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The United Kingdom has historically played a leading role in developing parliamentary democracy and in advancing literature and science. At its zenith in the 19th century, the British Empire stretched over one-fourth of the earth's surface. The first half of the 20th century saw the UK's strength seriously depleted in two world wars and the Irish Republic's withdrawal from the union. The second half witnessed the dismantling of the Empire and the UK rebuilding itself into a modern and prosperous European nation. As one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council and a founding member of NATO and the Commonwealth, the UK pursues a global approach to foreign policy. The UK is also an active member of the EU, although it chose to remain outside the Economic and Monetary Union. The Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, and the Northern Ireland Assembly were established in 1999. The latter was suspended until May 2007 due to wrangling over the peace process, but devolution was fully completed in March 2010.


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Communications

Telephones - main lines in use World Ranking: 8
33.32 million (2009)

Telephones - mobile cellular World Ranking: 16
80.799 million (2009)

Telephone system
General assessment
Technologically advanced domestic and international system
Domestic
Equal mix of buried cables, microwave radio relay, and fiber-optic systems
International
Country code - 44; numerous submarine cables provide links throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and US; satellite earth stations - 10 Intelsat (7 Atlantic Ocean and 3 Indian Ocean), 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean region), and 1 Eutelsat; at least 8 large international switching centers

Broadcast media
Public service broadcaster, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), is the largest broadcasting corporation in the world; BBC operates multiple TV networks with regional and local TV service; a mixed system of public and commercial TV broadcasters along with satellite and cable systems provide access to hundreds of TV stations throughout the world; BBC operates multiple national, regional, and local radio networks with multiple transmission sites; a large number of commercial radio stations as well as satellite radio services are available (2008)

Internet country code
.uk

Internet hosts World Ranking: 15
8.409 million (2010)

Internet users World Ranking: 7
51.444 million (2009)


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  United Kingdom (London):


  GPS points from United Kingdom (London)

Gretton Warwickshire

Bin Garrisdale Scotland


Dalnacardoch Scotland

Loch Bhlair Scotland

Freshford Bath And North East Somerset


Penzance Cornwall




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