The Republic of Belarus is a small, beautiful country with the heroic past and difficult present. It is situated in Eastern Europe. It has a favourable economic, geographical and geopolitical location. The Republic borders on Russia, the Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. It has an area of 207,600 square kilometres and a population of 9.5 million people. Belarusians constitute 77 per cent of the population, 64 per cent live in cities, the largest of which are Minsk (the capital), Gomel, Brest, Vitebsk, Grodno and Mogilev.
Today Belarusian industry produces tractors, big lorries, automatic lines, computers, refrigerators, television sets, bicycles, watches, fertilizers and textiles. There is a growing export of motor vehicles and tractors, chemical fertilizers, refrigerators and construction materials, foodstuffs and furniture.
The production of Belarusian industrial enterprises is steadily gaining the markets of the CIS and other foreign countries. It is testified by the stable growth of exports to the European Community countries, the USA, Canada and other world states.
Agriculture specializes in milk and meat production. The main crops cultivated here are grain, potatoes, flax, herbs and vegetables.
Belarus is a republic of well developed science and culture.
Nowadays the Republic of Belarus has become a sovereign independent state. There are three branches of state power in the Republic of Belarus — Legislative (Supreme Soviet), Executive (Council of Ministers) and Judicial (Supreme Court). The head of the state is the President.
Belarus is a member of the United Nations and a number of other international organizations.
Modern life is impossible without travelling. Thousands of people travel every day either on business or for pleasure. They can travel by air, by rail, by sea or by road.
Of course, travelling by air is the fastest and the most convenient way, but it is the most expensive too. Travelling by train is slower than by plane, but it has its advantages. You can see much more interesting places of the country you are travelling through. Modern trains have very comfortable seats. There are also sleeping-cars and dining-cars which make even the longest journey enjoyable. Speed, comfort and safety are the main advantages of trains and planes. That is why many people prefer them to all other means.
Travelling by sea is popular mostly for pleasure trips. On board large ships and small river boats people can visit foreign countries and different places of interest within their own country. As for me I prefer travelling by car. I think it's very convenient. You needn't reserve your tickets. You needn't carry heavy suitcases. You can stop wherever you wish and spend at any place as much time as you like. Every year my friend and I go somewhere to the South for holidays.
The Black Sea is one of the most wonderful places which attracts holiday-makers all over the world. There are many rest-homes, sanatoriums and tourist camps there. But it is also possible to rent a room or a furnished house for a couple of weeks there. Sometimes we place ourselves in a tent on the sea shore enjoying fresh air and the sun all day long. As a rule I make new friends there. In the daytime we play volleyball, tennis, swim in the warm water of the sea and sunbathe. In the evening I like to sit on the beach watching the sea and enjoying the sunset.
Time passes quickly and soon we have to make our way back. We return home sunburnt and full of impressions.
Since ancient times Nature has served Man, being the source of his life. For thousands of years people lived in harmony with the environment and it seemed to them that natural riches were unlimited. But with the development of civilization man's interference in nature began to increase.
Large cities with thousands of smoky industrial enterprises have appeared all over the world today. The by-products of their activity pollute the air we breathe, the water we drink, the land we grow grain and vegetables. Every year world industry pollutes the atmosphere with about 1000 million tons of dust and harmful substances. Many cities suffer from smog. Vast forests are cut and burn in fire. Their disappearance upsets the oxygen balance. As a result some rare species of animals, birds, fish and plants disappear forever, a number of rivers and lakes dry up.
The pollution of air and the world's ocean, destruction of the ozone layer is the result of man's careless interaction with nature.
As a result of the Chernobyl tragedy the Belarusian people faced the most horrible ecological disaster. About 18 per cent of the territory of Belarus was contaminated with radioactive substances. A great damage has been done to the republic's agriculture, forests and people's health. The consequences of the atomic power station explosion are tragic for the Belarusian nation.
Not only Chernobyl but many of our "peaceful" factories and towns cause a great damage to the environment. Dangerous dust and blow-outs of the enterprises are being carried out by winds for long distances destroying the life around.
People all over the world are worried about what is happening to the environment. The environmental protection should be our universal concern. Serious joint measures to create a system of ecological security should be taken.
13.FAMOUS PEOPLE OF BELARUS AND GREAT BRITAIN
The world gave birth to many famous people whose names are known all over the world.
The history of the Belarusian culture is more than one thousand years old. The names of such Belarusian thinkers as Euphrosyne Polotskaya and Kirill Turovsky have been known since ancient times.
The name of the first printer Francisak Skaryna and his followers Symon Budny and Vasily Tyapinsky are known throughout the world.
It goes without saying Belarusian literature has made a great contribution to world literature. The names of Yanka Kupala and Yakub Kolas, Maxim Bagdanovich are world famous. Their works are translated into many European languages.
As for Belarusian art the names of Kazimir Malevich, Mark Shagal are known far beyond the borders of our country.
The world knows also the names of many great British scientists: mathematicians, physicists, chemists, biologists, linguists, historians etc. A lot of discoveries have been made by them in different fields of science and engineering.
Among the names of great scientists who contributed much to different fields of science and engineering one should mention Isaac Newton, the founder of modern mathematics, physics, spectroscopy, the discoverer of the law of motion and the universal law of gravitation. William Shakespeare is the world’s greatest poet and dramatist.
The list of outstanding people of the world is long. One thing is obvious: great times are created by great men. Their names are sure to become history whatever it may be.
14.BELARUSIAN AND BRITISH TRADITIONS AND CUSTOMS
Every nation and every country has its own customs and traditions.
The roots of Belarusian culture have a lot in common with traditions of other European countries.
Like other countries Belarus has its own holidays. They are of two kinds: traditional national holidays and religious holidays. National holidays are both a public celebration and a personal event in the family. The New Year Day is one of them. It is a popular public holiday which is widely celebrated in every family. Long before the New Year Eve people begin to buy New Year cards, toys and presents.
Most families see the New Year in at home. There is usually a fir tree in the house decorated with toys and lights. A lot of delicious food is cooked for the night meal.
In Belarus people widely celebrate such popular Christian holidays as Christmas and Easter. On Christmas Eve traditional food is cooked. Christmas week is a great fun. Young people go from home to home dressed as animals or other fairy characters, sing songs and dance.
In Britain traditions play a more important part in the life of the people than in other countries.
Englishmen are proud of their traditions and carefully keep them up.
Holidays are especially rich in old traditions and are different in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England. Christmas is a great English national holiday. On New Year's Eve people invite their friends to their houses and «sit the Old Year out and the New Year in».
Certainly people are fond of holidays as they bring fun and excitement in everybody's life.
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