CAPITAL : Bishkek
FLAG : Red field with a yellow sun in the center; in the center of the sun is a red ring crossed by two sets of three lines, a stylized representation of the vent in a Kyrgyz yurt.
ANTHEM : Kyrgyz National Anthem.
MONETARY UNIT : The som was established in May 1993; som1 = $0.0228 (or $1 = som 43.85) as of May 2003.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is in force.
HOLIDAYS : Constitution Day, 5 May; Independence Day, 31 August; National Day, 2 December.
TIME : 5 PM = noon GMT.
The topography of Kyrgyzstan features the peaks of Tien Shan, which rise to over 7,000 m (23,000 ft), and associated valleys and basins which encompass the entire nation. About 90% of Kyrgyzstan has an elevation exceeding 1,500 m (4,900 ft). Slightly over 5% of Kyrgyzstan's land is under irrigation.
The country's climate is continental to polar in the Tien Shan Mountains. In the Fergana Valley the average temperature in July is 27° C (81° F ). In January, the coldest temperatures are in the mountain valleys, with recorded lows below –30° C (-22° F ). The climate is temperate in the foothill regions of the north.
FLORA AND FAUNA
The country's flora and fauna is similar to Tajikistan, with wildflowers in the valleys and yak and snow leopards in the mountains.
Some 80% of the population are Muslim, mostly Sunni of the Hanafi persuasion. An estimated 20% are Russian Orthodox, and 5% practice various other religions. Although it is not known how many Roman Catholics live in Kyrgyzstan, diplomatic relations with the Vatican were opened in 1992. Together, Jews, Buddhists, and Catholics make up about 3% of the population. There are about 151 registered Protestant churches in the country.
The Naryn River is the primary site of fishing activity; but fishing is of little commercial significance. The Yssk Kol Lake is slightly saline and not conducive to the development of fresh water species fishing. The total catch in 2000 was 52 tons, including 10 tons of carp.
Forests and woodlands account for about 5.2% of the total land area. With 85% of the country covered by high-altitude mountain ranges, and coupled with an underdeveloped transportation system, the forestry sector is not commercially significant. Imports of forest products totaled $11.6 million in 2000.
No recent information is available.
The personal income tax varies up to a maximum rate of 40%; the corporate rate ranges from 15–55% with a standard rate of 35%. Also levied are a 20% value-added tax; a withholding tax ranging from zero to 5%; and a social security contribution of 37% by employers and 1% by employees.
During the Soviet era, there was a severe lack of urban housing in Kyrgyzstan. In 1990, Kyrgyzstan had 12.1 sq m of housing space per capita and, as of 1 January 1991, 85,000 households (or 18.6%) were on waiting lists for housing in urban areas. From 1996–2000, only about 14,800 new dwellings were built. In 2000, about 77% of the population had access to improved water sources; most residents had access to improved sanitation.
Important economic organizations in Kyrgyzstan include the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Kyrgyzstan Federation of Trade Unions. Active political organizations include the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, the Slavic Fund, Free Kyrgyzstan, Agigat, and Ashar. The Kyrgyz Bar Association was formed in August 1995. Kiwanis International has programs in the country. The Red Crescent Society is also active.
Askar A. Akayev was elected president of the republic of Kyrgyzstan, in October 1990, prior to the republic declaring its independence. Chingiz Aitmatov (b.1928), winner of two Lenin Prizes for literature, is a native Kyrgyzstani.
Kyrgyzstan has no territories or colonies.
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