Asia - Middle East and India

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ASIA PART 1 THE MIDDLE EAST AND THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT :

ASIA PART 1 THE MIDDLE EAST AND THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT

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Over 4 billion people live in Asia, 60% of the Earth’s population Much of the population is concentrated in the southeastern area Many people are farmers, but cities are growing 47 countries including Russia Asia stretches from the Arctic to the Equator

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Asia has the busiest ports for container shipping in the world. Containerized shipping has played an important part in Asia’s economy.

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Asia is the birthplace of all of the main religions of the world. This pillar is part of a 4 th -century mosque in India.

RUSSIA:

RUSSIA

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How big is Russia? The world’s largest country (over 6 ½ million square miles) It is almost twice as large as Canada, the next largest country Russia spans 11 time zones It would take 7 days and nights on the Trans-Siberian Railway to cross the country from east to west Russia shares a border with 12 other countries

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Natural Resources Rich in deposits of coal, iron, and gold Leads the world in production of natural gas and lead

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Population The population is declining Ranked 8 th in population in the world Has about ½ the population of the U.S.

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Russia lost more than 70 million people in the 20 th century. 5 million were killed due to famines and government-ordered killings in the 1930’s 17 million were killed during World War I and the civil war that followed it 27 million were killed in World War II If you also take into account all of the people who were not born because of these deaths, it totals 70 million The result of this is a shortage of young people in the work force and more aging women than men.

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Most of Russia’s population is in the European part. The taiga, tundra, and desert areas average about 2 people per square mile. The official language is Russian, but over 140 other languages and dialects are used. The official monetary unit is the ruble.

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A biome is a major regional or global community, such as a grassland or desert, characterized chiefly by the dominant forms of plant life and the prevailing climate.

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The tundra is a vast and treeless land which covers about 20% of the Earth's surface, circumnavigating the North pole. It is usually very cold, and the land is pretty stark.

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The taiga is found throughout the high northern latitudes, between the tundra, and the temperate forest, from about 50°N to 70°N. Taiga is the Russian word for forest and is the largest biome in the world.

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The Alpine biome is like winter is to people in New England; snow, high winds, ice, all the typical winter things. They are usually at an altitude of about 10,000 feet or more.

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The deciduous forest has four distinct seasons, spring, summer, autumn, and winter. In the autumn the leaves change color. During the winter months the trees lose their leaves.

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The Russian language Uses the Cyrillic alphabet. This chart shows that this alphabet has some letters that we do not have in English.

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The Ural Mountains separate the European and Asian sides of Russia, but they are not an obstacle to travel.

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Siberia is over seventy-five percent of Russia's total land territory but only has about twenty-five percent of Russia's population. Petty criminals and political enemies were sent to Siberia to perform hard labor. Many died during the long trip on foot.

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In 1991, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) dissolved. The former Soviet republics of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Georgia proclaimed their independence The 22 republics that remained became present-day Russia.

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Sir Winston Churchill once said: "Russia is a riddle wrapped in mystery inside an enigma".

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The majority of Russians are Orthodox Christians.

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A Russian baby is being baptized.

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Most urban Russians live in crowded, dilapidated apartment houses.

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Most work in foundering, inefficient factories or service trades.

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Problems in Russia Unemployment Unsafe working and road conditions Spread of infectious diseases Poor health care Alcohol abuse Domestic violence and homicide

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These are said to be the favorite Bible verses of Russian people. These verses reflect their suffering and remind them of the rewards that await them in Heaven. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven. St. Matthew 5:3-12

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Chechnya A predominately Muslim republic that was denied independence for economic and political reasons. Since 1994, there has been a state of warfare between Chechen rebels and Russian troops. This has resulted in terrorism and guerrilla warfare and the destruction of the city of Groznyy.

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The Kremlin is surrounded by a huge red wall. Many Russian leaders have lived here including Lenin and Stalin.

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Saint Basil’s Cathedral - an example of Russian Byzantine architecture with its onion-shaped domes

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Traffic in downtown Moscow.

