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SPECIAL REPORT - United States Today - Discovering the United States.

The United States of America is a federal republic, which comprises 50 states, the federal district of Washington, D.C., five sub-national, self-governing administrative divisions and various possessions.

It is the world's third most populous country with an estimated population of over 321 million people and is also the third largest country by area with almost 10 million square kilometres. Being a dynamic, multicultural and ethnically diverse nation, it is largely the product of mass immigration from other regions over the past 200 years.

With a highly diverse climate and geographic landscape, the United States is home to a diverse natural habitat and has a variety of wild and marine life.

The USA is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSG). It is also member of such premier international forums as the Group of 7 (G7), the Group of Twenty (G20), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Organization of American States (OAS), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTRC) and many others.

The United Nations headquarters is located in New York, USA. Abundant with natural resources and highly skilled labour, it is one of the world's largest economies by nominal and real GDP. With a post-industrial economy, the US is also the world's largest manufacturer, importer and second largest exporter of goods and services. As of 2010, transportation equipment was the largest export commodity of the US, while oil has been its second largest import. The United States is the world's largest oil producer as well.

The US dollar is the primary reserve currency in the world. The US is the world's leading country almost in gross domestic product (GDP) per capita income, average income, human development indicators, etc.

Accounting for nearly 23% of world GDP, the US is the leading economic and military power in the world, whose military spending amounts to almost one-third of all military expenditures in the world. Germany, Mexico, Canada, Japan, and China are the top trading partners of the US. In the United States, its private sector constitutes more than 80 per cent of the national economy, with its local, state and state government activities accounting for the remaining 20 per cent. The service sector constitutes nearly 70 per cent of GDP. By gross business receipts, the leading business sectors in the country are wholesale and retail trade and manufacturing, whereas the chemical industry is the leading manufacturing sector.

The US is also the world's number one chemical producer, accounting for over 25 per cent of total world chemical production. It is the worlds largest producer of natural gas, nuclear and electrical energy, phosphates, sulphur and salt. The US produces coal and such minerals as titanium, magnesium, copper, beryllium, lead, zinc and many others. Given that agriculture accounts for less than 1 per cent of its GDP, the US happens to be the world's largest producer of soybeans and corn, while its top agricultural products include barley, corn, cotton, hay, oats, oilseeds, peanuts, rice, rye, sunflowers and wheat. It also produces different biotech crops and has developed a range of genetically modified food items.

Since the 19th century, the United States has been a world leader in scientific research, technological development and innovation. Among leading American inventors are Alexander Graham Bell, Charles Goodyear, Cyrus McCormick, Dr. Jonas Salk, Eli Whitney, Henry Ford, John Moses Browning, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Robert Fulton, Samuel Colt, Samuel F.B. Morse and Willis Carrier.

With nearly 100 per cent literacy rate, the US boasts the world's top educational system. It spends more on education than any other country in the world and has the most number of the world's top universities and colleges. It is the world's largest contributor to scientific research papers and citations and has been a global leader in medical innovation, having won more Nobel Prizes in medicine than all other world countries combined. The U.S. spends on its healthcare system more any other nation in terms of percentage of GDP and per capita. The US has the worlds longest road network as well, spanning 91,700 kilometres (57,000 miles).

Having the highest rate of per-capita vehicle ownership (765 vehicles per 1,000 people), the US is be the world's second largest automobile market. The world's top three passenger airlines are US -based, including the American Airlines, which became the number one carrier in 2013 when it was acquired by US Airways. Including the O'Hare International Airport in Chicago and the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, 16 passenger airports in the US are included in the busiest airports of the world.

US supremacy in international sports is well established. Baseball is the U.S. national sport. In the individual sports category, auto-racing and golf are the most watched sports, while ice hockey and basketball are the countrys leading professional team sports. American football is the world's most popular sport and the National Football League (NFL) of America has the highest average attendance of any sports league in the world. The professional sports market in the U.S. is over $69 billion, which is approximately 50 per cent larger than those of Africa, Europe and the Middle East combined.

In soccer, the U.S. hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup. The United States women's national soccer team has won the FIFA Womens World Cup three times, while the men's team has qualified for ten World Cups up till now. The country has hosted eight Olympic Games, which is more than any other country. As of 2014, the United States has won a total of 2,681 medals at both summer and winter Olympics, more than any other nation.

Such popular international sports as skateboarding, snowboarding, volleyball and basketball were invented in the United States.
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Publication:South Asia
Date:Jul 31, 2016
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