throw in the Interim Government forces and the UN Peacekeepers from Nigeria of all places and the situation just kept getting uglier through the nineties. By 1996 the country was embroiled in a seven faction civil war. I am not sure how anyone kept anyone straight by that point. It would have been nice if I could have returned to Liberia for the 1996 NEO operation but unfortunately I was deployed to Hungary at the time. It seems it would have been nice to be walking on those hallowed grounds where I went to grade school in a US army uniform but that was not to be. I would like to return to Liberia after I graduate someday, but that remains to be seen. It would be nice to move some of my personal books over there and open up a library or school of sorts where people would have unfettered access to reading material. But once again you know how dictators are about teaching people to learn and write.

The argument of independence between China and Taiwan.

China reacquired Hong Kong in 1997 from the British and is set to take over the Portuguese-administered territory of Macau later this year. Now China is eager to incorporate Taiwan as well. Taiwan has been separated from China since 1895, and the majority of the people who reside on Taiwan do not wish to reunify or be reunified unless it is on their terms with a democratic China. Until that time comes, China should not pursue its efforts in unifying Taiwan, and they should recognize that Taiwan is an independent country. By explaining the situation from a different perspective, China gains a better understanding of Taiwan’s situation, and realized that Taiwan’s independence should not be forgotten.

A long history lies behind the separation of Taiwan and China sow how China and Taiwan have been separated from each other. After China lost a humiliating war with Japan in 1895, the Treaty of Shimonoseki was signed, which ended the first Sino-Japanese War. China had to cede the province of Taiwan to the Japanese. The fact that Taiwan was ceded is significant because China no longer had any rightful claim over them. The people in Taiwan refused to submit to the Japanese and initiated a rebellion against them. The Japanese quickly crushed the rebellion and for the next 50 years the Japanese occupied Taiwan stringently. It was not until 1945 when the Japanese were finally defeated that Taiwan was freed. At this point, the Chinese unlawfully took control of Taiwan, and set up their own government. Chinese government authorities caused resentment among the people in Taiwan. In February of 1947, two years after China took over Taiwan, the people of Taiwan revolted against the Chinese. However they were able to quell the uprising in a matter of months and afterwards the Chinese declared Taiwan a province one of their own provinces (Encarta 1998).

Following a tough war with Japan, China needed time to heal its wounds. However Chinese Communists took advantage of China’s condition and started a nationwide revolution. The Nationalist Army, having just fought a grueling war with Japan, was very vulnerable at the time. The Communists, led by Mao Zedong, had little trouble overthrowing the Nationalists and took over the country in 1949 ( Sherman, 1998 ). As a result, Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalists fled to Taiwan. The Communists’ plan to invade Taiwan, however, was tharwted when the United States intervened by sending naval forces to defend the island. For the remainder of the 1950’s, the United States defended Taiwan from any invasion by the Communists. In the March of 1954, Chiang Kai-shek was reelected as the president of the Republic of China (Taiwan). The government and the United States agreed to a mutual-defense treaty, which stated that the United States would take punitive action against China if the Communists attacked Taiwan.

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Canadian Identity. A personal comparison of Canada and the U.S

1: The Canadian Identity is the stuff that all Canadian’s have in common, it’s like we invented hockey so that is considered part of our identity. We also invented Basketball but the U.s. took that away from us by exploting it and saying that because the man was in the U.s. it was not Canadian, but for the people that know they realize that our identity is falling apart because the U.s. is a much bigger country so they have more power.

2: The thing that create our identity our the sports we invented, the way we talk (eh), the courtesy that we have towards other countries, the food we eat, and even the prices we have. More stuff that makes our identity are the amount of racism in our country compared to the U.s. , also the beauty of the land compared to the overpopulated cities in the U.s. We have the Rocky mountains and many other clean and famous landmarks. Also the crime rate is alot lower than in the U.s., and also unlike them we have free health care and a lower pollution rate.

3: Canada to me is the best place to live in because we have beautiful landmarks, we have free health care that helps my family alot because of my asthma, we also have a government and a large amount of people that are nice to other countries and are less hated. One main thing known about Canada is that we are a center for sports, we also have  less racism than the U.s., because if a black child walked into a school in the U.s. 30 years ago he would be made fun of called names and even failed by the teachers because of his skin color. But back in the 1800’s black people thought of Canada as the free land.

4: I think Canada and the U.s are very different because, we have way less violence, we have less pollution, we are more friendlier to our neibouring countries, we have less pollution and free health care for that matter. Most of the popular sports know in days us Canadian’s invented even though the U.s. tries to say they might have, we are more of a free country than the U.s. and we aren’t even as close to as racist then them.

5: Canada and the U.s. are the same because, the businesses from the U.s. are coming to Canada and putting the Canadian buissnesses bankrupt. Also the T.v. sations from the U.s. are on almost all the T.v channels, most of their shows and movies are twice as violent as our’s and they even try to cut down the amount of violence in the shows before their broadcast. Also the U.s. are coming to the leagues that started off being Canadian, and we let them because they are way more dominant then us. Even though our violence level is lower than their’s it’s getting pretty high and our gangs are multiplying very fast.

6: If Canada wants to keep a good country for the future we must, start by cutting down the amount of pollution, also we have to clean up all the graffiti and the bad influences painted on the walls, we also have to try to cut down the violence level that’s on T.V. because that’s just ruining the minds of the youth. We also should be more effective on the laws in the country like teens not smoking cigarettes or marijuana. I think if Canada changed and showed the rest of the world that we’re perfect then the rest of the world would start to think about themselves.