A Second Opinion: It’s a Small, Small World!

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Now children reach for their tablets when they have a burning question, instead of an encyclopedia; however, the answers they get may not always be as accurate
as we would like them to be. But really, it should not be
so difficult to get the story straight!

 

By Mary Foran

 

As the internet spreads its web around the world and technology is put into the hands of even the youngest with cell phones, tablets, and computers-in-the-classrooms, the old Disney song “It’s a Small World” comes to mind.

Now children reach for their tablets when they have a burning question, instead of an encyclopedia; however, the answers they get may not always be as accurate as we would like them to be. Even Wikipedia is open to redaction since knowledge and history are often incomplete and confusing (see “The French Connection” in a previous piece!).

But really, it should not be so difficult to get the story straight! A little web research and we come up with the amazing statistic that there are actually only 195 countries in the world today, and 193 of them are members of the United Nations. There are two non-member Observer States: The Holy See (Vatican City) and the State of Palestine.

The Old City of Baku, Azarbaijan, a “transcontinental country” that straddles Europe and Asia

Europe itself consists of 51 independent States. Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey are “transcontinental” countries, in both Europe and Asia. Armenia and Cyprus are considered European although they are located in West Asia.

Taiwan, Western Sahara, Kosovo, South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Northern Cyprus identify as independent but are claimed as part of another country. Self-identifying countries include Nagorno-Karabakh, Transnistria, and Somaliland which are considered De Facto Sovereign States.

The European Coal and Steel Community, founded on the basis of the so-called Schuman Plan revealed on 9 May 1950 in Paris

(FIFA, the World Soccer organization, allows England, Scottland, Wales and Northern Ireland to compete as separate teams although all are part of the United Kingdom).

By the way, in case you had not been notified, Europe Day is celebrated on May 9th, commemorating the first establishment of the European Union by six countries in 1957: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxemburg and The Netherlands. Spain and Portugal joined the ranks in 1986. As of 2015, there are 28 countries counted in the European Union. There are 21 Republics in the Union and 7 Monarchies.

More internet research comes up with some more interesting statistics: The Safest Country in Europe is:

A lake in Norway, Europe’s safest country

1. Norway (Travel Risk Map, International SOS), 2018.
2. Finland
3. Denmark
4. Iceland
5. Switzerland
6. Slovenia
7. Luxembourg
“Low Risk”: Italy, Belgium, Portugal, U.K., France.
“Medium Risk”: Ukraine
“High Risk”: Turkey

What with the “Holy Wars” that are being waged in the world today, it may be useful to travelers to note just what to expect in the countries that they long to visit. Here are a few more internet statistics that may help make more sense of world dangers:

THE TEN MOST RELIGIOUS COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD:

People of Ethiopia: the most religious

1. Ethiopia
2. Malawi
3. Niger
4. Sri Lanka
5. Yemen
6. Burundi
7. Djibouti
8. Somalia
9. Mauritania
10. Afghanistan

THE TEN LEAST RELIGIOUS COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD:

Salonikis Synagogue in Tel Aviv, Israel, the 9th least religious country in the world

1. China
2. Japan
3. Estonia
4. Sweden
5. Norway
6. Czech Republic
7. Hong Kong
8. Netherlands
9. Israel
10. United Kingdom

The populations of these countries were surveyed as to how religious they felt they were. The Ethiopians were 99 percent sure of their religiosity, and the Chinese were only 7 percent sure they felt religious at all! And the U.K. populace was only 30 percent sure of their religiosity, with Israel matching that percentage!

Somehow, strangely enough, the U.S.A. didn’t make the top ten in either category!

Well, enough of extraneous statistics. My point is that: if we can’t handle only 195 or so Nations in the world today, how are we going to deal with extra-terrestrial colonies and the continued exploration of the waiting Universe? Maybe New Age Spaniards would like to try and answer that question!

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Images
Featured image/Sombilon Studio, CC BY-ND2.0 cropped
Azerbaijan/Nijaz Bakili, CC BY2.0 cropped
European Coal and Steel Community/Immanuel Giel, CC BY-SA3.0
Norway lake/Flemming Christiansen, CC
Ethiopians/Amhayes Tadese, CC BY-SA4.0
Synagogue/צילום:ד”ר אבישי טייכר, CC BY2.5