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Text 2.The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the UK) is a country to the north-west of Europe. It comprises the island of Great Britain, the north-east part of the island of Ireland and many small islands. The UK is washed by the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, the English Channel and the Irish Sea. The United Kingdom is divided into four constituent parts: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Most of England consists oflowlands. The main rivers are the Thames and the Severn. Scotland has lowlands in the south and east and highlands in the north and west. Ben Nevis in Scotland is the highest mountain in the British Isles. Wales is mostly mountainous. Northern Ireland is mainlyhilly.The capitalof the UK is London. The United Kingdom's population is 60.5 ml. It is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The language of the state is English. The flag of the UK is known as the Union Jack. It is made up of three crossesthat symbolise patron saints of England, Scotland, and Ireland. As for the national emblems, they are a red rose for England, athistle for Scotland, a shamrock for Ireland, and a yellow daffodilandleek for Wales. The UK is a major centre for international business and commerce. London is the world's largest financial centre. It is the leader of three “command centres” for the global economy (along with New York City and Tokyo). The principles of liberalisation, the free market, low taxationand regulation make the UK economy the fifth largest in the world. The UK service sector (73% ofGDP) is dominated by financial services, especially in banking and insurance. Tourism is very important to the British economy. With over 27 ml tourists a year, the United Kingdom is the sixth major tourist destination in the world. The British manufacturingsector is still an important part of the economy. But it only accounts for one-sixth of national output. This includes British motor industry, civil and defense aircraft production, chemical and pharmaceutical industry. The UK agriculture is only 0.9% of the country's GDP. The UK has a small coal reserve and large natural gas and oil reserves. Officially Great Britain is a state of the constitutional monarchy. This means that the monarch is the Head of state. But theCrown is only sovereign by the will of Parliament. The Queen acts on the advice of her ministers. That's why we say that the monarch reigns but does not rule. Parliament is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom. The main functions of Parliament are to legislate bills and debate or discuss important political issues. British Parliament is bicameral with an upper house, the House of Lords and a lower house, the House of Commons. The Queen is the third component of Parliament. The public do not elect the Lords, they are appointedby the Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister or of the House of Lords Appointments Commission. Today they no longer have the automatic power to block new laws. The House of Commons is a democratically elected chamber with elections held at least every 5 years. The House of Commons is an elected House. The party that has won the general election makes up the majority in the House of Commons. It also forms the Government. The party with the next largest number of members in the House forms the official Opposition. The main political parties of the country are the Conservative, the Labour, and the Liberal parties. The executive power belongs to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. The Prime Minister is appointed by the Crown. He is leader of the party which won the majority in the House of Commons . The Cabinet is composed of about 20 ministers. They are personally chosen by the Prime Minister. The Cabinet of Ministers introduces legislation, controls finance, conducts foreign and domestic affairs, and supervises every department of administration. The judicial system of the UK is represented by criminal and civil courts. It includes magistrates, crown, and county courts, as well as the High Court of Justice. The UK is a leading member of various international organisations, for example, the UN,theG8, andNATO. It has close relationship with the countries of the Commonwealth and other English-speaking countries.

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