Cook Islands

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 10, 2011
Flag of Cook Islands
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Cook Islands
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Map of Cook Islands
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NO PHOTOS AVAILABLE OF COOK ISLANDS
 

Introduction

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Named after Captain COOK, who sighted them in 1770, the islands became a British protectorate in 1888. By 1900, administrative control was transferred to New Zealand; in 1965, residents chose self-government in free association with New Zealand. The emigration of skilled workers to New Zealand and government deficits are continuing problems.
 
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Geography

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Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about half way between Hawaii and New Zealand
 
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21 14 S, 159 46 W
 
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total: 236 sq km
country comparison to the world: 215
land: 236 sq km
water: 0 sq km
 
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1.3 times the size of Washington, DC
 
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0 km
 
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120 km
 
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territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
 
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tropical oceanic; moderated by trade winds; a dry season from April to November and a more humid season from December to March
 
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low coral atolls in north; volcanic, hilly islands in south
 
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lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Te Manga 652 m
 
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NEGL
 
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arable land: 16.67%
permanent crops: 8.33%
other: 75% (2005)
 
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NA
 
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typhoons (November to March)
 
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NA
 
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
 
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the northern Cook Islands are seven low-lying, sparsely populated, coral atolls; the southern Cook Islands, where most of the population lives, consist of eight elevated, fertile, volcanic isles, including the largest, Rarotonga, at 67 sq km
 
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People and Society

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noun: Cook Islander(s)
adjective: Cook Islander
 
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Cook Island Maori (Polynesian) 87.7%, part Cook Island Maori 5.8%, other 6.5% (2001 census)
 
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English (official), Maori
 
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Protestant 69.6% (Cook Islands Christian Church 55.9%, Seventh-Day Adventist 7.9%, other Protestant 5.8%), Roman Catholic 16.8%, Mormon 3.8%, other 4.2%, unspecified 2.6%, none 3% (2001 census)
 
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11,124 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 224
 
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0-14 years: 25.1% (male 1,479/female 1,308)
15-64 years: 65% (male 3,737/female 3,499)
65 years and over: 9.9% (male 538/female 563) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 32 years
male: 31.3 years
female: 32.7 years (2011 est.)
 
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-3.2% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 230
 
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15.37 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 133
 
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7.37 deaths/1,000 population NA (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 121
 
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urban population: 75% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.4% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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at birth: 1.048 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.13 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.96 male(s)/female
total population: 1.07 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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total: 15.81 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 114
male: 19.24 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.21 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 74.7 years
country comparison to the world: 94
male: 71.91 years
female: 77.62 years (2011 est.)
 
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2.39 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 95
 
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4.4% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 151
 
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1.1764 physicians/1,000 population (2004)
country comparison to the world: 94
 
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improved:
urban: 99% of population
rural: 87% of population
total: 95% of population
unimproved:
urban: 1% of population
rural: 13% of population
total: 5% of population (2000)
 
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improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population (2008)
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 95%
male: NA
female: NA
 
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total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 13 years (2010)
 
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2001 census counted a resident population of 15,017
 
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Government

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conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Cook Islands
former: Harvey Islands
 
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self-governing in free association with New Zealand; Cook Islands is fully responsible for internal affairs; New Zealand retains responsibility for external affairs and defense in consultation with the Cook Islands
 
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self-governing parliamentary democracy
 
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name: Avarua
geographic coordinates: 21 12 S, 159 46 W
time difference: UTC-10 (5 hours behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
 
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none
 
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none (became self-governing in free association with New Zealand on 4 August 1965 and has the right at any time to move to full independence by unilateral action)
 
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Constitution Day, first Monday in August (1965)
 
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4 August 1965
 
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common law similar to New Zealand common law
 
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has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration (New Zealand normally retains responsibility for external affairs); accepts ICCt jurisdiction
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952) represented by Sir Frederick GOODWIN (since 9 February 2001); New Zealand High Commissioner John CARTER (since 29 July 2011)
head of government: Prime Minister Henry PUNA (since 30 November 2010)
cabinet: Cabinet chosen by the prime minister; collectively responsible to Parliament
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; the UK representative appointed by the monarch; the New Zealand high commissioner appointed by the New Zealand Government; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition usually becomes prime minister
 
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bicameral Parliament consists of a House of Ariki, or upper house, made up of traditional leaders and a Legislative Assembly, or lower house, (24 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
note: the House of Ariki advises on traditional matters and maintains considerable influence but has no legislative powers
elections: last held on 17 November 2010 (next to be held by 2014)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CIP 16, Demo 8
 
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High Court
 
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Cook Islands Party or CIP [Henry PUNA]; Democratic Party or Demo [Dr. Terepai MAOATE]
 
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Reform Conference (lobby for political system changes)
other: various groups lobbying for political change
 
