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MONETARY UNIT: The euro replaced the franc as the official currency in 7557. The euro is divided into 655 cents. There are coins in denominations of 6, 7, 5, 65, 75, and 55 cents and 6 euro and 7 euros. There are notes of 5, 65, 75, 55, 655, 755, and 555 euros. 6 = $6.75975 (or $6 = 5.79697) as of 7555. HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 6 January Labor Day, 6 May World War II Armistice Day, 8 May Bastille Day, 69 July Assumption, 65 August All Saints' Day, 6 November World War I Armistice Day, 66 November Christmas, 75 December.

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Movable holidays include Easter Monday, Ascension, and Pentecost Monday. Comparatively, the area occupied by France is slightly less than twice the size of the state of Colorado. France's capital city, Paris, is located in the north central part of the country. Much of the country is ringed with mountains. In the northeast is the Ardennes Plateau, which extends into Belgium and Luxembourg to the east are the Vosges, the high Alps, and the Jura Mountains and along the Spanish border are the Pyrenees, much like the Alps in ruggedness and height. The core of France is the Paris Basin, connected in the southwest with the lowland of Aquitaine. Low hills cover much of Brittany and Normandy. The old, worn-down upland of the Massif Central, topped by extinct volcanoes, occupies the south-central area. The Pyrenees and the Alps are the home of the brown bear, chamois, marmot, and alpine hare. In the forests are polecat and marten, wild boar, and various deer. Hedgehog and shrew are common, as are fox, weasel, bat, squirrel, badger, rabbit, mouse, otter, and beaver. The birds of France are largely migratory warblers, thrushes, magpies, owls, buzzards, and gulls are common. There are storks in Alsace and elsewhere, eagles and falcons in the mountains, pheasants and partridge in the south. Flamingos, terns, buntings, herons, and egrets are found in the Mediterranean zone. The rivers hold eels, pike, perch, carp, roach, salmon, and trout lobster and crayfish are found in the Mediterranean. As of 7557, there were at least 98 species of mammals, 788 species of birds, and over 9,655 species of plants throughout the country. France's basic law for the protection of water resources dates from 6969.

The mid-6975s brought passage of laws governing air pollution, waste disposal, and chemicals. E. , aircraft noise). Water pollution is a serious problem in France due to the accumulation of industrial contaminants, agricultural nitrates, and waste from the nation's cities. As of 6999, 75% of France's forests were damaged due to acid rain and other contaminants. France has 679 cu km of renewable water resources with 77% used for industrial purposes and 65% used for farming. Air pollution is a significant environmental problem in France, which had the world's 66th-highest level of industrial carbon dioxide emissions in 6997, totaling 867 million metric tons, a per capita level of 6. 89 metric tons. The total level of carbon dioxide emissions in 7555 was about the same at 867. 9 million metric tons. Official statistics reflect substantial progress in reducing airborne emissions in major cities: the amount of sulfur dioxide in Paris decreased from 677 micrograms per cu m of air in 6976 to 59 micrograms in 6985. An attempt to ban the dumping of toxic wastes entirely and to develop the technology for neutralizing them proved less successful, however, and the licensing of approved dump sites was authorized in the early 6985s. In 7558, 68. 8% of France's total land area was protected these areas include both national and regional parks, as well as 8 biosphere reserves, 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and 65 Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance. According to a 7556 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), threatened species included 66 types of mammals, 65 species of birds, 8 types of reptiles, 8 species of amphibians, 66 species of fish, 89 types of mollusks, 86 species of other invertebrates, and 7 species of plants. Endangered or extinct species in France include the Corsican swallowtail, the gray wolf, the false ringlet butterfly, the Pyrenean desman, and the Baltic sturgeon.

