Africa is the world’s second largest and second most populous continent after Asia with some 2000 distinct ethnic groups and 54 separate countries, not including several disputed territories. At about 30.2 million km² (11.7 million sq mi) including islands, Africa covers 6% of the Earth’s total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area. With 1.0 billion people (2009) in 61 territories, it accounts for about 14.72% of the world’s human population. Africa has over 2000 languages spoken with Arabic being the highest number of speakers with over 170 million, mostly living in North Africa and the Horn of Africa. It is the most compact of all the continents in terms of shape and comprises the oldest rocks pertaining to the Pre-Cambrian Era. The Sahara desert, the largest expanse of dry land in the world, is over 10.4 million square kilometers. South Sudan is Africa’s newest country officially born July 9, 2011. Continue reading

Health Care

The United States healthcare system, serving some 308,745,538 people (2010), is the most expensive health system in the world. Care costs more per person, and consumes a greater portion of GDP per person each year, than all United Nations members except for East Timor (Timor-Leste). Additionally, the United States ranks last in the quality of health care among developed countries when considering infant mortality and life expectancy--the most widely collected healthcare data globally. On March 23, 2010, President Barak Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in addition to the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (March 30), producing in sum the health care reform efforts of the Democratic 111th Congress and the Obama administration. Citizen rights, access, quality and affordable healthcare remains contested.