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St. Petersburg is the 2 nd largest city in Russia and the 4 th largest in Europe. It was built by Peter the Great in 1703.

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St. Petersburg was formerly called Leningrad.

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Family members spend much of their time at the kitchen table

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Russians drink more tea, they call it “ chai ” than coffee. They also love meat, and bread is considered a sign of hospitality.

TURKEY:

TURKEY

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The Kurds 25 million people are Kurds They live in the mountainous region split between 4 countries They have no homeland of their own, but are fighting to establish a country called Kurdistan.

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20% of Turkish people are Kurds.

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The capital of Turkey is Ankara, but Istanbul is more famous. It is the only city in the world to lie on two continents. The Bosphorus Strait separates the two Europe from Asia here.

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Ephesus is a city mentioned in the Bible, as in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. It was also one of the great cities of the Roman Empire. Today it is a busy tourist site.

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The Hagia Sophia has been a Christian church, an Islamic mosque, and is now a museum. It is a beautiful example of Byzantine architecture.

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Shopkeepers will expect you to haggle over prices.

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Street cafes are popular in Turkey.

The Middle East:

The Middle East All of the places we read about in the Bible are found in the Middle East. The 1 st civilization, Mesopotamia, is found here. The Garden of Eden is believed to have been in what is now Iraq. Armageddon will eventually happen here. So, the Middle East was the location of the beginning of man, has been the center of man’s struggles ever since, and will end up being the location of the final battle of mankind.

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Muslim Groups After the death of Mohammed, Muslims began to fight about who should be their religious leader… …and they are still fighting. Simply put: Sunni Muslims believe that their leader should be the person who is most qualified to lead the religion. Shia Muslims believe that only the next person in the line of Mohammed can be the leader.

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An oasis is fertile land in a desert, usually fed by an underground spring. A wadi is a temporary watering hole , created when a gully fills up during the rainy season.

SYRIA:

SYRIA Official language: Arabic Religion: mostly Sunni Muslim

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Current Events in Syria Syrians are revolting against President Assad. This president, along with his father before him have massacred tens of thousands of innocent people. President Obama is demanding that he step down, butis not yet ready to intervene with military force.

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In Northwest Syria, homes are made of mud and shaped like beehives. This type of construction helps to keep out the heat.

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In the South and East, homes are made mostly of stone.

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Bedouins live in tents and travel from place to place.

LEBANON:

LEBANON A violent civil war between Muslims and Christians almost destroyed the country in 1975. Official language: Arabic

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Yet another branch of the Islamic faith are the Druzes . There are 200,000 Druzes in Lebanon. They are very protective of their community and you cannot become one unless you are born into it. The Druze religion has no ceremonies or rituals and they believe in reincarnation. Druze are forbidden to eat pork, smoke, or drink alcohol.

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The capital city of Beirut was destroyed in the civil war and it lay in ruins for many years.

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It is finally being restored.

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Pigeon Rocks, just off the shore in Beirut.

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The cedar tree is a national symbol of Lebanon. This one is 1,000 years old.

Israel:

Israel Although it is a small country, Israel has a variety of terrain: fertile valleys, deserts, mountains, lakes, and rivers.

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Slightly larger than New Jersey On the Mediterranean Sea Experiences sandstorms and occasional earthquakes The official language is Hebrew 75% of citizens are Jewish

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Israel was formed by the United Nations as and it declared independence in 1948. It was to be the national home of the Jewish people. The Palestinian Arabs who had been living there were forced to leave. The two groups have been fighting over this land ever since.

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Zionism – a Jewish political movement the supports the self-determination of the Jewish people and the claim to Israel as their homeland. Anti-Semitism - a suspicion of or hatred toward or discrimination against Jews because of their heritage.

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Every citizen of Israel is required to serve at least two years in the military once they turn 18, even women.

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A kibbutz is a communal farm where many families live and work together. Almost ½ of Israel’s food is grown on kibbutz.