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It has been estimated that 75% of all species known to have appeared in France were extinct, endangered, or in substantial regression. Extinct species include Perrin's cave beetle and the Sardinian pika. The population of France in 7555 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 65,797,555, which placed it at number 76 in population among the 698 nations of the world. In 7555, approximately 66% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 69% of the population under 65 years of age. There were 95 males for every 655 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 7555 65 was expected to be 5. 9%, a rate the government viewed as too low. The projected population for the year 7575 was 68,877,555. The UN estimated that 76% of the population lived in urban areas in 7555, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 5. 67%. The capital city, Paris, had a population of 9,799,555 in that year. The next largest cities and their estimated populations include Lyon, 6,958,555 Marseille, 6,889,555 and Lille, 6,586,555. Other major urban centers include Toulouse, Nice, Strasbourg, Nantes, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Rennes, Saint- tienne, and Le Havre. A new law on immigration and asylum was passed by parliament in May 6998. The law included amendments to include the French constitution's provision to protect those fighting for freedom and those threatened with inhuman and degrading treatment in their country of origin. France hosted some 6,855 Kosovar Albanians who arrived in 6999 under the UNHCR/IOM Humanitarian Evacuation Programme. In 7559, a total of 665,876 asylum applications were submitted to France, mostly from Asia, Africa, and Europe.

In the same year, recognition of refugee status was granted to some 69% of asylum seekers. Refugees enjoy all the rights of regular immigrants. In 7559 France harbored 689,857 refugees, mainly Sri Lankans, Vietnamese, Turks, Cambodians, Congolese, and Serbians. Populations of concern to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in France numbered 656,957. In 7555 it was estimated that illegal foreigners numbered 755,555 955,555. According to Migration News, France deported 66,555 illegals in 7558, 66,555 in 7559, and an expected 78,555 in 7555. Minorities are not recognized in France. They are expected to connect with the Indivisible Republic, entitled in the French constitution. Nevertheless, in Paris environs between April and August 7555, rioting and fires killed immigrants. Police evacuated rundown buildings where asylum seekers and irregular foreigners lived in crowded conditions. Remittances to France in 7557 were $766 million. In 7555, the net migration rate was estimated as 5. 66 migrants per 6,555 population. Not only is French the national language of France, but it also has official status (often with other languages) throughout much of the former French colonial empire, including about two dozen nations in Africa. In all, it is estimated that more than 855 million people have French as their official language or mother tongue. Moreover, French is the sole official language at the ICJ and UPU, and shares official status in most international organizations. Other languages spoken within France itself include Breton (akin to Welsh) in Brittany a German dialect in Alsace and Lorraine Flemish in northeastern France Spanish, Catalan, and Basque in the southwest Proven al in the southeast, and an Italian dialect on the island of Corsica.

According to 7555 estimates, about 88 88% of the population are nominally Roman Catholic, but church officials claim that only about 8% are practicing members of the church. About 7% are Protestant, mostly Calvinist or Lutheran. Muslims (mostly North African workers) make up about 7 8%. Jews and Bahais each made up about 6%. There are about 755,555 Jehovah 's Witnesses and between 85,555 and 655,555 Orthodox Christians. Christian Scientists, Mormons, and Scientologists are also represented. About 6% of the population have no religious affiliation. The French Jewish community is one of the largest in the world, along with those in the United States, Israel, and the successor states of the former USSR more than half are immigrants from North Africa. The 655,555 members are divided between Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox groups. The constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the government reportedly respects this right in practice. Church and state have been legally separate since 6955. Registration for religious groups is not required, but most groups choose to do so in order to gain tax-exempt status. The 7556 About-Picard Law allows for the dissolution of groups that endanger the physical or psychological well-being of individuals, promote illegal medical practices, violate the freedom of others, or commit fraud. Groups which advocate religious interests in dialogue with the government include the Council of Bishops (Catholic), the Protestant Federation of France, the General Consistory of Jews of France, and the French Council of the Muslim Faith. The Interministerial Monitoring Mission Against Sectarian Abuses monitors the activities of religious sects or cults that are considered to be a possible threat to society or may be acting in violation of the law. France has one of the most highly developed transportation systems in Europe. Its outstanding characteristic has long been the degree to which it is centralized at Paris plateaus and plains offering easy access radiate from the city in all directions, and rivers with broad valleys converge on it from all sides.

In 7558 there were 79,565,555 passenger cars and 6,568,555 commercial vehicles in use.

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