|Official Name:||United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland|
|Area:||244,108 sq km or 94,250 sq mi|
|Languages:||English, Welsh, Scots and Gaelic|
|Major Cities:||London, Manchester, and Birmingham|
|Climate:||Moist with moderate temperatures|
The United Kingdom constitutes of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The country is one of the 15 member states of the European Union and is the leading industrial and exporting country. Flag of United Kingdom (UK)
The flag of United Kingdom has a blue field with a red cross of Saint George (patron saint of England) edged in white superimposed on the diagonal red cross of Saint Patrick (patron saint of Ireland), which is superimposed on the diagonal white cross of Saint Andrew (patron saint of Scotland.
Location of United Kingdom (UK)
United Kingdom is bound on the east by the North Sea, and on the west by the Irish Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The English Channel separates the country from Europe and the only land border it shares with another nation is between Northern Ireland and Ireland.
Physical Map of United Kingdom (UK) The north and the west are made up of high hills and mountains, while the south and east has a lowland zone with milder climate and better soils for farming. Britain's moist climate with persistent rainfall has given rise to many rivers and lakes. In fact, rivers in central and eastern Britain tend to flow slowly and steadily all year long. Most of these rivers are navigable.
Climate of United Kingdom (UK)
The climate of United Kingdom is usually moist, accompanied with moderate temperatures. The western coast and the southern regions enjoy warmer temperatures than the eastern coast and the northern regions. Temperatures are ordinarily around 15°C in summer and around 5°C in winter and in rare cases exceed 32°C or drop below - 10°C. Frosts, when the temperature dips below 0°C, are also a rare phenomenon.
The mild climate of United Kingdom, accompanied with sufficient rains give way to a great variety of plants. The country was once known for its deciduous forests, which with passage of time have reduced largely in number due to de-forestation. Now, around 10.7 per cent of the United Kingdom consists of coniferous forests. As far as fauna is concerned, the United Kingdom has over 30,000 animal species and more than 200 species of birds including migratory birds.
People of United Kingdom (UK)
United Kingdom is made up of a variety of people, hailing from practically all the continents of the world, who had come and settled here. Such diverse population can also be attributed to immigration and intermarriages. The country is heavily urbanized and English is the official language and the first language of the majority. Though Christianity is the main religion, the country allows anyone to follow any religion.
Arts, Culture and Music of United Kingdom (UK)
The arts section of United Kingdom has a long drawn rich history of excellence. For centuries, arts and music were considered to be a part of nobility. The country has also made significant contributions to the world in terms of literature and as it is the birthplace of English Language, it has produced great literary masterpieces from great authors over a period of time.
Economy of United Kingdom (UK)
The United Kingdom is the world's leading trading power and financial center. Over the past couple of decades, the government has greatly reduced public ownership and contained the growth of social welfare programs. The production of about 60% of food needs by 1% of the labor force indicates that agriculture is intensive, highly mechanized and efficient. The country is one of the leading industrial and exporting nations. Services, particularly banking, insurance, and business services, are gaining ground as their share is gaining ground in the national GDP. The economy of United Kingdom is the strongest in Europe and it is this relatively good economic performance that has complicated the government's efforts to join the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). A majority of Britons are opposed to the single currency as they feel they are doing well without any alliance.
Insurance in United Kingdom (UK)
Insurance is considered to be an important contributor to the economy of United Kingdom for its overseas earnings and creation of huge employment opportunities. The Insurance industry in United Kingdom is considered as the largest in Europe and third largest in the world. Among various Insurance types Employer's liability Compulsory Insurance which follows employer's liability Compulsory Insurance Act 1969 is a guide for the employers. Under this category most employers are required by the law to insure against liability for injury or disease to their employees arising out of their employment.
The mortgage market in United Kingdom is a top most innovative and competitive market in the world. It differs in comparison to the other countries in the ground that there is no intervention in the market by the state or state funded entities in the country. With regards to the mortgage in United Kingdom, lenders generally charge a valuation fee, which pays for a chartered survey or to visit the property and ensure it is worth enough to cover the mortgage amount. Interest rates on mortgages in UK are of various types: Variable rates, Fixed rates, Capped Rates, Cash Back Deals and Discount rates.
UK Referendum, 2011
Scheduled on May 5, 2011 the United Kingdom Alternative Voting Referendum is a public vote to determine whether the current voting system of first-past-the-post should be changed to the alternative vote system for electing the House of Commons. All the citizens of the UK who are registered voters will be able to participate in this. Other citizens who will be entitled to vote are members of the House of Lords who are electors for the local or European governments.
The Need for Alternative Voting
The need for a more evolved voting system-Alternative Voting (AV) and Single Transferable Voting (STV)-was being debated since 1917. The problem with the existing voting system is that it allows a candidate to win the elections without having the majority of votes; all he needs to have is the most number of votes. This system is criticized because it is felt to be biased towards the candidate(s) most likely to win, as the votes cast for the others go waste when it comes to determining the winner.
The Proposed System
The AV system is based on the concept of transferable vote. In this, the vote is cast along with mentioning a priority order of candidates. That is, the voter is asked to consider all the candidates, and rank them according to his preference. For the time being, the vote falls to the candidate at the top of the list.
While the votes are being counted, the candidate having the least number of votes is eliminated from consideration, and the freed-up votes are redistributed according to the preference given by the respective voter. Such a system allows the candidates further down the order to hold their ground in case they were higher on preference. This way, biasing is minimized and all candidates get a fair chance of election. Did you know: Prior to this, a referendum was carried out only once in the history of UK - in 1975.