Kingdom of Lesotho
Muso oa Lesotho
CAPITAL : Maseru
FLAG : The flag is divided diagonally from the lower hoist side corner; the upper half is white bearing the brown silhouette of a large shield with crossed spear and club; the lower half is a diagonal blue band with a green triangle in the corner.
ANTHEM : Lesotho Fatse La Bo-nata Rona (Lesotho, the Country of Our Fathers).
MONETARY UNIT : Lesotho is part of the South African monetary area; the maloti of 100 lisente, introduced in 1980, is on a par with the South African rand ( R ), which also is legal tender. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, and 50 lisente, and notes of 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 maloti ( M ). M 1 = $0.1329 (or $1 = M 7.52) as of May 2003.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : British and metric weights and measures are in general use.
HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; Moshoeshoe's Day, 12 March; Family Day, 1st Monday in July; King's Birthday, 17 July; Independence Day, 4 October; National Sports Day, 6 October; Christmas, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December. Movable Christian holidays include Good Friday, Easter Monday, and Ascension.
TIME : 2 PM = noon GMT.
In 1996, around 60% of active male wage earners in Lesotho worked in South Africa. There were 6,000 migrants living in Lesotho in 2000, and virtually no refugees. In that year, the net migration rate was -3.4 per 1,000 population. The government views the migration levels as satisfactory.
Lesotho is ethnically homogeneous. At least 99.7% of the people are Sotho. In 1998 there were about 1,600 Europeans and 800 Asians in the country.
The Sesotho (southern Sotho) language is spoken by virtually all the indigenous population. English shares with Sesotho the position of official language. Zulu and Xhosa are also spoken.
An estimated 2000-member army has ground troops and an air wing. The security forces also consist of a mounted police. A 1998 mutiny was quelled with the aid of troops from South Africa and Botswana; they were withdrawn the following year. The defense budget in 1999 was $34 million.
Fishing has not yet been popularized, although the Malutsenyane River is one of the best natural trout-fishing grounds in Africa. There is virtually no commercial fishing. In 2000, the total catch was 32 tons, including 20 tons of carp.
Lesotho is almost devoid of natural woodland. Trees have been planted in conjunction with soil conservation programs. Roundwood production in 2000 was estimated at 2,022,000 cu m, all nonconiferous logs for fuel.
In 1995, there were at least three insurance companies operating in Lesotho. During the 1998 destruction of commercial life, most firms were not covered by insurance, lengthening the rebuilding process.
Lesotho has no territories or colonies.
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