The US Central Intelligence Agency has recently released the 2000 version of its well-known annual country information reference book (last described in the September 24, 1999 Scout Report
). Data are available for more than 260 countries. For each country, map and flag, geographic, population, government, economic, communication, transportation, military, and transnational issue information is provided for the latest date available (January 1, 2000 in most cases). Users can also browse the Factbook by field and topic. For instance, selecting Literacy under the People heading displays definitions and literacy rates for all countries, listed alphabetically. This is an extremely helpful feature for users seeking comparative statistics. There are also nineteen reference maps in .pdf or .jpg format and eight appendices. Linked to from thousands of sites, the World Factbook is widely recognized as one of the finest online resources for country reference information.
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