Finland is a republic in northern Europe with coastlines to the Baltic Sea, the Gulf of Bothnia and the Gulf of Finland as well as borders to Norway, Sweden and Russia. The landscape is predominantly flat or hilly lowland with pine and birch forests and about 187,000 lakes. Finland is also called the Land of the Thousand Lakes. Farther to the N there are mountains and tundra. On the coast there is an archipelago with many islands.
Most of Finland has temperate mainland climates with severe winters. Farther to the N there is polar climate.
The country’s most important natural resources are timber. Copper, zinc, iron ore and silver are also extracted. The country has five nuclear power plants.
Finland has a stable democracy. The country is a strong welfare state with a well-developed education system and a good social safety net. The Åland Islands have self-government. Finland is a member of the EU.
France is a republic in V-Europe. The country has a coast towards the Atlantic, the North Sea, the Mediterranean, the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay. IN and V there are flat lowlands, plains, river systems and valleys. In the island and S the landscape is mountainous with the two major mountain ranges, the Alps and the Pyrenees. The island of Corsica also belongs to France.
The climate is temperate and rainy in the N, and subtropical by the Mediterranean.
France’s most important natural resources are coal, oil, natural gas, hydropower, iron ore, pig iron, bauxite and potassium salt. Agriculture mainly produces wheat, wine, dairy products and meat. A large part of France’s energy needs are covered by nuclear power.
France used to be a major colonial power and still includes more overseas territories, including French Guiana. France is a member of the EU and NATO.
Fiji is a republic in Oceania in the South Pacific. The archipelago comprises over 300 islands surrounded by coral reefs and lagoons. The two largest islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, are volcanic, mountainous and covered with rainforest as well as grassland. Coconut trees grow on the wide sandy beaches. Only about 100 islands are inhabited. Most residents live on Viti Levu.
The climate is tropical with sea winds from the south and east and quite large rainfall.
Agriculture employs over 1/3 of the workforce. In particular, sugar and coconut are grown and exported. At Viti Levu, gold is mined. Tourism, forestry and fishing are also important for the economy.
Until 1970, Fiji was a British colony. The country is still plagued by several military, civil and political coups, most recently in 2006.