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October 2007



Burma (slightly smaller than the state of Texas) is located in Southeastern Asia, borders the Andaman Sea, the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh, and Thailand. Burma's climate is tropical, with monsoon seasons in the southwest from June to September and in the northeast from December to April.

Burma's natural resources include: petroleum, timber, tin, antimony, zinc, copper, tungsten, lead, coal, marble, limestone, precious stones, and natural gas. Natural hazards include: earthquakes, cyclones, flooding, landslides, and periodic droughts. Environmental issues facing Burma include: deforestation, industrial pollution, and inadequate sanitation. The population is estimated at 47,373,958 with over 60% between the ages of 14 and 64 years.

The majority of Burma's population are ethnic Burmans; about 30% of the population are comprised of indigenous ethnic groups. Indians and Chinese comprise the largest non-indigenous groups. About 89% of the population practice Buddhism with only 4% Christian, 4% Muslim, and 1% animist.

The unicameral People's Assembly (Pyithu Hluttaw) with 485 seats was suspended; the last elections were in 1990. Since 1989, the ruling authorities promote the name Myanmar; this decision was not approved by the legislature of Burma and the U.S. Government did not adopt the name. The legal system of Burma is based on a British-era system. The country is divided into seven ethnic states (pyi nay); universal suffrage is age 18.

CIA World Factbook; U.S. State Department Background Notes, 9/2007; 6/2007