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ACP, ADB, AOSIS, FAO, ICAO, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, IMO, IMSO, IOC, ITUC, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WMO
 
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none (self-governing in free association with New Zealand)
 
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none (self-governing in free association with New Zealand)
 
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blue, with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and a large circle of 15 white five-pointed stars (one for every island) centered in the outer half of the flag
 
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name: "Te Atua Mou E" (To God Almighty)
lyrics/music: Tepaeru Te RITO/Thomas DAVIS
note: adopted 1982; as prime minister, Sir Thomas DAVIS composed the anthem; his wife, a tribal chief, wrote the lyrics
 
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Economy

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Like many other South Pacific island nations, the Cook Islands' economic development is hindered by the isolation of the country from foreign markets, the limited size of domestic markets, lack of natural resources, periodic devastation from natural disasters, and inadequate infrastructure. Agriculture, employing more than one-quarter of the working population, provides the economic base with major exports made up of copra and citrus fruit. Black pearls are the Cook Islands' leading export. Manufacturing activities are limited to fruit processing, clothing, and handicrafts. Trade deficits are offset by remittances from emigrants and by foreign aid overwhelmingly from New Zealand. In the 1980s and 1990s, the country lived beyond its means, maintaining a bloated public service and accumulating a large foreign debt. Subsequent reforms, including the sale of state assets, the strengthening of economic management, the encouragement of tourism, and a debt restructuring agreement, have rekindled investment and growth.
 
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$183.2 million (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 216
 
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$183.2 million (2005 est.)
 
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0.1% (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186
 
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$9,100 (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116
 
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agriculture: 11.7%
industry: 9.9%
services: 78.5% (2008 est.)
 
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6,820 (2001)
country comparison to the world: 218
 
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agriculture: 29%
industry: 15%
services: 56% (1995)
 
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13.1% (2005)
country comparison to the world: 138
 
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NA%
 
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lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
 
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revenues: $70.95 million
expenditures: $69.05 million (FY05/06)
 
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38.7% of GDP (FY05/06)
country comparison to the world: 49
 
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1% of GDP (FY05/06)
country comparison to the world: 30
 
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2.1% (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 66
 
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copra, citrus, pineapples, tomatoes, beans, pawpaws, bananas, yams, taro, coffee; pigs, poultry
 
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fruit processing, tourism, fishing, clothing, handicrafts
 
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1% (2002)
country comparison to the world: 145
 
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31 million kWh (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 209
 
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29.76 million kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 209
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 143
 
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1,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 201
 
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0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
 
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464 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 203
 
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0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 121
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 167
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 84
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 180
 
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0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 127
 
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$26.67 million (2005)
country comparison to the world: 60
 
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$5.222 million (2005)
country comparison to the world: 217
 
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copra, papayas, fresh and canned citrus fruit, coffee; fish; pearls and pearl shells; clothing
 
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$81.04 million (2005)
country comparison to the world: 213
 
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foodstuffs, textiles, fuels, timber, capital goods
 
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$141 million (1996 est.)
country comparison to the world: 182
 
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NZ dollars (NZD) per US dollar -
1.3874 (2010)
1.6002 (2009)
1.3811 (2007)
1.5408 (2006)
 
 
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Communications

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7,200 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 207
 
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7,800 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 213
 
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general assessment: Telecom Cook Islands offers international direct dialing, Internet, email, fax, and Telex
domestic: individual islands are connected by a combination of satellite earth stations, microwave systems, and VHF and HF radiotelephone; within the islands, service is provided by small exchanges connected to subscribers by open-wire, cable, and fiber-optic cable
international: country code - 682; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)
 
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1 privately-owned TV station broadcasts from Rarotonga providing a mix of local news and overseas-sourced programs; a satellite program package is available; 6 radio stations broadcast with 1 reportedly reaching all of the islands (2009)
 
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.ck
 
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2,521 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 150
 
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6,000 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 205
 
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Transportation

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10 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 157
 
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total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2010)
 
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total: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 2 (2010)
 
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total: 320 km
country comparison to the world: 203
paved: 33 km
unpaved: 287 km (2003)
 
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total: 34
country comparison to the world: 82
by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 27, passenger 1, refrigerated cargo 5
foreign-owned: 23 (Egypt 1, Germany 1, Latvia 1, Lithuania 2, former Netherlands Antilles 1, Norway 6, NZ 1, Russia 1, Sweden 3, Turkey 4, UK 2) (2010)
 
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Avatiu
 
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Military

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no regular military forces; National Police Department (2009)
 
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males age 16-49: 2,198
females age 16-49: 2,156 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 127
female: 107 (2010 est.)
 
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defense is the responsibility of New Zealand in consultation with the Cook Islands and at its request
 
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Transnational Issues

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none
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