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The Dead Sea is at 400 meters below sea level, the lowest point on earth, and the world's richest source of natural salts

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The capital of Israel is Jerusalem, called the Holy City

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The Dome of the Rock is sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims

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The rock inside is said to be the place where Abraham almost sacrificed Isaac, the location of Solomon’s Temple, and the place where Mohammed of Islam ascended to heaven.

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The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is built on what many believe is the site of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.

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The holiest site for Jews, the Wailing Wall is the section of the wall that surrounded the Temple that has survived. Jews come here to worship and pray.

Jordan:

Jordan Mostly arid desert Official language: Arabic Religion: Sunni Muslim Government: Constitutional monarchy

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When Israel was formed in 1948, tens of thousands of Palestinians were forced to leave and go to Jordan and other Arab countries.

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The ancient city of Petra was a fortress used as a refuge for nomadic Arabs and Bedouins.

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The Jordan River forms the border between Israel and Jordan and flows into the Dead Sea. Its water is needed desperately by both countries for crop irrigation.

IRAQ:

IRAQ Dry, hot deserts Mountains get snow in the winter which can cause flooding in the spring. Rich in oil and natural gas Official language: Arabic Religion: 97% Muslim

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The Persian Gulf War was a response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

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Baghdad, the capital of Iraq is located on the Tigris River. It is the center of Islamic culture.

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Baghdad is famous for its colorful bazaars.

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Babylon is the ancient city that supposedly was the home of the Hanging Gardens, one of the ancient wonders of the world.

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Iraq engages in human trafficking and forced labor

IRAN:

IRAN Formerly called Persia Has been designated a sponsor of terrorism Terrain is rugged, mountainous, central basin with deserts Official language: Persian Religion: 98% Muslim

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Persian rugs are the 2 nd largest export of Iran. They are hand-tied by knotting thousands of pieces of wool into intricate patterns.

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In an effort to become more self-sufficient at growing its own food, Iran has started growing more crops and begun raising ostriches.

Saudi Arabia:

Saudi Arabia Controls 20% of the world’s oil Terrain: mostly uninhabitable desert with extreme temperatures Frequent sand and dust storms Official language: Arabic Religion: 100% Muslim

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Millions of people make the pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest city of Islam. Muslims are expected to do this at least once in life.

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Saudi Arabian women face one of the world’s strictest dress codes.

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There is no minimum age requirement in Saudi Arabia and girls as young as babies are sold by their fathers to middle-aged men as “wives”

KUWAIT:

KUWAIT Oil refining made this a rich country, but the oil fields were set on fire during the Iraqi invasion during the Gulf War. This has caused severe environmental problems.

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Kuwait is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Its people enjoy a high standard of living with no income tax, free education and health care.

BAHRAIN:

BAHRAIN This wealthy Arab island nation only gets 3 inches of rainfall per year. Some of its land was reclaimed from the sea.

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The traditional dress for men in this part of the world is a robe called a thobe .

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Arranged marriages are common in this part of the world. Wedding ceremonies are colorful.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Flat, barren coastal plain, rolling sand dunes of vast desert wasteland; mountains in east Economy has been hit hard by falling oil prices The country has more immigrants than nationals

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Before 1960, there were no cities in UAB, only small villages. Bedouins farmed oases.

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The city of Dubai is known as the Paris of the Middle East due to the lavish lifestyle.

KAZAKHSTAN:

KAZAKHSTAN About 4 times the size of Texas Environmental issues include earthquakes and mudslides and pollution of the soil and air About ½ Muslim and ½ Russian Orthodox

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The two rivers that feed the Aral Sea have been diverted for irrigation. The sea is now drying up and is 60% smaller. It has also become much saltier, killing fish and wiping out the fishing industry of both Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan .

UZBEKISTAN:

UZBEKISTAN One of the countries guilty of forcing children to harvest cotton under horrible conditions.

AFGHANISTAN:

AFGHANISTAN Mostly rugged mountains Controlled by the Taliban – ruled by Islamic law Religion: 99% Muslim Average education: 9 years Engages in human trafficking

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The Taliban is an Islamist militant and political group that is active in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They are responsible for the massacre of thousands of people.

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Some rules of Taliban: No pork, pig, pig oil, anything made from human hair No satellite dishes, movies, and equipment that produces the joy of music No pool tables, chess, masks, alcohol, tapes, computers, VCRs, television No wine,, nail polish, firecrackers, statues, sewing catalogs No drawings, paintings, photographs, stuffed animals, or dolls that characterize a living creature. Men had to have a fist size beard at the bottom of their chin. Conversely, they had to wear their head hair short and had to wear a head covering

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Afghan poppies are used to produce 90% of the world’s heroine. It is a key source of income to the Taliban.

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Under Taliban law, women must wear a burqa , and may not leave their house without a male member of their family. They may not work or go to school.

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Al Qaeda is a radical Islamic movement founded by Osama bin Ladin . Their purpose is to rid the world of non-Muslim influences. This can be accomplished through jihad, or holy war. They were responsible for the attacks of 9/11 on the U.S. and are still considered to be the greatest terrorist threat against the U.S.

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The most common form of housing is the multi-story fortified farm with high walls built from a mixture of mud and straw. The home above was damaged by a bomb.

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Children studying in a mosque school. Only 5% of children receive a primary education.

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Photos of U.S. military base in Afghanistan

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Women’s rights issues are particularly bad in Afghanistan. Women are considered property and may be disposed of by “honor killings”.

PAKISTAN:

PAKISTAN Snowcapped mountains in the north, sunny beaches in the south. Mostly hot, dry desert. Official language: Urdu, but there are many other languages and English is also widely spoken Women are predominantly homemakers, teachers, or nurses Shortage of drinkable water, high risk of infectious diseases Religion: 95% Muslim A poor country with a bleak economic outlook, agriculture is very important

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Pakistan is well-known for its colorful, handmade crafts such as carpets, shoes, and fabrics.

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Pakistan is known decorating its busses. There is an entire industry for this. It takes about a week and $600 to decorate one like this.

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This colorful bus is typical of those found in Pakistan.

INDIA:

INDIA About 1/3 the size of the U.S. 1/5 of the world’s population live here, over 1 billion people The huge population is putting a huge strain on natural resources. Religion: Hindu and Muslim Currency: Rupee

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India has a high risk of infectious diseases. Less than ½ of the people have access to improved sanitation.

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Monsoons bring rainfall needed for farming, but can cause terrible flooding and contamination of water.

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The Ganges River

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Cows wander the streets freely and are considered holy by Hindu people. It is believed that a live cow can provide milk for many.

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The Hindu caste system believes in “karma”, the opportunity to do good deeds to be reincarnated into a higher caste. A meeting of Brahmin women, the highest level of the caste system.

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The 160 million “untouchables” are the lowest caste and are forced to perform the jobs that are beneath the other castes.

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Except in the urban middle class, marriages are often arranged. Couples barely get to meet each other in advance. One must marry within one’s caste.

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Only about ½ of India’s citizens can read, more boys than girls.

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Bollywood is India’s successful film industry. It has colorful sets and costumes, dancing, and music. More films are produced in India than in the U.S.

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Indian food is mostly vegetarian and includes rice. It uses a lot of spices including tumeric , coriander, and cumin

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The Taj Mahal is a symbol of love. Shah Jahan built it as a mausoleum for his wife who died in childbirth with his 14 th child.

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The largest city is Mambai , formerly Bombay. It is has a beautiful buildings and seedy slums.

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An old tradition in India is “sati”. When a man dies, his widow is burned alive on his funeral pyre. It is more rare now than in the past. dharma - that which is established, customary, or proper in Hinduism

SRI LANKA:

SRI LANKA An island country off the SE coast of India Monsoonal climate Official language: Sinhala Religion : 69% Buddhist

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Sri Lanka is one of the world’s largest tea exporters

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Sri Lanka’s beautiful beaches help to draw tourists. Here, sea fisherman rest atop pole seats.

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Sri Lanka is home to many types of wildlife and tourists go there to take “safari tours”.

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Sri Lanka has long been known for its richness in gems.

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